Order of the Dead are a crushing death metal band that your ears should hear and here is an interview with band member Jody Roberts.
Where did you grow up and what sort of kid were you growing up?
In Rochester, NY. I was a quiet reader with intense adhd outbursts, if that makes sense. Always drawing, reading, and banging on things.
When did music start to enter your life and what were some of the 1st bands that you heard?
My parents were greasers that morphed into hippies, so I was surrounded by Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, New Riders of the Purple Sage, The Byrds, Traffic, bands like that. When I was around 9 or 10, my Dad introduced me to Boston, AC/DC, Rush, stuff like that. The first actual album I picked up was Iron Maiden - Killers when I was 11 because the artwork blew me away. Around that time, some of my cousins showed me Black Sabbath, Mountain, Yes, Def Leppard.
Now how about heavy metal music and the underground. How did you come to discover this lovely form of music?
From cousins, mainly my cousin Pete. He showed me Megadeth, Slayer, Dark Angel, Overkill, and introduced me to a couple local radio shows that played metal.
Now how did all the band members come to meet and were you in any other bands before Order of the Dead?
We all met at local shows at various times. Bill was the original singer of Paths of Possession back when they were called Wormed when he lived in Tampa, as well as being in many local bands here such as Samara, Bitch in the Well, others I can't think of. He used to manage a band called Matrikhore here in the early 90's, which morphed into Lethargy and Withered Earth, which gave the metal world Bill and Brann from Mastodon and Dave Culross. He also used to roadie for Cannibal Corpse. He also does vocals for Burgio from Withered Earth's new project The Abhorrent.
I've been in a bunch of bands, Kalibas, Kill the Client when I lived in Texas, Brutal Truth at the beginning of their reformation in the mid 2000's, Agiel which gave the metal world Tim Yeung, As the World Burns... those would be the ones anybody might know at all. Countless local bands. I also play drums in Burndwiller.
Colin and John are in Ancalagon together, and Colin is in Nokturnal Hellstorm, Dan Lilker's black metal project. John used to be in a few local bands here, too.
Mike has been in local metal bands like Arkhem, but also jazz and gospel bands. He also plays drums in Halothane at the moment.
What is the current line-up and how many band members have come and gone to get to the original line-up?
The current line-up is Bill Lander on vocals, John Malone on bass, Mike Adams on drums, Colin Hanna and myself (Jody Roberts) on guitar. Bill is the only original member. We're on our 4th drummer, 3rd bassist, 3rd and 5th guitarists.
Where is the band based out of and is there a good and healthy metal scene where your based out of and is there many places for a band such as yours able to play?
Rochester NY and really all of Western NY have a strong scene with lots of good bands. Buffalo and Rochester have a bunch of places to play. Syracuse, not so many places. Rochester has some really great bands. Ancalagon, Desekrator, Nokturnal Hellstorm, The Highest Leviathan, Blizaro, Orodruin, Blurring, Burndwiller, Gutted Alive, Porphyria, Abhor, Dead Bitch, Abdicate... there's a lot more that aren't coming to mind right now. Buffalo has Cain, Theater Nocturne, Seplophile, I'm from the Government and I'm here to Help, Armageddon, Hubris, Hellcannon... again, I'm forgetting a ton. Syracuse/Oswego area has Ebony Sorrow, Dialysis, Inhumatis, Infernal Thorn, Maantrik, there's just a ton of killer bands all through this area. The Finfer Lakes are also has a bunch of good bands.
How did you come up with the band name and were any other names thrown around before you came up with it?
It's something Bill and our original drummer Dino came up with, they were already playing shows using it when I joined. I'm sure a ton of names were thrown around lol
What were some of the early practices like and did you fool around with cover songs in the beginning? When did you start to write original songs?
I joined in 2009 and immediately took over the bulk of the writing. Jay switched from guitar to drums to fill the spot Dino left, and the other guitarist Matt and I took over the writing, with me doing the majority of arrangement. We have done covers here and there, Carcass - Incarnate Solvent Abuse, Death - I forget which song, something off Symbolic... we constantly toy with the idea of covering stuff, but never get around to it. I want to cover Thin Lizzy - Massacre... Mike wants to cover Testament - Into the Pit...
Who does the writing of songs and how does a song come together?
I come up with chunks, John or someone will give me riffs that I turn into chunks... Mike and I arrange, John transitions and bridges... Bill says longer or shorter depending on what vocal stuff he's coming up with. We're all involved, we all have strong and weak points. Colin is still learning the songs, but he'll be chiming in soon. We have chunks of songs lying around that we'll be working on soon. I'm already working on one.
How about the lyrics. Who pens the lyrics and what are some subjects you write about?
Bill writes 95% of the lyrics. I've helped with a line here or there, or given a conceptual idea. Our former guitarist Chad also helped with lines here and there, or gave conceptual ideas. But mostly it's Bill. Stuff on the ep, we have stuff about the conspiratorial origin of the fez hat, the men or men behind the men behind the curtain running the show, standing up for your rights... some of the newer songs are about being abandoned in the void of space, Ragnar Lothbrok, and the merging of technology and humanity.
For someone who has never heard the band, what would you say you sound like and do you feel you’re an original band?
That's tough, because we touch on almost every aspect of metal, but the focus is on the song arrangements, so I think it's all mixed together pretty well. I think we're touching on something at least semi-original, with only enough derived from our influences to be acceptable. I guess?
What are some things you like to do when you’re not doing band related things?
Be old. Smell bad. Not bathe. I dunno, it seems like when we aren't working, we're doing band stuff in one way or another, for one band or another. It's an all-consuming passion.
You sent me 3 things. A demo, a live Ep and you’re on a compilation you’re on. How did you end up getting on this comp cd and has it helped spread the name of the band much so far?
The guys in Post Mortal Possession from Pittsburgh put that comp together. We played a few shows together and became friends, so when they decided to put that together, they included us. Yeah, I think it's helped... each band got 75 copies and there's I think 13 bands on it? It was a great opportunity, we were glad to get involved.
Where did you record your Ep at and how smooth did the recording for that go? How has the response been to that so far?
We recorded it at Arrythmia Studio here in Rochester... actually, at the time it was across the hall from our jam room. Working with Micah was awesome, and I can't wait to do it again. We're actually prepro-ing new songs right now, gearing up. Micah's been itching to record us again, as well. So it's a mutual relationship of enjoyment. I personally love being in the studio, though. I know that not many people do. We sent that ep everywhere and got no response on the business end of things, but everyone that sees us live or gets a copy digs it. And we've been fortunate enough to expand our territory slow and steady. So we'll just keep doing it. Hopefully 2016 we'll have the opportunity to expand our warfront further.
What made you decide to do a live demo? Where was that recorded at and how has the response been to this release?
Why not? The tech is there now, I have a tascam DR90 or whatever it is... and I'm from the era where bands were trading shitty boombox recordings and handing out stuff done with Grandpa's radio shack tape recorder with the condenser mic on it lol. We've come a long way since those days. I'm actually prepro-ing the new stuff with the Tascam and Audacity. I'll send you some, it's coming out really good, and I'm a technological caveman, at best.
Have you sent any of your releases to any record companies and if not, do you plan to in the future? If you have sent stuff to record companies what feedback have you got from them?
All the ones you can think of with no response whatsoever. Nuclear Blast sent it back unopened. Eh, what can you do? With everybody downloading everything like the bands recorded it for them personally, labels don't have the money to take a chance on a new band that hasn't toured enough or sold enough on their own. The floating capital for band development, or what I call 'see what they do' money, just isn't there, anymore. That being said, we will keep expanding our territory, and yep, the labels will be getting a new batch of stuff and an updated resume in a couple months, I think.
Does the band have any goals they would like to achieve one day?
I'd like to tour the full US at least one more time in life. I'd shit my pants to go to Sweden. I can't speak for anyone else, though.
What are the best things about being in this band and the worst ones?
I love all aspects of being in a band... from the writing and song development, to recording, to being on stage, traveling, meeting other idiots in bands, making flyers, shit, just last night I taped flyers on poles for upcoming shows we have. The worst is that we have to pay for this shit ourselves. Someone give us money and put us on the road. Or at least get me some new tubes and cymbals lol
Please plug any websites you have at the moment.
We currently use facebook, reverbnation and bandcamp. Go search us on those, you'll find us. Youtube, as well. Our ep is up there if anyone wants to check it out. It's available at our bigcartel store, or digitally through iTunes, Amazon, Google, Spotify... pretty much every digital outlet. We could use, and greatly appreciate, any support we get!
Horns up for the interview any last words you would like to say to wrap this up?
Just thank you, Chris, for the interview, and for being a fellow lifer... and if anyone decides to check us out after reading this, we hope you enjoy what we do! Thanks!
Interview by Chris Forbes