Interview by Alan Daly
© Olga Kuzmenko
Photos by Olga Kuzmenko
We met up with Irish trio Dead Label after their amazing debut Bloodstock appearance on the Sophie Lancaster stage on Sunday.
Alan: Hi guys. Hello from MyGlobalMind.com. Can you introduce yourselves and maybe tell us who your main musical influence is?
Claire: I’m Claire. I play drums in Dead Label. Can I give you three influences? Metallica, Machine Head and Gojira. In that order.
Alan: You’ve already supported Machine Head. You’re supporting Gojira later this month. Is Metallica next on the list?
Claire: Metallica’s next!
Danny: I think Metallica’s on everybody’s list! I’m Danny. I’m the guitarist in Dead Label, and my biggest influence would be Metallica.
Alan: And what about your vocalist, Dan? I see he has a pretty obvious Metallica tattoo…
Claire: Dan is the same: Metallic, Machine Head, Gojira.
Danny: We all have Metallica tattoos. All three of us.
Alan: So, tell us where the name “Dead Label” came from?
Danny: On our first record, we wrote a song called ‘Dead Label’. It’s a song Dan wrote about Sophie Lancaster. Then we decided that it was a cool name for the band, so we called the band Dead Label, and we called the song ‘Rest in Pieces’. So that was kinda cool today, playing the Sophie Lancaster stage.
Alan: Yeah, cool. And is there significance to the exclamation mark in the band name on Facebook? Sometimes I see the band listed as “Dead Label!”
Claire: Oh that’s an accident! I’m actually trying to get Facebook to take that off. It’s a disaster. Please nobody put the exclamation mark into our name! Basically, I have OCD, and at that period in time, when I made that Facebook page, I put an exclamation mark because I thought I should, and thought I could remove it later. But then when you get over 3000 likes, you can’t change it that easily. So I’m actually trying really hard to get Facebook to remove that, but they are not being very cooperative. So we don’t want the exclamation mark in our band name!
Alan: Ok, noted! You’ve got some really nice branding and logos, so I was just curious about that. So tell us how you landed the gig today on the Sophie stage, as you mentioned?
Claire: Well, we played the Metal 2 The Masses competition last year, and I don’t know… I guess we did something right and Simon invited us to play the Sophie stage this year. So, when we got that email first… It popped up on my iPhone, and it says “From Simon Hall”, so I think “this could be good”. And then it was like “We’d like to offer you the Sophie stage”. So we were freaking out about being offered Bloodstock, and then realising it was the Sophie stage, and then realizing that’s a pretty big-ass stage. So we were absolutely delighted about it.
Alan: And how did you think your gig went?
Danny: It was 100%. We were on at 12:40, so we were a little bit worried about how the crowd would be at that time of the day, but there were people as far as the eye could see, so we were happy. And people weren’t afraid to rock out.
Alan: Tell us about your recent touring. You’ve toured in the U.S. and Europe which is pretty ambitious for a band like yourselves.
Claire: The U.S. tour was a massive, massive experience for us. We were going over there to record an album, and if you’re Irish, you can spend 90 days over there on holiday. So we went over to record, and we were going to have our gear, because we needed it to record. So we just decided to book a few shows, and before we knew it, we had booked 7 weeks of shows, and we just went off and played them, and it was really good.
Alan: Did you keep within the 90 days?
Claire: Yeah, we left on the 89th day!
Alan: So what was the most memorable show you played?
Danny: In America we played a show in Casper in Wyoming. It’s a place not many people would really know, not like New York or Los Angeles. But us coming there, made people come to the show. Sometimes, when you’re at our level, playing a smaller town can be better because people get excited then. There aren’t many international bands going through that area, so they get excited about bands even at our level. It was a big stage, it was a big venue, and we had a great show. When you’re on the road, you can never tell what’s going to be a good show, and what isn’t, so when you show up and it is, it’s deadly.
Alan: Any horror stories from the road?
Claire: We are extremely lucky with our vehicles. We rented a Chrysler in America, and it didn’t break down once, so that was cool. And our van, Betsy, got us through Europe with no hassle, so thankfully we’ve none of those horror stories.
Danny: We stayed in a motel in Chicago with some guy who was on the run from the law. He was just telling me and I was like “Yeah… Alright, I’m going to go now…” America can be quite rough. Even in a really nice area, a couple of blocks away and you’re in gangster town where people are going crazy.
Claire: We were playing in a place in Rochester, and the night before, we googled the address. It was called “Bug Jar”. The first Google search came up was “the Bug Jar shooting”. Two weeks previously there was a big shooting there. That type of thing when there are only three of you by yourselves, it was pretty scary, but it was a good gig though.
Alan: So it was just the three of you? You didn’t have any support crew? Were you just doing all yourselves?
Danny: No. Like I said we literally went over there for the record and the visa was for 3 months. So we got a van and just hit the road, and said fuck it!
Alan: So this was for your unreleased album, right?
Alan: “Sense of Slaughter” was probably your debut album, right?
Claire: Yeah, that was our debut.
Alan: So what’s the title of the next album?
Claire: “Throne of Bones”.
Alan: And the release date?
Danny: There’s no exact date right now. But hopefully in the next two months I’d say. It’s just the finishing touches. We’ll have a release date quite soon I’d say.
Alan: But it’s all ready to go, right?
Claire: Pretty much, yeah.
Danny: It’s all ready, artwork, everything. We just want to make sure it’s released in the right way
Alan: Dan mentioned that the new song, ‘Bloodletting’ which you played today isn’t even not on the new album. There wasn’t enough time to squeeze it on, no?
Claire: We only wrote that one or two months ago.
Danny: Yeah, we’re just addicted to writing, we can’t stop. When we write something, we really love it, and we just want to play it.
Alan: Well, I think it went down really well today. I know there were fans today who obviously knew your songs because they were singing along. But that one went down just as well as some of the older stuff.
Claire: Yeah, that was pretty cool.
Alan: (to Danny) Tell us about your guitar with the clown graphic.
Danny: That was my first guitar ever. I got it when I was 14. It’s actually an Epiphone Les Paul. I wanted a white, Les Paul shaped guitar with some colour to it. I didn’t have the money to buy an ESP or some fancy EEC, so I just shaved a headstock with a jigsaw at work, sanded it down, sprayed it, got some paint, fucked that all over it and I did the graphic myself because when I’m not doing band shit I work in a place that does graphics for vehicles. So it was easy for me to do. The drawing was actually done by my friend Karl Uzice, he is an epic tattoo artist. He has his own style. He does really great and weird cartoony artwork. He is my best mate in whole world.
Alan: It looks nice and very unique. What about other bands here at Bloodstock? Are there any you would like to collaborate with?
Claire: Trivium were awesome. It was good to see them again, as fans. I wouldn’t mind playing with them.
Danny: We’ve got talking to the drummer for a while, he is a really-really nice guy.
Claire: I guess supporting Rob Zombie wouldn’t be a bad gig. Haha.
Danny: Yeah, I guess anybody that’s a lot bigger than us that we can support – we want it! We’re hungry, so we’ll take anything. We like to think that we can fit on most bills with most bands, unless it’s a crazy death metal bill, or something like that. I think we can please the majority of metal heads.
Alan: You’ve set the bar pretty high for yourselves already anyway.
Claire: Yeah, we have!
Alan: I’ve been asking some of the other bands this weekend about unusual band merch. Megadeth have their “Blood of Heroes” wine, Iron Maiden have “Trooper” beer, Fleshgod Apocalypse sell pasta. If you wanted to put your “Dead Label” brand on a food or drink, what would it be?
Claire: I’d love to do pizza. That would be sweet!
Alan: Dead Label pizza! What would be on it?
Claire: Pepperoni and beef. It would have a stuffed crust and it would come standard with a garlic and herb dip.
Alan: And if you were to go on a drinking session with any historical figure, alive or dead, who would you like to go on the piss with?
Danny: I’d have to go with James Hetfield. I think I have the most of questions for him.
Claire: But he doesn’t drink though.
Danny: Yeah, but they can be dead or alive, so obviously you can go back in time.
Alan: Ok, so you want to go back to the non-sober James Hetfield.
Danny: Yeah, the drunk Hetfield. Now we’re talking!
Alan: So, finally, any updates or news you want to give your fans?
Claire: I’d like to invite people to come and see us at the Gojira show, but it’s sold out. That’s because of Gojira though… Not because of us!
Danny: Keep an eye out for the new record, and buy it if you can!
Claire: And tell your friends to like our Facebook page! And maybe help with the exclamation mark thing!