David E. Gehlke of Blistering.com recently conducted an interview with MORBID ANGEL singer/bassist David Vincent. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
Blistering.com: Is there any update on (currently sidelined drummer) Pete Sandoval? I know there’s some talk of him playing the drums again, but what’s his status?
David Vincent: I’m in pretty close touch with him, although obviously, we have other things going on. He’s not ready yet, though. If I had an “immediate recovery” wand, I’d be waving it, but tragically such things are not there for this kind of thing. It’s a long battle and he’s in for a long haul.
Blistering.com: I was wondering if Pete had involvement with the early writing of the [new] songs.
Vincent: One of the songs that he was there for was “Nevermore”. It’s one we initially wrote with him and has been around for several years. If you want to extrapolate this, then it was important for Tim [Yeung, drums], prior to going in and recording that song, to watch several live videos of that song and approach it as a player, like Pete would. Every drummer plays things different. You can send five people and tell them “Play this” and they’d all play it correctly, but you’d get five different versions of it. Everyone has their own feel and I think Pete‘s drum style, his technique, it has a very strong signature to it. Does it sound different than before? Sure.
Blistering.com: When you first heard the songs Trey [Azagthoth, guitar] presented that were more industrial-based, what was your reaction?
Vincent: As a point of clarity, a lot of the more “electronic” styles are very mechanical, which is to say that a number of these songs don’t have drummers. They’re machines or computers; they’re programmed in so many words. None of this is programmed; Tim played every bit of it, with the exception of the intro. That’s an important point of order when people say that it’s “techno” or “industrial.” The decision to put a couple of different drum sounds on the record versus becoming the other thing, was that we added a bunch of different sounds to Tim‘s drum set and defined those sounds, like a distorted kick drum or distorted sound. We wanted to add some different spices to a particular track. It’s much like when we added keyboards to some of the tracks on the previous records. What does the song want? Let’s let the song sound like it wants to sound.
Blistering.com: How do you think “Radikult” or “Too Extreme!” will work, given that they’re “unconventional” MORBID ANGELsongs?
Vincent: Well, “God of Emptiness” was an “unconventional” song when it first came out, and same with “Where the Slime Lives” and they have become our so-called “hits.” That’s our “Living After Midnight” or “Paranoid”. Trust me, when these things first came out, there was a lot of emotion around them. People were like, “Oh my goodness, what have they done? They sound different now!” It’s always happened to us. When “Blessed Are the Sick” came out and we had keyboards, people said, “Oh, they’re slow now.” People love when the glass is half-empty… our glass is never half-empty — it’s over-flowing. And it’s not Kool-Aid either. We do what we do. I’m used to this; it’s nothing new that people have diverse opinions of the band and I welcome it all. Positive, negative, in the middle… there hasn’t been much in the middle. It’s really interesting to me because it causes people to have a reaction. If things are just so easy that people mosey up to a McDonald’s drive-thru and they get their Happy Meal and it doesn’t taste any different than the last one, we don’t know. Are there more preservatives? Are the fries hot, cold, or soggy? Sometimes we don’t even make these distinctions. I promise you if you come down Tampa, Florida and to Bern’s Steakhouse, there are some distinctions to be made. It’s at a higher-level. There are some things that are very easy and there are some things that demand more consumer participation. I’d like that we fit amongst the latter.
Blistering.com: You could make the argument that if people wanted traditional-sounding MORBID ANGEL, they could go back and listen to the Steve Tucker era. By what you just said, would you have been satisfied with the new album sounding like “Gateways Of Annihilation” or “Heretic”?
Vincent: Listen, I think there’s good material on all of the MORBID ANGEL albums. When we say “traditional-sounding” stuff, I would argue that there’s plenty of “traditional-sounding” stuff on “Illud”. Is that all there is? Is it predictable? I hope it’s not, other than it’s predictable in its unpredictability. I think we’ve broken ground throughout the years, so why should that change?
Blistering.com: North America. What’s the plan? Is anything going to happen this fall?
Vincent: There are a number of things being discussed right now, but I’m hesitant to talk about what it is. The stuff I’m looking at right now is not ready for primetime yet. We do have plans and when they materialize, I always suggest to people that they check with MorbidAngel.com or one of our social media sites and when you read it there, that’s when it’s law. If you don’t read it there first and you read it somewhere else, then four out of five times it’s a rumor or someone’s opinion that has nothing to do with MORBID ANGEL.
Read the entire interview at Blistering.com.
Photo credit: Alex Solca