Dave Harrison

Black Steel

Black Steel hail us from the land down under and their latest album Hellhammer kicks major ass. I had the chance to discuss about all the things going on in the band's camp with bassist Dave Harrison...
By Michael Dalakos
December 6, 2005
Dave Harrison (Black Steel) interview
Hails to the land down under! Your new album is once again a killer one! Your previous full length release was Destructor back in 2001. Can you give us a brief summarizing on what happened in the band since then?

Many thanks for your kind words - The band has been very busy playing shows & demoing material for this album. We also trimmed the lineup to a 4 piece with Jamie Page handling all the guitar duties and it is working out really well. In 2004 we also released an EP entitled Relentless Force which contained a new track plus some cover versions.

Can you give us some information regarding the recording process of Hellhammer (where it was recorded, how long did it take etc.)

The album was recorded at Bonsai studios by Tom Thorpe here in Western Australia, most of the preproduction was done by Jamie Page. The recording / mixing / mastering process took a couple of weeks. Overall we have been working on this album project for a couple of years.

Destructor was an amazing album. How difficult was it for you to overcome the quality of that album? Do you think that the songs in the new album take your music a step forward?

The new album contains 11 songs ranging from speed Metal thrashy type numbers to epic ballads and mid-paced tracks. We like to cover the whole gamut of Metal music and not just lock ourselves into one area. We are a pure Heavy Metal band but that encompasses a lot of things and is not one dimensional so if you are a fan of Metal of any kind then I think you will find something to like about Black Steel.

As far a lyrical inspiration there is also a fair amount of diversity in there, also for example we have a track like Going Down which is a bit of a comment about the state of the world wtc (sic) to purr all out fun of Grind To Metal. So yes, I think this is a forward step in the evolution of the band.

You have a deal with Adrenaline in Europe. Where else in the world can your fans find the new CD? Do you have license deals in other parts of the world as well?

As with our last album Destructor we have released this through Adreanaline / Steelheart Records. This is a distribution deal so basically we own all the recordings etc and do it all ourselves and then license the finished product out to the label. It works well for us as we have full control over everything we do and no interference from anyone who doesn't have our best interests at heart. We have distribution I believe throughout most European territories and also through CD Maximum in Russia.

Can you give us an inside look on how the band composes music?

There are different ways we come up with things but generally Jamie will come up with some music or Matt or myself will have a riff and we will bash it out at a rehearsal and work on the structure and melodies etc. The lyric ideas I may take away to develop. From there we rehearse the song until we feel comfortable with it. Jamie will sometimes bring a completed music Demo and we go from there.

Will you shoot any video clips for the new album?

Yes, we hope to make some video clips and maybe a DVD but no solid plans have been laid as yet.

I admit that like with Canada I haven't heard a single bad band from Australia! What is your opinion about your country's scene?

Australia has lots of great bands playing all styles of Metal. The emphasis here is more on the extreme side. I guess being a little isolated people don't always get to see or hear about Australian Metal bands especially on the touring side of things as it is sometimes prohibitively expensive to tour outside our country.

Touring plans. Are there any? Is there a chance to see you outside Australia?

Ah, yes, we have been speaking to our label about playing some festivals around Europe but nothing is finalized as of yet.

Can you recall one of the weirdest things that ever happened to you on stage?

Many crazy things. One stage collapsed, once I thought the smoke machine was blowing smoke on a funny angle almost like a fry pan until I realized it was a my bass amp blowing up!

I noticed that the production in Hellhammer is very good. How important is it in your opinion for a band to have the best production possible?

Yes, I am glad you picked up on that. With this album we tracked it pretty much live in the studio. Our goal with this was to let the songs and performances make the record - not the polish. We recorded on state of the art with the technology available to us but with all the tools available these days like autotune, triggers, sound replacers etc sometimes it is possible to go overboard to a point where things are too perfect and polished and no longer sound like a real band anymore. So with this we wanted to capture real live interaction; raw not ultra clean or sterile. I feel this adds to the overall toughness of the sound and creates a good vibe for our music.

I think it is important to have a good sound as people are paying hard earned money for your music so to give them value for money with everything from sound & packaging is extremely important to us.

The fact that you are from a country relatively isolated (compared to countries like Germany or Sweden), what difficulties does that cause you?

It can be a great obstacle. Our city of Perth is the most isolated city in the world so touring nationally and internationally can be a little difficult hurdle to overcome. Saying that, the internet really has helped us tap into a great international fan base for Metal and we try to support as many underground magazines / fanzines & radio shows as we can. So far we have had fantastic loyal support.

Can you tell us your biggest dream regarding Black Steel?

To play a show overseas.

What are the immediate plans of the band?

Play shows, write more music and keep having fun!

Thanks for your time. Close this interview with a message to our readers...

Thanks to anyone who has taken their time to read this and find out about our band - we really appreciate it. If you would like to find out more or buy merchandise & CD's etc then log onto our website www.blacksteel.com.au or interact at www.myspace.com/blacksteelaustralia.

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