David Devo Oosthuizen from The Metal Review had the opportunity to chat with Ted Aguilar, member of the pioneering San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal band Death Angel since 2001. Their 7th studio album entitled “The Dream Calls for Blood” launched on October 11th through Nuclear Blast and promises to be a brutal and blistering offering true to their roots.
Greetings Ted. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us here at The Metal Review. So everybody is very excited at the much-anticipated launch of “The dream calls for blood”; what is the vibe from the death Angel camp?
As of right now we just got of our little break and we just stared rehearsing. In fact, we are knee-deep into rehearsals. We are getting ready to start our tour in a few weeks starting in San Francisco. We are going to go about 3 weeks through the United States. Then we will be coming home for a while and then finish off the year touring in Europe.
Awesome, sounds great! Coming from South Africa, I am always hoping to see South Africa on a touring list. Any luck of seeing you guys around these parts sometime?
Yeah, we have been hearing a lot about South Africa and we really want to go there. Quite a few bands we know have gone there recently and we have seen all the pictures and read about it and we hear South Africa has an awesome metal scene. We hope to be able to come and play and see you soon!
Ted the new album is blistering fast and to my mind probably the fastest album since “Ultra Violence”. I have been listening to the streaming tracks and really enjoy what I heard so far! Tell me about the recording of “The dream calls for blood”; the influences and the recording process.
Thank you very much. There were so many influences for this album. For us it always stems back to the classics, especially what we grew up listening to. Also, with our previous album “Relentless Retribution” we had a ruthless touring schedule. We spent 3 years touring, inclusive of new places like South America, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe. All of this travelling hugely influenced us playing with all of our peers and people we really respect like Anthrax, Testament, Sepultura, Kreator, Megadeth, Slayer, Exodus and Metallica. We were playing so many festivals that had a huge influence on us. We also influence each other. When we first started writing and recording for “Relentless Retribution” we got a new rhythm section with Damien Sisson (bass) and Will Carroll (drums). During 3 years of touring we got to know each other really well as musicians and we grew as a band. We got to learn what our strengths and weaknesses are and what buttons to push and what not. So, just within the last 3 years of the touring cycle influence us for the new record. Also, on the last leg of the previous tour, playing “Ultra Violence” in its entirety, from start to finish, gave us a little kick in the but as well!
You guys clearly did not waste much time preparing for the new album. Are you planning to tour as extensively as on the previous album?
Yea we certainly hope so. The plan was to get the new album done and out as fast as we can, knowing that we were on the road so long on the previous record that we started wringing on the road already. Rob [Cavestany] started with ideas already on the road in the back of the tour bus and dressing rooms. On days off in the hotel he would start to gather some riffs on his digital 4 track. In between shows and when we were home we would get together in our rehearsal room and start put songs together. We were always ahead of the game. We were like halfway with the new album, essentially written by the end of the last touring cycle. Then we took the holidays off and at the beginning of this year we started revisiting the songs we had written. We also started writing new ones, so there was actually no real downtime compared to what we previously did on other albums where we did an album, tour and then when the touring cycle was over we would come home and take some month off before we started writing. With this new album we simply kept going. This is what we wanted to do to get the album out as fast as possible without obviously sacrificing any of the quality and material.
There is certainly a lot of energy and passion on this record. What would be your personal favorite track of the new album?
Oh man. I have been listening to the album and playing it at rehearsal and this is a hard answer. It keeps changing weekly, but right now my absolute favorites would be the first track “Left for dead” and track 7 “Caster of Shame”.
Indeed. I have been listening to “Caster of Shame” myself (and loving the track). To me it is very much a return to roots in many ways. This seems to also be the trend in the metal scene of late. This is very much year for comebacks isn’t it? We see a lot of classic bands digging deep and returning back to core beliefs, values and early influences. And for me it shows, as metal looks to be as strong as ever!
Oh yeah I think so too. You know sometimes you have to swerve off the path to be able to get back onto the path if you know what I am saying. It is good for musicians to explore and try new and different things in their music and then realize you have to come back to where it all started.
Hell yes respect to that. So Ted what is spinning currently on your iPod?
Great question! Right now one of my favorite bands is Scorpion Child. I just recently got to see them live in San Francisco. Great rock and roll band. And I have been listening to a lot of stuff really. Sometime my iPod shuffles onto non-metal music I like for instance Pink or Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (I am a very big fan). On the last tour Mark [Osegueda] and I were listening a lot to Adele and we love her album “21”. And of course I always listen to my favorite classic like the first couple of Iron Maiden records, Judas Priest, Scorpions and old Metallica.
Speaking of the classic and albums like “21” from Adele I saw some stats from the music industry showing the absolute boom in the sales of vinyl. What is your take on vinyl?
Dude we love vinyl! When I first got into music it was vinyl, so all of us are very big fans. It is so great that vinyl is back, as you get your money’s worth with big packaging, better packaging, awesome liner notes and lyrics. There is just something about that sound on a record when you put the needle on… you know that scratchy sound and then the music, it’s just magical. It brings me back to a time when I was growing up and first discovered music and bands. I think it is great that vinyl is back man! There is also a definite younger generation getting into vinyl, especially given a lot of records also come with the digital download code, so you get the great packaging and also get it onto your digital device.
Yup nothing better than some classic Maiden on vinyl! And speaking of the younger crowd, Social Media has obviously become a key tool for raising awareness of new bands on the web and communicating with common interest communities. How has Social Media been working out for Death Angel?
I think Social Media is an essential platform these days. Back in the day you had to write letters or had to wait for magazines to come out each month to read about your favorite bands, just to know what they are up to. These days you can get all the key information like tour dates at just the click of a button. It is also so much easier now for us as a band to interact with the fans and online communities and people also very much like to have that instant gratification of hearing instantly from us. We have embraced it you know. When we are in the studio we take photos and post updates and show the whole world what is going on. We are definitely fans of such technology and we use it ourselves to check out updates of our favorite bands. You no longer have to wait for magazines or letter, which is even better! We have certainly been able to gather a lot more fans and interest from Social Media.
I agree it makes me as a fan feel very much part of the whole recording process. Getting back to the launch of the new album “The dream calls for blood” is there any chance of a Death Angel DVD in the making?
You know what, the Digipak version of the new album has a really cool feature on the making of “The dream calls for blood” produced and directed by Tommy Jones who did our “River of Rapture” video. He also did our Lyric Video for “The dream calls for blood” which is online right now. We have in fact been working on a Thrashumentary for quite some time now. We were almost done with it then the new album took priority, so we had to choose to finish it or work on the new album. We took the decision to work on the new album, so we may well decide now with the new tour to add footage and complete our Thrashumentary. Eventually it will be completed.
Thank you for speaking to us Ted. Good luck for the new album launch and tour.
Thank you. We cannot wait to get out there and start shredding!
Death Angel Current Lineup:
• Rob Cavestany (Guitars)
• Mark Osegueda (Vocals)
• Ted Aguilar (Guitars)
• Damien Sisson (Bass)
• Will Carroll (Drums)
Death Angel Online: