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Wednesday, 18 July 2018

The Spotlight: Pre-Bloodstock Interview With Dead Before Mourning By Paul H

Dead Before Mourning Interview

Few of the Metal To The Masses qualifying competitions would have been as competitive as the London event. London based four-piece Dead Before Mourning came through as winners to earn themselves a slot on the Hobgoblin New Blood Stage on the final day of this year’s festival. The band has been around since 2012 with a couple of line-up changes along the way.

I asked them to provide a quick history of the band and introduce us to the current line-up. “Back in 2012 Steve (drums) and Matt (lead vocals/guitar) started jamming riffs and rhythms, the neighbours objected so we moved to a studio in Leatherhead where the inevitable happened and we hooked up with fellow thrashers Dom Harvey (lead guitar/backing vocals) and Pat McGarvey (bass/backing vocals). Dead Before Mourning was spawned and the ride began. Starting with local gigs in Surrey and occasionally venturing in to other counties to ‘find our feet’."

They continued "Things were ticking along nicely, and in 2014 we became a part of Metal 2 The Masses, Kent. Anyone will tell you when you do M2TM it opens a world of bands to each other and gigs just start becoming more and more frequent as bands contact each other directly alongside the promoters, all hands-on deck! It’s fantastic. We got to the final in Kent and that spurred us on to head to the Smoke for London M2TM in 2015 where in the face of fierce competition we made the semi-finals and recorded our first EP titled The Storm."

"More and more shows, new songs and growing momentum coupled with making it to the finals of M2TM 2016 saw our fan base grow and demands for a full album were hard to ignore. Pat McGarvey parted company with us at the beginning of 2017 to pursue a personal career and continues to be a close friend and fantastic bass player. Before we could worry Mr. Stephen ‘Gus’ Mussett arrived and the band were once more complete and stronger than ever. We had narrowed down our album to 9 tracks, we had everything in place and the recording of Killing Time began at Barnstorm studio’s (camp D.B.M.), Surrey, with Rob Barry co-producing and engineering. All on the hottest day of the year, I do not think Steve will forget it! 7 Months later as the snow fell, and we waved goodbye to 2017 and emerged with the finished product ready to be packaged and unleashed. And there we were fresh out the studio applying to take part in M2TM London 2018, and our road to Bloodstock began again, and this time really did become a reality!"

The band is:

Matt Hockham-Lead Vocals/Guitar
Dom Harvey-Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals
Stephen ‘Gus’ Mussett-Bass/Backing Vocals
Steve Ebsworth-Drums/Percussion

If you’ve listened to Killing Time you’ll find it is a savage thrashy affair; I had a listen before the interview and it’s an impressive debut. How would DBM describe their sound for those who haven’t heard them?

“Wow thank you very much! I think you just did an excellent job with ‘Savage Thrashy affair’ lol. Our roots stem from the bay area thrash sound that we all know and love and is alive and screaming today! If I had to describe us from an outside point of view I’d say pounding catchy changeable rhythms, shredding guitars and blistering solo’s, lyrics that get you involved in a story dictated by angry, honest and decipherable vocals. But it’s always best to let the listeners describe us so here’s one of my favourite quotes ‘“you lot are like watching all my favourite thrash bands all at once, with heavier bits added in”. That will always bring a big grin to our faces”.

To be fair, you can’t really argue with that quote can you!

So, whilst we clearly have a good idea, who are the main influences for the band?

“Slayer/Megadeth/Metallica/C.O.B./Exodus/Lamb Of God/Machine Head/Anthrax…………blimey, there’s loads lol”.

That was not a surprise but how about the guilty pleasure? “Oh dear, ok but don’t tell anyone I told you! Matt-Ska-Roots reggae-Frank Zappa! Steve-Siouxsie and the Banshees Dom-Lady Gaga, Gus-Ska-Reel Big Fish”. I can’t see anything wrong with any of those to be honest; who isn’t partial to a bit of Siouxsie?

