The Black Dahlia Murder – Interview with Max Lavelle

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The Black Dahlia Murder – Interview with Max Lavelle

@ O2 Forum Kentish Town, London

March 18, 2018

Interview by Sabrina Selkis

Photography by Graham Hilling

As I am researching about the band The Black Dahlia Murder, it becomes evident that they are a polarizing band, a case of “love them or hate them”. I’m still unsure as to why that is. The Black Dahlia Murder is an American band from Michigan that formed in 2001, they have been working their asses off, releasing albums on a steady 2-year gap, always delivered greatly on stage… and they are very friendly guys.

Our photographer Graham and I are lucky to meet The Black Dahlia Murder’s bassist Max Lavelle on their tour bus.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. 35 dates for this tour right, how are you feeling? Where did you go?

Max: Not a problem! We started in northern Europe, we went from Hanover in Germany then to Scandinavia, Denmark, Oslo. This was crazy in Oslo actually, there was tons of snow everywhere, they don’t even put sand down, they put some pebbles! [laughs]. That was the coldest day!

Good audience too?

Max: We don’t play there very often, but it’s been getting better every time we go there now. The more we’re going over there the better it gets every time. We see new faces, and especially on this tour people have been asking who we are to our merch guy, and we’ve been around for 10 plus years now! That’s really cool though, so whatever we are doing it is working.

You have your new album out, “Nightbringers”, can you tell us more about this release, the writing process, the recording?

Max: We have a pretty solid process for the way we do the writing for a new album. We take a chunk of time out, 5 or 6 months off, we come up with ideas, we record them in our home studios, we trade them, talk about them. We went for a darker sound, kinda closer to the “Nocturnal” record. The artwork also is supposed to be of a similar vibe. I love how this came out, we have Brandon, our new guitar player, he wrote some really cool stuff.

He’s been a good addition to the band then?

Max: Oh definitely, I love this new record, the way it sounds. We spent a longer time to get the bass to sound good,to make sure I hit the notes hard enough, we wanted to be able to hear everything.

So would you say this is your strongest album yet? Excuse the obvious question!

Max: Ahah, I would say every new things that we do is! But I really think so, it’s a great record, and at the speed it picked up in a short amount of time, people are really liking it too. We’re playing 6 songs of the new album on this tour. Usually, when people don’t know the songs, they stand there, but this time people are nodding their heads, even some sing the lyrics.

Must be a good feeling, right?

Max: Oh definitely, I’m loving it, it’s awesome!

I like the artwork of “Nightbringers”, who did it?

Max: In the beginning, there are always ideas to go for a certain look, who can do what, who is available etc. Everyone has a voice in the band, we talk about it but ultimately, the decision goes to Trevor, because he writes the lyrics, he already has a picture in his mind.

10 years ago, you toured with Cannibal Corpse, and it was the 25th birthday of your label Metal Blade. Was it voluntary to do it again for the 35th birthday of Metal Blade?

Max: I don’t think it was, we love those guys  and we’ve done lots with Cannibal Corpse, we all know each other really well, it’s a good match. If you watch tonight, usually Trevor sings a song with George “Corpsegrinder” on stage, that’s a cool thing he often does.

What would be the differences and similarities with a band like Cannibal Corpse, especially since you both tour together often?

Max: There are a few aspects here, definitely the audience, the range of people that come to Cannibal Corpse will probably like our stuff, we’re melodic death metal, influenced by Europe but with an American style. We don’t play the same thing so it keeps the night interesting and not boring.

I know it’s hard to choose but which cities were the most fun in terms of audience and performance?

Max: I definitely wanna say the Milan show was awesome, a lot of the Spanish shows were cool too, oh and what was cool there is that fans were singing the parts to you, they sang the riffs! You were able to hear them over what you played, that was really cool. They were doing it for Cannibal Corpse too! A lot of the UK shows have been insane, yesterday we were in Nottingham, 1400 people on St Paddy’s night, people were going crazy. Shows have been sold out, fans went nuts, it’s been really good.

Max, thank you so much for your time, we wish you a great gig tonight.

Max: Thank you and thanks for the interview.