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Interviews Black Steel

Interview with Dave Harrison (bass)

Interview conducted by Michel Renaud

Date online: February 16, 2003

Hails! First off, I must say I was very impressed by the new album. The Battle Call EP was good, but Destructor is such an amazing improvement at all levels, I really was taken by surprise. Did you guys sleep with your instruments while working on the album or what? :)

Ha Ha well almost. We did put a huge amount of effort into making sure all the parts of music was as tight as it could be and a step up from our Battle Call mini CD. Also pre-production and all the backing tracks and clicks was all mapped out before we went into the studio. Good musicianship is important to us do and most of the members in the band have been playing their instruments for at least 10 years.

It seems like the members had quite a bit of experience under their belts prior to forming Black Steel. What brought you guys together? How did the birth of Black Steel happen?

After leaving my old speed / thrash metal band Allegiance which was / is quite a popular band out here. I was interested in forming a traditional style metal band so I was on the lookout for the best musicians I could find in my area of Perth WA who had a passion for metal music. Black Steel was formed in early 2000. I met up with Matt & our original guitar player Jamie. I was looking at putting together a traditional / power style metal band for fun because I have always loved that syle. Originally we were jamming on classic covers and did a few cover gigs to get things rolling. We starting writing material and things just went from there.. We released the Battle Call soon after and soon discovered there were a lot of people who were interested in what we were doing which is a great thing.

Why did you pick the name "Black Steel"? Who came up with it?

We were looking for a solid name that fitted with the metal vibe we were going for. Black Steel is a strong sounding name that is unapoligetically metal. There is definitely no branding problem with this band. .. We wanted a name that embodied strength & power that was strong sounding. Black is solid and Steel is strong.. our lyrics, music and attitude reflect this so it is an appropriate name I think. I think Matt came up with it.

How difficult was it to find a replacement for guitarist Jamie Page? Did you already know Emanuel, or did you have to audition for the position?

Yes I knew Emanuel from a band that had played with us a few times called Voyager. I knew his musicical tastes and playing style would be very complimentary to Black Steel. Jamie our former guitarist who was leaving also recommended him highly as well. So I called him up had a chat and it all worked out pretty good.

When you're not hard at work with Black Steel, what do you guys do for a living?

I work at a music magazine, Matt is a swimming instructor, Damien works in office supplies, Emanuel studies and is also an Australian champion kick boxer and Andrew is a full time music / guitar teacher.

Your album is not exactly easy to find in North America. Are you working on any North American distribution deal?

Yes! We have European distribution and stuff but soon we plan to have distribution in your part of the world. I know there are people over there who enjoy this kind of music because I get letters and very positive feed back from there all the time. We are definitly going to have to do something about it.

I see that you have a Russian distribution deal with CD-Maximum. How did this come to be?

I was approached by them and offered a contract. They seem very professional and deal with a lot of big metal label releases over there with a wide distribution net work and good promotion. So we went for it.

Why did you change the cover art for the European release? Were you unsatisfied with the first cover art (Australian release)?

Well we wanted something that would stand out and decided to release it with a bonus video track. This will be the artwork for all future pressings so the original will be a collectors item soon Ė we still have a few left so if you want one it can be obtained from our website.

Did you get many label offers following the release of Battle Call? Why did you go with Steelheart?

Yes we had quite a bit of interest. SteelHeart seemed to suit what we are after right now and Primo the label manager seems to really like us and is easy to deal with. It is important to have good people working for the band. Our deal is just for this release so the next one we are not sure yet.

How has been the response to your new album in Europe so far?

Reviews have been very positive in the 4/5 to 5/5 range.

Any idea of how album sales are going so far?

Not yet. In Australia we have sold out of pressing a few times but I thing Europe is a bigger market for us right now.

You opened for Judas Priest on their Demolition tour. Where was that? It must not be easy to open for such metal legends, how receptive was the crowd during your set?

The crowd was awesome and very warm to us. Ripper Owens congratulated us on a job well done. The guys in Priest were extremely cool. Playing with Priest took a bit of work, I had to send all our stuff to their management company for approval and stuff, but I guess it measured up.

Are you planning any tours or festivals outside Australia?

Yes that is something we would very much love to do.

Do you get the chance to play live often? What is your biggest show to date?

Live shows here about 1 gig a month. Biggest show would be about 5000 with Deep Purple. The biggest crowd I have personally played to would be about 25 000 with my old band Allegiance..

There's an ever-growing metal scene in Australia, many bands coming out of there in recent year. One that plays a music close in style to yours is Pegazus, whom I sort of see as "Australian Manowars". :) Have you guys ever shared the stage with them? What do you think of their stuff?

I have some of their stuff, they do what they do well and their last album had some pretty decent production. We have never shared the stage with them because they are from Melbourne with is the other side of the country to us and we have not played over there yet but we plan to be touring over there soon. Sharing the stage with them would be no problem.

Any good Australian metal bands you'd like to mention for readers to check out?

Yes there are quite a few great bands in this country unfortunate not many of them break out and it is pretty hard to get known outside our country for a lot of bands as far as being known outside Australia there is Dungeon, Pegazus, Vanishing Point & a ton of extreme stuff like Destroyer 666, Devolved etc.. Australia has lots of metal acts ignored by mainstream radio & media over here but the scene is getting better all the time but making the leap from national to international can be hard with any luck Black Steel can open a few doors.

What good albums have you guys been cranking lately?

Lots! New stuff from Halford, Nightwish, Symphony X, Ark, Dream Evil, Kamelot, Primal Fear, Dream Theatre, Children of Bodum, In Flames, Lost Horizon today I have been cranking the new Strapping Young Lad and Old Mans Child. Some very cool true metal bands have sent me their CDís so I have been listening to the latest Majesty & Wizard (thanks guys).

The subject that just won't die: What's your opinion on mp3 file sharing?

It is very good promotion for bands that cannot be denied. We have gained many fans from it that is a fact. I think there is nothing wrong with approved downloads but it is important that the real fans still buy CDís of bands they really like. Without their support then we could not afford to record or keep producing the music we love so please go to download the tracks we have put up there for you for free enjoy them and tell everyone you know copy & email them to your friends what ever you want I donít have a problem with trading but if you really enjoy the music please go out and buy our CDís donít just rip all the CDís you want for free and never buy any, that will kill the music you love!

I'm out of question, thanks for your time! The last words are yours...

Thank you for your support! To anyone who has been reading this then I thank you. If you want any more info on the band log onto our website or write to us:

Black Steel
P.O. Box 570
Mirrabooka 6941
Western Australia

Other information about Black Steel on this site
Review: Battle Call
Review: Destructor
Review: Hellhammer

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