Down Among The Dead Men – Interview

12 min read

When it comes to Death Metal vocalising, the name Dave Ingram must come into contention when discussing the classic purveyors of said style. There are a billion who tread this throaty path, but there are those who stand out among the throng. Depth, conviction, phrasing, and style are just four words I could use to describe the qualities that a great Death Metal vocalist should possess. Dave Ingram (along with a few other luminaries) wrote the fucking book! And with the release of his ‘Down Among The Dead Men’ new album (reviewed here), it was with great anticipation and excitement that we got to chat to the man in question. Read below for a greater insight into the mind of one of the absolute legends in the game!

– First up Dave thanks so much for taking the time out to chat with us here at BAZ! I refer to the opening line of my review of the new album ….Sleep is for the weak! So Dave, is Sleep for the weak? I mean really how busy are you?
– How do, mate! Cheers for the interview, it’s much appreciated. Busy? Me? Pretty much always. On a scale of 1 to 10 I’d probably have to measure it at around FUUCCKKK! It’s not just my band Down Among The Dead Men and the new album, but also live shows with Just Before Dawn (and now that I’m a full time member there’s a new album to write) and not forgetting the new album on its way from Ursinne, plus the debut from Hellfrost And Fire, the first outing of Troikadon (the triple-fronted OSDM band…more on that later) and at a later date something more from Echelon. Add to that a couple of currently un-named projects, as well as my online show Metal Breakfast Radio, AND my family life and day job in the laboratories here in Copenhagen…..yeah, I’m pretty fucking busy.

– I also noticed a recent anniversary! Congrats. How has your wife coped with your ‘calendar’ of activity over the past 20 years?
– Thank you! My wife (and my son) fully support my musical endeavours. While neither of them are death metal fans, they always encourage me in whatever project I am working on. Though I guess they get a little tired with Metal Breakfast Radio, as our place gets taken over by my friends Bob and Kent. And copious amounts of beer.

– So we are here to discuss the recently released 3rd album from DATDM…I thought it was ripping. No quarter given. A real heads, down see you at the end affair. How has the response been so far?
– Completely positive. Reviews are still coming in and each one puts a big smile on my face with their kind words. I guess me and Rogga are doing something right! It’s what we were looking for, a no compromise approach to an album.

– How long did this album take to come to fruition? What is the process that you and Rogga have with each other?
– I can’t remember how long it did or didn’t take – usually, it isn’t a great deal of time at all (the debut Echelon album took us about 3 weeks in total) but Rogga and I talk about what we are looking for, and I let him write the music. He gives me tracks to hear and – as is the norm – I concurred that they were exactly what we wanted. Then it’s my turn to write lyrics and record vocals, then it all goes back to Rogga for finishing off. At a guess, I think it was a month in total. When you set your mind to it you can accomplish a lot. It’s a pity some bands can’t do that and then put out questionable albums only once every decade.

The production – has a suitably old school/Death/Crust feel to it…who was responsible for the sound?
– That was all down to Ronnie Bjornstrom. He also produced the DATDM self-titled debut. I saw him a couple of weeks ago at a festival in Germany. I was playing with Just Before Dawn and he was there. Bloody great bloke!

Tell us about the other 2 guys you used in the studio…Paganizer/Stass members.??
– I can’t tell you much as I’ve never met them. Nor have I met Rogga. We’ve made 6 albums together since 2013 and I’ve never met the guy! That’s the beauty of the internet and modern technology.

– Any plans to do some live support for this album? – Has DATDM ever played live?
– No live gigs so far but we are definitely planning some for the future. Rogga and I have discussed it and we’d like to get a fourth album out and then see about playing some select festivals.

– I’m interested in the Lyrical themes of this album – are you responsible?
‘Darkness of Glass’ has a killer Frost feel about it, some suitable TGW ‘Heys/grunts and something about the summoning of demons? And, ’The House of Blue Fire’? Any other tracks stand out lyrically for you?
– Indeed I am, as all the lyrics were written by me. If you didn’t know, I am a HUGE fan of the TV show Doctor Who. All the lyrics on every DATDM release are connected to the show, whether directly or indirectly. Mostly they might be lines from the show, or even titles of episodes (and the lyrics relate to said episodes) or they’re titles of the audiobooks available. If people Google the titles then they will more than likely show up in some Doctor Who-releated link. Like I said….a HUGE fan. In fact, the name of the band also has a connection. One of the characters (an archaeologist from the future, called Professor Bernice Summerfield) wrote a book about her explorations in archaeology called ‘Down among the dead men.’ That’s how the name came about. I wrote to the actress, Lisa Bowerman who plays the part and she was very happy about it. I’ve sent her copies of every release too. Sadly though she’s not a DM fan.

– Speaking of your fascination with Doctor Who, you’ve also used some suitably placed samples in the title track, which of course, comes from Doctor Who…any other Who references on the album we might have missed? How did this whole DW fandom evolve?
Indeed there are samples on this album, on a few of the tracks. I’ve lived with the show from the day I was born. Literally. And here’s how.
January 25th 1969 at 3pm (UK) saw me arrive on this world. It was at home, my Grandmother delivered me, and I was a healthy 11lb baby (which is pretty fucking heavy for a newborn.) At 5pm my Mom was nursing me and demanded that the television be brought up to her bedroom, which was done so. It was switched on and she (and I) watched an episode of Doctor Who at 5.15pm. This was the first television I “saw” and the theme tune was no doubt the first piece of music I ever heard. I guess that’s why the show has been such a huge part of my life, I love it with a passion. Now we must fast forward to 2012 when my Mother was dying. I went to see her and took that very same episode with me on my laptop. We watched it together, both wept a little, and knew we had come full circle. It was time to say goodbye. She passed not long after.

– The previous album Exterminate, Annihilate, Destroy! Had a couple of Anvil and Discharge covers.. You didn’t opt for any covers on this new album…
– Not this time, no. We decided that because Ursinne was doing plenty of covers we didn’t feel the need to. We wanted a full album of our own material. Maybe on the next one, who knows? We also have 2 tracks from the “E! A! D!” recordings that we haven’t used yet, so they will show up somewhere. Not sure why we didn’t use them, but they were 2 that I wrote both the lyrics and music.

– I’m impressed with the total package of the album too Dave, tell us about the artwork….you used Turkka G. Rantanen again…
– Yes, we had to use Turkka again to keep the same feel as the previous ones. I love what he did with this cover. As you may well know, the title of the album is a phrase often uttered by the character The Master, and the 2 faces merged on the cover are in fact 2 of the faces the character wore. One of them being the late Roger Delgado, who played the ultimate gentleman-villain. He was politely malevolent, and I loved it!

– Can you tell us about your relationship with your label, Transcending Obscurity– Indian based…how’s that working for you?
– Absolutely awesome is how it’s working! The bossman, Kunal, does a fantastic job, and his label is really growing. That in itself is no mean feat, especially in this day and age of Spotify and piracy. TOR continually releases quality music AND quality products (did you see the DATDM box-set?!) and it’s obvious Kunal knows his business well. I recommend everyone to go check out the label and what it has to offer. You can download a free label sampler with a shit load of tracks from all the bands/genres on the label.

– Moving outside of the DATDM chat for a moment, how’s life with Just Before Dawn? How did this fall into place? Looks like you’ve got the live gigs sorted there for a while?
– I wrote the guys and asked if they’d be interested in getting out and playing live. The War Metal market was in need of a band to play live more – not just release – and they liked the idea. We worked out the logistics, got a handful of shows sorted, and started rehearsing. During the first run through of the first song we knew we were on to something, and it felt so damn great to work together. The relationship we have is excellent. It’s a very funny one. Though don’t ever ask us to get our fucking shine boxes! We’ve got a gig this coming weekend (July 6th to 8th) in Slovakia, at the Gothoom Festival. Then we have a couple of shows in Sweden in September, then that will be it until the new year…mainly due to me having some surgery done on my knee, and possibly my hip too. Getting old sucks!

