PATHOLOGY are undoubtedly one of the biggest names in US Brutal Death Metal scene. Having been on a hiatus for a couple of years, the band is back with a bang, with their new album! I am speaking to Dave Astor, the band’s drummer and original member about his personal life, the new album, touring and lots more!
MJM. Greetings Dave! Thanks for taking time to speak to us. How you doing?
DA: I’m doing great, thanks. I did go through a divorce, which was difficult and took it’s toll on the band for awhile. Now that it’s done, I can move on with my life and start focusing on music again.
MJM. So how did the idea of ‘Pathology’ come by? You and Tim are the original members. How has the chemistry worked between you guys?
DA: After leaving my old band, Cattle Decapitation, I was pretty bummed out for a few years and wasn’t playing. Then I got the inspiration to start over and try it again. The original idea was to start a medical influenced, Carcass type of band. I got the name from a General Surgery album called Left Hand Pathology. Tim and I work great together, we always have.
MJM. What has the journey been like so far?
DA: It’s been good and bad. We’ve had some interesting tours. While we were with Victory Records it was good until the end, when we ended up on some really bad tours. The last one we did was a headline and we only got paid $100 a night. It was a joke. We couldn’t even survive and then the trailer broke on us. There have been good times as well though. I think my favorite experience was when we saw our music video on MTV’s Headbangers Ball. That was a great accomplishment for us. That, and when we first got signed to a big label.
MJM. You guys released an album every year until 2014. How hard or easy was it, considering the challenges you guys faced?
DA: At the time it was really easy for us. That’s all we did, so it was our main focus. Now with everyone doing their own thing with work and stuff it make it a little harder.
MJM. We heard about an interesting writing process. What is the usual like?
DA: We have kind of a cool process with writing where I record, organize and produce everything. Tim comes over and we record a bunch of random guitar riffs that I take, put in an order I think works, and make a song with. After that, I record the drums; we do the final guitars, and finally vocals.
MJM. How has touring impacted your lives?
DA: I’ve been touring on and off for over 20 years, so I’m pretty used to it. It can be a great experience, but there are also times when it sucks bad. But, that all I’ve ever really done.
MJM. You guys have toured with big names, like Nile, Obituary to name a few. How do you see the change in acceptance of Brutal Death among the larger set of audiences?
DA: When the band first started doing big tours it was usually good and we were accepted very well. I think the fans just appreciated that we were so heavy and had good groove to us.
MJM. The band was on a hiatus for a while. Now that you are back, what was the reason that the band went on a hibernation period?
DA: Yeah, we still haven’t played live in about 4 years. At the time I just couldn’t afford it. My RV broke, we were in a bad car wreck with the van, and I went through the divorce. Since it’s my band, I paid for everything and I was just tired of that. We made good money at time, but when we didn’t it was hard on me.
MJM. How does it feel like getting back on board?
DA: It’s starting to feel good. Like I said, it’s been about 4 years so I’m starting to excited about it again. Still a lot of things to figure out though.
MJM. The band is also working on the new album. Tell us about that.
DA: We’ve been working on it now for about 2 years. It’s probably some of my favorite stuff yet. We’re almost done, just finishing up the guitars and vocal now. It definitely sounds like Pathology and I’m very excited to see what the fans think.
MJM. What’s new in this album? Any guest artists being featured?
DA: Well, we experimented with some new tempo changes and guitar tones. The drums sound better and have more feeling and tone to them. We’re still working on guest artists. Cory from Flesh Consumed will be doing some stuff with us.
MJM. Looking at the current Asian/Indonesian underground scene, apart from the US Brutal Death scene, the number of bands playing this genre has risen greatly. Any words for the younger lot?
DA: Yes, there are lots of good, brutal, death metal bands now. There wasn’t very many when we first started. I would just say stick with it and don’t overdo it. Pace yourself musically. To make it, you need to always be thinking about the music and playing 24/7. Just stick with it and good things will happen.
MJM. Where do you draw the inspiration from?
DA: It used to be that I wanted to be the biggest brutal death metal band ever. I guess it still is.
MJM. Personally who would be your biggest influence as a drummer?
DA: I don’t have very many. I’m a really big Ramones fan and always enjoyed Marky’s playing. It’s not death metal but it influences me.
MJM. Who is the most popular guy in your band, among the ladies?
DA: Haha, all the members.
MJM. How different has life been for you since Pathology for formed?
DA: It hasn’t been too different for me, as I’ve been playing professionally since i was 15. The first band I helped start was The Locust, then Cattle and now Pathology. I would say I have way more fans since starting Pathology. It’s very nice and I appreciate all of them.
MJM. Sounds interesting!! What do you guys do on a full time basis? Are you guys full time musicians or do you guys have any specific day jobs?
DA: The other guys have full time jobs. I’m usually working on music and trying to figure out the next step to succeed.
MJM. It was great talking to you Dave! Hope to see you guys soon in India!! Wishing you and Pathology the very best in the coming days!
DA: Great talking with you. I appreciate the interview. Going to India would be cool and I hope we can make it there someday. Keep a look out for our new album coming out late summer and stay tuned for some updates and announcements coming soon.
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