Hello Dave! Welcome to Metal Invader! Excited and honored for this chit-chat. Hope you’re alright! How’ve you been lately? I hope you’ve fully recovered from those hip issues you were dealing with.
Thanks for the interview! It is very much appreciated.
I’ve now had both of my hips replaced and am slowly recovering from the second operation. I have a little discomfort still, but not so much. I’m back at work now, so everything is going well, thank you. I’m looking forward to eventually getting back out onstage and giving them a test drive.
Quite a peculiar, if not bizarre, year! Covid and quarantines, lockdowns etc have taken their toll on everyone; how did you deal with the whole thing? What got you through?
I kept busy. Obviously I’d had the hip surgery done at the beginning of the year, so I was home anyway. That part of the pandemic didn’t affect me much. I was writing new material for multiple projects, as well as working on my radio show. Like I say, I kept myself busy. I hate to stand still for too long, which is why I’ve been so active with bands and releases over the past 7 years. I think it’s been 8 full-length releases in that time, with various bands. LOTS more to come, too…especially with Benediction!
In Greece, artists, bands, backline crews and possibly anyone working in the field had from little to no support (applies to 95% of the people) from our government. What’s the deal in Copenhagen? Is there sufficient governmental support?
There was some, but it wasn’t enough. The arts were badly hit everywhere as they were considered none-essential. Outrageously stupid overall. Though if one looks at it logically, essential services have to be maintained. It’s no good being able to go to the opera if you haven’t got any clean drinking water! But I think many governments SHOULD have found the money for those in the entertainment business. They can certainly find it when they THEMSELVES need it!
Many think that this whole Covid pandemic has already and will keep hurting the music industry, either mainstream or underground. what’s your take on this?
It will, but we have to remain strong. Keep supporting bands by buying merchandise, music, and watching any online shows you can. At the moment, until there is a full vaccine, it is the best anyone can do.
Talking about the music industry, you’ve been active since 1990, a whole life for some. What’s changed and what has remained the same comparing the past to today (well, apart from the pandemic of course)?
I guess the biggest change has been the Internet. It completely turned the entire industry on it’s head, and made it do things in different ways. We adapted – everyone did – and we will again during this pandemic.
Can we quit talking about Covid now?
You’ve played a pivotal role in shaping and (re)defining the Death Metal genre; how does it feel to know you’ve influenced other musicians or have an actual impact on people’s tastes, even lives (keeping in mind that music is a shelter or a gateway from pressuring reality)?
I have gotten a lot of messages and emails from people saying that I changed their outlook on life, or got them to want to write/play music. It really is quite humbling to have such an impression on folk. Knowing that I, just a beer drinking Birmingham lad, has had such an effect on people’s lives is quite breathtaking. My son is 16, and he is often taken aback by how so many people know of me. Not so long ago he found out that the one Bolt Thrower song “Inside The Wire” was going to be used in the video game Watchdogs: Legion, and he lost his mind about it. He loves that game! Now he can tell all his friends that his I’m on it. I’ve become the coolest Dad in the world.
Is there any piece of advice you would give to musicians that look up to you?
I’d say that if their heart is really true to what they are doing, then they should have faith in themselves and stick to it. Hard work always pays off. And make sure that the band you work with are more like a family than just a plain business. You’ve got to all get along or else it’ll never work.
You’ve been and still are a member of multiple projects. What gives you balance between them and what aspect of your character does each represent?
There’s no real facet to each band in regards to my character. They are bands that I wanted to do and they evolved themselves in their own way. For sure, there’s something with the lyrics. DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN is explicitly about Doctor Who, a TV show I have loved for all time. ECHELON’s lyrics cover Satanism, a subject close to my black heart(s) – maybe that’s what you meant by representing my character? Anyway, at present I am currently doing 6 bands, though I will stress that Benediction is my prime concern.
What keeps Dave going? Is it the need for music creation, the affection coming from the crowd, or something else that fuels your engines?
