Before Americans Revocation take the stage to support death metal legends Cannibal Corpse on their UK tour on Halloween, eGigs grabs guitarist Dan Gargiulo in a dark alley to get some insight into new album 'Deathless' and how the band has the stamina to release so many full-lengths in such a short space of time.
How are you?
Good, how are you?
I'm good! How has the tour been so far?
It's been awesome, Cannibal Corpse and us on a bus together – it's crazy. When I was a kid, I was a huge fan and the opening band [Aeon] is a band I also listened to as a kid and we've toured with them before in the States so when I found out they were on the tour, I was really excited. They're just as fucked up as we are and it's cool. Cannibal are super nice guys, not rockstars at all, very cool dudes and it's the same with Aeon as well. We're stoked to be on the tour and the shows have been great too.
Your new album 'Deathless' has just been released. How has the response from fans and critics been?
Good! They seem to be overwhelmingly positive, I mean, I'm sure there are people who hate it but so far all of the reviews that I've seen have been good. Some people have complained about the clean vocals but we've been doing clean vocals since the first album so whatever.
How would you say it's different from anything else Revocation have done?
It's not terribly different. We always try to retain our sound from each record but each record kind of has its own vibe.
How would you describe this album's vibe?
It's kind of a little catchier than our past records but we try to still make it technical so there's a lot going on but at the same time, we're trying to make it memorable which is hard to do but we think we're doing a good job, maybe we're not but we're trying to continue in that direction. Obviously it's as our older records so it's varied; there are songs that are technical, there are songs that are mid-paced. Each song has its own spirit, if you will, but at the same time the most important thing is retaining that Revocation sound and do as much as we can with that.
This is the first album you have released with Metal Blade. How have they been promoting the release?
Very good. When we left Relapse, it was only because our contract was up. There was no "Fuck these guys," no bad blood at all. Bob from Relapse is one of our good buddies. We still love those guys but we wanted to go for a label that has more global reach for us. We take this seriously, we want to do this for a living so we're trying to play our cards right and we thought Metal Blade would do the most for us. So far, they've been doing great. We're very happy.
You released this album so quickly; this is the second album in two years.
Yeah, we're always writing.
Technical death metal isn't the easiest music to write.
Yeah, but we're borderline autistic nerds [laughs]. We're probably pretty weird…we're not that weird. Whenever I'm at home, I'm always writing. When I come home from work, I sit down and I try to write riffs and Dave [Davidson] does the same thing. We don't really collaborate a lot because we live far apart – I'm in New York, he's in Boston – so we write songs and then we'll bring them to each other. The songs are complete by the time we show each other. We'll jam on them and make changes and alterations but we make the skeletons of them. We're always writing.
Do you write on the road as well?
No, actually. When I write, and I think Dave is the same way, I need to be alone and separated from the world. I just sit down, zone out and write. I have a girlfriend and she's awesome but I know it's hard to get in my zone because I'm always talking to her, which is fine – I'm not complaining – but I need to zone out and be completely separated from the entire world if I want to write well and I find on tour I definitely can't because we're busy all day and there are people around and I'm never alone. Usually, my writing's done at home.
When you do write, do you have more than enough songs for an album and choose the best ones?
Yeah, we do. We have a huge pile of songs and a couple of songs on this record could have been on the last record but we opted not to use them and thought they needed more work so we put it on the backburner. When finally we feel like it's ready to release, we'll put it on the next album. I also have another project that I write for.
So you share riffs?
I do. I actually wrote a couple of songs that were intended for my other band and I say: "I don't know, maybe if I change this riff and this riff, it sounds more like Revocation." And it seems to work out okay. We do have a lot of material that we don't necessarily release immediately. Sometimes waiting a year, you might come up with the perfect riff for that song whereas the previous riff just wasn't right for it. Sometimes they just need some time. I'm not really into writing something and putting it out right away. It has to be right before it goes out. That's our philosophy.
What's the oldest new song, if that makes sense?
On this album, the main riff in 'Witch Trials' is one of the first Revocation riffs I ever wrote as soon as I joined the band. They played that riff for me and I was like "Wow, that's awesome." It wasn't totally right so we held off on it for an EP and two full lengths and finally the song was ready to put out. I've been waiting for that one for so long and I'm really happy with the way it came out. That happens. Usually, it's just riffs and ideas – not necessarily whole songs.
You were talking about some of these songs get left behind and wait for so long before they get released but you release albums so quickly. What do you think the positives points are releasing albums this quickly?
I don't know. Most of the media attention we get is due to putting out new records. We've done huge tours. We did Summer Slaughter and it was big. This Cannibal tour is huge. We've done Children of Bodom and that was a huge one but the attention we get from a new record far outweighs the attention we get on tour. We want people to realise the new records we put out so that people don't think we're putting out bullshit just for the sake of it. We want people to know we have good material, although I think that finally we're going to take our time with the next record. Who knows? We might change our minds but right now, we're thinking this record is sick so we're going to tour on it for a while on it and take our time because we've never done that before.
What's the overall plan for Revocation?
We want to be able to do it full time and we want to make it our career. We all go home and have jobs but it would be nice to not do that but who knows? That may never happen. Obviously, that's our goal. It would be nice. We'll see. We're doing great and ever since we went to Metal Blade, we've been doing a lot better. If not, I'm still having a great time. I'm in London right now, which is awesome. Everyone who talks shit online about being losers for being musicians, we are in a new city every day, meeting new people. It's the coolest thing.
What are Revocation's future plans?
We don't have anything set in stone other than going to Asia after this and then Australia with Psycroptic with Thy Art is Murder, which should be awesome. I've been a big fan of Psycroptic since their first album.
Are they one of your influences?
Actually, I don't think they influence me musically but I do love their music. I'm influenced by a specific sound. I love Metallica, I love Meshuggah but lately, I'm into Deathspell [Omega], Abigor I really love. They're one of my favourite bands in the world. I love their new record. If I could meet those guys, that would be so cool. Even if they were mean to me! I'm into more black metal and depressive shit. I like death metal a lot too but Psycroptic didn't really influence me. They're very technical, even though I play in a technical death metal band. If I want to write, I want to write simpler shit but I'm looking forward to meeting them. After that, I'm at home for the holidays and trying to nail down some tours for next year but nothing is set in stone.
That's the end of the questions. Is there anything you would like to say to the readers for eGigs?
If we come to your town, come say "What's up" to us. We like hanging out, we're friendly dudes. Drink some beers with us, smoke some pot with us. We just want to hang out, have a good time and play rock 'n' roll.
Thanks for your time.