Azrael’s Bane is:
Trey Gadler – Vocals
Jeff Clifton – Guitar
Chuck McFadden – Guitar
Brent Marches – Bass
Van Eric Turner – Drums
From Houston, TX, Azrael’s Bane was formed back in 2001 and released a pair of albums, Wings of Innocence in 2004 and Modern Day Babylon in 2008, that were both well received by critics and fans alike. With their success, however, came the inevitable “grind” brought on by relentless touring and promoting that ultimately lead to a much needed break for the band in 2009. Members went back to their lives and other projects until the death of a crew member and close friend Giovanni May in 2013. After discussing plans for a memorial concert in May’s honor the band decided that it was time to put Azrael’s Bane back together and push forward with new drummer, Van Eric Turner (formerly of ZlotZ). The next page is about to be written for the band, so we seized on the opportunity to get some insight from vocalist Trey Gadler. Now that the interview is in the bag, I look forward to seeing what is on the horizon for Melodic Metal masters, Azrael’s Bane! Check it out!
Interview with Azrael’s Bane vocalist Trey Gadler:
Odyssey: So, how has the reunion been over the last year and a half?
Trey: It’s been good. We’ve been having a great time playing our old songs and writing new ones.
Odyssey: What did members in the band do musically and otherwise during your hiatus?
Trey: We spent more time with our families and most of us worked on other projects, other bands. I started a solo band in a completely different genre that I had been wanting to do for a long time and both Brent and Jeff helped me with that project at various points.
Odyssey: How has the partnership with Sleaszy Records been (Congratulations, by the way!)?
Trey: So far so good! I’ve got nothing but good things to say about those guys.
Odyssey: How did this come about since they are from Greece (We at MN fight over bands from Greece. Something in the water over there!)?
Trey: They contacted me and asked if we might be interested in working with them. They’ve got a good thing going over there. Those guys are as supportive as they get.
Odyssey: How has this relationship helped you out?
Trey: We’ve had the Modern Day Babylon record sitting on a shelf for a really long time, so it’s nice to finally put it out in the world. It still remains to be seen how things shake out with touring, but we’d really like to play in Europe a bit and those guys have been very supportive about the idea.
Odyssey: What happened with Highvol Music? Please contrast with Sleaszy and what led to the switch?
Trey: I don’t want to sling any mud. Things just weren’t working the way we thought they should with HVM. I’ll leave it at that. We were in negotiations with SR when we signed with HVM, so when that deal soured I called up SR to see if they were still interested. They were and here we are.
Odyssey: How has the re-release of your double-record Modern Day Babylon (Wings of Innocence – 2003, Modern Day Bablylon – 2007) gone since last month’s official release?
Trey: Well, unfortunately we had some delays at the manufacturing plant due to some glitches in the transfer when we sent the stuff to the label, so the release was pushed back to next month. March 3 I believe. All the reviews so far have been great though.
Odyssey: You have two bonus tracks: “Diary of a Madman” by Ozzy and “Edge of Thorns” by Savatage that I really dig. Are there any more plans for covers? What other songs would you consider and why?
Trey: Since this is technically a re-release, we put those on there as bonus tracks. Just a little something extra. We don’t have any plans on recording any others, but who knows? We have covered a bunch of different stuff live over the years. We like to throw a cover into most of our sets, but we don’t like doing the same stuff all the time, so we’ve done a bunch of them. We do pretty decent versions of some Dio and Maiden songs, so if we ever decided to record another one it would probably be one of those.
Odyssey: You also recently dropped the single “So Far Away”. Do you have a new album in the pipeline? If so, can you share any details?
Trey: We’re writing right now. We owe SR another record, so we’re working hard on writing it. It’s still a long way off though. We’re nowhere near ready for the studio yet. I don’t even want to speculate on how soon it will be, but we are working hard on it.
Odyssey: Every band is different and am curious what is your process of writing (music, lyrics, themes, etc.)?
Trey: It varies. We’ve probably written songs in just about every way that you can. Most of the time one of the guys will come up with a riff and the rest of us will put it together in the rehearsal room, but sometimes one of us will come in with a complete song, and we’ve written a few that came from spontaneous ideas that come up while we’re just jamming. I write pretty much all of our lyrics these days. In the early days of the band Jeff contributed more to that part of it, but I think he’s more comfortable just turning that part over to me these days. I don’t have any set process. I just write what comes to mind. I get ideas from everything. Books, stuff I’ve seen on the news, movies, sometimes just a story someone has told me or something I read on Facebook.
Odyssey: Has this changed since the reunion? If so, how?
Trey: Not really. We’ve probably become more collaborative. It’s pretty rare for anyone to bring in a complete song any more, but I’m not sure if there is any real reason behind it. Everybody in this band is a strong writer, so getting everyone’s input just tends to make for better songs.
Odyssey: What other bands have influenced your music and what do you take away from each?
Trey: That would depend on which one of us you ask. We have wildly varied influences individually. As a band, we do tend to draw from bands like Queensryche, Savatage, Iron Maiden etc. It’s tough to nail down specific things that we draw from them. It’s just an overall vibe type thing.
Odyssey: Are there any newer/smaller bands that you have run across that you think we should be looking out for?
Trey: I can name a couple of regional bands that we’ve done shows with recently that I think are fantastic. Infidel Rising from Dallas is a bad ass power/prog band that I expect big things from. There’s also a local band called Masqued that I think are going to do big things.
Odyssey: You guys have been around for an awfully long time and play relentlessly. Any particular show(s) stand out and why?
Trey: The Monterrey Metal Fest stands out for me. It was just the best time I’ve ever had on a stage and the atmosphere backstage was just killer. We spent hours hanging out with the guys in Motorhead. That was a treat.
Odyssey: With this longevity, what advise would you give emerging bands?
Trey: Respect your bandmates, don’t get a big head and stick to your guns.
Odyssey: Are there any bands that you would love to play with that you have not?
Trey: Sure, there are tons of them. If I’m dreaming big, I’d love to play with Iron Maiden.
Odyssey: Where is your favorite places to play? How about type of venue and why?
Trey: That’s a difficult question. I love playing the rock clubs, like our hometown rock bar, BFE here in Houston. The intimacy of those type of shows is great, but I love the big stages and bigger crowds at festivals too. It’s a completely different animal. Both have their perks.
Odyssey: As a band, what would you say has been the biggest accomplishment thus far?
Trey: We’ve played all over the country, on some legendary stages like The Whiskey in LA and CBGB in New York, played a lot of big festival stages and opened for a good number of our heroes. We’ve put out a few records that we’re all proud of too. All of that stuff has been great and we’re proud of all of it, but our biggest accomplishment has probably been just sticking it out for so long. Not many bands can pull that off.
Odyssey: What barrier(s) have been the most difficult to push through? How have you gotten through them as a band?
Trey: The money thing is tough. With the advent of downloading, it’s very difficult to make this business work financially these days. We just put one foot in front of the other and persevere.
Odyssey: You guys have a traditional Metal vibe going in your favor! How do the younger crowd receive the music? I know older folks like myself REALLY love you guys!
Trey: We’ve got fans all across the age spectrum. Everything from 12 year old kids to 60 something year old metal heads. It’s been great. Obviously, our primary audience is 40 something year old folks that grew up with our kind of music, but we’re finding that there are a lot of others out there that appreciate what we do.
Odyssey: Azrael’s Bane came to fruition shortly after the dawn of the online distribution model. How has it changed for you over the last fifteen years?
Trey: Well, everything has been downsized. You can’t afford to spend a fortune in a proper studio anymore because the budgets just aren’t there, so the DIY thing has really come into play. Everybody has a protocols set up in their basement etc so you save some money on studio time, and you don’t press many physical copies any more. I think the overall quality suffers a bit, but it is easier to get your stuff out there.
Odyssey: What has gotten easier? More difficult? Why/how?
Trey: I don’t think anything has really gotten easier, other than the ability to communicate with fans directly via social media. The distribution part of it is just a mess right now. Downloading is killing off labels left and right and while it is easier for any band to get their stuff out there, it is much more difficult to be noticed. There is just so much available to your average listener that it’s difficult to be heard. We’re trying though.
Odyssey: Do you have any proposals for fixing what you see as broken in the industry?
Trey: Stopping the free download would be a step in the right direction. I talk to kids today that have never paid for music in their lives. It’s become socially acceptable and they don’t realize that they are doing anything wrong. It’s incredibly frustrating. I think it’s going to require a cultural shift with more awareness on the part of the consumer of what this kind of stuff is doing to the industry and to the artists. There has to be a better way of compensating artists through streaming services too. Streaming is the new radio, which is great, but not many people hear your stuff on Apple music and run out and buy it, so it’s just a tough sell. It’s going to take someone smarter than me to figure it all out, but I think artist revenue from streaming services will probably be the future.
Odyssey: Seriously appreciate your time and attention! Killer band! I look forward to new material in the future. All the best to you and the rest of Azrael’s Bane! As with any Metal Nexus interview, the floor is your for any further thoughts and comments…
Trey: Thank you very much for the interview! Be on the lookout for the Modern Day Babylon record which should be available worldwide in the next couple weeks and stay in touch with us via our websites: Azrael’s Bane and Facebook. Thanks again!