It’s a little from column A, and a little from column B! Yeah, both those things are fuel for me. Like I said before, I like to be busy and keep the creative juices flowing while I am still able to. There’s still a lot of music and dark lyrics in me, ready to be brought forth. I’d better get on with it….in fact, I’m currently writing the third ECHELON album, and then I begin the second URSINNE one, along with the guest vocals I’m doing with a few projects.
How do you fell about the contemporary Death Metal scene? Do you keep up with it?
I do, due to hearing all the promotional materiel sent through to my online show, Metal Breakfast Radio. Besides that I only really follow bands that play OSDM. It’s rare I get too involved with a modern band unless they have an old style sound. I’m 52 in January (25th – send me beer) so I guess I’m set in my ways. BUT I can certainly try out any kind of music, as long as it’s written from the heart.
Extending the question, Death Metal and Extreme Metal in general gain new fans every day. The crowds, something especially evident in gigs and shows, include young people that obviously weren’t around when the whole thing kicked off. Do you think Metal is intertemporal?
It’s timeless, and will be around long after I am gone. That thought, while possibly somewhat morbid, actually makes me happy. I think that the magnitude and scope of people in the scene means it will be in good hands for a very long time to come.
Concerning your most recent ventures, you’ve joined Benediction once again (and that actually made me extremely happy). What led you into this decision and how does it feel to be back?
It was Dan (Bates) that messaged me, asking if I would contact Darren. I was intrigued, so got it touch immediately. Daz asked if I’d be interested in doing a handful of shows with the band as Dave Hunt was going to take some time off to work on his PhD. It turned out Dave needed to commit to his studies full time, an honourable thing to do, so I was asked to rejoin permanently.
Benediction’s latest release “Scriptures” will be surely in my Top10 releases of this year and i’m sure many share my opinion. Would you care to walk us through the writing process of the album, who did what etc?
It was definitely a joint effort all round. The guys would send me the music from the UK, and I’d write lyrics to them, and make demo versions. Then we would all consider the songs and what they needed – either adding or removing – to finely tune them to what we wanted. It’s a perfect way to work at such distances.
I understand there have been issues with the band’s lineup, which is one of the reasons it took so long to actually reboot the whole thing, plus living in different locations couldn’t have been easy. I’m guessing now you’re more powerful than ever.
No particular “issues” since I rejoined. But indeed, we are definitely a powerful force to be reckoned with, and this line-up is testament to that. A strong unity with the five of us.
The album’s production is neat! You collaborated once again with Grindstone Studio, as far as I know. Does experience lead to a better result?
Benediction haven’t worked with Scott before, but Dan has. It was he who recommended we use him. It was something we will never regret! Scott’s hard work – as well as ours – paid off big time. His production of the album is stellar.
Is there a link between “I” from “Grind Bastard” and “Iterations of I” in “Scriptures”? An album’s last recording with you becoming the intro of your comeback?
Good spot! Yes, you are absolutely correct. “I” was the last official track on Grind Bastard (besides the bonus covers/live tracks) and it is a direct continuation of that song…from a slightly different perspective, and a different place in my life. There are, in fact, several other Easter Eggs on the album, such as call backs to previous songs and also other things I am involved with, or are a part of my life. See if you can spot them all!
In order to make “Scriptures” appealing to those that haven’t had the chance to listen to it yet, how would you describe it? What should be people expecting?
I’d describe it as an aurally modern slab of old school death metal, that contains diabolically catchy songs with riffs and lyrics that contain more hooks than a stadium full of fly fishermen.
Is there any chance for Benediction to visit Greece when this whole pandemic thing goes away?
Once the world returns to a certain level of normalcy we will once again begin our planned shows that have been postponed for so very long. You know, we haven’t played a gig since December 2019!
Alright, that’s all from me for the time being; thanks for taking the time to answer everything, much obliged! Would you like to send any greetings or messages to your fans via Metal Invader?
Thanks for the interview! Cheers to all the Benediction fans out there, and thank you all for supporting the band all these years – and greetings to the new fans, too. Stay true to the scene and the scene will stay true to you. And STAY SAFE…especially you, Lena!
Here’s some links that may be of interest to folks:
YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/Lapdog1