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OBITUARY (JOHN TARDY/DONALD TARDY)

WITH “FROZEN IN TIME” YOU PRETTY MUCH MADE THE METAL COMEBACK OF THE YEAR 2005. COULD YOU PLEASE BRIEFLY SUM UP THE EVENTS THAT LED TO THE RE-UNION OF OBITUARY? Donald: I think it was, after being a band for ten years and touring for a very long time, the band went on a little hiatus. I think we did a semi-retirement. So everyone kind of went home for a little while and just lived a regular life-style. Some of us still did music, but it really wasn’t… it seemed like a blink of an eye that we were gone, because now that we’re back together, it really feels like we never left. So, long story short: it was a quick little retirement and we came back with, you know, fresh ears and fresh minds. John: It was really just always a matter of time to be in with, you know, like cause we didn’t plan on taking the virus six years off. But It’s just the way it worked out. There wasn’t really a whole lot that came our way, so it was always a matter of time. And then, just for whatever reason, we just kind of looked at each other and said: “You know what? Let’s write some music again!” So we are really happy with what we have done. RIGHT, BUT THE MEETING ITSELF WAS BASICALLY INITIATED BY ANDREW W.K… IS THAT CORRECT? Donald: It wasn’t really a hundred percent true. It happened because I was on tour at the time with Andrew on Ozzfest in America. We were gonna play in Florida, and Andrew is a huge Obituary fan. So he said: “Why don’t you guys do some songs on stage? And I wanna play guitar!” So Andrew played guitar with us on stage at Miami Ozzfest. And we just realized the magic. We haven’t been on stage in years together and we had a blast. And we realized: “You know what? We miss this too much to not get back together!” SINCE THE BOTH OF YOU ARE BROTHERS, IT’S OBVIOUS THAT YOU MUST HAVE STAYED IN TOUCH THROUGHOUT THE YEARS. BUT HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING IN TOUCH WITH THE REST OF THE BAND, OR HAS IT BEEN ONLY A FEW EMAILS BACK AND FORTH IN THE PAST SIX YEARS? John: Yeah, I mean, we still see the guys all the time. You know, we practise at my house. Everybody is always coming by, maintain contact with everybody. It wasn’t like we broke up cause we didn’t get along or anything like that. It was just, you know, there wasn’t just anything really for us to do, kind of thing. So everybody was just kind of busy doing their own thing. So, we were in touch the whole time. Donald: Yeah, we’re all still best friends, and we still talk to each other all the time. Throughout those years we still stayed in contact, saw each other, watched sports events together and… because we’re great friends. We’ve been friends for many, many years and it just feels good. It feels good to be back with the band, because we were such good friends. So, it’s just a good feeling. TAMPA USED TO BE THE EPICENTRE OF THE FLORIDA DEATH METAL SCENE. IS THE SCENE STILL HEALTHY OR DOES THE SCENE “ONLY” CONSIST OF YOU GUYS, SIX FEET UNDER AND DEICIDE NOWADAYS? Donald: It’s kind of tough, because honestly we don’t follow the scene in Florida very, very closely. So, I think it’s like everywhere else. I think it was, in the early nineties it was really great, and then I think it just started to diminish a little bit. But for now, the way it looks, it really seems it’s coming back in Florida, just like anywhere else in the world. Especially for Obituary, it seems like everyone is really, really excited about this new album. WHAT KIND OF REACTIONS HAVE YOU GOTTEN FROM THE FANS AND THE PRESS SO FAR ABOUT THE RE-UNION AND THE NEW ALBUM? John: So far everything has been pretty positive. But, I mean, that’s really not what’s important. I mean, we obviously wanna hear that, but I mean, when we approach every record, we kind of write what we want to hear, what we want to do. And I think, we have accomplished that. We’re really happy with what we’ve done. So in turn, you know, hopefully that will take care of itself, you know, in itself. But everything we’ve heard so far has been real positive. WOULD YOU SAY THE NEW MATERIAL KIND OF REFLECTS WHO YOU’VE BEEN WORKING WITH, AND WHAT YOU’VE BEEN LISTENING TO IN THE PAST YEARS? John: Willie Nelson! Lynyrd Skynyrd! (laughs) Donald: You know, that’s the strange thing with Obituary, is when we’re at home we listen to like music that is so far from metal, you know. We literally listen to Willie Nelson, we listen to Lynyrd Skynyrd and we listen to Hank Williams. So we’re Florida redneck kind of guys that like country music. So there is no… there is never an outside influence to corrupt our brains when we write. And we think that shows on this