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 Merciless Death interview - 3/23/2007

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Jedi Master of Metal
Jedi Master of Metal

Zodiac : Aries Metal Reputation : 89
Join date : 2012-01-06
Location : Walker Louisiana

PostMerciless Death interview - 3/23/2007

Merciless Death Interview


Bobby Weaver

1.Thanks for speaking with us! When and how did Merciless Death start?

The band was initially formed 4 years ago, after Dan and I had met in High School. At first it was just us two, with Dan playing guitar and me singing Vocals, since I didn’t know how to play an instrument. We then had another guitar player and a bassist for about a day but it didn’t work out since they weren’t really serious about forming a band. It was around this time that Dan brought up a possible name for the band, which was initially the name “Merciless Onslaught” but I told him that it’d be better to use the word “Death” rather than “Onslaught”. Though, at the time we didn’t know of the band Dark Angel or their song “Merciless Death”, as so many people bring it up nowadays. Sometime later, my little brother Cesar received a Drum Set and began to learn at an incredible rate but Dan and I didn’t take him too seriously at first. Then we got yet another guitar player, and I picked up playing Bass since it was hard to find a bass player out where we live. By this time we realized that Cesar had gone a long way in learning how to play in only a short time, so we decided to have him as our permanent Drummer. Having a complete band, we set out to get our sound down and it wasn’t until a year later that we played our first show. Not long after our Rhythm guitarist quit and deciding to stay as a 3 piece, we went off to record our Demo “Annihilate the Masses”.

2.You guys have a truly brutal sound, especially for a three-piece! What is the catalyst for your songwriting?

We basically just try to write the heaviest shit we can without having to drop tune down to D.

3.I love the rawness of your recordings, what are your thoughts about modern recording techniques and equipment such as Pro-Tools, etc?

Thank you! Nowadays, it’s so easy to get lost in new recording techniques. There are so many artists just looping pre-recorded tracks and basically letting the computers write the music for them. When we recorded our first demo, we didn’t want it to sound all polished. Screw that, we wanted our demo to sound raw, dirty and straight forward without having to “touch it up” with the modern version of Pro-Tools. I mean, a lot of the bands we listen to didn’t have that technology back then, let alone the money to afford a descent recording studio. Many seem to forget that, some of the best demos and albums from over 20 years ago didn’t sound all that clean and professional.

4.What is your best experience playing live so far?

Watching the crowd go Crazy! We love that! Whether it be them circle pitting, stage diving, chanting our name or crowd surfing. Man, we love it all!

5.What is your worst experience playing live so far?

Having our gear malfunction during a set. Man, that sucks! Dan’s broken a huge load of strings over the years and Cesar’s drum skins are always tearing!

6.Is there one main songwriter in the band, or does everyone play a part?

Well, at first Dan & Cesar wrote a lot of the music with Dan also supplying a lot of the lyrics. They’re both the more musically talented members of the group; I just offered my opinions here and there, changed a few words from some songs, etc. You have to consider that back then; I didn’t even know how to play Bass. Dan was teaching me, but all I could really do was sing. Eventually I got the hang of things and began writing music and lyrics, so now we all contribute equally.

7.Who does Merciless Death credit as influences?

Basically all of the early Thrash, Death & Black metal bands from around the world. We don’t really stick to one particular band because in order to appreciate the scene from back then, you have to listen to all of the bands from it. I mean, I can’t just only listen to Slayer all my life and go around stating “I listen to Thrash.” Fuck that! What about Infernal Majesty from Canada? Protector from Germany? Or Sepultura from Brazil? How can a band be influenced by only one band from a genre?

8.Who are your individual influences?

Well, personally, I’m a sucker for Mercyful Fate. Man, they wrote some crazy stuff in their time. Also, Protector, Razor, Possessed, Celtic Frost and Iron Angel. I mean, theirs more but I’m not sure there’d be enough room to fit them all in. More recently I got into Vulcano from Brazil and the Black Metal band Poison from Germany.

9.Do you think that metal is on the decline, or getting stronger and why?

