Exactly one week ago, I had the opportunity to chat to Mark (Vocals) and Ted (Guitars) from Death Angel before their show in Wolverhampton. We chatted about how the tour had been going, the response to the latest album and their thoughts on how the metal scene has changed. It was quite funny in parts but also really enjoyable.
Thanks to Claire at Nuclear Blast for organising and both Mark and Ted for their time.
MT: You’re currently doing a series of dates across the Europe. How’s it been going?
Mark: The rest of the tour’s been great. We’ve been accepted really well and we’ve been doing a lot of headline and festival shows. The crowds have been really enjoying it and most of the headline shows have been in smaller venues which have been packed out so we’ve been giving them longer sets. Most of the venues have been really hot though!
MT: The rest of the UK tour is with Queensryche is that right?
Mark: Yes, Queensryche for the rest of the UK run and then we’ve got a headliner in Essen (Germany) and a few festivals.
Ted: We’ve got the London show with Armored Saint and Queensryche. Then we’ve got 3 other shows and then Summerbreeze. Then we go home.
MT: The most recent album, The Dream Calls for Blood, came out a little under 2 years ago. What’s the fan response been like when you play the songs live?
Ted: It’s been great. When it came out, the reviews from the press and fans was just so overwhelming. They really dig the new album and we dig the new album. We put seven songs from the album in the set and we put at least one from every other album in the set.
Mark: Yeah the crowd reaction has been great. It’s been more fulfilling than the reviews hearing fans shouting for the new songs when we play. We’ve developed a lot younger crowd from this album and the previous and it’s been great.
MT: It was also your second time working with Jason Suceof.
Mark: Yes it was. He’s a bit of a odd duck but’s he’s our odd duck. We love the product we create together so we enjoy working with him.
MT: You’ve also recently released a DVD, the Thrashumentary (review here). It might be a little early to tell but what’s the response been like?
Mark: The response has been great.People have been really enjoying it because it touches on more than us. It talks about the bay area thrash scene and thrash in general and when it started taking over. People have been really intrigued by that and we have a few guest appearances. They also get The Bay Calls for Blood with that. The live record has been really well received as well. The only complaint is that it isn’t long enough. I say to them, “You want something long? Watch the Thrashumentary!”
Ted: It may be long but from what I’ve seen in reviews and tweets, people have been really digging it. It took a long to make but it finally arrived.
MT: Now you (Ted) mentioned in the dvd that you’ve not actually been given a contract to play in the band. Is that correct?
Ted: No! That’s right. I’m still waiting after 14 years. I think it’s a bit like Kirk in Metallica. He flew out there to try out and is still playing with them 30 years later.
MT: How different would you say you’re more recent tracks are compared to tracks from Ultra Violence?
Mark: If anything it’s actually more similar to Ultra Violence to anything after that thrash wise. Frolic Through the Park and Act III are obviously very different to that album but the two most recent would probably be closest to it. They’ve obviously got thrash roots but they’re a lot more technical as we’ve become more proficient in playing our instruments.
MT: If you don’t mind me asking, what were you doing in New York whilst the other guys were in the Organisation?
Ted: Having a good ol’ Time!
Mark: I was having a good time. I was married at the time, enjoying life and pretty much ate, drank and travelled. Didn’t do a lot of music at the time until I moved back and rejoined.
MT: How do you think the metal scene has changed since the early days when the band started?
Mark: I think it’s changed in a way that there’s a lot more sub-genres of metal that weren’t around then. I also think that it’s gotten so huge outside of the states and the states are just starting to catch up now. There’s a larger community than what there was but I miss the intimacy of it all. When we were coming up in the 80’s we knew we were part of something special. I still love it though, because people are still clinging to this type of music because it comes from the heart.
MT: Given it’s been nearly two years since the last record, have you been working on any new material?
Ted: Yes we have. We’re in the middle of writing, we’ve got 6 songs already and waiting for lyrics from Mark. After this tour we get home August 13th we’re going to take some time off to decompress from the road. All of September is going to spent writing and doing preproduction and we go into the studio October 1st.
MT: Is that going to be with Jason again?
Mark: You’ll see!
Ted: It’s looking that way but we haven’t solidified anything because who knows what will happen in that time. We’d like to but things in the Death Angel can change at the last minute.
MT: Quick question for you Ted, what’s your live gear like on this tour?
Ted: Oh man we could be here for hours…
Mark: Oh that’s my cue to exit!
Ted: I have two rigs, a US and a European rig. For my european rig I use a Mesa Boogie Mk 4 and a Line 6 wireless. I use a TC Electronics G Major for my effects which I use every now and again. I use ESP guitars with EMG 81 single pickup, and a few with 81/60’s and I have one guitar with Het set.
MT: Thanks for your time guys!