Death Angel


08 Décembre 2017


Blaster Of Muppets

Interview Ted Aguilar

Hi and thank you for answering a few questions for Aux Portes Du Metal. How’s this European tour with Testament and Annihilator going so far?

The tour is going well… You know, everyone is getting along, I mean we’ve known the guys from Testament since the 80s, we’ve toured with them before and it’s been great. It’s our first time with Annihilator and they’re just good guys, we’re having such a good time. We’ve had some sold-out shows, the band, the crew, everyone is getting along… and the shows have been incredible. It’s really been a smooth tour so far.

You’ve had a huge amount of touring for the past years… it seems that the music industry relies heavily on touring these days. Is that something that bothers you or are you quite happy the way it is?

You know, at first, you want to tour a lot because that’s how you make your income but… after a while, you get tired. Touring can really weigh down on you, especially if you’re doing it constantly and don’t have a break. And the music industry, well, it’s changing every year, it’s a bit hard to plan what you should do, do you tour too much? too little? when should you do it? The timing is important as well because a lot of bands are touring too, so you’re competing with a lot of packages out there. Earlier on, we were touring a lot but now it’s more kinda like we’re picking the tours. Like this tour, for example… it’s a good package. So yes, sometimes it’s hard, but it’s important to have a good package… sometimes, we went with different genres you know, touring with a metalcore band for example, and some thrash fans don’t really like that, they wanna see full-on thrash, so we try to choose the best opportunities...

“The Evil Divide” has been released for a year and a half now… And what a great record it is! Just when you thought things couldn’t get better after “The Dream Calls For Blood”, they did with this one. How do you feel about it now?

It’s probably kinda cliché to say that but I really think it’s the best record the band’s done. Music is all subjective of course but with a career that has been going on for a bit more than thirty years, some bands just release ok albums… I think that “The Evil Divide” really captures that moment in time, you know, we’re frustrated with what’s going on in the world right now, there’s a lot of division going on around the world… It’s really frustrating. Why can’t people just come together? We just see a lot of chaos. And this divide, it’s happening in the world, in our own country, in our cities… we’re divided by race, religion, technology you know, everyone’s paying more attention to their phone than to the people around them… But yeah, this is a good record, we love it, it really captures this moment in time, it contains our feelings and frustration. I thought we couldn’t top “The Dream Calls For Blood” too but it seems that we did.

What do you enjoy the most on stage? Playing old classics or new material?

Both. Maybe a bit more of new material because it’s really representing today but I also like playing the old stuff because it gives me a nostalgia feeling. I grew up listening to these songs, it reminds me when I was young, when I bought this or that record, the shows I went to… But we’re lucky with the fans because they seem to appreciate both. They like hearing old classics of course but they also really like the new stuff, so I’d say we have a good balance.

Have you started working on your next record?

Just ideas here and there for the moment. We talked about it, Rob has lots of ideas… After this tour, we go home and have our annual Christmas show in San Francisco and then we’re not doing anything until May, then we’ll go to Australia with Sepultura. In that time frame, between January and April, that’s when we’re gonna get together and start assembling some stuff.

Even though “The Evil Divide” is great, some fans would like to see the band return to a more diverse music and long for more surprising stuff as some could be found on “Frolic Through The Park” or “Act III”. Would you like to explore different possibilities or are you completely satisfied with the more straightforward uncomprising thrash approach you’ve had recently?

You know, I’m open to everything. Right now, we’re in that mind frame and our music tends to sound a bit more aggressive and evil but who knows where we’ll be a year from now. It all depends in our environment, it’s kinda hard to predict. The next album could be a bit darker and more aggressive or it might be a bit more experimental or melodic, it’s a combination of things you know, we’ll see how it all turns out but for the moment, I just don’t know what’s going to happen.

Can you feel how much the stability of the band (the line-up hasn’t changed for 8 years now) has helped the band grow?

Yes, I think it has definitely helped the band because, as you just said, we’ve all been together for eight, almost nine years now… The more people live together, play together, tour, the more they get to know each other better as people, as musicians, and they know what buttons to push and not to push… You know how someone is going to react if you do this or that, it’s like being with your girlfriend or wife you know, it’s a relationship and the more you know each other, the better it works. I’m really glad this line-up works so well, it’s cool.

