In this case, the silver lining comes in the form of an 18-legged Thrash/Funk-flavoured crossover beast that we know as Mordred!
Having formed in 1984, Mordred took the then Thrash Metal scene by the scruff of the neck and introduced a little flavouring from the likes of James Brown and George Clinton here and there.
What happened was the very beginning of a new slant on the rapidly growing Thrash scene in the Bay Area, leading to the likes of Anthrax and Public Enemy collaboration for the remix of the hugely successful ‘Bring the Noise‘ single, not forgetting the global take-over of Nu-Metal in the mid-’90s and let’s not even go there with Limp Bizkit…
OD – We’ve noticed that we will finally have a new Mordred album this year. Can you tell us about how this all came about as I know it’s been in the ‘works’ for some time now?
DANNY – Long time indeed! How long let’s see…7 years in the making? Wow, that’s Tool time hahaha. Yea, this thing took the time it needed to. Living our lives and then making this music has been really cool, I get to do this again!
To what extent remains to be seen but so far it’s been the ride I was hoping for. We get to play for old friends and make new ones and we’re having fun, more so now than ever before, even though that sounds cliche. I’m grateful and just a bit excited haha.
OD -The title of the EP is ‘Volition’, can you give us some insight into the title and the cover art?
DANNY – Well, it’s funny, originally it was all just going to be ‘The Dark Parade’ but we had too much music! So, when an EP and an LP were decided on, we needed a name for the EP.
Scott [Holderby, vocals] came up with that one. Made sense to me as this whole endeavour has been an exercise in the force of will. We had the cover art from Andy Pilkington, [Very Metal Art] which I almost completely blew, but that’s another story haha! We love it and decided to use it for the EP and all our new merch so far. Thanks again, Andy!
OD – I know you had been living in NY and decided to move back to SF, was this when things really started to come together with regards to the album?
DANNY – Yep, I had just come back from a visit to San Francisco with a good buddy of mine, Gerard and I had a really healing trip. It had been over 20 years since I’d been back and I went through a kind of catharsis.
I had no idea how much I missed California and the Bay Area. A guy in Scotland, Matt Denny got a hold of me when I was in SF and basically convinced me people still cared about us after all that time. It took a while to process that!
But once I did I started writing. Scott and I had many many conversations about many things including the direction of the new music etc. It’s been an amazing journey, I still can’t believe I live in The Bay Area again, God I missed it and didn’t even know!
I think I just pushed it all down after we broke up initially. All that stuff bubbled up to the surface after that though. You can’t escape your past. I’m so lucky I get to do this again, seriously that is not lost on me.
OD – Can you run us through the track-listing on the album and any specific singles/videos that we can expect in the coming months?
DANNY – So, we just released ‘Not For You,’ (see below) the first single on the EP ‘Volition’. The single is out now for sale on iTunes and is streaming on Spotify and there is a preorder up for the whole EP in digital format.
This weekend we’ll be putting out preorders for vinyl and CD. The 4 EP tracks are:
No EP videos yet, but we do have a LIVE streaming show this Sunday, May 24 at 6 PM PST / 1 am GMT, and it will be available for streaming the whole week till May 31 at 11 PM. Virtual tickets can be purchased here.
The show was created on a lark and will have a bunch of goofy skits and we play live, some new songs and some old.
Brian Crow, a local comedian is hosting and Bunny Pistol, a burlesque dancer performs as well. All just for fun you know? We’ve got an interview with Ted from Death Angel lined up as well I’m told.
Shenanigans will ensue so stop on by! After the EP is released in June, we’ll release the album ‘The Dark Parade‘. We just had too much material for a good quality vinyl full-length record so we split the music up into an EP and an LP. It really was wanting good vinyl that made that decision. The Dark Parade tracklisting is as follows;
OD – With regards to the writing the album tracks, was this a joint effort mostly, or was there a particular system to how the music came to life?
DANNY – This was very much a joint effort, I wrote a lot of music upfront but Jim [Sanguinetti, Guitars] wrote a lot and Scott wrote a bunch, Pause [Aaron Vaughn, Keyboards, Vocals, Turntables] wrote, Art [Liboon, Bass] wrote as he does, even Jeff [Gomes, Drums] contributed to the writing, Malignancy is his baby musically!
It turned out to be one of my favourite songs on Dark Parade. Those lyrics are mine though. It was really hard for Jeff and Scott to write for that song, as it’s about cancer and they… well let’s just say it was hard. We’ve all been touched it seems, by that evil disease, it just doesn’t give a shit who it takes.
It’s rampant in my family blood, my Mom and both my aunts survived it, it took both my grandparents on my Mom’s side. But back to your question, there is no real system of writing, just ideas passed back and forth either over the phone, email and sometimes in the same city sometimes 3000 miles away.
It was a long process, we all have jobs and most of us have families and/or significant others now so, finding time could be challenging at times. Something in me drove it though, I wanted to see it through. I’m a finisher I guess [Laughing].
OD – Mordred originally formed back in ’84 and was (in our opinion) one of the original ‘cross-over’ bands of that era. Do you find that things have changed a lot within the ‘heavy’ music scene with reference to ‘cross-over’ multi-genre style’s incorporated into the music?
DANNY – Slipknot comes to mind. Love those guys. Corey Taylor tweeted out he was happy to see us reemerge, back when I first came back to San Francisco to visit 6 years ago, that felt great to read.
