-- Dangerous Times for the Dead gets shredded! --
Interview written and conducted by Stijn “Metal Shredder” Daneels with assistance from Marjolein “Mrs. Metal Shredder.”
One very fun band that Marjolein “Mrs. Metal Shredder” introduced me to was the Dutch old-school heavy metal act Dangerous Times For The Dead. After playing one of their already published tunes on our radio show Belgian Metal Shredder On Air and eventually their vocalist Bjørn offered me the opportunity to play their eponymous single on the show in advance. Since then, Bjørn and I kept in touch with each other and eventually he offered me to shred the band via his bass playing colleague Gerrit.
So I called up bassist Gerrit to talk about Dangerous Times for the Dead’s origins and influences, their high-quality DIY work ethics and epic Spotify playlists. He also offered advice to other bands on how to get through the COVID19 crisis and finally I remarked that the “Dead” in their logo is very reminiscent of a certain legendary FPS game.
Gerrit, it’s great to have you here on Skype. Tell me, how did Dangerous Times
For The Dead begin?
Gerrit: Two years ago longtime friends Bjørn and Dave formed Dangerous Times For The Dead and I discovered them thanks to an advertisement wherein they requested musicians to handle the music’s rhythm sections. After a couple of auditions our drummer Jeroen and me got the jobs and I must say that we all share a lot of personal and creative chemistry with each other.
BMS: That’s great! So what are Dangerous Times For The Dead’s primary influences?
Gerrit: Certainly the old-school metal acts from the 1970s and 1980s like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest as well as Danzig. That old-school metal love is something we all share within the band despite us having a diverse range of previous music experiences in subgenres like progressive and doom metal.
BMS: I see. Well, I listened to the tunes which you’ve currently got on YouTube and I noticed a real old-school vibe but also thrash and power metal influences, depending on the songs. A tune like “Power Management” is a joyful power metal beat while the eponymous “Dangerous Times For The Dead” song is faster, rougher and therefore more thrash oriented. I also admire Bjørn’s vocal style. His Dutch accident gives the vocals a natural siren sound which is quite attention-grabbing plus it gives the sound an authentic Dutch personality.
Gerrit: That’s nice to hear. Yeah, Bjørn has a very distinct vocal style, he’s mainly influenced by Ronnie James Dio (and actually met him a few times) and we think that shows. It’s good to hear you like his voice as well. Songwriting in our band goes very smoothly, we all come up with riffs and once we have a couple of those which sound great and fit well together Bjørn starts writing lyrics for them. Sometimes it only takes one rehearsal for us to come up with a new song.
Gerrit: Speaking about our self-titled song, the whole purpose was to create a catchy, adrenaline-fueled anthem named after our own band and which we could play at the end of our future gigs in order to make the audience remember our name by the show’s end.
BMS: That’s quite a smart strategy. I also admire that single’s artwork! It’s colorful and cartoony and the raised zombie hand reminds me of the Evil Dead action comedy horror series with Bruce Campbell! Groovy!
Gerrit: Thank you! I drew the artwork for that single and on Instagram we had first run a contest to chose 2 of our fans to be included in the single’s artwork as zombie hunters. In fact, since we do everything within the band ourselves (that not only includes song writing and artwork but also music production, mixing, video recording and editing and overall band management) it gives us a lot of flexibility, which comes in handy during this dreadful COVID19 pandemic.
Gerrit: We may not be able to perform live, but we do manage to maintain an engaging and consistent social media presence by regularly running contests and by writing and producing new songs and videos. All of our music gets recorded here at my home and we all take turns to enter this homemade studio and record our tracks.
BMS: That’s a great tactic. Speaking of your music videos, I really love the look of your “Power Management” video. It breathes an 1980s vibe thanks to the vibrant neon colors and the slightly blurry and wobbly video quality as if it comes from a vintage VHS tape. How did you make that music video?
Gerrit: It was made with a green screen in our rehearsal room and we recorded ourselves in front of the screen while also respecting the social distancing rules and then we edited the rest of the bells and whistles in. In fact, it was our first time making a Dangerous Times For The Dead video and through trial and error we ended up creating the music video you can all see at the end of the article and we’re very glad you like the end result.
