– First off, how is the band currently doing with the release of its newest album?
The band is doing well thank you, we have been getting some great reviews for the new album called Diamond Head, some of the best of my career. We signed to Dissonance Records and the album will be released on 22nd April, 2016. It will be available to Download plus CD and vinyl.
– This new album is self titled. What’s the reason behind self titling this newest opus?
I put up a big piece of paper on the studio wall with “Name This Album” written across the top, we all wrote suggestions on it but nothing quite fit. Usually one of the albums song titles gets used for the album title but in this case nothing felt right. Eddie suggested we call it Diamond Head and after thinking about it for a while I thought it was a good idea. I thought hey The Beatles, Genesis and Metallica have all had self-titled albums that were not their debut so why not. It’s also a very strong statement of intent. Diamond Head are back!
– I haven’t had the chance of listening to the whole album yet, just «See you Rise» (good riffs), «Set My Soul on Fire» (quite ZEPPELIN) and «Silence» (a great track with some mysticism and epic, really good). Is the whole album in the style of these songs? Tell us a little bit on how does the record develop.
This new album is a mixture of classic Diamond Head but with a more modern sound. It was recorded on Pro Tools LE and with modern guitar amps like the Deizel VH4 so that is bound to affect the sound of the record. I tried to put some dynamis on this album, i think Led Zeppelin were the masters of dynamics and i have laways admired the way a track like ‘Babe Im Gonna leave You’ works. Its important for the flow of an album that it does not just overpower the listener. Thier are IMO a lot of good riffs on the album. My favorite songs on Diamond Head are Bones and All The Reasons You Live. Bones works great live but we have not tired All The Reasons You Live yet and i cannot wait.
– Have been quite a few years since your previous studio album. Have there been any changes in the band during these years? How do you think «Diamond Head» differences itself from your previous «What’s in your Head?».
Our previous singer (Nick Tart) and his family emigrated to Brisbane in 2008 so since then it has been very difficult to write or rehearse new material. We found it becoming increasingly expensive and complicated to keep flying Nick backwards and forwards for festivals and tours. We would only rehearse for the gigs and as soon as the tour was over Nick would fly home because he had a full time job and a wife and kids to support, so there was no time for writing and I did not want to make another album like What’s In Your Head? that was done over the internet with no rehearsing of the material as a band in the same room. Once we started writing with our new vocalist Rasmus Bom Andersen in a rehearsal room we quickly realised that there was a band feel to the music much like we used to achieve in the 1980s and it has made a huge difference. I think the new album has a lot of the qualities that make Diamond Head unique. We had a brief during the writing process that was ‘It should sound like Diamond Head’ it sounds obvious but our style and sound can easily be lost if you try to compete with modern metal bands. We tried to embrace the good things about our own style and back catalogue.
– Will there be a special digipack or vinyl edition?
Our initial pressing was a plastic CD jewel case and black vinly album, we will continue to sell these at gigs. However the Dissonace Records version will be available in as a digipack, It will also be available on purple vinyl with a gatefold sleeve.
– And about supporting this album, do you plan to tour or play some festivals to support the record?
We have a few European festivals coming up, Hard Rock Hell Ibiza May 12th. Muskel Rock Sweden June 5th, Sweden Rock June 8th, Der Detze Rockt Germany June 18th, Bloodstock Derby UK August 12th, Skulls of Metal Fest Spain August 27th, Storm Crusher Festival Germany Sept 17th. And we are adding more all the time.
Diamond Head tour dates 2016
Apr 22: Swindon Level 3, UK
Apr 23: Crumlin, Caerphilly The Patriot, UK
Apr 30: Northwich Memorial Court, UK
May 01: Telford The Haygate, UK
May 07: Razzet L-Ahmer, Malta
May 12: Ibiza Hard Rock Hell Road Trip, Spain
May 27th Get Mad Festival, Madrid
Jun 05: Alvesta Muskelrock Pa Tyrolen, Sweden
Jun 08: Solvesbord Sweden Rock, Sweden
Jun 18: Daun Der Detze Rockt, Germany
Jul 30: London Barnet Rugby Club, UK
Aug 12: Bloodstock Open Air, Derby UK
Aug 18: Bilston The Robin 2, UK
Aug 27: Andalusia Skulls Of Metal Fest, Spain
Sep 17: Storm Crusher Festival, Germany
Sep 22: Dublin Fibber Magees, Ireland
Sep 23: Belfast Voodoo, UK
Sep 24: Limerick Dolans Warehouse, Ireland
Sep 29: Norwich The Waterfront, UK
– A few time ago I saw on Youtube your performance at the 70,000 Tons of Metal. How was the experience like? How did that gig go?
I had a great time on board the excellent 70,000 Tons Of Metal cruise, on board the Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas. Our voyage began in Ft Lauderdale, Florida and took us out to Falmouth, Jamaica then back again. Diamond Head played two shows on board, a first for everyone in the band. Our first gig was on the 1st night in Pyramid Lounge, Then i had the whole of the Friday to chill out and watch as many bands as I could, I saw Cradlle of Filth, Rotting Christ, Children of Bodem, Gamma Ray, Hammerfall, Epica, Nervosa, Raven etc etc it was great fun. On the Saturday we played in a much larger venue called The Ice Rink. It was an unforgettable experience, one I would recommend to anyone who likes Metal!
– As I have the chance of interviewing you, I would like to dig a little bit into the history of the band. You hailed from London during the late 70’s. How were the first steps of the band like back then?
Diamond Head was formed in 1976 in a town called Stourbridge which is 10 miles outside of Birmingham. I put the band together in my bedroom with school friends, we played our first gig at our old school a year later. We had 3 bass players before we persuded Colin Kimberley to join, then started playing in Birmingham and all around the Midlands. We had a few different managers before setling on a local card board box manufacturer called Reg. Our main priorities were to write songs and play live. It took us six years to get a record deal.
– In 1980 and 1982 you relesed two albums, «Lightning to the Nations» and «Borrowed Time», now two cult albums of the NWOBHM. What are your thoughts on this label that was put on you and what are your memories from this period and albums?
I think the NWOBHM is an important rock genre, it spawned some very big and influential bands. It was a generational thing, all the NWOBHM bands were doing their own thing up and down the UK, unaware of each other, trying to emulate the classic 70s bands like Zep, Sabbath, Purple, UFO, Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest etc but with a young, almost Punk Rock attitude and it took Sounds music paper to bring us all together and create a movement. It’s a shame more bands from this genre are not still alive. Lightning To The Nations was recorded and mixed in one week, with an engineer called Paul Robinson (no producer) we could not get a record deal with it (or at least not one that our manager was satisfied with) so pressed 1000 copies and sold them by mail order and at gigs. We had some great press and got to support AC/DC on what turned out to be the last ever two gigs with the great Bon Scott. We had been writing since 1976 and a lot of the best songs Sean and I would ever write went onto these first two albums. We also recorded three singles and an EP before signing to MCA records in January 1982. Borrowed Time was recorded at Playground Studio in Camden, North London. We spent three weeks recording and mixing it with producer Mike Hedges. It entered the UK charts at no 24 on its release. 1982 was a good year for Diamond Head, it felt like we were finally getting somewhere.
– In 1983 «Canterbury» came out, which to me is a jewel that maybe not much people understood. How was the process behind this album and why did you «take the risk» of doing something different?
Maybe we had moved too far away from what some people liked about Diamond Heda in the first place. We overstretched ourselves on that album and it unfortunatly broke up the band, we were never the same again. Sean and i were never that interested in repeating ourselves and that is a dangerous game. In hindisght we should have had advice from someone about establishing ourselves before experimenting so much. Normaly managemnet would have steered us in the right direction but ours didnt have clue and presumed we knew what we were doing.
– Back then I remember it was commented DIAMOND HEAD was the band with the most class to come out from England (which I totally agree). Why did bands as LEPPARD or MAIDEN manage to turn so big and you, from that point on, stopped recording being almost a cult band into the British scene?
Its a mixture of things. No 1 is bad management. Def Leppard were managed by Peter Mencsh who now manages Metallica. Iron Maiden are managed by Rod Smallwood who runs Sanctuary Music and Diamond Heda were managed by a bloke who owned a carboard box factory and Sean’s Mom. No 2 is a lack of consitency, we changed too quickly and never established ourselves anywhere other than the UK, the first time we played in the US was in 2002 wherase Def Leppard and Maiden toured the US in 1980. No 3 is Sean Harris, Sean will only do what he wants to do. You cannot make him do anything.
– I remember your visit to Spain in 1983 with SABBATH and GIRLSCHOOL. Can you remember anything from those shows?
It was not ‘the classic’ Black Sabbath line up, it was Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler with Ian Gillan and Bev Bevan in support of thier Born Again album, the one with the horrible red baby devil on the cover. They had bassed the stage set on Stonehenge with fibreglass grey monoliths in the familiar shapes covering the backline and the monitors. This was before Spinal Tap; well you wouldn’t have done it afterwards, would you? At first i thought it was wonderful to be traveling across Europe to places i had only ever heard of but because a financial decision had been taken not to pay towards Sabbaths catering, the quest for food became a priority. We would stop at motorway services and buy lots of shit biscuits, crisps, pretzels, you name it. Half the time no-one had the correct currency, this was pre-Euro so if you had a pocketful of pesetas they were no use in Germany, and so on. I would try and nick a bowl of corn flakes in the morning when Sabbath’s crew were not looking. I actually think they felt felt sorry for us and in the end turned a blind eye. I saw next to nothing of all the famous European landmarks. Usually i would wake up on the coach inside an underground car park, go directly into the gig, look for food, shower, get ready for the gig, do the gig and then get back on the coach and sometimes be asleep in my bunk before the coach left for the next venue, where i would wake up in a different car park.
– Then the 90’s arrived, and you recorded again and toured with METALLICA and MEGADETH among others. Was METALLICA a push to record and tour again? How were those years like?
By 1991 Metallica had become the biggest metal band in the world and they continually name checked Diamond Head in thier interviews. It was suggested that Sean and i should get back together to make a new Diamond Head album which became Death & Progress. It all went well at first but Sean became increasingly dificult to work with and by 1994 we had split up again. The tour with Megadeth in 2005 was just brilliant. Twenty two sold out dates across Europe, Dave Mustaine was very excited to have Diamond Head on the tour and pulled a lot of favours to make it happen. He even helped out with finaces for the tour including having a joint Megadeth/Diamond Head tour T-shirt and giving us half the profits. Awesome!
– And on a view to the future how do things look? Do you plan new releases? Do you have in mind to record something live? Or a DVD?
Possibly, its all in the planning stages. At the momeny i am doing lots of press for the release of the new album, and then we start rehersals for the European tour which goes from April until October. After that we hope to get over to either the US or Canada.
– So that has been all from our side, our best wishes and hope to see you soon in Spain. If you want to add any final words; it’s your time. Thank you for all.
Diamond Head have a couple of shows in Spain this year so it would be great to see you guys at the gigs. Its a lovely country and i always enjoy going there. Keep an eye on our web site http://www.diamond-head.net and our Facebook page.