All this week IVM, Solid State Records, and Demon Hunter have teamed up to bring you Demon Hunter Week. If you’ve missed any of the IVM posed easy/hard questions, be sure to hit up the links below and catch up. One our readers, site owner for bandsonfire.com, took a little creative liberty with one of our questions this week and came up with this awesome little ditty. Thanks to Tobias Reiss for giving us a visual of what Ryan would look like facing down a zombie apocalypse. Surely they can add him to The Walking Dead in a cameo role looking like this, right?
For our final day with Mr. Clark, the riding hunter himself has chosen questions from our fan questions thread posted last month. So, without any further adieu, I turn the interviewing role over to you our fans.
IVM Fans: Does it get more difficult to write songs without repeating previously written songs?
Ryan: Yes, it can be difficult in many ways not to rehash old material. Lyrically, it can be hard to find uncharted territory after something like 80 songs. Somehow, thankfully, I’m able to continually draw inspiration from daily life. Lucky for me, there’s plenty in this world to find fault in, and that tends to be the kind of thing I write about.
As far as music goes, it can be hard not to subconsciously reuse old riffs as well… or at least riffs that sound like old riffs. The other guys in the band were laughing at a few parts that I’d written for this new album because they were really similar to parts from older songs. Needless to say, we made some edits.
IVM Fans: What is the future for DH past this album?
Ryan: As always, the future is wide open for the band. The best part about Demon Hunter is that we don’t allow ourselves to get burnt out on it. We do things on our time, when it makes sense for us, and that allows it to remain enjoyable. I foresee more albums, more shows… the sky is the limit.
IVM Fans: Do you think you would ever do a DH acoustic album?
Ryan: We actually talk about this often. It’s something we’ve considered for quite a while now. We’ve done acoustic shows here and there, and would love to explore that kind of thing on an album. Don’t be surprised if you see something like this from us in the near future.
IVM Fans: Actually, the question I’ve always wanted to ask anyone/band in the Christian community: Do you ever get frustrated/sick and tired of the criticism and over-looking into the appearance of things? Examples: your symbol/name and people assuming it is evil. Or, in another instance, Anberlin having a song called “God, Sex, & Drugs”, and taking soooo much criticism over a stupid song name?
Ryan: There are actually a few songs on the new record that address this issue directly. It’s something that you learn to get used to (or ignore) when you’re involved in the Christian music scene. There are always going to be people that are looking and trying to find fault or possibly even some sort of secret meaning behind every aspect of what you do. There has been bred, within the most fundamental of Christian institutions, this desire to scrutinize, speculate, and try to “catch off guard” anyone else that claims to be delivering a message having anything to do with Christianity itself.
As if I, a 35 year old man, that was raised in the church and has made account of my commitment to Christ on at least 100 public occasions (both in regards to myself and to the band), need to be held accountable by some 16 year-old kid that I’ve never met, that somehow thinks we’ve flippantly made a hard left turn out of Christianity, with no warning whatsoever, because… and you can kind of fill in this gap with anything…
- There’s a beer can in the background of a photo I post on Instagram.
- Someone sees someone in the band smoking a cigarette.
- Our album cover (despite it being the same logo 7 albums in a row) is more “evil” this time.
- The use of red lights in our photo shoot is somehow truly evil.
- They don’t understand a lyric or piece of artwork that we release, so they draw their own conclusion that it’s evil.
- They think since we listen to secular music and wear secular band shirts, we can’t, at the same time, be believers.
- They think that somehow existing in a Christian bubble, only playing shows with Christian bands at Christian venues, is somehow MORE effective to winning lost souls than going into the real world.
- They take a lyric, or something I’ve said, without considering its context, build their own context around it that somehow dismantles everything else I’ve ever said.
- I can’t recite my favorite Bible verse on command, aside from 2 or 3 (that I memorized from worship songs when I was young) which I feel would be pandering.
- I use a curse word.
Those are all real examples that have happened, and they’re the tippy top of the iceberg.
