The Gauntlet: So the band has just started a headlining tour, tell us a little bit about that.
Byron Davis: Right now we're doing our first headlining tour, a full US headlining tour and we've played two shows so far and both of those have went really good. After that, we're gonna go in and record our new album in the months May and June. That will be coming out in October and after that I'm pretty sure we'll be sky high.
The Gauntlet: Does the band have everything written for the new album already?
Byron Davis: Pretty much, yeah. We don't have time to write anything else, so, yeah.
The Gauntlet: What type of direction is this new material taking?
Byron Davis: It's the best stuff we've ever written. More technical, I think, guitar-wise and probably a lot more singing too. It's the first record that is like, wow, God Forbid. No other bands could have written the record that we just wrote.
The Gauntlet: Do you have an album title yet?
Byron Davis: It's called Four: The Constitution Of Treason.
The Gauntlet: So the band intends to turn this record around pretty quick?
Byron Davis: It's gonna come out at the end of September, early October. We'll be playing two new songs tonight, so you tell me how it is. We're actually closing with a new song and no bands do that, but when you hear the song, you'll understand why.
The Gauntlet: So this is your very first headlining tour, is there any specific date that you're really looking forward to?
Byron Davis: I think, pretty much everywhere 'cause it seems like a lot of kids are coming out to see us and kids are staying around to see us who have never seen us before. We have a pretty diverse bill. I think that a lot of the tours that are going around right now are kind of one sided like the Dark Tranquillity tour, it's three death metal bands and that kind of cuts down on people going to shows and the diversity of the tour, it brings a lot of kids who have never seen us before and I think our headlining tour is stronger than our thirty minute set. I don't know, it's crazy, we're still growing as a band so you never know what might happen, but I'm looking forward to New York, L.A., Chicago
The Gauntlet: So what exactly can the kids coming to check out the show in those cities expect to see when you hit town?
Byron Davis: Probably the birth of one of the best metal bands that they will ever see in their lives. That's pretty much it.
The Gauntlet: Tell us about when the band got started�
Byron Davis: We recorded our demo in 1998. We got signed in early 2000 off our first full length. We've been signed to Century Media for the last five years.
The Gauntlet: Do you feel like you have really found a home with Century Media?
Byron Davis: Yeah, pretty much, here we're top dog. That's a lot better to me than being a bottom-feeder on a major label. Unless it was really right or unless it made sense, but I don't really want to jump ship at all.
The Gauntlet: I know that the label is really behind you guys and they support you one hundred percent.
Byron Davis: Oh they're really behind us and we're growing everyday. I'd rather be a band to break a label open as opposed to being a band that's gonna have a great record and sell 250,000 to 500,000 records and have your label not be appreciative of that. I think Century Media can get the record into stores. I think they have the ability to get us a gold record, which is what we're looking for with the next record. I know that's what we're looking for, I don't know what they're looking for, but I think that with the songs that we've written, A Gold record is really not out of the question, you know? It's about steps, you know. We're just trying to take a really, really big next step with the next record. We made a big step songwriting-wise. Hopefully, the fans will agree. We're sick of the whole metalcore scene already, so we've never considered ourselves anything, you know what I mean and lately we've been calling ourselves a hard rock band just because it's the only thing that doesn't put a name on it because putting names on things limits what it can be, you know?
The Gauntlet: Well, to me, the metalcore tag is getting tossed around now in places where it shouldn't be. Really that style is a combination of At The Gates style riffs with old school hardcore breakdowns, scrams on the verses and chants in the choruses and it really is a strict, patterned thing.
Byron Davis: Yeah, to me our band is a culmination of every single metal band you've ever heard, you know? We have parts that are like Metallica and parts like Dimmu Borgir, some that are like Dillinger, and for us that's interesting. To take a song that has all of those elements, to write a song like that, to me that's a rock 'n' roll way of writing music, not the metalcore way. The metalcore way is having a fast part and a breakdown and there's nothing interesting about that. All that shit is, we're here to kill that. And it's sick 'cause it's turning into like Nu Metal. You see the guys in the makeup and you see the dudes with the skinny pants and you're like, you know this is a cliche of everything that I don't like about bandwagon jumpers. We've been around since 1998 when metal fucking dead. I don't know, it's really cool for us 'cause we're still kind of unknown to people as far as exactly what we sound like, but our name in known more or probably just as much as all the other bands, you know?
The Gauntlet: But in the past year in a half, God Forbid has really started to blow up in terms of name recognition and you're a band with an enormous buzz in many circles.
Byron Davis: Yeah and that's really good because right now, I feel that we're playing as good as we've ever played together as a band live and one thing that makes the difference between a good band and a great band is their live show, you know, it's like whether we say we're gonna take off, you know and not tour for a year, It doesn't matter because when we take off and do tour, the kids know they're gonna get a great show. It's like Metallica, we really hold ourselves to bands like Metallica and Pantera and Slipknot, we don't really hold ourselves to any bands that are lower than that because those are the biggest bands and the reason they're the biggest bands is because they have the most devastating live shows. And it mixes with great music, you know, and charisma and personality and I think our band has more of that to offer than a lot of the other bands out there, we're versatile, you know, we're not in a box and I think that's what real metal fans, you know, people that hear a good song and they want to hear an album full of those songs, those people they enjoy that more so than, it's the flavor of the week, you know what I mean?
The Gauntlet: You have named some pretty heavy bands that you hold up as examples; obviously these groups have inspired you as a band, collectively, what are the three main bands that have influenced God Forbid?
Byron Davis: You know, the bands I named, Metallica, Pantera. The range, it's a long, thick line of bands, you know that really inspired us At The Gates and Opeth were bands that really inspired our songwriting and composition lately, but it's just part of our sound. Bands like Metallica, Pantera. On our new record, there's a song that's like a cross between Megadeth, Pantera and Alice In Chains. Vocally, I think that the new record is definitely a step up. The singing, I think right now is the most important aspect of our band, because I think a good melodic singer and that sort of thing is physical to metal because metal attitude comes through no matter what you're doing. It's like Halford. It's like Judas Priest is the utmost of metal and they sing all the time, but they sing a certain way. A lot of bands these days they sing but they don't really sing, you know?
The Gauntlet: Yeah, metal is in the delivery of an emotion, not really a style in specific.
Byron Davis: You know what, it's what's inside of you, it's your heart, and it's nothing else. I think any singer that's been singing for twenty years, they come out and sing notes, but when I sing, it's like it's the last time I'm gonna sing it. Live bands, that's what it has to be like. That kind of edge has to be there, you know? And our record's gonna be like that, you know? It's the most beautiful record we've ever written but it's probably the heaviest record we've written. SO I really can't wait for people to hear it.
The Gauntlet: As radio has become friendlier toward heavier music like Slipknot and Killswitch Engage, do you see your new material as something that could see some airplay?
Byron Davis: I don't know, I really don't give a fuck about that, you know what I mean? I definitely think that there's two songs on our album that can get on the radio, but I really don't care because I don't think that bands like Pantera, bands like Sepultura, I don't think their fan bases came from radio at all. You know, you have this band like Fear Factory that fucked themselves. They put "Cars" on their album and it sold fifty, a hundred thousand extra copies to clubs and to fucking dumb bitches and then their next album comes out and it doesn't sell as much and they're looked on as a failure. I don't ever want to be in that position. Hey, if our record comes out and radio is like holy fucking shit, this song is really good, I wanna play this song and it gets played and people buy it, I think for us, It will work really well because for us, all of our songs have the same feeling, it's not like we're gonna go and write a radio song and have that song be different than all the other songs, you know? That's my problem with radio edits and bands that have a super metal album and then you get to the radio song and it's like all fuckin' popcorn, fuckin' bubblegum bullshit. And if someone goes to buy that record, whether it's a hot bitch or not, hot women, they'll go buy a record for one song. It's like are they really gonna listen to that same album and ingest it and be down with it? No. It's gonna sit in their fucking thing for a fucking year, they're not gonna come to your show, they're not gonna buy your merch, so what's the fucking point of them buying your record?
The Gauntlet: So at the end of the day, what is this whole thing about for God Forbid?
Byron Davis: It's all about songwriting, it's not anything else. People want to hear good shit. It's like "I like your shit, but I'm not high off of it"; we want people to get high off of it. Its one thing, this is our first headlining tour and its one thing that we're gonna learn is what we really want to play as a band onstage. Sometimes, when we're on stage, there's a lot of things I'd like to say, but I don't say them because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. But then, fuck that, life is short.