Interview – The Black Dahlia Murder


I got the chance to catch up with Brian, guitarist for Death Metal types The Black Dahlia Murder prior to their headline show at the Birmingham Academy to chat about the new album, touring and how you shouldn’t mess with Kid Rock!

For the record could you state your name and role in The Black Dahlia Murder?

I’m Brain Eschbach and I play rhythm guitar in The Black Dahlia Murder.

Tonight will be your 6th show in the UK on this tour, how has it been going so far?

It’s been going pretty good, it’s the first chance over here in clubs playing stuff from our new album Ritual so its been a lot of fun and people seem to be taking to it rather nicely which we always appreciate.

There are 21 dates alone in the UK, is playing over here important for you as a band?

Its extensive we’re trying to hit all the little crannies that we can. We have a bit of a Black Dahlia following over here but we’re always looking for more people and I realise in these harsh economic times sometimes you can’t get in a car and drive 80km to go check out a show so that’s why we’re doing a little more of a extensive United Kingdom tour.

Fans certainly appreciate bands that play more than 4 dates in the UK.

Its hard, a lot of times when band are coming over to the continent of Europe in the first place they’re trying to hit as many places as they can. They’re trying to go as far as Poland to over here, they can only do so many dates here and there.

You played 2 shows at the Underworld in London were they special shows?

They were special, they were great, it was a good time in London that night and the next night. Sometimes if your on a bus and you can’t park outside so you’ve got to grab all of your stuff for the day then go to the club sometimes there’s nowhere to hang out but that wasn’t the case at the Underworld this time. We got to walk around and check out the markets and Camden which was cool.

Is it different playing shows over here compared to the US?

Not really, it’s the same sort of thing. There are a lot of dance party aftershows over here where I end up hearing a lot of stuff from the 90’s at those things, which is fine with me.

You released your 5th album last year which is a bit different from your previous releases is that something that you did consciously or that was just the way it worked out?

It’s not too weird, c’mon! There’s a couple of weird stuff that we actually played with a little bit before. We did the song Blood in the Ink which has a string section almost throughout the entire song which something we always kind of wanted to do being fans of bands like Dimmu who get to do all sorts of cool stuff like that. We tried to incorporate a couple of new things without going to far out of the Black Dahlia Murder box.

How have the new songs been going down live?

Great! We’re playing 7 or 8 new songs in the set, usually we don’t sneak in more than 3 or 4 maybe in the past just to try to keep playing the classics that people like. It’s worked out great, I haven’t had anyone come up to me and say you play to much stuff from Ritual yet. As soon as we get to Germany we’ll find out what people don’t like, they’ll come right up and tell you!

What are your personal favourites to play?

I really like playing On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood, it’s a cool one. Its kind of slower paced song for us, you get to really channel that old Morbid Angel sludge work.


So when you’re not touring or writing what do like to do to relax?

I sit on my couch a lot and watch a lot of TV, just garbage, total garbage that enhances my life in no way whatsoever but its nice to unplug once in a while. I also have 4 cats that I play with and I’ve got a moped that I ride around town when its nice and warm out.

The artwork for your new record is pretty cool and all the special deluxe editions, is the artwork important to the band?

I don’t think we’ll ever have someone else pick the art for us and show it to us, its always been very hands on. When we’re looking at the art we really scrutinise and Trevor usually finds the new guy de jour to work with.

You had the option of a Ouija board with this record.

It was available with a deluxe edition with a lot of other nerdy stuff like incense and coffin nails. I’m waiting for someone to tell me the talked to their grandmother or some ancestor that’s dead but I haven’t heard of it yet, that’d be cool.

You’ve worked a lot with Dan Mumford how did that come about?

As far as our t-shirts and such yeah. We had this fellow Karim who was doing most of our merchandising and he still does to an extent. He just saw some of Dan’s artwork online and we started up a relationship from there, we give him a couple of ideas and it works out. But trends do change and I’m sure people are going to start saying its not cool at some point, they’re wrong!

Are there any bands you would love to tour with that you have never gotten the chance to, past or present?

I would love to open for Motorhead that would be really cool for me. There’d be a lot of beer and leather-clad people which sounds like fun and of course Lemmy is God. It would be cool to share the stage with a deity. I’d love to tour with fucking NOFX! But I doubt that would ever happen; I would enjoy it greatly.

What were you favourite albums from last year?

From 2011? This is so hard, I don’t even know what albums actually come out in what year but the Obscura one I know came out in 2011 and that was awesome. The new Decapitated came out that was pretty rippy. I actually find out about a lot of music after the fact; ‘this is awesome, oh it came out 3 years ago and they already broke up!’

What’s the main goal as a band for 2012?

To open my eyes on December 22nd and see everything’s fine. That way we can make another album.

Are you writing now?

We haven’t really dove to far into the thing yet, just starting to riff around and stuff. Later on in the year it will become more of a pressing thought.

Do you enjoy the recording process?

I prefer playing but I do like writing a song. Once it gets to the recording process I can’t relax until it’s all done. That’s a gruelling 5 weeks there usually, you can’t work 24/7 but I’d like to.

With the current economic problems is it getting harder to be in a band?

We’ve been pretty lucky; our fan base pretty much supports us pretty well. I know for lots of bands its tough. Just looking at stuff like fuel costs that are rising and the percentage of people going to shows and buying merch and stuff is lower which is totally understandable. If all you can afford to do this week is come see the show we’re thankful. I know its having a big impact on a lot of the tours so hopefully someone’s going to invent something that everyone can go to work making, a new era.

Any festivals planned for the summer, I know there’s an announcement for Download tonight?

I’d be surprised, last time we were at Download I got us kicked out. Something about breaking a little refrigerator that was Kid Rocks. We were excused by the owner of the festival himself but maybe he’ll have us back I know he’s a good guy.

Do you get to see many bands now that you’re in a band?

The funny thing about being in a band and being out on the road a lot is you’ll come home and you’ll look in the weekly rag and you’ll see all these shows that are happening and your like ah that’s awesome, I’m going to go to that then you realise that I’m not going to be here. That happens a lot but whenever there’s something I really like at home and I am home I’ll go out. The last band I saw at home was Mastodon and Dillinger Escape Plan.

Thanks to Brian for taking the time do this interview for Birmingham Live.

Hannah Sebestjanowicz

Photos – Matthew Franklin

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