Trevor Strnad – The Black Dahlia Murder – Ghostfest 2012

Death Metal titans, The Black Dahlia murder, headlined the first day of this years Ghostfest in a whirlwind visit to the UK
We managed to catch up with the bands vocalist, Trevor, before they took to the stage for what was to be yet another awesome performance.

Interviewer: Thom Hague


What’s your approach to writing new material with the band?

It’s changed over the years man, it used to be like, everybody would get together, hash out some riffs, stand around with a bunch of dickheads for a few hours and nothing happens, but now guitar players can go home and work in pro tools,program the drums and we start with a really good sounding it’s worlds away from crappy boom box recordings that we used to make, so I get to take that and sit there and write lyrics over it to my hearts content, in my underwear, eating crisps. But I mean it’s kind of become more private I guess for the guys and I think they have more success when they can just kind of do it themselves and also hear what the other instruments are going to be doing as well and have a real idea come to life so its definitely helped the creation process.


So technology has helped you move forward with your writing process then?

Yeah that kinda came in when we were doing the 3rd record, Nocturnal. We were programming drums because we didn’t have a drummer and we were freaking the fuck out, but we were still making songs and that was definitely a step in the right direction for us.


You’re clearly influenced by horror films,what are a few favourites and have you seen anything recently that you’ve enjoyed?

I don’t even check anything out that comes out anymore, any kind of movies, it just all looks so shitty to me, you can just call me an old man I guess about that, I’m just like “man this shit sucks”, it’s all CGI and every movie has some gay-ass love story in it you know, no matter if it’s a horror movie or what, that’s like the backbone of everything now.


So you’re an 80’s fan?

Yeah, I like shitty-ass slasher movies, I’m really into the American stuff because when I was a kid that’s what we had access to like Night of the Living Dead, all the Friday the 13th movies, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween. I check out a lot of weird Italian Euro gore movies and stuff, not always the best plots in the world but, cool atmosphere, cool eye-gouging, I definitely like that kind of stuff.


Speaking of movies and DVD’s, at the end of your DVD “Majesty”, you mention an upcoming DVD, is that in the works?

That has kinda been wrenched a little bit by the member change recently with Max coming in, it’s kind of a weird thing, it’d have two people in the video and also a lot of what Majesty is, is smoke and mirrors, like having a really big tour being the one that’s videotaped so you can look cool hahaha. So we’re waiting for the right tour in that regard too, so we can still project greatness hahaha. But I think it’s inevitable, I mean it was so successful, people are still talking about it, still watching it and it was one of the biggest things we ever did, people got into the band because of a DVD. For some people that was the first time they heard a song, that’s awesome! I didn’t expect it to be some kind of phenomenon or whatever, it’s cool. We’re still telling the jokes, just no ones taping them. It was pretty much just all the fun parts of tour and all the parts where we’re just sitting around, waiting is just taken out. So people think “Man, these are the craziest Motherfuckers that ever lived!” when actually you’re only seeing like half an hour of the day, the fun part, the
rest of the tour is like pulling teeth.


Are there any bands on this weekends line up you’re a fan of or are looking forward to seeing?

Ingested, but we missed them by a hair man, like literally they were just wiping the sweat of themselves when I walked up. Our plane was late yesterday and we were on the ground for like 3 hours, just sitting on this plane, waiting for the wind to pass, and so yeah, we missed Ingested. To tell you the truth I don’t even know a lot of the bands on the line up, it seems like their are a lot of young bands.


What’s the most embarrassing or funny moment you’ve had at a show?

Umm, there’s been a lot of falling down, when you get drunk and you climb all over shit and act the fool, you’re going to fall down sometimes. The stupidest one is just head over feet, like “see ya!”, where you’re horizontal to the Earth for a minute and you fall on your back. I’ve had a few situations where I’m trying to climb around and I’ve fallen on the monitor and been riding it like a horse, where it’s between my legs and I’m stuck.One foot is off the stage and can’t touch anything  and the other foot is onstage, and it’s not very comfortable, but you get stuck there and you look like an asshole haha All kinds of stupid shit happens, at New England Metal Fest I had this big, heinous-ass nail and I had a fucked up elbow. I was trying to step down onto the barrier from the stage, and I’m blind as fuck up there, so I miscalculated a little bit and I ended up taking a spill and I just got my hand up in time, and I busted my elbow and finger on the barrier, and it was bleeding up there and everything, the life of a dumb ass.


Trevor, you used to wear the same shorts on stage for a long time, do the shorts of power still exist?

The orange one? no man, I wish they did but one of my ex girlfriends threw them out, she’s gonna burn for that one! I couldn’t have been wearing them anymore because you know that net that’s inside? like swim trunks or whatever? it was dissolving cos I was spraying it with so many chemicals and the holes in those things kinda grate you, like a cheese grater so I just had to retire them. Plus they were pretty much petrified, they could stand, they could go get you a glass of orange juice if you wanted.


Are you working on any new material at the minute?

No, but we’re starting to think about it, this is kinda winding down, we have some more festivals, Bloodstock, Wacken and shit coming up in the summer, so maybe some stuff in the fall, but mostly secret laboratory stuff.


Are you thinking of making another concept album like Ritual?

It’s hard to say man, it’s all so open-ended at this point, we’re not even that far yet. I would love to do another concept record but, it just depends on if the stars are aligned. We did learn a lot though,just from how much work it took to do all that, like syncing up the art and everything thematically and writing the music around a theme , stuff like that, it was kind of the next level for us. If not we will take something from that, including different instruments and stuff on the record and we’ve been doing the samples live for the first time which has been cool, so we’ll definitely head down that path some more.


Do you notice a difference between the American and European crowds?

I think if it’s going well it’s the same, people are freaking out, crowd surfing, singing, we all want the same thing.


What band was it that introduced you to the more extreme side of metal?

Well the first band I ever heard was Pungent Stench and it was around 1993 and I totally wasn’t ready for it. I heard it and I was like “fuck this!”, it’s the album with the guy’s severed head cut in two and he’s making out with himself. “Been caught Buttering” and that is not a good intro if you don’t get the joke yet. I was like “these guys are seriously killing people” and thought “I’ll get back to this”. Then it was Suffocation “pierced from within” that was the first album that I bought, it was 95 and it was brand new, I just saw the art work and I was already way into horror when I was a kid so the artwork and the themes were like “Come here big boy, check this out, don’t be scared, stupid! it’s gonna be alright” That record just ruined my life pretty much, hahaha, and it’s literally still, if not the best then one of the best Death Metal records ever. So it was kind of like I blew my load too early.


What’s your biggest challenge as a band and how do you keep it fresh?

I think the biggest challenge is surviving through so much tour. As far as keeping the sound fresh, the challenge is having the balance where it’s us, it’s classic BDM that you can recognise instantly, but also you still want to check it out, because there’s new ground being covered, new sounds, new dynamics, new ideas, so straddling that line is a challenge that will always be part of it, because we want that, we want to stick with what we’ve done, we’re proud of what we’ve done and we want to have a sound that exemplifies us.But also, we’re always growing as players so more technicality, more challenging writing. It’s just a growing process, we started as kids and now we’re old farts doing this and we’ve been learning and absorbing the whole way.


What would you be doing if you weren’t in a band?

I don’t know, I think I was just so Gung-Ho crazy for metal it opened the flood gates pretty much for my reason to exist. It wasn’t school and it wasn’t sports and it wasn’t all that American dream bullshit, it was just that. My excitement is just always here, to me it’s like the alternate universe that keeps me from going insane.


Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Drinking, to get the charisma levels up and that’s about it, we just party a little bit, drink, tell some jokes, act the fool. We go up there as friends, we are friends, in spite of all the member changes, that has been the impetus for us to keep going, we’re always with our friends, always celebrating together.

About Nikita

Co-founder of PlanetMosh. Official cookie and cake baker at PM Towers.