I guess it really depends on what form of metal we’re talking about. Unfortunately, Nu Metal has been doing amazingly well and so has Metal Core and Norwegian Metal. Thankfully, there has been an uprise in new coming bands from LA and Brazil, that have a direct influences from bands of old. The style they’re leaning towards is more like the early days of Death, Black and Speed metal.

10.What are your thoughts on the present metal scene?

Today’s metal scene I really don’t like. I mean, most bands are trying to out do the other in originality, seeing how much face paint they can wear and all songs are over 5 minutes long. Since when did Metal bands need freakin’ Keyboardists and duets with female artists? I mean, I know Celtic Frost used a wide variety of instruments on their LP “To Mega Therion”, but they never strayed away from the scene in such a way as today’s “metal” bands do. Frankly, I think all those bands are a joke.

11.I know that you guys are on Heavy Artillery Records, how is the relationship with the label?

Our label has so far been very helpful, supportive and most importantly, understanding since the very minute we signed with them. Our label manager Dave, knows what we are trying to aim for and helps us out like no other. We couldn’t be any happier with our Labels efforts so far, we actually use to think that all label companies were in it for the money and music rights, guess not all of them…only like 99.9%

12.Is Merciless Death gearing up for any tours soon, and if so, will you guys be playing Vegas?

By what we’ve been told so far, we are gearing up for a Summer West Coast Tour with fellow bands Devastator and Hatchet. Also, plans are in the works for a show in Europe this Fall. So, hopefully, we’ll be playing to a lot of the people that have been unable to go see us in Hollywood but have nevertheless remained supportive of our band.

13.If you could tour with any band of your choice, who would it be and why?

We always debate on a question like this. Unfortunately, a lot of the bands we’d like to tour with are either broken up or only due a few festivals. That being said, we’d love to share a stage with Razor, Nasty Savage, Infernal Majesty or Sodom. They’ve managed to retain their sound pretty well over the years and not change too much. We played with Overkill already and were disappointed by the way they would alienate their die hard fans. Celtic Frost, I personally don’t like their musical direction anymore either. I know the Cesar and Dan would say Destruction, but I haven’t seen them yet, though I do hear they’re amazing! The same thing goes for Sadistic Intent, Dan has seen them twice already and tells us that they’re totally worth checking out!

14.If you could tour anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

We would hands down tour Europe. A lot of our fans are from there and are frequently asking us whether we’re ever going there or not.

The US music scene is too trendy and the true loyal metal fans are those who support the underground. Besides, we hear that there are crazy fans from Germany who are still into this old style of metal. Pretty much it would be an honor to play anywhere outside the US, whether it be Brazil, Mexico, Japan or Canada.

15.What happens to those poser emo-fags at your shows?

Haha! Man, they’ve learned to stay away from our shows, I can tell you that. Though, we are still having trouble coming across posers who have the wrong interpretation of Thrash and are merely in it for the trend. Still, it’s not like you can beat up all the posers in the world and besides, every music scene has a few posers. The trick is keeping them to a minimum.

16.I could imagine playing the intense music that you guys play that you have some killer pits. Would you share some of the more interesting stories?

Well, we’ve heard from a lot of our fans that when we play, the pits get really violent. There was this one time when we used to play at the Whisky over a year ago, a guy came up to us from another band stating that there were people in the bathroom who suffered broken noses during our set. Other times there have been crowds that get so crazy at our shows that when they stage dive, they end up taking the mic stand with them! I always find that the funniest, because almost always will they try and continue on singing the lyrics for me.

17.Thrash fans are some of the most dedicated and loyal fans out of any genre, can you tell the readers the reasons behind this?

I tend to believe that Thrash fans are so dedicated as a result of the sheer raw aggression of the genre. They’re as die hard and as loyal as the music they chose to listen to. It also has to do with the fact that a lot of the people playing in these new underground bands are just regular Joes like the fans. A deeper connection can be associated which is often lost with a lot of the more recent “Metal” bands shown on MTV, whom rely heavily on their rich and stylized lifestyles.

18.With more bands using the internet to get heard and become known, what are your thoughts on this new trend and do you think that helped with getting Merciless Death known?

