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Rob Cavestany Death Angel - Interview
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Death Angel

Death Angel released what became The Rockpit's favorite metal album of the year in 2013 with "The Dream Calls For Blood" and chatting to guitarist Rob Cavestany about those songs was amazing to say the least. May 27th sees the band release their next album "The Evil Divide" which is yet another killer album by the band but in a slightly different way this time around. We caught up with Rob again to talk about the new songs and how the band approached the creative process this time around.



Andrew: So I've been spinning this new album a lot lately in the last 24 hours. Congratulations on the new album, it's absolutely killer stuff!

Rob: Thank you so much! It's great to hear you had a chance to listen a bit there.

Andrew: Yeah absolutely. I remember when the last album "The Dream Calls For Blood" came out a couple of years ago and I thought it was one of the best albums you ever did. But this time around you kinda gotten into a lot of melodic stuff this time around.

Rob: On some songs on some parts, yeah.

Andrew: So how was the process for the album this time around then?

Rob: It was amazing, I really enjoyed creating and recording this album. It was more of a natural, organic experience for me and for us creating it so quite a different experience from "The Dream Calls For Blood" and it was the songs and where they were coming from and the head space and the realities that we were going through were very different and so it reflected in the record.

Andrew: I remember when we chatted last time that the process for "The Dream Calls For Blood" was quite hectic for you guys, a lot was going on so I guess this time around it was a lot more relaxed I suppose.

Rob: In comparison, absolutely! I mean it still had it's hectic times as will pretty much always happen to us but it was just hectic in a more positive way, let's put it that way. The hectic shit that was happening during "The Dream Calls For Blood" was for lack of a better word, negative. It makes for cool metal that's for sure, I love that record. It's got all the fucking dark angst you can possibly have from us and we captured it on that record and it's a fucking intense, awesome record but I really wouldn't like to recreate that experience or have to go through that again. So it's nice to evolve and kinda feel victorious and triumphant overcoming whatever we were dealing with then and now feeling very strong and intense in a postive, optimistic way into this album. There's still a lot that we're frustrated and pissed off about in this album, it's just from a different angle and it allowed for a much more diverse expression musically.

Andrew: Because of the critical success of the last album, did you feel any kind of pressure to sort of match that album in any way?

Rob: Absolutely but it's not even more so from the critical acclaim or anything like that - that feels good definitely - but it's just more so a personal thing from an artistic point of view of how I feel about the album and how I felt like I wanted to outdo that album to myself. That's what we set out to do but we didn't set out to compete with the album in the same way, it just had to be in it's own different space and it's own thing but yeah, at the end of the day in my eyes I wanted to blow away our last album. That's just a personal goal right there.


Andrew: Yeah I guess you want to try and outdo the album in your own sort of way. What were the main inspirations for coming up with these songs this time around?

Rob: Well as usual, life and experiences that are happening from the moment that you're finished with the last record until the moment you're finished with the new one and everything that's happening in between is coming out into your music so it has a big part in what the sound is going to be like. Another thing with it is the growth of the band together and staying with the same lineup so from in between the moment you step out of the recording studio from your last record and every moment that the guys get together, whether it be touring which is a lot of moments together on stage, rehearsing in the studio or just hanging out together - all the things we experience and stay together, we grow stronger. So what we were able to do creatively on the next record which I'm talking about this record right now, should be in my eyes, advanced. Our team is that much stronger, the machine is well oiled and on fire and we've grown together by almost 3 years so that gets reflected in our abilities of playing together. It's this combination of 2 things - it's the material that is written, the inspiration of how that comes together and the arranging and the construction of the songs and the technical ability that we have - combined with the more emotional and spiritual side of it where you're able to express these emotions through your instrument or your voice or whatever it is, into the sound of the music and to capture that into a recording. So these are the challenges you have making a record I think. You may write the stuff and create the stuff, you can even rehearse the stuff but it's a whole other world when your in the recording studio, the red light is on and it's that moment that the time you're going to play it is going to be the one! That it's going to be forever permanently on recording so that difference between how each guy plays in the moment, it only comes from deep focus and the ability to really let it go in a comfort zone that it comes out as smoothly and emotionally inspired as possible. So for me that really hit hard on this record and that's what makes it stand out, combined with the material. The songs that's on there, just all of it put together and then you put that together sonically with the way we produced the record, the tones and the sound that we were going for and we created, I think we achieved what we were trying to do which was to make the sound as organic as possible. We definitely wanted it to be more organic than "The Dream Calls For Blood" sonically and so that's also contributing to the overall feel of the record.

