Chuck Schuldiner Project

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Interview with Anthony Buda Bassist of REVOCATION

So tonight I got to interview what is probably the worlds best modern death metal band REVOCATION. I called up bassist Anthony Buda and we sat back and talked about his band and the metal scene of today and yesterday. I hope you guys dig it!

The Audio can be found HERE

The band facebook is HERE (Be sure to like)

Two Guys Metal Reviews: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and about Revocation?

Anthony Buda: Revocation is a band out of Boston Massachusetts, we play extreme heavy metal we've been around since 2006, I play bass and do vocals and we're on tour right now with Children of Bodom and Eluveitie and we're just finishing this tour up.

TGMR: So you'd categorize Revocation as Extreme Metal?

AB: Extreme HEAVY Metal. (laughter)

TGMR: So what are the major influences on your sound?

AB: I would say we incorporate a heavy dose of the old school sound coming from the Thrash school, coming from the early Death Metal, and we try to merge that ferocity of the late 80's early 90's stuff with some of the techniques and style of modern extreme metal death and black metal. Throughout all of our music we have a definite sense of rock. We have a lot of emphasis on soloing and shredding stuff. We try to keep it balanced and we try to keep it fun.

TGMR: What I and a couple of my friends have noticed, is a major Jazz influence in Revocation. How would you feel about that?

AB: Certainly, Our main songwriter and lead guitarist Dave studied at Berklee College of Music and he is well versed in Jazz. I think that, while we don't have out-and-out “jazz parts” the influence of some of the harmonic concepts that are employed in jazz find its way into our music.

TGMR: You guys, Revocation, are pretty huge right now. You're being called a “New Hope for Heavy Metal” How do you take that, how do you feel?

AB: I think it's really excellent that people are feeling the music so deeply to feel something like that. I have a certain attitude towards criticism be it positive or negative that you think about it too much can't listen to it too much. At the end of the day, that we;re striving to be better all the time, trying to expand what we do, do it smarter, do it faster, do it heavier, bring more energy to it. I'm very glad when I hear things like that, but at the end of the day that we just need to keep on working hard to develop our sound.

TGMR: So you feel your sound is still in evolution like it'll get even better?

AB: I think that we're constantly in evolution, but I do think that we can get much better.

TGMR: Oh my lord...


TGMR: Who do you feel is your target demographic? In the pit who do you see every night?
AB: We see a lot of teenagers and twenty somethings, some people in the 30-40 range sometimes people even older than that. I sometimes think that because I grew up loving music and music was basically my best friend. I always think it's really cool when the teens and the younger kids come out because of how much I got out of it as a kid. So I really want to reach out to the teens and hope they get something out of it.

TGMR: At the same time there's a lot of people going like “Watch out for those extreme death metal bands, they're all satanists” What do you say to that?

AB: People are always going to have that type of attitude. Obviously extreme metal, black, death has a sort of extreme horror in the concepts that are used. So I can see how it would draw that type of attention, I think it's ridiculous because it's just art, fantasy. But if you go into your project and you put in a bunch of zombie lyrics you have to accept that some people are going to say its inaccessible. So I just accept it as it is.

TGMR: So, in general then, where do the lyrics come from. You said they were a fantasy, an art form, but where do they originate?

AB: Well Dave and I split the lyrics through these. I think we both attempt to tackle some modern day issues in our work. I think this music with a message is best approached by not hammering the message down peoples throats so to speak. Don't be to heavy handed with it, use allegory. For example there's a song on the new album called Conjuring the Cataclysm, the lyrics are at face value about this necromancer summoning undead legions. But we play this song live all the time and the way it feels live, and what it actually means is “Hey we're rallying the people who love this type of music together”. And that's what the song is really about, being a part of the metal community. On the surface it's about a necromancer raising a bunch of zombie demons. I try to be really creative about writing my lyrics, I try to use concepts that have never been used. I look to literature especially. A number of Revocation songs that I have written are really influenced by HP Lovecraft. I also like Phillip K Dick, who is excellent.

TGMR: Wait, if you're the Lovecraft guy, then you wrote Cradle Robber didn't you?

AB: Actually, Cradle Robber was written by Dave. The story behind Cradle Robber is really cool. We were in Europe in spring of 2010 touring with Dying Fetus, Dave was just horsing around Copenhagen and he saw a statue of a very creepy Death with long athletic legs, stealing a child from a weeping woman. And Dave took a picture of it and theirs an inscription on the statue, we later made that into a T-Shirt design. But that concept of Death stealing away a young infant from a family is what the song is about. And it was just based upon seeing that piece of artwork and being inspired.

TGMR: Is there ever a message you're trying to get across with your lyrics?

