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Dave Ingram: “I never once thought it would be a complete Return To Rubicon as it is today!”

Met ‘Scriptures’ kwam recent de eerste nieuwe Benediction in dik tien jaar tijd uit – en wát voor een plaat, absoluut jaarlijstjes materiaal! Nou is een dijk van een release van zo’n grote naam in het genre natuurlijk op zich al een prima reden om weer eens een babbeltje te maken, maar als klap op de inmiddels verboden vuurpijl was ook Dave Ingram, de brulboei die in de begindagen van de band zijn stempel drukte op de sound van de Britten, weer terug in de gelederen. En met de beste man is het prima stevig bierdrinken en slap ouwehoeren, wisten we uit eerdere interviews met hem, naar aanleiding van Down Amond the Dead Men en Ursinne releases. Afijn, hoogste tijd dus om een lijntje te leggen met zijn Deense woonplaats voor een gesprek over de nieuwe plaat, zijn terugkeer bij Benediction, bier, live optredens ten tijde van Corona, Doctor Who, bier en wat er met zijn andere muzikale projecten gaande of aanstaande is. Cheers!
Sicktus Ι 01 november 2020

Hi Dave, first off, I have to congratulate you guys on the new album! Absolute killer stuff, year list material for sure. How have reactions been so far?
Hi there! Many thanks for the interview, man. The reaction has been incredible!! There has been an outpouring of positive comments all over social media, and the reviews have also been none stop praise. Plus we had some VERY exciting news recently about the German chart positions. It’s all breathtaking, to say the least.

(inmiddels is bekend geworden dat ‘Scriptures’ de Duitse albumcharts is binnengekomen op #11! – Sicktus)

If you ask me, this album belongs in the top three of Benediction albums. The only problem is, I’d have to make room for it and I don’t want to… So I’ll just ask you… Where would you rank ‘Scriptures’ – or is it too soon for any nonsense like that?
It’s not too soon, but it is a nonsensical question. That’s not me being derogative towards you either, my friend! Any band who doesn’t promote their new album as the best thing they have achieved is simply shooting themselves in the foot. It’s similar to questions like “Are you happy how the album turned out?” Well of course I’m happy, else I wouldn’t release it!

I’ve heard people calling this ‘Grind Bastard 2.0’, how do you feel about that? Does that view hold any water? And if so, do you see that as a compliment? (the people I’ve heard say that, did mean it as a compliment, by the way)
I’ll take that compliment! Personally I see it as a combination of previous releases, in as much as ‘Scriptures’ tips its hat to Benediction’s discography, and brings its own presence to the front. Lyrically there’s references to the past and a few other easter eggs thrown in there, so fans can pour over the text and try finding them. Especially if they know I have multiple other projects on the go – but I’ll talk about those later.

When Dave Hunt stepped down from the mike to pursue his educational goals in life, Daz pretty much immediately called you, is that right? How did that phone call play out, did he immediately come out and ask you point blank? What was your response? Had you thought about getting back with Benediction before?
I believe that was the case, yes. Though Dave Hunt originally was just going to take a time-out from the band, and I was stepping in temporarily. BUT, Dave soon realised he wasn’t going to be able to commit to a new album and all the connected concerns, he took the decision to leave. It was an admirable and noble decision, in terms of his education. He should be very proud – and I am for him. Now when Darren called to ask me, my wife and son said that I should definitely take the opportunity if offered. So I did. A long time ago, when it was the 25th anniversary of ‘Transcend The Rubicon’, I did mention on my online show (Metal Breakfast Radio – more on that later, too) that I’d be interested in performing with them as a guest. I never once thought it would be a complete Return To Rubicon as it is today!

How soon after that call where you guys in business, discussing music ideas, lyrics and whatnot?
Pretty much immediately. We wanted to make a move on the album as soon as possible, even before the news of my return had been announced. I began working on the demo tracks, and the first one I completed was ‘Scriptures In Scarlet’, which certainly helped us along, and gave us our album title. It aligned us, and brought focus. Plus it’s about my favourite movie franchise, so that’s very groovy. (Voor degene die ‘m nog niet kon plaatsem: dat is dus Evil Dead… – Sicktus)

