Heavy, classic death metal: that’s what “Darkest Day” the new album of the Floridian Obituary is all about. On the other side of the phone, Donald Tardy, the drummer and founding member of the band, talks to Metalpaths for the new Obituary’s record, the new dvd and of course the well-known “Tardy Brothers” project. Furthermore Donald revealed that Obituary will come for a live show in Greece on January and promised a kick-ass show!
Hello Donald, this is Panagiotis of Metalpaths calling from Greece. How are you?
Hi, I’m fine. Thank you.
Where do we find you at the moment?
At the moment we are in Washington for the American tour.
I guess that in this period of time you don’t have anything but concerts. How were the reactions of the fans for the new songs of “Darkest Day” that you have already performed live so far?
The reactions have been just great since everyone really enjoyed the new album. The crowd reaction is great with the new songs performing live and the American tour is going very well right now.
How long will this tour last?
This tour lasts five weeks, twenty seven shows. We have already done seven shows so we have twenty more for this month.
Let’s go to the album. How would you describe “Darkest Day” to a fan that has not listened to the album yet?
The “Darkest Day” seems like it is an immediate death metal classic album. We knew when we were writing it that we have something special and when we recorded it and finally listened to the final mix it really came out to be a great album. It sounds like classic Obituary. Along with some new feel some of the songs are classic Obituary songs and some other have a different feeling with tribal drumming and some of the fastest songs we have ever written in “Darkest Day”.
What was the composing process of the songs like? Who wrote the songs?
Me and Trevor wrote the whole album and John obviously wrote all the vocals.
To me, “Darkest Day” reminds a lot of the “World Demise” release…doesn’t it?
I agree with that. We are getting lots of different comments. Many people say that it reminds them a lot the “World Demise”, other say that it is similar with the “End Complete” and a lot of the reviewers say that is one of our best albums in a long time. Lots of positive output and lots of positive reviews with this record and we are very excited.
What’s your favorite song of the album and why?
I like “List of Dead” and “Blood to Give”. I like the whole album. Every song is easy-listening. You know what we are not the most technical band, we are not the fastest band but somehow we stick right in our comfortable packet. We have the mid-tempos, rhythm, groove, heavy, crunchy sound and a lot of the songs of this album have that feel so. I’m very proud of this record.
Are you referring to a special day in the title of the album when you call it “Darkest Day”?
No…the album’s title doesn’t have anything to do with reality. It’s the album, the cover artwork match the song that John wrote “Darkest Day” so we decided to call the album like this.
It’s the second time after “Xecutioner’s Return” that you are recording at home. Are you satisfied with the production of the album? How is it going with your own studio?
I’m very satisfied. I’m very proud of the production we are getting now. A lot of bands are hearing this production and are wanting to record with us now in our studio so that’s a good feeling for the future because in the future I would like to produce and engineer albums and help bands record so that’s definitely a part of the future. I think that you can compare the production of both “Tardy Brothers” project and “Darkest Day” with any record out there. I’m very proud of it, I think it sounds great.
And it must be more relaxed having your own studio…
Yeah it’s really cool feeling. We can record any time we want day or night morning or evening. There is no pressure you know when you are in the studio you have to be there at a certain time and if you are not feeling that good that day or if it doesn’t come out right that day you have to sometimes live with that. When we are in our own studio we can always change things, go back and re-record, try again, we can record in the middle of the night if we want or in early morning so it’s a really cool feeling.
The last years, since “Frozen In Time” album, you are releasing a lot of material every year like “Xecutioner’s return”, the “Left To Die” EP, a best of release, some dvds and now “Darkest Day”. You look really active…like a second teenage…
Yeah, you know, we are just very comfortable with the chemistry that we have. We are very comfortable in Tampa Florida, we are very comfortable with the studio that we use, very comfortable with the studio that we mix the album and more comfortable mixing more sound for mastering the album and the dvd. It’s just one of the things that we have been around for a long time and we know what we want. We are comfortable with our atmosphere and we are happy to stick to what we know and a very convenient and efficient way to produce music and I think that the products that we are doing are great sounding products and we will definitely keep doing what we are doing.
Do you have the pressure as musicians to release new albums every one or two years or you don’t care about it? I mean do you sit down to compose new songs when it naturally breathes out of you when you feel it and when you have the inspiration to do it?
I don’t know… I know that with Obituary we have been a band long enough we focus on each other and Obituary and “Tardy Brothers” album. I don’t listen much to other bands. After being in the industry this long, there’s nothing that’s really going to influence me on Obituary. I know Obituary influences a lot of new bands. When it comes to inspiration and new feeling for a new album I focus on my drumming, my feel of what I want for my music and it’s never an outside influence. Obituary always writes songs from the inside and we are very comfortable with our chemistry and how we produce albums and come up with new ideas. It’s just that after twenty five years it’s second nature for us.
While the most of the bands experiment with their music and modernize themselves during the years, Obituary still remains classic. There are no surprises or big differences from album to album but pure, classic death metal. Have you ever thought to try something new with your music?
