Interview with DEAD ASYLUM
The Band: Dead Asylum
Answers by: Samantha Landa (drums)
Dead Asylum, a death metal act from Canada that gives a step forward with their second album in their pockets already: “Death Always Wins”. Well, although that will be true in the end, we are gonna enjoy this album first, death can wait another day, as we enjoyed this chat with Samantha.
Hello Samantha, welcome to our site. This year you are releasing your second album “Death Always Wins”, how do you feel about it?
We’re excited! It’s been four years since we released our debut album (General Carnage) and while we didn’t want to wait this long in between releases, waiting meant we could create a stronger album and be better prepared to move forward with it.
Please, tell us more details about the band, how did you start and so on…
Mike and I knew each other from before (our old bands have played together) and we started jamming, writing, and so on. We needed a lead guitarist and a bassist, and we found two guys on Craigslist who had been playing music together for years but just needed a drummer and rhythm guitarist. Mike and our old lead guitarist traded off on vocal duties.
By the way, it’s surprised us to find a woman behind the drums set, especially in an death metal band. How did you start playing drums? Any drummer that had influenced you more?
I started playing drums when I was around 11 years old in school band. I was a big fan of Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater) and Mercedes Lander (Kittie) as a teenager.
As drummer you have nothing to envy other guys, but have you ever felt some kind of discrimanation for being a woman in the metal world? How sexist is the Metal world?
Yes and no. I’ve felt more judged or discriminated by those outside of the metal world (at music stores in other cities, people think I’m shopping for a gift or don’t believe I’m a drummer–I also used to hear people say I was «good for a girl» or «wow, the drummer is making you carry his drums?»). Now it’s mostly just little things that come up, like people assuming I’m a singer when they find out I’m in a band, or when someone in the metal scene finds out I’m a drummer and they have to ask if I play double bass (I don’t think they’d ask a guy that if they knew he was a metal drummer…it’s kind of a given these days!). But honestly, I’ve had so much support from the metal scene, especially once people see me play. I’m grateful for that. I want to inspire other girls and women to play the drums and not be intimidated by an industry that’s still mostly dudes (even though most of those dudes are great dudes).
A great description of the real world. Who is responsible for the composition tasks inside the Dead Asylum?
Mike (Lister) writes most of the lyrics, although Roger has contributed too. Mike also writes a good chunk of the riffs these days (our old lead guitarist also wrote many of the riffs) but we all usually work together to complete the songs.
The title “Death Always Wins” seems kind of a prophecy, what is it about?
No matter who you are, what your experiences are, what your opinions are, your politics or religion or intelligence or interests, it doesn’t matter in the end–because death always has the final say. It’s ridiculous that we all fight over trivial things in this world. They don’t really matter. This might sound really nihilist and dismal, but it’s true!
Sad but true. The cover artwork fits perfect with that scenery
We love the artwork. It was created by Pierre-Alain from 3mmi Design in France. It showcases the album title perfectly: the reaper’s perched atop the gates to hell, overlooking a bleak wasteland. The reaper is the dealer, and the game is rigged so the house always wins. The dollar signs, the bill on the coffin…money doesn’t matter in the end.
How long have you worked on “Death Always Wins” and how was it?
We spent February and March in and out of the studio. Every recording experience is a good one–you’ll always learn something new. It can be stressful playing in that kind of environment, but overall we’re happy with the end product.
“Death Always Wins” is your second album, the first was published in 2013, what difference we are gonna find between them?
Death Always Wins is much more developed, technically and with the songwriting. We’ve all improved as musicians since General Carnage, and we’re more deliberate with the song structures, choruses, and so on. We’ve also had two member changes since the first album, so you might notice some more neoclassical/jazz influences in the lead guitar parts, and some differences in the dual vocals.
“Death Always Wins” are 8 songs and only 30 minutes, but no waste product here
We didn’t want to keep writing 5-6 minute songs if they didn’t need to be that long. We wanted to focus on writing heavy, fast, and memorable tunes, even if they’re short. Rather than opt for a 10-12 song album just to have a longer album, we decided to put out something short, sweet, and one we hope people will want to listen to on repeat a few times.
Samantha, what are the strong points of your new album in your opinion?
I’m a fan of Defiance and Between Me And The Grave. I think both songs are well developed and they’re really fun to play live. Between Me And The Grave is structurally simple but it’s anthemic and surprisingly has a lot of layers to it. Overall though, the sound of the new album is pretty beastly. And I’m particularly stoked on Eric’s leads: they turned out great and they add unpredictability to each song.
True as hell. Any video or action to promote your new work?
We also released Forgotten Sacrifice as a single before putting out the album, and here’s the official music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSFDiYB0d_Y
You are releasing your new album with no label, it was your original idea or the only chance?
Because it’s been four years since our last album–and because we were already planning a month-long US tour this August/September–we decided that rather than wait and try to partner with a label, we’d finance and release it on our own and hopefully get a buzz going. We’re looking for label support moving forward, and whether they want to re-release this album or have us write a new one sooner, we’re open to it.
Canada is a country with long tradition in Metal, how do you see the current situation over there?
There’s an amazing metal scene in Canada. So many awesome bands have come out of the country (like Voivod, 3 Inches of Blood, Annihilator, Beyond Creation, Razor, Anvil, Cryptopsy). Vancouver alone is home to some killer bands who are more recently making waves on the international stage (Archspire, Unleash the Archers, Anciients). For a huge country with a relatively small population, our metal scene is compact but strong.
Have you ever come to Europe to make some gigs? Any plan to come in the near future?
Dead Asylum hasn’t played in Europe yet, but it’s on the horizon…we’ll let you know if we come to Spain!
Sooner than later! Thanks Samantha for your time and attention, hopefully we will see you around Spain
Thanks for the opportunity, Alberto! \m/