On 30 may 2009 New Zealand MORBID ANGEL fans finally had their chance to catch the band live and back in NZ after 13 years! The legendary US Death Metal band did not fail to dissapoint! Frontman David Vincent aka Evil D took time out to chat with NZRock the day before the show…
NZRock: It’s been like 13 years since you guys were here last and you were away from MORBID ANGEL for almost 8 of those. What did you do in your time away from the band?
DV: Well, I did some work with GENITORTURERS. I did some soundtrack stuff, some videogame stuff. I kinda needed a break and I kinda needed to address a number of things in my life which I wasnt happy about and at the time I felt that the best way to do that was to bow out for a while.
NZRock: Was it a hard thing to do at the time?
DV: It was necessary. Nothing in life is easy but if something is necessary then it’s necessary.
NZRock: Can you go through the chain of events which led to you rejoining MORBID ANGEL?
DV: Well, I got a call from the band’s manager. Basically there was a situation where there was a South American promoter who I was friends with actually. I hadn’t seen him in a while but he explained to me that the band had some shows booked down there that they’d already had to postpone twice and there was some issue still unbeknownst to me that the other guy was done or that there was some conflict. Anyway he asked me if I’d be interested in doing these four shows. I thought about it and I was like, hmmm that sounds interesting. And it was like this whole fresh thing that happened, it was really cool. And that’s all it was ever going to be, just four shows in South America. Well, we got along really well, the crowd was really jazzed, and no sooner did we get home then the band’s booking agent just started getting calls from far and wide saying hey we want this and that. And he said hey, do you guys want to do a tour, basically picking up as if there was no gap, just picking up where I left off you know what I mean. And yeah you know, it seemed like there was a really good vibe, everyone got along really well, so we did just that. Then we started working on some new material for all the right reasons… good vibe, really organic, it felt good, we were all having fun and that’s a great reason to do something you know.
NZRock: What was it like working with Trey again, did you find your personalities had changed over the time away even though everything has come together so well?
DV: Well everyone is probably a little more mature than they were but we’re all essentially the same people. Trey is just like this massively creative guy, he always has been. As familiar as you are with something you just need to be reminded and I was reminded. Not that I ever forgot about that but you know, getting back together with the guys it just kinda reaffirmed that man, what a fucking great band we are! That’s cool and obviously it’s been reinforced by the enthusiasm that we’ve seen from the audience which just makes us work that much harder too. When you’re delivering on stage and they’re giving you back ten-fold the energy then all you do is add more to it so the shows have been really, really good.
NZRock: You’ve been playing a new track ‘Nevermore’ in your live set. Have you been playing any others as well?
DV: Hmmm no, everything else I just want to kinda unleash because you know, with the way the business side of music is these days, it’s probably wiser to do it that way, that’s what I was thinking. We’re all excited about the new stuff but when it happens we want to be like, here it is, BAM!
NZRock: When you do the new recordings have you got any procedures in place to keep them from being distributed early through the internet?
DV: Well, you know somewhere along the line some people… and I dont know what reason for it is, whether it’s limited home training or their preception that the Internet all of a sudden makes everything free. It’s kind of a problem in the sense that… I buy CDs, I support the bands that I like because I’m a fan and I want the bands that I like to continue putting out stuff and the best way for me that I know to reward hard work is with a dollar you know. If I buy their CD then hopefully it’ll be profitable enough for them in the long-run, if I’m part of their profitability to where they dont have to go home and get a job flipping burgers or whatever they can do, and they’re back working on music. And I think that if anybody who calls themselves a fan of music would mind their p’s and q’s and do just that, then that’s what makes music continue. If they don’t do that then you know, I don’t think they’re being real fans, they’re just being posers. If you’re really a fan, music is worth something. People put a lot of love, a lot of blood sweat and tears into their art whether its a painting, music or a film, it costs a lot of money and takes a lot of years out of people’s their lives – there are these amazing commitments that happen. You wouldn’t expect to go and get a burger or a new car for free so why would you expect to get your entertainment for free and I think that if everybody is mindful of this… we need to police ourselves is what it is. I buy CDs, if I can do it then everybody can.
NZRock: Do you collect vinyl anymore?
DV: Some, but its a lot more difficult to get on an airplane and a turntable and to plug into the accessory outlet, that’s just silly HAHA! I like to listen to a lot of music and I’m thankful to my iPod for that. These days its more of a space consideration. I have collectable stuff but generally I’m just digital.
NZRock: Going back to new recordings, this has been the longest space of time between any MORBID ANGEL album, has that amount of time been of benefit for you guys in terms of having more time to write?
DV: Yeah that and finding out what is it that we want to do. We’re not interested in repeating ourselves and when you have a catalogue that’s large its already difficult enough just selecting a set. But listen, we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve and I don’t think that anyone is going to be too dissapointed.
NZRock: I read a couple of interviews where Trey said that he’s been listening to some heavy drum n bass music. Is there any chance some elements of that may end up on the album?
DV: Well here’s the thing, theres a certain energy that comes from that kind of music. Obviously in that kind of music there’s no guitars and there’s no real drums so… you know, Trey is a guitarist and we have a drummer so are we going to be putting out a dance record? no. There are different ways to go about stuff, I think what it is, is being able to include the essence and the energy of stuff. When he’s talking about the stuff that he’s into it’s severe, it’s really brutal, like the Rotterdam stuff. It’s very aggressive. It’s literally Death Metal minus the vocals, the guitar and the real drums. But I mean in terms of the energy that you’re feeling coming out of it, it’s richter. It’s as extreme for its genre as sort of Death Metal is for the Metal genre.
NZRock: What about in terms of whats inspiring you. Lyrically is it the occult and the same interests which you’ve held over these years?
DV: You know, that’s where my basis is. And I’ve found that that’s a good platform to talk about a lot of things. The band has always been about getting rid of boundries. To bring it down to it’s most zen state it’s about self improvement and self empowerment. I’ve always found that horror, occult type themes are a great way to tie a story together and its damn entertaining to me as well, I’m really into it. So I find ways to use, in sort of like a metaphoric kind of way, like certain themes and then it’s not just about that, it could be just about that but usually there’s about 3 or 4 ways that you can take anything. I let the people put the pieces together and just try to be artistic about it.
NZRock: It’s said that having an interest in the occult draws that energy to you. Have you ever had any sort of supernatural or occult experiences? I’ve always been interested in this.
DV: Absolutely. Well listen, humans are very creative people, creative beings and if you get rid of preconcieved limitations of thought its amazing what the human mind can come up with. And if you don’t allow yourself to stagnate and you don’t allow youself to be sort of be funneled into preconcieved notions, the sky’s the limit in terms of where you can go, where your thoughts and your dreams and your aspirations can take you. We’ve always tried to encourage people to look beyond the obvious because nothing is as it seems, it never is. There’s a lot more to life out there, you just have to take the time and meditate and find your place. Challenge yourself to think outside the box. It’s very easy to think within the box because the box is where the world makes its money, predicting what people want to eat, predicting what sort of medical ailments are going to trouble someone and designing a pill to cure those ailments without necessarily addressing the root cause of it. ‘Hey! Listen!’ shows a guy at a ball game eating a hotdog that’s got chilli and all kinds of slop on it and then he’s got a stomach ache later and here, take this pill and you’ll feel alright. Well, the fact that you have a stomach ache is that your body is telling you that you’re not getting anything out of this food, it’s not good for you. So the only thing the pill is doing is turning off your body’s [message] that I don’t want this, this is crap, why are you putting this in me? The ball game still makes money on their concessions and now the drug company makes money on selling you something that’s just going to turn off something you could’ve made a better choice of anyway. It’s a vicious circle and we could go on about this for days! HAHA!
NZRock: Going back to specific supernatural experiences that have happened to you, can you go into any of that?
DV: I’d rather not, and only because it’s personal stuff. But it’s something that keeps me drawn to it because I know that its as real as anything else is. And anybody who allows themselves to dream and to explore will have unique experiences where the only limitation is how far they allow themselves to go. And everybody should experiment, everybody should you know, dream more, create more, sit there and take 10-15 minutes out of a day and just sit in quiet and allow your mind to drift. Do daydreaming, I’m a big daydreamer, I do it all the time. People come up to me all the time and say are you alright? And I’m just thinking. It’s a wonderful thing if you can find the time, not even find the time, make the time. Because everyone would be a lot more aware of themselves and their environments and they’d be able to put some pieces together rather than just take someone’s word for it. When you can take your own word for it, it’s a lot more important to you than when you’re just taking someone elses word for it. Its a good thing to put yourself in situations where you do experience more because you’re a bigger person, rather than narrowing yourself down and becoming closed in, you just open up and there’s just so much more to life when you allow yourself to live, and when you force yourself to live.
NZRock: You’ve been affiliated with the Church Of Satan for a long time now…
DV: I don’t deny it but I’m not really active in terms of like this heirachy. That can be just as much of a country club, you know political thing as anything else can be. I joined because I felt like it was a good idea and it’s a great antithesis to a number of things out there. And its certainly a book – Dr LaVey’s original book, and even the subsequent books, its a good read. And for anyone who has questions about things that’s a great place to start asking questions because I really feel that organised religion is really at the centre of a lot of problems and a lot of closed mindedness that we have in this world. Wars, I mean hell, Islam is the worst offender, I mean as bad or worse than Christianity. Probably the only organised religion that I don’t have a problem with would be Buddhism because it’s almost paganism. It’s just a different path that works, these other things they don’t work. Any religion that has this belief, this system that just subjugates women the way that they do, I just have no respect for it at all.
