Interview with vocalist and guitarist Dave Overkill
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: January 5, 2013
Ohio's legendary Thrash Metal veterans Destructor have been keeping themselves busy with the recording of the band's third full-length album, Decibel Casualties. The release of this record has been delayed due to an unfortunate setback; both guitarist Pat Rapid and bassist Jamie Boulder parted ways with Destructor at the end of May 2012. Fortunately, the remaining members of Destructor, founding vocalist/guitarist Dave Overkill and drummer Matt Flammable, were able to find replacements quickly. Nick Annihilator was tabbed for second guitar and Ed. E. Kaos for bass. The Destructor train was ready to continue full steam ahead.
The Metal Crypt contacted Dave Overkill for some updates from the band; about the recording sessions for the forthcoming Decibel Casualties album, the new members' roles in the songwriting process, Destructor's future gigging plans and some other things as well.
Luxi: First off, congrats on finding new bass player Ed E. Kaos and guitarist Nick Annihilator to complete the Destructor line-up. I assume things are rolling smoothly with the new additions. How did you find them to replace Pat Rabid (on 2nd guitar) and Jamie Boulder (on bass)? Were the auditions easy?
Dave: Ed and Nick are both exceptional players that I have known for years and both were interested in the open positions. There wasn't really much of an audition process. There were questions/conversations and jam session. It was important to get guys that were not just helping out. Matt and I were looking for permanent members that could be part of the writing and decision process. So far it has worked out really well.
Luxi: The new Destructor members have already been tested live, at the Iron Ingo festival, which took place at Beachland Ballroom on July 7th 2012. According to your own comments on Destructor's official Facebook page, you seemed to have quite a blast there. How did the audience react to the two new faces in the Destructor line-up? Did you concentrate on playing songs from the Maximum Destruction record or was it a mixed set from each of your releases so far?
Dave: The show was really well received and the set list was two from Maximum Destruction along with "Sonic Bullet," "Tear Down the Heavens," "World of War" and a brand new song "The Iron Clad," Everyone in the city of Cleveland knows Nick and Ed and there was some excitement to see how they would fit in.
Luxi: Were you tempted to play a couple of new songs for the crowd so they could get an idea what to expect from Destructor's next album?
Dave: Yeah, we played two songs from the forthcoming Decibel Casualties album that we are finishing up in the studio. The songs were "Metal Spike Deep" and "Keep the Faith."
Luxi: How are things progressing with the recording of Destructor's third album, Decibel Casualties? I read that you will be entering the studio again to record a couple more songs for the record? Could you enlighten us about these new songs a bit more? Have the new members, Ed and Nick, provided any input?
Dave: Decibel Casualties is going to be what our fans have come to expect from Destructor. The feel is very much the same. It's Thrash Metal mixed with melodic power. The songs were written before the line-up change but I wanted to have the new members play on this record. Nick will be playing guitar on the whole record so we will have to take some more time to finish everything. Ed is also going to play on a handful of songs as well so that when the record comes out it will be a reflection of the new line-up playing together. There are three new songs ("The Iron Clad," "Only Your Ashes Remain" and "Conquering the World") written but I'm not sure if they will make it to Decibel Casualties. Most likely they will be for the follow-up. The songs will sound like Destructor and the writing process will not change overall.
Luxi: How many songs will the forthcoming album contain and will there be any special editions available, so the die-hard Destructor warriors can add something special to their collections?
Dave: There are re-recordings of two Destructor classics; "Smash Your Skulls with Power" and "Power Aggression," along with 7-8 new songs. We are also continuing to write and record songs with the new members.
Luxi: How would you compare these new songs to the material on your previous album, Forever in Leather?
Dave: It could be considered a continuation of that record. There will be no big changes in the style or feel of what Destructor is all about. Destructor will never change. All of us in the band have the same ideas on what kind of guitars and singing the band should be represented by and the writing reflects that. I have so many ideas that have yet to be used that I am always pulling older riffs and mixing them with newer ones. That is how Forever in Leather was written.
Luxi: Would you say there's a few "instant hit" Destructor songs on this new record, ones that people will probably be asking you to play at your gigs over and over again?
Dave: Oh yeah, for sure. Two songs that come to mind are "Metal Spike Deep" and "Keep the Faith." I think those are destined to become "classics" that will be in the set for years to come.
Luxi: Your new album has the same name as a 4-track demo that you recorded back in 1987. Are you paying homage to the past, telling everyone this is what we are and where we come from and that the institution called Destructor from Cleveland, Ohio, cannot be changed?
Dave: Yes, you have it right. The title Decibel Casualties was going to be the name of our second release but we never got to finish it due to the passing of Dave Holocaust. Two songs from that time will be on this latest record along with new songs to kind of tie everything all together. Past, present and where everything leads to; the future. A couple of songs that appeared on the Sonic Bullet EP were also from that time, circa 1986-87. The complete list of songs sort of ended up on a couple of releases instead of being on a complete presentation. The band always felt the title Decibel Casualties was a strong one that could still be used.
Luxi: Did you try any spontaneous and totally crazy ideas on the album? I mean anything that might not fit into Destructor's basic sound formula that well but you still decided to try them out, just for fun?
Dave: Most of the time the song structures are planned out completely beforehand so we are not burning up studio time trying to figure out where the song should go. On the other hand there is always some creativity on the guitars and singing that may be different or improved from the way they were played just before recording.
Luxi: It was announced some months ago that the Venomin James guitarists, Tomasz Scull and Joe Fortunato, will be helping you guys out in the studio with the recording and engineering. Is that set in stone or were there any unexpected setbacks, besides Pat and Jamie leaving Destructor during the middle of the Decibel Casualties recording sessions?
