After three long years of constant touring, Death Angel has finally let us know they were releasing an album in October this year. So, needless to say, it was time to sit down and have a chat with Death Angels’ guitarist Rob Cavestany.
Hello Rob! How are you today?
I’m doing good, thank you ! It has cooled down finally, it has been really hot the past weeks, and in a few hours we are performing at an outdoor concert/festival type so it’s nice to have this type of weather.
This year has been a bit quiet so far when it comes to gigs, is this because you wanted to put maximum input in creating the new album?
Yes that’s true. This has been the biggest break we have had from being on tour for us for the last three years. Considering what we have done in the amount of time that we have been off the road, it happened really fast. Right after the tour we created the album and when that was done we immediately hit the stage again. We were in Europe a couple of weeks ago and played in The Netherlands but that wasn’t like us being on tour. We just wanted a break from being locked up in the studio and change our mindset in preparation for the upcoming tour.
Could you tell me a bit about how the album was created, like the process and writing the songs?
Sure, This album is a bit different from every album we have done in the past, just mainly because I wrote most of the music while we were on tour, and that was because we were on tour for so long (for three years) and it was time to start to create the next album, otherwise it would take a lot longer before the next album would come out, so I started writing while on the road. When I got used to doing that more, which is not easy cause of all the distraction, especially for us, we like to have a lot of fun so sometimes it’s hard to shut that down and start working again, but I’m used to it now and I begin to enjoy it as well because it’s a nice escape from all the fuzz and boring stuff that comes along with being on tour. And because of the fact that I wrote the most of it while on the road, it changed the style of the music from the previous albums, it has a really fast, heavy and exciting sound to it.
And when we would come home in between tours for a couple of weeks at a time, we would work on the new stuff. And at the end of the tour we were playing our debut album ‘The Ultra-Violence’ from beginning to the end as the set-list because it was our 25th anniversary off our debut album so we celebrated that with re-releasing it and playing the whole album live, and because this album is very straightforward thrash metal it also influenced the style of our upcoming album, which I’m happy it did. When the tour was pretty much wrapped up we just focused on pre-production at home in our studio in California and put the last touches on it and finally went to Florida, where the recording studio is. Here we recorded our previous album as well. And after I spend two months in Florida producing the album alongside with Jason Suecof and all the other stuff that wasn’t done yet, like the lyrics, was written and recorded there and the album was complete.
W0w, a lot of things happening at the same time.
Yeah, and all off this in a really small amount of time. We literally came off the last show in Europe, flew home and three days later we had to fly to Floriday to start recording the album so there wasn’t any rest whatsoever between the tour and recording the album.
And now “The Dream Calls For Blood” will be released in just a few weeks. Are you excited what the response will be ?
I’m very very excited, even more now because you just mentioned it’s only a few weeks away.
It hit you just now.
Yeah ! usually I’ve been thinking months! But now it’s actually weeks and it’s extremely exciting and that also brings up the other part of the pressure and more hard work is coming up because a week after it’s released we are touring through North America. The same week the album comes out we start here in San Fransisco with two Release shows and then next is Hollywood and onward from there, so that’s happening really really soon as well so there is a LOT of rehearsing happening too !
Crazy times ! But what do you do in your free time?
Yeah indeed, but it keeps us busy. And as for free time… what is that? I can’t believe that I am the person behind the song called ‘Bored’ that I wrote in 1987 for the band because that was probably the last time that I was actually bored, I think. I have absolutely no free time, but when I’m not doing band stuff I try to be a dad and a husband as best as I can. I have a 9 year old son that spends his whole life waiting for his dad and that’s one of the most painful parts being in a band that’s so busy and keeps such an aggressive schedule. I love my wife and my kid, we rarely get to see each other, as well as a couple of close friends who only see me breeze in and out like the wind. So I try to be around and experience and catch up with the ones I love and miss so much as much as I can. When I’m not at the studio, I’m with these people making the time go by as slow as possible before I get sucked away again on the bus. And to make it worse, I am the only one in the band who has a kid, so I am alone in that sense, no one can relate to that. I mean, some do have a dog or something and I had one as well in the past but it’s just not quite the same. It’s nice though that they try to cheer me up.
But on the other side I am truly blessed to experience both sides which are equally great, and live with wonderful people on either side, seeing places I have never been. The problem is just that it’s practically two different worlds that I live in and a huge mindfuck to balance and go back and forth between the two worlds. It’s such an extreme difference that I’m in a shock so to speak. The first week after I come home from tour I’m obnoxious and loud all the time because everything is loud on tour. And I really need to watch what I say because I have a foul mouth. It’s hard to learn how to relax, but it’s okay, I like to work. These two worlds makes me get the best out of me, on one side I work hard for my family and on the other I get huge inspiration because of it and makes me perform as best as I can.
And with the upcoming tour, are there any special things we can expect? Anything new?
Oh yes, a lot! One thing of course are the new songs of our the new album, we are so stoked about it and we can’t wait to play them in front of our fans. Also we grew a bit tired of rearranging and mixing up the same songs we have over and over again. Next to that we have a new crew and a new production going on because of the theme of the new album and such. But the line-up hasn’t changed or the sound guy. We do have new shoes !
