Dan Gapen (Lazarus AD)

Wayne Madden | Thursday, 10 March 2011

Dan Gapen (Lazarus AD)

First and foremost guys, thanks for speaking with me, your new album Black Rivers Flow is just out - are you happy with the results?

Well it's obviously an evolution. We grew as musicians, and we grew as a band. We knew what we wanted going into this record, and we were happy with what came out.

A lot of people are talking about how this has a more Groove Metal sound then your début, which was by all accounts a more Thrash friendly Metal record - of course the two genres have often been linked, bands like Suicidal Tendencies and Excel come to mind as well as Anthrax.

Is that the kind of sound you were going for or do you really pay much attention to this whole genre defining thing?

We really wanted to make sure that these songs were good songs. Our favorite music is the shit that you can sing your ass off to, bang your head and not want to stop. That's what we focused on. Writing great songs, with good hooks, emotional solos, and great riffs.

Speaking of Anthrax, you obviously opened for them back in 2006, that was probably one of your first major tours - how did that come about for you?

We played these pre-show parties at our Milwaukee venue The Rave. We did so well the first few times, that the promoter gave us the opening slot for Anthax when they needed support. We took full advantage, and packed the place full our fans and all of Anthrax's fans ate it up. It was a good launching point, and really, a point where I realized we had a legitimate shot at getting signed.

You also toured the US with Testament, another name drop, but this obviously helped in your development. For you how was the transition between playing in local clubs and pubs to being on a US tour?

We kind of jumped right into touring and we were able to transition fairly quickly. We were lucky to get on high profile tours right out of the gate. What we really want to do is play as many festivals as we can on this album cycle.

How is life on the road for you guys, does it treat you well?

Currently we are on tour with Death Angel and Bonded by Blood. It's been really bad weather. Things have been falling apart left and right. The shows have been good, some slightly less draw due to conditions.

But, financially were getting reamed. Our hitch on our bus was busted off from the weather, had to get that fixed, our wiring underneath started on fire and totally ripped through the whole bus to where nothing is working electrically. Sometimes the road can be a pretty harsh place. If it wasn't for the fans I wouldn't do this shit.

So talk to me a little about your first album The Onslaught which was recorded before you even had a record deal. Was there a change in sound or production between the self financed version in 2007 and the Metal Blade release in 2009?

We took out a loan from the bank, about six thousand dollars. It took 10 days to record. It was a decision that came after we did the Anthrax gig and knew we wanted to go big or go home. We are glad we did, it paid dividends in the end. It was pretty much the same record we simply had the album remixed to give it a bigger sound.

I'm all for making the best sounding album possible nothing worse than some tin can sounding album.

Being self produced meant this album obviously survived on word of mouth and trading, and thinking of the position you're in now, how do you feel about something like internet piracy and downloading - does it help or hinder a metal band like yourself?

I think it hurts the labels more than anything else. Let's be honest, bands don't make money off CD sales, labels do. What hurts the bands is now the labels pay shit for marketing and tour support. That's what hurts bands, you can say it's a double edge sword.

So when you're writing material do you tend to do it as a unit, will everyone work separately and then contribute their ideas at a band meeting, how does the consensus work for you as a band on that?

We usually come up with a riff and go from there. Everyone adds their part to the song. Some of us more than others but it really depends on who takes the lead on the song.

So you guys are coming to Europe for the first time in March and you're going to be performing in Europe with Bonded By Blood. Have you had any experience with these guys before and are you excited to be starting your European dates in the UK?

We are currently on tour with those guys in the US. They are a great band and we can't wait to tear shit up over on your side of the pond.

Are we going to see you guys back here for the Summer run of festivals and stuff like that - is Download or Sonisphere on the cards at the moment?

Our agent is making calls to the festival promoters. Hopefully something works it out. In the end it's their call if they want us on the bill or not.

Bit of a cliché to end, but what does the future hold for you guys? Do you plan to tour this album as long as physically possible or are you mindful of the next batch of material?

We would like to tour as long as possible on this record. We hope the future holds goods things but that is never guaranteed.

Thanks for speaking with us!