Interview with Trevor Strnad from The Black Dahlia Murder, 10th Jan 2010

The Black Dahlia Murder | Hamburg Markthalle | 10th Jan 2010

It’s nice to have you guys back in Germany and touring Europe in general. I know the tour has only just begun, but how has it been so far? What are your expectations for this tour?

The first two days have already hinted what the rest of the tour is gonna be like and it’s just gonna be awesome! It’s really fun, as everybody has a positive outlook and everyone seems to see the myriads of having all these different kinds of bands together. Besides, it’s a festival thing, you know, all the bands are good, we all respect each other. The crowd’s been awesome, too, so far. And we’ll see how it unfolds.

What are your plans for 2010? Just touring?

Yeah, just the same old thing. We’re gonna support “Deflorate” and play at as many places as we can. It’s definitely good to be back here, since we’ve been here so many times. Generally it’s exciting for us to see what happens in the world outside the States. Overall, it’s a BUSY-BUSY-schedule for us this year.

Is the European crowd any different compared to the American one?

Well I think it’s all the same really. You still try to get a reaction out of people. Maybe sometimes the people are a little bit more resistant to getting into the moshpit and we always try to win them over, haha. I know deep down at the heart, everybody feels the same and reacts the same. It’s pretty much a universal thing, but of course we’d like to get everyone involved.

With each album that you release, you seem to climb higher up the charts. How do you feel about that?

It’s cool, but that’s not my goal really. I just wanna have our fans who will stick with us. It’s amazing to see how things have grown within the band. This just gets us excited and makes us wanna push it and try harder and harder. Now talking about the new album, we felt a lot of pressure, because “Nocturnal” was definitely a landmark for us. And responding to that pressure was interesting, you know. It’s kinda cool showing up in the charts. I think it’s just a statement about the time…I mean metal is just big right now. You hear it everywhere nowadays. In the States is has gained a lot of popularity. So this is an exciting time for us and we’re happy to be part of it.

People used to associate your music with Metalcore and Deathcore. Do you think that your latest album “Deflorate” has finally put an end to that? Personally I think you sound more like a heavier version of At The Gates.

Yeah, there are so many tags of different genres of metal these days. Well, I think that this album and the last album have particularly done a lot as far as for setting the record straight. There were a lot of pre-conceived ideas about what the band would be like before people have heard it. In a way, though, being called Metalcore or Deathcore or Death Metal, bring everything pretty much in between and this has been a blessing, because we’ve been able to play with all different kinds of bands and fit in all different kinds of avenues. So let’s call it a blessing and a curse!

You guys have been on tour with many great bands. Which has been the best so far and why?

Generally we always have a lot of fun on tour. A lot of bands out there I think are cool people. Some are assholes, of course, but for the most part, the younger bands are cool and very appreciative. But it’s hard to say.  Well, for me the most fun is playing with a band that I consider as legendary, like Necrophobic for instance. I never even thought that I’d get to see them play. And now here we are on tour with them and get to see them every day! There have been a bunch of bands like that and every time it blows my mind to interact with them, to play with them, to see them…We also played with Suffocation, Napalm Death, Cannibal Corpse a lot of different times. Now I get to coexist with all the bands I used to listen to when I was young. So that’s really cool.

The metalscene has become more popular than ever. What are your thoughts on that? Is the significance of Metal worn out?

I think Metal is always gonna have some significance. It appeals to a certain kind of person, you know. For me, when I was young I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere. I was kinda like an outcast and a nerd and I even tried to get into sports and stuff that I felt was typical; things that you are supposed to do when you’re a kid. When I found metal it just blew my mind and I told myself “This is what it’s all about!” So I think that’s what it is to all the people; to escape from reality and so on. People will always want that, you know. You need something in life to get you excited about. It’s hard to say why it got more popular right now, it seems more like it’s in cycles, I mean in the mid 90s death metal was at rising and doing really well…in the States in particular. And in Europe, it seems to me, there’s always a huge underground thing going. It’s again a global fixation and seems to go in cycles. I bet there will be a time when it will grow again in the youth culture. But it’s not that Death Metal will ever go away. But hopefully we’ll be able to still exist during that time. That’s the only thing we’re sorta worried about, as Metal is very popular right now. So what is gonna happen to us and all these bands? We just wanna have our fans and keep our fans. I mean look at Cannibal Corpse…, they have existed through a lot different periods, coming and going. That’s kinda our model for success. So we just gotta keep it up, man!

What do you think is the difference between American and Scandinavian Metal? Where do you think the origin is based?

I don’t know. That’s so convoluted. The Americans have been influenced by so much Scandinavian music and kinda re-appropriated the styles and stuff like that. It’s similar to a melting pot over there in the States. As far as the Scandinavian stuff that we’re influenced by, I think a lot of it also comes from Iron Maiden and along with all the other melodic bands like In Flames, At The Gates, Carcass, etc. Other than that, it can all be traced back to Maiden. And that’s British. It’s debatable, but in a way we all come from the same place, you know.

Are there any modern Metal bands that you don’t consider as Metal?

People have their own definition of what Metal is to them, you know. Seems like a good opportunity to slander a band I don’t like, haha, but uh, nah, nothing comes to my head at the moment. It’s just not coming to me right at the second.

Your music deals a lot with decay and atheism. Is it important to you that people understand the themes behind your music the way you do?

Yes and no. But when a song has an emotional wake to me or if I’m expressing my personal viewpoint about humanity or something like in Necropolis for instance…people can understand that song. There are a lot of fantasy-based lyrics, too, but at the end of the day I just want to entertain people and hopefully get them involved in the music. I really like to write, it’s a fun thing to me to be creative and I really look forward to writing lyrics to all the albums and stuff like that. I’m very appreciative if anybody opens the booklet and takes a look inside.

Lastly, what’s your motto for this tour?

Just have fun and try to kick ass, cos all the other bands kick ass. So we need to keep up, hehe. Another motto is: Don’t drink too much. Just slow down a little bit! Although, it’s very hard, because you’re on the bus with a bunch of other bands! But it’s a huge relief you don’t have to drive, haha. And beer also keeps you warm.

What’s with the ‘Heartburn’ tattoo on your stomach?

I just get heartburn every day!



by Paula Cheung (c)

Interview done on behalf of

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