Dave Ingram, former vocalist with Benediction, Bolt Thrower and Downlord has recently teamed up with Rogga Johansson, of Paganizer and Ribspreader to name but a few from his vast catalogue of projects and bands, to work on a new project. Dave took time out of his busy schedule to talk to me about their new project Down Amongst The Dead Men.
Dave, what's the story behind this latest project, Down Amongst The Dead Men, how did it come into being and how did you decide on the name?
"It was Rogga who first got in touch with me. He wrote to ask if I'd like to perform on a track from a project he's making. It's something personal and he'll get details out when ready. Anyway, while I was working on the lyrics he sent I began thinking about working with him and creating a full length album, so I asked about it. We emailed back and forth for just a couple of days and Down Among The Dead Men were born. The name of the band comes from a couple of sources that are both connected by archaeology.
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"Back in the late 1980's I worked as an archaeological assistant and helped excavate Roman remains in the UK, and it remained a great interest for me my entire life. I was up to my knees in mud and was literally down among the dead men! The other influence for the name of the band comes from my love and/or obsession of the television show Doctor Who. Archaeology comes into play again, but I'll leave it at that for now as non-Doctor Who fans may get bored if I go on about it for too long. Those that know will appreciate the connection themselves."
Rogga, like yourself, has a huge death Metal history, Paganizer, Bone Gnawer, Ribspreader and The Grotesquery to name a few from over twenty other projects past and present. What has it been like working with him?
"An absolute bloody pleasure and a real honour! I've been a fan of his band Paganizer for a while as they play the kind of Death Metal that really floats my goat, and when he contacted me I didn't actually know that was his band until I did some research. It was another reason I wanted to work with him, his résumé is phenomenal!"
I understand you are responsible for the lyrics, as with your past projects. Where did your inspiration come from for this album?
"I'm glad I didn't tell you too much about the band name in the first question as I'd be repeating myself here! The song titles (and band name) are all connected to, as said, Doctor Who - but a somewhat lesser known character called Professor Bernice Summerfield, an archaeologist. See? The archaeological link! In the audio adventures her character has written a book called 'Down Among The Dead Men' and I borrowed many of the audio titles for song titles. The lyrics have a link to the stories, but that's rather tenuous as I like to keep them my own. As you can see, my Doctor Who obsession has no limit. I see it as homage to the entire franchise."
How were the logistics of recording handled with you living in Denmark and the rest of the band in Sweden?
"Easily. We wrote music via the internet and sent it to each other for review, and in some cases extra work (I wrote three songs and I asked Rogga to re-engineer their construction) then once the music was locked in place Rogga and the guys recorded their parts and sent it to me to record mine. In all it took us nine months from kicking the idea around to getting the final mix in our hands. We think that's pretty damn fast.
"We're also working on new material as I write. Rogga has sent two songs through and I have one to record of my own (just scratch guitars to see how the song will flow). This will be released in the Spring, but we've no date yet. It won't take us long to get it done."
I have been keeping my eye on the response to this upcoming release; it seems to be attracting a lot of interest already, is it getting the response you expected?
"The response has been amazing! Not only the interest it has gained, but the amount of people helping us to promote the band by reposting links etc. We appreciate everyone who does this for us, it's an awesome response! I was also somewhat in awe of the record label when they signed us without actually hearing a single note. Seems our histories are catching up with us. Or maybe it's our futures? Wait... that's a quote from Doctor Who."
Any plans to take the album on tour?
Yes, indeed there is. It won't be until the Spring, as we've some other obligations to get out of the way, and we'd like to see how the album has been received by then. With the response so far it all looks good! The first things we'd like to do are some shows around Scandinavia, maybe down to Germany too. If the right offer for the right tour comes to us then we would DEFINITELY take it. We'd be crazy not to."
Do you think there will be a second DATDM album?
"Well there's going to be an EP in the Spring sometime and I keep writing lyrics and music, so I know it's going to happen. We may also release a few 7 inchers along the way as well, and maybe make them available as a download too. The options are multiple and varied."
I believe that death Metal vocals must run in the Ingram family, with your son making his debut on the album. How was that for you?
"I asked my son Oliver if he would like to appear on the album and in what capacity. He asked to just perform some backing vocals on the title track and we had an afternoon in the studio together recording. It was fun, and there was much chocolate milk flowing (a favourite of ours, and it helps with the vocals). Oliver loves the fact that I make music. He has the Bolt Thrower album - and now the DATDM one - on his iPhone and he plays videos on YouTube from my previous bands to his classmates and teachers. He thinks his dad is a crazy old musician."
You have been a death Metal vocalist for over twenty years and still sound excellent; do you have any special vocal exercise or routine before you sing to keep it in good condition?
"The best advice for a routine I can give to other vocalists is to QUIT SMOKING, or never start. I quit a while ago after almost 20 years of smoking on and off. It was the best thing I ever did. I work for the Danish Cancer Research foundation so therefore I know the benefits of quitting and the harm that every single cigarette does to you. I've spoken about this on Facebook with friends there, and there were a few who actually defended their smoking with all the usual excuses like "I can quit when I want" or "I'm only on five a day" etc etc... so I'll repeat here what I said there: quit smoking or die prematurely and in some serious pain. It's your decision. Make it a good one.
"Additionally Jools, thank you for the compliment on my vocals!"
Aside from making music you also are involved, from a critical perspective, from the other side of the table with your 'Metal Breakfast Radio' podcast, what's the idea behind the show?
"Metal Breakfast Radio started out as a simple podcast with an audience of zero and we've built it up to being syndicated by five different internet radio stations - that we know of - and downloads of up to 3000 each week. It's not your average Metal show because myself and my best friend and co-host, Donovan Spenceley, give a running commentary over the music that gets submitted to the show. We rate each band and if we don't like what we hear we exterminate them. We're quite ruthless about it, but it really is all just tongue in cheek. Bands sometimes get their panties in a twist over it, but ANY that are unable to take criticism are totally in the wrong business.
"We have several beers while we record, so it can sometimes get a bit "moist" - if you know what I mean? We've been doing that show every week for the last five and a half years, and I don't think we'll stop! I'll give some links at the end so folks can find us online. It's all for free and a lot of fun. What better way to waste two hours a week?"
"I'm also making another online radio show called Lambert's Basement, though this one is dedicated to one of my other musical loves: Big Band Jazz. This show features a lot of wonderful music from a bygone age, and it has me along with my co-host Igor, a zombie goldfish."
Any final comments?
"My thanks to you for the interview, always a pleasure and never a chore Jools! Here's those links I mentioned:"
Current five favourite albums:
Bolt Thrower: 'Those Once Loyal'
Paganizer: 'On A Gurney To Hell'
Bonesaw: 'The Illicit Revue'
Dehydrated Goat: 'Perversion Of Stablings'
Queens Of The Stone Age: 'Era Vulgaris'
Thanks for taking the time to speak to me, Dave.
Album available from Amazon or http://metal-recycler.de from the 22nd November. Read Jools' review by clicking here.