Having been together since 2008, drummer Claire, guitarist Danny Hall and bassist/vocalist Dan O’Grady have accomplished the unthinkable for most bands who hail from Ireland. Touring with the likes of Machine Head, Gojira and Fear Factory, not forgetting their highly talked about performances on some of Europes most popular metal festivals such as Bloodstock and Metal Days, it would seem that finally, the powers that be, are beginning to sit up and take notice as a flood of interest from labels, agents and promoters has come knocking on the Dead Label HQ door.
OD – The success of ‘Pure Chaos‘ has been phenomenal to date with close to 40K views in just over 6 weeks! Can you tell me about the track and video and how it all came together as I understand that you worked with Crooked Gentlemen?
CLAIRE – We are so happy with the response that ‘Pure Chaos‘ got. It was incredible to get so much support. The track is one of many we have written since ‘Throne of Bones‘. We decided to give everyone a taste of what we were doing. We wanted to give the song the best platform we could and really put it out properly.
Crooked Gentlemen were recommended to us by a friend and man were we glad! Shaun and Jeff are two great guys, two creative geniuses. They heard the track and read the lyrics and got inspired to reference the Jim Jones (Jonestown Suicide Massacre) story. None of us actually knew much about it but just thought it was a great concept for the track.
We were very excited with the treatment of the video – but what we got, in the end, was beyond all expectations. We absolutely can’t wait for the opportunity to work with them again.
OD – There is no question that Dead Label’s sound is evolving. When listening to ‘Sense of Slaughter‘ to last years ‘Throne of Bones‘ release and now ‘Pure Chaos‘ going even further into a dark and heavy place. Do you find the all three of you are moving towards a more condensed heavier sound?
CLAIRE – One of the main things since the writing of Throne of Bones is that we have much more touring experience. There is nothing like playing festival such as Bloodstock or touring with Fear Factory to teach you how to perfect your craft and write songs you know will land straight away with the audience.
We have and always will be a live band, now we have found that sweet spot for creating material that really reflects just who Dead Label are especially in a live situation but also in a controlled recording environment. We feel like what we are writing now way heavier than anything we have ever attempted in the past. The beauty of all of this was it wasn’t a conscious decision to be as heavy as we can it’s just a real natural organic progression for us all collectively. We love chunky fat riffs, we always have. I can say that the stuff we are writing now is just built to destroy. Imagine a sea of headbanging to a backdrop of colossal, riff-drenched groove brutality! (laughing) That’s what we are aiming for!
OD – Although ‘Throne of Bones‘ was recorded back in 2015, it was only released last year, however, I’m sure that you have been writing loads of new material. Besides ‘Pure Chaos‘ how many tracks have been completed to date?
CLAIRE – We have the guts of a full album ready, we need to demo the tracks, put them away, write some more, listen and see what shape it takes. We never have a shortage of material. We love writing, we never stop. Even when we have a gig coming up, we try to get the set rehearsed early so we can get back to writing. We always have new material and are always working on ideas to push ourselves to where we just need to be.
This industry does not reward stagnant behaviour, or simply re-hashing the same thing over and over again. You’re only as good as your last release and our intention is to keep pushing ourselves as best we can.
OD – Can you talk a little about the process of writing within Dead Label. Is there a particular system that works better than others?
CLAIRE – We have a pretty set system that just sort of came about naturally. We like to jam. We jam everything out. Generally, Danny will come in with a riff, we will jam it out in loads of different ways, get a feel for it, try it with another riff, usually tear it apart and it goes like that until we find a structure.
Then we will usually tear it apart again, jam. Then decided on a structure. Tear it apart and finally like the structure. Then after the music is set, Dan will work and lyrics and melody. He will try them out and change bits and pieces. After we demo it, we usually make some changes again. When we finally like it though, we love it!
OD – Are you planning on airing some of the new material in the coming months with the build up to your appearance at the Download Festival?
