This week, Metal Descent is conducting our first ever band interview. That band is the up and coming American Deathwish, who we’re really excited to introduce to you. With a classic thrash sound and deep rooted classic metal influences, you’ll want to check out their free downloads for a full listen to their catalog. Known formerly as Into the Void, you can find portals to all of their music through their website.
Please introduce the fans to the members of American Deathwish.
The band is made up of my brother and I, Cameron and Cody Childers.
When was American Deathwish founded? Where does the band hail from? How did all of you meet?
Well, Cameron and I have known each other, well for all of Cameron’s life. We are from West Virginia, which is not really known for its heavy metal, but it makes us stick out.
When you were growing up what bands drew each of you to heavy metal?
We really had a lot of friends and family who listened to metal, in fact a lot of the same stuff we do. Black Sabbath, Megadeth, Motorhead, Ozzy – all kinds of old metal.
I feel like metal is the best way I have to express myself, I feel like it is my true calling. What we were really meant to do.
We notice a strong Slayer thrash influence and crossover hardcore sounds like Sick of It All and early Agnostic Front. How would you describe and categorize your sound to the fans?
You know it is funny we always get compared to Slayer, some people online even call us the ‘new Slayer’. We don’t listen to them much but, of course we have heard them and they have definitely left their mark on metal. I think we listen more to a lot of the stuff that influenced them like Judas Priest, Maiden and a lot of the older metal. Really, we consider what we play just heavy metal and we have always liked to play fast. A lot of people call us Thrash metal or crossover and that’s cool with us.
What differentiates American Deathwish from other thrash and crossover thrash bands?
Honestly, we have tried since the beginning to make something different. We want to have our songs be written differently, we want to play differently, approach the whole art form in our own way. Our biggest goal is to be different, we try to design everything with that in mind.
You began your career with an EP, Call of the Void, and an album, Black Dawn, under the band name Into the Void. What was the reason for your recent name change? How did the name American Deathwish come about?
We actually had an album before that under Into the Void called See You Pay. Honestly, the name change had a lot of reasons behind it, we wrote a blog on our website (AmericanDeathwish.com) that details a lot more of it but really, other bands were trying to use the name and we decided it would be best to separate ourselves from the pack by changing the name up and getting a fresh start. I think has been a smooth transition.
How do you think your sound has changed over your three albums?
Honestly, I feel that it has the same basic style but has evolved. At the same time we try to keep moving on, coming up with new ideas, trying to grow the sound we have made. I feel like if we stay true to our sound and keep trying we won’t turn into bullshit. Everytime, we try to push it a little harder, a little further without getting too refined.
Your newest self-titled album was released on July 4th. Tell the fans about this album and the process that went into completing it. Is there a general theme to the album?
The album really didn’t have an overall theme. We tried to make an album that would really show what American Deathwish was all about, the sound, the style, the feel, all of it. I think that we stayed true to the sound we have created and came up with an evolved version of it.
We just try to make every one better than the last especially this one since it was the debut of our new name. I like the album and I think it’s some of the best material we have ever played and written. We have about half of another album written that just needs some polishing and we can hit the studio with it.
What promotional methods have worked best for you to get your music to the masses?
We have had the best results with YouTube. We shoot, edit and direct all our own videos. I gotta say, video is a world of its own and it really gives you a chance to add an extra dimension to a song.
A good video can make people think, change the meaning of a song or just be filler. All of those can be good or bad depending on the situation.
We really liked what we heard on your newest release, especially the song Tragedy of a Gunslinger. There is a different sound to this than you typically hear in a thrash or hardcore song. How would you describe the sound? How did the tune come about? Lyrically, what is the subject matter of the track?
Cameron and I wrote it together. Some of the lyrics I wrote in our tour bus after a long weekend and a late night. Cameron wrote a lot more lyrics and edited what I had and came up with the phrasing. We were getting home at about 8 in the morning. The lyrics are about a lot of stuff like being singled out, not belonging to a group, sticking to what you believe even, if it doesn’t pan out. Basically, some of the bullshit that this planet has, things a lot of people deal with. I still have the original piece of printer paper I wrote it on. I think it had some White Castle grease on it.
I wrote the main 2 guitar riffs after I had just finished Red Dead Redemption and that game hit me so hard. After I saw the ending, my brain was basically fucked for a week. (If you haven’t played it yet, you need to.) When we were getting the song together, we were getting so pumped because we could tell that we had something special. There is a video shot for it and we are editing it now. It should be out soon. I really want to get that song out to more people.
Your first two albums also have a lot of solid material and a good mix of metal, hardcore, and punk sounds. End of It All Part I comes to mind as a song that seems to have a lot of punk and noise rock influence. What other types of music and bands inspire each of you besides metal?
We like a lot of folk and old country like Neil Young, John Hartford, and Johnny Cash. We listen to a lot of punk, Misfits, Sex Pistols. We really dig the Gorillaz, N.W.A but we do listen to metal the most. Honestly, we will listen to pretty much anything that is real. If you hear a song, you can tell if someone has put their heart and soul into it. You can also tell if it is cookie cutter horse shit someone put together.
Even if someone sucks at playing, you can hear if there is real shit behind it. You listen to Lead Belly and you know he didn’t have years of classical training. But anyone, fucking anyone that listens with an open mind can hear that what he is singing is real, not some bullshit about how he likes to go out to the club.
With End of It All Pt I and II one we were trying to do a Pink Floyd-esque multi part epic. For the middle part, I played our 1937 Hammond BCV organ. It was one of the first electronic organs ever made and there are very few that were ever made much less still around and working. My favorite part is the end of the 2nd part. I think it wraps the whole thing up in just the right way.
Are you working on any new material now? When do you expect to release it?
We just put out 2 new songs, the album is called 6 Degrees of Hillbilly Rejects. We have a song we wrote called 6 Degrees that is a horror/ comic book metal song. It is very influenced by Rob Zombie, we pulled out the synths and Cameron used more gravel in his voice. We also have a cover of the Squidbillies theme that we recorded. We have two videos to 6 Degrees and a video to the Squidbillies cover on our YouTube. Also, both songs and all the rest of our catalog are free to download on our site. Steal them, give them to your friends, get them out anywhere you can.
Like I said before, we have more songs that we are wanting to hit the studio with. They are written we just need to get everything finalized and record.
Where can the fans find your music and information about American Deathwish?
Do you have any upcoming tour dates or events? If so what are the venues and what bands will you be playing with.
We have been experimenting with more and more online stuff. We will be streaming more live shows to YouTube from our studio. That is a great setup because you can talk with people and play live all in real time over the web and it is recorded and already uploaded.
We will eventually do some live gigs but right now we are focusing more on the studio and the internet. There will be a lot more coming, stay tuned.
Are there any interesting stories from recording or touring that you’d like to share with the readers of Metal Descent?
We have had some wild times out there. I gotta say the craziest place I have ever been is in my entire life is Skatopia. There were multiple people that got branded while we played. They had a red hot poker and branded multiple willing people. There was a group of people that were letting off some of the biggest fireworks I had ever seen. I mean my eyes were closed and I still had images burnt on my retinas and these things had to be a 1/4 of a mile away.
Cameron’s hair got caught on fire a little. I saw a man catch a van on fire, I almost got hit in the head with a bottle rocket. The stage caught on fire the night before. They had the bands play on a really high porch type thing and the crowd was jumping up and down so hard that a big chunk of the floor fell out and they just nailed a couple boards over it between bands.
There was a four-wheeler that had a chair tied to the back. The chair had no legs and was being drug behind and they would take this thing up and down rocky ass hills, out across fields, mud puddles everything. Well then when it got dark they had a car follow them with the lights on!
Any plans or negotiations happening for a record deal?
We definitely want to take the band into the big leagues. I really feel that we have something unique and I want us to take it as far as we can or die trying. Damn straight.
A big thanks to the guys from American Deathwish for this interview. After you preview some of the songs below, be sure to visit their site for more of their music: