Just from reading their name, you know you’re in for one hell of a gloomy, sinister ride with THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER. Named after a ghastly murder case and capable of doom-inducing, teeth-knocking metal, the Michigan outfit are cleaning out the passenger seat of their van for you to tag along in their new documentary, Majesty, which encompasses BDM’s headlining run on the 2008 Summer Slaughter tour and their time on the road with Children Of Bodom. NATTALIE TEHRANI spoke with frontman TREVOR STRNAD about the band’s upcoming full-length and to see if there’s anything they might not have covered in the DVD.
How has the recording process been going?
It’s awesome. I just finished doing my vocals. I think [the music is] further in the direction of our last album [2007’s Nocturnal], you know? It’s retaining our original sound, but pushing in some new ideas. A lot of it has to do with having a new member in the fold. We have a new lead guitarist, Ryan [Knight].
You guys have endured quite a few lineup changes since forming in 2000. Have the recent changes thrown off the dynamics of the band?
I think that the new guys are awesome. They’re really talented musicians. Bart [Williams, bass] in particular, was on our last album, but he’s also one of our newer members. Brian [Eschbach, guitar] is just relieved to know that he’s part of the band and we’re all still doing what we love.
Did everything feel natural when you guys first jammed together?
Yeah, they’re super-serious about the band. They’re not just in for the ride. They contribute their own music, so it’s been going great.
What was the most difficult part about filming this documentary?
It was really fun, actually. I’m amped about it. We already knew the guy who filmed it, and that was really important because we let our guard down and were just being ridiculous. All I can say about it is that the stuff you see on there is the stuff we do to entertain ourselves. We just really want our fans to get to know us better.
Black Dahlia Murder "A Vulgar Picture" live (Altpress.com exclusive) from Alternative Press on Vimeo.
You have an epic European tour ahead of you. How do you start saving up energy for huge tours like this?
Well, the grass is always greener on the other side. We’re recording right now and all I can think is, “Man, I can’t wait till we can get out there and play.” Then when we’re touring all we can think is, “I can’t wait to go home and have a Pop Tart.” It’s hard. It seems to get a little bit worse each year as I get older. I turned 28 recently, and I’ve been having grown-up hangovers.
Looking back on all of your tours, what is the most memorable thing that’s happened?
There have been so many. We’ve just been really lucky. We have these small victories for our band, and have seen so many cool places. Going to Japan for the first time was a landmark in my mind. It’s like being transplanted to a dream world. If you’ve seen Lost In Translation, it looks just like that. It’s mind-blowing. When you’re there, you realize, “Wow, [I’m here] because of death metal. It’s because I put so much energy into my favorite thing.” The other guys in the band realized the same thing about it and how lucky we were to be there. It takes work, and a real tough person to be able to live on the road and survive at this pace. I mean, we’re driving around in a tight van for hours on end, but you have to do what you have to do to get to the shows.
And then you end up in places like Japan…
Yeah, definitely. I’m not complaining. There are people who think touring is easy. It’s a dream, don’t get me wrong. It just takes a lot of hard work.
Some bands steer clear of genre definitions like death metal, but you willingly embrace it. Does it get frustrating constantly being labeled?
I kind of withdrew myself from the race. In the beginning, I wanted everyone to see us as a death-metal band. But we started being categorized alongside a lot of metalcore bands. People were looking at us, and we had short hair, and there were many different reasons why we got labeled. I thought it was something worth fighting for for, like, 10 minutes. In reality, if people are liking our band, I don’t care what they call us. Being an oddball has made us stick out and has people talking about us. So I guess it worked to our advantage.
Ignorance is bliss?
Yeah, the bliss part is that there is a lot of ignorance. [Laughs.] alt