new album. I think the new album, I think it sounds like something off every album of Obituary. But it doesn’t, it did not change very much, because there was no influence from other bands, because simply we don’t really study other music. We don’t worry about what other bands, or what the scene is like in the world right now. We do what we love, which is writing the songs that we feel in our minds that day. John: You know, when we do listen to metal, it seems like we’re always busting out the old Hellhammer and Celtic Frost, and the old Slayer albums, and things like that. Rather than finding some of the new metal that’s out there also. But the more we’ve been touring, the more people hand you CDs. So we’ve been kind of getting a crash-course on what’s been happening in the last few years since we’ve been “Frozen in time”. That’s all! (laughs) TO ME IT SEEMS THAT A LOT OF AMERICAN MUSICIANS WHO ARE INTO MORE EXTREME METAL LIKE TO LISTEN TO “OLD” COUNTRY MUSIC LIKE WILLIE NELSON, BUCK OWENS OR HANK WILLIAMS AS A COUNTERPART. WOULD YOU AGREE WITH ME ON THAT ONE? Donald: I think, if you think about it, it does make sense. Because when you go on tour, and you spend three months or two months on the road, and you hear four different bands every night, and you listen to metal every night. When you’re on the road when you go home, you want something different, because you have heard it all, and you wanna relax, and you want something different besides what your job is. I mean, if your job was tasting bananas every day, five days a week, you would never go home and eat a banana. You would want an apple when you go home. So, it’s just… I think it’s just, I think it really makes sense if people just think about what it is, that we see this much music all the time. And when you’re touring and you’re around it every night, you wanna go home and relax, you know. And you want something different. John: Also, we had an older brother when we grew up. So, as being younger you always kind of just listen to what he’s listening to. And he was always going through the Lynyrd Skynyrd’s, and ZZ Top’s, Led Zeppelin’s. You know, cause when he was growing up, that was probably really some of the heaviest stuff anyway. But, so you kind of get influenced by, you know, the people you’re around with also. Which is just kind of why we get around a lot of country music and a lot of Southern rock and stuff when we’re at home. So… WHAT TURNED YOU INTO A METAL HEAD THEN? BECAUSE BACK IN THE DAYS WHEN YOU STARTED PLAYING SUCH EXTREME MUSIC, THERE WASN’T REALLY ANY BAND THAT SOUNDED THE WAY YOU DID… Donald: I will have to say, obviously, I think, like every other kid in 1982 or 83 is “Kill ‘em all”. I mean, Metallica was the first. I mean, that’s what every kid wanted when we were, when you’re that age and you heard the first Metallica record. And then, of course, we couldn’t believe it, when we heard Hellhammer. And then Slayer. We knew that that’s the direction we wanted. Even though Metallica was our favourite band, or one of the favourite bands back in the early eighties, we realized that our gift was to make it heavier. And to go more extreme than we have ever heard. Then we’d hear Chuck from Death at an early point of our career, and – huge influence! We just realized how heavy and how good music is becoming. John: And also when we first started, like when Trevor was like going out and buying a guitar for the first time, and Donald was just trying to get pieces of drum-sets together to play, Nasty Savage and Savatage were right in our home town, and were friends of ours. So, watching them, seeing what they were doing, hearing what they were doing… You know, Savatage and Nasty Savage you can’t mistake them for anybody else. When you hear their albums, you know it’s them. So that instantly it was like: “Ok, you have to do something original and be yourself!” And we just kind of happened to come across our sound, which, you know, at least at the time, there wasn’t a lot that sounded kind of like what we were doing exactly either. So… But those were also the two bands that we were influenced early on by, just seeing what they were doing, and things they were going through. I NEVER WOULD HAVE GUESSED SAVATAGE TO BE AN INFLUENCE ON OBITUARY, BUT HEY…. YOU NEVER STOP LEARNING! DOZENS OF BANDS HAVE TRIED TO COPY THIS SPECIAL OBITUARY-FEEL, YOUR VERY OWN TRADEMARKS. WHICH WOULD YOU SAY ARE THE TRADEMARKS THAT ARE THE LEAST COPYABLE? Donald: John Tardy! John’s vocals. There is, you know, you can try all you want. You can get the same exact guitar, you can get the same head, you can use the same drum set as me, you can try to write like this, but the trademark for Obituary is absolutely the vocals. I think another trademark is the idea that Obituary realizes we can be the heaviest band on earth, but you don’t have to play at a thousand miles an hour. We’ve learned that the heavier the song sometimes is the slower songs. We’ve learned to get into that mid-tempo groove that people are-, they can’t deny that that is Obituary. We learned that early on. It’s not fast that’s heavy. Heavy is heavy, no matter what speed. John: You can play faster and faster and faster, and you can go slower and slower and slower. But it’s the combination of using fast and slow with everything that’s in between in that thing where you can kinda get the “Redneck Stomp” going. (stomps to the beat and laughs) And get into the music a lot, you know, the real meat of the music. RIGHT… THE “REDNECK STOMP”. (JOHN STARTS LAUGHING) YOU GUYS SHOWED SOME SENSE OF HUMOUR BY LETTING THE LISTENER WAIT FOR THE VOCALS FOR THEE AND A HALF MINUTES – UNTIL YOU START REALIZING THAT THERE SIMPLY ARE NO VOCALS ON THAT TRACK! WHERE YOU JUST TRYING TO FOOL WITH THE FANS? John: Basically. That was kinda the idea. I mean, we had it right down to Scott Burns, you know, who was working with us on this record, and he was listening to it. And we were telling him, we wanna start with this song on the album. He’s like: “You don’t wanna do that. You gotta have a song that’s got the vocals!” That’s what so great about Scott Burns: I mean, he’ll tell you what he thinks and how he feels. There was even certain people in the band that said: “You know, maybe we should start with something else, “On the floor” or something like that!” Me and DT were kind of insistent from the beginning that we’re starting the album off with this song and that it’s just the way it’s gonna go. USUALLY YOU WOULD EXPECT THE BAND TO CHOOSE THE STRONGEST AND THE HEAVIEST SONG AS AN OPENER, SO PEOPLE WILL GET AN IMAGE HOW THE ALBUM SOUNDS… Donald: We are not afraid. We are not afraid to be a little different. It is one of the best songs we have ever written, I believe. Even if there is no vocals. It’s heavy, and it’s something that… you leave – even though you listen to that as the first song – when the album ends, I hear my friends going: “Gung-gung-gung-gung-guuunh” (imitates the beat). They are humming the “Redneck Stomp”. So we knew there was definitely, it was no lack of heaviness because there was no vocals in there, in my opinion anyway. It is truly one of the best songs we have ever written. So we weren’t afraid, and we are a band that we have never been afraid to let the music play, and not too many vocals, not too many lyrics, and not basing it around anything except for good music. John: A lot of times, I mean, some of our songs don’t have choruses. Sometimes we have song-titles not even mentioned in the thing, or we have an album-title that’s not a song on the album. Some songs don’t have solos, some songs don’t have vocals. And anybody who thinks that they have to sit down and write a song and have leads in every one of them, have vocals in every one of them, have choruses and structured songs – you’re kind of fooling yourselves. Just go along with what comes out, and write it how you feel, you know. SO YOU’RE MAKING A POINT IN NOT LIMITING YOURSELVES BY ANY SONG-STRUCTURE? DO THE SONGS JUST FLOW HOW THEY WANT TO FLOW? John: Exactly. I mean, you know, some songs do have a structure. Some songs like “Stand alone” I think, that one has like three different rhythms to it. Where some songs like we’ve done in the past, like “Intoxicated” has like 26 different rhythms to it. And it’s just the way those songs worked out. Not… you know, you don’t think too hard about it, you just let it go, and whatever comes up – you just go with it. COULD YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN THE MEANING BEHIND THE ALBUM-TITLE “FROZEN IN TIME”? Donald: Well, I think, it kinda makes sense. The band went away in 1998, and no one heard from us. And now it’s been seven and a half years later, and we came back, and everyone says: “My God… it sounds just as if you guys never stopped!” And: “How did you do this?” Well, if you think about it: when you’re frozen in time, nothing changes. It could have been a thousand years, but as long as you are frozen in time, when you thaw you are gonna be the same exact creature. And that’s the way it was. I mean, we didn’t change because we feel as if we were frozen in time. A blink of an eye. Really, it’s what it felt like. ME PERSONALLY, IT REMINDS MORE OF YOUR FIRST ALBUM “SLOWLY WE ROT” THAN FOR EXAMPLE “WORLD DEMISE” ON WHICH YOU’VE BEEN A BIT MORE EXPERIMENTAL. WHAT WAS THE REASON FOR YOU TO GO STRAIGHT BACK TO “OLD-SCHOOL” RATHER THAN BEING A BIT MORE EXPERIMENTAL AGAIN? John: Those aren’t things that we think about. You know, every album kinda takes on it’s own character. For each record, you know, we”ve went through with “Cause of death” with all the intros, through every single song, you know, “World Demise” we had some sampling and some stuff that we haven’t done before. And that’s just at that point in time when we were writing and it’s just the way it came out. And we’re really not planning things, but it’s just the way it worked. Donald: And we knew the song.