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A Dirty Dozen with ADZ LINEKER of DETHONATOR – February 2019

| 13 February 2019 | Reply

 

According to a recent press release: “After three years of writing and recording, Dethonator returns with Part One of their new album, Race Against the Sun. The album is the follow up to the 2017 self-titled album, which features many of their most popular songs to date, such as “Harbinger,” “Shadows,” and “In The Place of The Skull.” Originally forged in the East Midlands of England and now established in London, Dethonator is an exciting four-piece heavy metal band. Starting out as teens in the summer of 2002, Dethonator has honed its craft over a decade and a half. If Judas Priest define heavy metal, then Dethonator is damascus steel—metal forged true with myriad layers of influence drawn from the many stylistic paths explored by their forebears over the past half century.” We get bassist Adz to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Our latest release is a brand new LP called Race Against The Sun: Part One.  It was released on February the 1st, through Pavement Entertainment.  This record is our most diverse and colourful record so far.  There are more moods and styles knocking around this time.  There’s the bluesiest riff we’ve ever put down on “Burial Ground,” which also features Anthrax-esque gang shouts, which are a bit different for us.  There are folk influences in “Ghost of The Rolling Horizon.”  “The Hangman” draws on Ennio Morricone in its acoustic passages.  “Terror by Night” is a Frankenstein’s monster of brutal riffs.  A diehard fan might notice that we’ve used some more keyboard than usual.  Lyrically, there’s a little social commentary, but a listener might pick up on a running theme of references to classic horror tropes.  What a fan might not pick up the first time around is that the album’s artwork features a lot of little visual references to the songs on the record; that is, once you get past the epic burning bat!

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I’ve been studying music since I was seven, when I began my classical training.  ‘Cello and French Horn through school, lots of work in orchestras and small ensembles, solo performance in concerts, competitions, graded exams, theory study.  I enjoyed playing in the orchestras the most and I liked the grander, more bombastic pieces best, but it often felt like something I did rather than something I obsessed over.  Then I discovered Iron Maiden by accident, on the soundtrack to a computer game.  After years of playing classical and listening to popular music it was like a piece of the puzzle suddenly clicked into place.  I knew immediately that I absolutely loved it.  Then I quickly knew that I wanted to play it.  I tried singing “Aces High,” made some odd noises and couldn’t hit most of Bruce’s notes.  Then I made friends with a guy at school in a metal band called False Prophet that needed a bassist, and that was the beginning of everything musical that has lead up to this point.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I mostly learned bass by trying to copy Steve Harris on a VHS of Live After Death.  It’s the reason I’m a finger style player.  I started with a pick, but ‘Arry didn’t use one so it had to go!

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Well, obviously Maiden.  Then it would have to be Metallica, who were a quick next step on from Maiden in the early days.  Then I would have to say Nightwish; the melodic songwriting in that band is just exceptional.  Arch Enemy had a huge influence in the band’s approach to guitar work and developing riff motifs, particularly riffs that incorporate the layering of different chords.  As a bassist, I’d have to tip the cap to Alex Webster from Cannibal Corpse; his playing amazes me and inspires me to improve.  After that, I’d say Dream Theater; everyone in the band has been inspired by them at some point.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Either Rob Halford or Jon Shaffer.  Both of them are held in such high esteem by the band and our friendship circles that we’ve pretty much mythologized them.  Between Halford’s scream and Shaff’s palm muting, I don’t know which would prove mightier.  It’d be like on of those sparkly wand fights from Harry Potter.  Maybe the world would explode.  Or turn into metal.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Big hooks, big riffs.  If Judas Priest define Heavy Metal, Dethonator are Damascus Steel.  Our music is still true to the principles of the classic melodic template but shot through with a myriad of influences drawn from the genre progressions made over the last fifty years.  The last thing this band will ever be about is trying to mimic the sound of a particular era or genre.  We are not a retro revival act.  We are not a genre band.  That’s the issue that makes us cringe in the reviews.  There are sometimes reviews done by writers who are overly fixated on trying to categorise the band into a snug genre template and they seem to get annoyed or confused when they can’t.  Again, there’s been 50 years of evolution in metal and my philosophy is to try to enjoy all of it; is it really that surprising that some of those broad influences would be inspirations alongside the classic bands we all know and love?

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

That 40-60 minutes on stage.  Everything else pales in comparison.

8. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

We practice at least once a week, so when we are hanging out the other two activities take precedence!  It’s usually Tris to start mucking about on the guitar, H is a chef so we have him at the stove whenever possible and the rhythm section drink the beer. Actually, that’s not true.  Everyone drinks the beer.

9. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

I had the pleasure of meeting Rik Mayall a few years ago.  He was everything a fan would hope for him to be; hysterically funny and very friendly.  Bit of a childhood hero, sorely missed.

10. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Author or theatrical director.  I like creating stuff.  I’ve got the beginnings of a novel lying around; one day I might even get onto chapter two.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I’d have had Tris start singing earlier in his life.  He just keeps getting better and better and keeps finding new tones and possibilities in his voice.  I’m so proud of his performance on our new record.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I would choose to be a fly on the wall and observe Dream Theater making Images and Words.  The writing on that record is so strong and James LaBrie delivers a godlike performance; amazing to think that the label didn’t approve of his selection.  It was a make or break moment for the band so it would be have been fascinating to observe their process and experience the dynamic that made a record that is a much loved old friend to me.

DETHONATOR LINKS:

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Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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