Your last appearance on a Benediction album was ‘Grind Bastard’ (1998). Erm. Yeah. Just give me a moment to appreciate how fucking old that makes me feel. Okay. All good. So, on ‘Grind Bastard’, there’s the song ‘I’. ‘Scriptures’ (22 years later, not to drive home the whole OLDschool death metal vibe here…) opens with ‘Iterations Of I’ and has a couple of nice little lyrical callbacks. For instance, the 1998 (sorry) song lyrics have ‘I am ashes I am dust’ in it, countered by ‘Reduced to ashes, scattered dust’ on ‘Iterations Of I’. Another example is ‘The one to break you on the rack’ turning into ‘And broke you on the fucking rack’… Can you elaborate on the link between the songs, maybe hint at other lyrical ‘easter eggs’…?
Yes, indeed. As I mentioned earlier, there are definitely easter eggs and callbacks to previous albums. The connection with ‘I’ and ‘Iterations Of I’ is absolutely correct, as ‘I’ was the last official ‘Grind Bastard’ track I sang, so opening the album with the track that connects to it was the only way to go. I also have other projects, such as Down Among The Dead Men, Echelon, Ursinne, Hellfrost And Fire, Troikadon, and I used to work with Just Before Dawn. All of these bands have some references in the lyrics, along with my love of Doctor Who, and the final track ‘We Are Legion’ is dedicated to the Church Of Satan, in which I am a Priest.

Obviously, 2020 is pretty much down the drain when it comes to concerts and festivals. You guys have a mini tour in Germany upcoming though, any idea what those five gigs are gonna be like? Will it be a seated gig? That’s gotta be a first…
They are socially distanced gigs, with a smaller capacity. I believe Asphyx have played the venues as such and it was a success for them. We hope for the same. As of the time of my writing the gigs are still on, and we are keeping a close eye on new restrictions (implemented here in Denmark soon) to see if this cause any changes. I urge anyone with tickets to please keep an eye on the news, and the venues’ websites for updates.

Any songs (new ones, or old ones to revisit) you particularly look forward to doing live? Any spoilers you can give about the setlist?
Halfway through the set we’re doing a fully acoustic and nude segment on Norwegian Carpenter songs. No, not really. I’m kidding. I just can’t tell you. Spoilers.

Did you consider postponing the release date until there would be a possibility to tour again / more easily?
We did, but then it would have been released at the same time as a good many other albums and might have gotten lost in the furore. I think the release date we had was perfect timing. ‘Scriptures’ makes a fucking cool soundtrack for Halloween, if I may say so myself!

On a more personal note, how are you dealing with the whole Corona / lockdown business?
Here in Denmark the lockdown was pretty brief, but when it began I had just had my first hip replacement surgery, so I was home already. Once I was healed I was back at work as normal. Cases are rising now, but some minor restrictions will be implemented to combat that. I’ve been quite a misanthrope for a long time, so being isolated away from other people is fine with me. My mental health is doing great. For a change.

Okay. Important question. What’s your favourite (craft) beer at the moment?
There’s a few that I have as favourites, and I’m finding new ones weekly. But there’s always a few that I fall back on, and these are Kissmeyer Fruit IPA, Brewdog Elvis Juice, Brewdog Punk IPA (in fact, pretty much all the Brewdog IPAs!) and Albani’s Mosaic IPA. Absolutely delicious…and right now I can see that it most definitely Beer O’clock, so excuse me while I go to the fridge. I’m having a few Jacobsen’s Yakima IPAs, a couple of locally brewed JuleØl (Xmas beers, which taste like Danish pepper nuts – a ginger cookie) and some Guld Tuborg, which I call banana beer as it has a mild taste of the banana milkshakes I used to buy as a kid. Oh, and I’ll be making some cocktails later on, too. I love a good Pina Colada. And getting caught in the rain…

Also a bit more personal, you recently had surgery if I’m not mistaken, hope everything is alright and you’re in good health again! We saw you “sitting out” the ‘Stormcrow’ video, was that related?
Indeed, I did! I had my left hip replaced in January as I said earlier, but it was 3 weeks ago that I had my right one replaced also. I am still recovering slowly, but I’m getting there. I’ll be back at work in 2 weeks, so I’m definitely on the mend. Yes, I may have been sitting out on the ‘Stormcrow’ video, but it wasn’t related to the surgery, or the pain I was in. It was the director’s idea that I sit there. The other video, for ‘Iterations Of I’, was recorded on the same day, so you can see I was standing there in that one. You may also be able to see my walking stick lying behind me in that video, too. Plus the “ghost” sitting down at the back.

