Morbid Angel’s newest opus titled ILLUD DIVINUM INSANUS is the long waited album with the return of David Vincent on vocals. However the new sound with more industrial based songs have totally surprised the fans. Before the legendary death metal outfit stepped on the stage, Metal-Rules.Com had a pleasant task to talk to David Vincent about the new album and touring life.
Interview and pics by Arto Lehtinen
LIFE ON THE ROAD
You used to tour a lot back in the day with bands such as Paradise Lost, At The Gates etc. Nowadays you do a few weeks and then have a break and you are now doing the festival tour and then a break, am I right – Is that what you are doing?
Well, what’s happening is that there’s different. I think number one, I don’t set up the tours. But I think I mean over the years, like it is festival season. And personally, I really like these festivals because it gets – like we’re going to have a chance to play for people and there’s going to be a lot of people here tonight that maybe are not necessarily Morbid Angel fans, but still – because there’s different kinds of music that is playing on all these stages, different kinds of bands, I mean it’s all at least rock or hard rock. But I mean, thinking that – like what Morbid Angel ever do in tour with Joan Jett, the answer is no. Would we ever do a tour with some of these other bands that are playing on some of these stages, and the answer is no. So our fans will get to see some of these other kinds of music. And whether they like it or not, but just being exposed to a lot of different kinds of music. That’s what I like as well. I mean, I was walking around watching bands last night. And bands that probably I would never – would I ever see them or whatever. Maybe the opportunity, but would I have the – would I want to go. You know what I mean? And I think that I get exposed. I personally get exposed to more music that’s why. And that’s why I like the festival so much.
As the new album is out, are you going to do more tours around the world?
Well yeah. But I mean right now, we’re in the summer festival season in Europe. But yeah, I mean we’re planning on doing a lot of stuff. We want to do some stuff that’s sort of different than we’ve done in the past. And I like how these festivals go over here because of the idea that there’s like more diversity of music rather than just have okay well, here’s just a regular tour and it’s like a – there’s some pattern of how you’re supposed to do things. I’m looking forward to doing some things different maybe including like the mentality that goes into these festivals, you know what I mean? Maybe including like some bands that might not be the typical thing that we would normally do. Just to make it a more interesting evening.
The touring is both tough and demanding – How do you keep your body in good shape and your voice which is trademark of the whole metal scene?
I mean one of the things is that I don’t smoke. I try not to abuse myself. I mean I say that after having several cocktails last night. But I mean – yeah, it is important and we have to take care of ourselves because there’s a lot of people who simply can’t do this stuff anymore because they have not made new choices.
You played in Helsinki at the Tuska in 2008, and I remember that it started raining a little bit and audience went insane and Morbid Angel sounded really powerful – There’s some kind of magic going on. Is it important to have some kind of magic connection between audience and you?
Well listen man, I love our audience. Our audience is some of the greatest people in the world. It’s been a journey as we’re constantly and even in doing just – we do crazy things musically. And our fans are true Morbid Angel fans. They expect us, and they expect to be challenged. And we challenge ourselves and we also challenge our listeners to hear new things and to open up their minds and that’s had always been the message of the band anyway, is about.
ABOUT PETE AND NEW GUYS
You are several times asked about Pete Sandoval. When he started having a problem with his back did it come out and surprise you or did you know that this was going to happen sort of later?
Pete has an interesting personality, the way that he communicates. He’s been complaining that his back has been sore for years. And we thought, well, okay maybe this is. Maybe we didn’t take it as seriously as we should have earlier on. I’m not a doctor, so when someone says, I mean sometimes I wake up and my back is sore or my fingers are sore, or you can tell me everything that. You get aches and pains based on being physical for a living. But until he literally went and got this MRIs and what it said in the MRIs. Until that point, I had no idea that it was as bad as it was.
Tim Yeung came in and to be a replacement for Pete; was he recommended to you or how did this come about?
We knew there’s a handful of people in the world that can do this, that can walk in the door, I’m not saying that’s not speaking necessarily just in talent. But I mean, we know who the people are. We know those people. Tim is one of those people. And I knew that he was capable of doing it. It was just a question of who’s schedule or who can do it and who wants to do it. And thankfully, he both could do it, and he wanted to do it. So it worked out well.
What about Destructhor – I guess he brought the input in the writing of new songs in his way?