-writing on this album was amazing. We knew that it was, it was. It was straight-forward, it was basic, it was heavy, and there was no need to try and… John: Add bells and whistles. Donald: There was no need for any kind of bells and whistles. There was no need to try and touch things up. We knew that we had the experience as a band in studios to go right amazing albums without any help from any samplers, keyboarders or anything. And that’s why we stayed focused on a basic, heavy death metal album. IN THE PAST SEVEN YEARS EVERYONE WAS INVOLVED INTO OTHER PROJECTS – SOME MORE, SOME LESS – EXCEPT FOR YOU, JOHN. HAVE YOU EVER GOTTEN ANY TRULY INTERESTING OFFERS, OR WERE YOU JUST GLAD THAT YOU HAD A LITTLE BIT OF REST? John: You know, I just-, I’m really not interested in doing anything for anybody else. I’m really just happy with the guys that I’m working with. I did some singing on the Necro CD. I don’t know if you’ve heard that? Trevor kind of got involved with Necro, and I did sing a couple of songs. You know, Jamey from Hatebreed was gonna do, but kinda… he couldn’t for whatever reason. But I’m just, I’m happy with what we do and the people that I write with, and I don’t really feel it necessary to go and try and jam with other people right now, anyway. Maybe in the future I will or whatever, but I’m just happy with what we do. BUT DIDN’T YOU MISS IT? IT’S LIKE TWO TOTALLY DIFFERENT LIFE-SETS: TOURING AND PRACTISING AND ON THE OTHER HAND WORKING AS A COMPUTER ENGINEER… John: Yeah, I’m not an engineer, but I was working with computers and inst-, you know, setting up wiring and gear that works, you know, with a friend of mine who has his own small business. You know what: the biggest thing is that it felt like it really was the blink of the eye. I did not feel like we did not do anything for six years, so I really did not miss what I was doing. At the same time, you know, the studio was at my house, so when the guys come over. we’re still, you know, we would still jam and there’s still drums out there right sitting that we play on, you know, almost every day anyone would pick up a guitar, and me and DT jam, something. So I wasn”t away from the music totally, I just didn’t really feel like getting involved with people and writing other music, other than with the guys at, you know, in Obituary. So… OK, THAT EXPLAINS IT! BECAUSE I BELIEVE IT’S NOT POSSIBLE FOR ANY MUSICIAN TO LEAVE THAT FOR SEVEN YEARS AND THEN: ” BOOM!” YOU GET BACK AND… John: No! All the equipment, the amps and stuff are all at my house. So when we’re out there, DT and I would still sit out there and jam. Somebody, Greg will come over from Six Feet, and I’ll play some guitar. And he’ll be jamming or something. You never know who is gonna stop by and sit out there and jam around a little bit there. So it’s always fun. JOHN YOU NEVER PUBLISHED YOUR LYRICS. WHY? John: I have no idea why we didn’t on… Well, we did on the first record because most of it, there was no real lyrics, half of the word was kinda made up as I went along. Over the years, I think I have written down more and more, you know, lyrics as I go. But I don’t know. There’s really just… Every song has so many different meanings and they’re all just so little individual thoughts of horror and this and that, (I was like go through that) that I don’t know as if it would make much sense for anybody to sit and read what goes through my mind. So, I think it’s best just to stay away from it and just, you know, let the sound and the vocals do the work. It’s really not the meaning that’s, you know, that’s coming across there. RIGHT, YOU’RE USING YOUR VOICE RATHER LIKE ANOTHER INSTRUMENT… John: But you’re right though. And the sound of the voice other than just the meaning of the lyrics, is really what’s more important. And I just kinda go along. The guitars are so heavy, and the drums are so heavy, everything’s so heavy around it. Then I just kinda go along with it. And if there is not words or combinations of words that sound right to me I will just make up sounds that fit. (chuckles) So… it’s strange but I can’t- it’s hard to explain I guess. I’m a weirdo. YOU GUYS CREATED A WHOLE GENRE 20 YEARS AGO. AND, OF COURSE, IN THE PAST 15 YEARS A LOT HAS CHANGED IN THE DEATH METAL SCENE. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE CHANGES AND THE PROGRESSIONS, AND THE TAKES-AND-TURNS THE DEATH METAL HAS TAKEN IN THE PAST YEARS? Donald: I think it’s evolution. I think we’re watching evolution – and in real time. Because as a teenager we never thought that we would be the ones that is being told: “You have changed the scene and people now are influenced by you, or trying to be like you!” We just did what we knew we were good at. We found our groove and we stuck with that. For us to change the scene and for people to now influence-, get influenced by us – it’s a huge compliment. But I don’t really know how to respond to it, cause it’s almost embarrassing. Because, I mean, what it-, what do you say? I didn’t try to do anything except playing drums as good as I could, and write the best song I could. It’s a compliment but it makes you feel old. John: It’s interesting. You know, all styles of music come and go. You know, I mean, through whatever,… But I mean, country music gets popular and then it hits to a certain point, and then something else kinda starts getting popular. Metal did the same thing. It kinda died out for a while. We were fortunate, maybe, you know, the timing was just right that we kinda just stepped back, and just watched what happened. And now it kinda feels like it’s coming back around again. And, you know, you look at some of the festivals: we’re playing with bands like, you know, Iron Maiden, and this,- They are coming back again and that’s what kids are wanting to see, you know. They’re back to the classic, you know, roots of some of the good bands from a while ago. ACTUALLY… YOU JUST BROUGHT IT UP YOURSELF THERE…HAS ANYONE EVER APPROACHED YOU AND LIKE TOLD YOU: “YOU GUYS LEFT METAL, WHEN IT WAS DYING, AND NOW YOU’RE GETTING BACK TO THE SCENE WHEN METAL IS BIG AGAIN!”? JUST ASKING… Donald: I think people have obviously… people have made that opinion only because now it has been eight years later. We didn’t know it years ago when we left the scene that we were making the right decision, or a smart decision, or a bad decision. It was just something that happened after being a band for twelve or fourteen years. Looking back now? Absolutely! I think, it was a great time for us to take a little break. Because I don’t think it hurt anything – now that we’re back, and that we’re serious again about music, and we have a great record – I think, it’s like having a friend for ten years, and then your best friend moves away. And then eight years later you see him again! The fans are just very excited just to simply see that we’re together again. Not to mention that we have an album that they’re gonna absolutely love, so… I think it was a good timing, but it was not – whatever you call it – we didn’t plan this. A FEW WEEKS AGO YOU PLAYED IN LOS ANGELES, TOGETHER WITH SLIPKNOT AND SHADOW’S FALL – SOMETHING NEW AND SOMETHING OLD IF YOU WANT IT THAT WAY! WHAT WAS THE RECEPTION OF THE FANS LIKE? DID THEY UNDERSTAND YOU RIGHT AWAY OR DID YOU HAVE TO DO SOME “PERSUASIVE WORK” FIRST? John: I think, it took ‘em a second. And when, you know, Slipknot fans are, you know… they have a great fan-base, but they’re a little bit different than most of the kids that come to traditional death metal. But at the same time you’re listening to Slipknot, they are just, they are just as heavy as we are. And, you know, so I didn’t think it was a far stretch for their fans to maybe like us. So when we went out there, it was definitely in the first couple of songs, there was like faces staring at us. But I think, by the time we were finishing our set that they were wanting to hear more. So, I think it worked out really good for us! And we were happy that Slipknot – they are good friends of ours – and we’re happy that they asked us to come out and play that show with them. So… AND WHAT DOES YOUR CROWD CONSIST OF THESE DAYS? OLDER FANS, YOUNGER FANS OR IS JUST A GOOD BLEND OF BOTH? John: I think, it’s a good blend. It’s just really good for us. Because I think, people that listened to us eight, nine years ago, are coming back to listen to us. I think there was a whole group of kids that were probably like, you know, well… Cause we’re getting a lot of kids saying: “Well, I was only fifteen last time you came through. And I wasn’t able to go to the show!”, kinda thing. So now you get those things. So I think we got a good like, you know, age difference in your crowd, which is good also. It gives you much more people coming out to see you. So it’s good to see though. You know, it can hopefully influence a whole new set of