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Interview conducted June 10 2022
Interview published July 11 2022

"It's a very hard competition for a new, very good song to make its way onto the setlist when you've got songs that people react to immediately."

Metal Covenant talked to guitarist/vocalist Jesper Binzer, guitarist and little brother by roughly a year Jacob Binzer and drummer Laust Sonne of Danish rockers D-A-D as the band had traveled about 100 miles eastbound for a show at Sweden Rock in June.

Tobbe: In May it was 3 years ago since you released your last album, A Prayer For The Loud, and the album before that, Dic.nii.lan.daft.erd.ark, came out in November 2011. Do the fans have to wait 7,5 years again for a new record?

Jesper: Very good question. We've made 6 demos a couple of months ago, and we know at least 5 of them are good. So, let's hope it will be a little quicker this time around. We got the energy and we got some kind of vision going, so I think it's gonna be okay.

Tobbe: And all 4 guys are totally on for a new record?

Jesper: Yeah, yeah. Everybody's contributing so much and coming with new stupid riffs. Definitely. We were in the studio 1 or 2 months ago. 6 songs in 3-4 days. It was crazy.

Tobbe: Who is the hardest one to convince to make a new record?

Jacob: I don't think it's hard to convince anyone, but it's difficult to, like, "Was it 12 o'clock? - No, it was tomorrow.". [Collective laughter. To an internal joke, I suppose] But no, it's not hard to convince anyone.

(Jesper:) It's definitely a thing that hovers over you all the time. Everybody knows that it has to end up with something. The funny thing about the pandemic was, "Okay, we got lots of time to do something.", but there was no interaction, there was no energy shifting, nothing was happening. In here, dead! So it was like you couldn't really use the pandemic for this. You could use the pandemic to do something you shouldn't have done. (Laust:) And we did that. That was great!

Tobbe: A lot of bands say that they have written, like, 2 records, or whatever, during the pandemic 'cause they had so much time.

Jesper: Yeah, but they don't ever release it because it's shitty. [Laughs] (Laust:) We didn't write music. We didn't even meet up.

Tobbe: You've been in the band since 1999, Laust. That's 23 years. How does it feel to be considered the new guy even after so long?

Laust: I love it! I'm the new guy, and I'm the young guy. It's perfect.

Tobbe: Because people do tell you that still, don't they?

Laust: Yeah, yeah. But not so much anymore actually. In Denmark it seems like the old drummer is really the old drummer and I'm the drummer. But I still feel like I'm the new guy.

Tobbe: Do you ever have any contact with Peter [Lundholm Jensen]?

Jesper: No. It's a funny thing for me. But he still enjoys it, because, you know, every year good money is coming to him. He changed horses, so to speak. A very good place, because he educated himself, so it was a perfect thing for him to do as well, and it was definitely perfect for us.

Tobbe: Journalists are often asking if bands still meet their former members, but I think an employee on a regular company doesn't so often meet guys from 23 years ago on a regular basis either.

Jesper: It's a working relationship. That's what it was. Of course you are like a family when things are going, but it's a work relationship. I mean, it's a project you have to build. It's like you have something in the middle that binds you, but it's not like you have a relation outside.

Tobbe: I Want What She's Got, for example, is a popular song that doesn't hail from the early days. Is it easier for you guys to maybe use that song as a target for your inspiration, rather than looking at your old classic stuff like Sleeping My Day Away and Grow Or Pay?

Jesper: I think that one of the great things about D-A-D, that kept us going forward these years, has been we've never really looked back in that sense. And it took us maybe 10-15 years to find out, "Okay, maybe we should look back. Maybe we should make a hit like Sleeping, or something.". And then we were already gone into… You know, there's several new decades of stupid stuff. It's very seldom that we get inspired from what we have done.

(Laust:) I think it's also a dangerous game to play to try and recreate something that worked really well 20 or 30 years ago. You really can't. So it's much more inspiring to try and make something new. And some of it sounds coincidentally like some of the old stuff, but it's not made in that realm, so I think it's a dangerous game to play.

Tobbe: And it's quite funny with musicians. You guys did something back in your 20's and people still think you are the same persons as you were back then. How crazy is that?

Jacob: But we are. [Collective laughter] (Jesper:) The thing is that the songs that we play live now that are 30, or even 35 or 37 years old, are songs that we love to play. So there's a part of us still invested in those songs. But there's a lot of songs that we've educated the audience not to ask about, because that's not us any longer.

Tobbe: Back to the studio work. Is it sometimes more difficult now when you guys are gonna record stuff than it was back in the day? Because just like anyone, you're getting older too. So, is it harder to keep your bodies and hands in shape?

Jesper: Not yet, but I'm pretty sure it will happen soon. But I think it's more, like, in the frame of mind you're in. That you've done a lot of stuff, so all that off-the-cuff, something you do with total inspiration, totally unintentional, right now and here, tend to be something you already did 20 years ago. So you have to think of it, and you have to be conscious about your choices, 'cause you've really covered a lot of ground. So if you're gonna do something new you have to be conscious.

(Laust:) I think it's easier to get the good take right now. I think we're better players than we were when I started in the band. Live stuff has always been our biggest force and going to the studio was like "Yeah, let's try to make it work.". We wanna sound like a live band, but in the studio it was difficult. But I think now we have built up that and we do it easier.

Tobbe: Is it easy to pick the setlist for a festival like this one?

Jacob: I think we spent some years where we tried to be new all the time and play all these new songs. I think when you go and see an old favorite band, then you wanna hear the whole thing. You don't wanna hear something experimental. When I look at some old setlists, from maybe the '90s, or maybe from 10-15 years ago, it's like, "Okay, that song is quite irrelevant.".

You know, every time now maybe there's 1 or 2 songs that make their way. At least 1 song makes it into the all-time greatest hits setlist. And I think that's a very organic way of doing it, every time we play a big show. You can be more experimental when it's club shows.

Tobbe: I guess it's a little bit of a problem when you release a new record, because obviously you guys would wanna play a couple of tracks from that one as well.

Jacob: Then we do that. We force it a little bit. And when the album is a little older, when time passes a little bit, then you can tell which songs stick. You can never tell when you've just released an album. But down the road you can feel it.

(Jesper:) It's a very hard competition for a new, very good song to make its way onto the setlist when you've got songs that people react to immediately. The song has to be really good. And even though you feel great about it in the rehearsal space, sometimes they fall flat on their face when you meet the audience. Sometimes you need to push it through and sometimes you even need to stand your ground.

(Laust:) And just tell the audience, "This is a great song! We're gonna keep on playing it until you enjoy it!".

(Jacob:) That's what you do in the beginning, actually. Nobody knows you and then you just insist on being you. You have to have a little bit of that education and still meet people where they are, so "Let's build a little progress.". When people see a show, I mean, they wanna be surprised, they wanna be taken somewhere. You should live up to their expectations.

Tobbe: Isn't it a little bit sad that a new record that you've made after a while just becomes another record and you kind of can't play more than a maximum of one song from it?

Jesper: It is sad, but I think that's the name of the game for everyone. I try to turn it around and see it as total freedom. The freedom to be expressive, the freedom to be creative, is that you don't have to make, like, a milestone.

You don't have to be perfect. Try to explore your own creativity, have fun with it, like we did with the first albums. Just have fun with it. And of course some of the songs are gonna die, but of course the habit of playing old songs has a quality towards the audience as well.

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