BMS: I certainly did. Tell me, what are the future plans for Dangerous Times For The Dead?
Gerrit: In December we’ll be releasing a brand new tune called “Storm The Castle” (and we’ll certainly be giving you the opportunity to play that new song in advance on Belgian Metal Shredder On Air). And aside from that we’ll be continuing writing and recording material. Our main goal is to make our discography fun and varied while always maintaining a NWOBHM feel.
BMS: I’m very curious to see what you’ll be handing us! I wonder, did you do any gigs before the COVID19 lockdown?
Gerrit: We did a couple of small gigs between our inception and the ongoing pandemic, but this year was actually supposed to be our major live debut year since we had a small tour planned with 8 gigs for this year. Although that tour was cancelled, we did almost have a release party of the eponymous Dangerous Times For The Dead single supported by your countrymen called After All and following all the COVID19 measures which were present during this summer but the event got cancelled as well when the pandemic regained steam and therefore the COVID19 measures became too strict for any gigs to happen! Fortunately we did do our release show online so it wasn’t an entirely lost effort.
BMS: It certainly wasn’t. I genuinely admire your creative and practical flexibility. So, what other activities are you doing during the pandemic?
Gerrit: We think about opening a merch store and do live streaming and we’re also working on jointly promoting fellow metal bands via such initiatives such as Bjørn’s Spotify playlists.
BMS: Indeed! I’m currently following 4 of his playlists. And I’m particularly pleased with his New Wave of Benelux Heavy Metal playlist, (check it: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3r8LqvQikTQiWPy5HEccTN?si=f0zeAQcwTvKAHiYcgycaCQ) which also gained quite some great feedback in our Facebook group Belgian Metal Shredder Community (join us: https://www.facebook.com/groups/317158418626662). Did you also contribute to Bjørn’s playlists?Gerrit: No, but I do maintain an official Dangerous Times For The Dead playlist called NWOTHM 2019 2020: New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal.
BMS: Great! I’ll check that out as well. But I noticed a fun little detail about your band logo. The word “Dead” in Dangerous Times for the Dead has a font similar to that of the iconic FPS game DOOM, one of my all-time favorite videogames!
Gerrit: Yes, you’ve assumed correctly! I’m an avid gamer myself and I make a living in video game development and yes, DOOM is also one of my most beloved videogame franchises and I decided to make the word “Dead” in our band logo about 80% identical to the DOOM emblem as a subtle nod to that legendary game.
BMS: So, you’re a game developer? Sweet, what games to you make?
Gerrit: I’m currently active making edutainment games for high-school level education. I work for companies like Bellpepper Edutianment and Uitgeverij Deviant and I also have a small mobile game company of my own!
BMS: Great! And what activities do your Dangerous Times for the Dead colleagues have?
Gerrit: Our drummer Jeroen works at Theater Markant, our vocalist Bjørn is a high-school teacher, our lead guitarist Thijs works in psychological healthcare and finally our other guitarist Dave works in public service as a licensing provider.
BMS: That’s quite a diverse set of professions. I must admit that despite the ongoing pandemic you still manage to get and keep your band on track. So tell me, what can of advice could you give to other bands to manage themselves through this ongoing crisis?
Gerrit: Although playing live gigs isn’t an option right now there are many other ways to get your band out to the world. Be active on social media and keep your fans frequently updated on your band’s current activities. Also keep looking around for opportunities to get your material reviewed or played on the radio or to collaborate with other acts. Maybe you can make some acoustic versions of your most popular songs (like Angel Witch is doing nowadays) or do some live music streaming on social media. And finally, you’re still able to write new, excellent material and make some new sweet looking videos for it.
Gerrit: One thing I noticed as well is that people’s desire for new music is still there. So even if you’ve only got a fledging music project and haven’t played any gigs ever, this can still be a fruitful period for you to learn, write, explore and get to know other people. People who may become fans of your work or who may be interested in having a nice chat, just like we’ve had right now.
BMS: That’s right! It was great talking to you Gerrit! Hope to see you soon!
Gerrit: Likewise, my friend! Keep yourself and your loved ones healthy and I’m sure we’ll meet in the near future! Thanks for shredding me and the band!