Long time death metal titans Obituary are back at it again with their 10th studio album dropping March 17, 2017. Morgan McCormick had the pleasure of chatting with guitarist Trevor Peres of Obituary. Touching on subjects like their new self-titled album, touring with Kreator, Florida Metal Fest, songwriting, and more.
Morgan McCormick: Obituary has influenced so many bands immensely, what influenced the band when you guys were first starting out?
Trevor Peres: Well music in general I guess, just to play it. My father and everyone in the family were all musicians. For wanting to be in a band and play metal, there’s a lot of influences. Like Ozzy, Sabbath, Slayer, Celtic Frost, Maiden, Randy Rhodes made me want to play guitar, a lot of classic rock stuff was very influential too. But for metal specifically it’s those bands. Things like Celtic Frost, Hellhammer, Possessed, even Destruction were influential for the extreme side.
MM: Do you think a band like Obituary would be able to “make it” if they were just starting out today?
TP: Well, if this music were already going on it’d be a lot more difficult. Obviously when we started there were hardly any extreme bands. The amount of bands compared to today with metal in general was about a hundred, you know? So we were on top of things doing something not a whole lot of other people were doing I guess you could say, and we had our own unique flare to it. I mean maybe, if nobody had already done what we did I guess. That’s the thing too like today, you go to any of these festivals in Europe and there’s so many different styles of metal playing. I mean we definitely stand out when it comes to extreme stuff because we have our own sound. It’s hard for any band today to start and be successful compared to 30 years ago in general I think. But to get your name is probably easier though because of the internet and stuff so it’s hard to say.
MM: Speaking of your trademark sound, do you see Obituary continuing on it’s groovy evolution?
TP: Yeah I mean that’s what we’ve been doing forever, I don’t see it changing. We’ve always been right on top of that, it’s kind of our flavor.
MM: Yeah I’ve seen a lot of critics and so called “fans” implying that a band needs to experiment to keep fans’ attention but I don’t ever see that being a problem with you guys.
TP: Yeah we just write songs that feel good, that grab ya. It’s more of a feeling than anything you know?
MM: In your spare time when you’re just hanging around what kind of other music do you listen to? Because I’m sure it’s not all metal all the time.
TP: A lot of southern rock, I like southern rock a lot. Like Outlaws, Molly Hatchet, Skynyrd, Allman Brothers, Hank III I like that crazy ass Hellbilly sound, that kind of stuff. Also a lot of classic rock stuff in general. Oh and Dio, anything with Dio singing is just insane.
MM: Could you ever see yourself doing some covers or experimenting with that kind of thing for fun or as a side project?
TP: Oh yeah totally I love that stuff. Even like deep south rooted blues music. I always thought it would be cool to play at a local bar, drink some beer and jam to some killer tunes that are all covers and have somebody who can sing their brains out, do it right and proper.
MM: Do you have any particular expectations for this upcoming tour?
TP: Well I expect it to kick ass. It should be killer, I mean we’re with Kreator and that’s awesome. I’ve known Miland for about a half a century now so we’re friends already. They’ve been around longer than Obituary and in some ways were probably somewhat of an influence a little bit on us. So it’s cool, it’s gonna be great that two big names are going out together. I think it’ll be good for the fans too, having two headlining names out together.
MM: What’s the worst advice you’ve been given as far as touring goes?
TP: The worst advice would be when we were told to go into the UK from Europe on a tour we were doing and they didn’t have our work visas done. That was the worst advice. We got deported back to Holland which sucked because we had to cancel a show in London. It was sold out, like 1,500 people were at the venue waiting for us to get there. At the time our management dropped the ball and they told us basically not to worry about it and to just go through and say you’re over there on a layover going to Ireland because we had to play there the next day. But they figured out what was going on, the border agency, so they held us. They asked if we were that band Obituary playing in London tonight and we were just like “No” but they knew it was us and we were totally busted. That was some bad advice. But whatever, shit happens I guess.
MM: What’s your opinion on the local scene here in Tampa? When you guys play here how different is it?
