Bloodshot Dawn – Interview with Josh McMoran, Giacomo Gastaldi and Morgan Reid

Date: January 23 2018
Interview By: Pete Mutant

Bloodshot Dawn were several dates into their UK and Ireland tour for their newest release ‘Reanimation’. The album had been available for a little under two weeks to this point so as I sat down with the band (minus the illustrious James Stewart) I got to dive into the recording process a little whilst finding out about how the band has come back since splitting with the majority of the other band members going their separate ways. With new blood in the ranks, the rejuvenated band had lots to say about where they were, where they are and where they are going.

JM – Josh Mcmoran
MR – Morgan Reid
GG – Giacomo Gastaldi

PM: So Reanimation has been out for about two weeks now, how do you think it has been received so far?
JM: Yeah, really well. We’ve had a lot of new fans come in from this and the old fans seem to be accepting the changes within the ranks. I wouldn’t say it is a new direction in sound, the new album sounds different from the older stuff but it’s still in the same vein and I think that people appreciate that were back. And it goes both ways.

PM: So it was important to keep the core element of the sound?
JM: Yeah, you know we didn’t set out to sound like the old material by any means but Morgan joined the band and he enjoyed what we had done previously and he had a similar sort of…
MR: A similar mindset.
JM: Yeah, a similar mindset so it wasn’t like we had to force to sound like we previously have It just came naturally. And obviously it doesn’t sound exactly the you can really hear a difference.

GG: Yeah actually when Josh and Morgan picked me up and gave me the profits of the songs and to be honest I knew Bloodshot Dawn before as a listener and a fan. I mean, the album was amazing and I was really honoured to be part of the recording process. As I told the guys, even if there are new people involved, it still sounds like Bloodshot Dawn to me.
MR: Yeah I had two years of learning the material and that definitely seeped into my playing as well.
JM: Yeah it wasn’t like Morgan joined then we started writing. We had some time to settle in and kind of decide how to go forward with the music you wanted to write.

PM: I was watching the Facebook live video when you were talking about the exchange of riffs and obviously you’re (Josh) the only consistent member from the start but bringing other people in brings in a freshness. Different ideas flying about.
JM: Yeah, I’d say it’s like a new lease of life you know. I mean in any band situation you do enough stuff together, you find out really who you are. I guess we just got burnt out with the music and each other and stuff like that. The new guys come in and to be all heading in the same direction and wanting the same thing out of the band you know it’s a complete shift in everything. And it is a positive approach.
MR: And we had so much fun doing it. There was great chemistry, writing chemistry and you know I feel like I was able to express everything on the album as well.
JM And you know because it was a fresh slate and a fresh approach there’s no sort of boundaries.It was like, let’s see what we can do. Let’s see what we can put together and you know I feel that it came out really well. I feel that you can hear on the album that we enjoyed making it. It’s not a forced record.

PM: Yeah, it oozed creativity. So the writing process, did that immediately start after Demons?
JM: No, far from. Morgan joined two years ago and we didn’t start writing until the end of 2016. Morgan was
MR: Yeah we were in touch at the end of 2015 and I wrote a song as an audition which was fun. Yeah we really, we had some shows such as Incineration Fees you know, that was like a trial to me. Just to see how it would be.And that time we also had James’ session guy. We had a great time. Yeah that wAs really cool then Hank left, we kind of had to think like “what do we want to do?”. So it kind of started from there, a new beginning.
JM: Obviously we were hungry to write the new stuff but I feel like waiting that period kind of spurred us into creating something quite quickly Do you know what I mean? Like we had pent up riffs that needed to be put down.

PM: Yeah it’s like that new lease of life as you said and you just wanted to bounce into the frame of mind, move with it and just see where you land and here we are four years after Demons, and it has been very positive. Just looking at the comments on Youtube, the fans have accepted the lineup changes as well and sec to be really appreciative of the direction the band is going at the moment.

