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If the return of Headbanger's Ball has done one good thing for me, it was definitely the introduction to Demon Hunter. After seeing a video, I ran out and got the band's debut release the next day. I found out that the band is in the middle of recording their sophomore release right now, and fortunately, I was able to get an interview with singer Ryan, to get the lowdown on whats happening in the studio.

Wayfaerer-Just to start, could you give a brief history of the band?

Ryan-The band basically started as just an idea.. Kind of a concept. We definitely don't consider it a concept or a project now, but that's kind of how it started. We hadn't played music in a while and we were excited to get a band going again. We essentially came up with the band name, and everything else came after that. Since the first record we've assembled a steady lineup, but before that it was just a few of us tackling everything in the studio. When it came time to get ready for tour, we started practicing as a whole band.

Who is your biggest musical influence?

I don't know if I could pick just one.. It's kind of hard to tell at times, because some of the things we listen to come out in the music in odd, subconscious ways. Bands I never thought would have an influence on our songwriting sometimes do. I'm constantly surprised as to what songs end up sounding like and what band might've had an influential hand in some part of it. Especially now that we're in the studio. We're hearing all kinds of different things.

As far as the bands that we've been vibing on lately, I'd say they'd be: Pantera, AFI, old Machine Head, Metallica and Sepultura, Deftones, Korn.. A ton of bands.. And those are just heavy bands. We listen to plenty more than just metal.

You are currently recording "Summer of Darkness". How is it going?

Recording's going great. The dates for the 2nd half of our recording session were tentative until yesterday, but we found out we're actually going back in next week. We're about 1/3 done at the moment. We're entirely finished with drums and we have 4 songs almost entirely done. Everything else we'll start on Monday (12/01). It's coming along really well.

How did you steer the songwriting in comparison with the debut release?

Any drastic changes or was it more "honing" your sound? Nothing super drastic as far as changes. It's still got the signature DH sound I think. There's more fast parts. I think it's generally heavier sounding. The guitars are tuned to B so it's deeper sounding than the last record, which we recorded in C. We tried not to stray too far from the sound that we'd started with the last record, but we wanted to progress as well, so hopefully we'll be able to hit both of those marks at the same time.

Do you feel you need to "up the ante" from the Demon Hunter release, or is it pretty relaxed in the studio?

It's very relaxed. We're not too worried about fans not liking this record. We had more time to write this time.. There's more songs. There's plenty for our fans (and hopefully new listeners) to be excited about. I think every band attempts to up the ante a little bit each time in the studio, so I'd be lying if I said it wasn't in the back of my mind a bit, but the overall vibe is very relaxed.

When is the expected release date?

We're shooting for a late May release date.

Care to give any other juicy details about Summer of Darkness at this time?

The only juicy details I can think of are: it's really heavy, there will be 12 tracks on the record and we're recording a few other songs that we're releasing later with a DVD.

You got a couple different singers from other bands to contribute backing vocals on the upcoming CD, how did you make these connections?

Yea, we do have some guest vocalists this time around. We've already laid down vocals from Howard Jones of Killswitch Engage & Brock Lindow of 36Crazyfists. We're having Trevor McNevan of Thousand Foot Krutch & Mike Williams of The Agony Scene sing on it too.

We're friends with all these guys. We just wanted to have a bunch of friends get together and throw a mix of different styles together. We asked them if they'd like to help us out in making the record as cool as possible. I think the tracks with the guests are going to be killer. So far they sound great.

I happened to discover you guys while watching the Headbanger's Ball a few months back (caught the "Infected" video). Do you think the video has gotten you any extra exposure? I see you are on the Headbanger's Ball CD as well.

Yea, the support we've received from M2 has been a great help. We're getting new fans daily and I think the show and the CD has a big part of that. MTV.com and MTV2.com have been great with support as well. We're planning on filming a new video in February before the album comes out.

Is it weird for the band to see yourselves on MTV, of all places?

The first time it was aired was really exciting. M2 started playing it on the Extreme Rock show. The night we were added, we were the first video of the show. We were super stoked. It's kind of weird to see ourselves on there, but it's hard for me to think that a ton of people are watching it, even though they are.. Everything happens so fast that it's always kind of surreal. I think that's why it's not weird. If I thought about it for a while I'm sure it'd seem that way though.

Do you have any plans to start touring once the recording is finished?

We're touring the nation in June. We're doing a full tour this time around, hitting all the major cities. Last tour we didn't have a chance to hit the East coast, this time we will. It's going to be a blast.

On your self-titled debut, there are 4 "chapters". Was this meant to be a concept album of some sort?

It was sort of a concept. It was more an artwork based concept as opposed to a concept pertaining to the music. We wanted to give it an old world feel, with the book and everything.. Just a way to make the artwork really come alive.

This might sound kinda weird, but I couldn't find your names anywhere in the CD booklet, website, or the Solid State site. Are you trying to keep anonymous or am I just thinking up strange conspiracy theories?

Well, when we started the band, we wanted to make sure that the band wasn't marketed as a "featuring members of.." band. We've all been in bands before and we wanted this band's existence to rely solely on the music we made. We wanted to keep the focus on the music, so we left all identities out.

What have you been listening to lately?

Lately I've been rocking the new Death Cab For Cutie, the new Outkast, Korn, The Darkness, Lo Pro, Cold, Red Tape, old Pantera stuff, Obie Trice, South, The Agony Scene, Steadman, Ima Robot, Loudermilk, Placebo, HIM.. Tons of stuff.

Random Question: Are you psyched for the Return of the King coming to theaters?

I'm super psyched for The Return Of The King! I haven't even seen the new Matrix yet because TROTK is clouding my theatrical anticipation.. I can't wait. It's going to be the grand-finale of the greatest trilogy ever made.

Thanks for your time! Anything you'd like to say to the readers at this time?

Do yourself a favor- if you see The Darkness coming to your town, go see them.. Thank me later.

November 26, 2003
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