TP: It’s not as strong as it was. When The End Complete came out we played at The Ritz and it sold out, 1,250 people or whatever the capacity at that venue was. When we played with Corpse I think there was like 700 people. Part of the problem is that when we did that Florida Metal Fest they weren’t allowed to advertise the name until after it was over, then the local promoter didn’t know he was allowed to so he didn’t until like two weeks later before the show started. In general the shows are killer, they’re fun like always, but not as many heads come out anymore like there used to be like 20 years ago. Back then a lot more people came to the shows. But we did Florida Metal Fest and that was pretty cool, I think 1500 people came. Obviously it was a big package, you had all kinds of bands from different genres. That was more of a festival though. It’s a good sign though. We’re hoping to redo it in 2018.
MM: About how long have you been writing this new album for?
TP: Well actually a couple songs from the Inked In Blood writings and recordings ended up being on the EP we did, 10,000 Ways, which one of those songs is also on the new album. We’ve been focusing on new songs after that for probably a year and a half or two years now. Most times that we’re not on the road and I come up with something I’ll just record it and put it on the backburner, come back to it later. Last Spring and Summer is when we really focused on putting new material into songs. So yeah, on and off for a year and a half.
MM: Well that’s good, it must be cool to have things come together like that. You’ve got a great lineup and you seem to all jive really well.
TP: Thanks I mean it’s a lot of hard work, the biggest thing is having a bunch of riffs. That’s the first thing. But once that’s done it’s a matter of sitting down and composing these things into songs. That’s kinda how we work it. Sometimes an idea will come out and within a few minutes you’ll have almost a whole song, brand new riffs and everything. It happens a couple times here and there where a song comes together and you’re just like “Wow that’s perfect, record it let’s remember that.” And then next thing you know you polish it a little bit and you’ve got a song. But a lot of times it’s a bunch of stuff you have and you know a few of those riffs can be a song together so you just work on it separate later on. It’s all kind of sporadic. It’s hard to say “We have to write a song, okay let’s go!” that’s the worst way to approach it for me. You can’t force me like, okay you’re under the gun time to write songs. It’s like a nightmare. You’re better off just drinking a bunch of beer and letting loose and just not even thinking about it. Don’t even go into it like “Oh I’m gonna write some music.” Just get buzzed and go for it. Like there’s a song on this album that the main progression was written backstage at Urban Closet in New York City last year when we were touring with Cannibal Corpse. There was a little tiny amp backstage that Terry had that he was throwing away, the thing was breaking and messing up. So I was plugging in and just playing with it during the show while the opening acts were on. Terry was like “That’s badass what’s that from?” and I said “I don’t know I just made it up” and he goes “Sick!” and gets his phone and films me playing it. That one became a song called Turned To Stone.
MM: Nice, that’s awesome. I guess with that we’ll wrap this up, any last words?
TP: Well, we’re going to be on tour with Kreator starting March 17th and it’ll all be in the US. The new album comes out the 17th as well, so I hope everyone enjoys it.
Catch Obituary on the Decibel Magazine 2017 Tour with Kreator, Horrendous and Midnight
Mar 17 Charlotte, NC Underground
Mar 18 Atlanta, GA Masquerade
Mar 19 Tampa, FL The Orpheum
Mar 20 New Orleans, LA House of Blues
Mar 21 Houston, TX House of Blues
Mar 22 Dallas, TX House of Blues
Mar 24 Phoenix, AZ Club Red
Mar 25 Santa Ana, CA Observatory
Mar 26 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore
Mar 27 Portland, OR Hawthorne Theater
Mar 28 Seattle, WA Neptune
Mar 29 Vancouver, BC Rickshaw Theater
Mar 31 Calgary, AB MacEwan Ballroom
Apr 01 Edmonton, AB Union Hall
Apr 04 Denver, CO Summit Music Hall
Apr 06 Minneapolis, MN Cabooze
Apr 07 Chicago, IL House of Blues
Apr 08 Indianapolis, IN The Vogue
Apr 09 Cleveland, OH House of Blues
Apr 11 Toronto, ON Opera House
Apr 12 Montreal, QC Club Soda
Apr 13 Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club
Apr 14 New York, NY Irving Plaza
Apr 15 Philadelphia, PA Theatre of the Living Arts