I think the fans of complex and technical death metal may know the australian band called Psycroptic. As their new album is going to be released, it is a great opportunity to make an interview via email with David Haley, the 8-armed drummer, who was talking about the changes in the band and about himself in a friendly way, so let’s get down to it! (the interview was made by me in cooperation with Hammerworld Hajni and Forgács Imi)
Greetings David! I cannot really imagine how can you be so active, I mean you are playing the drums in so many bands, and non of the bands are famous of their easy music. I presume I look at Psycroptic as your main band, but please write a little about the others as well, and also about how much time and energy you have to live your life besides these?
Hi, thanks for the interview! Yeah, correct Psycroptic is my main band, and take most of my time and energy… but that doesnt mean the other bands are ‘side projects’ by any means. For The Amenta Im purely a session musician, and play on their albums. I dont have time to perform live with them. Blood Duster Im a new member of, and they don play live too much so we just work around what I have going on with Psycroptic. With Ruins, this is a band with my close friend Alex, and we again just work around Psycroptic. All bands of are equial musical value, but Psycroptic is the band I put most time into.
If I mentioned the everyday life, please say something about yourself, what do you do besides playing the drums, how old are you, do you have a family, etc…
Im 28 now, and no I dont have any family (kids, etc) – this is not for me. I live with my girlfriend, but we arent the type of people to have kids. I work part time around the band both teaching drums, and working at a music distribution company. Other than that I dont do too much as Im so busy (haha). I like to read and listen to music when I get the chance.
What do you think about the fact that Matthew Chalk left the band, and actually what were the reasons?
It had to happen to keep the band alive. It was either he leave, or the rest of the band left. A simple decision really. His attitude and actions within the band became unbearable, and there was no possible way we could work with him. He didnt like to tour, had unreasonable demands within the band, and was bringing everyone in the band down. He had to go.
I’m writing a criticism on the new album and I have to be honest, it’s amazingly technical and mature material, I haven’t heard such an album in a long time. I think it’s very drum centered, eg. the double pedals make a really prominent sound. What can you say about the Ob(Servant)? Who made the cover, how do you guys like it, how much does it fit the musical conception and did you have a say in it? How good do you think the new singer, Jason Peppiatt is?
We are very happy with how the album turned out – it is by far our strongest album. We worked very hard on the material to make the songs sound like songs – not just a heap of riffs. It is a very carefully crafted album, and took quite some time. I wouldnt say its drum centered – everything works as a unit. The drums lock in with the guitar riffs, and the vocals lock in with the drums. The artwork was created by US based artist Raymond Swanland and he did an excellent job. We gave him the lyrics and a loose concept and he came up with the rest… so since it was inspired by the actual lyrics, it fits in very well with the concept of it all. Vocally, Jason is an excellent singer – he has a massive range, is very powerful, and live he can pull everything off really well. He is a valuable part of the band, thats for sure.
How come Nuclear Blast Records released the new album?
They are the leaders in the metal genre, so why not? Haha! They offered us a deal and it was really good, as we were looking for a new label as we were out of contract. Severaly other labels offered us deals, but we were always going to go with Nuclear as its a label we have looked up to, and they are really behind the band. Thus far they have done a lot for us and have made us feel very at home so we’re very happy to be working with them!
What are the lyrics about? What influenced you (bands, films, books, anything)?
The lyrics are a combination of sci based stories and esoteric writings. They are all stand alone and each explore a particular theme or topic, and are written in a way that the reader is able to give them their own meaning. Each set means something in particular to me, but that doesnt mean others cant give them meaning. The influences come from a wide range of sources – Im going use a cliche and say ‘all my life experiences’…that ranges from all the books I’ve read, movies/TV shows and anything else. I do like exploring the sci fi and esoteric realms with movies, books, etc on the subjects so that just comes across in the lyrics.
What bands is/was inspiring you, and can you tell me a name which was your favourite in your childhood and is still one today?
Well, all music inspires me, but I mainly like the metal side of things. A childhood favourite we Metallica – they got me started, and to this day I think their first 4 albums cannot be faulted. Other bands like Pantera and Slayer I still listen to as I did when I was a kid. These days I listen to anything that is good… ranging from death, black, grind, traditional metal right through to rock… even some classical and ambient music.
What do you think about the dominating metalcore and deathcore trends of our present days? My opinion is, there are already too many bands, due to their multiplication like mushrooms these genres are becoming boring, there are only a few outstanding ones. I can see only money and profit, success and the labels, no sign of honesty…
Its just how it is…whenever one style becomes popular, a shitload of bands will copy that style in an effort to ‘make it’. Its just how people are. You have leaders, and you have followers. Some people are quite ‘loose’ with their musical goals, and are willing to change there style/opinions/sound/etc just to fit in with what is popular. Of course the first thing a record label is about is making money – its a business and not a charity. Of course they will sign and release bands that will sell albums to make money – they have to stay afloat, pay wages, etc. People dont get angry at stores for trying to make a profit, but its seen as ‘evil’ if a record label does. Its the population that eventually ‘buys’ the product, so they are to blame for creating the trends as the labels are just facilitating the transfer.
Would you like to send a message to the readers of Fémforgács?
We are really looking forward to coming back to Hungary early next year…we hope to see as many of your readers there as possible. Its a great country, and we had a lot of fun when we were there in 2006
Beer or wine?
i like a good beer…but a good red wine is great too. I mostly drink beer though.
Death metal or grindcore? Haha!
Death metal for sure! haha
Something you’d like to say at the end?
Thanks a lot and hope to see you really soon… make sure you come and have a beer with the Tasmanian Devils when we are in town!
Thanks for the interview David and take care!
Thanks, you too!!!