Interview and pics by Arto Lehtinen
Transcription by Gemma Ellis
Obituary, the long time death metal squad from Florida, have carved the unforgettable marks to the metal scene by unleashing nothing but killer death metal albums. This legendary five piece was a headliner of the third stage of the Swedenrock Festival and frankly the heaviest and the best act of all of the other ones for sure. I managed to have a short chat with the Obituary guitarist, Trevor Peres, before the Floridian death metal outfit hit the stage. The interview situation was rather bizarre as doing the interview on the backstage when some other band was terrorizing on the stage was quite weird. But however here is something to offer and enjoy….
You are starting touring here right now and going to various festivals in Europe, which festivals actually ?
We’re going to do The Hellfest in France, With Full Force in Germany and Graspop in Belgium. Then we’re doing like 12 shows of our own, we’re going to like Russia, Romania, Bulgaria. We’re going to go to London tomorrow and do Scotland and Ireland.
I have noticed that when the wintertime is over most of you American bands come to Europe for the summer. Last summer you toured a lot of dates, including Finland and you played at Wacken and so on and now you are here in Europe once again, it’s like a circle time ?
Well it makes sense because you play in front of so many people you know and the festivals invite you and its like hell yeah lets go to Europe in the summer and do some shows and have a fun time you know.
As to your visit to Finland, it was the second time since you played in 1994 that was the last year because I wasn’t there at that one… (Actually third one Ed.note!)
Yeah that was, yeah we’ve only been in Finland twice so yeah, and that was killer though.
But Wacken was one hell of a big mud festival
Oh my god, it sucked it was raining, while we played it was raining.
I was about to go to Wacken but after all didn’t manage it, but the weather looked awful, the same thing happened in 2002 and it was horrible…
There was still 30 –40,000 people it was killer people didn’t give a fuck they were out there going crazy.
Then you toured with Napalm Death in the States ?
Yeah actually we did like, it was only 15 shows 2 and a half weeks something like that
Do you still keep in contact with the Napalm Death guys?
Oh yeah, actually tomorrow we’re going to be in England and I’m going to be calling Mitch and actually the last, when this tour is over before I go back to Italy my girlfriends down there, we’re having a baby actually. She’ll be born the second week in July. I get back the 1st of July, and 5 days later Napalm Death’s playing right down the road from where my girlfriend lives in Sardinia. It’s a little island, you know Sardinia ? So it’s kind of weird Napalm Death’s going to be there, I’m going to go and hang out with them.
How was the turn out? I heard that the tour you did with Napalm Death wasn’t that good in the audience wise ?
Some shows sucked, I don’t know, I don’t know what it had to do with, our label didn’t give us much support and whatever.
Do you think that the interest of metal in the States is so low nowadays or have you lost some kind of interest in the death metal genre in the States?
Well death metal it’s not really that popular in America. I mean in general death metal, straight up death metal you know it’s not that popular. I mean you go to New York, and you’ll have 800 people you know maybe go to like a smaller market and you’ll have a couple of hundred people maybe 300. Death metal in general its not that popular it just hasn’t been for a long time really.
When you toured with Napalm Death did you have a chance to play a headline set?
No we did the headline, it was co-headlining and we played last every night.
How has the touring changed during the years? Last time when you toured it was 1998 or ?
Yeah well we did a couple of dates.
Like this No Mercy festival
Yeah we did those festivals
How has touring changed or has it at all ?
Touring? It’s basically the same we’re just older.
And wiser ?
Hopefully, try to be
I was quite surprised that you got a very rapid warning to replace Lamb of God in LA ?
How did it happen?
Slipknot, they’re big Obituary fans and we were friends with those guys and when they found out about Lamb of God were not playing they called us instantly and they were like hey okay we want you guys to play, so it just happened real quick.
Why wasn’t Lamb of God playing, I had heard that they were banned in LA ?