AB: Certainly, I think it's best not to be overly political or argumentative when it comes to sending messages through music. But I do feel that a lot of my lyrics have an anti tyranny, certainly an anti war stance. I have a keen sense of the gravity of the environmental degradation that the world is dealing with a number of Revocation songs touch on that aspect. Age of Iniquity and the Tragedy of Modern Ages are both songs that kind of deal with the very terrifying environmental decline that we're facing right now.

TGMR: Now that we've talked a little bit about the lyrics lets talk about the instruments in general. How does the writing process go for you as a band or for you personally?

AB: Well the way our band is structured as far as the writing process goes is, Dave will come in with guitar ideas, and he brings them to Phil (the drummer) and I. Generally Phil and him will work out the drum part, and then we'll add the bass layer. We'll all collaborate and test them out and see how they work, and we have a system of voting “Was that idea good? No, OK let's try this that worked” and then we'll move on. Then we keep on working through it. I think that's a pretty good description of how we arrange music.

TGMR: What unique element do you add to Revocation?

AB: I bring my energy to the table, I bring my bass playing, and I bring my vocals. I do about 45% of the vocals. I would say that's a big part of our sound.

TGMR: Revocation has a much bigger emphasis on the bass than most other metal bands. So how did that come about?

AB: I think it just came out naturally that way. Phil Dave and I have been playing together for almost 12 years. We didn't become Revocation until 2006, but we've been playing together forever. The story of this band is really the story of the three of us learning to make music together and then getting good at it When you have 3 people each and integral piece of the puzzle it ends up pretty balanced. Then of course we added Dave in January of 2010 and now that we have 2 guitars I feel that we're way better. But it was cool to be a power trio for as long as we were.

TGMR: Let's talk about Chaos of Forms for a minute now. Do you have a general overall impression of Chaos of Forms?

AB: I think Chaos is a very diverse album. We were attempting to take what we were doing in the first 2 albums and whittle it down even more so into tight packages in the songs. We tried to take more influences while sounding less all over the place, which sounds kind of contrary but if you go about it the right way you can make it work. I'm happy with Chaos, it's definitely a very aggressive album. I'm happy with Chaos and I'm excited to be working on the new material and developing the next records as well.

TGMR: So do you have a favorite song off Chaos of Forms?

AB: I think my favorite song is Reprogrammed. It has this really ferocious intense energy to it that stands out from all the rest of the track. Besides that I would say probably the title track or The Watchers.

TGMR: We talked about Cradle Robber a bit earlier. How did the almost, sing a long bit come to be?

AB: Well, Dave wrote the lyrics that song and he was working on the vocal arrangement at home. Then he had the brilliant idea to do a three part harmony instead of just shouting it so he recorded it ghetto home style and we said “Yeah that's pretty cool”, and that's how it happened.

TGMR: Let's talk about the older things a little. Bow how do you feel in hindsight about Empire of the Obscene?

AB: I love it, I think Empire is an excellent album. I think that there are some elements of it obviously that if we had recorded in 2011-2012 rather than 2007-2008 would have been more advanced, but I still think it's a great record. It stands up to the other two releases in my mind.

TGMR: Existence of Futile showed a bit of evolution.

AB: It does, what I really like about existence is how hard it hits and how we took some of the concepts on Empire and made them more compact and easier to digest and I think that's really one of the best things about Existence. I think it has some of our best songs, and to this day I think we play more Existence songs live than those on either of our other two albums.

TGMR: So of the three do you have a favorite?

AB: (No hesitation) Existence.

TGMR: And of those two do you have a favorite song?

AB: That's a tough one because these songs have been such a huge part of my life for the past forever. I think from an outsider perspective the song I think is the best is the title track from Existence is Futile and a very accurate presentation of what Revocation can do at our best.

TGMR: You said something about new material earlier, so will there be a new Revocation album out shortly?

AB: There are releases in the pipeline. Unfortunately I am disallowed from divulging the details right now but there is new music that we're certainly developing and working on and it will be released. (Laughs) That's about all I can give you, sorry. (Laughs again)

TGMR: Can we have an approximate release period? Will it be out this year?

AB: It could be this year. I hope so.

TGMR: Welcome to the club (laughter). Earlier on you said some of the songs had been there since forever. Where they tracks you played with Cryptic Warning?

AB: Yes. We were Cryptic Warning until mid 2005. There was a period of time between 2005-2006 when we were playing shows and developing the new material but we hadn't come up with a name yet. So they definitely carried over. Unobtained on Empire, Summon the Spawned. I think there's even some tracks on the new album that we're working on right now we brought some old material back. Those are the two I can think of off the top of my head, Suffer these Wounds too I think.

