About Me

Interview with Psychotic Waltz

Psychotic Waltz is back!!! The band has returned with an insanely awesome album… for those who have been eagerly waiting for it… the wait is over! In early February, Devon Graves, one of the best voices in the current metal scene, talked to Metal Imperium about the new release, the reunion, and other interesting topics. Progressive is at its best in 2020 with “The God-Shaped Void”… come inside the band’s amazing world!

M.I. - Firstly, many thanks for taking some time to answer some of our questions. I have listened to your new album repeatedly for the past days! It is insanely good! I’m so happy it is finally ready!

Thank you!

M.I. - The band officially reformed in 2010, 13 years after having ceased activity. Why did you decide to return?

It was just time. I had been wanting to for a while by then. So, when Ward reached out to me saying that he, Brian and Norm were jamming again, I told him if we can get Dan back in, then I’m in. Fortunately, we were offered the Power of Metal tour shortly after, and that was the catalyst that threw it all into motion.

M.I. - Now, you’re back again with the original line-up and a new album… has chemistry between members kicked in again? Or was it never an issue?

Never an issue.

M.I. - The band was formed in 1986… that was 34 years ago… how intense has Psychotic Waltz’s journey been so far?

It’s like two different chapters with a 15-year intermission.

M.I. - It took you 7 years to prepare the new album “The God-Shaped Void”… isn’t it tiring and boring to be working 7 years on the same material?

Not at all. We did it slowly, song by song, so actually it was not working on the same material. New song… new song… new song… Get it? It’s always new material until it’s finished.

M.I. - How was it being back in the studio after so many years? Was it strange or exciting?

My studio is in my home, so it was just a day in the life for me. This time though, I was recording a Psychotic Waltz album, so it was very inspiring and a lot of fun, just by that fact alone. I do wish I could have gone to San Diego when the band recorded with Ulrich Wild. But since I would do all my vocals at home anyway, I wouldn’t have had much to do. I would have just been in the way. But I did secretly wish I was there. They were keeping me posted daily and sending photos.

M.I. - In your opinion, how different is it recording an album these days when compared to 1996, the year you released your “last” album “Bleeding”?

It’s pretty much the same. Only the media has changed, which actually made this album possible. If we were still using analog tape, this album wouldn’t be the way it is. That and home recording, which I really love, is a big part of the process these days.

M.I. - How complicated is it having a singer that lives overseas? Things take a lot longer to happen? How do you rehearse?

Since I am that singer, I can say that living here has little to do with the time it took. It certainly slows certain communication down. The band only rehearses once a week if they are lucky. I just have to do all my rehearsing alone with a practice recording that doesn’t have lead vocals. We only play together on stage these days.

M.I. - According to the press release, “The God-Shaped Void” is the product of careful and studied perfectionism... can fans really rely on this biased opinion by the record label? ☺ I absolutely agree with it though!

I’m comfortable with that.

M.I. - Where does the name “The God-Shaped Void” come from, as there is no track with that name?

The title sums up the subject matter of the individual tracks. Each song is like a different symptom of the same illness, as it pertains to the state of our world today.

M.I. - Travis Smith is responsible for the cover artwork again. What’s its meaning?

That is just his interpretations of the album title and some of the lyrics.

M.I. - In the early days, the band had more impact in Europe than in the United States… any reason why it happened?

Probably because Europe, then and still has had a thriving metal community whereas America changes with popular trends for the most part. By the time we came out, metal was declining as the premier pop art form in the US and was about to be overshadowed by hip hop, grunge and alternative. There was less and less venue and support for Metal in the US. Although it kinda looks like there may be a comeback. Black Sabbath went number 1 with “13” so… Who knows?

M.I. - Basically, for the past 10 years, the band has been active playing all the old hits and songs… how was it possible to tour for almost 10 years without releasing new material in between? Weren’t people tired of listening to the same stuff over and over again?

We haven’t played that much. Just certain festivals and a few small tours. Would you be bored if Zeppelin or Sabbath played only music from their first four albums? Not to compare us to them, but you get the point. In fact, there are plenty of old songs people want to hear that we haven’t gotten to this time around. We could tour on all the songs we never played in all this time, but people still have their favourites. I don’t think we bored anyone. 

M.I. - Knowing that people are so excited about your upcoming album “The God-Shaped Void” must be a great feeling, huh? How often do you listen to it?

I listen to it any time I want to show it to someone. There does seem to be some magic around this release, and we really are looking forward to seeing how it goes over.

M.I. - What’s your favourite track on the new album? Why?

I really love them all. The one that has the most variety of elements would probably be “The Fallen” so I like it for that. “All The Bad Men” is a favourite for the production and the melody.

M.I. - There is already a lyric video for “Devils and Angels” and an official video for “All The Bad Men”… why have you opted for these tracks to showcase the album?

We had the opportunity do make 3 or 4 videos (some still to come…) so the five of us  each offered a list of our choices. We took the ones that had the most votes. “All The Bad Men” was one everybody picked, so that was the one for the animation video.

M.I. - The band is now signed to InsideOut Music. How did this deal come up? Did you receive any offers from other labels?

We had a few offers on the table. But I have been with InsideOut all these years with Deadsoul Tribe and The Shadow Theory. They have always been good to me. They had also been waiting for us to reform. I pretty much knew we would be on InsideOut.

M.I. - Now that almost 24 years have passed since “Bleeding”… are there any major differences in the sound and maturity of “The God-Shaped Void” and the other albums? Does experience show off more in this release?

We’re older, wiser, more experienced. And we also have tools that just didn’t exist back in the analog days. A richer sonic palette. More audio tracks. Home studios. Plus, the time to craft everything to as perfect as we can. We don’t have to make any excuses over our performances saying, “We ran out of time”. Plus, we got to work with a stellar recording engineer and a stellar mixing engineer. So that always helps.

M.I. - You are hoping to do some festivals and mini-tours in order to promote the album. Any plans already?

Yes, and yes.

M.I. - Hope you come and play in Portugal. I bet you’d love it here and metalheads would be thrilled to witness your energy live! Wish you all the luck and the biggest success for the new album! It rules! Any last words?

What if we came and only played old material? Do you think they would be bored? Just kidding! We would love to come. And we will bring the new material too.

For Portuguese version, click here

Interview by Sónia Fonseca