The band, or at least, its first record, turned 30 this year! That’s something, right? Any plans to celebrate three decades of Death Angel?

Well, we already did something for “The Ultra-Violence” five years ago, 25 years seemed like the right time for an anniversary and we had these shows when we played the album entirely. We re-released the album back then, I think we’re done with that now. Time to move on.

Thrash Metal seems more alive than ever these days and lots of new bands have emerged for the past years… Do you keep an eye on everything that’s going on and do you find bands that interest you?

Man, there are so many new bands these days and it’s really hard to keep count, right? It’s not like, back in the days, when there were bands that came up, you discovered them with demo tapes, gigs… now, there are some new bands everyday, and you just have to check them out on the internet… A friend comes and says “Hey, do you know this band?”, you go and check, listen to a few songs, watch a video… But yeah, there are bands that I like and that I discovered when we toured with them... I really like Warbringer or Havok, for example.

Last time we talked, it was with Rob actually, a live DVD was mentioned. It was supposed to be part of a package including “A Thrashumentary”… but eventually, the documentary was released alone. What happened to the live part and will it see the light of day in the near future?

Well, sometimes you have a plan and things happen on the way and change the plans, you know… I don’t think there are plans to release what was planned for “A Thrashumentary” but we want to release a new live DVD, that’s for sure… but we want to make it right and it takes some time to organize, it’s not like “ok, let’s put a camera here and shoot the show tonight”. We’re talking about it, we’re just trying to figure out who’s gonna do it, where we’re gonna shoot it, you know. We just have one official live DVD, “Sonic German Beatdown”, but we want more something we really planned ourselves, this one was just a show recorded at a festival. So yeah, there’s gonna be a new live DVD, hopefully sooner than later.

Your personal influence as a guitar player? Who made you want to play?

James Hetfield’s the guy, man. He had it all, he was the guy you could meet in the street, he had this attitude, this look, he was not wearing leather or make-up, you know, and his riffs, man… the songs he wrote for “Kill’Em All” and the following records. And he had this great voice, very unique too. So, yeah, he looked bad ass, he could sing, he wrote one of the most influential riffs for that genre of metal… When I saw him, I thought yeah, I wanna do that.

Legends are retiring or passing, they’re not eternal, Dio, Lemmy, Malcolm Young… One day, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and others won’t be around… Who, in your opinion, are the next big metal bands?

Well… I don’t know. Maybe there’s a great band out there who could be the next legend, but really I don’t know, we have to debate on that… We talked about that with some friends and we just don’t know, I mean, obviously there are bands that we love and that could carry the torch but will they become as big as the ones you were talking about, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, etc. ? Maybe that when the legends are gone, some smaller bands will come up you know, like Testament or Death Angel… maybe they’re so high right now that they’re actually overshadowing us, you know, like a cloud. It’s really difficult to know what’s going to happen in the future… What do you think?

Well, I don’t have a clue. I’ve been asking myself the same question but I don’t have an answer. There are bands that I love and who might be legends to me but not to everyone… For instance, I love Symphony X but even though I love them I don’t see them becoming the next Iron Maiden, I doubt they will play stadiums around the world in five or ten years…

You know what? I would never say never because you don’t know what might happen… who knows? All of a sudden, a band could become huge… but yes, as of right now, I really don’t know who…

Do you still buy CDs and if so, what are the last CDs you bought?

I do buy CDs… let me think, I think it was a non-metal CD… I believe it was Adele’s “25”. Lots of stuff, I just download from itunes when I want to listen to them on the road or else, but yeah, the last CD I bought was really Adele’s.

Next, I was going to ask you what was next for Death Angel but you already answered that earlier…

Yeah, so there’s the Christmas show, some time at home and with the guys working on the next album, the tour with Sepultura in Australia… but there something else : in the summer, we’ll come back to Europe for the festival season. After that, probably some time off and going back to the new record.

Thank you for your time and have a great show tonight.

Thank you for the interview, we appreciate it man. Enjoy the show!