čtvrtek 4. června 2020

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Interview - DAVE INGRAM - Death metal is my lifestyle.

Interview with legendary death metal vocalist - DAVE INGRAM, thank you!

Translated by Duzl, thank you!

Questions prepared Jakub Asphyx.

Hi Dave, hello to Denmark and thank you so much for your time. We recently talked with friends in a pub about the best death metal singers and we used your name very often. What does death metal actually mean to you? Is it a lifestyle, a demanding hobby, a rest? Or necessity, the joy of music itself?

Many thanks for the interview, and Denmark sends greetings back to you.  Death Metal has been a part of my life for so long that it’s actually become difficult to categorise it in any manner. Though if I have to say so, then I guess that one could say it is more like a lifestyle than simply a hobby. For me it’s most certainly a necessity. I don’t ever want to think of not producing some form of music or other. I know a day will come but that day is certainly not here yet.

You are already at the age when you could live only on what you have created in your life. But you're still working, you're still appearing on new records. A lot of the singers will destroy their vocal cords during those years of "screaming" or become a bitter caricature, but I feel that you still have a "goal move" and you are in a good mood? The photos you smile at, you go among the fans at festivals, you're cool. Where do you get so much positive energy from, please? Wouldn't you have a recipe for me? I'm a few years younger and sometimes I go home on Friday as tired and grumpy as an old dog. 

If I were to stop now I would be happy with what I have done. But stopping making music is NOT an option for me. I aim to continue for as long as I can. Indeed, a lot of singers have ruined their voices, and the difference can be heard in their individual styles from the past to the present. Why has mine not done that? Well, you have to remember that I took some time away from performing live…10 years to be exact. I recorded albums, and did other projects - as well as my online show, Metal Breakfast Radio - but I wasn’t constantly touring. I also quit smoking which was a great help to my voice and overall health. As for not being bitter…well I can be a grumpy dog a times myself, but I try not to be. More so with fans these days, as it is a joy to meet them at gigs, drink a beer with them, and find out how the scene is in their respective countries. I smile in photos because I’m having such a good time.

There is a quarantine around us, there are no concerts in the Czech Republic, a lot of people are locked up at home. It's like an apocalypse from a horror movie. You work at the Danish Cancer Research Institute, how did corona-virus enter your life? It's very difficult for us - fans, live performances are the spice of our lives in my opinion. Because the grain is separated from the chaff, real fans and bands who are serious and heartfelt will get to know each other. How do you manage the current situation? 

So far, the virus hasn’t entered my life, besides the quarantine we had here in Denmark. Right now things are easing off and we are slowly getting back to normal. There are still rules to follow, and their will be for a long time, until a vaccine is produced, but it is a necessary evil. Sadly concerts have all been moved until next year and we have to wait to see if there will be any towards the end of this year - but I very much doubt it. I fear a second wave of infection will hit, and wipe out even more gigs…and, sadly, a lot more people.

When I saw the last BENEDICTION performance with Dave Hunt at the Symbolic Open Air festival, I was sorry that he was ending in the band. The friend kept terrible secrets with who would be the successor. I think your return surprised a lot of people, though, not really. Do you know what they say? You will not enter the same river twice. Anyway, congratulations and we look forward to new music from BENEDICTION. Do you have anything ready yet? Can you tell us some news? How did your return happen? 

Yes, it was me that started the rumour about “not swimming in the same river” as I posted that it would not be me on my Facebook profile and pages. BUT I was hinting at it for some months. It was exciting to receive the call. Dan (Bate, bassist) messaged me online and asked if I could get in touch with Darren (Brookes, guitar) about working together. Originally it was going to be temporary, as then vocalist Dave Hunt was going to be away working on his studies, but it soon became clear he wanted to commit more time to that than to the band, so I was asked to rejoin permanently. Before I spoke to Darren, my wife and son told me that if I was asked to rejoin then I should definitely say yes. So I did. We kept it a closely guarded secret for a long time, even when I went over to Birmingham to rehearse with them.