This year also marks 30 years since the release of ‘Subconscious Terror’. I know you weren’t on that album, but can you tell us whether there’s anything special planned to mark that occasion? I’ve already seen a special 30th anniversary edition shirt for instance! 
There’s the shirt, certainly. As for celebrating that well we just don’t know. We really want to focus on the new album for the live set, plus try to keep a good balance of classic tracks…but again, I can’t say too much because of spoilers. But the nude, acoustic Norwegian Carpenter songs are always an option.

Any news on your other bands? Is Troikadon going to happen, for instance? I think we first heard about that project in 2017 or thereabouts? Or anything Down Among The Dead Men / Ursinne / Echelon / Hellfrost And Fire planned?
Here we go, pull up a chair and I’ll explain all:

DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN: 4th full-length release planned for late 2021.

HELLFROST AND FIRE: Debut album will be released in early 2021 on Transcending Obscurity

ECHELON: 3rd full-length being worked on right now.

URSINNE: 2nd full-length also being worked on right now.

TROIKADON: The scheduling for this has been a nightmare, and when we reviewed the recording of the music we decided it needed to be done again. I think this has galvanised us to work harder at it, and now since all three vocalists (myself, Karl Willetts, and Kam Lee) are all signed to Nuclear Blast Records then we should probably use professional etiquette and ask if they are interested in releasing it. That’s what’s coming up from me, along with any other projects I can’t say no to. And of course, there will be all things Benediction for a long time to come!

Anything planned for Metal Breakfast Radio our readers should check out? (Or any particularly spectacular drunk & debauched episodes to revisit?)
Using that link and visiting the archive will get you a whole bunch of shows to choose from. I believe we have close to 400 episodes – so almost 600 hours of stupidity and drunkenness – to choose from. I’d say go for the later shows and work backwards, jumping in and out from the “20.0” numbers as you do so. It’s difficult to pinpoint a particular show since we were drunk most of the time and I can’t remember them. Plus I’d avoid the early shows simply because we were finding our feet on them. The links I add will be to all the aforementioned projects, which will also include my other online show “Lambert’s Basement”. This is a Big Band Jazz show – one of my other musical loves – which has been on hiatus for a very long time, BUT I’m going to bring it back for a Halloween Jazz special very soon! And check out Radio Free Satan as well!

Ok, obviously I’ve got to throw a Doctor Who question in there… How do you feel about the latest incarnation, played by Jodie Whittaker? The first reactions by the fanbase in 2018 weren’t all that…. Positive, shall we say… Has she grown on you, or… well, should she really be meeting a Weeping Angel up close real soon?
Jodie has been an outstanding incarnation, and will continue to be. I love her. The toxic fan base sickens me, as do some friends (who were also supposed to be fans) that spouted some very poisonous views. These horrible folks were the very same people who were completely supportive of gender equality, feminism, and Trans rights…and here’s a TV show that encapsulates ALL that, and these fucking morons and hypocrites complain about it. If the show isn’t to your taste then simply stop watching for a while. It will change again. THAT is why the show has lasted for almost 57 years. Yeah, I feel very sternly about Doctor Who. My tattoos give that away, also.

There’s a lot of rumours about earlier incarnations of The Doctor returning sometime in the upcoming series. How do you feel about that? Any one actor in particular you’d like to see again? And any ideas how to make that happen ‘in world’?
My favourite of the modern incarnations was Peter Capaldi. I loved the gravitas he brought to the character. I believe that the 60th anniversary is intended to bring as many of the older actors back in. Many of them can be heard in all new audio adventures from Big Finish Productions. They are marvelous, believe me!

Alright, that does it for now, thanks for your time, horns up and CHEERS!
Many thanks to you, Sicktus, for the cracking interview. A pleasure as always! Once this Corona madness is over and we can get back to normal we must have a beer together at the next show. Thanks from me and the rest of the band to our supportive fans. You guys are the reason we’re still doing what we do. Stay true to the scene and the scene will stay true to you. And most of all…STAY SAFE! Horns up, heads high, beers raised…SKÅL! See you all soon.

Thanks for your time and cheers!
(Most links to the bands and online radioshows Dave mentioned have been incorporated as links in the interview text, but if you want to check out his facebook or YouTube channel, those are… Well, you know how links work, right? Click ‘em!)

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