PlanetMosh had the opportunity to have a few words with Claire Percival of the Death-Groove Metal machine that is Dead Label. We chatted about their recent tour of the USA, new album Throne Of Bones and the brand new video for Salvation In Sacrifice which will be released on Friday, March 17th at 12 midday GMT.
Hey Claire, thanks for taking the time to catch up with us here at PlanetMosh. 2014 finished off with a 3 month stint in the USA. How were the shows and the experience of hitting the road in America for the first time?
Thank you for having us Steve. Well it was an amazing experience. It was our first time to do a tour that big. We did seven weeks touring. Before we did the tour we recorded the album, so when we were leaving for America we were thinking more about the recording process and the record, it was only after we wrapped the album did it hit us we would be going on the road for seven weeks. The few days before we left LA were so exciting. We did the tour in a Chrysler Town n Country so we had to figure out how to get all of our backline, enough merch and clothes into this Soccer-Mom car. Dan is the Tetris master when it comes to loading the car; he kind of goes into the zone and gets everything in. We couldn’t fit everything in the car so we had our clothes in bin bags so we could squeeze them in around the gear. This was a good idea at the start but those bags were from the 99 cent store and didn’t last a long time, plus gig sweat eroded them pretty quick. But it worked!
The first show we played “on the road” so to speak was in San Diego, it was awesome! Plus some friends we made in Okinawa in Japan two years ago got to come to the show because they live there now and it was just brilliant to see them! We then played some LA shows. Then we headed north went to Ventura. This is about two hours north of LA and I highly recommend that people go there. It’s a super chilled out beach town with some crazy metal heads! We had an awesome show there and one thing I really can’t stress enough is how supportive the American fans are. They seek you out to buy merch and they tip! They really help touring bands a lot. Our next show was in a town called Crockett outside San Francisco and that was a killer show. I had better not go into every show because it would be too much text so I will just give you the highlights. We did the whole West coast, then we did the mid west, down towards Vegas, New Mexico, then we went more into the Midwest, up to the top of New York state, then the East Coast to Florida, then we had ten days in Texas then we headed back to Casper, Wyoming where we played first mid tour. That show was one of the best and we were invited back to end the tour there so we said, Feck it, we may as well and went back to Casper! Casper is an awesome place.
Some of the other highlight shows for us were in Boston, it’s crazy there! The metal heads are insane! Texas is killer too! What was cool was some days we would drive from the Rockies covered in snow to the desert in Arizona! Amazing experience and we met some really cool and wonderfully supportive people over there! We really hope to go back sooner rather than later!
Are there any crazy stories or memorable encounters from the tour?
Let me see, there are a good few stories alright! Some of the rest stops/petrol stations were pretty damn memorable-think Dumb and Dumber! In Texas, the show we played in Texarkana a bar fight broke out during our set. That was pretty awesome! When we played in Frankfort Indiana we befriended a rapper who was on the run and he was serenading Dan outside the Super Eight motel. We drove through the Rockies and the Mojave desert which was some sight. We also went to the UFO museum in Roswell, New Mexico. We put a gas station into the GPS in Las Vegas and it took us through a housing estate and we ended up at some house that had bars on the windows and gangs outside so we kept going!
Have you any advice to other bands thinking of taking the leap over the pond?
There are a couple things to bear in mind going over there. One is that it is completely worth it. The experience of the vastness of America makes the idea of touring Europe seem so easily. It definitely opens your eyes and puts the world into a new perspective. Driving to Germany now would just seem so easy. My next piece of advice would be routing, very careful routing. You can maximise your fuel consumption if you dig deep and figure out the spots that you can gig in. Not just the obvious cities on the map. There are hidden gems of cities that we Europeans are not aware of. Thirdly, I would suggest pushing for endorsements so you have no instrument worries when you get there. We had some endorsements which saved us a lot of hassle. If you could manage to have everything covered it would make the whole experience easier and cost effective. Most companies are interested in touring bands so would be likely to help if approached in the right way. Lastly I would say have a few fully stocked iPods. You will run out of music to listen to with that many miles ahead of you!
While there you were also in the studio laying down tracks for Throne Of Bones. How did it go?