In recent years, I have received excellent records from bands such as ECHELON, DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN, URSINNE, JUST BEFORE DAWN. I received for reviews promo recordings from the Indian Transcending Obscurity Records and their boss Kunal Choksi, and I also ordered the original CD. This is exactly death metal in the form I love. How did your collaboration create with Rogga Johansson, Jonny Petersson and others? Are you planning something new? What and how those connections happened? 

There are definitely plans for new albums and new projects. Right now there will obviously be the new Benediction album, plus there will be the following: 

Hellfrost And Fire - “Fire, Frost And Hell” (debut album) 

Troikadon - “Triumvirate Of Death” (full-length album) 

Down Among The Dead Men - as yet untitled 4th album 

Echelon - as yet untitled 3rd album 

Ursinne - “Rise With The Behemoth” (second album) 

These projects came to be due to all us guys contacting each other over our love for the music of this genre. We wanted to experiment with what we knew and express our art in different ways.

Nowadays, it's great that you listen to new music in advance, in good quality, and then you decide what to buy, who you will support. But it has another side, the bands are insanely too many and it's hard to make a filter. Of course, famous names rule, but I think it's still hard for young people. According to which key do you choose the bands? And now I don't think just for your hosting, but also for listening. Do you have a current discovery in your collection, a new band when you said - „great, this is exactly the music I like“!? 

I have always had a lot of interest and love for the Swedish D-beat style, so any band who sounds like that will get a thumbs up from me, regardless of where they are from. But in truth, if the metal is written from the heart, and not some pompous arrogance, then I will most certainly have an ear for it in my collection. I also get introduced to new music on my show, Metal Breakfast Radio…but more on that in the next question, right?

You have a radio show at Metal Breakfast Radio. How do you feel as a moderator? It's clear you're used to performing in front of an audience, but this is something else. It must be an interesting job, but like everyone else it has its pitfalls. What was the hardest thing for you at the radio? 

It wasn’t hard, really. Only when starting out in the early days of it (12 years ago!) when we had no listeners at all. It was the beginning of the first wave of podcasts so that was the way we originally went - and we still release it as such nowadays. There were several online radio stations that syndicated the show because they loved the originality and the humour of it, so we became very popular quite quickly. These days I am very busy and we can no longer produce shows as much as we want to…plus we now have the quarantine so there’s no chance for us to meet up and record a show. I have some episodes ready to use so I will put one out this weekend, as it has been a little while since any new content was aired. It’s a fun thing to do and I can always go back to it full-time once the bands are all done. It will make the perfect retirement plan!

You must be a very busy man. Work at the institute, radio, BENEDICTION and many other activities. How is Dave Ingram actually resting? Do you have time left for movies and series, for example? I read somewhere that you like Douglas Adams, Arthur C. Clark, and of course Dr. Who! 

My job is such that I get 3 yours a day sitting in the office using my laptop. It is in these times that I catch up with band work (such as this interview!) and writing lyrics and music when necessary. I also use the time to edit my radio show, and also to watch some TV shows. I stay up late on weekends to watch movies, so I am pretty much covered in my rest and relaxation time. I wish I had more time to complete more of my own tasks. There are not enough hours in the day for them all! Though with that said, I will soon be having another operation on my second hip. It also needs to be replaced, so I will be off my feet for a short time while I heal and will have more time for my projects.

After your arrival in Denmark, you have been in the band DOWNLORD. But you released only one album? On Metal Archives a „split-up“ is written next to the status. How I should to understand to this? Will there ever be any new music, a new CD? I really enjoyed your death metal. 

