Interview with Riley Strong



Interview with Riley Strong, frontman of Desecrator, another young and devastating Thrash Metal band from increasingly prolific Australia!

R&MIMB: Hi Riley, and thanks for your time. Would you like to introduce the band to our fans?
Riley: Hey mate! great to be here talking metal with you! DESECRATOR are a 4 peice thrash metal band from Melbourne, Australia.

R&MIMB: How did you come up with your moniker, Desecrator?
Riley: We have many a moniker brother, like "Thrash is dead and we are its tombstone" but if you mean our name then it's pretty basic, i thought about it, liked it and think it represents our ethos as a band just fine..

R&MIMB: Can you describe the kind of music you play?
Riley: DESECRATOR play honest, raw and energetic thrash metal in the traditional way the style was meant to be. No crossover, just thrash attack! We are heavily influenced by the bands who came before us whether they be the 'bay area' sound, the more European style and even our Australian thrash fore-fathers, we like to think we combine these influences into the type of melting pot of metal people are wanting to headbang to.

R&MIMB: Listening to your songs we can notice a lot of angst. Who or what is this angst directed to? What is the message in your music and lyrics?
Riley: As a songwriter i have always found the darker themes in life more interesting to explore and write about, not that i am a morbid fucker living in an cave but i just find that whether it's social commentry, historical events or personal experience metal music really lends itself to being an outlet for terror and chaos more so than happiness and contentment. Personally i have an interest in past wars and the effects of them by religion, as i have never been in one i can only write respectfuly about what i research but i enjoy telling the stories i find through our songs

R&MIMB: Why did you choose to release a live EP before releasing your full length, another live album?
Riley: We decided to track our first album LIVE TIL DEATH to be a statement against the now too common over production of recorded metal favouring instead a return to the raw, loud and honest live roots from which we think the thrash genre was born. We also had the chance to work with acclaimed German thrash producer Harris Johns (Sodom, Kreator, Coroner) on it and really felt his organic, open style of mixing/mastering suited what we had in mind.

R&MIMB: All the songs you recorded for both the EP and the album are live versions. Which song or songs do you personally think have a very strong impact when you play them live?
Riley: The album track listing is the touring live set we had been playing all that year which was part of the reason we chose to use those songs in that format. We saw the audience response the songs were getting and formulated the right order that we felt took the crowd on the best trip and kept them engaged from first note til last. Personally 'Til Death' is my favourite song to play live currently but it changes all the time for all of us.

R&MIMB: How is the songwriting process of the band?
Riley: Usually i will work out riffs and ideas with Matt (drums) until a basic song structure we are happy with is found, then we bring in Mano (bass) so the songs have the core of the attack and we can judge the flow of the song, lastly we add Luke (guitars) to the mix and see how it sits as the 4 of us. By the time we bring in the 4th member the other 3 are normally way too involved in the song so it is a good production tool to bring in the last instrument fresh with a new point of view.

R&MIMB: On the cover of "Live Til Death", there is the famous Australian rock venue "The Arthouse", all burnt down in flames. Who drew it? It reminds us a lot of the great eighties. Can you tell us about the end of that fab place for heavy music?
Riley: The Arthouse was a very loved music venue for more than one generation of alternative music fan in Melbourne, it's kinda hard to describe it because it wasn't the best looking or sounding joint in town but every metalhead had a sense of pride and ownership over it as if it was their own and that made it a very special crowd to play to and place to drink at. When it came to doing our cover we had been shown some work by Marco Hasmann in Italy and just really dug his variety of work, we really wanted an apocolyptic style thrash cover that would not be mistaken on a shelf for anything else and when we got the roughs back after sending only a few photos and rough brief we took one look and knew he was the guy.

R&MIMB: How was the feedback of your album at home and abroad?
Riley: All the feedback from LIVE TIL DEATH so far has been really positive and encouraging. We all knew it was a ballsy move to release something like this as a debut but we believed it was right for our sound and stuck to it and i think people are responding to that which has been great.

R&MIMB: How was it work with the producer known for his work with Kreator, Sodom and Coroner, Harris Johns?
Riley: Working with Harris was an amazing experience, he was really open in his communication and did a lot of trial and error of different sounds and ideas that he could see working before we picked the final path. We actually got to meet him in person a few months back which was awesome, he was in Australia mixing another band and flew down to Melbourne to have a beer for a night which was really cool after so many emails to meet in the flesh. We are very excited to work with him again in the future.

R&MIMB: Speaking about you, why do you use a Gibson Explorer? And what artists have inspired you to play and continue to inspire you?
Riley: I absolutely love that guitar man! It completes me, i have owned others but nothing comes close to it, it's beyond words actually hahaha. As a band i think the greater thrash/metal scene as i mentioned earlier is a lot of where we come from, personally i'm a lot more narrow with what i bring to Desecrator, i love riffs man and i hate groove so whether it be early Metallica, Slayer, Testament, Overkill any of those bands in their aggressive days is what i connect to.

R&MIMB: Let's take a step back. Can you tell us something about Catwitch?
Riley: A different time and a different place for me but something definitely worth youtubing if you are into that sorta thing! 'Judgement Day' is my pick.

R&MIMB: What do you think about the split of the thrash legends of your country, Mortal Sin? What is your most memorable moment on tour with them?
Riley: he fact that Mortal Sin lasted as long as they did and achieved as greater successes as they did is a huge testament to them, especially in a country such as Australia where whilst being proud of our bands there is still not a lot of support to keep artists going. A lot of those bands who had it big in the 80's then had to suffer the 90's just gave up but to there credit they stuck it out and still until the very end put on world class shows. I hope all of them can sit back and look at what they have done and be quite stoked that they are who they are. I reckon my favourite memory of them was just talking with Mat Maurer whenever we crossed paths, to talk to someone so much further down the road you are heading down and still loving what he was doing was great, really encouraging to stick at it and not waver at hardships.

R&MIMB: When will we have the pleasure to see you in Europe? We hosted Elm Street at our festival, next time would you like to participate for few dates here in Italy?
Riley: We would love to come to Italy and play for Rock & Metal in my Blood! Personally watching Metallica in Bologne is one of my favourite European travel memories and i am keen as hell to thrash over there! We have some solid plans in the works for 2013 so hopefully before the end of the year we can announce some exciting news.

R&MIMB: our fellow countrymen Elm Street have decided to take things to the next level by moving abroad. Would you ever consider this possibility for your career as musicians?
Riley: t's great what the Elm St guys have done in relocating to a bigger land mass for metal, it is a proven formula for Australian bands in the past like Destroyer 666 for example. Currently for Desecrator it makes sense to be in our country while our scene is strong and grow our market in closer regions like Asia which we are touring next month, though relocating to grow as a band is definately not off the cards in the future.

R&MIMB: How about a special hello from "down under" to all the fans of "Rock & Metal In My Blood"?
Riley: Hey Headbangers from Rock & Metal In My Blood!! Thanks for reading through this interview and i hope you thrash your necks stupid to our album LIVE TIL DEATH until we can desecrate you in person on the road! CHEERS!



Angelo Lorenzo Tenace