XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Adz: Our latest release is a brand new LP called Race Against The Sun: Part One. It was released on February the 1st, through Pavement Entertainment. This record is our most diverse and colourful record so far.
XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?
Adz: The current line up has been together since 2014. We became Dethonator in 2009, and there was a fair bit of cutting teeth and honing craft before that under different names as well.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?
Adz: When much younger, I discovered Iron Maiden by accident, on the soundtrack to a computer game. After early years of playing classical and listening to popular music it was like a piece of the puzzle suddenly clicked into place. I knew immediately that I absolutely loved it. Then I quickly knew that I wanted to play it. I tried singing Aces High, made some odd noises and couldn’t hit most of Bruce’s notes. Then I made friends with a guy at school in a metal band called False Prophet that needed a bassist, and that was the beginning of everything musical that has lead up to this point.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Adz: I’ve been studying music since I was seven, when I began classical training. Similar background as a few others in the band. ‘Cello and French Horn through school, lots of work in orchestras and small ensembles, solo performance in concerts, competitions, graded exams, theory study. I enjoyed playing in the orchestras the most and I liked the grander, more bombastic pieces best, but it often felt like something I did rather than something I obsessed over. Then I discovered metal and the game changed.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Adz: Conan The Barbarian dressed as The Undertaker, driving an Aston Martin V8 Vantage across a wasteland made mostly out of dead orcs, along the edges of a pentagram-shaped planet, embedded in the head of a galaxy-sized Rob Halford, piloting a spitfire made of Iron Maiden t-shirts, headed straight into a blackhole that’s none more black than The Black Album.
Or, you know, guitars and stuff.
XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?
Adz: New album has just dropped, so now it’s time to get more gigs, play more gigs, turn more people into Dethonator fans. Race Against The Sun: Part Two is also looming on the horizon and will be with us shortly.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Adz: That 40-60 minutes on stage. Everything else pales in comparison.
XS ROCK: What are your songs’ lyrics about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Adz: We’re a narrative band ultimately. We tell stories. Sometimes we base our songs on classic tales; Terror By Night is inspired by The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Other times we make the stories up, like with Ghost of The Rolling Horizon. There’s a few good nods to horror tropes on the new record. Nightmare City is zombie inspired. A little social commentary too. When Lucifer Fell explores humanitarian and environmental issues in Biblical metaphor. Sharp’s Cairn is actually about the British mountaineer, David Sharp, and the tragedy of his attempt to summit Everest unassisted.
XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?
Adz: Staying true to ourselves musically and maintaining the highest standards of quality that we can achieve.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
Adz: Once, outside a venue in Cornwall, a very friendly young lady from Germany decided to drop her trousers in the street to show us a curiously placed tattoo; her boyfriend was unimpressed.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Adz: One Scottish fan was very, very interested in seeing the caravan we were staying in. We thought they might have had other intentions but actually they really did just want to come and see the caravan, despite it being 3am.
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
Adz: Our families couldn’t be more supportive and our friendship circles have evolved around music and metal so we couldn’t ask for more really. We are very grateful.
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?
Adz: Keep your goals musical and work hard.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Adz: At the moment, Nightmare City is a great blast. Ulflag has a nice groove and goes over well, get’s the heads nodding. Our old standard, In The Place Of The Skull is always a pleasure to end our sets with.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Adz: It would have to be Iron Maiden. They changed everything for me and Tris and they are still the gold standard we aspire to. Plenty of others too but it all goes back to them.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Adz: It would be nice to see a best of classic British lineup one day. Maiden, Priest, Saxon. Think we’d happily serve ourselves up as the hors d’ouvres on that one. Otherwise, Nevermore (RIP), Iced Earth, Amon Amarth and Arch Enemy would all be the ideal opportunities we’d wish for.
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Adz: Our new record, Race Against The Sun: Part One is the best thing we’ve done so far; I’m very proud that we can still challenge ourselves and raise our game
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Adz: Author, amateur rugby player or Viking re-enactor. If metal wasn’t there, one of those things would trying its best to fill the gap.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Adz: Our guitarists, Tris and H, are ambassadors for Laney. Right now, we are driving two Laney Ironhearts for the guitars. Tris and H also use Schecter guitars. I’m quite a fan of Genz-Benz bass amps and enclosures; getting quite hard to find since they were discontinued. I’m driving a Streamliner 600 and using a Spector Euro5LX bass; such a gnarly bass tone for metal. John, our drummer, generally uses whatever kits have been put down on the night but he’s got a passion for cymbals and I think I’ve seen him eyeing up some Zildjian products recently…
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Adz: The general trends I see in England at the moment are the prominence of healthy extreme metal scenes and some retro-focused, 80’s-styled Heavy Metal bands. The audience has become rather broken up through sub-genre elitism, which I find a bit frustrating. But, regardless of style, there’s a lot of metal to enjoy all over the country if you look beneath the glass ceiling. The primary concern is the challenges facing venues the moment. There’s been a lot of closures. The audience needs to make its peace with the idea of music and gigs being worth paying for again, because everyone who is involved with music in anyway have got their backs to the wall.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Adz: One of us works with deaf people; I’m not sure if that’s irony or foreshadowing.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Adz: Give Race Against The Sun: Part One a spin or two and just enjoy it. Better still, get your friends to come and enjoy it too. Metal should make you feel good, so turn it up, sing out, throw shapes and bang your head, with as much careless abandon as you can muster; you’ll never be as ridiculous as the people that recorded it so just go for it and have a good time.
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS ROCK!
Tris Lineker – Lead Vocals and Guitars, Henry Brookes – Lead Guitars, Keyboards and Backing Vocal, Adz Lineker – Bass and Dethvox, John Armstrong – Drums