The Black Dahlia Murder have just released their new 4th studio album, ‘Deflorate’, and we caught up with frontman Trevor Strnad to talk about metal, KFC and more metal…
Introductions are a must, Name, rank and favourite KFC meal ?
My name is Trevor Strnad, I sing in the band and I think that the new Kentucky grilled chicken is bullshit. How stupid does the colonel think I am? That shit’s not grilled.
Black Dahlia has a sound unique amongst a sea of imitators. What steps do you now take when writing to keep people on their toes?
I think its always been a lot of attention paid to the details. There is a lot going on on the new album… i think it has more intricacies and little technical bits that will help keep us separated from the pack. We aren’t really concerned with the imitators… I haven’t really heard a good one yet. As long as we have Brian, we’ll always have the better riff.
With two tours already completed on Australian shores, can we expect another run in support of the new album?
Yes. Were still working on it, but yes, we”ll be back. We had a blast our first two times in Australia and I personally can’t wait to be back.
Deflorate has an interesting cover of what appears to be some form of monster turning people into stone. Could you explain some of the lyrical content contained on Deflorate and how the concept for the album/album cover came about?
For the most part I think “Deflorate” is firmly planted in death metal, lyric wise, but I tried to take some of the songs into a new territory… a bit of a science fiction twist, so to speak. The last song, “I Will Return” for example, is about cryonic freezing. The cover itself was inspired by a few different sources. The characters and the concept of turning the people to stone came from a really weird dream I had one night. The bright look of it was inspired by Iron Maiden “Powerslave” and the colourful death metal albums of yore. I chose the yellow logo on blue to make it a total throwback package. We wanted something that was going to surprise our fans and separate “Deflorate” from “Nocturnal”… we didn’t want them to think that we were going to be releasing the same record. I think its cool because its both classicly metal looking, but different than anything thats been coming out lately.
The new album peaked at 43 on the top 100, more than 30 positions higher than Nocturnal. Did you anticipate that the album would be so well received?
I had hopes that it would outsell nocturnal. Thats our hope on every album, to take it to the next level. I’ll tell you what though… 43 feels pretty good. It’s just proof that we are on the right track to world domination. I’m just happy to have fans and be able to keep doing this. I love what I do and I wouldn’t trade it for world.
Ryan Knight recently joined the fray late last year. Is it difficult locking in with new members when it comes to the writing process and how is Knights influence heard on Deflorate?
Knights coming was really exciting for us. We were glad to be bringing another creative force into the fold… we encouraged Ryan to show us his stuff from the get go… it was understood by all parties that it would be this way and that he would be part of the creative team. It was a nice change from John who was unenthused about the band and who hardly contributed anything to be with Ryan Knight. Even though we were under serious time constraints he confindently offered up the bulk of two songs for the album which came out fucking awesome. This album is just the beginning of our relationship with Knight, and we are all excited about what the future may hold.
Black Dahlia has a very tongue and cheek attitude towards touring, music and life in general which is refreshing in a genre so caught up in how serious it is. How important is having fun at Black Dahlia shows and is the Ape a crucial aspect of this?
Fun is at the heart of everything we do. It’s fun to create this music, its fun to go out and deliver it live. Its amazing that this is my job and my life… I would be lying if I didn’t have fun. Once this stops being fun, we’ll stop doing it. The ape is somewhat of an embodiment of fun. I think to see the ape in person makes kids get pumped… we just want kids to have a good time at our shows and forget how crappy normal life is for a minute.
You appear to be having some form of bromance moment with fellow Australians Psycroptic. How do you come into contact with our heavy metal gurus?
Yeah Pyscroptic! Awesome band. We were big fans of the band since we heard the second album. When we first were making plans to come to Australia, we told them, “We want Psycroptic! Get us Psycroptic!” and it actually worked out. Since then we’ve had them over to the USA for Summer Slaughter and also teamed up with them in Europe. I think they are one of the greatest extreme bands in the world and that they deserve all the success they get.
There appears to be at least a zillion more thrash riffs on Deflorate, has there been a resurgence of Slaughter of the Soul in the BDM camp ?
I hear more Slayer than ATG in the thrash parts… a little Bay Area thrash as well.
As well as writing Deflorate, the Majesty DVD was also released this year. Was it a struggle to manage two major projects at once and did the filming of Majesty ever become too intrusive?
Majesty was finished while the album was in the demo stages… there wasn’t much overlap, in that respect. I think if anything, it ended being the perfect segue into the next era of the band, and kept a lot of eyes on us even though the Nocturnal album cycle was cooling off a bit. I think it created a lot of anticipation for “Deflorate”…it all worked out perfectly.
As far as the filming goes, I personally never felt that it was intrusive. I think it would take some level of shame for that to be so, and you’re definitely talking to the wrong man and the wrong band.
Any releases you have heard this year that have truly turned your head ?
Tribulation – “The Horror”, Code “Resplendent Grotesque”
Favourite bands to tour with?
Psycroptic, Skeletonwitch, Cannibal Corpse
Favourite festival circuit?
Euro summer festivals
Hardest country to crack tour wise ?
Anything south american
Thanks for the interview.