kids here and, you know, go through this again. Ha, ha! Donald: I think, John’s right! I think. anyone that is, say, 25 years and younger might not have been old enough to see a live show of us, because the bars didn’t allow them to come in at their age eight years ago. So you have fans that have the records, never physically got to see us live. And you also have even younger fans that maybe have only heard of Obituary, never have really truly understood it. So you have these new fans that are actually experiencing it for the first time – which is an amazing idea, that in 2005 they are just now learning Obituary – but then we also have fans that have always come up to us and said: “Man, I’ve been waiting! I saw you in 1992 and I’ve been waiting for 14 years!” It’s amazing, because we – like John said – it is a range of ages just enough to show that the young kids finally get to see us after hearing about us for this many years. And all the older guys – it’s like seeing their best friend again. They can’t believe they actually get to experience it one more time. JOHN, YOU’VE GOT A VOCAL STYLE WHICH WOULD FUCK UP ANYONE’S VOCAL CHORDS OR LARYNX. HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR VOICE IN SHAPE? John: I have no idea ! I’ve just been singing for a long time, so I think it was just a gradual thing, you know, from just singing over the years. I don’t know if… I don’t exactly know… I don’t know. I don’t really do anything special or… You know, when we’re on tour, in the long course of the tour.. I mean, you sing, and you try not to talk a lot during the daytime, just to rest up as much as you can. You know, I think days of doing… you know,. there was times we did like nineteen shows in a row, and now it’s like, you know, I’m telling these guys: “You know, we’re not gonna do that quite anymore! You know, let’s do three, four shows and take a day off here for, you know, for me!” But I’ve been pretty lucky, pretty fortunate and I’m not exactly sure why, but… just one of those things, I guess. (laughs) DONALD, AS WE KNOW YOU WENT OUT ON THE ROAD WITH ANDREW W. K. FOR QUITE A LONG TIME. AND I BET THAT SOME NOT REALLY OPEN-MINDED METAL-FANS MUST HAVE GIVEN YOU HELL FOR THAT. WHAT WAS THE WORST REACTION YOU’VE EVER GOTTEN FROM A FAN OR ANYONE ELSE FOR PLAYING WITH ANDREW W. K..? John: (starts laughing) Probably your brother! Donald: Yeah! Honestly, probably with my oldest brother who was probably my worst critic. (John still laughing) But honestly, when I was on the road with Andrew for those two years, people would… Obituary-fans would come out and they wouldn’t hassle me, they would beg me to do Obituary again. So there was never any mean hassling towards me, myself. So, I think I was lucky. I think, Andrew had a fan-base that was totally different than death metal-kids, so 99% of the death metal-kids really didn’t know what was going on, and they weren’t interested in it. So, they didn’t really come to bother me. And, on the other hand I had other death metal-fans that just simply said: “I just love watching you perform, no matter what kind of music it is. I respect that you’re doing this!” So, it was a fun couple of years for me, because Andrew is a good friend of mine. SEEING YOU WITH ANDREW W.K. GAVE ME PERSONALLY THE SAME FEELING AS WITH THE LAST METALLICA ALBUM WHERE KIRK HAMMETT DIDN’T PLAY ONE SOLO… HAVEN’T YOU FELT HAND-CUFFED IN A WAY BECAUSE YOU BASICALLY HAD TO STICK TO ONE SINGLE BEAT WITH NO PROGRESSION IN THE SONGS WHATSOEVER? WHAT A WASTE… Donald: The important thing that most people need to know before they buy an Andrew record: I did not perform on his albums! I was simply his drummer live. Andrew writes everything. He writes all his music, he literally plays all his guitars in the studio, he plays the drums in the studio, so he performed his whole record. I did simply… all I was, was his live drummer. So, I brought the energy there for his live show, and that was it. That’s simply all it was. He is his own man. Andrew writes and performs every instrument on his album. So that’s… if it is boring to people, don’t blame me! (both laugh) I HEARD THAT YOU DISCOVERED THE ADVANTAGES OF USING PRO-TOOLS JUST LATELY – WHERE A LOT OF OTHER MUSICIANS SEEM TO FIND THEIR LOVE FOR ANALOGUE RECORDING-TECHNIQUES AGAIN, BECAUSE IT SOUNDS MORE NATURAL. WHAT are the benefits of pro-tools in your opinion? John: Most studios weren’t set up in using pro-tools fully like they are now. So, I mean, I don’t know as if-, you know, I don’t think there’s probably very many studios left that are still going to tape. And if they are, I really think you’re missing out on something. Pro-tools give you so much flexibility, it’s so easy