Just like the bands twenty years ago relied heavily on the tape trading scene, today we have the internet. It no doubt has played a part in spreading the word on our band since we are now living in a more technological age. So, even if it means having to be a part of some trend like myspace or merely contacting one through an e-mail account, having this technology available to us has made things a lot simpler and faster, not to mention accessible to many around the world. Though, one cannot deny, nor forget the power that comes from word of mouth and the first hand experience of going to a show.

19.More and more bands are getting back to the “old-school” metal sound. Do you think that this resurgence is because people realize that the older styles of metal are just as relevant today as it was then, or are they just jumping on a bandwagon trying to cash in on a fad?

I’m a big believer in the saying that “History repeats itself.” But I also believe that a lot of the older metal styles were timeless and that it’s no surprise that some bands nowadays are trying to cash in on that. I mean, we’re always going to have bands and fans alike trying to pose as something that they are clearly not, whether it be metal or any other genre. But in the end, when the scene comes to an end, then we’ll see who the real fans are, which will be those still listening to those bands they went out to support. Still, Thrash was one of those genres that had everything, Speed, Black and Death metal bands alike. Even crossover bands such as D.R.I. played with death metal bands like Possessed back then. So it’s no surprise that many are starting to realize the uniqueness of the old scene and are turning away from what trends VH1 and MTV have fed them.

20.The cover art for “Evil in the Night” is awesome! Who did the artwork for the album?

The “Evil in the Night” cover was done by none other than Ed Repka who’s done covers for bands like Possessed, Nuclear Assault, Death and Vio-Lence. From the very moment we recorded our demo years ago, we’d think of how rad it would be if we ever had an album recorded with a cover done by Ed Repka. So, when we got the call from Heavy artillery saying that they managed to get him to do our cover, it was a dream come true! He was even nice enough to offer us a discount!

21.Cover art is something that bands stepped away from in the mid-90’s through the early 2000’s. Do you think that cover art is as important as the music that it represents and why?

Yeah, I hear ya on this. One of my pet peeves is when an album has a really violent and offensive cover but the music on the album is so weak! We believe that the cover should represent the feel of what’s in store when you play the Record or CD. This new generation of Metal fans doesn’t keep in mind that two decades ago there weren’t no sampler booths in record stores. Heavy Metal fans had to go by the cover art so as to allow them to get a hint of what they were in for when they played a record. That’s something you get with our cover, it’s dark, evil and offensive. Not only that, but it’s a work of art that was painted by an artist and not some damn photo that was produced using the latest version of Adobe Photoshop. We wanted to keep our music true to it’s genre…so why not the album cover?

22.What advice would you give to up and coming musicians or bands?

I would tell them to never stray away from your goals. To never let outside forces get in the way of musicianship and the music. Never sell out because without the fans, a band is nothing. Also, be careful what you sign when it comes to contracts because people will always be out to take advantage of you- even if they pretend to be your friend. Overall, never forget to enjoy the experience and live in the moment because you only live once, so party hard!

23.What is Merciless Death’s future plans?

Like I stated before, we’re planning a summer tour and hopefully to be in Europe by this fall. Other than that, we’ll be featured on an upcoming compilation album released by Heavy Artillery Records entitled “Speed Kills…Again”. Hopefully, after all that is done, we can begin working on our next release.

24.Where do you see Merciless Death in five years?

We can only hope that we’ll be touring the world, doing good with record sales and not in debt! Hahaha! At this point, only time will tell so I try not to keep my hopes up.

25.Thanks again for speaking with us! Is there anything else that you would like our readers to know such as upcoming shows, new releases, where to purchase merchandise, etc?

I just want to thank Metal Storm monthly for giving us the opportunity to be interviewed, it was a real pleasure. Our next big show will be at the Knitting Factory on May 11, so be sure to check it out. Our album is out in stores and online so don’t be hesitant to take a listen! Finally, on my behalf of myself and my band mates, I would like to thank all the fans around the world who have supported us all these years! We are nothing without you! All of you…our “Death Warriors!” Keep it Fast & Loud!

- Andy Torres
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