SOURCE – Tell us about the album “True Defiance”. When and where was it recorded, and should we expect more music soon? And what exactly does the phrase “True Defiance” mean?
Ryan Clark (Vocals) – “True Defiance” was recorded in November and December of 2011, and released in the United States on April 3rd, 2012. It was recorded and produced at Compound Recording in Seattle, Washington by Aaron Sprinkle, who has produced every Demon Hunter album, and mixed by Jason Suecof, who mixed our previous release “The World Is A Thorn”. ”True Defiance” is our 6th studio album. In short, the album is a little more straight-forward-metal than most of what we’ve released in the past, but I would also say that it’s slightly more technical at the same time. With that said, it’s very much a Demon Hunter album.
We have no plans to stop anytime soon. We are already starting to think about new material. I’m always writing. Sometimes I have new song ideas coming to me just weeks or months after recording an album. I like to be overly prepared for each release. I’m already excited to start solidifying ideas for our next record.
“True Defiance” has to do with the heavy metal scene, and what it means to be defiant, or go against the grain. If metal is inherently anti-Christ, self-exhalting, steeped in hopelessness and void of existential purpose, then Demon Hunter is truly defiant. It also has to do with the state of modern heavy metal. I don’t particularly like what’s become of metal in the last decade or so. I think there are a handful of bands creating unique, quality metal, but there are far too many bands riding fleeting trends and stripping the genre of it’s soul. I like to think we’re helping the fight against that.
SOURCE – How would you describe working with Aaron Sprinkle again? How do you avoid making the same record twice?
Ryan Clark (Vocals) – I can’t imagine working with anyone other than Aaron for a Demon Hunter record. We’ve had such a longstanding relationship and we fully understand where each other are coming from when working on a record. My favorite part about working with Aaron, on a creative front, is that he’s not a metal producer, so he looks at things from an entirely different angle. He understands the genre, but his perspective ensures that our sound is unique.
Our sound has been an eclectic one from the beginning. No Demon Hunter record is pinned down to a specific sub-genre. We’ve always experimented with the polarization of styles, trying our best to move seamlessly through both aggressive grit and beautiful melody. I know there are a lot of metal bands with a similar concept, but I think our sensibilities and influences differ greatly. We avoid creating the same record twice because, for one, we’re always pushing ourselves to expand the Demon Hunter sound (we’re never satisfied with stagnancy), and for the most part, I’m not influenced by metal itself… and that helps keep the sound fresh.
SOURCE – You have a South America tour scheduled for April 2013. Will there be any more dates added to those?
Ryan Clark (Vocals) – We do, and we’re very excited for it. Unfortunately, those are the only dates. It’s a short run, but I know it will be a lot of fun.
SOURCE – As you release more and more cool albums, does it become difficult to put together a set list for concerts?
Ryan Clark (Vocals) – It has become very difficult to put together a setlist that seems to cover all the necessary ground. We’ve had so many songs that would be considered “singles” at this point, that it’s hard to not just play those songs – especially in territories that we’ve never played before. There are enough of these songs to fill a headlining set length. If it were up to us, we’d love to play a whole set of new material, but we know the fans love to hear the “hits”… and honestly, we do still love playing them.
SOURCE – Does the band have a big fanbase and where in the world are you the most popular do you think?
Ryan Clark (Vocals) – As far as countries go, I know the US is the biggest for us, with key states being Texas, Ohio, California, North Carolina, Colorado, Pennsylvania… but we have a lot of fans in Brazil, Australia, South Africa, Germany, Mexico etc. We’ve been fortunate enough to cultivate an extremely loyal fan-base over the years.
SOURCE – To make any type of money nowadays, fans have to buy T-shirts and go to live shows to support the band. How important to you is perfecting the band’s live show?
Ryan Clark (Vocals) – The live show is a very important aspect of the band. We don’t tour quite as often as most bands, so there’s a lot of pressure to present ourselves as a professional, proficient band. We want to project the assumption that we play these songs night after night, year-round. The only way to do that is to be your best.
Demon Hunter has always put an emphasis on the visual aesthetic of the band. For me, as a designer, the visual elements are an extremely important part of the whole. This includes album artwork and packaging, photo shoots, videos, merchandise, and of course, the live show. We do our best to give our fans high quality whenever/wherever we can.
SOURCE – How did the “My Destiny” music video come together and who did you work with on that?
Ryan Clark (Vocals) – Robby Starbuck directed the video. I wrote the bulk of the treatment. We wanted to do a video that felt very natural and expressed a certain element of punk rock, DIY culture. The performance footage is all set in a small, dingy rehearsal space to drive home the concept of our “roots.” The song is really about being young and finding music that changes your life and gives you a sense of purpose.
The kids in the video are roughly based on our growing up – most of us living in suburbs, skateboarding, getting into trouble, killing time. I call it a “Heritage” video.
SOURCE – What can be done to reverse the decline in the music industry over the past several years?
Ryan Clark (Vocals) – For starters, the economy needs to be brought back to life before we can expect consumers to spend money on a commodity that they can otherwise get for free- and that’s a much greater issue in and of itself. However, in order for music purchases to be viewed as worthwhile, we need to be giving fans products that go beyond the norm. What that means specifically, I’m not entirely sure. I think everyone would like to be able to put their finger on exactly what that is. All that we can do is work hard at producing quality output, where every piece has been meticulously and artistically crafted. On top of that, we need to work on changing the mindset of young people. We live in an era of unrivaled entitlement- and free music is just the tip of the iceberg.
SOURCE – Do you want your kids to follow your footsteps into music?
Ryan Clark (Vocals) – I don’t know if I would necessarily push them towards it, but if they showed interest and passion for music, I would definitely not discourage it. My only fear would be that they adopt a narrow view of what it means to be a musician. I, for one, am not a “typical” musician. I get up early in the morning, I work extremely hard at a number of things, I explore a number of passions, both music and non-music related, and I let responsibility and wisdom inform my decisions in regard to music. Not putting every exhausted effort into music has allowed me to continue doing it… creatively, happily, and unjaded. Thanks !