How would you, in your own words, describe the sound and style of Destroy Judas to someone unfamiliar with the band?
D > Wow, that has always been tough for us. We are loud. Our songs are long (but not ridiculously long). I wouldn't really consider us a doom band but we do have some doom tendencies. I always say we're a mix of Pink Floyd, Amebix, and later era Swans with some Fields of the Nephilim thrown in for good measure. We're heavy but have melody and I like to think our songs go somewhere.
I've understood that Destroy Judas was formed from the carcasses of a bunch of deceased bands. Would you like to tell us how the band was formed, and how did you find the musical style you're executing on the "Wake"-album?
D > Well, it really started quite a few years ago for something for Nicky (drums) and myself (Dan) to do on the side of Eyes of Fire. I really needed to spread my wings as there were aspects of EoF that I didn't much care for and wanted to get back to my roots. Steve Burda (Phobia) was in from the early days as well. Back then the band was a mix of what we do now with some more "crust" elements. Sometimes wandering into a d-beat style. During that time Phobia was touring a lot and we never really got together a lot as a "band". Nicky and I would just jam and hash out songs while he was gone. Eventually Nicky and I had 3 solid songs (Wake, To The Sea, Seek The End). Then in reviewing some old rehearsal tapes we came across a jam with Steve involved that eventually became "Drown". Then sometime later we ran into Seth Baker once he moved back down from the bay area after some years. He mentioned he was interested in playing in a really heavy band again, his previous bands were Insidious and Asunder (both from Oakland, CA). The next thing you know there were 3 guitar players in the band. We started tweaking the early recordings that Nicky and I had into the songs you hear now.
Then at a show we ran into Steve Nelson of countless number of bands including Witherthrall, Evil Dead, Nocturary and many many many many more. He said he really wanted to play bass in a band. Seeing how we didn't have one at the time we told him to come down and see how it feels. It worked wonderfully. He knew what to play with out any direction. Just great feel and good improv skills.
As far as the style, it's something I've been playing for years. Since the early days of Mindrot I've been writing in this style. Of course things change with time, just by living and learning new things musically. But it's always been heavy, long songs for as long as I can remember.
What bands do you give the credit of being your most important influences - either musically, lyrically, atmospherically or even visually? Where do you draw the motivation and influences to your music outside other bands; everyday anguish and emotional distress, perhaps?
D > AMEBIX!!!! PINK FLOYD!!! SWANS!!!! FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM!!!! And probably in that order too. For me personally I could listen to those 4 bands all day long for the rest of my life. Those were all bands we heard when we were younger and really changed the way we viewed how music should be played and felt.
Live we have film playing that goes along with the music. That is straight homage to Pink Floyd. They were and are the masters of multimedia in the live show situation. If you or your readers have never seen Pink Floyd live (not on DVD), it is truly mind blowing. Just some many things going on and it makes the show something personal, no matter how big the venue is. I personally saw them in a 100,000 seat stadium and felt they were playing a show just for me. Though Destroy Judas will never play something that big we still want our shows to be personal to each person there. We want everyone to take their own experience from our shows.
And then life here in the States is hell. For those not familiar with life here, all you do is work. Some of us work 50 plus hours a week and shitty jobs that pay a good wage, but are not worth it. There's no real social safety net set-up here in the States, so if you're not working you're living in a cardboard box under a bridge. That has been something that has really been influencing us. Plus just the frustrations of daily life. Asshole neighbors. Loved ones driving us crazy. The whole gambit that is known as life.
The cover art of the digital version of "Wake" intrigues me. It has an Ouroboros eating its tail, and its shape forms an 8 - the symbol of endlessness and eternity. What did you mean for this cover artwork to represent, and what kind of an eternity are we talking about here?
D > Life is forever. Death is not the end, but merely a new beginning. There are realms of this "world" that are not known to us and are impossible to comprehend. Plus it also means, to us, that misery is a part of life that will never end. It will always be there. Without it you would not know happiness.
The DLP-pressing of your album is to be unleashed soon, and it features a bird flying upwards on the cover with a grey and depressive colourscape. How come; what does the bird symbolize? Triumph over agony?
D > Birds are the freest creatures on the planet. They are not bound to just walk on the earth or swim in the waters. They can also fly. Fly to a freedom that none of us will ever know. They see the world like those of us bound to the ground cannot. To me, birds are the ultimate sign of freedom.
The DLP comes as a pressing of 150 copies. Was this somewhat small pressing your decision or the label's? It's a fine-looking package by the way, so congratulations for that as well.
D > I think it was more of the labels idea. We are very keen on limited releases as well. If we do repress it the packaging and vinyl color will be different. I'm very surprised at how amazing this thing is turning out. Not that I didn't have faith in the people involved. I just can't believe I'm involved with something this good. It may seem a bit expensive to buy, but trust me, no money is being made on this record. If they all sell out the label will have broke even with all the expenses involved with putting this thing together. Hand screened covers. Hand made screen. It's incredible.
Aside of the visual and musical (obviously) sides of your music, what made me think was your name: Destroy Judas. What does this name stand for? Does the name somehow reflect what you're trying to do and achieve with the band, and if yes, what are these things? The songs' emotion and atmosphere feels very authentic to me, so I'm assuming Destroy Judas was born of a need, not just for fun and entertainment.
D > The name can mean many things. But to us its, destroy your deceiver. Whatever that deceiver is. Destroy it. Then you will find your freedom.
For me personally I have to do music. Playing music is just as important as breathing to me. I have been playing music since I was 8 years old. And will continue to play til the day I die. One day I heard Jethro Tull on the radio in the 70's and told my parents that what I want to do. Play flute (which I do, just not as good) just like Ian Anderson.
What are your lyrics about? The snippets you had revealed on your bandcamp-page don't leave a sunny and cheery aftertaste, that's for certain.
D > The lyrics are kind of a concept. Its based on a person sick of life and the shit that gets thrown his way and his means to an end is to walk into the ocean and drown. Kind of happy don't ya think?
What do you have planned for the band's future?
D > Record album 2. Play more shows. Improve the live show. And hopefully we can all find the same time to head out on the road for a little bit.
Is Destroy Judas currently your only (or main) band? If not, what kind of other musical or otherwise artistic/expressive outlets do you have, and could you tell us something about them?
D > For me at this time it is my only project. I was involved in a great d-beat band called Bomb-Raid that is currently on hiatus. I'm kicking around other ideas but nothing is set in stone just yet. Some things that are kind of silly (complete Bolt Thrower worship band complete with female bass player). Steve Nelson has a boat load of bands he's involved with. Wintherthrall, Semtex Vest, and Evildead.
Anything you'd like to add or discuss further?
D > Thanks a million for showing interest in us. It truly means a lot to us. Please people, feel free to download our music from our bandcamp page and make copies for all your friends, lovers, and enemies. Our music is for the people, not just us. And if you can afford it, buy the physical version. Again, thanks a bunch.
Thank you for your time!