He’s been a wonderful addition to the band. And he’s a great player, he’s a great person, he’s very genuine and very dedicated. Like I said man, I feel honored to be in an outfit that has just so much talent, there’s so much talent. I mean there’s so much talent, there’s so much creativity, there’s so much ability, so much skill, all these things. And it just – it feels very special.
ILLUD DIVINUM INSANUS
The new album Illud Divinum Insanus. I can’t help asking what the front cover symbolizes as It looks really bizarre in my point of view.
It is bizarre. Well, I think the cover art is awesome. When we saw that, we were like, “Ah! This is it.” We don’t even need to see anything more. “Well there’s still more stuff coming.” “Well okay, I’m going to look at it.” But right on there, I mean my feeling was, when I first saw that cover, that that was absolutely the right cover it’s very powerful, it’s very strong, but it’s not overtly – it’s not trying too hard, it has an inner strength to it which is what I’ve always felt really represents my view of extreme music and more of an ancient music. And Trey was – when he saw it, he also was 100% – he found it, this is perfect. So we both agreed about it without even discussing it.
As it is bizarre otherwise it was beautiful.
Oh yeah, I think it’s both. It is. So it’s magic.
So far, I have only heard the album streaming audio version, but it doesn’t give a fair impression about the album so I wanted to have the real product in my hand.
You start at the beginning, and then go all the way to the end. You have to look in the order, you have to get to start and take it in, take it this way.
It made me wonder when reading people comments that some people seem to listen to only a few second samplers and then making their conclusion of their own…
You can’t. That’s not possible.
This is a little bit weird actually when people listen to those samplers, thinking of them, if this is kind of cool or not.
Well, but there’s a lot – listen, there’s a lot going on. It’s a challenging. We challenge ourselves to make a record that’s just going off. And I mean trust me man, I want to tell you, everyone worked their asses off. I mean Trey was in the studio for months everyday. He moved into the studio. Move like moved his life into the studio and everyday played, and played, and played and played until he was satisfied with the guitars. I mean there’s one song that has like 72 guitar tracks. Not all playing at once mind you, but I mean that’s how much effort that he put in to really making this special. And I’m just like – I’m blown away by it, I’m blown away by the level of creativity, I’m blown away by the – just – it’s just to damn unique.
It’s – I’ve never heard it before. I’ve never heard a lot of this stuff before and nothing that even sounds like it. No one that has ever pushed those kinds of boundaries. I’m absolutely proud of everyone’s effort on this record.
Was it easier for you to work with Eric Rutan on this record as he has the common past with you?
Well we only recorded the drums for 6 songs, that’s all we didn’t do, but no guitars and that was it. But it was cool to be able to work with them again.
What is the most challenging part, the hardest part for you to write the new songs ?
It’s not about that, it’s just about finding where it come. I mean it’s all organic, it’s very organic. It just comes from the soul. And when you just let things come, and you just – I mean it’s not really about – it just comes. They come – gifts come in different ways at different times. I’ve had to be and get myself at a point where I literally keep like a small recorder on my bed on my nightstand. And because sometimes things come to me in between my dream state. And I disciplined myself to wake up and either speak a few words or hum a melody or something into this thing before I lose it because sometimes, I wake up the next morning and if I’m dreaming, and I’m thinking, “Oh, that’s perfect.” And then, but if I don’t act on it then, then I wake up the next morning I’m like, “What was that? I don’t remember.” But if I have that and sometimes I wake up and I’m like, “Oh yes, I got it.” And then sometimes I wake up and it’ll be like, I’ll listen back I’m like, “Oh, what the hell was I thinking?” You don’t know.
It’s where you find your inspiration for the new songs?
Well that’s – to be – you have to be inspired in order to be inspiring for others. And if you’re not inspired, then it shows.
There’s the industrial parts with heavy metal – well I do listen to hard core / industrial stuff like G.G.F.H, Combichrist etc. Are you after all heavily into industrial stuff ?
I personally like lots of different kinds of music. My iPod is very diverse. But from. I like things that I feel are – I don’t know, it’s not even about the genre of music. I mean yes there is, there industrial stuff and like hard core stuff, there are like – tremendously – some of these sort of Dutch – this Dutch hardcore, this really just very, very aggressive. I mean, when I listen to it, I hear extreme music, and that just doesn’t have guitars. They did stuff with synthesizers and they do stuff. But it’s still, it’s just what I hear coming out of the speakers. It’s just totally attacking. I mean it’s just gnarly stuff, I mean it’s just – I mean it’s just – you’ll feel like it’s going.
