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Obituary is one of those bands I have followed for years. First as a fan and further on more from a professional perspective. Questions is: what’s there left to ask? Obituary has been around for such a long time that they have seen it all. Which brings the challenge to get some new information from Donald. Obituary is on the road for their third round of Europe this summer, and I meet the band before their show in The Netherlands. I talk to an, as always, friendly Donald. After exchanging niceties and finding the flow the stream of words come.

By: Hendrik Attema | Archive under death metal / grindcore

So Donald, what’s up?
Things are going really well this tour. Great crowds, great response to the new record and some excellent shows.

As you have to go on stage in an hour we’ll have to make the best of it. You once told me that you prefer interviews after a show.
Yeah, after the show is always better. We would have done our show, downed a few beers and be a bit more at ease. But we go back so many years that we manage. And yes: it’s more that we’re getting in focus before the show. We’re not nervous but more anxious before any show.

This is another ‘travel’-tour with festivals and club shows. Do you have any great/harsch/hilarious stories?
Not really. As said things are going really good and the band gets along so well that we know from each other what to expect. Tonight and tomorrow we hook up with Trivium, which is fun. We have a sold out show tonight, so no complaints.

Are you travelling by bus this time or is it again the band to do the gear hauling yourself on planes and trains?
This time we have the luxury to have a bus. As you know we try to make a living from this so usually we do it in other transport like trains and vans. Now we had so many miles to cover that it was almost undoable to do it all on our own. Now we have home more or less. Because of some of the contracts we are not allowed to play in a country where we have a festival date, which means more traveling. But it’s worth it! Don’t get it wrong: packed houses and great responses make it worth as always!

’Obituary’, the album, was well received. What was there to prove on the album?
We wanted to do it as we wanted. The production is another step with some fresh ears. Trevor, John and I have our own ideas of how things should sound, but an external party surely helps. Mark and Joe were a good sport.

A lot of ground was covered in the interview with Trevor upon release, here’s my 2 cents: ‘Sentence Day ’is the most solo-filled Obisong ever?!
It needed, in my opinion, something apart from extra lyrics. I told Ken that I was looking for a Metallica-like song structure like they had somewhere in the Kill/Ride/Master-era. By no means was it my intention to imitate them, but to get the kicks from the guitars!

You succeeded at that then! ‘Kneel Before Me’ holds a great 2 note solo on the two minute mark. HTF do you come up with that? It’s one of the creepiest endings I heard.
Ha! Cool, again this is what happens when we’re in a flow. The album isn’t that long but it must keep it’s intensity.

Was ‘Ten Thousand Ways To Die’ re-recorded for this album? I didn’t get all the info but it surely sounds different if you compare the sound of the album and the mini-cd.
It was not re-recorded. But we applied the settings of Pro-Tools as they were for the album to the recording of the mini-cd. So everything you hear is as it was recorded. The new mix/mastering makes the difference and I’m glad it’s audible.

So from the new to the very old. The set closer will, as always, be ‘Slowly We Rot’. It’s your ‘Ace Of Spades’. Lemmy more than once stated that he was completely fed up with the song. How about you and ‘Slowly We Rot’?
You know when we’re tired of the song? During pre-tour rehearsals! During preparations we play and rehearse the complete setlist and practically a day before we leave we get to the point: ‘Oh, we have to try ‘Slowly’!’. Then there’s a big sigh from all of us and we push it through. The fans love the song, so we’re obliged to play it and it is always killer to see the reaction! That never bores!”

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We just touched on Lemmy. He and other people (co) wrote a book. Would that be something for Obituary?
There will be some cool releases coming up the next three to five years! We have people that help us writing. We’re not writers and we don’t have the patience to sit down and write. But in due time these will be out.

Some months ago I talked to the guys of Persefone. They spoke highly of you and the advice you, Ralph and John gave them.
Live’s too short to be an asshole! If we can share our experiences to help other bands then why not?! We have struggled for years and needed to experience thing the hard way.

What’s happening with Unation? It still seems to be focused on the US with hardly any exposure in Europe.
(emphasising the first words) I have no idea. They asked us for advice years ago and we gave them input on how we do things with social media, interacting with fans and so on. They took it at heart, but were too slow in their pace to keep up with the bigger parties like Facebook. When developing an app like this you either need to be extremely fast or it’s a lost cause. I think they will have a hard time. But we’re not involved in it anymore so I wish them the best.

The Battle Of The Bays will now hit the US. Maybe Gary Holt can help out for a Slayer tour as Trevor once suggested.
The Battle of the Bays will be awesome! We did it in Europe and now we take it to the US. We agreed with the Exodudes to switch headliner duties regardless of the territories we’re playing. So they do the first show as headliner, we do the next. We did not look at cities like where we wanted to headline. That makes it easier to plan and we agreed on it. So that’s cool. Regarding the Slayer tour: I don’t think it would do us as a band any good. Slayer-fans want to see one band: Slayer! Which is their good right! So we wouldn’t sell any tickets extra for them. Nor would we sell any extra merch, if any at all. Bands we spoke to in the past that did a tour with them had hardly any income from merchandise, extra ticket sales or records sales. We would do a different tour instead I guess.

Well, thanks again for your time. On closing: you guys are always accessible to fans and are ‘open’ to fans to come on stage for a dive. An incident I recall is when a fan took John’s mike to have a drunk babble. John was ready to lay into him hard!
Well, you see that’s one of the objects you don’t touch from a band. People have to understand that they can come onstage and jump off, but don’t spread your germs where we could get infected. Like you say it’s not so much that they take the mike, it’s more the risk of John losing his voice. When Trevor, Ken, Terry or I are illish we can still perform. When it’s the singer the tour is over. So you’re welcome but use your common sense when joining us on stage.

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