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Interview With Psycroptic Drummer Dave Haley

Photo of Psycroptic

Band Photo: Psycroptic (?)

Out of the isolated realms of Tasmania, Australian tech-death act Psycroptic has made their presence on the scene known with 3 brutal albums of psychotically diverse vocals, unique rhythms and killer speed and technicality. Now with album number four due to be released worldwide on October 14th, Psycroptic is once again set to show the metal world the meaning of the phrase technical death metal.

Cynic: So the new album is called "Ob(Servant)" and from the samples on your Myspace page it sounds pretty crushing. What sort of change can fans expect from "Symbols Of Failure?"

Dave Haley: I guess it’s a little more direct than Symbols...and a bit more varied. We tried to make it groove a lot more than our previous material. We kind of took a less is more approach as well - sitting on riffs longer and letting the music breath a bit more. We're really happy with how it all came out and we feel this is definitely our strongest material to date. We're looking forward to getting out and playing the songs live because I think they will come across really well on the live front.

Cynic: "Ob(Servant)" is an interesting title for the new album, what themes run through this release and where has the inspiration for Psycroptic's lyrical material come from?

Dave: The lyrics deal with a darker side of humanity and explore a lot of 'what if' scenarios. A lot of them have a sci-fi edge as well as esoteric themes running through them. For example the title track is about a being who can only see the time to come and not the past - being powerless to change anything that will happen. I try to write the lyrics in such a way that the reader can interpret them how they see fit and take what they want from them. Inspiration comes from everywhere - be it movies, TV shows, books and everyday life. I guess they are just a sum of my experiences.

Cynic: What was it like in the studio for the recording of "Ob(Servant)"?

Dave: It was quite relaxed even though the material is quite demanding. Joe (guitars) engineered the album and made the whole process run very smoothly. We recorded drums and vocals in a local studio Joe works in, and the guitars and bass were done at his home studio setup. This is the best way for us to work as we don’t have a clock ticking with money flying out the window with every second that passes. We can make sure we're happy with it all before we send off to get mixed and mastered.

Cynic: Congratulations on your signing to Nuclear Blast as well, that must be a big boost for Psycroptic?

Dave: Yeah, it’s definitely a big step up for us, and we're excited about the opportunities it will bring. From the beginning they have been super cool and supportive of us which is a very good sign for the future. Now our albums will be available everywhere and people won’t have to search for them.

Cynic: So from the end of October you guys are starting the long haul touring for "Ob(Servant)," are there any places in particular you are looking forward to playing?

Dave: We're looking forward to getting back to Europe and the US...well, everywhere basically. Its a privilege to be able to tour - many bands don’t see it this way. To be able to travel the globe and play music is a thing many people dream about, and since we have the opportunity to do it, we don’t take it lightly. Every show is important regardless of how many people are there or where it is...

Cynic: You've also toured with some of death metals big names, Nile and Cannibal Corpse etc, how has that been? Any crazy stories from the road you'd like to share?

Dave: Each day on tour is a new adventure and has a story of its own, so it’s hard to pick something out...as that’s just how touring is. You wake up each day and wonder what crazy and memorable thing will happen. Unfortunately, the bad things that happen are the ones that usually stay with you such as trips to various hospitals, vans and buses breaking down and luggage getting lost. But the bad times make the good times better!

Cynic: Psycroptic has definitely emerged as one of Australia's best metal acts, how do you guys feel about the Australian metal scene now compared to when the band was starting out?

Dave: The Australian scene has always had quality acts, and its as good now as at ever was. Of late the hardcore scene has been taking off in a huge way with bands like Parkway Drive and I Killed the Prom Queen drawing insane numbers of people to shows. This can only be a good thing for heavy music and shows that the fan base is growing. It’s unfortunate that not many Australian bands actually get out of the country to tour due to the crazy costs involved.

Cynic: When Matthew Chalk left the band in 2005, was the band at all worried about having to replace a vocalist known for such a diverse style of brutal vocals? How did the search to replace him and ending up with Jason go?

Dave: We weren’t really worried at all, as Jason had already proved to us he was up to the task when he filled in for Matthew when he turned down a European (tour) because he couldn’t get his own way and bring his girlfriend along. Matthew to be honest couldn’t do his vocals live - they were embarrassing. Sure they sounded cool on record, but live it was horrible. Jason stepped up and proved he could not only perform the vocals and put on a good stage show, but was also very easy to tour with and wanted to work as part of a team. We haven’t thought twice about the replacement and never will.

Cynic: Being a technical metal band, you guys have a lot of fans out there who go to lengths to transcribe your guitar pieces and post videos of covers on youtube - how do you feel about the effort of your fans?

Dave: It’s really an honour when people do this... its great. It shows us that people really do appreciate the material if they are going to such efforts. We do have a very loyal fan base that we appreciate and never take for granted.

Cynic: Psycroptic is known for some pretty inhuman speeds and complexity, is writing such technical music a goal you keep in mind or does it just come naturally?

Dave: The music comes very naturally to us. We don’t sit down and try to write songs that are overly technical just for the sake of being technical. We want to write music that interests us and is catchy. We're not out to be better musically than anyone else - we'll leave that to progressive bands. We all practice our instruments as much as we can so we can play the music though, as it’s quite demanding.

Cynic: I know brothers Dave and Joe have a black metal side project Ruins - Is this band a release from writing such technical Psycroptic material? Have the band always been fans of black metal music?

Dave: Well, Ruins isn’t really a side project. I play in Ruins with a friend of mine Alex - we are the core of the band. Joe is only a session live member and isn’t actually 'in' the band. He does record and produce Ruins albums though. As far as us in Psycroptic - we are all fans of different styles and black metal is one of them. I’m probably the biggest black metal fan in the band and Ruins is just an extension of my interests. Its Alex's band, and I feel honoured to be a part of it.

Cynic: So in May you guys played some shows in New Zealand, how did that go down? And you're planning to go back mid November?

Dave: Yeah, even though New Zealand is pretty close to Australia we hadn’t been there until this year. We had a good time when we were over, and we are looking forward to getting back over there. It’s a beautiful country with amazing country side. Very picturesque. It’s part of our Australia/New Zealand national tour which will keep us busy ‘til late December.

Cynic: Which song should fans be looking forward to hearing most on the road and on the new album?

Dave: Haha, that’s up to them! Everyone has different likes and dislikes...so I can’t answer what they should be looking forward to. We will be playing quite a few new songs, as well as some old songs we haven’t played in a while to keep it interesting for both us and the audiences. Each show we will be putting 100% into so people can expect a good performance from us.

Cynic: Well done on the new album and we'll be looking forward to seeing you on tour.

Dave: Thanks a lot, and hope to see you on the road soon!

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2 Comments on "Interview With Psycroptic Drummer Dave Haley"

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Anonymous Reader
1. stncttr908 writes:

Nice interview. Can't wait to catch them on a US tour!

# Sep 28, 2008 @ 10:24 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
2. DavidMB writes:

Probably one of the best interviews I've read. Very professional from both David and "Cynic". Personally I follow Dave Haley's projects because they are excellent and because he's got the skills he can also brings his own drumming style to the band. You should check out The Amenta - Occasus. A GREAT album and their latest is due very soon. I'll be hogging psycroptic.com until Ob(Servant) is released. Amazing artwork on that one. Psycroptic is one of the best death metal bands today.

# Sep 29, 2008 @ 2:04 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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