The Evil Dead – Scorching EarthTuesday, 21st February 2017
Heavy metal has blossomed into a worldwide movement. The internet bringing the community and music closer to those who wish to learn, to share, and to discover everything out there from the old to the new. Bands can now seek out label support beyond domestic borders – which brings us to the following blackened heavy metal act The Evil Dead. It’s not often that you find an Argentine act gaining interest from a German label, but these gentlemen have through their second album Earth Inferno now out on Witches Brew.
Featuring three brothers in their lineup (vocalist Alejandro Regueiro plus guitarists Michel and Ian), the rhythm section of bassist Santiago Giusti and drummer Santiago Botalla complete this unique set of musicians, who feel compelled to stray off the normal path. Unafraid to encompass a love of Dissection and Lynyrd Skynyrd amid the normal twin guitar harmonies and cultural hooks, The Evil Dead appeal to a wider birth of metal followers while staying true to their vision of what the genre is all about. Energy, passion, larger than life riffs, and primal screams to send shivers down your spine.
After taking in copious playbacks for the new record, the need to discover more behind The Evil Dead became mandatory. Michel took on this set of questions, and feel free to seek out any and all of their material – as the future looks very bright in another South American treasure.
Dead Rhetoric: Tell me about your earliest memories surrounding music – and how you made the move up to heavy music, plus at what point did you pick up an instrument to start playing in bands?
Michel Regueiro: There was always classical music in our house ,that’s what our parents listened to until Alejandro found Metallica and drove everyone nuts with it .I remember knowing the lyrics to Master of Puppets when I was 10 years old but I wasn’t into music back then, I only cared about drawing cartoons until one day my brother taped an AC/DC show from the TV and made me watch it (it was the No Bull show) and everything clicked ,suddenly I was an AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Motörhead freak and we begged our folks for a guitar so we could follow in our idols footsteps. I started a band called Orion but couldn’t find any members ‘til I was 14 and then it was re-christened to Wolfenstein. I think that lasted for about 3 rehearsals…
Dead Rhetoric: The Evil Dead started in 2006 – how did the original lineup come together, and did you know straight away the style of heavy metal with blackened influences you wanted to play, or did this develop over the course of rehearsals?
Regueiro: Up until that point I had been playing black metal but grew bored of it ‘til I met this drummer who suggested we get together to drink beers and play Kill ‘Em All classics, that sounded like fun and we started adding covers from other bands and started getting better and the original songs just came together naturally. The original sound we were looking for was something like Kill ‘Em All with a Di’Anno like singer ‘til my brother asked if he could take a crack with the vocals and that was it, the sound progressed by itself since we were all bringing our different influences in.
Dead Rhetoric: What can you tell us about your first demo in 2007 and subsequent Ex Nun on the Run EP in 2008 as far as recording sessions and performances – how did you feel about the final outcomes and press/fan response?
Regueiro: That first demo was a lot of fun to record. Santiago Botalla had just joined the band like a week prior to making that demo and he was really green. It was Saint Patrick´s Day and the studio we were recording at was located in front of a rehab clinic. I always thought that was a funny touch. Naturally we were all quite loaded on beer and Jim Beam and the result wasn’t spectacular but the first seed was sown. For the EP, we were more prepared, our manager at the time had hired a friend to work as a producer for the session but it didn’t work out that well, it wasn’t recorded right and it took them a shitload of time to come up with a first mix that we didn’t like but had to sign on it because we had a tour coming up as support for a big local act and we needed something to sell. When we came back we tried to fix that mix and sent it to a different studio but ended up with even worse results but we just didn’t care anymore because our sights were already put on recording our debut album. One day I´ll remix that EP the way it was meant to be. As far as press response there was practically none because the press pretty much shunned us those days and we simply didn’t care.
Dead Rhetoric: Your debut album Pronounced the Evil Dead came out in 2012 – why was there a four-year gap between releases, and how did you attract the interest of Rising Records, a UK label? Do you believe this was the next step forward for the Evil Dead?
Regueiro: The album was done by 2010 but we had problems securing a label so Ian and I hopped on a plane and went on a tour of Europe to promote ourselves and try to secure a deal but we came back empty handed. Rising offered us a deal but ripped us off pretty badly and did fuck all for promotion so besides being ripped off the album suffered too. It was the only choice we had at the time and probably should have never signed with them, but they did release the album and got the music out to the people so in that sense it was the next step forward- although a regretful one.
Dead Rhetoric: The newest album Earth Inferno came out recently on German label Witches Brew. It feels like a very strong, melodic effort that incorporates speed, blackened, and classic metal influences. What were the album recording sessions like for this, what are some of your personal highlights on the record, and did you have any particular challenges or surprises come up that you had to overcome?
