The band members from the UK based extreme metal band The Dead Lay Waiting took some time out of their touring schedule to speak with me about their new record, Almost Heaven. This is a crushingly heavy album that fans of all things extreme will want to check it out. The band has shared the stage with such notable acts as Trigger The Bloodshed and Bleed From Within and they have played the big European Festivals such as the ever popular Bloodstock and Download Festivals. Here is what the guys had to say about the band and their new release.
Tell us about the new album, Almost Heaven.
Tom: It was one of the best experiences for me. We worked really hard on this record, spent 2 years working on it and I’m so glad that people can finally listen to it and enjoy it as much as I do.
Where did you draw your inspiration from when writing and recording this record?
Tom: I love the drummers: Dan Searle (Architects) and Blake Richardson (Between The Buried And Me) they were the drummers I was looking at intensively when writing and recording this record. My main aim for this record was to make it as big as possible and to make people want to rewind and re-listen to that part.
What was the writing process like for the disc?
Ben: It was over a very long period of time, about a year and a half from starting to completion. We’re always writing so we developed and nourished ideas for months until we had a finished product we were all proud of.
Tom: We were constantly changing the tracks leading up to the recording. Just adding parts, changing part, replacing parts. Listening back to pre-production is quite funny; to hear what the tracks were like a year before we recorded. The difference is huge! We went back to the studio numerous times just to even a few slides in and a few effects. So much time went into this record.
Are there any tracks on the disc that are personal favorites or that have good stories behind them?
Ben: The title track is my personal favorite. It was one of those magical meetings of the mind with this song. I was going through a pretty rough time when I wrote it and it just flowed out when I brought it to the practice room. The next step for me were the vocals, musically I was completely set for this song but Luke really stepped up to the plate with his lyrics and vocal performance. I can still remember I was recording his vocals for the song and I sat him down before and told him to remember what the song is about and why he wrote it. The results are on record to hear for yourself, but I remember him coming out of the vocal booth literally shaking after doing that take!
Steve: “Take Me Away” and “Days I’m Gone” are two of my favorites. They’re a lot of fun to play live, and get a great response from the crowd.
Tom: My personal favorites are: “Pray To Me,” “Decaying King,” and “Almost Heaven.”. Almost Heaven was a work in progress for the good part of a year. The orchestra’s, choirs and the reappearance of Barry Clayton, and to listen to it after all the work that went into it, feels surreal.
Who created the artwork for your album and is there any concept behind it?
Ben: A guy called Colin Marks at Rain Song Design. The idea for the art came when we were touring across Europe on our way into Holland. I noticed there were a lot of hand marks on the window of the van. I thought about it quickly and asked everyone what they thought of the idea right then and there and the idea stuck. Colin took my idea with only words as guidance and made the artwork look exactly as I had pictured it. He’s worked with the likes of Scar Symmetry, Suicide Silence and All Shall Perish, so we knew the finished product would be incredible.
What’s the story behind the title Almost Heaven?
Luke: The title was an almost ironic statement, as I believe there are so many groups out there who try and fabricate this amazing place we will all go to when we die if we behave a certain way. I however believe that so many people miss how amazing the planet we are living on really is. I think what I’m trying to say through the title is that where we are living right now is so incredible it is almost heaven.
What kind of touring plans do you have in support of the record?
Tom: We’ve been touring this record now for a few months across the U.K, about to hit Europe and we plan to hit the globe.
Any plans to hit North America at all?
Steve: As a band we’re very optimistic and would love to come to America along with many other countries. We want to play our music to everyone.
Tom: I would love to come to the U.S. It would be unbelievable, I’m very optimistic, so yes, we will be hitting the U.S.A.
If you had not become a musician what other career path would you have liked to attempt?
Ben: I’d still like to be connected with music. I’m very into music production and engineering, be it demo recordings at home or helping produce and engineer Almost Heaven. I find it’s where you can truly get creative with music and help create those sounds you hear in your head when you’re writing the music.
Steve: I knew from an early age that I wanted to do something in media. Acting was always something that interested me but music is definitely my biggest passion.
Tom: I’m a massive Football/Soccer fan. I’ve always wanted to be a manager of a football club since I was little, but I knew it would always been a long distant dream; But even if I had the option, I would never choose anything over my boys and what we have planned.
What’s next for The Dead Lay Waiting?
Tom: Lots and lots going on. We’re just about to hit Europe on our headlining tour. Then in January we fly out to the States to attend NAMM, do a few shows, shoot two videos in Barbados, and record a new mini 6-7 track album. Plans are then being made to hit India, Japan and Scandinavia and then it will be time to do the festivals and somewhere in between all that we need to record our next album.
Check out the song “The Days I’m Gone”