TGMR: So, I was trying to read up on your history and I was kind of confused on one point. What was the big change from Cryptic Warning to Revocation. What was like the moment?

AB: Well, we really didn't like the name anymore is really what it boiled down too. I don't think there was a huge difference. When we played in Cryptic Warning when we were younger. Like I said we've been playing together forever. We had come up with the name when we were 14 years old! We worked with that name for about 4-5 years maybe even a little bit longer. We just thought it was kind of amateurish and childish sounding and we thought we could come up with a better name that was more powerful. And there was some stylistic change. When we were Cryptic Warning we focused on being an old school thrash death band. Just because we were younger and that's the style we had been focusing on. And as we got older we just naturally expanded to include a lot more influences from various types of metal and music in general. And we were like, we tout this Cryptic Warning brand as being old school thrash whereas the Revocation stuff has old school thrash in it, but it's not really old school thrash. So let's just “Reboot” and start from the beginning even though it was really the same project the whole time. And even when were just like, “Oh let's stop doing old school thrash, then old school thrash became the thing that everybody was doing and we were like “Ah goddammit”. (Laughter) But hey that's life.

TGMR: Let's talk about old school thrash for a minute. I've been thinking about that a lot lately. What bands where your big influences there?

AB: My favorite bands, Exhorder from New Orleans, Dark Angel, Forbidden, TOXIK, They're more like a power thrash band but I think they're fuckin' awesome, Realm is another power thrash band from the states that I really fucking love. The classics obviously, Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer, blahblahblah I love Anthrax. We were into it all of it and we really dug deep into the “nerd well” so to speak and dug up all these old obscure bands, we love all of it.

TMGR: That's an interesting point you brought up about the nerd well. For some reason as metalheads we're portrayed as stupid and over the top and throwing ourselves at each other in mosh pits. But at the same time we're listening to really stupid obscure bands and doing way too much jazz.

AB: Well I think what it is, is that metal is a very unique combination of brute force energy and attitude and a high level of musical discipline and ability. And I think if you stick those two things together you get something pretty remarkable.

TGMR: How do you feel about the dichotomy between the real world and the metal world? Like in the metal world Revocation is like a huge up and coming band and in the real world Adele is starting to dominate.

AB: Well, it's just her market. I have come to understand working in this field of extreme music. Of metal, that it's just lesser numbers. People love this, they live and die by it. But there's fewer people inherently who are going to live and die by it than those who are going to live and die by pop music. It's just a niche, it's a different world. Adele being a pop artist is just speaking to a much larger market.

TGMR: So if you realize this why not become a pop artist, what makes you stay true to metal?

AB: The love of what it is that we do. If pop music is what's in your heart,if jazz in your heart if latin is in your heart if that's what you feel then it's not selling out it's doing what you have to do. Which is why we're pushing ahead with metal, it's what we love to do and do it together.

TGMR: Let's talk more about your current situation in general. What's it like on this tour with Children of Bodom?

AB: It's awesome, Children of Bodom, Eluveitie are excellent people also Threat Signal from Canada. And Bodom bring the people out man, theirs a lot of people at the shows. That's the most wonderful thing, getting the chance to play fore so many people and share in that experience of live music together, that's a beautiful thing. It's been a great tour!

TGMR: What about future touring plans? Are you going to come to Europe this summer?

AB: I certainly hope we will be in Europe soon, we have a number of future touring things that are in the works but again I can't talk about them quite yet, But there will be information trickling out quite soon.

TGMR: Do you have a favorite band, of all the bands on that tour, does any one stand out to you just the music or the live show?

AB: Well I grew up loving Children of Bodom so when they play those songs it gets me going. I have to say Eluveitie has really wowed me on this tour because they're so diverse. The have 9 people on stage, a lute, a hurdy gurdy, a violinist, two guitarists, a bass player, 3 vocalists. It's just cool different. They're excellent.

TGMR: How do you feel about the music scene in general and then metal?

AB: Music is eternal, and it will always matter to me and lots of other people. Coming on the scene now days the biggest story right now is the digital explosion that's changing everything in this world of recordings. But in the end it will sort itself out and people will love music just as much as they ever did. As far as metal it seems likes theirs lots of awesome metal coming out right now so I have nothing to complain about. There's plenty to keep us on our toes and force us to keep up.

TGMR: Do you have any favorite groups going on right now?

AB: That's a good question. I've definitely been digging the new Animals as Leaders. The new Spawn of Possession album is coming out soon and I'm excited for that because they'll always be one of my favorite bands. I'm really into grind, I have a grind band called Living Void out of Boston. So I'm super into Worm Rot. The new Brutal Truth stuff has been really excellent, there's a band from Europe called Parlementarisk Sodomi that I'm really into. They're a grind band they're excellent.