So is it usually that the music comes first and the lyrics all come in later when you are doing your stuff? Especially on the new album?
I free write. And then sometimes I will have something already or I’ll have some themes or some stuff that’s already. That would be perfect fit for one thing and then sometimes it has to be – there’s no rule. There’s no one way or another. Lots of things coming from different areas and leading…
“Nevermore” was played several times during the past years – Was it the way to test the water how the people will react to the new song so you are able to write more songs?
No, no, no. Well actually because when we started this saying, “Okay, well, yeah we’re going to work on our new record,” that was the first song that came together like the first one that we sort of got together and actually when we got in a room and started playing it. And no, we just wanted to add it to live because we were excited about it, I mean it’s a great song. It’s a great song, it’s innovative, but it’s also familiar.
Yeah. I still remember when BLESSED ARE THE SICK came out, 20 years ago, there was all kinds of comments about the album because it came after ALTARS OF MADNESS, so I felt that it took over 10 – 15 years till the song are classic , I’m wondering that it may take some time till the new album is considered classic ?
It may, but see, the thing is, is when things are too easy, when you spoon feed people something and everything is so familiar and instantly and when we discover we write the songs that were the most popular for us and over the years, and that would be an instant – giving everybody exactly what they think they want. But that’s not being true to art. Thanks not pushing any limits. That’s not redefining thing. That’s not being inventive. And that’s what we do – that’s what we’ve always done.
When you started over 20 years ago, did you ever in your wildest dream think that you will be having so influential on the new generation for extreme metal players, forming bands and having Morbid Angel influences is so obvious nowadays.
I don’t know that I was thinking that at that time, but I think it’s some that if I look back on it, I guess it’s natural because it’s the same thing that the people that came before me, gave to me. I mean Tony Iommi gave me an incredible gift by sharing his music with the world. When I listen to that stuff, it was very influential, I mean the whole way – the way that the guitar came together, I mean there’s countless people over the years that have done this, but I mean – it’s like to him because that’s the first thing that came to mind. But Black Sabbath was life changing for me. And are there other bands that have done stuff? Yes. And with each generation, I guess you would say, and as stuff passes as people, as music continues to grow and evolve. But yeah, I’m thankful that people have found inspiration in the music and that they’re able to use that as a gateway to their own creativity. Or if they’re not musicians, maybe as something that empowers them to conquer various challenges that they have within their lives. I mean this is all, this is what real magic is all about, is making something out of nothing. Having something common and like the idea of just – blissful creativity because it’s so powerful, and it’s something that I’m thankful for. I’m thankful to the artist who have inspired me over the years. Yeah so it’s – and I hope that I’m able to get back the same feeling to our listeners that was given to me by all the great people that I’ve listened to over the years.
How much has your music has changed since you started in Morbid Angel till now – I guess you were more into extreme metal back then, and now is much wide range of the music ?
My parents were not metal fans. Well you know, there wasn’t really any metal – I mean this stuff that I still like and I still listen to. My parents were, they’re fans with the Beatles, and Neil Diamond and Carpenters and stuff that was from my recollection when I was a kid that that’s the kind of stuff they listen to. And I like that music. I just like good music. I like hearing a variety of music. I don’t want to listen to just one thing. That’s boring. So normally, I set my iPod on just random shuffle. And different stuff unless I’m saying specifically, I want to hear okay this one song right now. But that’s my listening.
I guess my time is up, but the last question that, there’s a lot of reunion – all these classic death metal bands which used to be around many years ago like Carcass, Autopsy getting back together. In general how do you see this reunion thing and what’s your standpoint of it?
Well of the bands, like I mean – we played a few shows with Carcass when they got in, and I would love for there to be a new Carcass album personally because I really like Carcass a lot, Carcass has always been one of my favourite bands. We played a few festival with them over the past couple of years, and I tell you man, I was in the front row, I was in the photo-up watching the band and because they’re one of my favourite bands too. And down looking around, everybody’s trying to talk to me, “I’ll talk to you after the show, I’m here to watch a show too.” Just like, there’s where our attention goes right there. And I was like really into it.
Alright. I thank you for your time and for interestingly doing the interview. And I wish you good a good gig here at Swedenrock and of course even better at Tuska
Well, we’ll see you at the concert.
Yes we will. It’s at the end of July. Okay. Thank you.
Cheers brother. Thank you man.