Sunday, June 14, 2015

An Interview with Don Slater of Battlecross and a Chance to Win Tickets to See the Band Play with Crowbar this Friday!

It has been almost two years since the last time we talked to Michigan's own Battlecross. But it turns out that the band has spent the last two years touring non-stop. They also won a few awards, added a permanent drummer to their lineup, and recorded a new album called Rise to Power that is scheduled to be released this August. They are about to embark on a world tour with Gwar.

Before thy head out on the road with everyone's favorite freak show, they will be making a quick stop in Detroit to play The Shelter alongside Crowbar and Lord Dying. This show is part of their 2015 Summer of Doom Tour. We checked in with bassist Don Slater and found out a little bit more about what the band has been up to since the last time we talked. We also have a pair of tickets to give away to this Friday's show. If you would like a chance to see these guys shred up close, email your full name to Please use the word Battlecorss as the subject of the email.  We will randomly draw a winner the day before the show and we will email them details on how to claim their prize.  

HID- What band or artist inspired you to play music?
Don Slater- "Two bands and one artist in particular inspired me to play and learn. The first band is undoubtedly GWAR. From them I learned how important stage presence and a show is worth. Plus it just looked so damn fun. I learned my early chops from the band Rancid. Good ol' fashioned punk, and Matt Freeman is a master at just making bass guitar incredibly present in the mix, making it stand out on its own. Last but not least - Les Claypool. I learned my slap attack from that guy via albums and bootleg VHS tapes."

HID- You recently recorded a new album called Rise to Power which will be released in August, what can you tell us about the new music?
DS- "It’s most certainly the next logical step in the evolution of our music. A nice blend of heavy and melodic, any fan of BATTLECROSS will know what to expect. Don’t be misled, however; we aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel here. This album is simply a portrayal of what we love and what we do best. Crushing riffs galore!"

HID- Where was the music for the new album written? Who brings the songs to the table, is it one person or a collective effort?
DS- "The music was written in our homes or on our downtime on the road. Between last years hectic tour schedule in North America and abroad, we had to do as much as we could with the what little time we had. Our music has always been a collaborative effort between us, which allows us to have a more personal feel to the music when we play it live. Anyone who has played in a cover or tribute band knows that while it’s fun playing another band’s music, it’s far more rewarding when you get to shred your own brand on stage."

HID- Where was this album recorded? Did you work with any special producers or engineers?
DS- "We recorded the album at Audiohammer Studios just outside of Orlando, FL. Great environment, great place to get work done, aside from the occasional wandering black bear outside of the studio. Engineered and produced by the mighty Jason Suecof; the mixing and mastering of the album handled by the equally mighty Mark Lewis. Such a pleasure working with those dudes, and if you take a moment to browse their portfolio, you’ll see why!"

HID- You will be touring with GWAR this August and September. What are you most looking forward to on this tour?
DS- "Watching GWAR almost every damn day! I’ve seen GWAR in concert almost a dozen times, and I’ll be more than happy to at least double that number, let alone actually sharing the stage with the Scumdogs. Also on tour will be the Butcher Babies, who we made friends with on the Mayhem Festival tour back in 2013. I’ve a good feeling this tour will be a blast."

HID- How are things working out with Alex Bent, the now official drummer of Battlecross? What made you decide to add him to the mix? Did he bring anything special to the table on this new recording?
DS- "Fantastic! His ability, talent and tenacity are just a few of the key reasons. He’s also a road dog like ourselves, and his personality is a great fit. His father is a former bass player for a few funk groups, and he’s also dabbled in gospel, all which combines to make him a groove machine with a penchant for blast beats. His ideas on the album hit the nail on the head, and it fits so perfectly. You won’t be disappointed - we certainly aren’t."

HID- What is the best thing about getting on stage and playing live music?
DS- "Being on stage and melting faces is better than any drug out there. It’s how we release any pent up rage or emotions and to expel energy that in turn inspires people and let’s them express themselves is flat-out addictive. Seeing smiles, head banging, circle whips, mosh pits, all of it. It’s the best thing in the world. I seriously pity anyone who has stage fright. It takes some time to get used to, but once you get used to putting everything on display for people to watch and judge, there’s no regretting it."

HID- Is there anything else that you would like your fans to know?
DS- "Our fans are 3/4’s of the reason we do this. The other quarter, as selfish as it may sound, is because we truly love performing and playing music for a living. I hope we can see each and every one of you on our tours coming up or in progress right now. Enjoy the new album, and come rage with us! THANK YOU!"

See Don shred on stage with Battlecross this Friday at The Shelter