Interview with Dan Gapen - Lazarus, February 2011

In 2007 I ordered your first record ‘The Onslaught’. I was very surprised by it and it was one of the first albums I reviewed for our site. It took quite some time before Lazarus (A.D.) got signed by Metal Blade, any idea why it took so long before a company got interested? 

Dan Gapen: No idea really it wasn’t for lack of trying. We thought we had a great album but the powers that be seemed to be dragging their feet. It’s funny cuz now we talk to other people at different labels and they tell us how they wished they would have signed the band. 

You had to add A.D. to the band name, was that because there already was a band called Lazarus? 

Dan: That is correct! There is another band using the name Lazarus and they threatened to sue us if we used the name so we just added the AD to avoid any legal problems. Our manager actually came up with the idea. 

The self release of your first album had already a good sound and was also mastered by James Murphy. When Metal Blade re-released the album I read everywhere that James Murphy had done a re-mastering, is that correct, or was it just a good advertising campaign? 

Dan: Actually James re-mixed and re-mastered the entire album. We really felt the original mix of the record was to thin sounding we wanted a thicker sound. James Murphy really helped us get the sound we were looking for. 

The first album was influenced by Slayer, Testament, early Metallica and Pantera, your new album ‘Black Rivers Flow’ seems to be influenced more by Machine Head, do you agree on that? 

Dan: I would say it’s influenced by all of the above. Take all those bands put them in a blender and what you get left with is Lazarus AD. Sure we are influenced by these bands but we like to think we have our own style as well. 

What’s also new is the use of more clean singing, why did the band choose for that, there are so many bands who do that? 

Dan: This time around we really wanted to work on our vocals on Black Rivers Flow. We really felt this was something we wanted to experiment with on this album. We really don’t care what other bands do it’s not like we sit around in a room saying oh they did this so we should do that too. I think Lazarus AD is just evolving and if people like it great and if they don’t oh well. 

Are you responsible for the clean singing parts or is it also Jeff Paulick? 

Dan: We both took turns singing clean vocals. Who would have guessed we could actually sing. 

How is the song writing process for a Lazarus A.D. song? 

Dan: The song writing process is not easy. I usually come up with a riff and we build our songs around that riff. But the time to get to the finish song is a drawn out process. We constantly try to improve on the song. And in truth some of the songs we write don’t even make it on the record. 

Together with Bonded By Blood, Evile, Municipal Waste and a few others you belong to the new thrash revival bands. Any idea why thrash became more popular again? 

Dan: I think kids found their parents albums and started listening to all the great thrash bands from the 80’s. And after a few years decided to start a band and now you have this revival thanks to mom and dad’s albums. 

The music on the new record has much more groove, was that what you wanted, or did it just go this way while writing? 

Dan: On "Black Rivers Flow" we looked to make improvements in specific areas like the structure, the groove and vibe. "Black Rivers Flow" isn't "The Onslaught" part 2 with the riffs. There are riffs and parts that are fairly reminiscent but overall aren't being played a million miles an hour. You'll find more sophisticated riffage and some what we believe to be heavier than before. We stayed true to our initial take on songs you can bang your head to, only this time through you'll really feel the vibe and sing your ass off.

Due to the use of clean singing, the new album sounds a bit more accessible and perhaps a little less heavy and brutal than the first one, not afraid to loose some fans?

Dan: Hopefully we don’t lose any fans we couldn’t do this without their support. In all honesty though I’m sure we will lose some fans who will say this record isn’t blah blah blah. But in truth we hope to gain more fans by exposing our self to a broader audience. That’s what it’s all about you want to be accepted by the masses.

The internet is a blessing for starters, they can make sure that everyone can hear their songs. Known bands don’t sell records because of the illegal downloading. The high prices for CDs is the biggest cause for that, who is going to pay 15 euro’s for a CD? Wouldn’t it be better to sell CDs for 8 euro’s or less? What is your opinion on this point? 

Dan: Music will be free in 5 years and labels will be nothing more than marketing companies. I could be wrong but with the internet and music downloading its only a matter of time. Besides we don’t make any money of cd sales. We make our money on touring and selling t-shirts. This is why labels are signing bands to 360 deals. So they can find ways to increase revenue. 

You are touring with Death Angel on their North American Retribution tour, you must be very pleased with that. How popular is thrash at the moment in America? 

Dan: Yes. We are on the road with Death Angel in support of "Black Rivers Flow." Excitement! That's the key word for how we feel. It's been a long time since we've been out on the road and this promises to be a good start to the year. Death Angel has helped pave the road for underground thrash metal and I think it'll be a great time with the two of our bands sharing the stage. The thrash movement seems to be getting bigger and bigger. I think people are angry about how things are going in this country and are looking for an escape. We provide that escape. 

Can we expect the band in Europe too this year?

Dan: As far as Europe goes, we are scheduled to be out there in early March with our friends in Bonded by Blood. I actually can't wait to get out to Europe. There's so much to look forward to out there. The experience will be great! Especially being that it will be our first time there. 

2010 is history, which 5 thrash records released in that year were in your opinion the best?

Dan: To many great album to just pick 5 besides if I leave someone out I’ll be getting a phone call…haha

Anything else you want to share with our readers?

Dan: Come to the shows we promise we won’t bite.

Thanks for answering the questions!

Lazarus A.D. - Black Rivers Flow

Label: Metal Blade Records




Jeff Paulick (Vocals/bass)
Dan Gapen (Guitars/vocals)
Alex Lackner (Guitars)
Ryan Shutler (Drums)

Black Rivers Flow (2011)
The Onslaught (2007/2009)

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