Published Mar 20, 2018Although 2017's Nightbringers saw the Black Dahlia Murder's career continue on an upward arc, vocalist Trevor Strnad tells Exclaim! TV's Aggressive Tendencies that he also has ideas for several side-projects outside the band, but somehow always finds a way to "pussy out of it."
"There are a lot of different things I'd love to do outside of this band. I'd love to sing in a punk band again… some kind of Fat Wreck Chords type shit," Strnad says. "This band takes up so much of my life. We're gone most of the time. Every egg of my life is in this one basket, basically. I've put 1,000 percent into it. It's hard for me to deviate."
A part of Strnad also worries that a side-project to the Black Dahlia Murder could tarnish the band's legacy in death metal.
"It's just the way my negative ass thinks. It's somewhat ironic. I've sung on 10,000 albums to be helpful, and hopefully get more eyes on them and stuff, because I like to do it and I like to hear it too," Strnad says.
Similarly, collaborations are something Strnad is weary of. He emphasizes the importance of "wanting to represent every song exactly how you heard it on the album."
"I'd love to have Corpsegrinder [vocalist of Cannibal Corpse] on a song, but then I'll be missing Corpsegrinder every night," Strnad says.
"[If we] ever did seek out guest vocals, I'd have a damn long list for you," Strnad says. "I could make a whole opera."
Although Strnad is eager to the idea of future collaborations with some of his early death metal heroes, he admits to still "[tripping] out meeting bands that I really like."
"I can't really segue into believing you're a normal person for a long time. Cannibal Corpse is a great example of this. They're heroes — one of my first death metal bands — one of the most influential upon me lyrically," Strnad explains. "It took me about six or seven [tours] until I was like 'All right, Cannibal Corpse are just people.'"
The Black Dahlia Murder had their own taste of extreme fandom with the formation of Blast Fiends, the band's official fan club.
Blast Fiends was formed by three fans that have "really insane Black Dahlia merch collections," which Strnad starting noticing when scrolling through Instagram feeds.
"The response has been huge. It's over 10,000 people now. I think that they've grown this culture of collection for the band that's just absurd. People are competing to have the most righteous Black Dahlia collection. For me, it's an honour because really I tried to make the merch appealing and cool. I'm always the guy in charge of the visual aspects of the band. I really enjoyed doing that kind of thing, so it's super flattering.
"They had this personal mission to make the record huge… They basically went above and beyond anything you'd ask of a fan, so it's been really exciting to see this thing come into full swing. I feel tremendously in debt to these guys."
Outside of the support from their Blast Fiends, Strnad attributes the success of Nightbringers to several other aspects of the band, including new guitarist Brandon Ellis' attention to quality songwriting.
"It's Brandon… his energy. People are really excited about his playing. Seeing how they took to him even before the album came out was a pleasant surprise, because member changes are so touchy," Strnad says. "It seems like they gravitated to him right away which is cool."
Ellis wrote four songs for Nightbringers, which was something Strnad and company did not expect from a fresh-faced member.
"We thought that Brian [Eschbach, guitarist] was going to take the reign back over like he'd done on the first handful of records," Strnad says. "I think he lit a fire under all of our asses in a way by seeing what he was capable of. I think it really challenged Brian to raise his own personal bar, and everyone else responded with a certain energy. It seemed like a special thing from the ground up."
You can watch the entire interview with the Black Dahlia Murder on Aggressive Tendencies below.