The following is an online interview from 10/16/06 with Derin, drummer of the California based thrashers Army Of Darkness. They have four songs available for listen and download on thier MySpace page.
WSWB- Hails Derin! Thanks for taking the time to do this.
Derin- no problem man
WSWB- I've been playing Army of Darkness a lot, and man it's some intense stuff. How did all this begin for Army of Darkness?
Derin- Awesome....but, well, the band got together as Army of Darkness in early 2004, and we just went with it
WSWB- Any projects before this, or did you come together and start this from scratch?
Derin- Well, our singer and Bassist played Together in the band, Kaotic Keature before they decided to start over with Army of Darkness. I've been in a few local bands before I Joined AOD, but nothing real big or anything. I was in a local Death Metal band for a well in 2000.
WSWB- The direction the band has musically has a distinct "old school" feel to it. Is this what you set out for, or did it naturally go that way?
Derin- I think in a way that is the idea...I mean, most us are really into old school bands, and that’s the stuff we like, and like to play.
WSWB- For what it's worth, I think you kick ass at it. I was around when this was coming up, and AOD is an awesome homage to what once was while still having a hard "now" edge. Have you been able to gig with any of the older CA bands you draw influence from?
Derin- Right on man. that’s what we want to do, play old school metal, but still with modern influences (occasional blast beat parts and stuff like that) we have played a lot of shows, but haven’t had the opportunity to play with many bands that we were into for years yet, mainly because most of all the shows that we could get playing with bands like that, ask you to 'pay to play' and just until recently we decided we would not do that, but, we have made the decision that we will do it in the future. Also, we did play with GAMMA RAY in May 2006....that was a fun show...I don’t know if you are into them...they are a Power Metal project with the old singer of Helloween.
WSWB- Gamma Ray is cool. But let me skip that for a moment. I'd like to focus on the whole "pay to play" thing. I've only heard of it in a few places, CA being the most common offender. Let me make sure I have this straight... in order to play a gig at a club; you have to pay them to get on the bill?
Derin- Well,...this is how in works when dealing with this.....to play on a show with a major act, the venue usually ask you sell around 50- 75 tickets, and they are often 15 or more bucks a piece, and usually you have to pay the money for all the tickets, then you sell them, and if you cant manage to sell all of them, you end up just 'eating the money' you spent on them...and a lot of venues wont even let you play until you put up all the money for the tickets.
WSWB- Wow. That absolutely sucks ass. How the hell does an underground / independent band play live in a situation like that? There must be clubs that don't do that, or does it fall to DIY promotions like rent the local VFW hall or something?
Derin- Honestly here in California, there is hardly ever a show with a national touring band, where the local opening bands do not have to due this. it sucks, cause I've realized until a local bands gets a stronger fan base, the only time when they don’t go play a show in front of no more than 30 people is at one of these gigs where you have to " Pay to play".
WSWB- That absolutely sucks. I hope that situation changes. But if I don't move on, I'll spend the rest of the interview talking about it. So moving on… tell me about the gig with Gamma Ray. That must have been incredible.
Derin- Ooh yeah, it was.....there were a lot of people there that night. We had a lot of fun. Gamma Ray put on a killer show. I have to honest, I wasn’t to familiar with there tunes before that night, but, I do like Helloween, and since they have the old singer of Helloween in the band (Kai Hansen) they did do a Helloween tune, ('I Want Out') It was real cool man.
WSWB- I missed that tour and I wasn't happy about it. So hails to you, not only going but playing with them. What’s next on the "live show" calendar?
Derin - Well, we are playing a show out in Barstow California on the 27th of October, its a special Halloween show, with other cool local bangs, hopefully every will be dressed up for Halloween, I'll probably going to be in my Michael Myers outfit… haha. In November we have a show at The Whisky A GoGo in Hollywood, I'm looking forward to that one.
WSWB- What about recording? The songs you have on MySpace are excellent. Do you have a demo floating around out there?
Derin- The songs that are on our MySpace our friend the 4 song demo we recorded in early 05....since that recording we have a new Guitarist, Pat....we are planning to hit the studio in early 07 to record a full length, we have 10 complete original songs now, most of which are slightly heavier than the one that are on our 05 demo, and on our MySpace. I can’t wait to record again. I really think people that have liked what they have heard from us so far are going to dig it.
WSWB- You can put me on the list of people looking forward to hear it, that's for sure. And since I have you here, I'll ask you some questions about the drumming. How long have you been playing? The power you hammer out is awesome.
Derin- Thanks a lot man... I have been playing Drums since I was 14 years old, so, for 11 years now.
WSWB- It shows. You do it well. The beat you lay down in "Trauma" is a formula for 100% headbanging. Do you have any input during the actual songwriting process, or do you stick to the drums?
Derin- Yeah, well, if when we are working a new song, if I have an idea to do something different on the guitar parts or vocals, or anything, I'll voice my opinion about it and see if everyone likes the idea. Most of the time I just stick to writing and playing my parts for drums. But there are times when someone else in the band might suggestion to me, that I do something different, and a lot of times those things work. Like the, the double bass/tom part in our song, 'Possessed", where its just drums for like 20 seconds. That part came to be, from a suggestion the guitarist/singer, Joseph, made to me.
WSWB- Are there any bands or drummers that influenced your drumming style specifically?
Derin- Well, I like a lot of bands...but, in my high school years I was into and influences mainly by old school thrash and old school Death bands like, Slayer, Exodus, Sepultura, Death, Forbidden, Megadeth, Testament, Dark Angel, Vio-lence, early Metallica, stuff like that...all the old school stuff...and for Drummers, some of biggest influences are guys like, Dave Lombardo, Gene Hoglan, Igor Cavalera, Paul Bostaph, Richard Christy, Jon Tempesta, Vinnie Paul, etc.
WSWB- Any final thoughts before we wrap this up?
Derin- Well, all I can say is thanks a lot for taking the time to talking to me man,....and anyone out there that likes old school metal, should definitely check us out, and come out to our shows if possible ~