Throwdown vocalist Dave Peters took some time from working on the band’s busted touring vehicles (ooh la la, DIY!) to give us a call and discuss a number of subjects, including the band’s new album, Deathless, which is in stores now.
With the last record, you made a huge evolutionary leap in the sound of the band, your fan base and your general notoriety. What was your goal going in to record this new one? What was the next step for you?
I think our goal kind of remains the same for every record. We’re never setting out to reach a particular sales goal or play to any particular group of people or anything like that. At the end of the day, we just want to play music that is honest and real for ourselves. Our music is an extension of who we are, and we just want the music to, on a production level, sound the way that we envision it but we just want the most honest representation of who we are as people and what we’ve been through with each and every record that we recorded.
It seems like you really jived with Mudrock on going back to production. It worked out last time and worked so, so well this time. Why do you think the band worked well with your producer even though he isn’t known for working with hardcore bands and will you continue working with him?
Mudrock does a great job on the producer side of things. He does an amazing job with keeping us in check and he’s extremely honest which is something we appreciate. He’s not one to sugarcoat anything. If he thinks something sucks, he tells you. I think what we really wanted and what we really needed as a band and I think what a lot of bands could benefit from, whether they realize it or not, is that fresh and honest outside perspective. It gets so easy to find yourself, when you have an inside view of things, to lose sight of what you’re there to do, or the process in and of itself can become a difficult thing. I guess he is sort of our trainer in a way. It was cool and I definitely see us working with Mudrock again in the future. We came back to him for a reason. While he’s very straight up with us and honest, at the same time he doesn’t try to change the band or what we do. He goes into it understanding and accepting who and what the band is and doesn’t try to change that but rather accommodate it and make it the best it can be which is, in essence, what a producer is supposed to do. I think that line often gets blurred and you either get one end of it where the producer is in the room five minutes out of the day and he’s not doing shit except for collecting checks or the other end of it and he wants to be in the band and tries to rewrite songs entirely. Mudrock in a sense really gets it, you know?
What’s the story behind the title, Deathless?
I wouldn’t call the album a concept record necessarily, but it’s definitely a thematic record and every song is either used as a metaphor of death or life or survival. To describe something or someone in my life that is important to me or it’s a song directly about death or life or survival without any metaphorical tie-ins. Also, the record title itself is a testament to the band and what we’ve done and accomplished in general over the years. Most bands don’t see a full decade or more for that matter and despite whatever member changes we’ve had and the highs and lows we’ve encountered on the ugly business side of what we do, we’ve persevered and stood the test of time. The title is also representative of that but it’s sort of a double-sided thing.
With the tour coming up, it seems like this is the first real, straight-up hardcore tour you have done in a while. For the last record, you did very diverse tours and not the old five-band hardcore bill. Was that a conscious decision? Did you pick the bands that you’re touring with this time (Bury Your Dead)? Or did it just work out that way?
We definitely picked the bands that were touring with. I think while it might appear at first sight that this is a standard, regular hardcore tour, at the same time, a band like Bury Your Dead who definitely has its roots sunk into the hardcore world as well is also a band that has evolved soundwise a lot over the years. To be honest with you, I think the records that we grew to appreciate them for were their more recent ones and they kind of reached outside of the realm of what was expected from them and we kind of share that in common. We come from a similar place and yet we’re not doing the same style of music, we’re not playing the same brand of metal or hardcore but we’re at that same point within our own perspective careers as musicians so it was cool on that level. Besides, we’re good friends with those guys and we did do a tour with them and Cavalera Conspiracy not too long ago. We did get demand from our fans and from theirs as well to do another tour together and [it] become the headlining run. We’re really stoked on it. I think it’s going to be a really cool tour.
Let’s talk about the label switch real quick. What happened with Trustkill? Did you even consider resigning with them after the contract expired or did you know from the get-go that you were going to go somewhere else? How did E1 come into play and why did you settle on them?
We’ve known for years we’d be going somewhere else. I’m not getting into the mudslinging game with [Trustkill founder] Josh [Grabelle]. There’s nothing that I could say about Josh that’s going to damage him any more than things he’s said and done on his own. We’re definitely not at a great place with our relationship with Josh and it hasn’t been that way in a long time. But it is what it is and we’re not worried about the pastand what we’ve done in past years. We’re a very forward thinking band, a very forward moving band. I think that was great with [E1]. [E1 VP of metal] Scott [Givens] and the guys down there are big fans of the band already and they are one of the few labels that, despite being the largest independent label in North America, they are still very D.I.Y. and not living on borrowed money. I think in the climate of the industry, with everything being the way it is, as far as record sales and being this kind of temperamental time, its nice to know you have that security and support from a label that is self-driven and self-made. From that level, it seemed like the most obvious next step for us.