Interview with: Charles Elliott
Charles Elliott: guitars, vocals
Scott Fuller: drums
Eliseo Garcia: bass
Andy Nelson: guitars (live guitarist)
Country of Origin: USA
From Ashes (2006)
Programmed to Consume (2008)
Leveling the Plane of Existence (2011)
1. Tonight we are speaking with Charles Elliott of the highly impressive, technically proficient metal masters Abysmal Dawn. Welcome. The Abysmal Dawn story starts back around 2004 when you started getting your first demo out for people to hear. In terms of advancement the band has come a long way in a short period of time. What was going through your mind when you decided you would start Abysmal Dawn? Was it just a after work project or was the intention to be where you are now?
I’ve always had high hopes for this band. It’s my passion and that’s the reason I stick with it through all the ups and downs and lineup changes. I wouldn’t say it’s been a short period of time though. It’s been eight years of hard work that just now seems to be finally really doing something.
2. Every band experiences growing pains. How has the journey to this point been for Abysmal Dawn?
It hasn’t been an easy one. As the last original member there have been times where I thought maybe I shouldn’t be pushing this band so hard. Maybe I should just sell out, start a family, and try and get some sort of enjoyment out a stagnant mundane existence where everything is just pleasant and unexciting. I realized part of my happiness lies in creating and performing music though and that I have a hard time calling it quits. I’m glad I stuck with it though because without it I’m an intolerably miserable person.
3. Your music is highly regarded among critics. Did you know you had something special when you first starting writing together?
I like all our records but I knew this one (“Leveling the Plane of Existence”) was going to be a special album. We put so much work into it because it was time to either make a dent in this scene or get out. I know it’s not the most modest thing to say but once we were done, I felt like if you like death metal there was no way you wouldn’t like our record. I just had a great amount of confidence. The first time we demoed out “In Service of Time” I just knew we had something people could really grasp onto.
4. With the release of your first album "From Ashes" the band received excellent reviews and toured with some of the biggest names in Metal. With such a quick success was there ever a point where you had to stop and ask yourselves "Is this really happening?"
That was a pretty frustrating time actually. We did one amazing tour with Six Feet Under, Krisiun and Decapitated. After that we couldn’t seem to get anything else. Our label and distribution at the times wasn’t the strongest either. So there was never a point where I felt things were happening too fast.
5. Next up was "Programmed to Consume" this album was sort of put together in pieces here and there. Tell us about the writing experience with this album.
That was the first album I started to use a computer to compile riffs I think. I think “From Ashes” was written more or less at rehearsals. We toured a lot on that record. The best tour we did was a three week run with Origin and Misery Index. Beyond that though we did a lot of DIY tours and underground tours that nearly broke up my band. People started to lose faith and began to realize that we weren’t going to make it to the top overnight. Some of the guys left but I stuck to it because I’m a stubborn bastard.
6. Tell us how you came to work with the brilliant artist Par Olofsson.
I first became of his work when he designed the Deeds of Flesh DVD cover. I just contact him about working with us and we’ve worked with him ever since. He’s really quick and easy to work with for me so we’ve stuck with him. He’s also a great artist with some killer ideas.
7. "Leveling the Plane of Existence" is the latest album. Has the approach been the same to writing with the new line up?
For that record I wrote at home with a computer much more and used a program called Guitar Pro. It helped me arrange the songs easier and demo half of the tracks out with a drum machine. We didn’t have a drummer for a while so that was the way it had to be. Then Scott joined on drums and he would come down from the Bay Area after listening to the demos and we’d work on the songs. We probably did that for about a month and a halfs worth of time before recording. When we were recording though I didn’t have all my leads or lyrics worked out. In fact, I pretty much had no lyrics by the time Erik Rutan got the record to mix. I took a month to finish the lyrics and just sent the vocal track to Erik later to plug in. So it was written in a pretty different way than the rest of our records.
8. What is the next big goal for Abysmal Dawn?
We want to tour Europe and visit other continents outside of North America as well. We aren’t done building this band. It will be interesting to see how things progress but I see things only getting better for us.
9. In closing please leave us with any final thoughts or comments and thanks for your time.
Thanks for your time. Look for a new Abysmal Dawn record in 2013 if we haven’t destroy the planet by then!