In October, death metal legends Obituary decided to get in on the livestream game — and, in classic fashion, did it harder than everyone else. The band played three separate streams, two featuring their most infamous albums in their entirety — 1989’s Slowly We Rot and 1990’s Cause of Death — and one showcasing only rare and specialty tracks.
Now, Obituary guitarist and songwriter Trevor Peres is taking it one step further. Alongside Full Force Studio‘s Joe Cincotta and Forever Dark’s Sean Bell, Trevor has launched Dark Forces Live, a new entertainment company focused on livestreaming sets by some of metal’s greatest underground acts. With their first event coming up in the beginning of January — a full set by Long Island’s Internal Bleeding, to honor their 30th year as a band — it’s safe to say that Trevor came away from the livestreaming experience with a newfound appreciation for digitally broadcasting metal to the masses.
“We’d never been in this situation, ever,” laughs Trevor when catching up with The Pit. “There’s never been a pandemic while I was alive, or you were alive…It was pretty funny — in the second one, we even had a technical issue right in the middle of the first song. It was really live. It got shut down for 25 minutes — made us wonder if we should just prerecord these things for next time! And then, even though I’ve played these songs a billion fucking times, somehow my strap fell off midway through the set! That doesn’t even happen at a show!”
Well, it’s good to know that even in our futuristic livestreaming world, shit happens.
Trevor cackles. “Oh, it happened!”
How did the idea for Dark Forces Live first come about?
We did our own livestreams recently — basically because of that. The sound man on the project, he’s been a friend of mine for years and does live sound for us in the states on tour a lot. He did the sound for the first two livestreams. He was like, Dude, what do you think about starting a company? He lives up in Long Island, and there are a lot of bands like us up there in the NY area. I was like sure, why not? Who knows what’s going to happen with it — next year, we don’t even know if anyone’s gonna go on tour, and all of these bands are sitting around doing nothing. So he’s got a little studio up there, and that’s kind of how it started.
Internal Bleeding is a killer band to launch this company with — can you tell us about any of the other bands you have in mind?
We definitely have a bunch of people in mind. Internal Bleeding are friends of ours and are from that area. So we asked them, ‘Do you want to be the first part of this experiment?’ They said, ‘Hell yeah, we’re in.’ No sweat off their back, because they’re right down the road. And then there’s tons of bands — no one’s locked in yet. This week we’re just starting to talk to people. Suffocation is big on our list. Dying Fetus are right on our dart board. But also hardcore bands — we want to talk to Agnostic Front, Madball, Sick Of It All. I talked to Jamey Jasta about it, but he’s the businessman from hell, but hopefully we can get Hatebreed signed up for it! We want to get everything under our belt — we got at least a year where no one’s gonna tour! But we’ve talked about how even in the future, eventually people’ll start touring again, but even between tours, people might still wanna do a stream. People want to see their favorite bands all the time! Say there’s a band in Texas or Cali — we can find a location to do it there locally! Less overhead!
For many, Obituary are very much a live band — was it weird playing to this silent audience at home?
It was SO WEIRD. We had rehearsals, of course, in that same studio — we locked out this place for two weeks — and it was very strange to say the least. We had a few friends there, but it was definitely weird. I don’t know how to even describe it. When you’re playing a live show, you’re feeding off the audience. That’s the best part — you’re there with people, all sharing the experience together. It’s not just about the band, it’s about everybody there. But after a couple whiskeys and beers, we tried our damnedest to feel like there were people there.
Was there a screen or something, so that you could see who was watching you at home?
The first two, we did in that studio place, and we had nothing — we had somebody tell us, ‘Yeah there are tons of people commenting,’ but that was it. We were focused, because we wanted to make it a real show sort of thing. But our third one, we did at our home studio where we rehearse and everything. In fact, between songs a couple of times, I was checking my phone, and some dude commented, ‘Hey, Trevor, put down your phone!’ Dude, I was reading your comments!
Even though you miss live shows, is there anything you don’t miss? Are you thinking, Man, it sucks not to play live, but at least I don’t have a dude yelling nacho breath into my face?
Yeah, I sort of even miss the dude with nacho breath! I mean, really, you can’t replace being in the live environment with real people, hanging out. Our last tour we did in March — we were on tour with Black Label Society — got shut down on Friday the 13th, ironically. There were 2,000 presales, we were setting up, and we got told, ‘Shut it down, because the governor just said less than 250 or it’s no-show.’ We were at a casino, and the owners were Native American, and they said, ‘We can actually still do the show, because we’re a sovereign nation, but we don’t want to be dicks.’ I said, ‘Be dicks! My grandmother was 100% Cherokee, fuck those people!’ All these people were outside, it was freezing and snowing and cold. But the irony was that the next day, we had a one-off on our day off from the tour, and the capacity was exactly 250! We said fuck it, we’re playing! We thought, if we’re all gonna get COVID, it’s happening tonight!
If you’re going to get COVID, the final Obituary show of 2020 is probably the place to do it.
To be honest, I think we had it on our bus during our last tour! The tour started mid-February, and midway through, up in Seattle, I just started feeling lethargic as shit. Had a weird dry cough. I had shakes and shivers. I’d get done, clean up, and go right to bed. John [Tardy, vocals] would open my curtain and be like, ‘What’s wrong with you, dude? You’ve never gone to bed before me ever in the history of our touring career!’ Dude, I felt like a zombie. Then when I got home, our sound guy Joe, who I’m starting this company with — his wife’s a nurse, she took a sample of his blood, and he had the antibodies in him. Kenny [Andres, guitar] had a fever right when we got home, and he was sick as shit for two weeks. So I think we might have had it.
Dark Forces Live’s inaugural event featuring Internal Bleeding premieres on Saturday, January 2nd, at 5pm EST/2pm PST/10pm UK. Tickets are available for purchase now.
Words by Chris Krovatin