Yes we sure did. It was amazing. We recorded with Chris Rakestraw (Danzig, Deftones, Soulfly, Bodom etc) He was immediately awesome. A super nice guy with amazing skills and he really pushed us hard. We recorded the drums in East West Studios on Sunset Blvd. What an experience that was! It was insane fancy. Britney Spears, Metallica, Rhianna they have been there so to say we were a little bit out of our depth was an understatement. They had a guy baking fresh cookies just because… We recorded the drums in Studio two there and they sound killer. Such an amazing place! We then did guitars and vocals in Sonora Studios in Los Feliz. This studio was steeped in history too. Nancy Sinatra recorded there. That place was homely also. Matt Hyde keeps his rig there so we got to use one of his guitars for the recording. We are very happy with this album and we are really excited to share it with everyone!
This is your second album. Did you learn any lessons after your debut that helped you in the development/recording of Throne Of Bones?
I can’t begin to tell you the difference between Sense of Slaughter and Throne of Bones. When we went to record our debut album, we had very little studio experience. We did not know how to prepare properly and what is required within a studio. We just went and did our best at the time. However, Throne of Bones has been in the works for a long time. There are many songs that have been written and scrapped. We structured, restructured and structured again until we were one hundred percent happy. We poured everything we had into this album. We actually started to record with Mick Richards in Trackmix and he was doing phenomenal job on the tracks but when we got the opportunity to go to the States we had to take it. Recording with Mick was a really good learning experience for us all in such a comfortable environment. He taught us how to get the best out of ourselves in the studio. We all became better players having been in the studio with Mick. This helped us so much in knowing how to best prepare for the studio. We will definitely be going back to him very soon. As we had not met Chris before going to America and not knowing his way of recording we prepared for every eventuality so we left Ireland with the album as tight as possible. We all had to leave our jobs to go to America so we left them slightly earlier and spent two weeks in Muzzle Rehearsal studio going over every single part. There is no ad lib on this album. Every cymbal hit, every note, we all know about it; none of it escaped the microscope. Hopefully our hard work comes through and people enjoy the record.
When will the album be released and what can we expect from it compared to ‘Are you Ready to Kill’?
There is no exact date for the release at the moment but it is coming soon. We sort of think of as ARE YOU READY TO KILL as the bridge between Sense of Slaughter and Throne of Bones. There are elements of ARE YOU READY TO KILL on Throne of Bones but we feel this album is what we have been striving for. It is a peek into what is to come also. We have already begun writing, we have no plans for album three yet, but we really like jamming!
You recently shot a new video for Salvation In Sacrifice. Tell us a little about the concept behind the video and who you approached about filming?
We sure did. We went to Cardiff in Wales to work with Burning Chariot. We saw their work with Bleed From Within and we loved their style so we got in touch. They were so professional and helpful from the get go that we wanted to work with them even more. We wanted to keep the video simple and performance based this time. We always want to play in the videos as we are a live band and we want to convey that. There are some party scenes in the video too, where we went to Burning Chariot HQ and basically played at a party! There are some super cool shots in the video and we love the vibe that comes across.
I’m sure the promotional engine will be kicking into gear once Throne Of Bones is launched. What confirmed shows are there so far?
Oh yes, hopefully I won’t get blocked from all social media (again!). We have a tour in Scotland coming up with Excellent Cadavar. Really looking forward to it, as I love Edinburgh! We have never played there before so it will be amazing! We have a really good slot at this year’s Aggressive Music Festival in the Czech Republic so we are planning to tour our way there and back this time. That’s a killer festival. We have other shows in the work and some really awesome news that we can’t announce just yet I’m afraid but when we do we will be putting it everywhere!
You’ve just been confirmed for this year’s Unleashed Festival with Heart Of A Coward and Red Enemy. This is a kick ass line up. How does it feel to be playing alongside these guys?
It’s so awesome! Really an honour to play with Heart of a Coward! We would be hitting the show to see them even if we weren’t playing but we are SUPER excited to play with Red Enemy. These guys have done nothing but work hard and kick ass for years! We were away for their album launch unfortunately and we genuinely were sick we missed it but we will be seeing them with Architects and Vile Regression in a few weeks. Playing with them will keep us on our toes, Lango is one of the best drummers I’ve ever seen!
Salvation In Sacrifice will be released Friday 13th March at midday GMT
Throne Of Bones will be released very soon
The Unleashed Festival presented by EHT Promotions in association with Jetrocker.com, PlanetMosh, Overdrive PR and Mainstage Design takes place on September 25th, 2015. For more information visit the event page
For more information on Dead Label
All photography by Fiaz Farrelly