Dave: Venomin James are finishing their record, Unholy Mountain, and scheduling time between both bands, along with Pat and Jamie leaving and Nick and Ed joining, have created some obstacles but it seems to be working itself out. Working and recording With Tomasz and Joe at Supernatural Sound has been a really good experience and the sound we seem to be getting is on par with what I expect out of a Destructor recording. Tomasz and Joe are friends of ours, so that helps to make a comfortable setting to create and record.
Luxi: What about the album cover art for Decibel Casualties? Who's going to be responsible for it and what's going to be on the actual album's front cover; a pile of blown up Marshalls and headless headbangers lying around them? That would be so old school, wouldn't it, ha-ha!!
Dave: That's a great idea. I don't have any news for the cover art at this time.
Luxi: When the follow-up to Maximum Destruction came out in 2007 on Auburn Records, the album Forever in Leather, did you expect it to go over with your fans as well as it did since Destructor had been away from the Metal scene for a while?
Dave: We already knew there was interest in the band coming back and we also knew we had some great material so I don't think we gave it much thought, at least I didn't. When you are in this position you just put your best effort forward. If I thought the return was weak I would not have participated.
Luxi: 5 years have passed since you released Forever in Leather. Do you think if you had released Decibel Casualties a year or two earlier it would have kept Destructor in the forefront of peoples' minds more? Or does it not matter if you release albums in 2, 5 or 10-year intervals?
Dave: Certainly I would have liked to have seen things move faster but at this point in all of our lives you can't force people to put more time in or move faster. There has been some time lost but I believe there are still fans out there who will receive the record well and new fans will be made. The change in line-up is a direct result of some of the issued that seemed to have slowed the whole process down. It's not something I would go into in a great detail about but the band is moving along better since the line-up change.
Luxi: Have you talked with Bill Peters about setting a release date for Decibel Casualties, or is it too early for that?
Dave: It's too early to say yet due to the fact that there are still tracks to be recorded. If I had to put a time frame on it I would say spring 2013.
Luxi: What will High Roller Records' role be? They released a limited vinyl edition of Forever in Leather, so perhaps something like that might be in the works once Decibel Casualties is out on CD?
Dave: I am not sure what will be worked out between High Roller and Auburn. Certainly we would like all future releases to be available on CD as well as vinyl.
Luxi: Are there any new gigs planned for Destructor?
Dave: We are hoping to get into a regular rehearsing schedule after the record is finished and then to start booking shows. I believe there is a show in December that we are playing here in Cleveland to benefit the local hunger center, something Auburn Records has been involved with for the past three years. Obviously we want to play state side and overseas to support the new record.
Luxi: How important do you see gigging for bands, in general? Do you see it as an equally important part of band's promotion, like advertising merchandise through the band's homepage? Many bands from the States have told me that if you want to sell a decent amount of your records in the U.S., you really need to tour there; otherwise nobody is interested in your CD because they don't know who you are.
Dave: Gigging is very important to maintaining any sort of success. It's hard for bands to do so due to the cost of traveling vs. merchandise and ticket sales. Jag Panzer, as hard working and fantastic of a band as they were, have decided to give it a rest because of that whole issue and they seemed to be very well known. Let's face it, there is no money for bands to make doing what we do so you have to spend a lot of your own money just to travel and play shows and never expect to break even. Destructor continues to do what we do because we believe there is so much unfinished business and we love playing the music. It's really about what we love being and not what we can get out of it. It is always about seeing people face-to-face and making connections, friends and having life experiences. It's easy to say "get out and gig" but I have a family and a job that allows me to do this, not the other way around.
Luxi: Talking about live shows for just one more question, Destructor played at the famous Wacken Open Air festival on August 1st, 2008. That festival is really HUGE nowadays and it really cannot get any bigger. How was the Wacken experience for you? Would you like to experience it again in the future?
Dave: Wacken was really great for Destructor and of course I would love to do it again. Every festival/ show is an opportunity to do what I love to do; and that's playing live and meeting people. I think every show in Europe has gone well for Destructor and Wacken was no different. I think Wacken, in particular, was good in the sense of being us playing in tune and being on time, a good crowd and a good mix but the time slot was a bit early and hopefully, if we return, it would be even better all around. It was really cool for us and we were fortunate to have had the opportunity to play that great festival. I actually played there in 2012 with a band named Manimals. I was helping out on guitar.
Luxi: I'm sure many people have asked already but here goes; when will we see an official Destructor DVD? I would think you have enough live footage available for at least one DVD, don't you?
Dave: We are working on that but I don't think there is enough consistently good footage to put together a quality package...yet.
Luxi: And finally, the last question; what do you hope to achieve with Destructor in the future? How about an arena tour, supporting Slayer or, perhaps, Slayer supporting Destructor, if you could wish for something a little crazy, ha-ha?
Dave: Destructor hopes to be fortunate enough to continue to write and record our music and be able to get it out into the hands of the fans, worldwide. I hope we are able to play some key shows every year and have fun as well continue to reach new fans; that would be great. It's never been about the money. It's about having the opportunity to continue to do what we love; make Heavy Metal.
Luxi: That's it for now, Dave. I hope you found some of my questions entertaining and, if not, sorry for causing you a (mild) headache. Last, but not least, I want to sincerely THANK YOU for doing this interview for The Metal Crypt and I wish you all the best with your future endeavors with Destructor. Any last words to get this interview wrapped up properly?
Dave: Thanks to all of the Metal music fans worldwide. You keep the music interest and bring the spirit alive. And thanks for your time and questions, Luxi.
|Other information about Destructor on this site|
|Review: Forever in Leather|
|Review: Decibel Casualties|
|Review: Blood, Bone, and Fire|
|Review: Blood, Bone, and Fire|
|Interview with vocalist and guitarist Dave Overkill on January 17, 2016 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)|
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