dBh Interview

Minutes after the band have just done a set which pleasantly surprised me, Andy (vocals) accepts my request to do an interview. Which to be honest, surprised me. Or not so much that, but how friendly the entire band were. The intensity given off onstage made me wonder if asking was such a wise move, but as we sit at a table, trying to hear each other above the noise, it doesn't seem so bad. If only I'd stay a normal colour.

After a while, it's generally agreed that it's probably too loud to do the interview at the moment, so after Tribute to Nothing have completed their set, we'll try and do something then. So, fastforwarding through time, I find myself leant against one of the monitors that guard the front of the stage, surrounded by all the guys in the band. Which, erm, excuses at the ready, means that I can't fully remember who said what. I know, I'm a fuckup at all this, but there you go. I'm fairly certain I can remember who was positioned where and said what, but if I've made a mistake, I apologise, and you can rest assured that a vat of boiling oil has already been poured all over. Well, not all over.

Anyway, I'm waffling. So, as I explained to the band earlier, I came with ideas for a few questions. The gig just blew some of them out the door and halfway back to Nottingham. But it was quite noisy doing the interview, and the band are surprisingly quietly spoken, I was ill prepared and whatever. But I'll go with it, and just die an embarassing death as I make more and more mistakes... Sorry guys.

The first thing to ask is about the set. It sounded like you played a lot of new stuff?

Yeah, there was 5 new songs in the set, says Andy.

So, I'd been wondering what you'd been doing since the last time I saw you, which was a while ago on the Napalm Death tour.

Alex (guitar) answers, “we've been to Europe with Napalm Death twice, playing Spain, Italy, France, Holland, which was good .... and then we toured with Motorhead.

I was going to ask about that. It seemed a strange combination to me. With Napalm Death, there wasn't much going on in the crowd during your set, and I'd have thought Motorhead would've been the same.

No, it was weird. We played Newport which was like a 2000 capacity venue, and the crowd were just like amazing. We walked off and we were like what ... We went down really well with them.

They were really good gigs, and then we went to Germany with Napalm Death, and this is the first tour we've done since then.

You've got the new single coming out, so have you recorded a new album as well?

Martin(guitar) replies 'No, the single is actually off the first album'

The new one? Ah, I'd not actually checked, I just assumed it was a new single with a new album to follow (It's actually My Great Country off the Unwilling to Explain album). Ok then, so are you getting ready to record a new album?

Yeah, we've been demoing new material. We just need a couple more songs.

One thing I'd been unsure about asking, but after the set tonight I feel safer in doing so, is that the first album was a bit of a disappointment.

Yeah, agrees Andy. We knew that adds Alex.

So the new stuff tonight sounds a lot harder, and faster. Is that experience from gigs you've done, or just how things are evoloving?

It's just what we want to play, what we listen to. It's a natural progression. Cos that's like, how old's that album now? Martin asks Alex. August '96. So it's like 2 years old now. We've changed a lot..

We've got like slow stuff in the new material that's dfferent like, but we just want to play the fast stuff in the new material that people will be into. 'Cos we've got one or 2 with different arrangements and stuff.

It's more diverse musically. When the new album comes out, it'll be a lot more interesting to listen to musically.

I think with the first album, we were young and we didn't really have our own mind. We were new to it. It was a generic album I'd say the first one.

At the time, there were a lot of people saying that you were taking on more of a Korn sound, and the UK Korn. And there were maybe small elements, but not much to it. You had to listen to convince yourself it was there. But tonight, there appeared no trace. Would that be a conscious thing?

Kind of, cos it pisses you off that you read in Kerrang! that you've been labelled a Korn like band and that pisses me off, cos I don't think we sound like them, and I don't want to sound like them. I don't want to be a big Adidas ad. I suppose on the one hand it could work in our favour, if people think like “oh they sound like Korn” so they may come and see us. But they'd be disappointed, cos I don't think we sound like them at all.

But there's a lot of people that have been coming to the gigs, like on the Napalm Death tour, who were wearing Korn shirts

At the moment, there's a lot of good bands around, but it's almost like the thrash era, where there were good bands, but too similar maybe, and it soon all disappeared.