I’ll try to break this down the best way that I can. When you’re in an environment that is all about thought control, and its really not even so much the church anymore. I mean that was a good thing to rally to, to get everyone thinking along the same lines. I mean Christianity is by and large done in terms of their worldwide influence at this point but there are a lot of laws out there that are based on that dogma that need to go away. And I think it’s even as simple as… I mean there are actually places that they’re not allowed to sell alcohol and beverages on a Sunday because that’s what the Lord said… I mean come on! But there are some vestiges of laws that were adapted out of people being concerned about those things and you know, it’s time that they’re done. And Islam, that whole thing just needs to be erased. It’s silly, its causing a lot of problems and its simply not compatible with anything. It’s not compatible with human rights, it subjugates women, its violent and its just bad news. That’s my opinion.
NZRock: As a member of MORBID ANGEL, have you had any serious run-ins with Christians and other religious groups over the years ?
DV: Oh yeah! In the old days our shows were picketed, our shows were cancelled. Yeah great! HAHA! I dont care, we’re going to do what we do and if you don’t like it don’t come. I never force anybody into a show so its none of their business. If they want to turn up then they’re going to see a great show. If they’re not into it and they want to stand outside with a sign then they’re missing a great show. I’m not interested in converting anyone. I encourage people to think outside the box and I encourage people to be open minded and to challenge themselves but sadly some people don’t have that in them. Religious dogma has been a major pathogen throughout the years in stifiling creativity but it has also been something that has spawned creativity in some people. I mean all the Marquis de Sade stuff was a result of him being in an environment that was staunchly Christian and staunchly diciplined and staunchly narrow minded. So his take on it was that he went out of his way to be as vulgar as possible – in a really artistic way I might add – to sort of spin it. It was really cool, amazing stuff. A lot of his letters that he wrote when he was in prison were even more interesting to me than the novels that got him into trouble in the first place. If you search for it you’ll find it, you’ll find things that’ll be inspirational to you.
NZRock: Slight change in topic, last year when you guys went to Milan, you had your legendary bullet belt confiscated from you. Did you ever get it back?
DV: You know, it’s all over now, I did get it back. I got judgement in my favour but it still cost me a lot of fucken money. I dont put that much importance on material objects, what I put importance on is the righteousness of my case in that I did nothing wrong and I’m not a criminal. I hired a really good attorney. If there’s a law in the books that says you can be arrested for a stage costume, and if the police aren’t trained well enough to be able to discern what’s live ammunition and what is a stage costume… I was in disbelief of it, I was in disbelief of the whole thing I mean I was under arrest and being held in a room with like a SWAT team almost and I was like are you fucking kidding me? They weren’t kidding. The moral of the story is, I fought it to the length that I did because I was hoping that maybe some other person would get popped on a similar charge who maybe wouldn’t have the means to do so and you know, I was trying to get it to the point where… you know, lets change the law. Things don’t work the same way in Italy as they do in the States from a legal standpoint. So I put into as much as until I saw there was a point of extremely diminishing returns and then I was like, alright I’m clear. Everything was thrown out, I got the belt back but it was costly for really no reason at all. I’m not interested in starting a revolution so… HAHA!
NZRock: You did guest vocals on the SOULFLY song ‘Blood Fire War Hate’ released on their 2008 album ‘Conquer’. How did that come about?
DV: Yeah, I’ve been friends with Max [Cavalera] for years. He happened to be recording at a studio in Orlando, Florida which is about an hour, two hours away from where I live. He called me up and goes “Hey man, I’m recording this album and I’ve got this song that I’d really like for you to sing on, would you be interested in doing it.” I happened to be home, the schedule worked out right and it was a really good time man. Max is a great guy and you know, they play the song every night and its really well recieved and we had a lot of fun doing it. It’s cool when stuff works out in a cool way.
NZRock: So you’re finishing this New Zealand / Australian tour and then heading back home to record is that right?
DV: This run of dates and then we have another 6 or 7 shows in South America and then that’s it until the record’s done, unless some stupid ridiculous thing just falls out of the sky but I don’t forsee that happening. We’re at the point where it’s like enought of this, lets get the record finished.
NZRock: You’ve got these South American tour dates but you haven’t done a US tour for quite some time. Any reason?
DV: No, well we played on the way out here, just the other night, one show one show in California to break up the flight. Because it’s a fucking long flight down here! HAHA! Annoyingly long! Once we get here it’s great but it’s the getting here that’s like a long, long time. So yeah, we’ve only played one show in America and that’ll be the only show this year but we will play, they’ll just have to wait, sorry about the bad luck HAHA! This tour was planned for about a year so that’s what it took to get it worked out but I’m glad because I really enjoy it down here, there’s a lot of really cool people. I haven’t been to New Zealand as much but I’ve been to Australia a little more. Cool country man, not near as crowded as other parts of the world. We have several days off in Australia and I’m going to fill those days off with some fun stuff.
NZRock: Just before you go, do you have any memories from your last visit to New Zealand back in the 90s?
DV: Phew, the last time that I was here would’ve been late 95′ or early 96′. You know I don’t know. I don’t remember having a bad time. When something is good it goes in the good column, when something is extremely bad it goes in the crossed off the list column. I think it’s a cool place, I’m amongst good company right now and it’s really about that you know. Every day is a day in life and you enjoy and you’re thankful for any good experience. That’s how I roll.