Take Over and Destroy / Photo by Alex Bank Rollins
The destroying part remains to be seen, but Arizona’s Take Over and Destroy is currently well on their way to taking over the music world.
The band recently signed with independent metal giant Prosthetic Records (Lamb of God, Testament, All That Remains) and their music has featured on Noisey, Pitchfork, Stereogum, BrooklynVegan, and many other prominent music sites. The group describes themselves as “An American rock & roll band from the 1970s trapped inside of a Scandinavian metal band from the early 1990s, scoring a John Carpenter film.”
One of the band’s guitarists, Oklahoma native Nate Garrett, lived in Fayetteville for many years. During his time in NWA, Nate performed with a number of local bands including Queen Beast, The Arrowhead Project, Sinking South, and Friday, Maybe Saturday. The band is currently on a national tour to promote their most recent album, 2014’s “Vacant Face”, which was released via their own label Comfort Point.
Who: Take Over and Destroy / Lament Cityscape / Friday, Maybe Saturday
When: 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015
Where: Ryleigh’s, 313 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville
They will perform at Ryleigh’s on Saturday, Dec. 12 with tour-mates Lament Cityscape and one of Nate’s former bands, locals Friday, Maybe Saturday. The cover is $5 and the show begins at 9 p.m. Nate was kind enough to answer some questions for us via e-mail.
Take Over and Destroy recently signed with Prosthetic Records. That’s an amazing accomplishment in today’s music industry. Can you tell us about the signing and what this means for you going forward?
Amazing is a strong word, thank you. It is indeed difficult to get signed in the traditional sense nowadays. It takes a lot of hard work and staying absolutely relentless on all fronts, whether it’s writing, touring, recording, handling press, online sales, whatever. We’re grateful that Prosthetic appreciates how much we’ve dedicated ourselves to this pursuit. We were contacted by the label via e-mail. Their A&R guy had been a fan for a while and he reached out. What the signing means going forward is that now we have help and support in a variety of ways from a respected label. On our end, our work ethic will only get stronger, as it has since we started.
Your Prosthetic Records debut is currently scheduled for 2016. Is there anything at all you can tell us about it?
We’re recording with Bob Hoag again. Our relationship gets stronger with each record so it only makes sense. Let’s just say the album title, like the album, will be straightforward and will send a clear, powerful message about where the band is at this juncture. We’re tighter musically than we’ve ever been, and our bond as songwriters is strong. Between the five of us, it’s a totally natural process at this point. We’re all very close personally, and that will show on these songs. At its core, this is a rock and roll record. Of course it’s still heavy and unique, it’s just also focused, concise, and streamlined.
You also recently did personal endorsement deals with ESP Guitars and Lace Pickups. Can you tell us a little bit about that and how it happened?
We reached out to some friends of ours at the companies, told them about the Prosthetic signing, and it was a done deal. We are honored and thrilled to be working with both Lace and ESP. They make quality products and genuinely care about the artists they work with. Speaking personally, my LTD Phoenix from ESP is the best guitar I’ve ever had.
You’re in the midst of a national tour with Lament Cityscape. Is being on the road any different so far as a band signed with a major independent label versus being on the road as an unsigned band?
Being signed or unsigned doesn’t have as much of an effect on touring as things like who’s booking it, how well known the bands are, that sort of thing. But usually being on a prominent label will get you in contact with agents and open up opportunities you might not have access to on your own. As for this tour, Prosthetic wasn’t involved in the booking, so it’s more of what we’re used to. I’m actually sitting outside of Black Barbie in Houston as I type this on my phone. This place is punk as f*ck. This tour has been a mix of bars, venues, skate warehouses, punk dives, and everything in between. We wanted to have at least one more “Get In The Van” experience before the tours start getting bigger next year. We’ve played every kind of show and been on every kind of tour you could imagine. This is the sort of work that tests how much you really want to do this with your life. And we want to do it. It’s the only thing we really want to do.??At this point I took a break from this interview to go play our set. People were into it, and we had a great time playing. Unfortunately some cowardly piece of shit smashed into the fender on our trailer and split without saying anything or leaving a note. The dudes at the venue were hardcore about that DIY and did everything they could to fix it. We got it straightened out and reattached but who knows if it’ll hold. It’s now 6 am so we’ll tackle it when we wake up. Pretty fitting that the last thing I typed before this happened was that you are tested on the road!
