In-person interview with Rob Dukes of Exodus
By Aniruddh "Andrew" Bansal
February 9th 2010, House of Blues, West Hollywood CA
Andrew: How has it been opening for Arch Enemy on this tour?
Rob: Awesome every night. It has been tons of news kids, new fans, new faces and people who had never seen us before and it has been a lot of fun man. It has been great.
Andrew: It must be good and different playing with a band that is not exactly thrash metal, as compared to Kreator for example.
Rob: Yeah you open up to new people who don't know a song or two, or may not know anything (laughs), but when these people see you live and in your element, hopefully they will buy your records and go, 'Hey that band was great and we should go buy one of their CDs', you know, and come see us next time.
Andrew: I guess you are playing an hour-long set on this tour. What's the set list like? Is it pretty similar to the one on the new DVD or do you have some new songs in there?
Rob: There is couple of different ones, there are a few extras but its pretty much the same thing. We play what we're good at; you know what I mean? You know, we play what works for us. Everyone has got their own set list they would like to hear but those songs don't always work live. We've been doing it for five years now and we play what works. Like you know, people want to hear 'Cajun Hell' and stuff like that in the set and we tried, but songs sometimes don't work. So we go with what works. Even for the DVD, people say that oh it's just an hour's length of music on there. Dude there's like another two hours of videos and live stuff on the bonus disc. There are fucking dummies out there with their reviews and shit. They just don't know what the fuck they are talking about. It was an hour-long set because it was at a festival, but that person never even looked at the other menu and didn't see that we did 30 other songs and put those on the DVD. So some people are just ignorant douchebags. Unfortunately they have the ability to go ahead and review something that they didn't even watch. For them, you can go fuck yourselves!
Andrew: Talk a little bit about the upcoming album. I think it's in the post-production stage, isn't it?
Rob: Yeah they are doing the final touches on the mix. I've heard the last mix and they're going to redo a couple of things that we want to change and dude, its awesome man. I'd say it's the best thing I've ever done. Its fast, its dark and I am not going to try to hype it up because people do what they always do anyway, but its fucking awesome man and I think the thing that's really cool mostly is that I got to really expand my range I sing at. Its almost like my voice is different on every song. Its killer and so that was the best part, really kind of trying new things, trying some different things and it worked out which is great. The drumming is fucking phenomenal, the guitar solos are just amazing. Watching those guys do it is just amazing. So it was a lot of fun, it is a really good record and it's the best record I've done yet with them.
Andrew: Gary said in an interview that you guys didn't plan to film a DVD and it just sort of happened. But while on stage for that show you asked the crowd if they wanted to be on a DVD.
Rob: Yeah, the aim was to start creating something for a DVD in the future. We didn't really have a plan. What we really started out to do was, when you buy the CD, our new album, it was going to come with a DVD and it was going to be like 30 minutes. That's what we were going to do. But I had hundreds of hours of footage and I just went with what we had. I still have enough for a whole another DVD. We're going to continue our path in life here and I'm going to film as much as I can. The editing process, sitting through hours and hours of footage was the first time I had ever done it so it was kind of like, alright let me try my hand at this. I never put together a DVD before, so for my first time out, honestly I thought it came out a lot better than I expected. It was cool to have full control because I produced and directed it and it was like, 'I am going to do it as I see it from my point of the world'. That's why we didn't really go into the Zetro years too much. We touched on Paul just a little bit to let people know who didn't know what the band was about. It was basically about what's happened since I've been in the band. I shot 98% of the footage and I was holding the camera. So that's the way it is.
Andrew: What can be better than a DVD from the singer's point of view!
Rob: Yeah there you go man. Dude, I'm just a fan. I ended up here. I wasn't ever trying to be the singer of Exodus. It just happened so I feel lucky and grateful everyday.
Andrew: You guys played the whole 'Bonded By Blood' album on tour in 2008. Do you think bands are doing it too often, or too many bands are doing it, with Megadeth and Testament about to do it as well?
Rob: Band's music is the band's music. They can do whatever the fuck they want with it. Whoever doesn't fucking agree with it, go fuck yourself, don't come! If we wanted to re-record every fucking song we ever did we could, it is our right, it's our music and we can do whatever we want. Opinions are like assholes man. Everybody's got one and they all smell like shit. You're never going to make everybody happy so we really just make ourselves happy.
Andrew: I think its great to play entire albums, because some songs on that particular album don't usually get played. So it's a great chance for fans to see those songs for a change.
Rob: Yeah man. Some people wanted to see Bonded By Blood. We were playing the Key Club [in Hollywood, December 7th 2008] and there were kids, fucking huge Exodus fans, giving me the finger because we did two sets. We did a set of new stuff and a set of Bonded By Blood. They were like mad during the new set, giving me the finger, untying my shoes, giving me a hard time, spitting on me, calling me names and then once when we started Bonded By Blood they were like 'Yeaaahhh!' and I was like fuck you man you little fucks! (laughs).
Andrew: How excited are you about the upcoming tour with Megadeth and Testament?
Rob: Absolutely excited! We're not sure what we are going to do on that tour. We're going to surprise some people. I am not going to tell you what we're going to do, but we might play all new stuff or all old stuff, we don't know. We might play all cover songs! (laughs) Last time Exodus played with Megadeth was before I was in the band, six years ago. I met them on that tour.
Andrew: Are you happy with the way Let There Be Blood turned out, in terms of the fans' response and on tour when you played it?
Check out the band at www.exodusattack.com
Rob: Absolutely man. I feel totally grateful that I got to sing that album. I mean, technically here's the deal. We could have done it live and made a live album of it recorded and it would have been the same thing. We just happened to have free studio time and went in and did it. It was just cool to do it and for me, being an Exodus fan since I was 16 years old, it was like an honour. For people who didn't like it, sorry dude, go fuck yourself. I've got nothing to tell you except, what would you do if you were in my position? Would you not do it? Unless you stood in my shoes, shut the fuck up. So for all the haters who love the old album, ok I get it. But you know, the old one didn't disappear and it can stand on its own any day you want. It was just something that we could do and it's ours, so we could do whatever the fuck we want. It didn't take much time at all and didn't interfere with anything in terms of the other new material we recorded after that. We didn't even have to rehearse and it was like let's just go and do it. Bam, it was done! No writing involved obviously. I just sat there listening to the original over and over again. I didn't mimic him but I tried to keep some inflexions that he used. It was just something we did and it could have been a live record, which is basically what it was. They went in and recorded drums in two days, guitars in 1 day and vocals in 3 days. Nobody has to make "live records" anyway. Live In Japan wasn't live for example. Everything is re-recorded so that's basically what we did!