“I love playing theaters but these smaller clubs just do it for me, I like seeing people and their reaction to our music.”

Passion is a key ingredient to success in any endeavor, especially when one is pursuing a career in music. Talent doesn’t make you the best but a strong desire can take you to the top.

There is no doubt the road is demanding. Obstacles are commonplace in a world where recognition is hard earned. Many are broken, some walk away but the wise artist views any obstruction as a challenge, a necessary step towards achieving their reward, the stage.

David Rivera is a road warrior, a metal barbarian hell-bent on traveling the world with his Exmortus horde.  Ever ready to unleash an electric fury on the masses, all in the name of metal!

I recently had the opportunity to speak to David during the Enforcer, Warbringer, CauldronExmortus tour. Please enjoy some excerpts of our 1/22/15 interview.

Image result for EXMORTUS BAND LOGO

David Halbe: You released a live video for the song “Death to Tyrants” using concert footage from last year’s tour with Marty Friedman and more recently a lyric video for the song “For the Horde”, has anything else been planned?

David Rivera: The idea behind the lyric video was just trying to get something out there to promote the new album. Right now, we’re getting footage of this whole tour, we’re getting everything. We are time lapsing shit, saving every second. The guy that helps us with videos, Alan Falcon, he’s been doing all the updates and the shred to the core stuff, he’s working on it.

Dave: Sounds like another live footage video is in the works, with some behind the scenes?

David: Yeah, definitely. Hopefully it will be for “Let us Roam”.

Dave: Off the new album? (Ride Forth)

David: Yes, a song off the new album and it’s sort of about touring.

Dave: I know it, a good song.

David: Lately, it just seems like nobody wants us to perform and that’s what we do so it’s our own ode to tell people to fuck off. Just let us tour! We want to roam this planet, that’s what we like to do, be out there performing. It leaves us depressed at home (laughs), you know? We hate it when no shows are coming up, no tours so that’s our plea.

Dave: What do you think about playing small club tours?

David: I love it. I love playing small club tours because, first of all, it’s as intimate as you can get. The clubs are usually for the ‘in-between groups’ the ones that can’t play a big hall. Some groups don’t like playing the club scene because they have this ‘I’m higher than thou’ mentality, Glen Frey of theEagles who just passed, there was a story about him where he and another artist were touring together and they were downsizing as they went. Going from huge arenas down to smaller and smaller clubs and the other guy would watch Glen Frey come out and he’d be playing to like five people, not giving a fuck and one day the dude asked him why and he said ‘five or five thousand, those people are here to see us and we’re going to give them the best show we can’.

Dave: That’s a good mentality to have.

David: Plus, if you go out there with the mentality ‘I’m not going to have a good show unless there are a lot of a people’. What does that makes you as a performer or a musician?  I mean, you have to be in this with your heart and your head, with your fucking spirt man, you have to go all in. Even the greats have their bad days. You can’t just go through life waiting for it to be great all the time.

Dave: I agree. You have to pay your dues and remember it’s your job to win over fans. This show might be the first time somebody sees you.

David: You got it. I love playing small clubs, utilizing a smaller stage, overcoming bad lighting or sound.  It’s like a test you’ve got to overcome.  Me, Mike, Conan, Mario, that’s the way we treat it. It’s like a test to us.

Dave: So you take it as a challenge to put on a good show despite the obstacles?

David: Exactly. On the Marty Friedman tour, the crew loved us. They told us we were one of the easiest bands to deal with because we don’t ask for much. We just hit the stage, please make sure our shit is turned up, let’s go out there and play!   

Dave: How important was Lemmy to heavy metal?

David: Damn! That’s a tough one, he was the fucking man. All you’ve got to do is say the name Lemmy and that’s enough said. That guy was a living legend and a force. I considered him a God when he was living and he’s truly a God now.

Dave: What made the band decide to use Philip Lawvere for the Ride Forth cover art?

David: Well, we liked all the Fire and Ice inspired stuff.

Exmortus Ride Forth

Dave: Like the early Kreator covers?