I have noticed you guys included a copy of the new cd with the ticket during the CD release show, why is that?
Because we’re crazy like that ! And we love our fans, especially our local fans, so with the shows in San Francisco and Los Angeles we include a copy of the album to say a huge ‘Thank you !’ for all the love and support and making the Californian shows absolute crazy ! Some of the fans we see so regularly that they slowly became friends of ours and we can’t put them all on the guest list so they pay good money for the tickets. Giving them a copy is a great way to give something back to those people.
During the tour, you are accompanied by a few bands such as 3 Inches of Blood, Battlecross, Revocation and Diamond Plate, are you looking forward to touring with them?
Yes, very much so ! I respect their music and we spent time to handpick the guys to support us this tour. I especially look forward to the younger/ newer bands. Okay, Revocation might not be thát new but the guys are insane musical wise, in a good way, and they play Jackson guitars like I do but I’m excited to see them tear it up live. Battlecross does this as well and even the young guys of Diamond Plate. They remind me of how we were when we were younger and just starting out, the energy and the excitement these guys have, shredding on their instruments. I think it’s really cool to motivate and influence each other on stage, night after night. Everyone is doing their best to make it a hell of a tour and I think that’s going to work out all right. The line-up is very diverse, lots of different styles of metal, so everyone visiting the shows will have a blast.
And this is the first time you are touring with them ?
Yes, so this is the big test whether we go along or hate each other and smack each other’s brains in. [laughter] No, we’re are going to have a great time and we’re not that hard to tour with so.
As you have stated, you are supported by rather young/new bands, what do you think about those bands playing thrash metal?
I think it’s great! I mean, the bands that we’re bringing along with the tour are the prime example of that. Their version of modern thrash is really cool because they take their influence by a great timeless genre, even though you hear the difference between 80’s thrash and modern thrash, it’s still thrash, the sound and energy that characterize thrash metal is just evergreen to me. Everyone needs some form of thrash in their lives one way or the other. It might evolve in various forms throughout the years but I think thrash is a style that goes strong and it’s doing well these days.
The tours hasn’t even started and I am already asking, what is the next thing you would like to focus on when the tour is over?
I would like for us to have the next album written and recorded in less time than that it was in -between the last album and the album that is about to release. It’s about 3 or 4 years that’s in between, and it’s not that we could have done it any quicker, we have been working the entire time through but I think that if it takes so long again for our next album I don’t think we are going to survive another 3 year touring without any breaks or rest. It would be pushing everything, and then we would be killing each other off because of the stress, but who knows? We’ll just see, I don’t want to look too much into the future just yet, because you never know what is going to happen with everything, everyone, the world and God knows what. You know, we asked ourselves what if this would be our last album? We better make this album the best thing we could push out of ourselves and hold nothing back so. It doesn’t mean that this ís the last album but we are focusing so hard on what is in front of us, the present and get the best out of it that there is hardly room to focus on the future. But I hope in the future we’re all happy somehow.
I think it’s good to work like this, this way you get the maximum input and by so, also the maximum output.
Thanks, but it’s not that we stare ourselves blind on something. There are different ways to look at what’s in front of you and we have throughout our career, which is very long, looked at different points differently depending on where we were at in our stage of maturity and who was influencing us at the time, what was being told to us and what we were trying to learn and experience. We have seen things through our eyes with so many different attitudes and strategies that I can only look back on the whole experience and realize that there was a certain magic to the very beginning when you didn’t know anything else and you were so young, naïve, innocent and stupid even, but you thought you knew it all. But the part that’s so killer is that you are so much living in the moment at that time as opposed to being too concerned about the future so right now we have had a moment that we were worrying so much about the future, it interfered with our mindset and for me personally it was hard to fully express myself in the current moment, you’re thinking about all the things you need to organize, plan our business and so on, but hard as it is, I try to let go more and try to live in the moment, make the best of it and relax. I have been hanging around with my 9-year old and hope his carefree attitude rubs off a bit and enjoying the fact that someone at that age only thinks about what is going to happen in the next hour.
The bliss of being a child. Well, those were the questions really, is there anything you wish to share with us?
I would at least take a moment to say ‘Thank you !!!!’ from me and the rest of the band to all of our fans and everybody else who is reading this or hearing this or supporting us whatsoever, listening to our music, anybody that knows our band a little bit. Very particular to The Netherlands, we consider it to be our second home. We love to come and play for the fans and friends there, we really think it’s a magical place, so thank you for accepting us for all these years and we love you guys and we just cannot wait to come back ! Oh wait, we ARE coming back at the end of this year at Eindhoven Metal Meeting and hope that we get some actual headlining shows around that time in Europe as well. If not, then we’ll see at the end of December and thank you so much !
You’re welcome and thank you too for having the time for this interview and I wish you a very good day and wish you lots of fun with your family and good luck with the tour!
Interview taken by Imke van Rossum