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Interview: Dan from Destroy Judas

Earlier this year i wrote about Destroy Judas‘ debut Wake. An album that still regularly finds it’s way into my playlist, and an album i think everyone that enjoys a good portion of doom metal should at least check out once.  Through Omeed from The Crossing, who does the vinyl release of this album (and does that very nicely), i got the chance to do a small interview with Dan from Destroy Judas.

Hello Dan, thanks for doing this interview. Hope all is well over there. 

I actually didn’t realize Eyes of Fire had disbanded until i found out about Destroy Judas a few months ago. Could you tell a bit about how Destroy Judas started?

Destroy Judas started while Eyes of Fire was still around. It was an outlet for myself and Nicky to expand on ideas that wouldn’t really fit into what Eyes of Fire was doing. Steve Burda was also around in the beginning and the songs were leaning more towards the crust-end of the spectrum, even veering into d-beat at times. I was not feeling Eyes of Fire much at those times. Just people going separate ways musically and wanting different things with their music. I have always wanted to be darker and heavier and just plan not nice sounding and not so, for a lack of a better word “commercial” sounding. Yes, I had a heavy hand in writing for Eyes of Fire, but I tend to cater to the people in the band and their talents. With Destroy Judas it is everything that I and now we strived to make all of our lives. Heavy, emotional music not worried about if we sell records or people think we’re cool or what our image is.

Destroy Judas. Photo courtesy of Rob OLDHCDUDE

I read in older interviews that bands like Pink Floyd, Amebix and Swans are some of your ‘older’ main influences. Are there also any newer bands that have influenced you in writing or in general? 

I wouldn’t say any band in particular has influenced us. What we have noticed is that people are starting to get an attention span for longer songs. Back when Mindrot was around that was unheard of. People back then would complain at how long our songs were. Now it seems like tons of bands write 10 plus minute songs and really expand on the musicality of what they are doing. Also, the whole “post-rock” movement has allowed for longer non-vocal parts in songs to be played, which is something I have always tried to do in my previous bands.

The songs on Wake all have a bit of a nautical/oceanic feel over them, either because of the song titles or because of, for instance, the samples that are used. Was that part of the concept (if there is one) and if not could you explain the idea behind the lyrics/songs? 

It is basically about someone sick of life and all the crap that comes with it and decides to end it all by walking into the ocean and drown. The lyrics are kind of like reading the diary of that person. Real happy stuff.

So far, how have the responses been to both Wake and the live shows you played?

Really , really good! I’m sure there are people out there who hate us and think we are wasting time doing this, but those critiques don’t get back to us very often.

The live show responses have been really good as well. Even when we play like complete shit, the people still love it. I suspect it’s because we play so loud they can’t notice all the fuck ups we did.

Destroy Judas. Photo courtesy of Cvlt Nation

The songs from Wake have been out since early 2011. Can we expect any new material soon? And if so, will there be any drastic changes from the songs Wake?

We have another record pretty much written. We’re just doing some final tweaks on the songs and how we play them and we’ll head back into the studio. We’ve been playing around here a lot and it has kind of slowed the process for us. But there is new music coming.

The songs are different from Wake, but, you can definitely tell it is Destroy Judas. We’ve played 2 of them a couple of times at shows and people have really dug them.

I see you are mainly touring the California area. Any plans to go across the pond / Europe? 

Man, we’re not even touring California. We’re playing everywhere in southern California. We would love to get to Europe. Need to get a label there to distribute our stuff and for us to be able to get the proper amount of time off from our jobs to do it properly, which is incredibly hard these days in this economy.

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Since the members in Destroy Judas are or have been in a lot of other bands as well. Are you playing any songs from former bands live or is it just Destroy Judas songs?

We just play Destroy Judas songs live. Though we have joked at practice at doing really absurd covers like, W.A.S.P.’s Love Machine and things of that nature.

The pre-order for the Wake LP has been up for a bit now. How are sales going?

Just heard from Omeed today that there’s under 100 left. So really good considering we’ve only been selling it for a little over a week now. So people reading this, order it now!!!!!

I haven’t received my copy yet so i only saw it on the pictures, but are you happy with how it turned out?

This is the best thing I have ever been involved with as a band. It looks amazing. I finally got my physical copy this week and was completely blown away. Hand screened covers. A sweet slip cover. It all came out amazing.

You are in LA, and to me, as an oblivious European, that doesn’t really seem like the place for heavy, dark and/or doomy music. How is the scene over there for bands like you? Enough places to play, fans or other bands around that make music in the same vein?

The bands here are few, but almost all of them are fucking amazing!!!! Behold! The Monolith, Deathkings, Pendulous, Intronaut, Bereft. The list could go on, but there are great heavy bands from out here. As far as venues go, they are few and far between. We just played an art space in downtown LA just this last week. Places here pop-up and get shutdown faster than anything you’d ever seen. We even played a festival here in LA that had all its permits and the fire marshal came out and inspected it and said everything was up to code, but the LAPD came in and shut it down for no reason but to be complete fucking assholes.

Destroy Judas. Photo courtesy of Cvlt Nation

To me it kinda seems there are quite some new bands that have that old feeling or ethic, releasing stuff on their own either through bandcamp (like you) or cassettes and just taking matters in their own hands instead of having some label taking care of them. You’ve been doing this for quite some time now. How do you see the scene (or business) nowadays, is it much different and do you think it is better or worse compared to the ‘old’ days?

I personally think it is awesome. The internet has helped small bands get their names out there. Back when Mindrot first started the internet was for rich people. None of us punks had the internet back then. We just straight did the tape trading thing via the snail mail. You did build better friendships for sure doing it that way, but the ease of people hearing your music now is so much better than before. It is a blessing for small DIY bands to do their thing.

What are the plans for Destroy Judas in the near future?

Write more songs. Play more shows. Improve the live show even more. Improve our visuals and the ambience of the live setting.

This interview is about Destroy Judas but i hope you don’t mind me asking something about Mindrot. As my friends and I have been huge fans since Dawning came out they asked me to ask you this. And of course i’m curious as well.

A while ago there were rumors going around the Internet that mentioned a Mindrot reunion. How serious were those rumors and do you see it happening now or in the (near) future? Are you for instance still in touch with the former members?

At the time they were very serious. But for me, when we started talking about how to do it and what we would do, it started to bring me back to a place I didn’t want to be. It has nothing to do with the people involved, but I don’t think I was really ready to do it. I hold that band very close to my heart and don’t want to do something completely lame and unoriginal.

I just saw Adrian at the Samothrace show we just played. It was good to see him. He shows up at the most unexpected times. Just really out of the blue. Evan and I will text each other from time to time. We threaten to get together and get incredibly drunk together. I don’t talk to Matt much, or at all, we’re both at different points of living. And Flood is super busy and he’s an even more rare sight that Adrian. Seeing him is like getting a glimpse of Bigfoot.

That’s it from my side. Again, thanks for taking your time to do this. I hope Destroy Judas will get the recognition i think it deserves. Feel free to add anything yourself.

Thanks a ton for thinking of us!! It does truly mean a lot to us. Please go to the bandcamp page and download Wake. Make as many copies for all your friends, lover, family, and even enemies. (Look at that, shamelessly plugging bandcamp). Cheers and thanks again!!!

 

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