to work with, and if you have like, you know, a person like Mark Prator, like we have, the guy will go through songs and fix things and change things, I mean, fast and you can ask him. Before you’re not asking him to do something, he’s like: “Already all done!”, “What are you saying? What are you talking about?” You know, go through reels of tape, it would just be a nightmare, you know? Donald: I think some people, years ago, when it first started – either analogue or digital – a lot of people would say: “You know, when it’s analogue it’s a little bit better sound cause it’s going to tape, and you get a true sound of the reverb on the snare-drum and this and that!” But this is metal! We’re playing as loud as we can, and I’m hitting the snare-drum as hard as I can. What benefit can there be from tape to digital? Compared to, how John said, how fast our engineer works with pro-tools. If I tell him:; “Hey, I want a delay on John’s voice right here to happen here, here and here!” He’s so fast at getting it done that he works in real time. He saves us money and time in the studio, simply because pro-tools is so quick when you’re an engineer that knows how to run it. So, it really just helps us because it’s a virtual studio where, instead of only 24 tracks, you can have a 130 tracks if you want them, and it never runs out. HOW DID IT FEEL TO WORK WITH YOUR LONG-TIME COMPANIONS MARK PRATOR, AND SCOTT BURNS? John: We’ve done more work in the studio with those two than with anybody else. It was a no-brainer. We didn’t even really think twice about the fact that we were not gonna go and work with Mark. And then, you know Colin (editor’s note: Richardson, who did the mixing) and Scott. He’s not in the music business anymore but he’s a good friend that we talk to all the time and have through the years. So it was not even more than just:” Hey Scott – we are recording!” And he’s like: “Oh, just tell me when and I’ll be down there!” So, it was as simple as that. It was great having his ear around. He sits there and tells you, like I was saying, like “The Redneck stomp” start on the album. He’ll just tell you what he thinks. You know, and the first thing, he’s: “You know, your guitars… even though you want the sound different, they sound TOO different!” And he first grabbed those things and kinda made them sound a little bit closer to each other. And, just, you know, it’s just the whole vibe again, being back in going to Morrisound doing the mixing, and the mastering with Tom Morris, and just being the whole recording-process just was an absolute blast and a joy to do – which is what’s important, you know. If you’re struggling, having a bad time or blabla, it just makes things, you know, not as easy to come out with what you want. So… WHAT ARE THE FURTHER PLANS FOR OBITUARY AFTER THE ALBUM COMES OUT? GOING ON TOUR, I RECKON? Donald: Yeah, right now obviously the immediate future is, we have already confirmed, we’re doing Fury Fest in France in two weeks from now, we’re doing With Full Force, then we come back in August and we do Wacken festival. And then we tour America through, all through September. And right now our agent and management is looking into a January European tour. So that is the immediate future, and the important and exciting thing about the band, like John said, is that the song-writing for us right now is so natural and it seems so simple for us to come up with these songs, that we have already started writing for the next record. Even though we have to promote this new album, and we’re very excited about this new album, and we’re gonna tour as much as we can to promote this new album – the exciting thing for this band is, we have already started writing, we already have new material for another album already, because we are so… songs are flowing out of us. Every day we get together, something new comes up. And it couldn’t be more exciting for us right now. NEXT WEEK YOU’RE GOING TO FILM THE VIDEO FOR THE UPCOMING SINGLE “INSANE”. ANY REASON WHY YOU CHOSE “INSANE” TO BE THE NEW SINGLE? Donald: Obviously “The Redneck Stomp” could not be a video, because John is not on it (both laugh). But literally if you take that song away, you could put on the wall the songs of this album and throw a dart blinded. You could put a blind-fold on and throw a dart and hit a song, and the band members would be happy with any song for a video. Because that’s how happy we are with this album. It was hard to put this album in order song-wise, because there is not a favourite, there is not a least favourite – we just put it together as quickly as we could, and couldn’t be more happy about it.

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