I'd like to think that we'll still be around in a few years time doing our shit rather than just going away like some average band. I don't think we're that good, but I don't think we're that bad either like.

Having done the Napalm gigs, big halls, how does it feel to come back to this. It would seem to me almost to be better suited for you.

We're not the kind of band that could back to those venues that we played in the past. We couldn't fill 600 capacity places. So coming back to this, everyone's in to it, and it's so much more atmospheric, and you have more contact with the people in the crowd. They can shout at you and you can shout back at them.

One thing I noticed tonight, is that in the past I thought (and so did others) that Andy just kinda stood there. But tonight was so different. In your face. I almost thought at first it was someone else. Is that relaxing or...

It's just getting into it like. I was nervous before, it was just like doing music and I was just like having a laugh.

It's more about confidence as well, we're more confident about getting up on stage now. Like we'd do a really good gig one night, and a bad one the next night Sam (bass) joins in.

Was that in terms of performance or reaction?

Not reaction, just how we'd played each night.

It's weird, Sheffield was shit. There was hardly anyone there, the venue was too big and it was a Monday night. And no-one was even on the dance floor, so it was like you were playing to no-one.

Which was interesting. But it was boring for us, and we cut the set by like four songs.

Ah, Sheffield, strange place. Good venues, but for some reason, never decent crowds. Alex and Andy leave to help carry some of the gear out. And I start to struggle. Like you'd not noticed already.

Plans for the rest of the year.

We want to do more touring, a lot more. We want to do a second album, cos the first one was shit laughs Sam. We're still writing songs for the second album, we've got about 12 or something, so we want to get another 10 and then choose from them. And then we hope to get an album out by the end of the year. It's been a long time. At least that's what we want to do like.

That's why I thought you'd done the album, cos you'd disappeared almost.

Yeah, we're a bit lazy. But hopefully by the end of the year. We need to tour as well, we'd like to do some festivals.

Any bands that you'd like to tour with then?

Brutal Truth, that would be good. But anyone within reason.

Spice Girls?

That would be interesting!

At this stage Andy returns with the news that they're trying to be convinced to go to a club where it's 40p a pint. You must be kidding! The bastards do tell me that they saw Social Distortion in Leeds, a gig I missed and am still pissed off about!! And yep, I'm struggling again, getting tonguetied as I explained, or tied toungued as it actually came out. Do you need more evidence of how crap I can be. But one thing I remember being curious about. A quote on the blurb on the Organ CD the band appear on, saying how, if dBh were American, they'd get a lot more interest. Do the band believe that to be true?

Um, well when we first started playing, we were told people thought we were from America, which was really strange and hard to get your head round. Cos we don't think we sound like them. But if you get labelled a hardcore, then it's assumed.

But if your labelled American hardcore, not British, then it seems to be ok though.

People take more interest then. But it's getting better.

Do you think that's just a general apathy with UK audiences?

Partly, most people seem to think the good bands come from America.

But they should still check out the UK bands?

Yeah, and the scene is getting better.

Time's running out, as are my ideas, so having been told not to ask, what's your favourite colour or if you could be a vegetable, what vegetable would you be, then I won't ask them.

Brocolli laughs Martin anyway. Ok, I'll use that. Last time that question will be asked though.

So, is there anything I should ask you?

About the European dates.

Ok, how were they, apart from Holland.

Holland was fantastic....everyone laughs. I don't know what they could mean!! Assuming the obvious then, do the people actually manage to stand up. Andy laughts, “Yeah, They're just used to it, for us it was a novelty when you go there, but for them...”

So what do you think of these laws in the States where any smoking is banned from clubs, and do you think it would be a good idea here?

Well I don't smoke ciggies so I'm all for it. They should have sections for smokers, and that's a compromise. Or get air conditioning in the places.

Air conditioning in the UK. That's a bit of a laugh. Ok, I should finish now. Any ideas on how I'm supposed to finish these things?

Ask us for final words.

Ok, final words?

We don't have any final words.

And final words is where it ends. My thanks to the band for being helpful and courteous. I guess they taught me a few things in a way. One of which, was that I can still be fucking clueless at all this stuff. Ah well, better just do another issue to try and improve then. But the next time they're around your area, if you like hardcore style stuff, check them out. A major improvement on last year.