Obituary’s Don Tardy Talks ‘Inked in Blood’ Album, Lineup Additions + More
Obituary have started their fourth decade of death metal with the stellar new disc 'Inked in Blood.' Drummer Don Tardy was the guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show and he spoke with Jackie about the 'Inked in Blood' disc, how new members have energized the band and more. Check out the chat below:
How are you?
I'm doing very well, how are you?
We're here to talk about Obituary’s ninth studio album, 'Inked in Blood.' Don, what's been the biggest advantage from using a Kickstarter campaign to fund an Obituary album?
We just didn't want to be [on] a typical contract on any record label. That's kind of what the history of the band was. And most bands, you get signed into a record label that wants to basically own the rights to it for almost forever and we knew we really wanted to step out of the ballpark, think outside of the box to do what we can to own our product more than we have in the past. Really, just have a say so on our future.
The Kickstarter campaign allowed us to actually raise enough money to get this album recorded, mixed, produced, mastered and in our hands before we even needed help from our record label. That gave us a lot of power to really negotiate and figure out what we wanted with the future of this record. Relapse stepped in and they just knew that we already had final product, that we would simply use their engine to market it and press it and get it distributed throughout the world. They did a fabulous job so far with their part.
'Inked in Blood' is the result of several years writing songs. How would the album have turned out differently if the songs didn't have all that time to develop?
Looking back now that it's a completed album, I think it helps. With so much time in between songs it seems like each song has it's own feel, vibe and character. I think maybe if we had been rushed or really tried to push the envelope they might not have had such individuality. So, it's a monster album. It's 12 songs, it's the longest album we've ever written and we could not be more excited about it. Each song is just pounding, and we're really stoked that the response has been so great so far, the fans have really been digging it.
Obituary is regarded as pioneers of the death metal genre. What aspects of the new album 'Inked in Blood' push the envelope of death metal the most?
I don't know. Obituary is there and we're happy with the style and what we bring the table. I think when fans buy Obituary albums they're looking for that. We don't try to reinvent the wheel, we would never do that. We know that Obituary stands for something solid and that mid-tempo, groovy feel that Obituary has. So, we didn't want to step too far out of it, we really wanted to stay true to our roots. Of course, I personally think the band individually gets better with every year that goes by, with every album that we record. Everyone seems to get [it]. This album just seems just catchy and easy to listen to -- that simple groovy metal that we're known for. We really found ourselves with this album. Again, we're super excited about these new songs and we're really looking forward to fans seeing it live and getting their hands on this new album.
The band is on tour in the U.S. through early December. Don, what part of the process of making 'Inked in Blood' will you remember most 10 or 20 years from now?
Probably the recording process because we took on this project completely 100 percent ourselves. The last few albums, we tracked it ourselves at our studio but then we've always outsourced it and had someone help mix. This time we just kept our hands on the handlebars and just did it ourselves. Probably the recording and the producing of the album is something that the band is super proud of. It's 100 percent band member made and mixed. That's probably what's going to stick in my mind, that we actually pulled it off and we're proud of the end result.
What makes the new album and the new guys, Kenny and Terry, the foundation for Obituary to have lots more years playing and recording?
We're very comfortable in our own skin. The writing process and our train of thought when we're writing songs is simple; we don't care what other bands are doing on this planet. We don't care what demands our record label would have or what other things are going on on the earth. We simply try and write a song, we start one, to just write the most heavy song that we possibly can that we like. I believe that if we're in love with our songs, I think our fans are really going to dig it. That's the mindset we have.
With Terry and Ken on board, it's a refreshing idea of band members coming in with a positive attitude and professionalism. They brought their ideas to the studio and their ears. When me and Trevor were done writing a song, they'd listen with us and they'd suggest; maybe you should add something here or more importantly to let us know maybe this song doesn't need to be as long as it is. So it was good to have input from Ken and Terry and Ken's solo style is a beautiful blend of a little bit of Alan West meets a little bit of James Murphy. I think that was missing from Obituary for these last few years and Ken really brought that back to the table. I believe that's what fans want and they're really going to see the difference with Ken's solo style that it's back to the roots with us. It's a good feeling.
What's to come beyond the end of 2014?
It's a really, really bright future. We're as busy as we possibly can be. We're going to stay that way. We've already confirmed a headlining European tour through Jan/Feb and we're looking to come back through the U.S. sometime again hopefully in April/May. Then, of course, with the new album always brings the demand of the open air festivals in Europe, so we have confirmed some of the big ones. Wacken, Hellfest, we've already confirmed almost through November 2015, believe it or not. As you can imagine, the world of music and booking shows moves very quickly so we are going to be a very busy band and a very happy band to stay busy and bust our butts out here on the road and tour easily this next 18 months. We will be nonstop trying to get everywhere on the plant for the Obituary fans that are looking to see us.
Thank you so much for being on the show.
I'm just here to let the fans know, Obituary thanks them for the support. It's what we love to do and we're the best of friends and we're having a blast doing it, but knowing the fans are supporting us like they are, it just makes it that much more sweet and it drives us that much more. So, thank you from the bottom of our metal hearts.
Thanks to Obituary's Don Tardy for the interview. The 'Inked in Blood' album is available at Amazon and iTunes. Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.