Your last record, “Vacant Face”, was well received upon its release last year, especially by a number of websites within the metal community. It was finally released on vinyl this year by Singapore’s Pulverised Records. What’s it like having it out on vinyl?
It’s really easy to get caught up in the business side of things and lose sight of the visceral relief that playing music can bring. Then one day a bunch of boxes arrive at your door and you open them to find some beautifully packaged vinyl pressings of something you poured every ounce of your being into. That gave us all the feeling. THE feeling. It’s indescribable but it’s better than any other type of high I’ve felt. We’re stoked on how they came out, to say the least.
There was a bit of a stylistic transition from Take Over and Destroy’s previous record, “Endless Night”, and “Vacant Face”. Specifically some of the songs seemed to be a tad more influenced by goth, especially with the vocals on stuff like “Where Seasons Lay”. Was this deliberate and how do you feel about your creative evolution from record to record?
Our singer Andy loves death rock. We’re all fans, but he in particular is super into it. Seasons is a song Andy wrote, so it makes sense you would pick up on the goth elements there. Our creative evolution is natural, just like the songwriting. I used to think a band like Metallica intentionally changed their sound album to album. Now I realize it wasn’t intentional or coordinated at all, if their experience has been anything like ours. It basically boils down to valuing creative freedom and progression more than anything else, whether that’s critical approval, genre boundaries, things like that. Who wants to hear a band other than AC/DC put out the same album over and over? Basically, we write what we want to hear, and we try to push ourselves to do something brand new with each record. Something unique. It’s important to establish your “sound,” but it’s equally important to push yourself and your listeners into new exciting territory.
Without using the term “death ’n’ roll” or mentioning horror movie scores, describe what people coming to see you for the first time at Ryleigh’s will hear from Take Over and Destroy.
Something that they’ve probably never heard before. Hopefully. At the very least you’ll hear some f*cking riffs.
OK so this is kind of random, but “Summer Isle” – is that song about Game of Thrones, or the Wicker Man, or what?
We’re huge Wicker Man fans. Game of Thrones we’re not too familiar with.
As if you weren’t seemingly busy enough, you also recently began releasing music online under your own name. Obviously this material is quite a bit different from what you do with Take Over and Destroy. What’s the motivation and process like for this other outlet?
I got tired of writing and recording songs, hating them immediately, and trashing them. I’m way harder on myself than anybody else is so I just had to reach a point where I said “what the f*ck” and put them out into the aether. Even if nobody listens to them, at least they exist now.
Before moving out west, you were a Fayetteville resident for several years. Is there anything you miss about Arkansas or Fayetteville in particular?
Man I had some insane, magical times in Arkansas. Hard to believe nobody died. I can get pretty nostalgic about it from time to time. The main thing I miss is that people in the South give way less of a shit about things that don’t matter.
During your time in Fayetteville you played in several bands – Queen Beast, Sinking South, The Arrowhead Project, and many others. Do any of these projects have a future?
I don’t like to speak in absolutes but the short answer is no. But who knows. Dave Chandler from Saint Vitus always said the trick to getting people psyched about your band is to break up and reform 20 years later.
Before “Vacant Face” the band was primarily known simply as TOAD. What caused you to ditch the abbreviation and go with the long form?
There’s a band from the 70s called Toad. Right about the time we had our most major stylistic shift, we had also reached our limit on that joke/reference.
Aside from your new record, what’s in store for Take Over and Destroy in 2016?
We’ll just have to see.