American true heavy metal heroes Twisted Tower Dire are hard as a steel and impossible to move away as it seems, as after all the tribulations they have faced in the past they are still standing proud as ever. Their 6th full length entitled Wars in the Unknown is well enough proof of these words, and guitar player Dave Boyd is here to give us all the info we need…
Hello Twisted Tower Dire and welcome to the pages of Metal Sound! How are you guys doing these days?
Hi, this is Dave (guitarist)! We’re all doing well. We’re very happy to have the new album completed!
The main reason for this conversation is of course your 6th full length entitled Wars in the Unknown! Now that everything is said and done how are you satisfied with its final outcome, is there anything you would change about it?
I think we’re as close to 100% satisfied as we could possibly be with the album. Kevin 131 did a great job mixing, Johnny Wooten did an excellent job tracking Jonny’s vocals and I think we all did a great job recording the guitar, drum and bass tracks. The end product is something we can all be proud of and enjoy.
Eight years have passed since your previous album Make it Dark so can you please tell us what took you guys so long? How did the composing process go?
We didn’t want it to take this long, but it took some time to get started with writing and a few years to fully record and mix. Scott (guitarist) has always been the principal songwriter. We decided to do things a little differently this time and I took the lead with writing. I took my time roughing out the songs and that added to the timeline as well. It was a long wait, but I’m very pleased. We don’t expect this to be a trend…don’t worry!
Unfortunately some personal tragedies took place in your personal lives during the creation of Wars in the Unknown, so can you tell us something more about it and how did it affect the sound of the album?
Yes, we collectively lost a few good friends. Carlos Denogean (Salvacion, Walpyrgus, Weed Eater, Volture) and Dave Castillo (Deceased, October 31). I also lost another good friend and my Mother. It’s been a rough couple of years and saying goodbye to people you love is always difficult. I want to tell my Mom about so many things happening in my life, but I can’t anymore. It’s depressing and it hurts, but life must go on.
Comparing to its predecessor, I would say that Wars in the Unknown is somewhat darker and represents the slight return to ‘’classic’’ Twisted Tower Dire sound, how would you comment upon this statement?
I totally agree. I listened to all of our older albums before roughing out the songs, hoping we’d regain a certain edge we had back then. I also tend to write more dark, heavy and fast stuff, so that all fed into the sound. I think it’s a fresh take on our old sound, as silly as that sounds. It seemed to work well (
Please tell us something about the cover art, it looks slightly cheesy but in the same time very metal! I still don’t have the lyrics sheet, is it done in connection with the themes of the album?
We wanted it to look dark and desolate…less cluttered than a lot of modern album covers. The figures do tie into the songs. The hooded figure is from Light the Swords on Fire and the werewolf-bat-looking things are from Tear You Apart. They’re all located “in the unknown” being on an unidentified planet who knows where. This album is more straightforward than earlier releases, so we wanted the cover to reflect this. I think it’s cool! I really hate those computer generated covers with a bunch of jumbled crap. Martin Hanford did a great job and he always does!
This is the second album with Jonny Aune, does he still get compared with late Tony Taylor or did he manage to get out from his shadow?
Yeah, we still get a lot of that and people have their opinions. There will always be the Tony fans, and we get it…there should be. He was a great frontman and we were fortunate to have him. We still miss him, of course. I don’t think it bothers Jonny too much, but he’s such a great singer and an asset to the band that it makes me a little bummed out. I think he’s starting to get more credit for his own style and capabilities. His performances on this album are excellent and that’s helping! We’re very fortunate to have him in our band.
Twisted Tower Dire was never the band that got the easy way in career, is there something you would do differently or it gave you some extra inspiration?
TTD is firmly planted in the underground and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. The reality is we can’t all quit our jobs and drop everything to go on multiple tours to support the album and the band. We had that chance in 2003 but we couldn’t do it. Jim and Tony were probably game and I hate that we had to pass it up. The music business is difficult and it’s hard to stay relevant and make enough money to do it full time. However, doing it “part time” allows us to pursue other interests, play in other bands and take a ridiculous 8 years to release an album! Really, we’re not making that a trend! I wouldn’t do anything differently and I’m pretty stoked about where we are now as a band and as individuals.
You have started to play metal when it was highly unpopular and just years after HammerFall made huge boom and returned it on the map, yet you still didn’t get the accolades you have certainly deserved. Why do you think that happened?
It beats me! I’m sure they had a lot more money and support behind them, and the ability to tour and promote the band. Honestly, if accolades were the reason we were in TTD we wouldn’t have made it far. Popularity is nice but the bigger you get, the more people hate on you too. People like the underground metal scene because it’s like a special, secret club we all belong to. HammerFall’s club is much larger, but the underground still much more fun! People like to route for the underdog because we all know what that feels like.
No split releases or EPs in between the albums for this time, why is that? Can we expect something of that in the near future?
We talked about doing an EP as I began writing, but I thought enough time had already passed that we should hold out for a full-length. We’re always open to doing split discs and usually wait for someone to approach us with ideas. Jim has written a bunch of songs and it’s possible we’ll record some of them and release it as an EP. There are decisions to make so we’ll see! We’re also hoping to do some reissues in the future.
Unfortunately, aside from some festivals it is huge rarity to see Twisted Tower Dire in Europe. Will the situation for the promotion of Wars in the Unknown be different?
We’re talking about doing a short European tour in 2020. It will hopefully involve a festival or two and some smaller club dates. We’re working with Gabriel Management and discussing the details right now. We’re keeping our fingers crossed!
You know that metal heads love to argue about some themes, and one of the most common ones is underrated bands! So please tell us which are the best yet hidden metal jewels in your opinion, both old and new!
I was always a big fan of the band Anacrusis. I guess they’re not so unknown, but I think they’re pretty underrated. They had a very unique sound and the songs were cool! I just listened to them last night. Newer bands….I’m a huge fan of the band Lady Beast and hope to make the Metal Immortal Festival they’re organizing in Pittsburgh this June. I also really like a band called Corasir from Charlottesville Virginia. They’re a neat mix of early metal, Thin Lizzy, and Sabbath with a progressive element. They’re not straight up metal, but they have very well written songs and they were a talented band. I had the pleasure of playing a show with them years ago, but I think they disbanded (.
That would be all for this time, I would like to thank you for this conversation and wish you all the best! Your last message…
Thanks to everyone for the patience in waiting for this last album and the support through the years. We hope to see you in front of the stage very soon! Stay true….Cheers and Metal!
Questions by Slobodan Trifunovic
Answers by Dave Boyd