As if for some reason, we’ve been lying all along about our faith – in songs, in interviews, at shows… and we decided to wait until our SEVENTH album to, not blatantly, but covertly and inconspicuously, undermine ourselves, alienate our fans, and botch the entire purpose of this band… by either being regular humans (that make both good and bad decisions on a daily basis) or by purposefully disassembling ourselves on an artistic level… for, I don’t know… fun?
All this to say, yes, it’s frustrating.
There is a place for talk about EVERYTHING. There is a conversation to have about real life – and people cannot shut it out because they’re afraid that talking about it (or taking part in some of it) is going to damn them to Hell. Not EVERYTHING is black and white. Some things are, but other (most) things demand thought… discretion, consideration… and possibly some personal conviction. Although the foundational doctrines of Christ and the cross are indisputable, there are other (much smaller, much less trivial) issues that will be different for each person, according to how they want to live their lives.
IVM Fans: Favorite Christian album ever? Favorite Secular album ever?
Ryan: Depeche Mode Violator, Living Sacrifice Reborn
IVM Fans: From the first DH album to this one are you more mature as a band or is it like starting over with all the new members?
Ryan: Definitely the former. With every change to the lineup, it seems that we’ve been able to make gradual steps forward, in regards to the overall maturity of the band. Part of that is because we don’t introduce new songwriters. I’ve been writing the material since the beginning, so I’ve essentially been honing the sound of the band as the years pass, and I’ve been fortunate enough to introduce some great talent into the mix along the way. The outcome, after 12 years, is a combination of better musicians than there ever have been in the band, and hopefully my progression as a songwriter.
IVM Fans: On average, how many songs do you sort through before picking the final track listing for an album?
Ryan: For the most part, we record everything that was written for the record. Or, I should say, I only write enough for the final album, plus a small handful of b-sides… which is usually about 13-15 songs. We don’t choose the final track listing until everything is complete, although certain songs begin to stand out (or the opposite) part way through the process.
I don’t like particularly long albums, but it was very hard for us to trim the fat on this new record. The standard edition does round out at 12 tracks, and I think they’re all very deserving of their respective place on the record.
IVM Fans: As a fellow head-shaver, what is your razor, shaving cream, etc. of choice?
Ryan: I’ve been shaving my head for about 19 years now, so I don’t do it as regularly as I used to. When I do, I use a disposable 3-blade razor… like a Gillette or Schick… and just whatever shaving cream is lying around. I don’t really need to use a mirror, because I can just feel it, so that means I usually do it in the shower.
IVM Fans: Have you ever considered writing a book, poetry, public speaking, etc. as another outlet for your messages?
Ryan: I actually have considered a book of sorts. Nothing like a novel, but maybe something containing random short pieces… almost like lyrics. I’m not a huge fan of poetry, so I’d want to make sure it doesn’t come off that way… but I really do love to write, and over the years I’ve thought about different ways to manifest this, even if it’s outside of music.
Lee: Who is better, Batman or Superman?
Ryan: Superman is obviously more classic, but I think Batman, aside from being extremely wealthy, is a bit more relatable. After all, he’s just a guy with cool, technologically-advanced trinkets. The fact that he doesn’t inherently possess any super-human abilities makes him something that people can almost aspire to be. He’s also got a cool, dark vibe about him that makes him mysterious and seemingly dangerous. Outside of that, I think he looks cooler, his outfit is better, his weapons and vehicles are better… as are the stories, villains, etc. With all that said, I’m a bigger fan of Batman.
That’s it for Demon Hunter Week, here on IVM. We hope you’ve enjoyed it. It bears repeating that we heartily recommend DH’s new album Extremist. If you haven’t picked it up yet, be sure to remedy that foul error, else Ryan Clark (Dixon) might literally hunt you down. DH week may be over, but be sure to keep plugging in to IVM for a daily dose as we unveil more exclusive content from some great under the radar bands (and some above the radar ones, too) regularly.
Did you miss any part of DH week? How about any of our previous amazing _____ Weeks? Allow me to oblige: