DAVE LOMBARDO Compares Songwriting In SLAYER To PHILM - "It's Totally Opposite, Everything Is Written Collectively"
September 22, 2014, 3 years ago
Ever since it was announced in 2013 that Dave Lombardo and Slayer had parted ways, the drummer (who is widely considered one of the top kit bashers in metal history) has not sat idle. Quite the opposite, actually, as he and his mates in the band Philm wrote and recorded a sophomore effort, Fire from the Evening Sun, which was released last week via UDR Music.
Additionally, it was recently announced that the long-dormant super group Fantômas (which features Faith No More's Mike Patton, the Melvins' Buzz Osborne, and Mr. Bungle's Trevor Dunn, in addition to Lombardo) will be playing Rockout Fest 2014 on December 9th, in Santiago, Chile, while he also provided beats for a forthcoming album by Amen.
Lombardo recently spoke with BraveWords correspondent Greg Prato about Fire From the Evening Sun, as well as how the songwriting process in Philm differs from Slayer, and how Fantômas got back together.
BraveWords: How does Fire from the Evening Sun compare to Harmonic?
Dave Lombardo: "Well, the most obvious is the lack of improvisations in these jams that we come up with. Those are pieces that we don't write. We press record and the band just starts creating on the fly. So we omitted any kind of music pieces of that nature, to have the album a little more concise, and more focused on song structure and some solid, straightforward writing. So that's the difference. The first one had several improv pieces, and this one has none."
BraveWords: Something that I really dig about Philm is that the band is trying to sound different within the realm of heavy music. It seems like now more than ever, most heavy bands seem happy to just sound identical...and aren't interested in originality.
Dave Lombardo: "That's my complaint as well. When I listen to all these new bands, it seems like all the drummers have the same software package, and they replace what's supposed to be your original drum sound, the replace it with these drum samples, and all sounds basically the same. Maybe I'm just not paying too much attention to detail, but right off the bat, right out of the get-go, when you're listening to any of the new bands coming out now, it's like, 'Oh jeez, I recognize that drum sound.' So yeah, it's a little disheartening, but you can't really do anything about it. I mean, music is going to evolve the way it is, and yeah, we definitely try to step out of the box and create something new."
BraveWords: What are some of your favorite tracks on Fire from the Evening Sun?
Dave Lombardo: "I love 'Train,' I love 'Fire from the Evening Sun,' 'Omniscience.' I mean, 'Train,' because it has a bluesy/rock feel, with a blend of that thrashy, punk beat that I'm known for. The same with 'Fire from the Evening Sun,' has kind of this marching forward kind of vibe, and then it goes into a thrash metal beat at the end. I'm definitely not straying from my roots, but what I'm trying to do is try to defuse all these elements. Especially the band members in Philm, we have so many outlets of music - there's blues, there's jazz, there's funk, there's thrash, there's punk, there's just plain old metal - and we just try and tap into all of those and subconsciously, do it. It's happening very naturally, this fusing of styles."
BraveWords: How would you compare the songwriting process in Philm to Slayer?
Dave Lombardo: "With Slayer, Kerry (King) will walk into the room, 'Yeah, I've been working on a couple of riffs,' and he'll present me those riffs, and I'll sit there and listen to them and try to make heads or tails of them, and he'll tell me, 'Play a double bass here on this section, go upbeat, snare on one, and then here go back to downbeat, and then here go back to double bass.' He's kind of giving me a little road map, then I embellish it with drum rolls and give it my style. With Jeff (Hanneman), when he was writing, it was kind of the same way, but he knew exactly what he wanted, because he would present us with a CD or a cassette with some music, and he programmed the drum machine - which I found to be amazing - and gave me the basic layout of the song. And in Philm, it's totally opposite, everything is written collectively. We share the writing credits, we basically come up with the music very organically. We'll go have lunch somewhere, go back to the studio, press record, the band will start improvising, we will create these amazing musical movements, then go back and listen to it at the end of the day, and say, 'Wow, this section is amazing. We have to create a song around this piece right here.' That's how all of our music is written. It's collectively and through improvisations."
BraveWords: How was Philm's recent tour of Europe?
Dave Lombardo: "Well, we only did four shows - selected shows through Europe. And they went well. The response was phenomenal. We had a nice crowd in some of the venues. The people were blown away by the power that this band has on stage. So it was all positive. And they want us to come back. I'm looking forward to getting back out on the road - it's where we shine."
BraveWords: Will Philm be touring the US?
Dave Lombardo: "Nothing's been scheduled yet for a US tour. However, there is talk about putting something together in November. So pretty much, right now, things are on the down low, because we're working things out with our agents and see what we come up with. But I hope to tour the US soon."
BraveWords: How did the upcoming reunion show with Fantômas come about?
Dave Lombardo: "(Mike) Patton and I had been texting each other, and we chatted several times. He's always told me he wants to put Fantômas together and possibly put a new album together. So I said, 'Dude, I'm here. I'm ready.' When he contacted me, and said, 'Hey man, we have this show lined up in South America. Want to do it?' I said, 'Absolutely!' I couldn't decline."
BraveWords: I'm impressed with how diverse that bill is at Rockout Fest 2014 - it's Devo, Primus, Fantômas, and the Thurston Moore Band, among others.
Dave Lombardo: "It's going to be a great show. I'm looking forward to seeing Devo - I really, really enjoyed their albums in the early '80s. They were amazing…an amazing band."
BraveWords: I saw Devo two or three years ago, and they still put on a great show and sounded great.
Dave Lombardo: "Yeah, great songs."
BraveWords: Beyond that show, would you like to see Fantômas continue on with more shows and a new album?
Dave Lombardo: "Oh absolutely, but also Philm. I think now, with Fantômas and Philm being my priority bands, I feel that we'll have a really good working relationship. If they need a particular month to tour or some weeks for shows, we'll work out Philm's schedule. And if I have something, I’m sure they'll understand. It's not going to be like what happened before, where I had to step out of Fantômas to continue on with Slayer."
BraveWords: And you recently joined Amen, right?
Dave Lombardo: "No, I did not join the band. That was definitely a publicist's twist on the press release. I simply did Casey (Chaos) a favor and recorded drums on his album. If I was available to do some shows, which I was - but they were cancelled in Europe - I would do them. But I did not join the band. It's not something that I'm a part of. I simply helped Casey record and put together the album."
BraveWords: Any other projects on the horizon?
Dave Lombardo: "There really isn't anything right now. We (Philm) have done some work for Disney, and we're waiting to hear from them - we're waiting to get the final version of the cartoon, the music to the cartoon that we did. The actual cartoon. And of course, that's a pilot, so it goes out to only selective people in the industry, and they vote whether the cartoon should go and continue on or they scrap it. So we'll see what happens. For now, there really isn't anything else, except the new Philm record, which we're working on - the one we're going to release next year. Because we write a lot and hang out together a lot. We already have a whole album practically ready. We've just got to lay down the vocals and just finish some editing, mixing, and mastering. We anticipate that album to be out probably in March/April."