Hellfest, Sunday 22nd of June 2014. With a 30 years career behind them and a great collection of thrash masterpieces, the band led by Jeff Waters came all the way from Canada for their European fans at the Hellfest. Dave Padden (lead singer and guitar player) received Nikky Larsen and Walkyrie before heading up to the mainstage 2.
Nikky: Hello, we are here with Dave Padden from ANNIHILATOR. How are you doing ?
Dave: very hot ! But otherwise, I'm very good, thank you.
Nikky: How many times have you played the Hellfest ?
Dave: It will be the second time. The first time was in 2010 I believe.
"Jeff gets more comfortable with me getting heavier and heavier, he lets me go more and more, as it comes more appropriate for the music."
Nikky: You have a quite wide vocal capacity. How did you work to get the voice you got today ?
Dave: It's from singing from different people styles. I didn't sing professionally before joining Annihilator, but always by myself I was singing a lot of Mike Patton, or Devin Townsend, or Alice in Chains, Chris Cornell, things like that. By always pushing to get up there, I just got better and better.http://www.thedarklodge.fr/wp-admin/post.php?post=1591&action=edit
Walkyrie: Most of the times, singers get more calm with the years. But your voice evolves the opposite way ?
Dave: Well, I was already singing aggressively when I joined Annihilator, but I had to pull back, as it was more appropriate for Annihilator. But I've always done much heavier vocals with other projects [TERROR SYNDROME, SILENT STRAIN], but, as Jeff gets more comfortable with me getting heavier and heavier, he lets me go more and more, as it comes more appropriate for the music.
"As I started playing guitar, I became two members, so I guess I made it harder to replace me ! (laughs)"
Walkyrie: You are the only band member, apart from Jeff Waters, who lasts this long. How did you manage this ?
Dave: I have no idea ! (laughs) I don't know, it just seems to work and as soon as I started playing guitar, I became two members, so I guess I made it harder to replace me ! (laughs) That's a joke by the way. I have no idea, it just works, I guess I got lucky.
Sometimes he [Jeff Waters] asks me for riffs, but I write different kinds of riffs so they don't usually fit with Annihilator. We work a lot on that stuff in the studio. He has got an idea of what he wants it to sound, and then we put it together.
Walkyrie: The album Feast came out last year. How did the audience react to this album ?
Dave: Fantastically. Every single review we got were all like above 8.5 out of 10. Everybody loved it. I couldn't be happier, it's our best selling album since 1996, so it's doing very well.
"They treat the bands very well. Everything is professional, and the fans are always awesome."
Walkyrie: You are touring in Europe. Can you compare the differences between the European festivals and Canadian ones ?
Dave: We've only ever done one or two festivals in Canada in the last eighteen year, so I can't really compare, we don't really play in North America very much at all.
We play a couple shows in Quebec, and 2 ou 3 warm up shows in Ottawa, but we don't tour in North America at all.
But, from what I have noticed, the things are more organized here. They treat the bands very well. Everything is professional, and the fans are always awesome.
"It takes 18 hours to get to another city sometimes."
Nikky: How comes that you play more often in Europe than in North America ?
Dave: A lot of that has got to do with record labels and distribution. Up until our most recent record label, UDR, we didn't have any proper American distribution. Without records in the stores, and no promotion in North America, promoters don't want to take a chance on you because, maybe you'll fill up the place, maybe you won't, so they don't want to take an effort if they don't know. Being in a metal band, or any touring band in Canada is a lot harder. It's hard to get into the US, where all the fans, and money and press is. And there's so few large cities to play in Canada, they're so far apart. So it's very difficult to tour in Canada, and very expensive, because of the great distances.
It takes 18 hours to get to another city sometimes. The people who do stick it up are really dedicated and really serious about it, but at the same time, we're all idiots, with a big sense of humour and we don't take ourselves too seriously … Maybe ! (laughs)
Walkyrie: After your European tour, do you plan something for Annihilator ?
Dave: After the festivals, Jeff will probably start writing again for another record. And I think there is a show in Nicaragua in December, and then the 70000 tons of metal in January.
And the new album of course, it will keep us busy for a while !
Walkyrie: I wish you a good festival !
Dave: Yeah, we're looking forward for playing ! Actually, the French crowds in general are good crowds,
Walkyrie: Thank you for the Dark Lodge !
Dave: No problem, thank you !
Here is "No Way Out", from their latest album, feast: