Virtually every metal fan around the world is familiar with Dave Lombardo and his work as the drummer of one of the “Big Four,” Slayer. Since his departure from the group he has been keeping himself busy with many other projects, including the hard-kicking band, Philm. I recently had a chance to sit and chat with Dave; here is how the conversation went.
Now that your new album, Fire From The Evening Sun, is complete how do you feel about it and are you satisfied with the outcome?
Lombardo: I am very satisfied with the outcome. I am very happy that it has been received so positively and that It is finally out. It could have been out a year ago but there have been so many bumps in the road that prevented it from being released. So yeah, I am happy with it and I am glad it is finally out.
So it has been ready for release for more than a year?
Lombardo: Pretty much, yeah. There is a lot of preparation involved in getting an album out. You have to acquire a record company to release it or release it yourself, it just depends on what you want tot do. So yeah, it was just one of those things I guess.
Check out the ‘Fire From The Evening Sun’ Trailer
I wouldn’t think that finding a record company for somebody with a pedigree like yours would be a problem?
Lombardo: It is difficult because you want to make the right decision and sometimes companies don’t want to invest in a new band, they would rather see different members in an already established band. They just don’t know. They are scared to take a chance sometimes. But here we are moving forward in a positive way with UDR. They are a fantastic company and they are kicking ass.
What was your writing process like for this disc? Do you guys all write together or is it more the efforts for one particular member of the band?
Lombardo: We all write together. What we do is create certain movements of music through improvisations and what we do obviously is record these improvisations and then we trim the fat so to speak. We eliminate all of the sections of music that are unnecessary. Then we have these little bodies of music that are rough, they are little skeletal bodies of music. We listen to those for a while and elaborate and add lyrics and it goes from there and becomes a song. It is a collective process and it is fun doing it this way.
So if I am catching the vibe right. You guys are all writing in a more traditional way in a room rather than emailing riffs and ideas back and forth then right?
Lombardo: We all live close to each other and we get together as much as we can. It is good camaraderie and good friendship going on here so it works great.
I also think that writing in a more traditional way produces a more organic sounding record as well. Nothing against bands who do it other ways I just think it works better all in a room bouncing ideas off of each other.
Lombardo: Absolutely I think with the advent of computers and software that moves things along we have taken advantage of the tools. This is perfectly fine and I have worked under these circumstances where you send files to a friend and they lay down the tracks and then return the files. It is really cool but you really miss an element of spontaneity, a sort of chemistry that you get from playing in a room with other people.
Listening to the album, and I guess you said it best, it shifts and moves around a lot, do you find it difficult recreating it in a live setting?
Lombardo: Absolutely not. We deliver live probably better than we do on record. The band is very confident and perfectly able to recreate everything. Obviously there are certain over dubs like in the last song, “Corner Girl” that might make it difficult. We could play it but it is obviously not going to sound exactly like the record because I don’t have three or four extra sets of arms to play the shaker, the bongos and the drum kit. For the most part though yeah I think live is where we shine and it is not a problem.
I know you said when you are writing you are jamming and bouncing ideas back and forth but are you thinking about what the songs are going to sound like in the live setting at all?
Lombardo: You know subconsciously that thought is probably there and thinking about it now it is very possible. It is not something I have really ever thought of. When we were writing we think of just how cool a section is and how much we like it and then we decide what should come up next. I don’t really know…maybe, maybe not? That might be something that happens after the song is developed we might say to each other “this is going to sound amazing live and I will say perhaps we should try this live instead.
I know the early critical response has been good for the new CD but how have fans of your previous work been reacting to the Philm stuff?
Lombardo: “The feedback has been really positive. Of course you have the purists that feel since you are out of your thrash metal element they won’t listen. I remember when I was their age so I get it but the majority of comments from the fans have been mostly positive.
Are you planning on taking Philm on the road?
Lombardo: Yeah I would love to tour as much as possible but the question right now is finding the right agent to step up and book our band. You said earlier that record companies shouldn’t be a problem well actually it is. Some agents are either overbooked with different projects or they don’t want to venture out of their comfort zone. With that being said we are leaving for one show in Bogota, Columbia and a festival in Quito, Ecuador. We are really hitting South America hard because they have really taken to the band. It also helps that I can speak to them in Spanish as well. I was born I Cuba so I can speak the language and it is pretty cool. After that we have something going on in Mexico and then who knows after that.
Check out the song “Held In Light”