So I got a great opportunity to do an interview with Mike D'Antonio, who for most people reading this(I hope), would know him from playing bass in the almighty Overcast. He is more well known now a days for playing bass in one of the biggest bands in the current day "metal" genre, Killswitch Engage. He also currently plays bass alongside members of Cannae, Overcast, Seemless and Shadows Fall in the thrashy hardcore band Death Ray Vision. You can stream there new EP "Get Lost or Get Dead" at the end of the interview!
Hey Mike, how are you doing? So I'll start this off by talking a little about the new band your in, Death Ray Vision. How did DRV start up in the first place? DRV is sort of what people would call a "supergroup" band. But to me it seems like a group of long time friends playing fun music. Would you agree?
I had some demos kicking around, and out of boredom, I started sending em to my friends to see what they thought. From the get-go, Brian and Pete were very interested which gave me great hope that we could pull something together. Colin stepped in on drums and Zack followed on second guitar soon after. DRV is very "back to basics" for us, and it feels great to play that same aggressive music style we grew up on.
So I've been describing your sound to people as a good mix of hardcore and thrash. So with that being said, what would you describe your sound as?
I guess that is pretty much it. We are influenced by all the stuff we listened to as kids in the 90s.
What bands would you say influenced your sound? I know you guys have been playing a CroMags cover live, which totally rules. You should cover Leeway....just saying haha
Yeah. Cro-Mags, Bad Brains, Agnostic Front, Leeway, Madball, Integrity, Ringworm, Swiz, Deadguy, At The Gates and Slayer.
Sounds a lot like what I listen to these days, haha. Well moving on to some other things about DRV, you guys have been playing alot of local shows as of late, what shows do you have coming up? I heard you're playing that Harvest show in Revere which is going to be awesome!
Everything is very DIY at the moment, so we are just doing shows on the fly. The Harvest show seemed like a great fit for us, so we were excited to be added to the bill. Deathrayvision.com has all the show updates.
You guys played one of your first shows at this years New England Metal and Hardcore Fest along side the likes of Biohazzard, Blood For Blood, Bury Your Dead, Terror and Trapped Under Ice. How did you enjoy the fest? Were there any bands that you specially enjoyed seeing/checking out?
Metal Fest is always a great place to showcase your band. We were excited to be a part of it, and stoked on the turn out. I saw my boys in Times Of Grace on Sunday. All in all, NEMHF 13 was a pretty rippin time.
Now you guys self released you're new EP, which is awesome and I really respect that. What made you guys want to self release it and not do the release with a smaller label?
We basically wanted something out by our 1st show so people would know what we were up to. We recorded, mixed, mastered and put out the EP in 2 weeks. It was a rush to be able to have something so fresh come out right away. It is definitely nothing I am used to… and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Eventually it would be nice to get some distribution on a future LP, well see how things work out.
Now on to some other stuff, you played bass in the almighty Overcast. You, Brian and Pete all played in that band for those who don't know. But is there any plans for more Overcast shows in the future or have you guys put Overcast to rest for good?
It would be cool to do something for the 20th anniversary (holy crap). But there are no current plans.
Damn, that sure crept up fast! A few years back Overcast reunited to play shows and recorded a record that was released on Metal Blade Records. You played a good handful of shows including Bane's 10th Anniversary show, and a few headlining shows including one at the Upstairs at the Palladium in Worcester. What would be the show that sticks out to you the most out of all the shows Overcast played during that time?
The first time Overcast reunited to do Metal Fest was the most heart warming thing I have ever done. People really showed us the love that we never had in that band. That show prompted us to play more and release the Metal Blade record.
What you're most well know for is being the bassist in Killswitch Engage. What has been up with the band as of late? You've been off the road for a while since Adam is out with him and Jesse's new band Times Of Grace.
KsE needed a break. Badly. Now, a year later, it is time to kick things in gear again. Currently, everyone is individually writing demos for the next KsE record. There is no release date yet, but I would assume it will be out early 2012.
Speaking of Jesse, last year there was a string of shows that you guys reunited with Jesse for a selection of songs and even played as 4 piece with Adam on drums. What was that like for you getting to play some songs you guys probably haven't played in a good chunk of time?
It was amazing. There was a certain charm to that incarnation of KsE, and it brought back a rush of cool memories. Those songs are fun to play, and Jesse was the cherry on top.
I would personally love to see that happen again sometime in the future, you guys should make it happen at the Palladium or something. Killswitch with Jesse, Shadows Fall playing all the old records, Overcast, and Death Ray Vision. It would be pretty sweet.
We have been discussing a big Mass Metal type show (or shows) including all our friends. There is a good chance it will happen as long as the touring schedules jive
I know you do design work for bands and other things such as the New England Metal and Hardcore Fest. Do you have a favorite piece that you've ever designed? Or something that is more personal I guess you would say?
I really like how the new Crowbar record "Sever The Wicked Hand" came out. They are my favorite band, so it was a dream come true to help them out with that. I couldn't have asked for a cooler project!
Is there anything else you'd like to say?
Thanks to everyone who took the time out to read this, and thanks for the interview.
Look for Death Ray Vision playing at a venue near you.
Watch for a new KsE record next year.
Keep an eye out for a massive Massachusetts type show (or shows) in the near future
Alright, thank you Mike for doing this interview!
Thanks for the interview Jim!