Panagiotis Karagiannidis of Greece's Metal Paths recently conducted an interview with SLAYER/PHILM drummer Dave Lombardo. You can now listen to the chat using the audio player below. A few excerpts from the interview follow.
Metal Paths: "Harmonic" is [PHILM's] debut album. How would you describe the music to a fan that has not listened to the album yet?
Lombardo: Well, the first thing I tell them is that it's different. It's different from anything I've done before. It's not heavy like SLAYER; it doesn't have that sound. It's a different sound. It's got an old, vintage sound. It has a sound of maybe like the '60s and '70s. And it's a trio, so there's only drums, bass and guitar, and the guitar player sings. My drum set is a very small drum set; I play only a four-piece. In SLAYER I play in nine-piece drum set. So this is a lot smaller and it helps me create differently. So you still have aggression, the same Dave Lombardo aggression at the drums, but it's a little different. It's aggression in a more punk way and the album is more extreme rock instead of extreme metal or thrash metal, speed metal, grindcore… whatever it is. It's not like that; it's more extreme rock.
Metal Paths: I think that you have already played a few shows with PHILM. What were the reactions of the fans on your live performances so far?
Lombardo: They love it! They really, really like it. Because they know that it's something different. You know, it's weird… People say, "Why would you make a band that's not like SLAYER or extreme thrash metal?" it's like, I don't want to follow what I already lead. If I am already leading with SLAYER, and we're, like, one of the the "Big Four" bands, why am I gonna try to create something else [just like it]? So what I do is something different. I don't create something [similar to SLAYER]. I'm already in one of the biggest metal bands.
Metal Paths: Tell me a few things about the composing process of "Harmonic" and the songwriting in general. Who writes the music and how long did it take you to finish the composition of the record?
Lombardo: Well, the music, it's been ongoing. We had some of the music ever since '95 or '96, and then some of the songs were written in 2004 and 2005, and then the rest of the material was written in 2011. So we all write the music collectively, we all do it together. What we do is we improvise when we create music. We get together and, you know, we have the recorder playing and we go into a room and we just start to write music.
Metal Paths: Do you think that SLAYER fans would like "Harmonic" or does PHILM [appeal] to a completely different group [of music fans]? Personally, I am a SLAYER fan and I really enjoyed PHILM.
Lombardo: Well, there are a lot of SLAYER fans that are open-minded and they like different styles of music. Like myself, I'm a SLAYER fan — I love the SLAYER music — but I also like other styles of music, all kind of different heavy styles of music. So I think that there are the fans that don't listen to anything else but SLAYER, [or they listen to other] speed metal or thrash metal [groups], and they don't have an open mind yet, but they will grow up soon. But I think that a lot of SLAYER fans will enjoy it, because it has one common thread, and that is the aggression of the drums. There are songs that are aggressive, and there are songs that are very soft and very mellow, almost like PINK FLOYD.
Metal Paths: There are a couple of different elements in PHILM's music style. It seems like there are no borders and no rules in your music orientations. Is it really that free?
Lombardo: Let's see if I can explain this…No, there are no rules, I mean, we have influences from jazz; we have influences from hardcore punk and some funky roots. There are many influences and I think everybody brings that influence into the band, and I'm open to all of it. I can play all kinds of different drum beats. I don't just play fast — I play different speeds, including slow.
Metal Paths: Do you see PHILM as a chance to express different feelings than with SLAYER as a musician?
Lombardo: Yeah, because there's different kinds of heavy. I think SLAYER fans need to understand that there is heavy music or a heavy feeling — of course, in metal — certain riffs are very heavy, like [SLAYER's] "World Painted Blood"; for me, that song's very heavy. But there are other songs, there are classical songs, that I feel have a heavy feeling, a heavy sound. There are even funk songs that sound, to me, that are like, "Woah, that's kind of heavy." So heavy, to me, is not only thrash metal or speed metal. Heavy could be applied to all kinds of different styles. I even listen to some Cuban music, and I say, "Woah, that drum beat or that melody is heavy." Because it has a twisted element, it has minor chords. All kinds of music have heavy on it.
Metal Paths: So, Dave, could we maybe talk a little bit about SLAYER at this point of interview?
Lombardo: Yeah, but I don't have any information… Everything is already out. [Guitarist] Jeff [Hanneman, who contracted necrotising fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease, from a spider bite over a year ago] is getting better. [EXODUS guitarist] Gary [Holt, Hanneman's temporary replacement] is doing great…
Metal Paths: That was the first question I wanted to ask you, about Jeff's health and how is it going with Gary…
Lombardo: Gary is an amazing guitar player. We love Gary and we really appreciate all of the help he has given us while Jeff is getting better.
Metal Paths: When exactly do you think that Jeff is gonna be back?
Lombardo: I really don't know. Nobody knows… Until he feels better and the doctor says "go"…
Metal Paths: That's the most important, the fact that he feels better. So how has been touring with "Big Four" [METALLICA, MEGADETH and ANTHRAX] so far? Is there any special story you'd like to share with the fans?
Lombardo: I've just been having a really nice time with [METALLICA members] Lars [Ulrich] and James [Hetfield] and [Robert] Trujillo and Kirk [Hammett]. They visit us in our dressing room, I go visit them. It's a very, very nice friendship and relationship. Me and Lars, we get along great. And I don't like people talking shit about Lars. So they have to stop. There are a lot of fans out there, they like to say a lot of bad things about him and he's a really good friend of mine and I don't like it.
Metal Paths: You recently had a special show in London playing [SLAYER's classic 1986 album] "Reign In Blood" in its entirety. What were the fans' reactions?
Lombardo: They loved it! They loved it.
Metal Paths: And how has it been for you playing entire this album?
Lombardo: Oh, I love playing that album. I like playing it because I can play it really fast and I like to play fast, 'cause Kerry [King, SLAYER guitarist], he enjoys that album, too.
Metal Paths: Would you like to do something like that in the future with another album this time?
Lombardo: Well, we did "Seasons In The Abyss". I don't know if it'll ever happen with another record.
Read the entire interview from Metal Paths.