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
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
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
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:
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
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
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
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
- Official Crematorium website
- Crematorium on Myspace
- 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.