Lordi took the Eurovision by storm and a lot of people were blown away by their costumes and antics. They weren’t the first, certainly with the likes of GWAR having been around for sometime. But it’s not just about how they look, those bands had a kick ass sound. And the ultimate? Rob Zombie. When I first saw the photos of The Dead XIII I knew what to expect, what I hoped to hear. I hit play, and it’s spot on! The Dead XIII are the complete deal, so much so I jumped at the chance to interview them:
You released Catacombs last year, is there anything you would have changed or approached differently with the benefit of hindsight?
Symon: As a musician there’s always things you think of or notice afterwards, but recording a song is about capturing that moment and those feelings you have at the time. Redoing it would kill the emotion and make it cold.
SPIKE: Honestly, there is always different ways of doing stuff, we re-write our stuff several times till it sounds and feels right.
Going into the studio though I like to give the songs enough space to keep it as catchy as possible, too much and it takes away from it, too little and it lacks power! Its live I like to add a few fancy bits in, I’m a great believer in going to see a show and each time having something in there different to last time, no matter how small. Something that makes you go “oo cheeky” haha
Do any of you have personal favourite tracks on Catacombs, and what makes them stand out for you?
Symon: I’d have to say Daemons. Mental health is a topic that means a lot to me. I was going through a dark time when I wrote it and just poured my anger and upset into the music. When Kurt came round to work on the lyrics I was still in a dark place and struggling to formulate those feelings into words. I showed him what I had for the chorus and he just understood straight away and the lyrics just flowed. So many people have said how they can identify with that song and each time we play it I remember that day writing it and that as long as you have your friends everything will be ok.
SPIKE: Xiii – The synth part really gets in your head, so simply yet catchy! The Greatest Mistake – the chorus lyrics came from a night out on one of tours a few years back, the song itself I think gets a little of our personalities across, there’s a sorta cheeky fun side to the song…Frostbite – It kicks in with a punch and to me it says “we are here and we mean business!”
You have started your tour, what songs are a “must” for your live shows, and which songs do you particularly enjoy playing?
Symon: XIII definitely! Just a full on headbanger. Or as our fans have renamed it: XIII Types of Pie! I’d also say Frostbite just feels right live.
SPIKE: Frostbite, Catacombs, Xiii, Stage fright
Which tracks get the biggest response from the audience in your experience?
Symon: XIII or The Greatest Mistake, tough to call it. We’ll see on this tour!
You were voted last year as one of Kerrang’s top acts, how did you feel when you heard that news?
Symon: It’s such an honour! I grew up reading Kerrang and seeing my idols in there daydreaming about one day getting there myself. Still doesn’t seem real!
SPIKE: Ecstatic! When we first got the news I remember being in absolute shock thinking “am I dreaming” it took a few hours to sink in but once it had I cracked open the Jager to celebrate.
Are you self taught musicians or have you had formal musical tuition?
Symon: I’m pretty much self-taught. I tried lessons as a kid but it just wasn’t for me so I trained as a sound engineer. I’ve learnt so much music theory and improved as a guitarist so much by writing my own songs. Playing other people’s songs is fun but writing is where I think you really learn.
SPIKE: I took lessons from age 9 till 15/16 but lost interest as all my tutor was interested in was getting me to join “big band.” I’ve never really had in interest in that side of music so I stopped, took a break for a year played with a few bands and started teaching myself just through listening to songs, playing along to them, changing them up and in more recent years took to using the web for different techniques, styles, set up all that stuff. There’s a shed load of free lessons on youtube I use, even when I’m finished with a lesson I still go back occasionally and take it again, so to answer your question..Both haha
What prompted / inspired you to become a musician and what was the first song you learned to play?
Symon: When I was 9 I heard Du Hast by Rammstein and just fell in love with metal. They are my favourite band till this day and a huge influence for me. When I was 10 someone gave me the album infest by Papa Roach and that just cemented it. The first two songs I learnt were Last Resort and Blood Brothers by Papa Roach, then Du Hast a close third.
SPIKE: I was about 8 years old and my dad was watching a Led Zeppelin live VHS he just bought (wow that makes me feel old haha) being the curious kid I was I sat and watched. Watching John Bonham for the first time I picked up 2 wooden spoons and started smacking my favourite pillow to “Achilles last stand” after a few lessons The first song I learnt was “The Offspring – Original Prankster”
You’ve done a lot of shows, have released a terrific debut album, but how do you think you’ve developed as musicians?
Symon: You should never stop developing as a musician! The day you stop feeling like you can do better is the day you should give up!
SPIKE: Compared to 2/3 years ago when we formed musically we have all developed at an amazing pace, it’s not that we needed to in order to up our game its more that we ended up doing so much in such a small space of time we have advanced way quicker than we thought we would of compared to if we had spent months at home learning. You learn way more being in a band on the road & touring a lot!
How supportive have friends and family been of the band?
Symon: I don’t think anyone could ever imagine me doing anything else! Since 8 years old music is all I’ve ever wanted to do! Some have been incredibly supportive…. Some not so.
SPIKE: Couldn’t ask for better bunch of people in my life, everyone has been so supportive and pushed us to do more/go further and never give up. My girlfriend especially, she has been my skull and crossbones, always there for me, literally the best person to have in anyone’s life!
We’d like to thank The Dead XIII for their time. If you get a chance to catch their live show, it’s a must!
Website – http://www.thedeadxiii.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/TheDeadXiii
Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCggSz9dYqvRAoER5kctu4AA
Twitter – https://twitter.com/THEDEADXIII