Interview with John Tardy from Obituary
Interview questions by militia & misfit
HailMetal: The band was broken up for years and the name OBITUARY slipped away into what almost seemed like oblivion. What was the incentive to reform? Was it a couple of cool riffs and an urge to play or was it something you guys just wanted to re-visit?
John: It was always just a matter of time. We did not plan on being away for that long but it is just the way it worked out. We just started to get some offers to do shows and in getting together to jam we just realized we had a lot of music in our heads!
|John Tardy - Vocals|
HailMetal: As a mastermind of Obituary, how difficult has it been getting the ball rolling again? If Iím not mistaken you havenít seen each other for long periods of time during the split up. Must have been hard to pick that phone up and call the rest of the family, so to speak?
John: First, we never split up! Second, we had been in contact with each other the whole time. We would even get together and jam from time to time. So, it wasn`t hard at all to get things going and this was actually one of the easiest albums for us to write.
HailMetal: If the band has matured significantly, has it had a positive impact on writing music, or did it make it more difficult to stick to the bands roots?
John: That is not really something we think a lot about. We just get together and do what we do. We just try to write music that we would want to listen to and do things the way we want. You know we have not been a band that follows any kind of pattern: new Cd every year, solos in every song, chorus in every song... that kind of stuff. We do what we want and when we feel it is right to do it... if at all!!!!
HailMetal: How does it feel to be recognized as one of the first vocalists to achieve an abnormally low growl (which is now considered to be your trademark)? What influences did you have?
John: I don`t consider my voice to be that low but it is nice to be thought of in anyway postive way! I just do what I do and it seems to work for me. I love the old Frost/Hellhammer, Savatage and Venom!
HailMetal: You`ve recently played a reunion show with Testament. How did the gig pan out and what was it like playing one of your first shows back together in so many years?
John: It wasn`t the first show but that was an awesome show! It did feel good to be back into it again!
HailMetal: Further more, your first full on tour across the eastern USA with Napalm Death is about to get underway in September. What is the feeling in Obituary camp like right now about it?
John: There is a lot to do and a lot riding on this tour but we are just happy that we are doing it with our good friends in Napalm. We feel the new CD is really good and hopefully that will be enough for our fans to come out and see us.
HailMetal: Favourite band you shared a stage with?
John: Slayer, Motorhead and Savatage!
|`Frozen In Time` - out now through RoadRunner.|
HailMetal: Frozen In Time is now released world wide. Any major difficulties with the writing process of the album?
John: No! Like I said earlier this album went really smooth for us. The music came easy and studio time with Mark Prator and Scott Burns was the best!
HailMetal: Was the album self-produced by the band? I don`t quite understand what the role of Roadrunner Records was in all this. How much support has the label given you now and in fact over the years?
John: We did produce and pay for it ourselves. With the help of Mark Prator and Scott Burns we felt that if we cannot get the sound we want... who can??? We felt like this was a good oportunity for us to do it ourselves and we had a blast with the whole project!
HailMetal: Are Obituary moving forward with this release? Hopefully this isnít a one off thing as we are all very eager to hear the album and see you perform live once again!
John: We plan on doing another album next year and we actually already have music written for it. We will continue doing this as long as we are having fun.
HailMetal: Favourite tracks off the new album?
John: On the Floor, Stand Alone and Slow Death!
HailMetal: Worth a mention in regards with the new album is in fact its cover art. Who came up with the design? Was the same person in charge with most if not all of your cover artworks? Cause Of Death is definitely my favorite.
John: Cause of a great cover! We worked with Andreas Marschall with this project. Same artist as The End Complete. We had some ideas and he had some ideas and between the two of us "Frozen in Time" is what happened!
We are really happy with it!
HailMetal: You`ve unleashed chaotic fury for two decades and managed to
keep a relatively same lineup where as other bands your age have either split up or changed members every couple of years (Death & Necrophagia come to mind). Do you consider yourself lucky in that regard?
John: Absolutely! It is not easy to do and we work hard to keep things going. As with our music we haven`t changed much personally over the years so I think that helps.
HailMetal: As the contract with Roadrunner is soon to be at an end do you think that you will renew it and stay with the label as you have all these years or in fact go elsewhere? Would there be anyone in mind if you were to leave RR?
John: Our contacts with RR are over and we will be exploring any and all options that we have. It is too early right now to say much more than that!
HailMetal: It seems that in the past few years some great old RR bands have left the label, like Deicide, Gorguts and Annihilator and RR seem to be nabbing a lot of big name European and metalcore bands. Previously they had been notorious for their mallcore (nu-metal) bands, and it seems as if they try to follow these trends and once they die, they find something new. What would be your take on this ever-so predictable move that RR are widely known for?
John: I am not really sure. What they do is their own business and I am just focused on what we need to do.
HailMetal: Do you personally get bombarded with emails from fans, labels and other media often? Is it hard to keep up? Iím quite amazed at your dedication to fans with the quick website updates (unlike SlowlyWeRot.Net) and of course very quick responses to emails. How do you manage all this?
John: Well, thank you, and yes I spend a lot of time talking with our fans through email, messageboard and live chats. I think it is a great way to connect with them and I know that if I could email so of my favorite bands and get an answer back from them that would rule! Trevor set up the Slowlywerot.net site but just doesn`t have the time to keep it updated. I am not as good of a webdesigner as Trevor but I do spend a lot of time working with what I can. I don`t think there is another band website in the world that offers as much as I do and takes the time to interact as much as I do.
HailMetal: What was it like shooting the video for `Insane`? Are you happy with the outcome?
John: I think it is pretty sick. Shooting videos is not my favorite, but it is something we have to do! It must have been 120 degrees in that warehouse, so it was hot as balls, but other than that we had a good time!
HailMetal: What has been the reaction like to the Insane live?
John: Really good. I think even before it was out people seemed to get into that song like they heard it before. It was surprising to me!
HailMetal: What is your take on downloading mp3s? A few of the staff @ HM think it has helped many people access music which is otherwise inaccessible - take for example the black metal scene, which has absolutely ballooned due to the fact that people can try anything at anytime. In many cases, people become very passionate about the music they listen to, and go on to support the worthwhile bands, which essentially promotes sales. It thus appears mp3`s, despite the obvious negatives, are a great way to distribute and promote the music. Do you agree? Has it affected obituary in anyway?
John: Whether you like it or not there is not much you can do about it. I think it is great for promotion but at the same time it is so easy to get bands music that a lot of kids don`t go out and buy it. We do all that we do to sell records and that is how we are able to keep going.
HailMetal: This question Iím sure youíve been asked all the time but I will go ahead and ask once again for our readers and here it goes: What is your most favourite Obituary release to date and why?
John: Now I am listening most to the new CD! I think it is our best music and production that we have done. The live album is also fun to listen to because it has songs off of all of our releases.
HailMetal: Iíve read a few concert reports which you have on your page and they all kick arse and so lead me to ask you this; Will we see you in Australia this year or early next year in support of Frozen In Time?
John: We definately plan on getting to Australia hopefully this year! We have not yet been and it is something I am looking forward to very much!
HailMetal: Thank you so much for your time! If thereís anything else that youíd like to add, go for your life!
John: Thanks a billion for this interview! Thanks for your time and support! Hope to see you out on the road... later! John Tardy
Interview conducted in late July 2005.