Can you tell me how the formation of The Offering came to be?
We all met at school in Boston and played on a lot of each other’s one off projects and gigs. Our singer got offered an opportunity to tour and open for pretty well known artist with international fame (Undisclosed) and at that point we assembled as a band and started writing songs with that specific goal and band in mind. The deal to go on tour didn’t end up working out but even though it fell through, we still saw potential glory in the project and the team, so we decided to keep going, record a full length album, and take a shot at making it.
Seeing that the band members all come from different locations, does this make things a little difficult logistically?
It actually has been kind of an adventure! We all moved to Waterville, New Hampshire, to write and demo all our material. We then recorded the album in Albany at Eddie Road Studios, and decided to move the band south to Tampa Bay, for its reputation as one of the best death metal scenes in the US, where the band saw potential to be as active as possible. Logistically, of course, it is hard because our loved ones live elsewhere in the country while we’re constantly moving around to make this work.
What are your main influences, I mean there’s definitely a lot of old school Thrash and Power Metal with a touch of Progressive Metal.
It’s interesting you say that, because we actually all come from different musical backgrounds. It’s really the combination of our different interests that create “The Offering” sound. Our drummer has a strong intellectual foundation with interest in bands like Dream Theater and Periphery. Our guitar player, Nishad, listens a wide range of things but his some favorites of his are Manson, Slipknot, and Steve Vai. Dan’s contribution to the sound is generally more influenced by thrash and melodic death metal bands like Megadeth and In Flames, while, our singer is more rooted in Americana, Opera, and Classic heavy metal.
Alexander, your vocal ranges are out of this world, do you have to train to be able to sing like that?
AV: I do. I was trained in operatic technique for 6 years and one day decided to put that training towards Heavy Metal. As far as today goes it’s all about practicing the foundations of breathing and being hyper aware of my throat. It is one thing to be able to sing and growl but, it’s another to be able to do it consistently without damaging my vocal folds. Taking it slow on bad days, and singing productively on good ones. A friendship with Satan doesn’t hurt.
A quick question aimed at Daniel, how long have you been playing and are you a self-taught player?
DM: I’ve been playing guitar now for nearly 11 years now and I’ve been lucky to have a lot of great teachers over the years. A huge portion of learning also came from sitting alone with great music and trying to mimic my heroes. Rock and metal bands introduced to me by my brother and Dad in my early teens – Dio, Van Halen, Iron Maiden, Trivium, Stratovarius – were a huge inspiration for me to get more serious about guitar and led me to heavier music with crazier playing. When I found instructional videos from guitarists like Vinnie Moore, Marty Friedman and Paul Gilbert, they all had a huge influence on my approach to the instrument and laid a big foundation as far as expression and phrasing.
Nishad, what inspires you to create such intricate, complex arrangements whilst creating riffs?
NG: I’m glad you think they’re intricate! A lot of the writing stems from the goals we set before entering the creation process and the confidence I have in my band mates’ abilities. When I speak of goals, I mean we envisioned beforehand what our perfect debut would sound like – ballads, epics, straight a heads, heavy hitters, all done in nine songs. That allowed me to work freely, like going crazy on certain movements wouldn’t harm the song’s integrity or purpose, because then, as a band, we’d know how to keep it in check. You can break that process down further to the riffs as well, but that’s when it comes down to confidence in my band mates. For example, a lot of the writing leaves room for experimentation; there were so many moments of thinking, “Steve will make this moment feel big,” or “Dan can add way more flavor to this,” or “Play simple, let Alex’s vocals do the rest.” They’re so unbelievably good at what they do, so it’s a fun process to try to create powerful song together that still showcases everyone.
Steve, it’s very rare these days that drummers blow my mind but, your style is so intense and your technique is something I feel the modern Metal drummers lack. Where do you get your ideas from?
SV: Wow, Thanks! I feel like a lot of drummers, and musicians for that matter, spend too much time thinking about what they play rather than how they play it. A lot of metal guys particularly get stuck on how fast they can play. So for me it’s really important that no matter what I play, it comes from a very real, emotional place. Guys like Matt Halpern, Dave Dicenso, Mike Portnoy were my heroes not because of what they play, but because of how they played it.
Your single Rat King, is an awesome debut single, are there plans for a full length album any time soon?
We’ve actually completed the full length record already, in fact, we got the masters back last month. Jens Bogren and Andre Alvinzi from Fascination Street Studios in Sweden worked on it. It was a huge honor to have them do the mixing and mastering for our debut record since they’ve worked on a lot of our favorite artists growing up like Arch Enemy and Opeth. We’re not quite set on the release date just yet since we want to explore our options with record labels and see which one would be most excited to work with us and the music but we can’t wait to let it all out there.
Being based in Florida, which was once famous as being the death metal capital of the world, did it have any impact on the musical influences?
It’s funny you say that, because we moved down here for that specific reason. Bands like Death, Sabotage, Trivium, Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Atheist – the list goes on of incredible bands that made their way out of the Tampa scene. The place was a gold mine for finding some of our favorite artists when we were growing up, so part of living the dream is walking in their footsteps.
Any plans on touring in the future, and what can we expect to see from The Offering on stage?
As far as tours go, we have stuff in the works. Right now our number one priority is to get this album in the right hands. We’ll hammer out the specifics on touring once we figure that out. Now, as for our live show, I’d say expect nothing less than a kick in the teeth!
Your style is sure to be welcomed by many fans of both old and new school Metalheads, was this a conscious decision or is this the music you envisioned from the beginning?
We sure hope so! That was one of our core mission statements from the beginning, to cross the old and new school gap. That wasn’t as apparent during our songwriting sessions though, it was less about trying to sound like a bridge band, and more about trying to not sound too modern or too old. That was and always will be our mission statement, but hearing it from you is reassuring that we were able to get close to that on our first album.