CLAIRE – It’s something we are talking about. We will be playing it live for sure and testing it out with crowds to see what the reaction is like! We want to let people know what’s coming but also not give too much away! Some of these songs are bursting to be played, so we just can’t hold them in anymore! (laughing)
OD – Speaking of Download Festival, this is your first time playing at the legendary Donington Festival. This is a huge achievement for any band, but especially one that is unsigned. How did it all come about that you secured a slot at the biggest metal festival in the UK?
CLAIRE – Andy (Copping – Live Nation/Download Festival) is a very nice man. (laughs) That’s the first most important reason. I have been asking/emailing Andy for a long time, asking him to check us out and he did! Anybody that busy wouldn’t even get time to read the email, let alone give us a chance. I think this will inspire a lot of unsigned bands to trust that there are good kind people out there, who will give your band a chance. Andy and his team work with all the big bands you know? Yet he managed to give us the time and give us the slot!!! This is a life-changing gig for us and is already opening so many doors and attracting some pretty big interest. We are going to make the most of this show and make sure we are a returning band for years to come!
We will be playing the Dog Tooth Stage on Saturday, June 10th at Download UK, so please try and make it down and we promise to blow your head clean off! (laughing)
OD – Dead Label are no strangers to touring with some very well established bands as you’ve been on the road with Machine Head, Gojira and Fear Factory. When you get an insight into the workings of an extensive tour, do you feel that you understand just how hard it is out there in the real world and just how much work is involved in making music a full-time career?
CLAIRE – The first thing you realise when you see a tour like this in action, is that it is POSSIBLE. Not only possible but amazing! Yes, there is a lot of work needed to make it in the music industry but the other side of the coin is that it can be the most rewarding work out there.
Another thing we have learned is the importance of a crew. All three bands mentioned, have the most amazing crews on the planet. Really, really awesome people who love music and are an integral part in making these shows happen. You learn soooooooooo much from these bands and crews that is in its own right invaluable information that can very much keep you going when things can get a little difficult.
The importance of looking after yourself on the road is just so important. Being as rested as possible and bringing your “A-Game” for every show is what we are programmed to do. When you realise just how much planning and organisation it takes to make these tours happen, you can’t help but give it everything you have to make it work and help the people who are working the show, which in turn gives the audience a quality gig. These touring opportunities we have had so far have just instilled in us how much we want to tour for the rest of our lives. (laughing)
OD – From what we have heard, all of those bands that you have toured with are now Dead Label fans! I guess when you get the Dead Label bug, it’s kind of hard to shake off?
CLAIRE – (Laughing) We have had the pleasure of meeting some really amazing people along the way and we are very organised as a band and like to just get in there, do the job and get out without causing too much of a distraction for the bands that we have toured with. The result of this has been really positive, as we have made genuine friends with some great people and it was that approach that we found ourselves in a really relaxed atmosphere which inevitably led to friendships with certain well-known artists to this day.
OD – With regards to Download Festival which is taking place in June, Dead Label are playing the ‘Dog Tooth‘ stage on Saturday, June 10th. Do you have plans for some other shows around this time or thereafter?
CLAIRE – Yes we do, we will be returning to the UK later in June for a Birmingham show and to play at Wildfire Festival in Scotland. Then we are going to Europe in July to play at Aggressive Music Festival and to support Nervosa for some of their European shows! We have also been announced for Hammerfest in March next year, which we are totally stoked about.
OD – I understand that you are planning a very special home show in Dublin at the end of May. Can you tell us a little more about that?
CLAIRE – Absolutely! it was brought to our attention that aside from support slots, we only ever play in Dublin at short notice. We love Fibbers. It is our home. We are so familiar with it and the sound is always impeccable. Getting up on that stage is like putting on your favourite shoes, so comfortable. (laughing) We decided to put on a proper show there, give Fibbers the attention is deserves. We have some killer bands booked to play with us and we just want to celebrate Irish metal. We have some crackin’ bands on our little island, so let’s show them off!
OD – There seems to be a great deal of interest in the band now from various different labels, agents, bookers and promoters. Do you find that the hard work and dedication is beginning to pay off?
CLAIRE – Yes, the last year has really been a big step for us. We have had to take some time and weigh up some very cool opportunities. We do not want to rush into anything, like signing to a label is like getting married. We are going to take our time and see what way we feel after Download.
When you’re a kid, all you can think about is getting signed and that’s it!In fact, when (and if) we get signed is when the real work begins. We believe that we have to show the people who believed in us that we are 100% dedicated to what we do and we are a trusted, quality band and a good investment. Of course, it goes both ways also. We would expect to be treated with the same behaviour and care.
There are some awesome metal labels out there right now. A lot of them have had to who adapt to the way technology has changed the music business. I can imagine labels need a band to be more than just “hot right now” to sign them. They need to know that they can put them on the road and the band will deliver. They need to know they can put them into the studio and they will deliver. We are very lucky to have met some of these industry professionals along the way and we look forward to what the future is bringing!!!
OD – Having achieved a lot of impressive milestones in the band’s career, including playing Bloodstock and Metal Days in the last few years, do you feel that the determination to prove to the metal world is greater than ever now?
CLAIRE – Yes. When you get off stage at one of these festivals, it’s not a feeling of “oh great that’s done” it’s more like, “WHENS THE NEXT GIG?!!” You can never sit back and say that was great, you acknowledge it and start chasing the next one. We are never trying to prove anything to the metal world, so much as we are to ourselves. We want to play these festivals and tours, for us. It’s so much fun! Meeting new people and getting new people to see our show, that’s what it’s all about. If the metal world gets behind us, even better!
OD – Can we expect to see any further new tracks being released in the coming months?
CLAIRE – It all depends, never say never. Sometimes we are bursting to just release everything but we also want to release it in the right way. We are unpredictable, we might release a video tomorrow! You just have to keep watching what Dead Label are gonna do next! (laughing)
OD – Ireland is not regarded as a source for metal music to most people – which is a real shame – however, can you give an insight into the Irish metal scene and why the industry needs to stand up and take heed?
CLAIRE – I think the industry would do very well to come over to the likes of the Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses final and get a glimpse of the Irish metal talent on offer.
What goes unnoticed most is the diversity of the metal scene. It’s not like there are six Dead Labels, or six Call to Arms just lingering about. There are loads of different styles in Ireland from atmospheric metal like Soothsayer, to sludge bands like zhOra and Ten Ton Slug or metalcore band The Devil Wants Her Swagger Back. There is literally hoards of Irish metal bands that represent all the metal sub-genres.
We have been very lucky and although the Irish metal scene has been great with us, we made it our business to get out there and tour as much as possible. This is the only way bands truly get seen. It’s a big-ass world and Ireland is not considered a prime source of metal musical talent when it should be.
The last few years there has been an improvement with the likes of Bloodstock Metal 2 the Masses and Wacken offering showcase style events giving bands a good chance to go abroad and get seen. It’s opening the eyes of younger bands to the need to get out! But if we could get people to look in too, well that would just be perfect. I think the internet is wonderful for helping bands spread the word abroad too. Metal-heads are the best kind of fans because when they love the music they share it. This is helping Irish metal music spread too. I’m excited to see what the next few years have for our scene!
OD – What are the plans for Dead Label, post-Download Festival and the rest of the year?
CLAIRE – We have a lot of things under wraps at the moment, touring plans and recording plans etc. We are very busy over the next 3/4 months and we plan to make a lot of noise along the way. We have bookings into 2018 already, so we will be everywhere!!!
DEAD LABEL will be performing in Dublin’s Fibber Magees for their FIRST official headline show ahead of their debut performance at this year’s Download Festival on June 10th. Joining them will be The Devil Wants Her Swagger Back and Alpheidae as well as more bands to be announced. Please click the graphic link below for details to the official event.
For more information on Dead Label, simply click this link.
PHOTO – FIAZ FARRELLY © 2017