Posted on August 28th. 2017
Questionnaire by Officer Nice & Stefan on behalf of METAL TO INFINITY WEBZINE BELGIUM
Hello, here Rico, aka Officer Nice and Stefan from the Metal To Infinity webzine. First of all I want to thank you guys for the great new album “Escaping Gravity”. It was a honor to work out the review for such a superb effort, really ! We have some questions for you so please, answer frankly.
Officer Nice: Gross Reality is a rather new band and I suppose not so many people are familiar with. So please, can you tell us more about the history of the band?
Daniel: The band was actually formed in 1991. We went through several line-up changes, until the “core” members: Daniel Powell, Jason Wheeler, and Roland Arthur, assembled in 1994. We recorded a demo in 1995, but it’s God-awful, and we never released it. The band split up around 1996, only to reform again in 2009.
Stefan: What were the ambitions setting up a band like Gross Reality?
Daniel: Well, in 1991, we were young and ready to conquer the world, or so we thought. Currently, we are just focused on recording the type of Metal that we’ve always wanted to hear. Something new, and fresh.
Officer Nice: Can you tell us what the main influences are? What is Gross Reality standing for (as a band and as a band name)?
Daniel: Of course, we are influenced by the usual popular Thrash Metal bands: The Big 4, Kreator, D.R.I, Vio-lence, etc. Some other influences are: Pink Floyd, Mr. Bungle, The Police, The Butthole Surfers, Van Halen, The Doors… too many bands to mention, really.
The only thing we really stand for, as a band, is having a good time. We’re not interested in politics, nor do we have any sort of agenda that we are trying to push. It’s simply, have fun and thrash the fuck out…. and titties.
Officer Nice: You guys released an album before. What can you tell us about the debut album?
Daniel: Actually, when we were recording the first album, “Overthrow”, we had no intentions of releasing it. We just wanted to have a professionally recorded version of the songs that we had, some going back as far as 1991. (The song ‘Dirt Filled Skulls’ was the first song we ever wrote, back in 1991). Daniel Powell was not even considered the ‘official’ lead singer, at this point. Daniel was going to sing 8 of the songs. Roland was going to sing one, and Jason was going to sing one. During the recording, Daniel was starting to sound really good, (none of us had any idea that he would), so we decided to let him sing all of the songs. We were literally writing the lyrics to “I’m Absent”, and “Haunting the Waters”, in the hotel room, the night before we recorded them. We had no plans on recording back-ground vocals, until our producer, Jamie King, suggested it. So, we made up, and recorded the back-ground vocals on-the-fly.
Stefan: According to your own consideration, in what ways differ both albums, musical wise?
Daniel: The writing process was a lot different, between the albums.
On “Overthrow”, most the songs were thrown together from old recycled riffs, and were not really written with vocals in mind. While writing Overthrow, we had other singers in the band, that sang more of a Blackend Thrash style. We recorded a 4 song demo in 2010, with another singer, but it’s terrible.
When writing the “Escaping Gravity” album, we knew the identity of the vocals, and were able to write more freely, with the clean vocal approach. We were much more prepared for the recording of “Escaping Gravity”. We demo’d all of the tracks in our home studio, so we knew precisely what we wanted to do once we hit the studio.
Officer Nice: We wrote a review about the new album, “Escaping Gravity”. What can you tell us about it? Who was in for the song writing… how was time in studio…?
Daniel: The review that was written was very well done. We really appreciate that you took the time to review the album. We think that you are correct when saying that we write with emotion. Having the listener have an emotional response to our music is very important to us. I actually still tear up during some of the melancholy parts, lol.
As far as writing, most of the riffs are written by Roland Arthur. He will bring riffs to practice, and we will try to find a logical order for them. Once we have a decent beginning, we will record it via home studio. After the song structure is in place, Daniel will layer vocals on top of it, and adjust the timing of the song accordingly.
The studio was great! It went very smoothly. Jason recorded the drums all in one day. Then Daniel and Roland spent 5 days recording the rest. We had a friend of ours, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Rideout, from the United Stated Army, join us to record the military cadence on the song “Zero Day”. We just had him bark out a lot of different orders that would be heard on a battle field, then we pieced them together in post-production.
Officer Nice: What can you tell us about the lyrics? Guide us through some of songs, lyrical wise.
Daniel: “Dimensional” is loosely based on the book “The Keepers”, by Jim Sparks. The author claims that this is a true account of his experience as an alien abductee.
“Event Horizon” is about escaping from the pull of a black hole. It’s kind of a metaphor: life is always pulling you down, and you have to find the strength to pull away.
“Zero Day” is basically about marching into battle.
“The Incomplete” is about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
“Invitation” is a stream of consciousness during an LSD trip.
“Soul Worn Thin” – I’m not really sure what this song is about. It was just kinda downloaded into my head from an unknown source.
“Into the vault” is about tunneling underground, and breaking into a bank vault.
“Escaping Gravity” is about dying, and your soul leaving the body and escaping the pull of gravity.
Officer Nice: Did you read our review? Agree or disagree?
Daniel: Yes, we definitely read the review. We all agree that the review is very accurate.
Stefan: If someone criticizes your albums badly, how do you cope with that?
Daniel: It’s OK if someone doesn’t like the album. It is impossible to please everybody. Metallica is a perfect example. They are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.
Officer Nice: The front cover is really awesome. Who created it and what’s the idea behind it?
Daniel: The cover was designed by Par Olofsson. He is amazing. You can find his work via: www.parolofsson.se
The idea was to have two separate dimensions melting into one another. Pretty much an acid trip in space. Par took that concept and created something very special.
Stefan: Both Gross Reality efforts were released through Divebomb Records, how did you get involved with them?
Daniel: Our producer, Jamie King, arranged the meeting between us and Divebomb Records. We are very pleased to be working with them.
Officer Nice: You’re from the USA. What about the metal scène over there right now? Are there enough possibilities to play gigs? Is there still a scène?
Daniel: The scene here in Raleigh, North Carolina is great! There are a handful of clubs that book Metal shows. There are a lot of very talented bands in this area, and all of the bands support each other nicely.
Officer Nice: Can you tell us more about a few new albums you really adored lately? (Metal or other genres)
Daniel: I’ll stick with some of our fellow bands here in Raleigh, North Carolina:
*Eldritch Horror – Untouched by the Sun *Outliar – Provoked to Anger
*Suppressive Fire – Nature of War *Necrocosm – Damnation Doctrine
*Datura – The Harrowing *Blatant Disarray – The Harbinger
Stefan: We’re from Belgium, do you have any connection with our Metal movement? In other words, how’s your knowledge in Belgian Metal?
Daniel: To be honest, I’m not very familiar with the Belgian Metal scene. Perhaps you can suggest some good thrash bands for us to check out.
Stefan: Can I ask about the future plans? Maybe a European Tour?
Daniel: Our immediate plans are to start planning some mini-tours on the East Coast of the U.S. We would love to come to Europe to do a tour! The only thing holding us back is money.
Stefan: We’re running outta questions so it’s time to end up this conversation. It was an honor to have a great band like Gross Reality on board and be sure, we will spread the word as good as we can because our respect and dignity for US Metal still burns from deep within ! All the very best, some last words before end up finally?
Daniel: Just want to applaud you guys for keeping the Metal flowing in Belgium! CHEERS!!!