Daniel Dismal - Crematorium, The Dolemite Project - Back
Interviewer: Cameron Edney - http://insideout666.mysite.freeserve.com

Recently metallers Crematorium released ‘Process of Endtime’ the follow up to 2002’s ‘For all our Sins’. The latest album has been met by rave reviews all across the globe & has ensured the band a place in metal history. With tracks such as ‘Reconstructed’ its safe to say Crematorium will be around for quite some time and have plenty more to say. Crematorium who formed way back in 1991 on the mean streets of Los Angeles have had their fair share of line-up changes over the years and have definitely paid their dues. Signing to Prosthetic Records in 2002 Crematorium are hungry for world domination. I recently caught up with vocalist Daniel Dismal for an in-depth interview like no other, here is what Daniel had to say….

Metal Fanatix: Hi Daniel, How's things mate?

Daniel Dismal: Things are going pretty well, thanks for asking!

Metal Fanatix: I want to thank you for putting some time aside to answer the following questions for our readers. Congratulations on the recent release ‘The Process of Endtime’ were you guys happy with the overall outcome of the album?

Daniel Dismal: No problem, I am always down to give people a little insight into the world of Crematorium! As for the record, yes we are very pleased with how the album came out. In fact, we feel it falls into place with our gradual evolution as a band & as long as that evolution keeps turning for the better I don’t think we’ll ever be let down with anything that we do.

Metal Fanatix: The follow up to 2002’s ‘For All Our Sins’ has met rave reviews across the globe, When it came time to record the new album did you approach it in a different way to albums in the past?

Daniel Dismal: With this new album we actually took more time to write the songs & lyrics. I personally took a two week vacation in Italy to see the whole of the country & that’s where the bulk of the lyrics were written. The music itself was written over a period of about a year. Some songs were written early on & some were written within a three month period before the recording but the overall time we spent on this album really shows. We’re actually already writing the music for the follow up to ‘The Process of Endtime’ now because of the results we achieved in the studio. Also, we really paid more attention to harmonizing the guitars & throwing a lot more solos into the music then we have ever done in the past. I guess we wanted to show the world that we could play our instruments on the new album [laughs]. Vocally I wanted to show people a little more of what I could do on this new album & I think that came across as well.

Metal Fanatix: I agree, from what I have heard the album is great. How long did it take you guys to record?

Daniel Dismal: About two months all together, but we weren’t in the studio for consecutive days to tell you the truth. The drums were the only instrument that was recorded in a short period over consecutive days. The guitars, bass & vocals were done on different days & pretty much song by song. I actually recorded all the vocals in late night sessions because DD (recorded, produced, mixed) & I both prefer working late at night rather then during the day. I believe that if we had done everything back-to-back it would have taken about two and a half weeks at most.

Metal Fanatix: Let’s talk about the writing process. Every band has their own system, how does it work for you guys, what comes first the lyrics or the music?

Daniel Dismal: Pretty much a member either comes into the practice studio with a full song or a riff. We then start chopping it up or adding extra parts. Once the music is set then I begin writing the lyrics for the song based around a theme. I never write lyrics before the song is written because I have found that it makes more sense to write the lyrics in time with the music rather then trying to cram a bunch of lyrics within a small space of music. I do write passages or poems that I will use as a backbone for a song but those are never complete until I have the music to accompany the lyrics. Once the music is final & the vocals are placed we begin writing the harmonies or the underlying rhythms we have in our songs. This can even change the vocals or the music as well. Once everything is placed we have our full song but if we play it live & it seems like it’s lacking something or there’s too much going on we’ll cut it down or change it even more. I guess you can say our song writing process is pretty long but to us, it works out for the best.

Metal Fanatix: The latest album has some killer tracks, in a few words tell us about the following tracks:

Daniel Dismal:

Infinitesimal Acculturation: This is pretty much our tribute to thrash metal. We all love old school, balls out, in your face thrash & this song is our take on it. The vocal patterns & style for this song is pretty much a first for Crematorium. I’ve always wanted to do a song like this & Mark our guitarist came with the main riff & it all came together like a bat out of hell. This is actually one of my favorite songs ever that we’ve written as a band. Lyrically this song has to do with people giving into the things they hate the most about this world because they feel like conforming is the only way to survive.