No they played in LA that night in a small club, but that big show there was a Christian group of people that were protesting Lamb of God being a blasphemous name. They could not play apparently they used to have an old name that was really blasphemous I’m not sure what the name was, but its kind of funny because they took them off and let Obituary play it’s kind of like, I don’t know, its just a bunch of bullshit it was politics I think, a lot of politics shit with the city but they played that night in a club in LA. So it was like stupid it was like whatever
But do they always come to protest at metal shows in the states?
No, that’s what’s strange so strange about it, it was like why all of a sudden out of the blue are you protesting, I mean you’ve got Slayer who are straight up they are they will tell you they are satanic and they’re going to let them play in a big arena but then you’ve got a band like Lamb of God who’s, they’re not really satanic those guys are normal people I don’t know whatever its like. I didn’t understand the whole idea I don’t because usually newer bands there’s usually no problems so I don’t understand how that even happened it was kind of weird to me.
Have you got any problems with any kind of groups protesting against you when you are on tour?
No we’ve never had any problems or whatever we’re pretty fortunate. No ones ever messed with us like that you know.
You know Viva the German music channel it showed one of your last tours, No Mercy 1998 when you toured with Immortal. What do you think about that kind of tour ? You get more people digging various types of metal, death/black metal,..etc..
No, they’re cool I think it’s a good way to do a tour actually for me I mean you know that kind of situation you’re in will bring more people from every kind of scene and plus the bands are really close musically even though they’re different a little, but that’s a good idea I think. I like that idea.
Black metal bands like Venom ( playing here at Swedenrock) are quite a bit different from your style but do you basically care about black metal ?
Yeah I used to love Venom when I was younger. They used to be one of my favourite bands. I don’t even listen to heavy metal much really any more like new stuff but old stuff. I do like Immortal I think they’re fucking killer, my other band Catastrophic did some shows with Immortal and I realised how good they were, they are like they kind of remind me of Celtic Frost a little bit and yeah Immortals really good, but I don’t listen to too much newer metal.
You went on a break in 1994 and it took about 3 years for you to bring out a new album at that time you were touring for some weeks. What did you do when being on a break ?
I went to school for graphic design actually, became a graphic artist did commercial design and doing layouts and stuff for magazines, compact discs.
And during this time you were studying and doing advertising what was everyone else doing?
I just worked everyone just worked a little bit you know, pretty much.
And then you got back together to start working on the album. You have very a funny alternative song, the rap song which I found it very funny ?
I knew that would happen, well we all like rap music a little bit and some friends of ours down in Miami just came in to the studio and we did a remix just for fun we were all drinking beers and having a good time basically.
Listening to your album I noticed that the three year break did good for you because you have something new and more refreshing idea, well some how I hate to say it but I didn’t like the WORLD DEMISE album that much, but BACK FROM DEAD was much better in my opinion…
It was fresh it was real straight forward and heavy you know I mean we just wrote really heavy songs you know.
Did you have some kind of hardcore elements?
No I don’t know, a lot of people say that and I think we always have had a little bit, but you know it wasn’t quite as dark as some of our older shit so maybe it sounded more hardcore you can hear some of the drum beats but basically it’s what we were always doing but maybe the riffing was a little different, I don’t know.
Then you were on the tour and then after you went on a long break
Yeah that was more of none of us had lived normal lives yet. So we kind of like basically just we’re getting older and had never lived normal so we were like lets take, we weren’t we didn’t even know what we were doing. Basically we just were like stopped playing you know and when the time was right here we are again you know so that’s basically what happened.
You started your side project Catastrophic, one album came out did the whole thing fall apart? What happened to it ?
It didn’t fall apart, it was just a situation where I had a child. It was basically like I had to go to work I wasn’t making money with Catastrophic and I had to work so I had to feed my child so I kind of had to put it on hold and now that Obituary are back together I’m hoping to kind of continue Catastrophic again one day you know, because now I can make a little bit of money and take care of my child and play music.
And Donald (Tardy) joined Andrew W.K’s band…
Yeah that was a situation where they asked me to play guitar, they asked Donald to play drums I wasn’t tuned into in, but we weren’t Obituary and weren’t doing anything. So Donald was like hell yeah I’ll go you know you’ve got to tour the world make money and play music you know.
