Guess what time it is boys and girls? That’s right, it’s nearly thrash o’clock. How do I know this? Well, because Dr Living Dead!, the Swedish Crossover crew, are about to unleash their new record Cosmic Conqueror and when Dr Living Dead! release an album, it’s always thrashing time. During the final phase of the countdown to Cosmic Conqueror’s release Mass Movement caught up with Dr Rad for a chat about the bands new album, why Crossover hits the spot that other scenes just can’t reach and why stage diving is better than slam dancing…
Interview by Tim Cundle
MM: Every story starts somewhere… So, would you like to tell us where the Dr. Living Dead story began? Would you like to share a little of the band’s history with us…?
DLD: Toxic and our old singer Ape started all of this back in 07 just as a fun idea or a side project or whatever and then I joined and we had our first show by the end of that year. Fun trivia from the early days: our current frontman Dr Mania was actually one of the first people who auditioned for the band but didn’t end up joining. We did remain friends though and when Ape quit in 2013 he was the first person we called. We did some sweet stuff like open for Slayer and tour Brazil before we finally came out with out first album in 2011. You know the rest! Here we are 10 years later with album number four. Who would have thought?!
MM: What is it about Crossover that made you guys want to play it? What originally drew you to the Crossover scene , bands and music and does Crossover still make you want to thrash as hard today as it did when originally stumbled into, and across, the scene?
DLD: Adrenaline. It just makes you feel good man. It’s really that simple. You get all the sweet riffs but you also get the no fucks given-attitude from hardcore. What is there not to like?
MM: You guys sound like you popped straight out of the Venice Beach scene circa ’87 / ’88 and obviously Suicidal Tendencies, Excel and Beowulf have influenced your sound, but I was curious about what, and who, else influenced, and influences, you as musicians and as a band and said influences are so important to you…?
DLD: It’s really just all the best thrash bands from that era, SOD, Slayer, Nuclear Assault, Vio-lence etc etc. But we’re influenced by all kinds of stuff really. I get ideas from different genres and stuff and then I try to visualize how I could make that sound like the Doc and so on. Influences are important for everybody wheather they want to admit it or not. That’s what shapes you as a musician. But what is interesting is what you choose to do with those influences. Either you start a cover band or you might invent a whole new genre. Most people end up somewhere in between. Just be yourself and be honest!
MM: Let’s talk about your new record, Cosmic Conqueror. How do you think it differs from your previous albums? If you had to describe Cosmic to the kids and folks in the scene, what would you say to them and how would you describe the album?
DLD: I’d say it’s like where we left off on the last one. We’re just trying to get better at what we’re doing and bring in some fresh takes on things while staying true to what we do. I really don’t know how to describe it. You just have to listen haha.
MM: I’m always kinda curious about the subjects that bands use for their lyrics and what songs are actually about, so could you tell us about the lyrical themes on Cosmic Conqueror and what the songs on the album are about?
DLD: There’s this loose theme that connect with the cover artwork about the Doctor as this computer AI which infiltrates our informations streams. It’s pretty interesting to think about how powerful the interent is right now. You can ruin people’s lifes and start wars if you just get your hand on the good stuff. It was something I wanted to do after nerding out on some sci-fi books and stuff like that. It’s taking the current state of the world and filtering it through this more sci-fi inspired theme. In the closing song Cyber Crime you get blackmailed by the Doc! There’s a bunch of other stuff going on too though like Terror Vision which is really about all the crazy shit you get fed on the screen. You also find some more personal songs like Coffin Crusher or even Moment of Clarity. So there’s a mix as always with like half of the stuff loosely based in the Doctor I guess.
MM: The cover for the new album is the first one that hasn’t been drawn by a member of the band isn’t it? Do you want to tell us about it? The cover that that is….
DLD: Yeah well Ape who has been doing all our previous stuff is now a very busy man so we decided to try something completely new. We ended up with Sebastien Ecosse because Mania knew about him and it turned out great! Like I said earlier is the Doctor AI messing with the world. No one knows for sure if it’s just a copy of him or if he actually became one with cyberspace though…
MM: So, given that you guys are Dogtown fans, do any members of the band skate? If so, are you street, vert or trick skaters and which skaters played a role in helping you develop your individual styles? And, finally, how does, in your opinion, the skate scene of today compare to that of the late eighties and early nineties?
DLD: Ha, ha we’re old men!! I used to skate when I was younger. I was never any good. Music was always my main interest. But I’ve had some great times hanging out and skating in the sun. I wouldn’t even know about the scene in the 80s so I can’t elaborate on that. I think it’s pretty sweet now though with a nice mix of styles and events all over. We played at a Vans event last year actually, which was rad! We’re better at providing the soundtrack than providing the ripping for sure.
MM: Okay, the universal Crossover poll question… Stage diving or slam dancing? Which do you prefer, and which do you prefer at your shows? Why?
DLD: Damn what kinda question is that? It’s like having to pick a favorite kid. Harsh. Anyways I’ll go with stagediving just cause we don’t see it that much nowadays.
MM: What’s the craziest thing that’s happened at one of your shows or to you while you’ve been out on tour?
DLD: Well, once we started on time. Kidding! There are a few things that pop into my mind. Toxic split his head open at one show and there was blood everywhere. Looked pretty cool actually! Like 12 people stagediving in the tourbus on a drunken night. Shit like that haha.
MM: The Dr. Living Dead guide to Crossover. What are your top five Crossover records, the albums that no thrasher should be without and why are they so essential?
DLD: From the top of my head
ST – How will I laugh. Any album really but this one stands out!
No Mercy – Widespread bloodshed. Brother Clark laying down the riffs, insane stuff!
SOD – Speak English or Die. Nothing to say here really. HEAVY
Cro-Mags – Age of Quarrel. People argue if this is crossover or not. I don’t care it’s insane. But so is most their stuff!
Poison Idea – War all the Time. Sick album with even sicker drumming!
MM: What’s next, after the release of Cosmic Conqueror, for you chaps?
DLD: We’re gonna get out and play next year. You’ll get some info on that real soon!
MM: If there’s anything that you’d like to add, speak now or forever hold your peace…
DLD: Check out the new stuff, hope you dig it! If you don’t, please troll our social media with your sorry ass! Thanks for the support!
Cosmic Conqueror will be released by Century Media on the 27th of October