Reconstructed: Our bass player Aaron wrote this song with a little help from Mark. Besides Testicular this is probably one of the most intense songs that Crematorium has ever written. A lot of people have compared this song to something that a band like Vader would write but I think it’s a song that stands out on it’s own. From beginning to end, it’s just a ball buster. Lyrically this song deals with what’s being done underneath our noses on a day-to-day basis. Whether it’s our government or other individuals we’ve entrusted with powerful roles in this world or our lives.

Perils of the Disillusioned: This song was actually supposed to appear on ‘For All Our Sins’ but when we recorded the song it seemed to be lacking something. We pretty much scratched it off the last record & came back to it. A few parts were trashed & a whole new middle section & chorus was added. We feel that if the old version would have been released it wouldn’t have done the song as a whole any justice. This again is a perfect example of how we write songs & trash them as needed. Lyrically this song is just about the human race in general & everything we have to go through just to survive in this world.

Metal Fanatix: Do you guys have any plans to release a DVD with footage from the current tour?

Daniel Dismal: We have talked about doing a DVD on our own. We have footage of the band dating all the way back to 1996. With most DVD’s you end up getting a small taste of where a band came from & what they’ve been through to get to where they are. With as much footage as we have, we could easily chronicle the bands evolution in Los Angeles as well as the national market. Who knows if this would ever see the light of day though but we just might do it on our own one day just so we can offer it to the fans that would care to look into our history.

Metal Fanatix: That would be awesome! Daniel I’d like to talk to you a little about life on the road. Tell us about the first tour Crematorium did?

Daniel Dismal: The first tour we actually did was with Wicked Innocence, Coffin Texts & Infamy. It was a total DIY tour that took us through Arizona & Texas. It was a lot of fun but we ended up having to turn back & head home halfway through it because the truck we were traveling in kept breaking down [laughs]. It was our first taste of the road & it actually set us up with an understanding of how things work in the real touring world. Our first tour as a signed band was with Cephalic Carnage & December. That was one of the best tours we ever had done. All three bands got along great & every day was like one big joke fest. We’ve actually remained close friends with both bands to this day.

Metal Fanatix: With your vocal style, it must be hard at times to keep your voice in great shape, do you do anything specific to warm up & prepare for a show?

Daniel Dismal: Yeah, it’s very hard especially since I was born with a multitude of throat problems. I actually am convinced that half the reason I can sing so many different tones is because of the scarring in my throat from all the surgeries I had to go through in my youth [laughs]. As for my warm-up routines I really don’t do much. I used to never drink on tour but I found that abstaining from beer wasn’t helping me so now I pretty much have a few beers to loosen up & make sure I have plenty of room temperature water on stage. I’ve also bounced back between taking shots of raw honey on stage & using a throat spray that’s made from bee pollen called Propol. I used throat-numbing sprays in the past but I’ve found those to just be a waste. If there’s hot water at the club I will make some hot water for myself to get my throat warmed up but that’s not a constant. After the show I’ve found that pickle juice or something with a high salt content does the trick with handling any damage that might have been done throughout the performance. Other then that, it’s all winging it.

Metal Fanatix: Daniel, tell us about your influences, who inspired you to become a front man?

Daniel Dismal: You know, not to sound boring but I was never interested in being a front man in a band. There was always a lack of good singers & when Mark joined Crematorium the old vocalist, whom I am still friends with to this day left the band. Mark called me up, asked me if I would be into singing for Crematorium & I gave it a shot. Crematorium was actually the first band I have ever fronted as a vocalist. I still play guitar & do back-ups in another band called The Dolemite Project to appease my need to play an instrument. As for the people who’ve influenced my vocal styles I would have to go with the vocalist for bands like Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, Carcass, Napalm Death, Obituary, Suffocation, NWA, Ice Cube, Agnostic Front & Sick of it All to start with. They all showed me different vocal tones & approaches to vocal placement. The rest I just kind of fell into on my own as time went on.