Regueiro: We recorded once again with Pablo Fontan as the engineer and it took about a month and a half to do all the recordings and a month and a half of mixing ,As far as I’m concerned the session was pretty smooth as we were really comfortable in the studio this time around and with plenty of time to work but there were some bumpy moments along the way such as Alejandro getting shitfaced and passing out doing his vocals for “Earth Inferno” (yeah he nailed it that’s the one you hear on the album),my amp blowing up when we were starting to cut the leads so we had to borrow some more amps, our third guitarist Federico leaving the band again before recording so I had to do all his parts ,computers crashing while downloading the sessions and more. Highlights to me have to be the overall sound we achieved but more so the guitar tone which we put a lot of effort and time into it, the lyrics as well I think they are magnificent. When we entered the studio we only had about three of them and most of them were written the day before the vocals were done for each track. I think this was a fantastic feat by Alejandro.
Dead Rhetoric: Who came up with the cover art for Earth Inferno – and was it a process to come to the final design, plus do you consider cover art very important in the metal genre?
Regueiro: The cover art was done by Another Vision Design and yeah it was a process since he showed us the original sketch backstage at a gig in Club V. We went through a lot of sketches and designs, changing colors, framing and what not driving the guy crazy I´m sorry to say. And just when we had the perfect design the computer crashed without a backup and the whole thing had to be redone from the original drawings. But I think it came out great and does a great job on reflecting what the music is about. Definitely cover art and overall look is very important especially in today’s oversaturated market.
Dead Rhetoric: How does it feel to be in a band together with two of your brothers Ian and Alejandro – and do you notice a different in terms of playing style or specialties with your fellow guitarist Ian?
Regueiro: As anyone that has siblings and works with them will tell you it can be really cool and super annoying at the same time, it all depends on the day. Yeah, I taught (Ian) to play and we developed a special style between him and I, I´m not gonna say it is some sort of telepathic bullshit but we know and understand how the other one works with his instrument 100 % and that makes things a lot easier actually. We are not guitar heroes or virtuosos at all but we are pretty good and creative at what we do I believe.
Dead Rhetoric: What can you tell us about the metal scene in Argentina – is there a strong market for clubs/venues to play in, do you get a fair amount of national/international tours coming through, and what styles or bands locally seem to be gaining a lot of attention?
Regueiro: The Argentine scene nowadays has much more potential than years ago due to new, exciting bands emerging every day. But it gets put down by the very same people that claim to defend and support it, be it club owners, record labels, so called ‘promoters’ and most of the press. They all want to cash in on the nostalgia acts of the 80’s and 90’s and offer zero support to the upcoming groups, touring the country is quite hard due to long distances and bad infrastructure making travelling a very expensive hassle. We do get a fair amount of international acts coming through but in order to gain support slots you have to pay out of your ass and that ends up breaking bands up more than helping them reach the summit. Right now doom, stoner, black metal, and retro thrash seem to be the styles ‘in vogue’.
Dead Rhetoric: How would you compare The Evil Dead on stage versus the studio – what do you consider some of the best shows the band has played on through the years?
Regueiro: When in the studio it’s a controlled attack while it is all guns blazing live, some songs like “Marañon” sound massive and heavy when played live . We did some really good shows outside Buenos Aires that are very memorable to us, that 2008 tour for Ex Nun on the Run was excellent, another one was the gig we played with Enforcer here in 2013 as was the first one in Club V presenting Pronounced (The Evil) Dead. All of these had their good share of fuck ups but all in all they kicked ass. Shame that there are so few live videos of us on YouTube.
Dead Rhetoric: You seem to have a love for the US television series Arrested Development based on some of your recent social media posts – what makes you really connect to that series?
Regueiro: Haha the best question ever. I don’t know it just resonates with me. We love silly and witty humor and AD is filled with it, every time you re-watch an episode you find little things that you hadn’t noticed before. It’s a total riot and the characters and situations are so over the top I just can’t resist myself. It’s a very intelligent show.
Dead Rhetoric: What are some of your favorite albums to listen to when traveling to work or on the road, and who would you consider three of the benchmark bands that everyone in The Evil Dead can agree to as being premiere, pinnacle bands for their collections?
Regueiro: For travelling: Dissection-The Somberlain, Enforcer-Diamonds, Metallica-Ride the Lightning, Iron Maiden-Piece of Mind, Motorhead-Overkill, In Solitude-Sister, Lynyrd Skynyrd-One More from the Road, and anything by AC/DC.
We all have very different influences but three bands we can all agree have a direct impact on us are Dissection, Iron Maiden and Metallica for sure.
Dead Rhetoric: How would you describe the current government and economic situation within Argentina? How do balance out your day jobs/ careers with carving out time for the musical activities for The Evil Dead?
Regueiro: I would describe it as a slow progress, luckily imports have opened up again and currency controls have been lifted (yeah, I know what the fuck were we thinking?) and this is very important for bands. I can’t predict the future but just hope for the best. It’s a total bitch man but with effort it can be done.
Dead Rhetoric: What types of touring or promotional activities will be taking place for The Evil Dead over the rest of 2017? Has work begun on the songwriting for the third album, and if so what can the fans expect?
Regueiro: At this moment, we are promoting the album with the international press but we´d like to tour the album later on, there are no plans at the moment but we are open to any offers. Yeah, some songs have already been written that have a more savage approach, fans can expect a very wild ride on the follow up. And if everything else fails, they should remember there´s always money in the banana stand!