– Back tracking a little more, and I’m taking advantage of the opportunity here, Dave – but as a long-time fan of your earlywork with Benediction, can you give the readers a bit more of an idea as to what happened with the Benediction fallout after the ‘Grind Bastard’ album? More to do with management I believe?
– The situation began to worsen – for me, at least – as far back as 1996. I began noticing that gigs/tours/recording and rehearsing sessions were being organized and I was being left out of the loop. For a while, in 1995 I was living some distance away from the rest of the band (still in England) and was traveling to be at rehearsal…where the rest of the guys didn’t show up because they were watching football. It really began getting irritating, but I continued onward. In 1998 I moved to Denmark and told the guys that it had to stop, and I needed to be in on the decisions. Not long after I had moved there I got a call on May 1st 1998 from the manager asking if I would like to do a particular tour. I declined (as the band had toured with them before) but was told I had to do it anyway as the contracts had been signed. That was enough for me, and I quit on May 4th. There’s only so much one can take.

– Do you see any/stay in contact of the Benediction boys?
– I speak to Frank on Facebook – and sometimes Neil Hutton on rare occasions, too – and have done those live guest appearances with Memoriam a couple of times. But not any of the others. Bridges were burned and chips were pissed on.

– My favorite Benediction album is ‘Transcend the Rubicon’ – it’s 25 years old this year….surely a Reunion/celebration tour is worthy?? Would your former bandmates lads be up for that? Is it even possible?
– I made mention of it on my radio show a few years ago when I realized the anniversary was approaching but, in truth, I move ever forward, which is why I have so many new projects I’m working on. Taking a step backward like that is totally unnecessary. No reunion wanted.

– What is on the horizon moving forward? – Something called Hellfrost and Fire?, BIG new project? – I am hearing rumors…
– What rumors are you hearing? I can give you these details of what’s coming up with my projects:

URSINNE – new album being written right now, with a definitely unique twist on packaging and overall look.

JUST BEFORE DAWN – More shows this year (and next) plus writing a new album has begun.

DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN – Fourth album planned for early next year, and possible live shows.

ECHELON – Third album planned for 2020.

HELLFROST AND FIRE – Debut album being recorded now. Sounds similar to Celtic Frost and Hellhammer.

TROIKADON – Debut OSDM album with myself, Karl Willetts, and Kam Lee on vocals, with Rogga on guitar, Jonny Pettersen on bass, and Travis Ruvo on drums.

In addition, I was away this weekend with Just Before Dawn playing Gothoom Festival in Slovakia (it was an absolute blast!) and I met the band SOOTHSAYER. Their singer and myself would like to collaborate together on a new project, so that is in the works. Plus there is another future project on it’s way with some other OSDM stalwarts, but I sadly can’t talk about that yet. Add to this my online show Metal Breakfast Radio, and you can see that I’m plenty busy, and I love it.

– As I was putting this interview together, the Metal world was dealt the sad news about the passing of Pantera’s Vinny Paul – Any reaction to this?
– Very sad news indeed. And now we have also lost Bret from Malevolent Creation. R.I.P metal brothers.

– In closing Dave, I want to take this opportunity for to thank you for your time in chatting with us here at BAZ and for all that you have contributed to the Heavy Music scene since those Benediction demos almost 30 years ago. All the very best moving forward with DATDM and the multitude of outfits you have on the go. Any last words??
– “If you’re going to be a sinner, be the best sinner on the block.” – Anton LaVey

“There’s no point being grown up if you can’t be childish sometimes.” – Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker

Thanks so much for the great interview! Metal fans: Stay true to your heart and the music you have a passion for. Ever forward!
Thanks to all those for the years of support, to those who knew I hadn’t “disappeared” but was still around doing other things, and those who support me to this day. It will forever be appreciated and cherished.

To my detractors: Your envy is evident. You know my name and remember it, yet I have no idea who you are. That speaks volumes, and indicates your lack of achievement.

Here’s a list of my current albums on rotation:

Memoriam – The Silent Vigil
Paganizer – Land Of Weeping Souls
Wombbath – The Great Desolation
Kam Lee – Of Dread And Death
Queens of the Stone Age – Villains

Finally, here’s some links of possible interest:

DOWNLORD back-catalogue, free download

Dark Sentinel
Church Of Satan
Metal Freak Fast Radio

Ursinne Facebook
Echelon Facebook
Laberts Basement Facebook
Dave Ingram Facebook
Metal Freak Fast Radio Facebook
Metal Freak Fast Ingram Facebook
Down Among The Dead Men Facebook
Twitter/Tumblr/Instagram/Snapchat (@MetalBreakfast)


Interview by KMaN