Andrew: Yeah this album does sound more organic and natural, it's very cool to hear that kind of thing. I did want to ask you about the album cover and the first track "The Moth", where is the references to the moth coming from and the inspirations for that?

Rob: There's a lot of double and sometimes triple meanings to the concept and the lyrics that are being sung to the people and so the cool thing is a lot of times we have our inside meaning of things that we pretty much only know to ourselves that has to do with our band or personal things that we're going through that's our own personal expression happening. But then we try to incorporate it into a way where the listener can either put their own self in the situation or see another meaning behind it. With that said, the moth to us is representative of ourselves because Mark (Osegueda, vocals) and I will refer to ourselves as moths sometimes because we tend to be drawn to shiny objects or we tend to fly straight into the flame even though we know it's going to kill us but we can't help ourselves because that's just the kind of people we are. We're attracted to that and it's just a metaphor for the shit we get ourselves into in life so that in and of itself is that and same thing with our band, it's kind of that way. But at the same time it's also the main message of the entirety of it all and "The Evil Divide" is where we are conceptually coming from, the current world events and all the fucking bullshit that's happening around the world that's very troubling. It's on the top of everyone's mind right now, you turn on the television or the internet and you'll easily be disappointed and depressed within a few moments when you read the news of the world. It's affecting everyone including ourselves and the people around us and people we know around the world and so it's come to a point that it had to be said and that's the main concept of everything, of all the songs on the record and everything about it is directed to that.

Andrew: Yeah it's certainly an interesting time to be living in! Speaking of world events, I guess you will be touring around the world soon and as you did a couple of years ago, hopefully come back to Australia.

Rob: Hopefully! It's definitely the plan and I think something has gone terribly wrong if we didn't show up there. So you can bet that we will, I don't have any dates that I can announce right now as all that stuff is in process right now. We're kicking off the touring cycle for this record by heading out with Slayer and Anthrax in North America starting in September and that's going to go out for about 8 weeks and so after that it will take us to November and then who knows? Maybe it will be somewhere then but if not, then hopefully shortly after but that's definitely only the beginning of our world touring. We definitely want to play this record all around the world and Australia is a main target for us because we love it there.

Andrew: We managed to catch you on the final show of the tour with Kreator in 2014 in Perth and it was absolutely amazing! You guys blew us away so fantastic stuff.

Rob: Great thank you! It was a very fun time for us and it was a great time for us touring with Kreator. A lot of fun but too short and too fast and too long ago! So we got to get some more of that down under.

Andrew: Yeah exactly! I heard that you guys have a show coming up at Amoeba Records (San Francisco), is that right?

Rob: That's correct! That's happening in about a week so we are deep in rehearsals for that. It's going to be the first time that we play any of these new songs live ever.

Andrew: Oh wow very cool! Have you done a record store show like that before?

Rob: I don't think we did anything like that since we existed in the 80's. We must of done something of the sort back then, I know we did some acoustic things before in places. We had to of done some kind of thing but not like this, this is like really special because Amoeba music on Haight Street in San Francisco is a legendary music store. I mean I've shopped there for decades and definitely my favorite music store in the Bay Area. You've been shopping there and hanging out there for so long and now for us to perform there, a free performance for our San Francisco Bay Area fans is just an amazing feeling, it's an honour for us to kick off our live performances of this album there and we're kind of nervous about it because all our friends and family will be just standing right there and that always makes you extra nervous and you always want to play good. And it's probably going to be a little crazy because I think there's going to be a lot of people going there and it can only hold so many people, it's gonna be wild! It's also going to be on the eve of the release of our album that night so very much excited!

Andrew: Yeah very cool! I wish I could be there for that show, sounds like a very cool idea. Anyway it's been an absolute pleasure talking to you again, thanks for your time. Killer album, congratulations on the new songs and hopefully down the track we will get to see you down in Australia to do some shows down here.

Rob: Right on! Thanks so much for your time as well Andrew. Nice interview, thank you for supporting Death Angel and thanks for supporting music.

Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on May 18th 2016