TGMR: One of the bigger news stories going on right now is Black Sabbath and Ozzy Friends, and Tony Iommi's cancer.

AB: That's a little cut throat. Black Sabbath should have Bill wWrd, I try not to take a stance on it, let's put it that way.

TGMR: Fair enough, but how do you feel about the idea of the Ozzy and Friends show? IT being the ultimate super group?

AB: I think it's really cool. As much as these guys are legends and it's very cool to see them all performing together but I think there's something to be said about youthful energy in music. I hear that and I'm like “Cool that sounds interesting” but I'm much more into the younger bands rather than these industry legends going out and touring. They're going to deliver the goods no doubt, but it's just a different beat.

TGMR: If you want to talk about modern stuff for a minute. Probably the biggest movement in metal right now is Djent style bands. How do you feel about those?

AB: Well I'm a huge Meshuggah fan. First and foremost let me say that right out of the gate about the whole genre of djent, if it can be called a genre, you should not forget the power and might of the amazing Meshuggah. They invented that genre 20 years ago. We toured with Periphery and I think they're a great band. We toured with Veil of Maya too, I don't know if they can be called Djent but they certainly have that stuttering style. I really think Periphery is excellent though after touring with them. So it's cool to see what those bands can do.

TGMR: Are there any metal bands that your fans wouldn't really expect you to like but you do?
AB: Maybe, I don't know. I think our fans come to too strict a conclusion as to what we like just because of what we play. I think that there are so many influences in our style that there's really nothing people shouldn't expect us to not like. If it's good, it doesn't matter what genre it is what band it is. The first thing I look for in a band to see if it's getting me going and if it is then I'll get right into it and see if I really like it.

TGMR: OK, let's talk more about you. What got you into bass playing and into extreme metal?

AB: What got me into bass playing is that we were a bunch of kids trying to play music together and we had a drummer and a guitar player. Now I had played some guitar up to that point but we needed a bass player so I said “Ok I'll just do that” and that developed into a love of bass. I really love the instrument I really love being the bass player I invest myself wholeheartedly into it. I'm very happy to be in the Ibanez family. They're letting me use their beautiful basses, I'm extremely happy about that. What got me into extreme metal, and what keeps me motivated me to stay in metal is that it keeps pushing the boundaries and that is extremely important. What happens when you take that traditional rock format of a guitar, bass and a drumset and you can make it do any number of things. But the stuff that metal guys are doing is like the extreme boundary of what people can do with that configuration and they keep pushing forward I think that is really fucking cool.

TGMR: So then what's the future of metal for you?

AB: I don't know, maybe some robotic implants in our limbs that let us pick and drum faster than humanly possible. I think that's the next step. Blasting at 375 bpm can't even hear it anymore. (Laughter) I don't know what the future of metal is. I certainly hope that the people who are currently in it stay in it and keep on developing the style. Cynic for example is a band that I can think of that came back to the genre after 15 years out of it. I'm really grateful for that because I think they are really advancing what heavy music can be, by pushing it's limits.

TGMR: What was your first heavy metal experience, that made you go “This is what I need”

AB: Well when Dave, Phil and I were kids we were really into Pantera. That's one of the first tihngs you get into. You go step by step first you have Metallica, then you have Pantera, it's all yelling “Ok this is the next level”. We got the DVD's and watched them. I remember the first time we saw them play I was like 14 years old and I think that was the point where I was like “This is Fucking awesome.” I think we all got changed by that. I think we got to see them 3 times back in the day before they broke up and I think that really impacted us all, that was a big step.

TGMR: Would you say that Pantera has an influence on the modern Revocation sound?

AB: I think they'll always have an influence on us, they're probably a little groovier than we ever will be and we don't go for that style of vocals. But I think that Revocation will always have a very Pantera influenced sound just because we got into them at very formative stages just when we were getting into it. And Dimebag is a huge influence on Dave.

TGMR: What is it that you love so much about music?

AB: That's a tough question, let me think for a minute. What I love about music is how perfectly and seamlessly it enables human beings to connect iwht one another. Connecting on making music, sharing in live performance. From performer to audience member, audience member to performer. And talking about what moves you to another person who is moved by the same thing. I think there's really nothing more that more purely connects and speaks to the shared human condition. The other thing is film which I think is the other most powerful artistic medium. So that's my answer.

TGMR: That's pretty unique.. Any final comments?

AB: Come check us out at the shows we have more tour announcements coming soon. So yeah, come around and talk to us, we promise to make a lot of stupid jokes in or near you. (Laughter) If that makes any sense which it doesn't at all.

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