David Devo Oosthuizen of The Metal Review recently conducted an interview with guitarist Ted Aguilar of the pioneering San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal band DEATH ANGEL. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
The Metal Review: Tell me about the recording of "The Dream Calls For Blood"; the influences and the recording process.
Ted: There were so many influences for this album. For us, it always stems back to the classics, especially what we grew up listening to. Also, with our previous album, "Relentless Retribution", we had a ruthless touring schedule. We spent three years touring, inclusive of new places like South America, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe. All of this travelling hugely influenced us playing with all of our peers and people we really respect like ANTHRAX, TESTAMENT, SEPULTURA, KREATOR, MEGADETH, SLAYER, EXODUS and METALLICA. We were playing so many festivals that had a huge influence on us. We also influence each other. When we first started writing and recording for "Relentless Retribution", we got a new rhythm section with Damien Sisson (bass) and Will Carroll (drums). During three years of touring, we got to know each other really well as musicians and we grew as a band. We got to learn what our strengths and weaknesses are and what buttons to push and what not. So, just within the last three years of the touring cycle influence us for the new record. Also, on the last leg of the previous tour, playing "Ultra Violence" in its entirety, from start to finish, gave us a little kick in the but as well.
The Metal Review: You guys clearly did not waste much time preparing for the new album. Are you planning to tour as extensively as on the previous album?
Ted: Yeah, we certainly hope so. The plan was to get the new album done and out as fast as we can, knowing that we were on the road so long on the previous record that we started writing on the road already. Rob [Cavestany] started with ideas already on the road in the back of the tour bus and dressing rooms. On days off in the hotel, he would start to gather some riffs on his digital four-track. In between shows and when we were home, we would get together in our rehearsal room and start put songs together. We were always ahead of the game. We were like halfway with the new album, essentially written by the end of the last touring cycle. Then we took the holidays off and at the beginning of this year we started revisiting the songs we had written. We also started writing new ones, so there was actually no real downtime compared to what we previously did on other albums where we did an album, tour and then when the touring cycle was over we would come home and take some month off before we started writing. With this new album, we simply kept going. This is what we wanted to do to get the album out as fast as possible without obviously sacrificing any of the quality and material.
The Metal Review: Social media has obviously become a key tool for raising awareness of new bands on the web and communicating with common interest communities. How has social media been working out for DEATH ANGEL?
Ted: I think social media is an essential platform these days. Back in the day, you had to write letters or had to wait for magazines to come out each month to read about your favorite bands, just to know what they are up to. These days you can get all the key information like tour dates at just the click of a button. It is also so much easier now for us as a band to interact with the fans and online communities and people also very much like to have that instant gratification of hearing instantly from us. We have embraced it, you know. When we are in the studio, we take photos and post updates and show the whole world what is going on. We are definitely fans of such technology and we use it ourselves to check out updates of our favorite bands. You no longer have to wait for magazines or letter, which is even better! We have certainly been able to gather a lot more fans and interest from social media.
The Metal Review: Is there any chance of a DEATH ANGEL DVD in the making?
Ted: You know what?! The digipak version of the new album has a really cool feature on the making of "The Dream Calls For Blood", produced and directed by Tommy Jones, who did our "River Of Rapture" video. He also did our lyric video for "The Dream Calls For Blood", which is online right now. We have, in fact, been working on a "Thrashumentary" for quite some time now. We were almost done with it, then the new album took priority, so we had to choose to finish it or work on the new album. We took the decision to work on the new album, so we may well decide now with the new tour to add footage and complete our "Thrashumentary". Eventually it will be completed.
Read the entire interview at The Metal Review.