No, new Downlord is currently planned. We are possibly considering re-recording the album - or certain tracks from it - way off in the future, as the technology will give us a more advanced sound. We released our two demos on the “Grind Trials” EP, and the full-length album “Random Dictionary of the Damned” soon after. It’s strange, as I was sorting through some old CDs the other day and I found our demo discs. I still have many of them, plain white cover with a print on the disc. I don’t even know if they work after all this time. I guess I must check them out, then see if anyone wants them.

When I interviewed Karl Willetts from the excellent MEMORIAM, he said: “I've seen a lot of bands experiment with the new sound over the years and in the end it tends to discourage fans. Memoriam will always have one hundred percent roots in old school death metal". This sentence dug deep into my memory. I realized that on old death metal I love that dusty, rotten and cold sound. Every old band can be recognized during the first few tones. When I hear some current modern brutal technical progressive death metal bands, I somehow don't understand it anymore. I always only survive a few songs live and then I get bored. It often only seems to me like a group of jazz-men who have come to show how they can play in a very complicated way - but back to the question - how do you perceive modern trends in death metal? Do you like any bands? 

This is going to be a short answer. I don’t listen to very much modern Death Metal, unless they have an OSDM sound. The bands trying to experiment are not of interest to me at all. Give me OSDM or Get The Fuck Out!

You must have been already explaining somewhere why you left Great Britain and moved to Denmark. But I would rather be interested - what you can say about the death metal scene there. I know from recent times, bands like PHRENELITH, SULPHUROUS, UNDERGANG, BAEST, DEIQUISITOR. And then I really like the thrash ARTILLERY and HATESPHERE. I also did interviews with HATESPHERE, and the bands agreed that Denmark doesn't have many places to play underground or death metal. In my opinion, Britain has an advantage in this, there are a lot of clubs, festivals, pubs. How do you perceive the Danish scene? 

There’s a LOT of excellent underground DM here in Denmark. I’d put UNDERGANG at the top of them, definitely. So many bands here that were sadly overlooked by many, so I’d say that people should be supporting the underrated scene in Denmark. Bands from the past, such as DETEST are doing new albums too. (I’ve heard some of it, and can tell you it’s going to be killer!) Who knows…maybe some band called Downlord will rear it’s head once more, too. Nowadays there are more places for the Danish underground to play live. The scene here is growing in strength again.

You are a legend in death metal, you have done a lot of great work. But do you still have some dream? Maybe tour with your favorite band or share a stage with your idol? To sing with AUTOPSY for example? So does David Ingram have any unfulfilled dreams? 

I’m fulfilling a lot of my dreams as it is, and have done so previously. My one dream? That is to be in an episode of Doctor Who. I nearly was back in 2015….back then I was friends with the musical composer for the show, Murray Gold. I told him if ever he needed any growls he should just ask. He said that the show would need some very soon BUT the job went to Corey Taylor from Slipknot. I understand why, as he is more well known than me, but it was a great disappointment. Still, there is maybe time for a part. 

As a singer, you sing lyrics that you have to identify with. Or at least that's how I hear your voice. That you believe to what you sing. Are the lyrics very important to you? Did you refuse one, for example? And do you write yours too? What I did find, so I think you just wrote something to the album from URSINNE, or am I wrong? 

The lyrics are very important to me, and I have to believe in what I am singing. This is usually fine, since I write them myself. But there have been times when I was singing someone else’s lyrics and I couldn’t put my voice to them. These were usually bands asking me to make guest vocals, not the bands I have joined in the past. (I am still available for guest vocals but you will now have to talk with my agent directly first.)

Thank you so much for the interview. I will be looking forward to more new recordings with your voice. For the new BENEDICTION and for what you bake with other musicians. I really appreciate your answers and wish you all the best in your personal life. And I wouldn't forget, thank you so much for all the great records you've ever participated in. May your steps be accompanied by strength. 

Thank you! I want everyone reading this to stay strong, stay safe, and keep on supporting your scene, and the artists involved in it. Even if just going and liking their pages. Every little bit helps. 

Thank you once more. Keep it metal! 

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