Exclusive Interview: Disarmageddon writing and recording “No Liberty”!

There is no again. You’re gonna die down there. Alone. Cut off from the rest of the world. My advice – save the last bullet for yourself. Because if you don’t, I’m gonna stick my knife through your brain. But don’t worry. I’m going to leak the photos of your body to the press. You know, because I know you like that kind of s***” ~ Gerard Butler, Olympus Has Fallen

Reunited Old School South African Thrash Kings Disarmageddon dropped a new album in “No Liberty” last month and it’s an absolute blast. We love it so much that we interviewed those fiends not once but twice! So here’s one about what went on behind the scenes in the writing and recording phase…

How did your previous experiences writing and recording help to smooth the path of the new record? What was it like writing without a drummer this time around? “We’ve learnt from some mistakes from our other releases and this time around the recording process was a lot smoother and more professional. We didn’t rush anything, making sure everyone’s performances were as perfect as our abilities allowed. It wasn’t any different as we always write guitars first with basic drums tabbed out. Calvin learned the riff structures and recreated his own drums based on tempos and feel. We’ve all become tighter musicians and it has helped with recording. Calvin actually added quite a bit to the drums for this album and made it his own.”

How does the writing process of a new track start? Melody, riff or rhythm first? How does it evolve from there before you consider it the finished article? “Matt will think of an idea for the lyrical theme of a song, visualize it as scenes in a film, then tab out generic drum beats and improvise guitar riffs over that while recording until he likes something and then builds onto them until the song is finished. If the guys have any riffs they want to share Matt tries to incorporate them wherever I can. He then tabs out all the guitars for Lance and the bass for Ash, which he then edits into his own basslines. After that, Lance and Matt will track their lead melodies and solos in their own time. Matt then writes the lyrics and together with Jay they work out the vocal melodies. We then record backing vocals. After that Calvin tracks his drums after meticulously editing the tabs over weeks to make everything his own. Then Matt does the rough mix and transfer everything to Lance who does the final mix and master. For Lance, it’s riffs. He will try record a cool riff with a drum beat and expand on that, filling in the rest of the song with (hopefully) good riffs until it’s ready.”

What was it like taking a DIY or DIE approach and having guitarist Lance von Buddenbrock once again mix and master the record as he did your 2021 EP “Detonator“? “We like to do as much as we can ourselves as everyone in the band has unique skills that help contribute to our outputs. Lance is in love with tone and puts loads of energy into getting the best sound possible. He has been mixing for himself for several years, including his and Matt’s previous death metal band, Sufferance. He has been pivotal in this process since our very first recording back in 2017.”

If you could have a guest on board next time around, who would you like to work with in the studio? “We’ve honestly never thought of having a guest appearance, so we’re not sure. (King Diamond perhaps, haha).”

For us gear nerds out there, can you tell us what you’re using gear wise (pedals, strings, drums etc) to get your sound?

“Matt only uses Elixir strings. He runs an Ibanez RG350 through a Boss Katana Mk II with built-in Boss NS1x Suppressor, Boss GE7 Equalizer, Boss DD8 Delay pedals and a physical Ibanez TS9DX Tube Screamer. He also uses D’Addario – Duralin Precision picks.

Lance uses digital amps to record and practise to. Sadly, he does not own a cabinet, but for playing live he has a Cube 60 amp. They are LOUD and get the job done amazingly! He’s planning on adding some pedals to the mix in the future.

Calvin uses a Pearl export drum kit as well as Gibraltar hardware/pedals and Vic Firth 5b sticks.

Ash uses a Fender MIM Jazz bass with D’Addario Pro-Steel strings. He runs the signal through a TC Electronic SpectraComp and a Boss Bass Overdrive which are both looped through a Boss Noise Suppressor. The signal is split from the compressor using a Radial DI to get a clean signal for a more natural low end. The signal finally passes out through a Darkglass Electronics Alpha Omega pedal, which serves as the distorted channel for mids and highs.”

What difference would it make to you if you could land an endorsement from a gear manufacturer? “An endorsement deal would literally mean the world to Matt. He has played an entry level Epiphone Special 2 guitar for his first 14 years before finally being able to upgrade to his current pre-owned Ibanez about 2 years ago. His dream is to play on a Jackson Soloist or BC Rich Stealth one day. Lance also wouldn’t be able to resist new guitars! It would make a massive difference, if only just to have access to more high-end gear and better sound. Calvin feels that being endorsed by any brand of gear that we work with would be an incredible privilege, not only to represent these brands but it would also inspire us further to keep shredding our hearts out in honour of those endorsing. It would make playing even more enjoyable with less effort playing on better newer equipment and likely improve our overall sound. Good gear needs big bucks. Having to purchase lower quality gear that’s prone to quick deterioration just to play gets old quick. It would be great to have less cymbal stands to transport and reliable gear, pedals that don’t rattle and hardware that isn’t falling apart at shows would be amazing. Most of Calvin’s gear is almost 20 years old! It would be a dream come true for Ash to at least get an endorsement from Darkglass Electronics.”

No Liberty” by Disarmageddon was released on 1st March 2024 and is available over at bandcamp.

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