Atom Smasher caught up with Simon Barr, vocalist and violinist of Liverpool based Black Metal trio DAWN RAY’D. The trio have recently put out their debut album ‘The Unlawful Assembly’ on Prosthetic/Feast of Tentacles and have been making waves across the underground black metal scene, including a US tour in 2017. Dawn Ray’d are known for their outspoken political stance, in particular raising awareness of Anti-fascism and Anti-borders. Their sound and live performance is uncompromising, fusing Black Metal with influences of Folk and Hardcore Punk respectively.
How did the Band form?
We have played in bands together for a long time. Our last band came to a natural end, and we had been talking about doing a straight up black metal band for a while. I literally rang Matthew the day our last band finished and asked if he would be up for it, and we started straight away. It has been really easy as we already have a good working dynamic all figured out, it is really a pleasure to be in a band and work with Fabian and Matthew.
What has been the highlight of the band’s career so far?
Releasing ‘The Unlawful Assembly’ I think, just because doing that has sparked so many more amazing experiences, but that was the catalyst. Signing a deal with Prosthetic Records was a proud moment, our last tour with Unyielding Love was amazing, all the shows were really busy, that was great, going to the US for the first time was really cool, we are lucky that we get to do amazing things all the time with this band, and these opportunities seem to be increasing too.
Which festival would you love to headline in the future?
Oh man, that’s a big question. Honestly I’m really proud to be playing Roadburn this year, playing alongside anarchist bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Panopticon is really exciting, plus bands I’ve listened to a lot like Alda and Yellow Eyes. It feels like we are moving in the right circles for sure.
I’d love to play Maryland deathfest, that would be great, and I know this is off topic but it would be great to be able to play with Carcass and Napalm Death at some point!
What bands are you digging at the moment?
Blood Incantation, Mammoth Grinder, Lankum, Propaghandi, Cormorant, Death Fortress, Forndom, Grift, Havukruunu, Infernal Coil, Orm, Power Trip, Rome, Rotting Christ, Undergang, Phrenelith, Varg, Warning, Wormwitch…
What plans do Dawn Ray’d have for 2018?
We are playing a lot of festivals in the spring, Roadburn, Northern Discomfort Festival, DIY Fest, and 0161 Festival in Manchester. We will do a handful of shows around each fest too. We are in the process of sorting a bigger tour for autumn too which, if it comes off, will be really exciting to announce… Generally just play as many shows as we can. We have a re-press of our record on the way as the first press sold out pretty quick, at some point we need to write new songs too…
Do any of the band have any weird rituals before going on stage?
It’s usually, load onto the stage, set up as fast as you can, get the feedback ringing out and start headbanging! I don’t think we do any ritual stuff though no, I guess there isn’t really ever any time, and we play so many shows each year that you don’t feel you need to rely on luck or whatever to play well. I just warm my voice up for an hour or so before we play, hang out and wait for our slot!
What is your biggest inspiration as an individual and as a band?
We take influence from a number of different bands I think, musically bands like Ulver, Darkthrone, Summoning, Wolves In The Throne Room and Lankum would be a good start, and I really like the politics of bands like Bolt Thrower, Godspeed, Iskra, Matyrdod etc.
What is your favourite venue to play and why?
I love the squats for sure. They look chaotic to the untrained eye, but amidst all the chaos there’s always a really efficient level of organisation that bubbles under the surface of everything which is inspiring. It is also a chance to see anarchist ideas put into place in the real world. We always do well at the crust festivals, squats and autonomous spaces, Paranoya Fest and No Sanctuary fest were both amazing for us. Looking forward to Northern Discomfort fest this year too.
Which album is the one you listen to at least once a week?
I’ve absolutely rinsed the latest Chaos Moon album, I’ve been a bit slow to get into it but I’ve been loving it this week. That for the sad times and the Lurking Fear album has been getting me motivated!
‘The Unlawful Assembly’ is available now on CD through Prosphetic Records and vinyl through Feast of Tentacles.