DBM have described their history in some detail already. Every band we’ve interviewed has worked incredibly hard to get to a position where they were ready for Metal To The Masses. I asked DBM to tell us their road to the MTTM final. “Hard work is indeed the key and with the right drive and dedication hard work becomes fun and something you want to keep on doing. Rehearse, rehearse and then rehearse again! As you can see in our answer to the first question it takes a while for a band to establish itself and grow in to more than just people playing music, it becomes a way of life. And with the support and encouragement we have had from family, friends and fans on the way our road to the final story was phenomenal, and to win, well we are still on the ceiling!  Don’t listen to us though, if you have a band get involved in M2TM The Road To Bloodstock and plough your own road, ‘if you ‘aint seen, you ‘aint the scene’! Go for it and enjoy”. Sound advice methinks.

Whilst I manage to get to a few gigs each year in the Smoke, I know little about the London area metal scene. London obviously gets most of the bands we want to see (that don’t come to South Wales) but what’s the London scene like? “We are very lucky being involved in the London metal scene, it’s fantastic and there are more than enough metalheads in the big smoke to keep the scene growing. No matter what you hear about London you would soon change your mind at a metal gig when you meet the most fun and friendly bunch you could imagine. Not to mention hundreds of quality bands and a constant gig list at your disposal from open mic nights to the o2 and Wembley. Spoilt really!”

In my usual style my questioning hops around like a demented frog. Back to the MTTM. Did DBM feel confident that they could get to the MTTM final? “You would think so after being in 2 previously, but not at all to be honest, the other bands made sure of that. But you dare to dream”.

As the dream became real, what about the build-up to the final; how did the band manage to balance gaining support and avoiding saturating everyone? “It is a tricky thing. You don’t want to bully everyone and say, ‘without your vote and support we will be sent to the colonies and have all our instruments confiscated’, but you need to get people there. I think there is a tendency to get stuck in the mindset of hiring coachloads of conscripts to secure a voting win. But to be honest if it is all about putting on a show that will stick in people’s minds, even if most of the audience has never seen you before you get up there and do your best to woo ‘em. I guarantee they will be there at the next one giving you 100% support, and the snowball keeps getting bigger”. I think that is a good work ethos. Wow them so they keep coming back. It’s a solid plan and one that works.

So, what about the winning moment? With the inevitable range of emotions, how was it for DBM?
 The band explains: “Total disbelief followed by elation, if you want to see the looks on our faces there a couple of videos of the announcement on our Facebook page shot by our loyal mourners (pet name for our fans!). It has not worn off since, absolutely fucking awesome”. DBM have secured a Sunday slot at Bloodstock. What can we expect from you guys them? why should those who are undecided come and watch? “We are gonna hit hard and fast and enjoy every second, a pick of tracks from Killing Time and maybe one extra from The Storm for the Mourners that are travelling up for the weekend. If you’re up for a new breed of thrash and a whip that will take your nether regions off see you at the New Blood stage, Salute”. Well, that’s an invitation although most punters nether regions are in no condition for a good whipping by the Sunday morning.

So as metal fans as well, who are DBM looking forward to seeing at BOA this year? “As many bands as possible. We are on a mission but I’m sure we can sneak away now and again over the 3 days to get ‘pit side’. Hoping to see Onslaught, The Brood (New Blood), Priest and everyone we can really lol. Especially looking forward to seeing all the regional M2TM winners”. And what about the weekend itself? For anyone who has yet to experience Bloodstock, why should you go? DBM are clear: “Go online, research B.O.A. and there you go. If after seeing all that goes on and the sheer significance of this event you don’t want to go, then you ‘aint metal!”

Having been around for a few years, what about some of the bands highlights so far? “Most of them would not be allowed in print but yes there are quite a few moments along the way. A couple I can pluck from the air are not once but twice sharing a stage with punk legends Sham 69, Being a part of Sarcoma fest 2016 raising a shed load of cash to help fight Sarcoma whilst having fun in Kent. There have been thousands of memories, but the highlight so far must be playing Bloodstock, bar none”. And after Bloodstock what's next for Dead Before Mourning? “A shower, comfy toilet seat, cup of tea then World Domination. Have a great Bloodstock everyone!”

Massive thanks to the London MTTM winners Dead Before Mourning. They are well worth checking out on the Hobgoblin New Blood Stage on Sunday 12th August. Just watch your nether regions okay!

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