JM: I mean there’s obviously people out there that prefer the older stuff and there’s a lot of opinionated people online.
MR: They like what they’re used to.and I think it’s the same when any album first comes out “It’s different, it’s different” (laughs).
JM: Even some of the guys who were coming out and commenting that they didn’t like it have changed and reverted and said “oh actually, I’ve given it a listen now” I meanie’s just because people go into listening to that album with a perception of Demons 2.0 or something that sounds the same but that is never what we intended. We never wanted to have the same sound throughout our career.
MR: The first and second album for me are just as different to me as this.
JM: They are completely different entities as far as sound and stuff so. You know like, given the few weeks that it has been out now I think the reception is pretty much 100% positive really you know. The odd comment here or there but that’s to be expected.
MR: I think it’s funny also that we worked together on the songs, we wrote the songs together and you know the recording process we actually had a lot of changes to previous album like with Paul (Paul Wardingham) being there adding layering, chord progressions and synthesizers . A bit like building a bigger atmosphere you know and that was something that we wanted to try out in general. And it wasn’t because the album needed it or something, it was just like an opportunity to see if that sound worked.
JM: Yeah its something that we wanted to try out and Paul is very knowledgeable with using synthesizers and stuff in metal. We done a lot of it ourselves but the ides he had, he would always have ideas to enhance what we put down. It wasn’t added to take the focal point it was just to make what we had already done sound stronger.
MR: He created a lot of dramatic moments also. That’s the right way to put it.

PM: Yeah I noticed and the variations in styles, I mean the opening track has like a hardcore break down in it then you get like these proggy sections like in ’Survival Evolved’. And it was funny how you were addressing touring with prog bands and being like “are we proggy”?
MR: I mean I think that what it comes down to with people, a lot of metal fans really bet hard into, this concept of genre. ‘I like this genre, I don’t like this genre”. And for us and previously with the band it is a lot about transcending those kind, that kind of mentality. Why try to stop yourself from doing something because it sounds like this or that?
JM: Exactly, we are quite open minded musicians. As far as metal goes, I’ll happily listen to the darkest black metal which sounds like has been recorded in a toilet all the way to something melodic. Nightwish I even enjoy to listen to. It’s a big spectrum and for us, we just like what we like. You know, we don’t write a riff and be like this next parts could be really grindcorey. It’s all natural. If a riff sounds good next to that riff.
MR: It comes totally natural to me also. Like when I’m was starting writing riffs by myself when I was home, I would just write what came next. And sometimes, you kind of have this evolution where you start then it’s like next part, next part, next part and actually at the end that actually it doesn’t necessarily fit together at all. You just have to find what came out and where that inspiration started and the where does it end. And that is also what is like what is kind of progressive about our music. It’s not necessarily “oh this is definitely what should come here” we also like to try to surprise the listener with really interesting parts. Also maybe it is at all times integral part. Maybe that’s something that’s a little bit progressive in that regard.

PM: I think there is that sort o breaking down boundaries in metal nowadays. You’re getting bands that do thrash as a mainstay but they also have these black metal breaks and bringing in some death metal parts.
GG:I mean in the scene nowadays, every genre influences every genre. I think that is a kind of recycling thing across all the scenes and that in my opinion that the more influences you’ve got then the more richer your vocabulary is.
JM: You don’t want to put in limitations, that way, you know it’s about thinking outside of the box. Just what we want to listen to, not conforming to genre or what people would think our sound should sound like.
MR: I honestly don’t know what our genre is. Some people say melodic, some people say progressive melodic, some people say technical.
PM: Just touches all bases…
JM: I just say extreme metal
GG: Extreme metal
JM: It fits under anything then
PM: No two songs sound the same.
JM: It’s true.
GG: In every song you can find, for me and as a listener, the beauty of this album for me is that in each song you can find a lot of different nuances across all the genres so you find a groovy part, a melodic part, the technical part and we think in the songs s the guys included everything in the writing process.