No with Obituary I don’t think that needs any change. You know we have a saying here in Florida that says “if it’s not broke don’t fix it”. That simply means we know that Obituary like to our fans, they love our music. You know if Slayer comes out with a new album that sounds completely different I don’t think that their fans will be very happy with that. We buy Slayer albums because we love Slayer and we know what to expect and with Obituary I think it’s the same way. I think fans buy Obituary albums because they want to listen to Obituary. You know in other projects, in other things in the future I will always try different styles of music but with Obituary we want to keep it Obituary because we know it’s a very special, magical thing that we have so we will definitely stick with what Obituary should be.
On the other hand, you also released a live dvd. I haven’t checked it out yet. Is there any backstage or whatever staff included in the dvd or just the live show?
No this is just the live show. It was a live in Bad Berka it was actually the last day of the tour, it was filmed, we knew we played a great show, they came to us and show the footage and the recording came out great, and they asked us if we would like to make it a dvd so we said yes, we agree. That’s pretty much, it’s a real good live performance.
How this idea of the dvd came out? Are you satisfied of the dvd production?
The dvd production came out great. We knew that we performed a good show in Bad Berka so it was not very hard to mix the dvd. We performed well. The drums sound was already there. It really came out good. Obituary was always just a very good band live we always had a good live performance and when we knew that “Bad Berka” show was filmed we knew we performed a good night so that was an easy decision and we are very happy with the result.
Some years ago, John in an interview said that “Roadrunner could have done more for us”. What problems did you have with Roadrunner? Are the things better now with Candlelight ?
That’s a long story. I don’t care to go back to Roadrunner and our problem. We have passed that.It was simply a record label that was no longer appreciate one of their first death metal band and we have been ignored and they really had no desire to promote the band and to respect the band to what we needed because we were one of the first band that put them on on the map of death metal and they didn’t appreciated that so we knew that it was time to move on. We are happy now, we are focused on the future and we are really just focused on writing good death metal albums.
What really happened with Allen West? Do you have any news from him?
I still talk to Allen. If you don’t know what happened he was drinking and driving and arrested four times in like two years so he went to prison. That’s the story, that’s what happened with Allen. He’s out of prison now he lives in Florida, I still talk with him, he’s a good friend of my but you know we are focused on future and we are moving forward with what we have now.
However, I really like Ralph, and the most of the fans as well I guess. How does it work with Ralph?
Ralph is an amazing solo player for sure. He is one of the best in the business when it comes to playing solos and Obituary has definitely moved to another level with Ralph playing solos on our albums. So we are very happy with that.
In addition to your recent activities, you released the Tardy Brothers project as well. Tell as a few things about this.
Well the “Tardy Brothers” project is something that I wanted to do for many many years because I also play guitar. So I wrote all these songs on guitar and I performed all the guitars on that album along with the drums and bass guitar and then I had friends for the guitar solos. It’s something that me and John have always wanted to do, some of the songs are fifteen years old, a lot of them I wrote just in the last 2-3 years and as I said I played all the guitars on that record so I love the songs that I wrote, I’m really proud of them, and I think Obituary fans will really enjoy the “Tardy Brothers” album.
What can a fan expect from Obituary’s future? What are your upcoming plans?
We are very very busy for the whole next year. We have this American tour that takes us to October 5th. We have a couple shows in Mexico, halloween which is the end of October, Australia in November then South America at the end of the year in Dedember. In 2010 there will be an Obituary tour in Europe including Greece. In the summertime of 2010 we will do outdoor festivals in Europe hopefully we will also try to do some Tardy Brother festivals in 2010. So we are very busy right now. Whenever we get time to go home we will start writing some new songs for Obituary and Tardy Brothers.
That’s cool that you are coming again in Greece. What are your memories since your last visit to our country?
Greece is amazing for Obituary big crowds very very happy fans they don’t have the opportunity to see us very often so when they do they are very excited about it and Obituary really loves Greece. There are a lot of Obituary fans in Greece and we are definitely gonna go there in 2010 and put up a kick ass show!
Also it’s really interesting the fact that you have in your mind to do some “Tardy Brother” live shows. What about the line up of the band for the lives?
I don’t know yet. I have an idea and it will be consisted of some friends of my that are in bands and actually they are from Florida. When we put on for a Tardy Brother show we are gonna make a big production, it’s gonna be an amazing show. The songs that had been written in the album are good and I know it’s gonna be a great live show. So when we will take a break for a while with Obituary and we will be back at home we will be focused on Tardy Brothers shows.
It’s sure that it will be really interesting for the fans attending a Tardy Brothers live show. We all liked the album.
Thank you, I’m really proud of it.
Anything else you would like to add?
I hope that everybody stay in contact with us. Don’t forget to visit our website www.obituary.cc , my brother always update the website. On the American tour every morning he is updating the site and he is putting up new photos from every show, so people in Greece can obviously see what Obituary are doing every day and when we’ll come in Europe we will definitely do shows in Greece and I hope that everybody will come and support the band. We are looking forward for a great show or two in Greece and we will see you soon.
Thanks for your time Donald. See you soon in Greece.
Thank you very much. I hope that it was a good interview for you. Bye bye.
Interview: Karagiannidis Panagiotis.