Hey Lenny, how’s it going? I hope you’re in a good mood to do some talking about your band DUST BOLT?!
"Hey Frank! Everything going great! Of course, let’s have a talk! Looking forward to it!"
You’ve just finished a European tour with OBITUARY and M:PIRE OF EVIL, so how did that go for you, considering the fact that DUST BOLT probably was a pretty unknown act to a lot of the people in the crowds?
"The tour with OBITUARY was really good for us! We made some amazing experiences and have great memories! We had the possibility to play big stages in front of many people each night and places, we haven’t been before, such as Paris or London for example. It was really different from city to city. We had many places where we already had many fans and people knowing us in the crowd and they kind of helped us infecting the other people not knowing us with their enthusiasm. But there were also a few places where people didn’t really know us, but that’s always a great chance for a young band like we are because we could gain lots of new fans and listeners. And people really liked the fact to have a young Thrash band in that Death Metal billing. The whole package was great. Donald from OBITUARY insisted on having us on the tour and finally his invitation made it possible for us. OBITUARY are such great guys and we are really thankful to have been able to play with them for this nearly three weeks!"
I gotta confess that I personally don’t really care too much about the current retro Thrash Metal movement and don’t like most of the bands that are being associated with it, so I probably wouldn’t have checked out your albums, if it wasn’t for the great live experience. You guys really impressed me a lot! So, I could imagine that playing live is the best way for a band like yours to build a bigger fanbase these days, since traditional Thrash Metal has never really got out of the overmighty shadow of Death and Black Metal again… Did you already experience something like this yourselves the last couple of years?
"Well, I don’t see Thrash in the shadow of Black and Death Metal. I think Thrash is really alive. You are right, there are quite many bands sounding the same and not bringing on something individual or new, but there are also some really good and outstanding ones. And Thrash is music that has to be played live and felt by the people. It’s high energetic and aggressive music. A good Thrash concert is not just a concert. It should be an unforgettable experience. Playing live is one of the major things we want to do with this band. So touring is definitely very important."
Talking of live shows… you’ve already played quite a lot over the last couple of years, so would you mind mentioning some highlights here and what exactly made them so special to you?
"It’s hard to point out highlights. There were so many shows and so many great memories at every show. I don’t really have a favourite one. I’m thankful for every single moment I can spend with the band and for every person I get know on tour. Of course, big festivals like "Out And Loud Festival" were incredible. But I love small club shows."
It seems that DUST BULT is literally a still pretty young band, so how did you guys end up playing this type of music? I mean, when all the killer Thrash Metal bands were releasing their legendary albums and playing their asses off around the world, you guys probably haven’t even been born yet… Do you have any older brothers or sisters that introduced you to the real classics or how did everything start for you? How old are the members of DUST BOLT these days?
"No, not really. Honestly we just started grabbing our instrument and playing. We were about thirteen years old back then. By time our songs got faster and more aggressive. It was some kind of natural development. And of course the music we listened to got more aggressive and faster, too. So this had an impact on us and the music we create. I don’t know how it started, every member has its own story of how he got introduced to Metal and how it is, it just happened. But to answer your question, we more or less explored it by ourselves. And once you are interested in that type of music, you get to know other people and fans soon of course and your CD shelf is growing and growing. We are now 21 to 22 years old. So, still kids ;)"
Which records had the biggest influence on you guys to play this type of music and when did everything start becoming more serious for you? You already sounded very experienced right from the start, so how long have you already been playing music in general? Any bands prior to forming DUST BOLT?
"DUST BOLT is everyone’s first band. We somehow started playing our instruments with the band. I played acoustic before and our drummer in an orchestra. Only Flo, our other guitar player, already played Metal at that time. But as soon as we got together, we got really enthuasiastic and ambitious."
Did you play any cover songs at your rehearsals or at live shows in the beginning? If so, which ones?
"Oh yeah, haha. We started playing some horrible Punk covers in the really beginning. But only the first year I think. Since then we did our own stuff. We just played ‘Seek And Destroy’ as an encore in the early days. When we rehearse, we often jam other songs or play other styles for fun. But not seriously."
Who came up with the band name DUST BOLT and what is the story behind that?
"Before we put out our first demotape we had a pretty silly German band name and we were looking for a new one. Someone of us just came up with DUST BOLT which we really liked and we just chose it because it sounded and looked cool and we kind of liked the idea of having a specific name that has not a certain meaning yet. Eveyerbody has the chance to interpret his own story into the name."
If my information is correct you started out in 2006, but it took you 4 years until you finally self-released your first EP "Chaos Possession"… What is the reason that it took you that long? Or did you record any demos prior to that maybe?
"As I said, we started with around thirteen years. It took some time to stop sounding horrible and learn our instruments, haha. We have some single demo recordings from the time before "Chaos Possession", but we didn’t listen to them for years, haha. The bonus track on the EP is one of them. We already recorded the EP in 2009, it just took some time to release it, because we put it out on our own."
Tell us a little bit more about that EP. From my experiences it’s always quite difficult to sell self-released stuff, especially if the music is non trendy and not really appealing to a bigger audience. You mentioned to me that it was limited to 500 copies and is completely sold out by now. But I suppose you started to sell most copies of it after your album(s) came out… Am I right here?
"Actually no, haha. We always played lots of shows. In the beginning of the band we played every youth club possible in our area. So we sold most of the CDs on that shows or to friends or in school. When nearly all of them were sold, we started recording "Violent Demolition". After the CD was done, we got the deal with Napalm Records. We never really felt the need to reissue the EP because the songs aren’t as good as the new ones I think."
Musically the material on the EP still sounds a lot more controlled than what you came up with later on. I guess it’s a result of not having played live that often yet at the time, isn’t it? So, how do you judge these songs nowadays? Do you still play them every now and then?
"Well, we were just other people back then. I was sixteen when we recorded the EP. And you can hear that, haha. It’s way more melodic and nice. But by growing up the music got more aggressive, as far as we see the music as a way to handle emotions from life. At that time we just started being a band and write songs and all that. But we still play ‘Children Of Violence’. It’s one of the first thrashy songs we wrote, but we still love it. For us it’s a symbol of our friendship. Since we wrote it, there hasn’t been a show were we didn’t play that one. Apart from that, ‘Deviance’ appeared on the "Violent Demolition" album again."
Have you ever thought about re-recording ‘Children Of Violence’, ‘Chaos Possession’, ‘Testament’ and ‘Toygun’ (since they’re exclusively featured on this EP) or simply to re-release the entire EP or use them as bonus tracks? By the way: what kind of release was "Chaos Possession" originally (CD, CD-R, vinyl, digital)?
"Chaos Possession" was just on CD. It never appeared somewhere else. It’s funny that people often ask about it. We did ‘Deviance’ again with Derrick Green from SEPULTURA on guest vocals. Maybe we are going to re-record ‘Children Of Violence’, we’ll see."
One of the tracks on that EP (‘Deviance’) features an obvious tribute to SEPULTURA’s ‘Troops Of Doom’… which even resulted in the fact that their vocalist, Derrick Green, contributed guest vocals to the re-recorded version on your debut full length "Violent Demolition" in 2012. What is the story behind this?
"Yeah you’re right. Our first big shows were as support act for SEPULTURA. Derrick watched us when we still were fifteen year old kids. And he always supported us. So we wrote this song and thought about having him on vocals. While recording "Violent Demolition" it fortunately happened!"
How did you hook up with Napalm Records, who released both your albums so far ("Violent Demolition" – 2012 and "Awake The Riot" – 2014)? You’re musically not exactly what they are known for, so what made them offer you a deal and have there been other companies interested in signing you as well at the time?
"Napalm Records was just interested in working together with a new and young Thrash band. And as we were looking for a label to put out "Violent Demolition", which was already recorded, we were lucky enought to find the Napalm Records guys. We really appreciate working with them."
Both albums have also been released on vinyl (limited to 300 and 500 copies respectively), "Awake The Riot" even as a double album. Was that something you really wanted yourselves or was it the idea from Napalm Records? Do you personally still collect vinyl?
"For us it was a dream coming true, when Napalm told us that they want to put it out on vinyl as well! "Awake The Riot" is a double vinyl, because of its length. Yes, I collect vinyls. I have way more CDs though. But I have a good vinyl collection in my apartment, too. We often do listening sessions with friends. There’s nothing sounding that organic, like vinyls do. I don’t really like this compressed MP3 computer ruined stuff."
The CD version of "Awake The Riot" was also licensed for Mexico by Scarecrow Records and for Japan by Bickee Music. Does that mean your debut album wasn’t released in those areas at all yet? Tell us a bit more about those two companies since I’m unfamiliar with both of them.
"Me too, haha. I just know that they cared about the release of the album in that areas, which is also a dream coming true. Especially from Mexico we get lots of feedback! I wished we could go and play there soon! Same with Japan!!"
The Japanese edition also features the METALLICA cover ‘Jump In The Fire’ as a bonus track. Was that recorded in the same session as the album and what was it intended to be used for in the first place?
"No, we did it for a Metal Hammer compilation. They asked us to do it for a "Kill ‘Em All" anniversary CD and we did it, because we associated many memories with that song. I think it was one of the first METALLICA songs I figured out playing on guitar. We spent hours playing the main riff together with our friend Jimi, who is now guitarplayer for TOXIC WALTZ. Good times and funny memories!"
There’s also a cover of EVILDEAD’s ‘Future Shock’ on that album, which is quite an unusal choice. Who came up with the idea to record a cover of this particular song and did you have any other options in mind as well?
"We actually just did not want to choose a song everyone would have expected from us or a typical song of the big known Metal bands. We really wanted to choose something we really like on our own and that was also a kind of surprise to some people. We love the EVILDEAD album "Annihilation Of Civilization" although it is quite underrated I think. They have a great mixture of Thrash Metal and also some Crossover / Hardcore elements which we also tried to put in on the last record. Apart from that the lyrics of the song really fit to the current situation and happenings in the world although it is from 1989. But all that made us think that this cover song would fit perfectly in the concept of "Awake The Riot" and that’s why we chose it."
The cover artwork for both your albums was created by Andrei Bouzikov and it is definitely close to the works of Ed Repka, who did a lot of the classic Thrash Metal album covers in the 80s. How did you get together with Andrei and was that an intention to come up with artwork in Ed Repka’s style or did that just happen by coincidence? How much influence did you have on the final results? Have you ever tried to hire Ed Repka himself?
"I just contacted Andrei and we soon found out, that he is an easy guy to work with. He already had the artwork done for "Violent Demolition". It was exactly what I was looking for. "Awake The Riot" is a mixture from our and his ideas. But yeah, we wanted something in the oldschool style. And something colorful, that stands out from all the computer animated artworks. One day I would love to work with Ed Repka, but that’s also a question of budget for the greatest part, haha."
I’ve noticed that you’ve released at least four promo videos already… Did you produce them all on your own or did Napalm Records help financing them? Do you think it’s important these days to have a video out?
"Yes, Napalm Records helps us financing them. But we always did it in a personal, not incredible high budget way together with friends or people we know. We love to do as much on our own or together with friends as possible. You never stop learning by doing that. And you can support each other. The latest video of ‘Agent Thrash’ was made by our bassplayer. He wanted to do a video with all our friends and the whole DUST BOLT Thrash crew. I think the result is really funny and especially recording it was fun! Well, being present on the internet is really important for sure! It’s just like that, that most people spend half of their life on the internet. So you have to do some stuff there, that people stay interested in what you are doing. And doing videos or photography is also art. The internet helps you spreading this art (though it’s definitely ruining art at the same time). But sometimes I feel like some bands care more about the internet than playing live or writing songs."
How do you judge modern technology in general? Do you think it’s great to have the internet, email, mobile phones and all that nowadays or does it annoy you sometimes? Does it bother you that you didn’t experience the 80s Metal scene with all the tapetrading, xeroxed fanzines, snail mail letter writing etc.?
"When I think of it it does bother me, yes. But I can’t change it. And saying that everything was better back then would be an easy escape. I rather fight. The internet delivers some great opportunities. But I think it even destroys more. We live in a world of decadence. Everybody expects to be able to consume anything he wants anytime for the lowest effort. Being a fan and being interested in any kind of music or art also demands effort and passion. But it seems people do not want to put effort in something anymore. I don’t know, I grew up with that shit and can’t compare the times. But the internet is dangerous, like a virtual reality people spend most of their lifes though it’s something totally unorganic and that doesn’t really exists. I just know, when I’m dying I won’t say "Oh fuck, I should have spent more time watching senseless bullshit in TV or the internet"."
What’s going on in the DUST BOLT camp in the nearest future? Any more touring coming up or do you already work on a new album or EP?
"We are working on new songs, yes. But we don’t have concrete plans when we gonna release something new yet. At least not concrete enough to tell 😉 Till then we play some festivals and shows on the weekend. We have a Spain tour with LEGION OF THE DAMNED in May and some shows with SEPULTURA in the Summer. "Summerbreeze" also should be kickin’ ass! We are also working on something for the UK, we’ll see!"
Ok Lenny, I guess we should have covered the most important aspects of DUST BOLT by now. Thanks a lot for taking the time and all the best for the future. I’ll leave the closing words to you.
"Thank you very much for the interview and thanks to all the readers. Hope to see you soon at a live show and ’til then keep thinking and thrashin’!"
Interview: Frank Stöver
Live pics: Tina Ehmke