Metal Fanatix: Now you guys are currently out on the road, how have the shows been going?

Daniel Dismal: Pretty well! We’ve been doing sporadic dates as a headliner until we can get a full-scale tour as support for a larger band secured. It’s been a true test of the band to go through this time as we pretty much got signed & then put on a lot of larger tours. The start-up for the new album touring wise has been slow going because of the amounts of bands that are touring these days but some big things are in the works for us & we can’t wait to get back out on the road for a long stretch of time.

Metal Fanatix: Do you have any plans in the works to tour Australia?

Daniel Dismal: We would love to, but we haven’t made any solid plans to do so. The plane flights to Australia are really expensive for us but if anyone ever offered us some plane flights in exchange for some shows we’d take it in a heartbeat. I actually have some close friends down in Australia that I wouldn’t mind seeing so if the cards fall on the table, we’ll take it!

Metal Fanatix: Over the years you have shared the stage with so many great bands such as: Cannibal Corpse, Cradle of Filth, Nile, Arch Enemy & Obituary to name a few, who have you enjoyed touring with the most & could you share a funny road story with us from the tour?

Daniel Dismal: Besides our tour with Cephalic & December the best tour package we’ve ever been part of was Immolation, Grave & Goatwhore. That tour, like the one mentioned above was just full of good times. Every night was like a total hangout session rather then a tour date. Everyone got to know each other in so many ways on that tour. Even the tour managers & drivers became part of a rather large extended family. Still to this day I kept in regular contact with the members of the other bands on this tour. It’s hard to recreate something like we all had on that tour. As for a funny story, it’s really hard to narrow everything down to one story. Crematorium is a band of jokers. We really pass the time by just messing around with each other & the other bands we tour with. Sometimes we just nail the nail on the head with our jokes & sometimes we’re a bit off. Whether it be jumping on stage & attacking Nuclear Assault or putting lemons all over Immolation’s vocal mic’s [laughs]. It’s all in good fun & it all extends the good time vibe we love to have on tour.

Metal Fanatix: [laughs] sounds like you guys really do have a great time on the road. What is the most ridiculous thing you have ever asked for on a tour rider?

Daniel Dismal: We’re pretty simple actually. We’ve had some agents put 9-volt batteries & pots of hot water on our rider but we usually change it. We know how expensive it can be to put on a show so we’re happy with pizza, water & beer. Hell if that’s too much, give us some candy bars & some beer [laughs]!

Metal Fanatix: What would you be doing if you stopped playing?

Daniel Dismal: Probably concentrating on my home business but music is in my blood & even once I stop touring I will never stop playing. Music is the one true form of expression to me & I could never live without it.

Metal Fanatix: In your honest opinion what do you think about the direction that Hard Rock & Heavy Metal music has taken over the last few years?

Daniel Dismal: I find myself losing count of all the bands to tell you the truth. It seems like becoming a musician is the new career of choice. It’s amazing how so many young bands are coming out with so much raw talent but I am finding that a lot of them are lacking the skills of honing in on their own personal styles. Everyone is so concerned with outdoing every one else in this genre these days. Whether it’s pure speed or technicality, everyone is just running circles around each other. I am proud to see the scene growing so large in the youth culture but people need to remember how to write a song or pay attention to the music of the past a little bit more. Critics & fans alike will down talk a band that tries to write an actual song & claim that the band is just not “technical” or “brutal” enough to consider themselves a “metal band” but remember, some people aren’t out there to wow people with their skills. They’re out there to portray themselves through music. In any case, I think that the music of today is good but it’s just lacking the hooks & the flavors of the past to make it really last the test of time.

Metal Fanatix: What advice would you give to up and coming rock/metal bands?

Daniel Dismal: Practice your skills of writing good songs as well as being able to play a killer arpeggio. Take time to get everything rolling musically before you blast out on the scene. Save your money, record a killer demo, get some good merchandise made & come onto the scene like you’re the second coming of Christ. Don’t worry about the people who down talk what you do but pay attention to the honest critics. Spend time promoting your band as well as the scene your band is part of. Remember, without each other this scene will not survive. Last but not least, don’t let things go to your head. The more attention you get the more shows & opportunities you will get but remember no one likes an asshole. Keep yourselves grounded & remember where you come from. I think with all the bands gaining mega-popularity these days we all need to take a lesson from the buddy system because gaining stardom doesn’t mean you have to forget about everyone you met along the way.

Metal Fanatix: To become a star these days it seems the only way to make it would be to go on a reality music show like Idol or Pop stars (if you wanna call it that). What do you think about the mass wave of reality shows looking for so called “Talent” and do you watch any of them?

Daniel Dismal: I personally don’t watch them because I see talent before my eyes almost every night of the week. I think these reality shows are just honing in on the music culture. They’ve exhausted pretty much every other avenue for these shows so why not do something with bands or individuals who want to be stars. Problem is that the fame pretty much ends when the next season begins so these people better be talented for it all to mean something in the long run. The only show I did watch a few times was the show about INXS finding a new singer. I thought that was in poor taste & I found myself screaming at the TV a few times about how Michael would be rolling in his grave. Hopefully they’ll let that show idea rest because when someone passes away in a band the band should move on & not create a media circus to gain new fans, acceptance & money.

Metal Fanatix: From all the albums you have appeared on what one would be your favorite to listen to & why?

Daniel Dismal: I really love the song that I sang with Crisis called “A Study in Cancer” on their most recent release. I’ve been a long time fan of the band & once they moved to L.A. we all became really close friends. It was such an experience to head into the studio & pretty much learn my parts on the same day I recorded my vocals. I always looked up to Karyn as a singer & to have her coaching me on my parts was actually a very awe-inspiring experience that still doesn’t end. Every time they play L.A. I sing this song with them & it’s amazing to be able to share the stage with a band I always loved musically & now I can call close friends.

Metal Fanatix: Being in this business I would imagine you get asked some pretty strange questions from time to time. What is the strangest question a fan has asked you?

Daniel Dismal: There are literally hundreds of questions I get asked but the one that always throws me for a loop is the question that revolves around the band making enough money to survive off of doing Crematorium exclusively. It just proves that most of the fans don’t realize how much people go through to be in a touring band. There’s really no money in it & the bands that are making money rarely make enough to never work again unless they hit the really big time. Maybe bands are really good at hiding the truth about the wages earned from playing but believe me, if bands on our level were making enough money to not work there would be a hell of a lot more touring going on from everyone.

Metal Fanatix: If you could put a band together consisting of musicians passed and/or present who would they be and what would you call the band?

Daniel Dismal: Man, that’s a tough one! Since I love all sorts of music it would seriously be a hard task to put together a band of anyone I want. I would love to have a band with Jimi Hendrix, Gene Hoglan, Les Claypool, Devin Townsend on samples and layers & finally Ice Cube. [Laughs] I know it sounds weird but man, imagine the music we’d create [laughs]. As for the name of the band I really wouldn’t know. Something simple & catchy! Too bad Earth, Wind & Fire is already taken because we’d pretty much have all the musical elements to create one hell of a band.

Metal Fanatix: [laughs] Well it sure would be interesting to hear [laughs]. Daniel thanks again for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to talk with us today, it’s been a pleasure. Do you have any last words for our readers?

Daniel Dismal: No problem, thanks for taking the time to speak with me. For all the readers that took the time to read through this, thank you. Thanks for the support, thanks for listening to our music & if we’re ever in your town playing, please come & say hello. This is one of the major reasons we do this, to meet the fans & make friends throughout the world. Remember to take care of each other, support your scene & to keep the flame alive!

For All the Latest Crematorium News & Tour Dates Check Out the Following Websites

http://www.crematoriummusic.com - Official Crematorium website
http://www.myspace.com/crematorium - Crematorium on Myspace
http://insideout666.mysite.freeserve.com - Dedicated to 40 years of hard rock & metal music

© Cameron Edney March, May 2006 Not to be re-printed in any form without written permission.