I heard that Andrew is a die-hard Obituary fan
Oh yeah he’s a huge Obituary fan yeah.
I read that when you got back together to do some gigs in Florida he flew from the other side of the States to see your gig is that right. Did you not keep in contact with each other during this break?
Yeah because we’ve been friends forever. I was living in Phoenix for a while and that’s where my baby is and you know they were all in Florida, but yeah we kept in contact all the time.
And Frank was working in the stock market ?
Yeah he was doing stock brokerage and stuff now he’s doing he actually has a mortgage brokerage company now selling mortgages.
How is he able to share his time between Obituary and his normal job?
Well he’s got his own business you know he owns his own business. So he actually has somebody that works for him so when he’s gone they deal for him and stuff like that you know
How about you? How can you share your time because you have a couple of kids I guess? How do you share your time?
It’s a lot of work. I mean I’m busy all the time I mean its like when I get home from a tour like even right now. I’m doing some work on the road doing design so I can do work and email it to work and stuff and FTP to the server and when I get home like I say I’m with my babies you know so I’m busy all the time.
Speaking of the new album FROZEN IN TIME I got the promo and for example “On The Floor” is quite a rapid song. Was it hard to start work on the new album in the first place ?
No It came really natural. I mean because we’ve been playing together for so many years now it made it easy. I mean we started writing songs and you just click like it used to you know years ago. In fact we’re writing new music now for the new album so its like really easy to write songs compared, its actually easier today then it was twenty years ago to write a song I think really because we’ve been doing it so long its like a formula you know you get an idea and then boom you’ve got a song.
You said that you hardly listen to metal nowadays but you still have a passion playing metal and playing Obituary and the new stuff from FROZEN IN TIME album ?
Yeah I mean I still every once in a while I’ll throw in my old Slayer and throw in some Celtic Frost or Autopsy or whatever all the old shit you know, but like musically when I listen to music I probably listen to more like rock Lynyrd Skynyrd or Molly Hatchet who played today. I listen to that kind of shit, I listen to a lot of southern rock and old classic rock. That’s really my passion for listening drinking a beer and smoking a joint put on some good rock.
Do you get your influence from the kind of rock and stuff ?
Not really, not as far as the song, but maybe like as a musician who likes to play music you know. For sure I mean you listen to something and it just makes you want to play you know. Hell today when Molly Hatchet was playing I was freaking I was on the side of the stage watching I couldn’t drink a beer I drank one beer and I wanted to drink more but it just makes you crazy you know. It makes me want to go fishing and drinking and play guitar you know.
What is up with the whole record label thing ?
Well we’re out. Our contract was over after FROZEN IN TIME, so we basically what we’re doing is we’re going to write, we’re writing new music and we’ve got a few labels who are interested we’re just basically going to shop it, we’re going to let some record labels battle over us and we’re a free agent right now so, actually we’re in a really good situation with that for the new album so.
Was the deal with the roadrunner some kind of slave deal ?
I don’t know, we worked with them for some many years and the European side of Roadrunner we think is great they always worked good and but it seemed like the New York office just, they don’t give a shit about you unless you’re the fucking hot topic of the day you know. What I mean so and to me its not, its not good to work with somebody like that to me you know. Okay of course we’re not the number one band on the label today but you know they should still have the passion, we want someone who’s passionate to work for us you know to put the time and energy into what we do like we do. We put our heart and soul I mean I’m leaving my babies for two months at a time to go tour and you know I want who’s going to work for us. I want them to work that same way you know to sacrifice you know
Like sacrificing blood and sweat
Yeah and roadrunner wasn’t doing that we were actually happy to be finished with them we were like thank you.
Actually when this compilation album came out I thought you were going to fill up the deal by releasing that album..
Yeah, we were still obligated for another album that didn’t really count as an album
What’s the purpose of releasing that kind of best of album?
