If you’re familiar with Global Thrash Assault than you already know I absolutely love the UK thrash metal scene. I’ve written about more bands from the UK than I can count and I seem to unearth a new every day.
Perhaps one of the biggest (if not the biggest) supporters of the UK thrash metal scene is a man by the name of Dave Ingram. Just about every band, person and promoter involved in the UK thrash community today will tell you Dave is not only one hell of a guy but he’s a jack of all trades. Dave plays bass for the black thrashers Vindicator, he’s a writer/reviewer for the website Brutalism, and in 2012 he began booking the Full Thrash Assault festival, a day fest that started nearly a decade ago and features some of the best up and coming thrash bands in the UK today.
Earlier in the year Mr. Ingram contacted me asking if I’d be willing to help promote the upcoming Full Thrash Assault which is set to take place on April 12th 2014 at the Snooty Fox in Wakefield. Of course I said yes, I mean it was a no brainer really, Global Thrash Assault promoting one of the most popular thrash shows in the UK. It’s like peanut butter and jelly or macaroni and cheese, it’s a winning combination!
As you could imagine the whole thing has me quite excited. These past few months I’ve been like a kid in a candy store, filled with joy and dying to learn more about everything. I managed to compose myself for a brief period, just long enough to ask Dave Ingram himself a few questions about Full Thrash Assault and the UK thrash scene in general. Like the true gentleman he is Dave was kind enough to get back to me with some damn good answers. Enjoy!
GLOBAL THRASH ASSAULT: Hey man, thanks for taking sometime out of your hectic schedule to answer a few questions. I can only imagine how busy you must be with all your metal related projects!
DAVE INGRAM: Anytime, I’m always happy to do interviews. Surprisingly, most of my time is being spent outside of the thrash scene right now as I’m awaiting the go-ahead on the Vindicator album, Full Thrash Assault is (mostly) sorted and I’m not really needed elsewhere hahaha. Right now I’m focusing on my family, my upcoming video series and looking for some paid employment… y’know, boring life stuff.
You’re a pretty active member of the UK thrash scene. You’re the bass player of Vindicator, you book shows and you promote the scene more than just about anyone else I know. How did you fall in love with thrash in the first place? What made you become such an active member in the thrash metal community?
I grew up in a musical household, so an interest in music was going to come with age anyway. My dad would play Queen, Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, even some Guns ‘N’ Roses when I was as young as three so I got a good head start! When I was eight, I was over at a friend’s house after school listening to some Guns ‘N’ Roses and his older brother said “If you like that, try this” and he played us The Force by Onslaught, Ride the Lightning by Metallica and The Sound of Perseverence by Death, which had just come out at that point. Death was a bit offputting in many ways, as you could imagine, so I wouldn’t fully embrace that sound until much later on but Onslaught quickly became my favourite band – and to this day, next to their latest release, I still maintain that The Force is the best album on the planet. Over time, he’d give me cassettes (we still used those in the ninties, believe it or not) of speed metal bands, or just mixtapes of sorts and that’s how I came to know a couple of bands that, looking back now, I’m surprised I was listening to. That’s how I discovered Blood Feast, Hellbastard, Virus and Anihilated for example, whereas most people’s gateway bands are… well, the so-called “Big Four” really. I wouldn’t even know that Slayer or Megadeth existed until I was 14. As for how I got involved in the UK thrash scene… that’s a good question. I couldn’t really tell you. Sy Keeler from Onslaught was the biggest reason I started doing music myself next to the more obvious influences such as Dave Mustaine or Dimebag Darrell and I think I might have just stumbled across the UK Thrash forums one day and it just kind of… happened. I’d already been doing bands for a while, and I was AWARE that there was a UK thrash scene, but I wasn’t really an active participant until maybe 2006. I really can’t give you a much more detailed account than that, my apologies – it’s been a long time hahaha.
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the UK thrash scene. I’ve described the scene as one of the best in the world today and I’ve listened to interviews where you’ve said the same, so let me ask you, what makes the UK thrash scene so great? What’s the reason so many great bands keep popping up in the UK? Is there something in the water or does the UK just know how to thrash?
Because the UK seems to have more variety to it, albeit with it’s limitations. Allow me to give an example; if you listen back to UK thrash albums from the eighties such as say, History of a Time to Come, The Force and At the Edge of Damnation, they don’t sound that similar to each other and they sound completely different to thrash bands from the US and from mainland Europe. Whereas I’ve always found US thrash to have a very definitive sound that so many bands try to emulate, which has made it sound very stale to my ears (sorry!) and I think that the UK bands still have that primitive hunger to try something different or new. Even those British acts who DO emulate Exodus/D.R.I/Kreator etc. do it tastefully and so well that it renders the unoriginality redundant. Like the old saying goes; if you’re going to do something, you have to make sure that you’re the best at it. The simplest way to put it is that bands over here have a unique identity instead of being faceless in the crowd of a million sound-a-likes. I could go on all day about how bands need to do something interesting to make themselves relevant, but maybe I’ll save that for another time – though under no circumstances am I saying that every single band that sounds similar to x or y is bad. It doesn’t work that way.
Let’s talk about Full Thrash Assault. This one day Festival has become a staple in the UK and has been going strong for nearly a decade. Take us back to the year 2006, how did it all begin?
From what I know, it was started by David Heward mostly as a headlining show for the band Enemy Unknown that turned out as a dayfest. That was so good that they decided to do another one in 2007, but 2008 sadly didn’t have an FTA to boast. Which was a crying shame. Stevie Loftin picked it up in 2009 through to 2011 and despite missing the 2011 show, he did an absolutely marvelous job with it. Some of the best lineups the festival has ever seen, in my opinion.
