OBITUARY Drummer: 'We Stick To What We Believe In'

John Newton of Direct Metal Music recently conducted an interview with drummer Donald Tardy of Florida death metallers OBITUARY. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Direct Metal Music: Having your own space to record affords you a lot of freedom. Are you guys still pressing each other (in the studio), or is it a more relaxed process?

Donald Tardy: Well, there were deadlines that needed to be made and it pushed us a little bit, because we were so busy with the festivals and the touring and just being away from home a lot of the times when we needed to be in the studio recording, so there was a little bit of a timing issue, but we never let deadlines stress us to where we think we have to create a song to get it over with. A song is gonna come about when it's ready. We would never put a song on an album that we are not completely confident with, and I would never say, "Ah, that song's just on there 'cause we had to finish that day." We have a unique style of writing. Me and Trevor [Peres, guitar] just get in the garage. We don't discuss what needs to be done or what was already done on the last record, what other bands are doing; we don't worry about any of that shit. We just… we write, and whatever feels good that day, whatever rhythm comes out of him, if it's something that we feel is a good song, we go with it, and we don't stress each other. We don't push it too much you know? The songwriting and song style of OBITUARY is simple, and we keep it basic on purpose, and I think that's what people love about OBITUARY. We are not the most technical band, but when we get together to write songs, they are classic OBITUARY death metal songs.

Direct Metal Music: I think that's what people love about OBITUARY — you stick to what you are doing, but still identify with your roots. You can bring out the tribal styles and new things, but when you get down to it, the basis for what OBITUARY is the straightforward style, and in my opinion, it is what has kept you guys separate from the mix over the years.

Donald Tardy: I'd agree with that, we just know what we have, when we get together there is that chemistry that brings out the style that OBITUARY is, and we don't worry about anything else. It doesn't matter what bands are "in" now or what fans want to hear, it's the idea that OBITUARY is that trademark sound and name, and that's what people want when they go and buy our record. We are happy with that, and that's why we stick to it, it's what we are good at, and we stick to what we believe in, and we write songs that we like and that we would want to hear as a fan of metal, and that's all we worry about.

Direct Metal Music: I know Ralph [Santolla, guitar] brings some sick leads with him, and you've obviously known him for years, but has his joining the band brought any new perspectives to the writing process?

Donald Tardy: Well, he definitely always has cool ideas when it comes to adding layers on top of the songs that me and Trevor already created, but it is me and Trevor that write the album. We are confident in our songwriting (process). Me and Trevor have been together for so long that we don't want to mess with the chemistry because OBITUARY fans are buying our records to hear that style, but Ralph always, always has certain cool ideas to mix it up a little bit and add layers to harmonies to a part that maybe we aren't thinking of, and like you said just phenomenal solos, just throwing them down every time we record, he puts something down on tape that's usually just shredding, you know? And that's the whole new level that he has brought to us. Fans of killer guitar playing are actually getting that with OBITUARY albums now. So that's just a whole hew flavor.

Direct Metal Music: And you guys have been with Candlelight for a few years now right?

Donald Tardy: Yeah, we gave Candlelight the last two OBITUARY albums an the TARDY BROTHERS albums.

Direct Metal Music: And that transition has been pretty good?

Donald Tardy: It's been alright, you know, a band is never satisfied. I know they are doing what they can. I wish it was tenfold, but they are getting the job done. A band…any band, if you ask them, I don't care if they are on the smallest record label in the world or the biggest, they always want more focus. You can never get enough promotion or enough push to make the band happy, because this is everything to me man, these songs are my life and everything I pour into it, I want the whole metal world to know it. When you see the album sales decline from the Internet and kids just being broke, and a million things going on in their mind, it's just one of those things where you gotta (stay positive) and you can't get mad about it, you're not gonna sell the albums like you used to or you thought you were going to, you just have to push on and you got to use the internet to promote yourself to find new fans. That's what we do, instead of getting frustrated about the Internet is that we just constantly try to update our website. My brother updates the website all the time when we are on the road. When we are on the road, John [Tardy, vocals] is updating it with the photos from the night before and telling all the kids how the tour is going and talking about stuff, that's kind of what we do right now and that's what we re focused on.

Read the entire interview from Direct Metal Music.

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