Brutal Truth continues to grind on
Perhaps one of the biggest moments in grindcore history in the past few years is that Brutal Truth has reformed. One of the solid, leading bands in the genre, the group went on indefinite hiatus in 1998, only to reform in 2006. Their recent release of ‘End Time’ marks that the group is fortunately still together after their last release in 2009, so hiatus isn’t in the forecast anytime soon (which should certainly please some fans). Bassist Dan Lilker was kind enough to answer a few questions about the upcoming album, the effects of Brutal Truth’s re-activation, and future possibilities.
Hello from BRUTALISM, Danny. How are things going?
Fine, thanks. Just waiting for the album to come out and doing some press for it, but I guess you knew that.
Congratulations on the new Brutal Truth album that’s coming out shortly, it sounds like you guys are on top of your game as always!
Thanks very much. We try to make sure anything we release is up to our standards, and we’re quite happy with this album, so it’s good to see that you’re in agreement with us here.
So now that your sixth full length album is out just two years after five, do you feel more secure that Brutal Truth will stick together rather than go back on hiatus anytime soon?
Well, nothing’s planned out too much with us. That’s how it’s always been. We take things day by day and see what unfolds.
During your time off between 1997 and 2006, before the reformation, what did you do to keep your bass skills in check or your musical interests up?
S.O.D. did some touring in 99/00. Then Nuclear Assault got reactivated in 2002, so I managed to stay busy. I also played with Crucifist here in Rochester, but that seems to be over now.
Do you think your time away from Brutal Truth gave you a whole new wealth of knowledge that you could bring to the band for a bigger musical experience as opposed to if you guys had just kept doing the usual ‘album every two years’ and being forced to be so focused by demands of fans or others in the music business? The band certainly seems like their sound improved compared to the past releases.
The time away certainly helped because when it was time to write music again, I had a backlog of riffs in my head that I’d come up with during that time that wouldn’t have worked with any other band I played in. We never really worried about the demands on fans anyway because you have to be somewhat selfish to play this music. You just make sure that you like it yourself and that’s what’s important.
After coming back to grindcore after so many years, have you seen a big change in how the genre has evolved since the 90s when Brutal Truth first formed, or does it feel the same as ever?
It’s mostly the same. Maybe one bad thing is that bands are relying too much on recording technology these days to make their sound as tight as possible (moving over kick drum hits, etc.) which takes a lot of the feeling out of their music. It should be natural sounding, and it’s OK to have a little noise here and there at the end of a song, it makes it sound real.
When you reformed, what was your ultimate goal, either for yourself or to your loyal fans?
To write, record and release more full-on extreme grindcore, and then tour as much as we can (not as much these days) to support our releases. That’s basically it. I would love to hit some places we haven’t gone to yet, like some countries in Eastern Europe or South America, for example.
Let’s talk about the new album, ‘End Time,’ for a moment. What is the particular theme or concept behind it… if any?
When looking back from your album in 2009, how did you want ‘End Time’ to top it off?
We just wanted it to be a logical successor to the last album, more Brutal Truth the way we do it now with Erik on guitar, which has made us even more extreme in my opinion. We don’t think from album-to-album, we just do what we do when it’s time to do it.
Are there any particular songs between all 23 tracks that deserve special mention, either behind their meaning or musical creation?
I really like the title track. It’s the first one we wrote for this album, so it has extra meaning because it got the creative process going again.
Being a bassist can sometimes be difficult in grindcore (satisfaction-wise) because everything is so intense and the sound is often buried in the drums, guitars, and vocals, unless one has awesome production. Do you ever feel overshadowed by everything when hearing the recordings play back, or are you completely comfortable with the idea that your part won’t always be heard on the album due to the ‘noise’ of the music as a whole?
Actually we make sure that the bass is well represented in the overall mix, I think the production on ‘End Time’ (and the last one) is actually really clear so you can hear everything. Bass frequencies are quite important to us, they play a vital role in our sound, so I never feel too overshadowed to be honest. I can hear the bass fine.
So now that ‘End Time’ is going to be released, what’s the next step for Brutal Truth? Any tours coming up or ongoing?
Only little stops for now. We don’t tour like we used to, some of us are parents and we all have to work regular jobs too. Playing this music doesn’t really pay the rent. We play a festival in Calgary, Alberta (Canada) October 1st, we’re going to Japan with Lock Up at the end of October/beginning of November, and we have a couple of shows in Texas and Buffalo before the end of the year.
Your fans have been very loyal to you and the band, even during the hiatus. What’s the nicest thing that a fan(s) did for you to encourage you- or Brutal Truth- to keep going?
Just people raving about how influential we were in the 90s, and how fucking awesome it would be if the band started playing again. All the enthusiasm expressed by people during our downtime was quite inspiring.
That’s about all I have for now. Welcome back to the world of metal and grind on!
Grind on we will!!