For those of you not in the know, DEAD ASYLUM is one of the most exciting new Extreme Metal bands on the scene right now. Their self-released sophomore effort Death Always Wins is out now, and is sure to put hair on your chest and blow you away. A short while back I had the chance to sit down with drummer Samantha Landa who gave us all the insight into what makes these Canadian metallers tick. Check it:
Amps: So, Death Always Wins is album number two, correct?
Samantha: Yes. I think we were still a little bit new to album promotion on the last one. We’d all been in bands before, and put out one or two albums before, but it was never something that we pushed internationally.
I think we really wanted to focus on the local element and just get the name out there with General Carnage. We weren’t really planning ahead at that point, I mean, it came out four years ago. In that way this is more of our international debut. There was a lot more planning involved, we worked with a really great PR company (Clawhammer PR), and we wanted to really get the word out about this band and album.
Amps: You’re with Clawhammer PR. I love them. They are fantastic! One of those groups where I can’t open their e-mails fast enough!
Samantha: Oh, wicked. Scott’s (Alisoglu) a great dude, so we’re really happy working with those guys.
Amps: How long have you been playing drums?
Samantha: I’ve been playing for almost 20 years. I started when I was 11 or so, so it’s been awhile. It was off and on for awhile because I didn’t always have access to a drum kit. The last few years have been on. I feel very uneasy when I’m not in a band and I’m not playing regularly. So now I’m firing on all cylinders.
Amps: What’s the writing dynamic in the group? How do the songs take shape?
Samantha: We used to have two songwriters in the band who would divvy up that aspect kind of 50/50. We no longer have one of those members in the band, so Mike (Lister, vocals/rhythm guitar) is pretty much the primary songwriter. He’ll generally come in with a riff or two or three, kind of an outline of a song sketched out.
Lately what we’ve been doing is he might send everybody a rough recording of a song or a few riffs and everybody will send back their thoughts on it. Sometimes we write together in person as a band and build it together. There is one song I wrote on our first album. I’d say it’s definitely a collaborative effort. If Mike writes something and it doesn’t totally vibe with everybody we’re all open and honest enough to say, “I think this part might sound better here.” or something. We’ve all learned to communicate really well.
Amps: Tell me a little bit about the U.S. tour that just happened.
Samantha: It’s the second time we’ve toured the U.S. but it’s the first time we went coast to coast. Over 20 dates and it was great! It was filled with ups and downs but overall we came out on top and definitely made a lot of new fans.
Amps: You also spent some time out on the road with NERVOSA last year. Talk about that if you will.
Samantha: Yeah, almost three months in 2016. We did a month around the Eastern U.S. and Canada so I was drumming with them for that one. It was a small headlining tour, which was fun. Then we did Europe for four weeks with DESTRUCTION, FLOTSAM AND JETSAM, and ENFORCER, followed by another week headline tour. Those three tours were awesome and I still talk to those girls all the time. We’re really good friends and I miss them.
Amps: Are you working as a Pool Girl at 70000 Tons of Metal this year?
Samantha: I am not. I decided that I just wanted to have fun and have a vacation on the cruise this time. Because you really are working. People think, “Oh, you get to wear a bikini and take pictures!” but it’s much more than that. You’re a brand ambassador, you’re an “Ask me” type person. If people need anything, directions or resources, you’re expected to assist with that. You interview bands, which is one of my favorite parts of that job. But I do plan to go again and this will be my fifth year on the cruise. It’s so addictive! And it is always such a diverse lineup. Last year’s was so good that I was actually stressed out trying to see every single band! I was running back and forth between sets, there were some bands I had to catch BOTH sets. You barely sleep, you kind of nap then you’re back up for somebody’s 5 a.m. set (laughs)! This time I’m gonna focus on eight to ten bands I really wanna see and the rest of the time just hang out, relax, go to the pool, buffet, and casino. There is so much fun stuff to do on the cruise. You’d love it, you gotta go.
Amps: What are you listening to right now?
Samantha: Generally metal is what I listen to and what I look for. I love melodic, aggressive heavy metal. Some of the bands I’ve been listening to are MORS PRINCIPIUM EST, they were killer on this year’s cruise. INSOMNIUM, OMNIUM GATHERUM, and a lot of Finnish Metal. I listen to BEHEMOTH a lot, too. And I try to listen to bands from the area as much as possible, too.
Amps: Now that Death Always Wins has been out for a couple of months, what would you hope the average listener takes away from it?
Samantha: Number one would be, “Wow! What are these guys like live??” Like, they’re blown away and need to come check us out in person. For me personally, that would be number one. Our live show is high energy, loud, and in-your-face.
I also want someone to be so stoked on it that they listen over and over, make it their car album that they repeat a lot, and for those songs to hit home and deeply resonate with people.
Amps: What would you like to say to all the fans of DEAD ASYLUM out there in the world?
Samantha: Thank you so much for all the support so far. We’re working our butts off to get out on the road more and get our music out there. Thank you so much for buying our stuff, coming to our shows, and being so supportive. Hopefully we can continue to move people with our music.
I always say that at the end of the day I am a fan first and writer second. After listening to Death Always Wins, and getting to know Samantha Landa, not only as a drummer, but as a person (she kicks ass at both!), consider me a fan for life. The future looks bright for DEAD ASYLUM, and I am happily onboard this train. You should be too!! Pick up their music HERE. There, now you have no excuses.