The Black Dahlia Murder’s Trevor Strnad Talks New Album ‘Everblack,’ New Bandmates + More
The Black Dahlia Murder frontman Trevor Strnad was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s radio show this past weekend. Strnad spoke all about the band’s new album, ‘Everblack,’ his enthusiasm for the band’s future and the group's brand new members. If you missed Full Metal Jackie’s show, check out her interview with Trevor Strnad below:
We’re here to talk about the new album ‘Everblack’ and you guys are out on this year’s Warped Tour.
Yeah it’s an exciting time, we’ve been waiting for this to come out -- I felt like we had something to prove with the new members coming in and people being doubtful about whether we have the might and the power. Now it’s out there and everybody’s happy and yeah I’m excited.
As you mentioned new members, there’s a brand new engine in this band with Max [Lavelle] and Alan [Cassidy] on bass and drums but your ex-bassist Ryan [Williams] was still around producing the album?
Yeah, that’s right. One of the things we didn’t want to lose by losing Ryan was that he was a really well-rounded engineer and he really knew his way around the studio. We wanted to have that anal retentiveness that he had still and the way he looks at everything under a microscope – he just has that studio knowledge that the rest of us don’t have. Things are still copasetic, we’re still really good friends so it was a natural thing, it was fun.
How has new people and shuffling studio responsibilities made this new record ‘Everblack’ different from other Black Dahlia Murder albums?
Well I mean typically in the last few years we’ve been recording as much as we can at home so when you look at it on paper, it looks pretty confusing with all these different studios involved and different people involved. Everyone that recorded us is from the Audio Hammer clan in Florida and we just had them come up here because it’s more cost effective for us rather than have all of us go down to Florida and put all of us up and feed us. Those guys are just awesome, they just know what we’re talking about they’re in touch with the stuff that we like.
Trevor, the last album set the bar pretty high. When you were writing the new songs that would become ‘Everblack,’ at what point did you know you could live up to any expectations created by ‘Ritual.’
I guess it’s when we got started and got into a few songs. I definitely felt the pressure at first and just looking at the workload of how much it was going to be because if we were going to make a record as good as ‘Ritual’ and ‘Ritual took a lot of extra elbow grease. We just accepted that we’re going to have to work harder and ‘Ritual’ was an album to beat – I’m still very proud of that one I think that was the stamp into the new era that we’re in now and the new album is even more pushed in that direction.
It was intimidating at first, once I started hearing the songs come together I started getting excited and the guys always excite me with their writing. Everytime we come back two years later, they’re so much better, so much more advanced and I think we learn a lot in a two year span because we’re always on fast forward, playing a hundred shows a year and going all over the world.
The band is pretty much our life 99 percent of the time so it’s exciting when it comes down to writing. When I hear those ‘Everblack’ songs I just got pumped and I realized, “Well, let’s do it,” and the fear kind of subsided.
Quite a few of the guitar solos on this album were spontaneous, recorded off the cuff in the studio, just like bands used to do years ago. What prompted your band to now track that way too?
Ryan [Knight] he’s a shredder. He’s a really underappreciated guitar player and I think this album is going to thrust him into the limelight here. What he likes are those old school shredders, he like Marty Friedman and Richie Kotzen and all those old shredder dudes so a lot of what he does is a tribute to them. I think he wants to go into that direction and I think part of it is just using it to express and I think the spontaneity and to be able to really perform that way and capture that awesome energy is the next level of what he wanted to do as a guitar player.
‘Hell Is Where She Waits For Me’ is the first time you’ve overtly written about the famous murder case that gave the band it’s name. Over the years, how much of the underlying lyrical ethos of Black Dahlia Murder has come from the overall ambiance of that incident?
I would say there’s a lot. I just think that, that case is so horrific and really the whole significance – it kind of represents the death of the American dream with Elizabeth Short going to California with all these stars in her eyes and just the way she was cut down and all of the weird circumstances surrounding it and all the false confessions. It’s just a really weird, macabre kind of case. In a way it paints that morbid curiosity that people have you just can’t turn your heads from it.
The case has always been a source of inspiration but the song I think was long overdue and I wanted to wait until I felt like I was ready as a writer. It just didn’t seem like there was a more perfect time than now because it’s just another thing to prove that we haven’t changed. To have a song that’s almost self-titled in a way, there’s not a clearer statement that we haven’t changed than that song. The song itself sounds like a classic, old style Black Dahlia Murder song. It’s something for the fans and it’s something to say, “Hey, ‘Everblack’ it’s still here, still awesome," hopefully.
Beyond the summer I guess you guys will head to Europe and do some more touring, what else can we expect?
We will be very busy gentleman, we have a tour pretty much right after Warped that’s in Europe and then we’ll be back for another headliner in the States with bands of our own choosing – something very metal to please the hardcore metal fans out there. We’ll be back doing what we normally do, just grinding away, playing a bazillion shows and it’s going to be a busy two years. Things are looking up for us, I’m excited.
This coming weekend, Full Metal Jackie will welcome a Nameless Ghoul from Ghost to her show. Full Metal Jackie can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.