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Day of the Beast
Day of the Beast are easily one of the best new bands I have heard. They play old school death/thrash with a dose of Kreator mixed in to boot. After hearing the band’s disc I emailed bass player Steve Harris some questions and here is what he said to them and also some imputfrom guitarist Eric Barlow:
MC: Give me a history of the band and what the current line-up is and did any of you come from any other bands?
SH: The band began in 2006 with Eric Barlow, our ex-guitarist KC, and original drummer Aaron Jacka. I joined shortly afterward and after a revolving door of try-out bass players, we finally were lucky enough to snag Justin Shaw who had recently departed from Arsis. After our first album, Aaron decided to leave the band as his career and parental responsibilities became first priority. We were not looking forward to the challenge of finding a drummer that was even close to Aaron's skill, but we managed to find an equally badass drummer named Jeremy Bradley. KC left the band in the summer of 2009 and Mike Gardner stepped up as our lead guitarist. Pretty tumultuous changes after only one album, but we're very positive that this is the lineup people will remember us for.
MC: How long has the band been together and do you guys all get along pretty well?
SH: We've been around for the greater part of four years. Through a couple lineup changes, we have a stable lineup that gets along incredibly well. We still love to talk shit to one another, but we only do it because we know we can get away with it.
MC: How did you come up with your name and the cover art for the CD? Is this your only release or is there other stuff floating around?
SH: We brainstormed for months over the title of our album, but couldn't agree on a damn thing, so we decided to make it a self-titled album. The cover art, created by Joe Petango, represents the most literal form of The Day of the Beast. He couldn't have done a better job, and we couldn't be more proud that such masterful artwork is represented on our first album. At this point the self titled disc is the only full release from the band, but we’re in the studio now recording the second one.
MC: How would you describe the music of the band and how have the reviews been for the band?
SH: Our music has the foundation of thrash metal with as much death and black metal influences as we can grind into it. The term "Blackened Thrash Metal" has seemed to be the most agreed upon genre for us, but there's so much stuff going on in our music (especially on our first album) that its difficult to really determine the genre. It doesn't really matter what people label our music as, we merely aim to trample and pulverize the listener. The handful of written publications we‘ve gotten reviews in we‘re very kind. We have also gotten mostly positive reviews on all sorts of internet webzines and blog sites. We’re excited about the next album. We think its going to get a better response than the first one.
MC: What are some of your favorite bands and if you could pick 3 covers to do which 3 songs would you pick and why?
SH: We already covered a couple UK metal anthems, Venom's Black Metal and Motorhead's Iron Fist. As far as covers we’d like to do and our favorite bands; I could sit here and create the hugest list of badass songs and bands, but it’d take forever. I will say we’ve been tossing around the idea of doing a Judas Priest song. We’ll see what happens.
MC: How does a song come together and is it a group effort and the same thing with lyrics?
SH: Before, the songs were meticulously planned out in the head of one of our guitarists and taught to the other. Nowadays, we don't have time for that. Sometimes some our newer material will come to fruition during random jam sessions. Other times, we will just take a hodge-podge of riffs and tack them together to make something gnarly. These days, I'm chiefly responsible for my own vocals, although sometimes Eric will give me a topic or some lyrical themes and I take it from there. My short term memory is God-awful, so I always need to rely a handheld recorder to record a practice session before I can throw lyrics over a song. Improv song writing is not my thing.
MC: I know you are from Virginia. Is there a healthy metal scene there and do you get to play live much around where you are from and is there any cool metal stores in the area?
SH: Plague the Suffering, Impale the Sun, Possessor, and Cyaegha are bands from the same area that we are that are definitely worth checking out. The metal scene around here is much like it is anywhere else, it’s a mixed bag. As far as stores go, Skinnie's records in Norfolk is always a killer record store with a focus on underground metal, punk, and rock, its got tons of shirts, stickers…all kinds of stuff. Its been there for a long time. If you’re in Norfolk, go to Skinnie’s and buy something. There is a shop in Newport News, Virginia called Fantasy that is pretty badass too. You can find a lot of rare and collectible metal memorabilia at both of those places. Check them out.
MC: I know you have a My Space page. How has the response to that been so far and have you met any cool new bands?
SH: Myspace is pretty quiet these days, but we still utilize it every day. The bulk of the bands we’ve played shows with outside of Virginia have been bands we’ve met via Myspace. We’ve met some die hard fans through Myspace too, but we've never been dependent on it to get our name out there. Basically it’s a fancy networking tool which is beneficial to any band out there, big or small, but if you’ve got a million views and you aren’t out there doing shows and hanging with the people that dig your music then all the views in the world don’t mean shit.
MC: How did you come up with the name for the band and were any other names considered?
SH: Eric and our former guitarist came up with the name after seeing a poster for the film with the same name. How the name wasn’t already taken still completely blows my mind.
MC: How have you been promoting the CD so far and have you sent or are you planning on sending it to any labels?