We refused at first. We told roadrunner we don’t want to do it and for like a year they kept asking and finally Donald and I was like fucking lets just do it so they’ll shut up and we picked out a bunch of songs and gave them to roadrunner in New York and they did it and it was like whatever. We weren’t into doing that at all because its just kind of whatever you know. I mean that album if you have our albums you can have those songs why do that you know. We put that Venom song on there right so that was probably the only part that was special to me we recorded that during WORLD DEMISE, but we and John never finished it so when he went in there and finished the vocals we mixed it and put that on to make it special you know.
To be honest I skipped the whole album because I have the previous Obituary albums
Yeah exactly, there’s nothing new there’s one song and that’s it so it was kind of overkill you know, me and Donald were like fuck it fuck doing that it’s a waste, why do that exactly we were like why, they basically just kept fucking with us about it so much we just said okay do it leave us alone you know
Speaking of your interest in motor racing, can you tell something about that, how it started ?
I don’t know, I got a website dirtratracing.com all my life I’ve loved motor sports you know. I love cars I’ve always loved cars, automobiles, engines, motorcycles used to ride a lot of dirt bikes and I was in Phoenix with my babies and I started going to this race track every weekend and watching racing.
Some kind of NASCAR racing?
Its like the roots, its like kind of where NASCAR started it’s a small dirt clay track in a circle and its basically the grass roots of NASCAR and for me I started going I used to go, when I was younger and I started going again and I went there and I was like man I want to get out there and do this, because its just its fun to watch. But man one day I talked to someone he was a driver and they showed me the car and let me get in the car and let me go around and it was like oh my god this is it I found a division that is really affordable I got my car it was a brand new one cost about $10,000 but I bought one, used from seven and to go racing a weekend it costs me $50 and I can go fucking competing and yeah you get done its like its better than any drug you could ever do you know it really is
Do you every year go to see races?
No just once
Like Daytona Or Indy 500?
In Phoenix, when they go to Phoenix. I go to the track there because they play their race in Phoenix and yeah any time I can go I go you know, but lately the last couple of years I’ve been racing so its hard for me to go because I race our schedule’s thirty races you know so I’m almost every weekend going to the track and doing it myself so in fact before this tour I raced last Friday and Saturday night and a lot of fun. I mean if anybody can go see this live you go and its you’ll just be hooked its like the smell of it even you know its fun to watch on TV but when you’re there and you smell the fuel burning and you see the fucking cars zipping around its like whoa !!!!
Have you ever been to the Formula one race?
No, I haven’t because they only come to Indianapolis once a year and they’re far from me but I would love to I would love to I love any formula one but yeah I like it I’m a Michael Schumacher fan and I love Ferrari and like formula one is amazing. I mean those cars are just ridiculous how fast they are and how good they handle its amazing its like a perfect car you know
What does this redneck term mean, like drinking beer going racing and hunting?
I don’t know it’s just a life just a lifestyle I mean
Well, are you a redneck?
I’m not a racist but I mean like some people think redneck means racist but like in Florida if you’re a redneck you’re just a dude that likes to go fishing, like to hunt or likes racing you know and yeah I guess I am born and raised in Florida and that’s what I’ve done all my life basically its just a lifestyle of like people who are who want to have a good time and drink beer and have good friends and go camping and make bonfires and cook fish and just have a good time love life you know
You have to keep your nose on the ground checking new bands and seeing whats going on in the metal genre do you? What do you think about f.ex Krisiun and Behemoth ?!
Do I pay attention? Not much I mean every once in a while I’ll see something that I like you know but I have so many other things in my life going on its hard for me to keep up with everything you know I would have to go like out of my way to pay attention you know. I know Krisiun we played shows with them they’re like a total blast you know grindcore you know really cool guy and I’ve actually partied with those people they’re really cool people you know. Behemoth, I don’t know much about them, I’ve heard about them I think I’ve even played a festival with then but I’m not sure I’ve heard of them you know I’ve heard their name a lot.
All right I thank you for your time to make this short interview.