PM: it’s like a cognitive experiment as well which is a fun aspect.
JM: Absolutely
PM: It’s good having a richer sound, it’s got more aspects going into it and you have more options to make reference to so if you want to pursue something then you have so many routes to go down.

JM: Yeah like that’s it you know. Who knows where the next album will take us. It could be even more melodic then Demons was.
MR: We were talking about having a concept to driving the writing process and see how that works. Obviously we had a concept for this album as well but you know to try to adhere to an overall theme which could help the overall flow of an album or something.

PM: So can you give as synopsis or overview of the concept of this album?
JM: Yeah I can. Essentially the first three albums are all combined together as an artwork the first album there’s like a black hole sort of. It’s kind of like our modern day Earth getting destroyed by a black hole and that’s all you know at this point. And with Demons, on the back cover of Demons, there’s an inter dimensional laser which caused the black hole and this laser is used to power the earth in Demons, 5000 years later or something like that. So in Demons, they’re eating planets, eating world to power their planet and the demon is actually a byproduct of that. They opened the wrong portal, out comes the Demon who’s like I’ve come to mess up your day. The end of the concept there is that basically humans won but destroyed the Earth at the same time. The third album, the current one is the finale to it you know the end of humanity. The aliens coming back to clean up and take back the planet. It’s all about, I guess, natural life and beings taking over really. Like losing the issue of the world, which is humans and the world regenerating to its original form.
MR: I mean we have some stories of humans fighting back and what that feels like and then the kind of climatic battle, this battle for the omniverse really where it’s like the last stand.
JM: Yeah the battle for the Omniverse with Jeff and Paul is literally a concept song where the alien is played by Ken from the Faceless and Abigail Williams who goes the vocals and he’s basically talking about killing everyone and destroying the world and that sort of stuff. Then basically the whole guitar solo part is connected as the big fight. Their weapons are them shredding basically. It’s all in the artwork and if you look inside the art there’s plenty of unique pieces that you don’t see in the booklet.

PM: Yeah I’ve loved the cover work on the albums, it looks a lot like some of Abysmal Dawn’s artwork. Is it the same guy (Pär Olofsson)?
JM: It was originally but changed with the newest album.
MR: Also the Dawn named first..
PM: I do love Abysmal Dawn, should get a Dawnfest organised.
JM: You’re not actually the first person to say that.

PM: So this is your first time getting together as a unit in the context of jamming live. How has it been?
JM: Yeah good. I mean, at first, obviously, there was creases to iron out and stuff and after a few shows
MR: Last few shows have been tight.
JM: As good as ever and like we’re playing comfortably, enjoying ourselves and it sounds really tight. The fact that our music is not easy to play and sing and stuff, it’s taken a lot of commitment and dedication a month prior to coming. For all of it to come together and for us to enjoy ourselves, and for the fans to have a good show. That’s really important to us and I feel like we’re doing a really good ob with that

PM: Was it a bit nervy at first?
JM: Not so much nerves..
MR: It was new for me because I never had done vocals with the band live and because you know…I was the guitarist and with this album also it was big for me to do vocals on the recording then to do it live at the same timed it was a bit of a roller coaster. That was the only thing that I was nervous about, otherwise, it’s just a great time being up on stage.
JM: We al like each other so hat helps.
GG: Also for me being the first tour with Bloodshot ever and the first gig with Bloodshot ever, it was a surprise for me because it felt really natural to play. Not even the songs that I recorded on the album but also the other songs. I actually put my own vibe here and there because I’ve got a different style from Anthony because I played with fingers and he played with a pick. I am really feeling natural on stage.
MR: Yeah we have a great time on the stage.
JM: I think we have a natural sort of connection when we play. We’re all quite, not trying to blow our smoke, but we’re aLl quite proficient with our instruments. We all put the time in so it’s all going really well.