SH: First and foremost, as a band, you promote your CD by going out and trying to put on a kick ass live show. We run our own Myspace and Facebook pages. Canonical Hours handles all the promotion outside of that. They’ve been doing a great job as far as getting ads for the album placed in relevant magazines and publications. We don’t really have any plans to send anything off to any other labels at this time. We’re content with the progress we’ve made and Canonical Hours has been a major factor in that progress. If we get approached by another label, we’ll definitely talk to them, but so far so good.
MC: I met somebody from the band at the Maryland Deathfest have you ever played one and would you like to in the future and what did you think of the event?
SH: That was me. We have never played the fest as a band, but Justin has played the fest as part of Arsis. We'd certainly love to play the fest in the future. The event itself is always the high point of my year, and I've been lucky enough to see so many bands I never dreamed of seeing such as Bolt Thrower, Asphyx, and Autopsy. The diversity that the fest has displayed the past couple of years is something that I love and hope it continues since I love everything from thrash to black metal to crusty grindcore. We’d love to play at MDF. It is a fest that has managed to build a very good reputation for delivering quality old AND new bands and lots of different genres…and its done very well. It’d be an honor to play on a Maryland Deathfest bill.
MC: Do you think there is anything about the band that makes you a bit different and stands out from all the other bands out there?
SH: We’re not reinventing the wheel. Nobody is. So no…not really. We’re five guys who pull from our influences in metal and extreme metal or any other genre, for that matter and write songs in homage to those influences. If that makes us sound different from other bands then that’s cool. We’re just flying the flag for heavy metal.
MC: What sort of merchandise do you currently have for sale?
SH: We sell CD’S and shirts at our live shows. If you send us off an email and wanna pick one up, we’ll work something out. As of right now we don’t have any available online. I imagine that will be happening soon. The CD is available thru us, Canonical Hours, Relapse.com, itunes, cdbaby.com, Cyclone Empire, and some others that I know I’m forgetting.
MC: Do you think your a good live band and is there any live clips of the band floating around on the internet?
SH: Yeah, we think we’re a damn good live band. There are clips from local shows that we’ve done floating around online.
MC: What in your eyes makes a good song and a good live band?
SH: A good song is a song that moves you in some sort of manner. You hear it and it evokes some sort of emotion in you that is more noticeable than other times you’re listening to music. On the same token a good live band should be a good representation of the music that it puts out. You want to try to get that same response, but in a live setting.
MC: What do you think of all this downloading that goes on and do you think fans should buy a CD or pay to download a disc instead of trading it for free?
SH: A fan buying a CD certainly helps us to make another CD. So, if you like us enough that you’d wanna hear new stuff, then yeah buy the CD if you’ve got the cash. Lets face it though, music downloading illegal or otherwise is gonna happen. And for smaller bands like us the exposure that you gain thru it is good. People in parts of the world that I never thought would hear our album have heard it and that’s pretty fuckin’ cool. We didn’t start this band to make money. If we’re fortunate enough that we can one day do what we love as a full time job, then we’re all about it. But if not, we’re still here.
MC: What was the best concert you ever saw live?
SH: Exodus is always incredible when I see them. Seen them six times now.
MC: When can we expect some new music from the band?
SH: New album in the spring of 2011
MC: About how much time each week is spent doing band related stuff?
SH: When you’re in a band, in some strange way its almost a full time thing. We rehearse 2 to 3 days a week, but outside of the band all of the member are still working on ideas when we’re not around each other. We work lax hours, 7 days a week. ha!
MC: Do you guys are work regular jobs?
MC: What are some things you like to do for fun when not doing band related stuff and not working?
SH: We all enjoy getting intoxicated in various manners. Jeremy does a lot of fishing. Justin lifts weights. Mike is an author in his spare time, Eric is in school, and I do positive things for the community and entertain elderly people at nursing homes. Or not.
MC: I imagine you have been to Virginia Beach (I have it rules-chris). If you have been there have you ever bumped into the At War guys?
SH: Yeah, we’ve played with At War before and they’re always good guys. Eric and I have ran into Paul at various local shows and he has always been very cordial.
MC: Do you foresee in the future that CD's will go the way of cassettes and that everything will be in MP3 form?
SH: I think CDs will go the way of LPs. People out there will always want the cover art and the lyrics and whatnot and the want to hold it and admire it. At the same time, I’ve seen some very creative ways of packaging flash drives and other MP3 formats that will attract that same kind of music fan. In terms of record sales of physical units, the recording industry is gonna have to get really creative to keep up.
MC: Would you ever want your CD to come out on vinyl?
SH: Absolutely. There’s a possibility that the first one may get a vinyl release but that’s up in the air. We’re pushing very hard for the next one to be released on vinyl in addition to the regular CD format.
MC: Plug any websites you have and what will people see when they log onto them?
SH: Just ye old myspace page and ye old facebook page. We aren't difficult to find on there.