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KNAC.COM Exclusive Interview with Black Dahlia Murder

By CrpnDeth, Staff Photographer/Writer
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 8:11 PM

As submitted by Dan Gies

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KNAC.COM:Alright, Dan here with Ryan Bart Williams of Black Dahlia Murder. Thanks for...

RYAN: Sure.

KNAC.COM: ... taking the time sir.

RYAN: Thanks for having me.

KNAC.COM: This is a question I gotta ask you. Why do they call you Bart?

RYAN: Oh man, there's - I wish I had a really cool story for it, but there's really not one. When I was like sixteen I was introduced to my best friend's sister one time. And then I didn't see her for a while. But she saw me again. She had forgotten my name, but didn't want to be like "oh I forgot your name, what's your name?" so she just goes, "Oh, I'm gonna call you Bart", and then introduced me to a few different people as Bart and literally like that was it. The next day like everybody was calling me that, and it just stuck.

KNAC.COM: You like it?

RYAN: You know what, it's been like 15 - 16 years now, I'm kinda over it. But whatever. (Laughs)

KNAC.COM: Right on. Now you play the bass obviously, where'd you get your start? Was that something you wanted to do, was it the instrument you picked up, or did you fall into it?

RYAN: Um, well it's kinda like the same story you've probably heard before. I started playing guitar or just you know, playing along with records at home. Stuff like that. And I had two friends that also played guitar and they were both better at guitar than I was. So I was like wow, I'll play bass, you know? But from there I really, I really focused on it and tried to get into it, and started playing with other bass players that were around the area. And trying to not just be a guitar player who played the bass but actually, I tried to really get into bass and learn about it. And tried to be a good bass player.

KNAC.COM: I gotta ask this one too. You guys are from Waterford MI - how in God's name does such an awesome metal band come out of the Motown capital? How'd that happen?

RYAN: Um, I don't know, I mean I think that anyplace where there's long winters can kinda lead you into getting really into something, whether it's metal or you know, art or whatever it is, you know what I mean, because you got a lot of time to kill there in the winter, where you can't really go outside. So I think that we were all just into metal and punk and hard core stuff growing up and I think metal just kinda drew us all in at one point.

KNAC.COM: Now have you been down to Greek Town lately in Detroit?

RYAN: I haven't been there in a little while actually, a few months.

KNAC.COM: Are you a Red Wings fan?

RYAN: Ah, no actually, I don't really follow much sports. I just started getting back into basketball, and I watched the finals game last night, but ah, other than that, sports are kind of, seem like the other side of the world to me.

KNAC.COM: Now you did watch, what do you think about Miami choking? What do you think of the whole thing?

RYAN: I was rooting for Dallas anyway, so I was, I was down.

KNAC.COM: Alright, now let's get into the band. You guys are about to drop Ritual, the fifth album - it quite a departure for you guys, a little bit different than what you guys have done in the past. Correct?

RYAN: A little bit, I think it will still sound like the Black Dahlia Murder to our fans. Nothing like completely crazy but we definitely have branched out a little bit sound wise. Um, you know Ryan, our newer guitar player has contributed a lot more to the album, there's some string sections, stuff like that, which is something we've never done before. The songs are just more varied. You know, I don't think there's really any two songs on the album that sound like each other too much. You know what I mean? So every song got its own kinda thing going on and um, you know, I think it's just fresh, some fresh ideas.

KNAC.COM: Ah Metal Blade, kinda the cream of the crop in metal. They treat you all pretty good with support, you guys have been with them for a while now?

RYAN: Yeah, we really like them. You know they've always supported the band pretty hard, and we get along with them on a personal level really well and business level obviously as well. They are really cool, they know what we do and they trust us to do what we're going to do and it's just never a thing where it's like you guys should add some singing or, you know they know metal - the ins and outs of it. They always treated us really well.

KNAC.COM: You guys are headlining the Summer Slaughter tour this summer. It's the first time you guys have headlined this tour. It's gotta feel pretty good after all your hard work, right?

RYAN: It's awesome. Its gonna be a pretty big tour hopefully. Um you know White Chapel, Darkest Hour, Six Feet Under, Dying Fetus - I mean there's tons of bands on it. It should be cool. I hope it's good. I hope a lot of people come out.

KNAC.COM: I'm sure they will. You guys kick ass. Now what surprised you the most over the course of time you've been with Black Dahlia Murder?

RYAN: What surprised me the most? Ah, what do you mean as far as just what it's like to be in the band? Or ...

KNAC.COM: Well I noticed your lead singer made a comment about playing in shitty local bars. And you guys are now a kind a step above that. You guys are playing pretty big shows now, correct?

RYAN: Um sometimes. You know it really depends, like we were just in Little Rock, which is somewhere we've never actually played before at all, and we played to probably like 100 people. And it was still, it was still a great show. It was still a lot of fun, but it really depends on where you are. You know if you're playing in New York City, yeah you're probably gonna have a huge show, but if you're out in Montana or something you could end up in a little bar playing to 50 people. And we still have that range of, you know, we could go play, we could play at a huge festival in Europe, which were about to go do, to thousands of people. Ah some tours you go end up playing a bar, so we get the whole spectrum for sure.

KNAC.COM: Yeah I was just gonna ask you, you guys are heading to Europe this week. Your gonna be hitting Germany, Sweden, France all over there. You gotta be pretty excited for that.

RYAN: Oh yean I mean itís always cool to go to those festivals, I mean there. The people that go out to those festivals in Europe are really, really die hard metal fans, And you know theyíll be sleeping in the mud for 3 days, they donít care. So itís really cool to be able to play for people that are really that into the music and you know its traditional almost over there every year. You just know the summer festivals are gonna be a good time, you're gonna see a lot of bands you wanna see. You're gonna see your friends, yeah itís gonna be awesome.

KNAC.COM: Now you guys released the single Moonlight Equilibrium, the end of April. Did you know it was gonna be so well received by the fans and the media alike?

RYAN: I had really no idea, you know - I never know. I can never guess what people are gonna like really. You know what I mean? You kinda get a feeling, you have an idea, but you can never really be sure so until people actually hear it. I knew that was one of my favorite songs on the album, but usually that has nothing to do with what other people are gonna like. So for a lot of people like it, and you know Iíve already read some reviews on the album that were really, really good. So I mean that obviously is awesome. It feels great that people like it you know?

KNAC.COM: What is your favorite track off the new album?

RYAN: Itís hard to say, but I think that might be it, Moonlight. It might be my favorite one. Thereís a lot of 'em I really like, but that oneís just really fun to play live and I think itís just got a really nice flow to it and kinda catchy. Yeah, I like that one a lot.

KNAC.COM: Your fans are really reacting to the cover tune, This Mortal Coil, that you did with Jeff Walker for Decibelís Flexi Disc Series, was that quite a treat or what? Did you expect that?

RYAN: Yeah it was awesome. Itís hard to guess how people are gonna react to that too cause some people you know that might for whatever reason go ďyou guys, you guys fucked it upĒ or whatever but yeah the people are saying its cool. Itís awesome obviously. To do a track with Jeff, is sweet man. It was a big deal for us you know?

KNAC.COM: Did the critics matter to you as a band, or is it just kinda taken with a grain of salt? Cause like you said Ritual's gettingÖ.

RYAN: To me, I donít care. You know because I donít know, I just think a lot of people have what they base their opinions on and how they come up with what they like and they donít like is just vastly different from me. You know everyone is different obviously and to me I donít really pay attention to that stuff. Other people in the band I think pay attention more or less. But to me it never really means much.

KNAC.COM: Now you do have your own bass model from Zon. Correct? Did you have hands on with that?

RYAN: I donít have my own signature model yet, but there is something thatís in the works and hopefully itís coming out soon. Iíve been working on it for a little while trying to get a Sands Amp actually incorporated into the electronics of the bass. So hopefully that is something thatís gonna come out soon, I know Zons been working on it for a little while, so just kinda looking forward to getting the prototype and checking it out.

KNAC.COM: Now whatís your take on social media? You like interacting with the fans the way you can these days with like Twitter, Facebook, and all of that stuff?

RYAN: I think itís good. You know I think Myspace, and just the internet in general, kinda changed the whole landscape of music, you know? And how people find out about music and how people listen to music, and I think that for bands that maybe donít have the label support, and stuff like that, itís even more important because thereís a lot more you can do just on your own now, you know? And I think its shifting the way people find out about music and I think itís a good thing. The whole business model of how to sell music is still, you know, that still has to be figured out. You know Amazon just opened up a new MP3 store, seems really cool where, you know like, Iíve bought a few records off there, and they were like $5 bucks and you have like this cloud were they save all your music so you can like listen to it wherever. You can download MP3ís with no digital rights, so itís just like you put it on whatever you want. I think thatís really cool. Googleís coming out with a new music service. iTunes is even changing up their stuff. So, I think itís only gonna get better.

KNAC.COM: I agree. I do the same, I buy a lot off Amazon 'cause I like that cloud, you can get it right on your phone. Itís kinda cool.

RYAN: Yeah I have it right on my phone, and Iíll just be bored sometimes and end up buying stuff off there, you know? I mean, so, I think thatís really the way to go.

KNAC.COM: Yeah very cool to hear you do that as well. Now, Facebook, I noticed this really, is an accomplishment for you guys, and I want your opinion on it. Most of the bands on Facebook, outside of the huge bands, you guys have over half a million people that have liked your page. Thatís got to make you guys feel really, really proud.

RYAN: Yeah for sure. I mean, I think we did even back into Myspace we had a lot of people that were on there too and yeah I mean the more people that are following our Facebook, the better for sure. So, I donít know if thatís a good number compared to other bands that are about the same size as us. I donít really compare. But It seems like a lot I donít know, is that a good number?

KNAC.COM: You know I see, I am on a lot of band pages, and that number popped right out at me when I seen it. I have never seen that number personally.

RYAN: Really?

KNAC.COM: Yeah. I personally havenít, but then again, I donít really go to the mainstream bands pages much so....

RYAN: Right, Right. Well thatís still cool. Cool, I really didnít have any kind of scale to judge that on. So thatís cool.

KNAC.COM: Yeah. Now when you guys set forth to record your music, do you guys do what you guys want to do? Or do you guys try to please the fans, or go with the times?

RYAN: I think that to an extent, you know, Bryan tries to keep the thread of our sound still in the band, you know what I mean? So itís still gonna sound like the Black Dahlia Murder. I think that we also try to always incorporate something new at the same time though, you know because nobody wants to hear the exact same record that you just put out. You know what I mean so. I donít think that were following any trends in metal or anything like that, but I think that we definitely try to keep, the media sounds while still keeping it fresh. Which is a challenge, but I think weíve done it on the new one.

KNAC.COM: Right. What about the live show? What sets you apart from the other bands in your genre?

RYAN: I donít know man. Thereís a lot of good bands out there so I donít wanna say that weíre doing anything that no one's ever done before, or anything like that. But I think that just trying to play tight and really focusing on just playing the songs accurately while still having energy and still trying to put on a good live show, I think thatís what we try to focus on.

KNAC.COM: Now you got the gig back in late í05? You joined the band.

RYAN: The very beginning of Ď06.

KNAC.COM: Now was that something you wanted to be a part of or where you just anxious to get out and play?

RYAN: It was definitely something I wanted to be a part of. I had known about the band before. I had been an engineer on their first album. But I knew the guys, and I knew the band, and I liked the music and stuff like that. And when they first called me up it was just, you know just to fill in, because they needed someone to go to Japan with them. And I had never been to Japan, so I was obviously super stoked to do that. But at the time, I wasnít playing music that was quite as challenging or up to speed as far as the tempos, so I had about a month, to really get my chops up to that level. So that was kind of a difficult challenge for me musically. Yeah, I just started jamming with them, and they liked me, and asked me to join them right away so, yeah I jumped on it ya know?

KNAC.COM: Howís the new guy Ryan Knight getting along with you guys?

RYAN: Oh, Awesome. I mean, I think heís really the best thing that happened to the band in a long time. As far as just personally, heís just a fun dude to be around. And musically I think heís a few steps beyond any of us in the band as far as how into music he is as far a theory and stuff like that, And I think it shows in his solos and in his writing too. His writingís awesome. He can kind of write a BDM song that sounds likes its right in with all our other songs. You know what I mean? And thatís just pretty awesome. So yeah, we love him. Heís great.

KNAC.COM: Alright, now this one here, Trevor I seen was quoted as saying, and this is a quote from him, he said ďA lot of our ethics, the way we carry ourselves, is more punkĒ. So, are you guys, punk rockers thrashing your way around the world?

RYAN: I would kinda say yeah. I mean, we really all came out of kind of punk and hard core seen and kind of you know even though our music isnít that music, and weíre kinda getting mislabeled metal core a lot because of the way we dress, and we donít dress in all black all the time, or whatever, have long hair or whatever people think that metal is. You know what I mean? But I think that the way we approach music and approach life, is more of a hard core mentality, is to where you know IĎm not better than anybody else, but Iím not better than the fans because Iím up on the stage. You know were all there together because we like music and itís more of a community thing you know just having those kinda more down to earth, you know, expectations about people and music and stuff like that.

KNAC.COM: So, my next question was gonna be that, thatís kinda funny, because Iíve heard this from others. He also was quoted as saying ďThat the hard core has a sense of community without the competition you see in metal.Ē And you agree with that then?

RYAN: Oh, for sure, I think in metal a lot of times its like, ah letís just say, that you are on a tour with three different metal bands, with different sizes and you know the headlining band is, they get to tell you what to do, and they get to treat you like a dick because they're bigger than you are. And you know itís a lot of like alpha male, kinda of like, "weíve been around longer" or whatever it is. You know itís more of a competition and more of a contest just rather being there because you like music and you're all part of the same thing. Which is something the hard core mentality. You know it is a community, were all there.

KNAC.COM: What should we expect on the Summer Slaughter tour this year? You got any surprises in store?

RYAN: Well, we're gonna be playing some new songs. So hopefully thatís exciting for people, and were gonna try to bring it as hard as we can.

KNAC.COM: Who are some of your favorite new acts today? You got any new bands that you're into?

RYAN: Iíve really been jamming that new Obscure record a lot, pretty much every day. Thatís probably my favorite thing thatís come out lately. The other bands from Montreal called Beyond Creation thatís also got a really wicked fretless bass player that Iíve been into lately. Thatís about it as far as stuff Iíve been listening to lately.

KNAC.COM: Do you ever cruise out after the show and hang with the fans?

RYAN: Oh yeah, for sure. I mean I think that kinda ties back into the whole not having the metal mentality as much as not like weíre oh weíre cooler than the fans so we donít talk to them, itís like yeah, weíre gonna go out and hang out with people. Weíre just average dudes just like anybody. I mean we all hang out in the crowd and you know, have a drink with the band or whatever.

KNAC.COM: So what is your drink of choice?

RYAN: You know, Iím not a really huge drinker, I drink beer and stuff like that. I like Jager, I like Jack Daniels, but Iím not a huge drinker.

KNAC.COM: The typical rockstar!

RYAN: Yeah right!

KNAC.COM: Alright now who would you love to do a tour with that you havenít toured with?

RYAN: Whoa, thatís a tough one. Ah, let me think about that. Actually I would love to go out and do something with a band like Converge or something like that. That would be really awesome. I mean, this would never happen, but a band like NoFX or something like that would be awesome for me too. Who else?

KNAC.COM: That would be killer.

RYAN: We have played with Cannibal Corpse before. That was like a dream come true for me for sure. Iím trying to think of any bands we havenít toured with that Iíd really like to. I mean obviously, Slayer or someone in that caliber would be amazing. Weíve never toured with anybody that big. Now I think that would be pretty awesome. Yeah, stuff like that I guess.

KNAC.COM: Is there anything I missed you would like to add?

RYAN: Nah. The new record comes out June, 21st, and yeah we already talked about Summer Slaughter. So people just pick up the new record, come see us live.

KNAC.COM: Looks like you will be here in Scottsdale (AZ) on July 31st. Totally looking forward to the show.

RYAN: Cool, weíll have to hang out.

KNAC.COM: That's exactly why I asked about your favorite drink, I'll have a few cold ones ready for you. It's already getting to 108 here.

RYAN: Alright, cool man.

KNAC.COM: Hey thanks for taking the time Ryan. I really appreciate it, and we'll see you soon.

RYAN: Thank you very much. Have a good day.

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