Dean Tavernier, guitar player for Skullview by EC - 03.20.03
|Select Discography |
Legends Of Valor
Kings Of The Universe
Consequences Of Failure
Thanks alot Dean for helping us out and allowing us to get an interview. Skullview is one incredible heavy metal force. I own all three albums, and I must say American power metal doesn't get any better than this. Amazing vocals and ripping guitar....Skullview really is the total package. I'm sure you are aware of the growing popularity of nu-metal in the US. The average metal fan by today's standards doesn't even realize this kind of music exists.
To someone who would be new to this type of sound, how would you describe Skullview to them?
First of all, thanks for your appreciation of Skullview. It is good to know that there are still people in the scene who actually listen in detail to what they are hearing on albums. Describing our sound is somewhat easy to those who know what real heavy metal is supposed to sound like. We play straight forward, no gimmicks, traditional styled heavy metal music. Our sound does not include "phat" productions, jumpy grooves, tough guy vocals, or downtuned guitars. You simply get natural sounding, heavy metal music.
Obviously the band is inspired by metal from the 80s. What kind of bands did you grow up listening to, and what are some of the biggest influences on Skullview?
As all of the members of the band are over the age of 30, our influences do harken back to the bands of the 80's, as those were our glory years for heavy metal. Those were the years when we were teens and really discovering this truly great form of music. To put our finger on one or two specific bands would be very hard to do. Obviously the bigger bands of the 80's, such as Maiden, Priest, Metallica, Overkill, Sabbath, are obvious influences. But we draw influences from many bands, some from the 70's such as Sabbath, Deep Purple, Ted Nugent, Uriah Heep, through bands of the 80' such as the aforementioned along with such greats as Venom, Celtic Frost, Sodom, D.R.I. Then in the 90's you had all the Death Metal bands that erupted who also serve as influences to us such as Dark Throne, Autopsy, At the Gates, Dismember and many others. We feel that our sound today is a reflection of everything we've been listening to over the past 3 decades.
Lets take a look back at the creation of the band. Tell us a little bit about your first two bands, Black Funeral and Prophecies Et Sanctus. What kind of music were those bands playing?
Black Funeral and Prophecies Et Sanctus were a couple of bands that I personally was involved with back in the early to mid 90's. Black Funeral was a band playing cold, dark, satanic, and sloppy black metal. It was a much different project than Skullview obviously. Well crafted songs and musicianship was not much of a concern at that time. That band was more or less a joke in retrospect. Prophecies Et Sanctus was another band, involving the same members from Black Funeral, but it was more serious, dark and brutal Death Metal, in the vein of the early Swedish death metal sound. . We spent alot of time crafting songs for P.E.S., had many label offers, but at that time we didn't care about any of that. We just wanted to write the most brutal death metal we could and drink as much beer and smoke as much herb as humanly possible. In the end, we ended up doing nothing.
What led to the formation of Skullview? It looks like the band has stayed intact since the beginning, how did everyone meet and decide they wanted to play this kind of music for this long?
After I left Indianapolis, I moved up North where I grew up. Joe and myself were longtime friends and grew up listening to metal together in school. We'd always been brothers, sharing interests in music. When I came back north, we decided to start jamming together. Joe began drumming and I took the guitar and the band was formed. Pete was also a longtime friend of ours from the late 80's and we were always fans of Pete's music. We knew of Dave from a local band he had played in, and also as one of Pete's ex-roomates, and knew his love and devotion to playing guitar in a band. I guess it was inevitable that we would all hook up together and do a musical project together. Quimby is an old schoolmate of me and Joe. He fell into the band after our label owner saw him singing in a cover band up in Chicago and recommended he try out for us. He was a perfect fit.
How did you get involved with RIP Records?
I met Stan through one of the members of Prophecies Et Sanctus, and we bacame good friends. When we formed Skullview, Stan became interested in the stuff we were doing. His label was just getting rolling and after he saw us play a live show, he offered us a deal. It was the kind of music he was looking to release on his label.
Are you pleased with the label thus far? You have seen three releases on RIP to date so things must be going smoothly with them.
I am pleased with what RIP has been able to accomplish thusfar. He released 3 albums for us, which was beyond any of our expectations or dreams when we started this band. Alot of people became aware of Skullview through R.I.P. Records, so for us it was good working
Of the three albums, which has been the most successful for the band?
Probably Kings Of The Universe because we had European distribution through Massacre Records on that album. Alot of people heard of Skullview through that deal. As far as success in terms of money, we still have not achieved that kind of success, ha ha.
How has Skullview been accepted by the European audiences? Have you guys played any shows over there? How is the American scene treating you?
We have not been to Europe, yet, but the European audience is what has kept us going over the years. It is the European audience who embrace the style of music that we play, and they are the folks who seem to buy most of our albums. When we first started out in 95', the American audience was just getting caught up to the European scene, as far as the black metal scene was going. So the fact that we started playing this traditional metal style at that time, the American's were not receptive. They were caught up in the Black Metal trend at the time, where that had already had it's heyday in Europe. Nowadays, bands playing traditional metal are popping up all over the place, it's becoming the new trend in America over the past couple of years. But Skullview has remained underground which is good for us, because only the true metalheads in America know who we are, and those are the fans that Skullview need. Not some trendy kids who are now jumping on the bandwagon now that traditional/power metal is trendy here in the states.
In my opinion, Skullview can take the listener into many different realms of the imagination. Where do you get the inspiration and ideas for your songwriting? Where in the hell does a classic song like "Armed With An Axe" come from?
We refer to Armed With An Axe as a 2 minute song, because it literally took us 2 minutes to write that entire song. There wasn't much thought into writing that song. 3 or 4 simple riffs thrown together during a jam session one night while warming up. The song originally was going to be 2 minutes long, but Joe decided to play some more double bass in the studio when we were recording it, so it turned out longer than it was intended. Songs such as Palace Of The Boundless Cold, or In League With The Dragon were much more involved and thought out in writing. Our inspiration is just what sounds cool. We usually decide the title of the song after we start writing it, then Quimby and myself come up with the lyrics later.
In a country dominated by the latest trends, how do you keep a fresh outlook and still continue to play great "old school" heavy metal, the way it is meant to be played?
|"We just wanted to write the most brutal death metal we could and drink as much beer and smoke as much herb as humanly possible." |
We don't bother with the trends. I personally don't buy too many new releases from new bands on bigger labels, simply because I know that their sound will be this nu trendy sound. We play what we want to play and don't care about acceptance. Bands who worry about being accepted by the fans usually turn out crap music. If we like what we are writing, then that is good enough for us and those who don't like it can fuck off. As many fans know, not only do you get great music with a Skullview album, but you also get incredible album covers as well. Who comes up with the ideas for your cover artwork?
The Belgian, Kris Verwimp does all our album artwork. We usually just give him an album title, or a vague idea of what we'd like to see and he does the rest. He is a creative soul who's artistic style compliments Skullview's musical imagery. He brings the imagery in our music to life with his artwork. What do you think is going to have to happen to get stale, uncreative music like Disturbed and System Of A Down off the charts, and get good, talented metal bands like Skullview to the masses? Obviously bigger, established acts like Iron Maiden and Metallica aren't giving bands like Skullview any opportunity whatsoever. Iron Maiden has chosen the mighty Sum 41 to open for them in Europe and Metallica has chosen Linkin Park and the Deftones to tour with them. Looks to be a great year for metal tours!!Hahaha!
In order to get stale. uncreative music off the charts, the only thing to do is to get rid of the charts, because that is all you'll find on the charts. Real metalheads are a very small fraction of the population so their say is nothing when it comes to what is going to become popular. Metalheads are typically independent thinkers, unlike the majority of the public. People buy into what is pushed upon them over the radio and advertisements from multi million dollar music corporations. They dictate what will sell and what people will listen to. It doesn't necessarily mean that what is selling is good at all, most of it sucks really bad. But the public are merely sheep and will follow the hand that feeds them. Bands like Iron Maiden and Metallica are money motivated bands, so any way for them to sell more tickets is what they will pursue. Millions of people have been brainwashed into thinking the System of Downs and crap like that are metal, so they are good addition to a tour because people will come to see those bands. A band like Skullivew who is known by a few thousand underground metal fans will not help Maiden pack an arena. Looking ahead, when can we see a new Skullview album?
We plan to record something in the summer of 2003, so hopefully we'll have it out by the end of the year. Do you have any current touring plans or upcoming shows? Will you guys be playing the Classic Metal Fest again this year?
We've got a short German tour in the works for the summer, hit a couple of smaller German festivals and a few club dates. I hope it pans out, but again the almighty dollar stands in our way. We will do the Classic Metal Festival again this year, guaranteed, and will have some local gigs over the next few months. On a far less serious note, lets look at this scenario. You are stranded on a deserted island with nothing to listen to. You have the option to pick a Poison CD or a Disturbed CD to listen to for the rest of your life, which do you pick? (Suicide is not an
option, and neither Ginger nor Mary-Anne or anywhere in sight)
You did not specify which Poison cd I have the option to choose from. So I am assuming you are talking about the German Poison band, in which case that would be my choice, ha ha. Dean, thanks alot for your time and we appreciate the help and support. Let us know if we can be of any help or assistance to Skullview. Stay armed with an axe, and keep on killing!!!
Thank you for allowing us to tell our story. We hope to be around, releasing albums for a long time. All you have to do is find them if you want to hear them, ha ha. But on a more serious note, as long as Skullview put out albums, you can count on getting heavy metal with integrity that will not put an ugly scar on the history of this great music that we all dedicate our lives to. POINT THE SIGN UP HIGH...METAL TILL YOU DIE!!
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