They’ve just released a storming album through Metal Blade records in the form of ‘Black Rivers Flow’, the second disc of their career and an extremely vicious, finely-tuned statement of intent. They’re about to embark upon a tour of Europe, including a quick jaunt to the UK to obliterate the minds of youthful thrashers everywhere and they’ve toured before with the likes of Anthrax and Testament. Lazarus AD is the name of the band and if you hadn’t heard it before you best brace yourself because these tenacious, brutal, melodic and ambitious thrash maestros are going to be everywhere in 2011.
Following a very favourable review on these pages (which you can read here) we were lucky enough to be able to pose a few questions to Jeff Paulick about the creation of the album and what fans can expect from Lazarus AD’s first trip to our fair isle and we’re proud to be able to present this interview to you now upon the eve of their European invasion.
You formed, I believe, in 2005. Could you tell us a little bit about how Lazarus A.D. came together?
Dan and I went to school together and have been playing alongside each other since the 7th grade. We formed this band in 05. Ryan was already our drummer and Al joined soon after. We’ve never had a line-up change and we function just as any other family, very dysfunctionally.
According to your bio, by 2006 you had already built enough of a reputation to open for Anthrax – how did that come about?
We played these pre show parties at our Milwaukee venue The Rave. We did so well the first few times, that the promoter gave us the opening slot for Anthax when they needed support. We took full advantage, and packed the place full our fans and all of Anthrax’s fans ate it up. It was a good launching point, and really, a point where I realized we had a legitimate shot at getting signed.
It seems that your rise, although clearly very natural, has also been very rapid – did it take you some time to adjust from playing local shows to touring the US with testament?
Not really, we like challenges. We kind of jumped right into touring and we were able to transition fairly quickly. We were lucky to get on high profile tours right out of the gate, and no we really want to get back to that, we haven’t had a very large tour since, and we have gained a nice fanbase, we’re ready to get on a travelling festival for sure.
Your first album (the onslaught) was recorded before you even had a deal – how long did the sessions take and how did you fund them?
We took out a loan from the bank, about six thousand dollars. It took 10 days to record. It was a decision that came after we did the Anthrax gig and knew we wanted to go big or go home. We are glad we did, it paid dividends in the in end.
It seems that the press love a successful band to an extent, but they love to bandy phrases such as “second album syndrome” around even more – surely that must be irritating for a band who have worked as hard on quality control as you have?
It never really gets to us. Let the press do their thing, let the fans talk their praise/shit, and we just do our job. You gotta focus on yourself and write music that you want to hear. We knew what we wanted going into this record, and we were happy with what came out.
One quote in the press release accompanying your latest album caught my eye – you said “We are incredibly harsh when it comes to honesty in our songwriting, and if it doesn’t scream “that’s heavy as fuck” or “this sounds amazing”, it’s not making the record.” – does that mean there are a whole host of songs recorded for the album that didn’t make the grade that you might develop later on?
No, we don’t even let it get to that point. Where other bands might write 15 songs and pick 10, we trim the fat before we put it in the oven if you will. We just keep the cream of the crop and send it on its way, anything that is mediocore is shelved…and probally gonna stay there for that reason.
Speaking of development, how do you feel you have developed musically between the two albums?
We are much more mature. We are maturing as people, and as a band. It’s obvious in the vocal department, and we are happy in the direction we are heading. We feel we still have written songs that are undeniably heavy as well as catchy. It’s what were into and what were going to continue to do.
Clearly a lot has changed between the two records in your lives – the transition from a successful local band to a successful international band etc – has that changed your lyrical output and if so, in what way?
Not too much. We still touch on political issues, sounds about standing up and rising against a higher power, and straight up demonic stupid fun shit haha. It’s a mixed bag, the last one had it all, so does this one.
One of the elements that I felt set your new record apart from some of the artists you draw comparison to, is the dual vocal attack – is that something that developed in practice and through jamming or was that a deliberate decision to alter your approach somewhat?
It was a little of both. Dan is a really good singer, and we wanted to get him involved. I knew I could sing as well as scream and I wanted to test out the waters. It was kind of a trial thing for both of us. We had some things in studio that didn’t make it, for good reason, and some others that worked very well. The next record is gonna have even more, I can assure you. It’s an approach that not many bands take, and that’s what we want to do.
How do you go about writing a song – do you work together as a unit or do you write elements separately and then bring them to the band?
It’s a little of both. Dan and I write a lot together. Then we bring it to the jam and see how things sound as a whole. It works best like that, and we like the way we write songs. Nobody is selfish and we only use what sounds the best, no egos, no bullshit, no drama. If you argue your riff is good and nobody else thinks so…it’s probably cuz its not haha.
How long did the new album take to record and was it a daunting process in any way?
It took about 8 weeks to record. It was a long process but jam packed. We were always busy, and always wanting to try harder and take the best cuts.
You’re soon going to be touring the UK with Bonded by Blood – what can UK fans expect from Lazarus A.D.?
A great show. Just be there. It’s our fist time over there, god only knows whats gonna happen. It’s gonna be crazy, if the crowd energy is there, forget it. We hope to be a big band one day, and this is going to be the 1st of many runs over in Europe. This is gonna be a very intimate setting, and we’re looking to destroy each venue every night on stage and off!
It will be, I think, your first time in Europe?
What do you expect from your European fans?
Nothing but the best. We’ve heard a lot about Europe and how the fans are amazing. We aren’t expecting any less, we just hope they treat us with respect and look to have a good time, that’s what we are about. Kick a few back, light a few up, and let’s party!
Any final words?
Pick up Black Rivers Flow! We gotta spread the word that is Lazarus AD, see you soon!
Black Rivers Flow is available now through Metal Blade Records
Lazarus A.D. tour the UK and Europe with Bonded by Blood on the following dates:
Mar. 09 – London, UK – O2 Academy 2
Mar. 10 – Bristol, UK – Area 81
Mar. 11 – Milton Keynes, UK – Crauford Arms
Mar. 12 – Leeds, UK – The Well
Mar. 13 – Glasgow, UK – Ivory Blacks
Mar. 14 – Nottingham, UK – The Maze
Mar. 15 – Southampton, UK – Joiners
Mar. 16 – Norwich, UK – Metal Lust @ The Brickmakers
Mar. 17 – Wiesbaden, Germany – Schlachthof
Mar. 18 – Zurich, Switzerland – Dynamo
Mar. 19 – Prague, Czech Republic – Modra Vopice
Mar. 20 – Ljubljana, Slovenia – Orto Bar
Mar. 21 – Vienna, Austria – 3Raum/Arena
Mar. 22 – Bologna, Italy – Blogs Club
Mar. 23 – Barcelona, Spain – Mephisto
Mar. 24 – Madrid, Spain – Hebe
Mar. 25 – Paris, France – Paris Extreme Festival
Mar. 26 – Bilbao, Spain – Santana 27 Black
Mar. 27 – Porto, Portugal – Porto Rio
Mar. 29 – Hamburg, Germany – Headcrash
Mar. 30 – Nijmegen, Netherlands – Merleyn
Mar. 31 – Copenhagen, Denmark – The Rock
Apr. 01 – Cologne, Germany – The Underground
Apr. 02 – Bruges, Belgium – JH Comma
All photos by Stephen Jensen