It was fun to see all these crossover bands emerge after us, it seemed the logical next step of the music. Synthesis of styles has always been how new music emerges. I think though there was a bit of; “Hey, we were there when all that started!”, there was a certain pride for me personally to witness other bands evolving and taking the ‘crossover’ concept to another level.
OD – There is no question that the Pandemic has put a lot of plans on ice for so many artists, did you guys have any specific plans for touring or was that something that is coming next year?
DANNY – Oh yea we had plans! But as they say, the best-laid plans another cliche jeez today is the day for them [Laughing].
Luckily we had new music in the can to release and weirdly, this has become Mordred in the “Time of Covid“. Sounds like a novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez [Laughing]. We had several shows nixed by this thing, we got to play one show at the Cornerstone in Berkeley right before everything shut down, we were, in fact, the LAST show to play there before the shelter in place order was instituted.
Our record release show was postponed till August, who knows if that will get postponed again! You just have to roll with it and count your blessings. None of us got sick thankfully.
OD –Testament, Exodus and your old friend’s Death Angel recently completed ‘The Bay Area Strikes Back’ tour a few months ago in Europe. Seeing as you guys are a very important part of the Bay Area history, would you like to get on a tour package like that, and if you could hand-pick, who would you like to see on the bill?
DANNY – We’d be honoured to be on that bill or any other that represents the Bay Area, who knows what’s in the cards on that front but I’m sure we’ll be doing shows with our brother bands along the way.
We had shows with Blind Illusion and Heathen in the works right before COVID hit as well as some younger bands like Incredulous, Violent Legacy, Dirty Rice, there’s a lot of them now!
We love that the music has gone on to the next generation and we’ll do everything we can to pass the torch and coax that flame. We were always “the bastard sons of the Bay Area” [Laughing]. We were never content to just be a Thrash band and I think that was met with disdain sometimes.
Things have changed over the years somewhat, we played a benefit for Sean [Killian, Vocals] from Vio-Lence and that was totally awesome! What a great feeling to be a part of this scene again, but I think we’ll always be seen as the weird rebel brothers. And I for one, am totally okay with that.
OD – SF was ground-zero for the Thrash Metal explosion back in the early ’80s and there were a plethora of venues for bands to play in. I believe a lot of those venues have now disappeared. Do you find that things have changed a lot over the years and do you think that the lack of venues is having a direct impact on the music scene over there?
DANNY – This subject has been a sore spot for a long time now. When I moved back to NYC, I remember becoming really depressed at the number of places that closed. The closing of CBGB’s hit me hard as we played there back in the day and it was such an iconic and important place to the spirit of rebellious music.
Most of the club scene moved to Brooklyn and I lived in Harlem. We used to joke how you needed a passport to go to Brooklyn, it felt so far away. As a result, I didn’t go to a lot of shows and the scene had shrunk considerably because of the venue closings. It’s still kind of amazing this music has flourished and stood the test of time and really is a testament to the fans, without whom, to coin another oh so true cliche, none of this would be possible. They keep this alive!
OD – We got a taste for what you guys were doing with ‘The Baroness’ back in 2015. Would it be a good assumption to say that the new material is similar or is there a more varied sound to the album?
DANNY – This album/EP combo is heavier than I originally thought it was gonna be. We talked about it when we first started writing for it and the consensus was; “Let’s go back to the roots.” Cliche, but hey, they’re cliches for a reason.
We really wanted to go back to that feeling we had when we first started writing and then, of course, so many other influences that have seeped in over the years naturally become enmeshed in the writing.
It’s a lot of old-school Thrash with flavours of other genres sprinkled here and there, depending on what we were listening to at the time. I know at one point I was listening to a lot of New Orleans style jazz so, that really was the impetus for ‘Dark Parade’.
OD – When the record is finally released, will fans be able to purchase on vinyl or will it be just a digital release?
DANNY – Oh yea, at the time of this writing we‘ve just released the preorder of our EP on vinyl with the single Not For You. We’ve partnered with Townsend Music [click here] to help us get things out on your side of the pond, Ben James has been a huge help to us in that department.
We have a timeline to release the album roughly 8 weeks from now and another single before that. It’s an exciting time, and there are some other surprises we’ve got in the pipeline as well. This online show tomorrow night should be fun as it’s the first one of this kind we’ve done and if it goes well we want to do it semi-regularly.
OD – You have the unique perspective to be able to reflect on your experience from this industry as far back as the mid-’80s to present day. If there was anything you could change about the industry, what would it be and why?
DANNY – I think I’d rather musicians were able to make a living doing what they love a bit easier than it’s been in the past. Of course, I know that ship sailed many years ago and really the music game was never a moneymaker for most of us. We do it because we love it.
OD – What are the chances of seeing Mordred back in Europe/UK in 2021?
DANNY – Absolutely we want to come back. We love having the chance to make music again after all these years and if people share our ‘vision‘ (no pun intended) then bring it on! We know we’re super-lucky, and if it’s meant to be then it will be. We’ve sure been having a lot of fun in the meantime though!
Tune to this link tomorrow night [Sunday, May 24th] for Mordred’s debut live-stream show featuring Death Angels‘ Ted Aguilar. For more information on Mordred, please visit this link. Be sure to check out their merch store also for some killer new swag via this link.