Alex Haber of Heavy New York conducted an interview with THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER frontman Trevor Strnad prior to the band's June 15 concert at Stage 48 in New York, New York. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the influence of lead guitarist Brandon Ellis (also of ARSIS), who made his THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER recording debut on last year's "Nightbringers":
Trevor: "He brought in a definite rock flair to a few songs and parts. The song 'As Good As Dead' especially has, I don't know, it's just a real rocking kind of base to it. It's something we haven't done before. The kid is a rocker. People call him 'Bran Halen'. The MICAWBER guys call him 'Bran Halen', but it makes sense. He's young, but he's such an old soul in what he likes and the guitar players that he likes, he likes the old shred gods, the Shrapnel Records dudes. His favorite bands are fucking YES and TOTO. He's not like your average 25-year-old. But yeah, he blows me away. He's an amazing musician. Bringing him in, he wrote a good chunk of songs for the record and I think he brought a lot of excitement to the fold. Like, 'Wow, we got this young, hot-shot guitar wizard kid.' I think he pushed all of us in the studio to reach. Yeah, it's been an awesome experience having him. Now, he's been around a long time. He was actually touring with us quite a while before we even announced it. Changing members is so hairy for us now. People get attached, especially the DVDs made it really hard. People watched the DVDs and they don't want to accept change after that. But, he's done a great job. It's been really smooth. People have been really accepting. Ryan Knight selected him, hand-selected him when he was leaving. The whole phasing out of Ryan and coming into Brandon was so smoothly done. It was definitely the most professional lineup change we've had and the most smooth. Yeah, it's been a great time. Like I said, the record is doing really well for us. Eight records deep. We're just happy guys right now. Good things are abound."
On whether THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER takes a new approach when writing new records or are comfortable in following their proven methods:
Trevor: "It's kind of both. I think now that we've been in the studio eight albums plus an EP and other things, we've been in the studio a lot of times. At first, it was really nerve-wracking for me and an anxious experience. But through repeat visits and stuff and now, it's just something I look forward to. I really enjoy that aspect of things and building an album from scratch and just the kind of pride that comes with making an entire album with your friends. No one else is sticking their finger in the pie. You just build it with your hands from the ground up. This is definitely our proudest moment. Yeah, it's definitely come along from shitting my pants in the studio. It was definitely nerve-wracking. We were recording with these local guys that we looked up to who were in WALLS OF JERICHO. They were the big band in Detroit and we were little squirts. We were looking up to Mike Hasty especially and he was in EARTHMOVER and they were one of my first local bands that got me going to shows and shit. Recording in front of those guys was like, 'Uh…'"
On how THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER's fanbase perceives their sound:
Trevor: "People's mileage on what we are varies all the time. You can ask ten people in the line right now for the show and some will say 'deathcore,' some will say 'metalcore,' some will say 'death metal' and anything in between. The inability to pin us down has been an advantage. I used to get kind of like butthurt, like, 'It's death metal. Why can't you call us death metal?' Honestly, it helped us break through the glass ceiling of only playing with death metal bands and reaching a certain popularity. Like Ozzfest is not what you'd typically see for a death metal band, but we started doing that and Sounds Of The Underground and this shit that was way bigger than we would have imagined for us, a little death metal band. Whatever, I don't care what people call us now. As long as they're calling us. As long as they like the band and it keeps them coming back. It's awesome. I do see all walks of the underground out in the crowd. I like that we have that kind [crowd]. We can appeal to all different kinds of people and shit."
"Nightbringers" was released last October via Metal Blade Records.
THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER is currently on a North American co-headlining tour with WHITECHAPEL, which runs from June 8 through July 14. The trek finds THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER performing "Nightbringers" front to back and more, while WHITECHAPEL is playing its classic "This Is Exile" in full to celebrate the record's tenth anniversary.