Interview With Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder
The Black Dahlia Murder are currently touring for "Deflorate," their best album since their 2003 debut "Unhallowed." Having recently finished a US tour and being right about to hit Japan and Australia, there doesn't appear to be much that can stop this band and their even increasing legion of fans. They're not only one of the most important bands of the past decade but one of the best live bands ever assembled. A Black Dahlia Pit is not just in the center of the venue, it is the venue and you're going to be part of it, whether you like it or not.
Metal Underground was lucky enough to be able to talk with frontman Trevor Strnad.
Dasher10: The great thing about your band is that it's very fan focused. For instance, you let your fans vote on your current set list. Are there any bands that you're a huge fan of?
Trevor Strnad: Lots of bands, I mean I'm always keeping up on the death metal business. I don't know man, I'm a big Megadeth fan. They're still around. That what you're asking?
Dasher10: Pretty much.
Are you tired of being tagged as a metalcore band when you're pretty obviously blackened death metal of the more melodic variety? I don't hear a lot of hardcore in your music but I do hear a lot of later Immortal, Rotting Christ, early Dissection, Dismember and In Flames. Why do you think you got the metalcore tag? Was it just something at marketing over at Metal Blade or just some of the bands you toured with?
Trevor: I think you pretty much answered it. It's just we came out at a time when we were put alongside a lot of metalcore bands in advertisements and stuff like that and Metal Blade had just gotten As I Lay Dying and Unearth too and as the time there was a scene erupting with new bands. So we were lumped in with metalcore but I'm over it. I don't really care cause I mean people are still coming to the shows so what do I have to complain about?
Dasher10: What do you have to say about that one idiot who got on stage and grabbed your nipples that you shoved?
Trevor: He's not the first idiot that has to get punched on stage. Now there's just cameras everywhere. There's cameras everywhere so stuff like that is going to get caught. But I guarantee that I'm not the only singer who has to punch someone stupid who comes up onstage. But not every kid who gets up there is with the program. Sometimes people grab the guitars while you're playing them and not realize that they're compromising the show you know what I mean. Or they're trying to sexually harass you in this case.
Dasher10: Yeah, but idiot fans touching band members is becoming a trend nowadays with what happened to Marduk and Kittie?
Trevor: Not familiar with that.
Dasher10: A guy came up onstage and gave Mortuus a hug and then another fan came up and kissed Morgan Lander of Kittie. Why do you think that's happening right around now?
Trevor: Think that it's just a coincidence
Dasher10: Detroit has a reputation as kind of a rap town since it's where Eminem and ICP are from. What made you decide to form a metal band?
Trevor: It wasn't about trying to make something for Detroit. It was just where we lived. I don't know man. We just looked to outside sources for influence, mostly European bands. It wasn't a local influence, you know what I mean?
Dasher10: You've been charged in many ways of bringing the fun back into metal. Bringing back the whole 80s and early 90s, moshing partying and having a good time attitude that's been missing in metal. Where did that attitude come from?
Trevor: I don't know, man. I guess it's our influences. At the very core of the band its the bands that we all got into metal through. It's the bands like Metallica, Pantera, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax. They were bands that we looked up to as kids. We're still just dudes in T-shirts and jeans. The liked punk too. See what they mean. Look at old pics of Metallica and Megadeth, they always had fucking punk shirts on. They had their influences and they wore them on their sleeves. I don't really see what's so different about us. We wear the same clothes that we do during the day on stage. It's not really about that thing with costumes, you know what I'm saying? People are often so cut and dry about how you have to look, even in metal which is supposed to be your escape as a nerd from reality. People are so tied to expectations of what you're supposed to look like.
Dasher10: Yeah, so many bands are obsessed with overly misanthropic lyrics, mistake unoriginality for art because it doesn't have "modern influences" and try to "keep it real" by recording in a toilet.
You're known for your intense live shows. Your pit at the show you did with Carcass was the most intense pit that I've ever been in. And I've been in some pretty sick Megadeth and Marduk pits. Are you happy with the way that Majesty turned out and are there any plans to release an audio version on CD?
Trevor: Yeah, there are no plans for an audio only thing. I think you meant the set portion of it, right? It's been huge, it's been a huge part of the legacy. Once we put that out, fans have been relentless. Now they feel like they know us. They just come right up to us. I have never declined offers to smoke weed to such an amazing amount since that thing cam out and exposed us as total potheads. Now every single show I have to decline like 30 kids who want to smoke with us. It's weird since that's what we were wanting to happen. Now it's like "oh my God. No."
Dasher10: You were one of the few bands who were responsible for the death of nu-metal by bringing prominent solos back into metal. Are you happy with being that influential.
Trevor: I don't know. I'm not much of a nu-metal guy.
Dasher10: I said you killed it.
Trevor: That's good but I never really heard that before.
Dasher10: I like how a lot of your cover art pays tribute to a lot of other bands like Powerslave, Like an Everflowing Stream and Left Hand Path.
Trevor: Nocturnal was actually Necrophobic's Darkside.
Dasher10: Anyway, it's great that you're a fan of the music that you play and you like to pay tribute to the bands that influenced you but do you ever worry that younger fans won't catch the reference?
Trevor: It happens. I don't expect every fan to know who Necrophobic is you know what I mean. It's not a point to be a reference to something else.
Dasher10: What was it like to open for Carcass last year?
Trevor: It was cool. I was standing there watching them soundcheck that day. It was awesome. And I watched them that day and I opened for them the next day in Detroit, too. I was cool, man. A fuckin' trip. Carcass were one of my first bands. Tools of the Trade was my first exposure to them. Well it was just really cool. If there's any band who should get back together and make a couple bucks off their legacy, then why not Carcass? I think that it's important that people of this generation know about Carcass and their impact and what a great band they were. So I think that was part of their decision too. And I heard that they used most of the money that they made on Ken's medical bills, anyway. So that was pretty noble.
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