PunkTV.ca exclusive interview by Dixon Christie with Trevor Strnad of Black Dahlia Murder in support of Nocturnal.
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Dixon: We got Trevor from the Black Dahlia Murder on the line. Hey dude, how's it going?
Trevor: Good, it's going well, everything is going awesome right now. The tour is awesome, we are on tour with Cannibal Corpse.
You are a big super star now! You just got back from XM radio I guess? (doing an interview with XM)
Yeah, that was super cool.
Has it gotten any better or more difficult to party on the road?
The weed consumption is at an all time high, but we've had our nights when we got hammered and head banged for Cannibal Corpse.
Does it suck a bit when you're not in Canada and you got to smoke the weed that is not as good as our bud up here?
No, we do alright, but we're definitely into the Canadian stuff.
So you guys have had 2 million profile views now on MySpace. Obviously this non-stop touring ethic is really paying off for you guys.
Yeah, we are just trying to keep the momentum alive and nine months of touring a year is what we aim for.
Your new album is called Nocturnal and it sounds to me that the production, the playing, and everything else on this album seems to be a huge step up from Miasma. Tell us about this album.
We feel the same way. We wanted to take the band into the future with the sound, but it's still The Black Dahlia Murder and I think the new players are definitely a part of that. Bart is a great bass player and he's definitely added a new dimension to the fold; the production is also what we always hoped for with our records. I think we just got it right and we are really happy with it.
Is there a theme behind Nocturnal? Is there kind of a message that ties the lyrics together or do each of the songs kind of have their own meaning?
Each of the songs kind of are stand alone tracks except the last two songs which are kind of paired together: the first of which is a song about weakness and a bunch of different ways of committing suicide are mentioned in the song, and then there is an interlude and it heads into the last song, "Warborn", which is like a total strength beyond strength kind of song about crushing your enemies. The record, theme wise, is unified in that it's a traditional black metal/death metal style and it goes along with the cover art. We wanted to turn kids on to the classic way of things.
But do you still have the unique melodic aspect as well despite that it never gets like pop music?
Yeah, we'd have a little bit of everything I'd say. Melody is a huge part, and being catchy is part of the balance that we try to achieve. We like to play fast and thrash and incorporate little pieces of the stuff we like in metal; we try to keep the energy high.
I read a quote where you said that the pretenders will have a tough time marching to this one. Tell us abut how coping is or isn't the sincerest form of flattery for you?
Well I think it's cool, but really weird, and it is a huge compliment that kids are influenced by us in their own bands. I think that it's important that we challenge ourselves and make music that is challenging to the listener. So, this is definitely a forward thinking record and classic at the same time. There are a lot of new, futuristic elements in the playing, and it's light years beyond the last record I think.
So, basically, you are talking about technique and keeping the melodic thrash going but having the little riffs in between there. Faster, more intense, and more time changes type of thing?
Yeah, just cooler songs that have more thought to them which will be rewarding to listen to more than once.
And it doesn't sound like everything else out there.
We realize that we are coming from the same pool of influences as a lot of different bands right now, but I think that Brian's songwriting is really incredible and he's just one of those riff dudes…he writes great riffs. We are defiantly a riff band.
Brian is the guy who wears the captain's hat?
I think that guy is funny as hell.
He's a riot.
I don't think your band is ever going to be one of these bands that is kind of glamorous or anything. You guys are totally approachable at every level, and you are totally keeping it real at every step.
Yeah, that's important to us, to be approachable, because we are kids just like these kids at the shows that are metal fans, and we are just lucky to be here. I don't know about bands that don't want to go out and meet people because it's a chance to meet so many people that are like minded. Where I grew up I felt like I was completely isolated and alone so it's cool just to be around to so much metal.
I can speak from experience in saying that you aren't just bull shitting. I have seen you guys come out and meet people, and that's part of what you're doing for sure.
In the our videos we try to present a little bit of our personality because I think we have a unique vibe in that we are all pretty close friends and we have a great time out on tour, so we really want to show that side of the bands because it's cool. I think kids would be interested in that so, some day, hopefully, we can do a DVD and show kids what we are really like because we are ridiculous together.
Funny and just goofy eh?
Yeah, we have a lot of laughs on tour.
Now this tour you are doing right now is the Metal Blade 25th anniversary and you are out again with Cannibal Corpse, the Red Chord, Goatwhore and the Absence.
This line up is stacked, it's great.
And yet all kind of different too?
Yeah, it's a little bit of every part of the Metal Blade spectrum.
Tell us about some of the experiences you have had on the road with these bands?
Everybody kind of knew each other coming into the tour because, being on the label, you run into these bands a lot, so we have just been having a blast. We went to see Municipal Waste the other night, and I saw the Goatwhore guys there, and The Red Chord guys, and it was getting ridiculous in there…it was getting kind of crazy in there so it was just awesome. They are so fun to see. They have beer bongs on stage and they make people [drink from the] beer bongs; they are just quintessential 80's thrash and awesome as fuck. So, we went to see them and that was fun. It's just been a fun tour.
You guys have your European tour, and you did Wacken Open Air, and then I saw some video from that and there was like 30,000 kids out there. How did you guys get onto that? I know you got shows all over Germany, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, so obviously Metal Blade is working your stuff in Europe too.
We have definite support out there as well and it has been going well. We have another tour coming up out there with Job For a Cowboy and The Red Chord and that will be cool too. So, things have been going well up there and those festivals were big for us.
And Guy from The Red Chord, he is doing really well with his record label. All the bands that they have been grooming along are just getting huge.
His label is cool as hell and led by Animosity, who are probably doing the best of all his bands they are great.
Have you guys moved up to a bus yet or are you still in that stinky van?
We are rocking the van still man.
Well, maybe you get to eat a little bit better than the bands on the bus, or a bigger per diem maybe.
We are pretty much fast food dudes.
There is no healthy food in that band?
No, not really.
By the way, Nocturnal came out like 2 weeks ago and it debuted in the top 200 charts in 72, so congratulations.
This week I think it was at 199, so it fell a little bit, but it's not bad for the second week. We are pretty excited about it and we have big expectations for this record because I think it's the best thing we have done so far. We really feel this is going to be what we're measured against when we make a new record.
Are there a lot of shows after you get back from Europe?
Yeah, we have a headlining tour of the States. I can't tell which bands yet because it's too early but we picked the line up so it's going to be really sick. We are going to be on tour eternally from now on.
So, we have got to see this promo video for "What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse", and it's pretty good, but obviously kids will probably be expecting some kind of music video at some point. Are you guys going to be doing a fully produced music video at some point?
I don't know what the plan is at this point or what song it's going to be for. We're still up in the air about it.
Which of the following experiences have you had: have you seen the face of God, have you had an alien encounter or have you seen a ghost?
I have seen the face of God. It's in a pineapple pizza.
Evolution or Intelligent Design?
Interview by: Dixon Christie, PunkTV.ca