EMQ’s with HORROR DANCE SQUAD
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Tallinn, Estonia based Modern Metal band, Horror Dance Squad. Huge thanks to them for taking part!
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Horror Dance Squad has been blasting stages throughout the Baltics since 2014, unapologetically blending metalcore and punk with vibrant electronics and delivering it to our audiences with unforgettable ferocity. Throughout our years together we have had the enormous pleasure of sharing the stage with international heavy hitters such as Siamese, Comeback Kid, Dead By April, Adept, Eskimo Callboy, We Butter The Bread With Butter, Deez Nuts, August Burns Red, One Morning Left and may others. We also represented Estonia at the 2016 Wacken Open Air Metal Battle.
How did you come up with your band name?
When we formed the band, we knew we wanted to make heavy music, but we wanted to go in a different direction than the “doom and gloom” most people think of when they think about this genre. And, of course, with any good band name, we wanted something that really represented the core of the band and us as individuals: Horror for the heavy influence, Dance to highlight the more fun and positive angle we wanted to approach our music with, and Squad to represent the unity we feel as a band, including the unity we feel with our fans and the many awesome people we’ve had the pleasure to work with while creating and sharing our music.
What country are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
Estonia is a country with a metal influence for sure, especially with our cousins to the north, but which is maybe more known for its folk roots. Examples such as folk-rock group Trad.Attack! and folk-metal group Metsatöll have enjoyed major successes here. But the modern-metal scene is definitely on the rise here as well. People come to the shows, there are a lot of new bands and many who have been rocking it for over ten years. The audience has also seemed to warm up a bit here–the kids mosh, stage-dive and crowd-surf like never before! Before the pandemic, there was a steady stream of great concerts. And once the restrictions were lifted, the shows picked right back up.
What is your latest release (Album, EP, Single, Video)
Our new album, “No Flag Will Fly Forever” (which came out on September 25th), is our most ambitious work by far. It is our deepest dive into the style we have crafted for ourselves and truly embodies the values and spirit of the band. We worked hard to challenge ourselves as musicians and songwriters to make sure we wrote the best songs we could. The album was recorded in Tallinn, Estonia and mixed by Cody Stewart (The Browning) in LA.
True to our core, the album was inspired by topics we find essential to discuss: social and personal issues, justice and injustice, philosophy and spirituality. Questions and topics that are pressing for us as individuals, but which we feel are common issues for humanity in general. We hope that if someone is struggling with an issue in their lives this album will have a song that will speak to them and help them find a positive way to deal with it–or at least a few minutes to mosh it out.
To sum it up in a few words, “No Flag Will Fly Forever” is forty-four minutes of head-bopping, feet-tapping, scream-along mayhem!
‘Burn This Place Down’ (Official Music Video)
Who have been your greatest influences?
As a six-piece–each with our own long, personal music history–it shouldn’t be a surprise when we say that we have been influenced by more artists, musicians, writers, philosophers, scientists, activists and policymakers than can properly be named. However, we can trim it down to a few for you. Musically, we have been largely inspired by bands like Bring Me The Horizon, Enter Shikari, Parkway Drive, and Sikth. Non-musically, writers Stephen Pinker, Graham Hancock, Allan Watts and J.P. Lovecraft have inspired us in different ways. And, without a doubt, general curiosity and a drive to grow and learn will continue to influence us until the end of our days.
What first got you into music?
For all of us, music is part of who we are, and we couldn’t imagine living without it. Although we all found our passion for making music in our own individual ways, we all started playing music quite young, inspired by the bands and artists who were role models in either the way they played or in what they had to say with their music. While music is an essential and integral part of our lives, all of us have interwoven this passion with other interests and areas of personal development. Horror Dance Squad is made up of a software fraud expert, service designer, elementary school teacher, audio recording technician and two software supply specialists. Yet all of these various roles feed into the music we make and the stories we want to tell.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Very tough question. However, if we have to choose one, we think it would be very awesome to do a collaboration with Fever 333. They just have such a badass vibe and great messages in their songs.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Since we got a taste of the Wacken Open Air festival in Germany in 2016 when we performed in the Metal Battle, we would absolutely love the opportunity to go back and play in the actual festival.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Although it’s not exactly weird, just last week we received two hand-made, solid- metal axes with our band’s initials engraved on them. A very unexpected gift, but one that we truly appreciate! It’s amazing that one of our fans would take the time to make something like that for us.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Thank you! We hope you know that every beat and chord we play, every word we sing is for you. Thank you for being part of the squad.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Chester Bennington. Linkin Park was an influence for all of us in this band and his death was a huge tragedy.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
What is there not to enjoy about making music? Sure, it’s not always easy, and there is a hell of a lot of work to do, but we love the process and we are aiming for greatness.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
The way royalties work with streaming services. We understand it’s a complicated issue, but considering the way the sale of music has changed and the technology with which we listen to music, artists are losing an important source of income.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Oh wow, that’s a tough one. As a six-piece band, you can imagine it’s tough to pick one between us, let alone for any of us as individuals to choose just one album…. However, there is a general consensus amongst the band that Slipknots’ self-titled album from 1999 made a huge impact on all of us as youngsters and greatly influenced our journey into metal music.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
We just successfully completed a crowdfunding campaign on the Estonian platform Hooandja to release our upcoming album on vinyl. This time, we decided this would be the only physical release of the album we make. But if there is a desire from our fans for CDs or cassettes, we’d be happy to make them as well!
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
It’s really hard to pick the best show as we have had some really kickass gigs, but we all agree that our performance at the Wacken Open Air Metal Battle in 2016 was one of the most significant shows we have ever played. Everything there was bigger: the stage, the crew, the pressure and, by far, the crowd size. It was an awesome experience and one we will never forget. But any show where we and the crowd have fun together is a great show.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
For all of us, music is part of who we are, and we couldn’t imagine living without it. However, it’s still necessary for all of us to have day jobs in order to keep our dream going. Horror Dance Squad is made up of a software fraud expert, service designer, elementary school teacher, audio recording technician and two software supply specialists. Yet all of these various roles feed into the music we make and the stories we want to tell.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Each of us says the other five of us. We think we’re pretty fun to hang out with.
What’s next for the band?
Right now, the big project is the release of our album, “No Flag Will Fly Forever”, released on September 25th. We’re have recently released two singles, ‘Better’, on September 4th, and our most ambitions music video to date, ‘Burn This Place Down’, will was out on September 18th. We also have a couple of other videos in the pipeline which will require a great deal of our time and attention. We are also working hard to make sure our album release show this October is the most intense and inspired one yet. And, of course, once these projects have come to an end, we will continue to work as hard as ever to keep this ball rolling. Hopefully, the situation in Europe will also allow us to tour the album starting next year.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Our singer Ian says they are a cookie. But then again, he is from the U.S.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Thank you for having us! And don’t forget to mark your calendars: “No Flag Will Fly Forever” is available from September 25th on all major streaming platforms!
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