Check out the full audio or text highlights below.
0:00 Getting involved in Duskmachine and the band's history
2:00 How they overcome the challenge of distance
3:00 Current plans for Duskmachine
4:00 Comparison to previous work (e.g., Overkill and Annihilator)
6:00 Liege Lord reunion
7:30 New Liege Lord album and record deal
8:45 Liege Lord history
12:00 Other projects and his day job
14:45 New Liege Lord album and its sound
16:00 How he developed his vocal style
18:00 Early success of Duskmachine and touring plans
Highlights (full audio above)
How he got involved in Duskmachine: Well, 3 of us are from Annihilator, so that's how we knew each other. Nikolai [Wurk], the guitar player, actually worked for Annihilator, and he was friends with Randy [Black] for years before that. So we've all been friends for a long time, and when that lineup dissolved, we always thought we would work together in some aspect.
Overcoming geographical distance: Randy, the drummer, and Nikolai are in Berlin, Germany, and Russ [Bergquist] is from Vancouver, where Annihilator is based out of it. We call it an American-German-Canadian quartet is what the label put on the CD or something, I just saw. It's pretty varied. I don't want to say we're all engineers, but we're all technically adept at recording stuff, and I did all the vocals in my home studio, and that kind of stuff. Being far away isn't as much of a challenge as it used to be, where you had to get together for months at a time and go through the stuff. We can actually send stuff back and forth and then do shows and get together and jam for a few weeks here and there. I think it brings a good element of everyone's different upbringings and styles, making our own little sound, I guess.
Joining a new band compared to an established one: Yeah, for the first time, I feel like this is a new thing, new band, and something I'm part of that I'm going to build from the ground up. They had one other album with another singer, but it's definitely a new band, because it sounds totally different than the first release. It's good. With Overkill and Annihilator, I walked in and it was already established. It's a good feeling that people are really excited about it and like the album. It's doing well, and it's something I helped start, kind of.
With Overkill, they wouldn't really let Sebastian or I [sic] write, or Dave or I [sic] write. Annihilator, Jeff did, but I was only able to write like 25% of what we released, if that, because he pretty much does most everything. That's the way he operates. This [Duskmachine] is 100% lyrically, vocally. [Duskmachine official website]
Liege Lord reunion: That's pretty exciting, because Matt and Tony finally have come around. Original, founding members. So we've got two new really great musicians that are really excited in the area to play. Danny Wacker is a really amazing guitar player, and Frank Gilchrest - he was in Virgin Steele and he played in the Good Rats, tons of bands. We did a headlining show in Keep It True festival in Germany in April, and it was amazing, really. We got an unbelievable reaction. I knew people were waiting to see the band for years over there. We had never played Europe really with the original guys like that, and people were singing almost every song. It blew my mind. We're not just doing it for a few shows. We're all writing right now. We're going to put out another record. I think Metal Blade, they want to release a boxed set of the first three records, so it's definitely something we're going to do, not just a project. So I'll have both bands going. [Liege Lord official Facebook page]
New release with Metal Blade or with another label? They want to release it, sight unseen. They already said. We will shop it, because it's been a long time. Things have changed, new labels, Nuclear Blast and things like that. Nothing against Metal Blade, but we want to see what the other labels want to help us do. It's not about the money, really. Well, it is - everyone needs to make money. But it's more about what the label wants to do as far as promoting us in their roster, whether they're just going to throw it against the wall and see whether it sticks, or they're going to put some money into advertising and getting us out on the road, because want to go play. We want to do shows and be able to tour, and that costs money sometimes. You have to sometimes buy onto a bill, as you know - most people don't know that, but even with a name band, if you want to latch onto a bigger tour like Ozzfest, maybe you have to actually pay to be on the thing, so the label needs to get behind you sometimes, and we want to see who's willing to do that.
Why the band called it quits 25 years ago: We just had problems with Metal Blade and money, and they didn't want to support the band. The contract they had given us to sign for the next 7 albums really was like a career killer, so we just figured rather than do that, we'd just split ways. It was mostly Matt - he was just kind of disgusted with the whole music industry. So in that year and a half, we did quite a bit, but we never went to Europe and never went to Canada and South America, anything like that. Now it's time for sure.
Joe's day job: I also am a production manager for different acts and theater type things and bands. Production managing, most people don't know, is just making sure that the advance work and everything on the stage is together. Sound, lights, freighting, trucking, PA, overseeing the crew, stuff like that. I don't really like to talk about that too much in the metal world. I just really want to talk usually about the bands I'm in or the stuff I'm working on. So Liege Lord and Duskmachine is my focus right now.
Benefits of working in music/entertainment: Well, you run in to other agents and management and stuff like that, and musicians. Just being out there in general. I've heard of so many amazing guitar players and things like that - they don't ever do anything. They sit in their room. They go to the mall. They maybe have a girlfriend and go to the movies, but they don't get out there and meet people or do things. They're in their bedroom practicing all the time, so you kind of gotta get out there. I'm not saying you have to be a social butterfly or you gotta be a schmoozer, but it does help when you're actually out in the world. You run into people that have the same interests and do the same kind of stuff that you do.
Updating the Liege Lord sound while staying true to the history: We're the same people, so I think it's going to sound very similar. But I think we're more mature, so I'm hoping that the music will be just better, but we're not going to turn our backs on what we were or try to do some new fad. We're going to try to stay grounded in what that was and just make that sound newer, fresher, and better, if that makes sense.