Before proceedings began at their excellent recent London gig, I managed to borrow Bloodshot Dawn guitarist and vocalist Benjamin Ellis for a chat about the band’s latest album, their upcoming tour plans and how new drummer Janne Jaloma is settling into the band.
OneMetal How’s the tour going so far?
Ben Really well, the new material’s being received really well, the turnouts have been good, everyone’s been having a good time at the shows. Very good.
OneMetal How was writing Demons different from your self-titled?
Ben It was actually a fairly similar thing. With the first album you’ve got a certain amount of freedom – you can spend as much time as you want writing it before you put it out. I think the biggest difference with this one was the time limit we put on ourselves. We’re about to go on tour in Japan, we knew we needed to have an album ready for that and things like Bloodstock Festival. When we found out we’d be playing there this year we knew we wanted to have the album ready around that time.
I think the time limit was probably the biggest difference. That was quite stressful obviously but we worked really, really hard on it and we think it’s turned out really well. Other than that it was similar, just writing things as they came naturally to us. We kept that organic sound that works alongside the first album as well.
OneMetal Of course it’s the first release with Janne and working in a new country as well. Did that change anything at all?
Ben Absolutely, Janne joined the band right at the beginning of the year and having someone in a different country poses a lot of obstacles with touring and recording and writing. Josh [McMorran, guitarist and vocalist] and I and Ant [Ridout] as well, the bassist, we write our songs and send them to Janne so he can demo them at home because he has a little home studio. So that’s how we wrote for this album alongside Janne.
For recording we went over to his home studio and tracked everything ourselves and produced it ourselves. So obviously there’s that financial implication of having to fly people out or getting him to fly over here for tours but it’s something that we can manage quite easily thanks to the internet. It’s not too bad and he’s a ridiculous drummer so it’s definitely a big positive.
OneMetal I think my first interaction with Bloodshot was seeing your Leisure Edition clip on YouTube. Was it at all like that recording in Sweden?
Ben Not so much this time, not as intense. We had a few parties, Janne lives kinda south of Gothenburg an hour or so drive out. We drove up to Gothenburg basically to hang out with Deals Death (Janne’s other band) and we went out on the town, got pissed and had a laugh. That was our one real break from the recording, it was a really hardcore process this time round. We were out there for about two weeks and just getting the best performances we possibly could.
OneMetal The cover of Demons is a sort of Evangelion big red monster-thing but the lyrics are a lot more metaphorical when it comes to demons. What inspired those?
Ben Most of the lyrics on this album, unlike the first one where it was mostly about global issues and evil on a global scale, this one’s a lot more introverted. More talking about struggles within yourself and the problems everyone goes through. Coming to terms with changes in life and moving on from past mistakes and things like that. So it’s kind of flipping it over from the first album.
OneMetal One of the selling points on your Kickstarter was quite a roster of guest guitarists. How did you get them on board?
Ben That came about mostly from other bands we’ve toured with. We had guest vocals from Sven from Aborted on a track and we toured with Aborted and Vader previously around Europe. We basically asked all the guests “We’re writing this album, are you guys up for contributing some guest spots?”
It was the same story with Per from Scar Symmetry, we toured with them before. Teemu from Wintersun, we toured with them in the UK and then guys like Andy James knew me from a guitar competition I’d been in so I got in touch with him. He’s also a big fan of Per so he instantly wanted to take part in the album to play alongside Per.
Chris Amott is the only guy that we hadn’t had any previous interaction with. We just sent him a message, sent him material and he really enjoyed the sound of it and was happy to take part as well. We were very lucky with it all but it all came from having met the guys before.
OneMetal Did you give the guitarists much direction with what they were going to do?
Ben The track that all the guitars are on [‘The Image Faded’] I basically wrote all the solo sections for the guys, specifically with them in mind. Writing a part that would really suit their style and help them play the kind of stuff that everyone knows them for, we wanted it to be really recognisable which player was playing at what time.
In terms of direction for them, none really. We just sent them the track and were like “Just go nuts, do whatever comes naturally to you.” It was more an indirect thing, writing the parts to suit their style.
OneMetal One of the rewards from that Kickstarter was you and Josh doing some guest solos, have you got the details of that at all?
Ben We know the guys we’re gonna be doing the solos for but at the moment with the touring and the Kickstarter and album having only just finished we’re actually gonna finish this tour and then start working on those solos for them and we’ll announce those on our page as soon as they’re released.
OneMetal What’s coming up next for the band?
Ben We’ve got one more show on this UK tour tomorrow in Cardiff, we have one day off and then we go straight to Japan to play Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo. After that we take Christmas off because we’re all extremely tired and need to earn some money again now.
We’ve got a little break for Christmas but we’re booking up tours at the moment. We’ve got one other show confirmed supporting At The Gates in Dublin January 31st but we’ve got other tours being booked up for spring 2015.
OneMetal Have you got any final words for the readers of OneMetal?
Ben Yeah, thank you so much for supporting and checking out our new material. Our new album Demons is out, you can stream it on our Bandcamp page. Check us out on Facebook and we’ll see you guys on the road soon!
Bloodshot Dawn’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BloodshotDawn