David: Yes, Phil Lawvere is the one who made the Pleasure to Kill album cover and he did some covers for Celtic Frost as well. We love all that fantasy inspired stuff, bands like Manowar, because you know we love Manowar (laughs), we love warriors and that whole epic age.

Dave: So you want to follow in the footsteps of the artistic vision of those groups?

David: Yeah, we wanted to keep that whole warrior mentality going.

Dave: Exmortus has always been associated with thrash metal acts yet you used Zack Ohren whose most notable work is with death metal acts like Suffocation and Immolation, what made Zack the right fix for Exmortus?

David: You know what man? He was perfect for this recording, I sometimes have problems recording, because I’m my own worst critic and I’ll hear something and I’ll be like ‘ah fuck, I fucked it up’ basically mind fuck myself and Zack would be like ‘Alright, just calm down man, you’re gonna do this’. He’ll always reassure you, your musicianship and your talent, he’ll make you feel good about yourself but most of all he’ll make you sound good!

Dave: I love the sound on the new album.

David: Me too, I mean, everything we heard him do with acts like Suffocation and All Shall Perish, all those albums he did. We knew it was the sound we wanted.

Dave: I think you made the right choice. So what’s this about making phone calls to the first 300 people who pre-ordered Ride Forth?

David: We haven’t done it yet but we are going to do it. It’s just hard to do that on the road. None of us ever have any phone reception or our phone batteries are dead!

Dave: (Laughs) What are you going to do, split-up the calls, 75 per guy?

David: We’re just going to gung-ho it and do it as soon as we can. I’ve always wanted to do something like that. I want to be friends with my fans. I want to be out there. That’s why I don’t hang out in the dressing room. I want to meet the people who’ve been supporting us. It’s so hard to get support these days and a lot of the fans we have just show us unconditional love. They’ve hooked us up with places to stay, things to eat, it’s just been awesome!

Dave: Hell yea, what do you think about the cancellation of That Metal Show?

David: Oh man! I wish they didn’t cancel that show. We had one show dedicated to metal and they canceled it. It seemed like they were doing what everybody was asking them to do.

Dave: Are you upset they ignored new metal bands like Exmortus?

David: Well, you know they were on VH1 Classic. I got to say that.

Exmortus band 2016

Dave: That’s a good point.

David: And we are underground. I wish they would have talked about bands like us but I think it was designed to cater to groups that are already known. That’s way easier to do, I mean, if I saw thatJames Hetfield was going to be on, I’d watch it because I love James Hetfield and I love Metallica. I thought That Metal Show was good because it featured all the ‘gateway bands’ you know? Groups that got me into metal, bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. In a sense it was good because here’s this one show that could open the door. Here’s some Sabbath, here’s some Zeppelin, try someDeep Purple. Maybe some people got turned onto that shit and it led them into even heavier stuff like us! 

Dave: That could happen! What’s the deal with the “Diary of Madmen” journal?

David: (Laughs) That’s something we’re going to try and do that every week. You’ll find it on our Facebook page and YouTube. We’re trying to show people how it is. We’re just a bunch of goofs. It’s a check-up from the road kind of thing. We’ve got another tour coming up soon and we plan on doing it again. I can’t say who it’s with just yet but it’s going be awesome!

(This turned out to be the upcoming Amon Amarth tour)

Dave: I can tell by the look on your face it’s pretty good.

David: Fuck yeah.

Dave: Sounds like the stage will keep expanding for Exmortus.

David: Yeah but we will never forget where we come from. I don’t want to forget all the places I’ve played. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing theaters but these smaller clubs just do it for me, I like seeing people and their reaction to our music.

Dave: Thanks for your time tonight I appreciate it.

David: No problem man, see you next time.

Exmortus are:

  • Jadran “Conan” Gonzalez – Guitars, Vocals
  • Mario Moreno – Drums
  • David Rivera – Guitars
  • Mike Cosio – Bass
This article was originally published 2/16/16 by Metalrecusants.com
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