PM: I like how your bass came through on the album.
GG: Really? (Laughs)
PM: It has to come through a little bit on a tech side of album (Laughs).
JM: It’s all his work.
MR: If this was a gear interview, it’d just be him talking and us being on the side (laughs). I’d be sleeping…
GG: There is a video on YouTube where I explain the gear that I use during my recording
JM: Yeah so if you have trouble with sleeping
(All laugh)
MR: We’ve used that joke before

PM: So Canada (tour) is a big thing, I seen you were sort of biting your fists during the Facebook Live interview when this was brought up.
JM: it was one of the organizers that brought it up actually that popped the question.
MR: She knew we were doing this and announcing the tour the next day.
JM: So they were trying to get it out of us early.
PM: Is that a bit unprofessional (laughs)?
JM: No nothing like that. They were just hinting at it. They knew that we couldn’t spill the beans so they were trying to make it difficult for us there

PM: It will be fun going back to your hometown I guess…
MR: Yeah, I’ve never played a gig there before.
JM: Yeah it’s amazing for the band to hit a new continent it’s a big step up. Obviously with touring North America, the US and Canada, there’s a massive market for extreme metal and to get our foot in even with just a Canadian tour is fantastic.

PM: Just to dip your toe in the water a bit?
JM: Yeah exactly, and it’ll show bookers there that we’re serious about what we do. I think they will be more inclined to book us knowing that we can get out their ourselves. We don’t have a booking agent, we do our own bookings and stuff like that still.
PM: And the recordings as well…
JM: Yeah the manager and everything
PM: It gives you that sort of freedom as well…
JM: Yeah it’s freedom but it’s also very hard.
MR: We’re investing so much time
JM: Yeah it’s time.

PM: Yeah, as that money just doesn’t come all in one bundle does it?
JM: No but at the same time the pay off is the shows and getting the tours in Canada is just a huge thing for us. It makes all the hard work worthwhile when you get offered the position and like Hellfest for example and to do shows like that, you know, it makes it all the difficult times and uphill struggles disappear when it’s like “oh I’m going to play on the biggest stage of my life”.
GG: It’s a dream come true for me.
PM: Yeah Hellfest, that is titanic really isn’t it?
JM: Yeah, you don’t get better than that really
PM: I’ve never been but always wanted to.
JM: I’ve never been either but this year get to go and play it.
PM: So you get the whole weekend there?
JM: Yeah absolutely, VIP for the whole weekend. The treatment they have given us is unbelievable. We haven’t even got there yet and they are so nice.
PM: That is a festival just done right isn’t it? They’re just like smack bang here’s our lineup now suck it.
All: (Laughs)
GG: Yeah it’s probably the biggest European festival alongside Wacken and probably Download, Sonisphere and Graspop Metal Meeting.
MR: Yeah but we’re very amiable for playing smaller festive (Bloodstock cough cough)
PM: yeah it was kind of the gig that got the name out back in the day.
JM: Yeah well it’s been four years since we’ve played.
PM: Getting that four year itch…
JM: It’s time for us to return.

PM: So anything else you’d like to add, any announcements?
JM: Well we have more tours in the pipeline. Nothing we can say specifically but we’re planning to hit other continents this year other than North America and Europe. So that’s a hint.
PM: Japan again possibly?
JM: Potentially, we’d love to go back to Japan so that would be great We just want to thank everyone for the support and for welcoming us so much on our comeback. We haven’t been gone away really but I guess to the listener we have. We just want to say thanks for being well received and these transitions can be difficult for bands, sometimes it can be the end of bands and ruins them but for us it’s a positive direction. There’s so much more to come from us. We’ve done one album and I’m sure we’ve got five or more at least in us. We still get influenced by new things all the time.
PM: And you’re motivated…
JM: Oh absolutely, this is what we want to do.
MR: Just want to thank the fans also coming out to shows, the support haas been great. It’s been awesome touring so far so yeah.