In 2012 you stepped in and began booking the festival yourself. How did you get involved?
I asked – that’s it! Admittedly, there was a slightly selfish reason behind it because I had asked Stevie about putting Vindicator on the bill for 2011… and he forgot about us hahaha. We ended up missing that show anyway because we were booked to play an absolutely atrocious show in Derby the same day, so later that year I enquired about what was happening for 2012 to the response of “Fucked if I know. Want to take over?” and voila – I was hosting it. And yes, Vindicator finally popped their FTA cherry hahaha.
How do you book a show like Full Thrash Assault? Do bands contact you or do you know in your head who you want to play and contact them? How does it all work?
A bit of both, really. I have a small set of rules that I stick to; mostly that bands can’t play too often. A band can do an on-off thing where they’ll play one year, miss he next, play the one after that and then miss the next etc. or if they were to play two years running, they have to miss out on the next festival or two after that… if that makes sense! It just helps to keep things varied, as much as I love the people come to the shows, they’re a very fussy bunch sometimes hahaha! As for choosing who plays, I actually have two big lists of bands on my laptop for bands who’ve played before and those who’re yet to make an appearance so I tend to just pick and choose and see who’s available. These days, it’s extremely rare for a band to get put on the bill if they ask because the waiting list probably stretches towards the end of the decade right now but I’ll always try and put on a couple of bands every year who haven’t played the festival before. Seems fair, right?
Now that we have a little background let’s talk about Full Thrash Assault 2014. The line-up looks absolutely amazing. For those unaware on just how amazing this line-up is can you give us a little break down on who’s playing the show next April?
Full Thrash Assault 2014 features Ram Raid, Quake, Desolator, Kremated, Bludvera and a triple headlining combo of Anihilated, D.A.M ad Virus. And Chainsaw Penis… sorry about that!
In years past a lot of well known younger bands like Evile, Gama Bomb, Mutant, SSS, Pitiful Reign and Shrapnel (just to name a few) have headlined Full Thrash Assault. In 2014 the headliners are Virus, DAM and Anihilated, all three being old-school thrashers from the 1980s. Was your goal for 2014 to book a “classic” UK thrash line-up or did it just kind of all fall into place? I must say if this was your goal you’ve certainly succeeded!
You’re too kind, sir. It certainly wasn’t intentional, but at the end of the day I have to listen to what the fans want – if they want Anihilated, D.A.M and Virus then I’ll do my goddamn best to give them that. I think it was Jamie from Desolator who first pointed out the whole ‘classic’ thrash vibe to me and it was kind of an “Ohhhhh yeah, so it is” moment for me. But again, the fans wanted it so I did my best to deliver.
In addition to the classic headliners you’ve got some of the brightest up and coming bands from the UK playing the festival. You’ve truly booked a show that features something for everyone. How are the fans reacting to this bill? I imagine everyone’s rejoicing.
Desolator and Bludvera have garnered particularly high praise from the UK thrash scene (and rightfully so) and I know that Bludvera in particular have been requested quite a lot over the past couple of years, so their respective announcements were met with a pitter-patter of applause hahaha. Kremated and Ram Raid have never played before so naturally they’ve piqued curiosity, being the ‘new blood’ for the festival, and as for Chainsaw Penis… that started out as a joke. I’m good friends with 90% of FTA regulars, so when I ask them about who they’d like to see they bombard the website with silly requests. Such as Chainsaw Penis. So I thought I’d call their bluff this time – that said, we had Line of Fire open 2013 as the first not-really-thrash band to ever play the festival and they went down rather well, so we may as well keep that tradition going. I actually toured with Chainsaw Penis last month and even recorded the track ‘Castle Gayskull’ for their second album, so I know that they’re good lads who’ll bring some more humour to the festival. Plus, they’re absolutely shit so even if one of the later bands is a bit off-form, at least Chainsaw Penis will be there to make them look good by comparison!
I was scrolling through the event page and I was reading something about “fancy dress,” a raffle and a Q&A session. Are these things still happening? If so can you give us a little more details?
Hahaha, the fancy dress thing… there’s no reason for that whatsoever. I just thought it might inject a bit more silliness and shameless fun into the proceedings. It’s not mandatory however, so if you want to turn up dressed in your regular clothes then feel free. I was going to dress up myself, but we’ll see haha. The raffle is being looked into right now as that’s purely something being done in an attempt to help with the extraordinarily high cost of the 2014 show so I’ll hopefully have an announcement about that closer to the festival itself. And as for the Q&A session, that’s still going to go ahead – it gives everyone an opportunity to ask questions about there show, what goes on behind the scenes and any other daft questions while everything’s in full swing as opposed to relentlessly bombarding me with queries for the other 364 days of the year. I’m happy to answer people’s questions, but when you’re getting a lot of them in the aftermath of the show it can sometimes be slightly overwhelming so I thought it’d be a neat addition during the break.
As if the killer line-up and fun activities weren’t enough reason, why should people attend Full Thrash Assault 2014?
Because it’s the only show of it’s kind in the UK. You won’t find another experience like it – Rob Durrant from Kemakil put it best, he said that Full Thrash Assault was more of a convention and social gathering than a music festival. And he’s absolutely right. Again, a lot of the people who come to the shows (be they attendees or members of a band) are very good friends of mine and very good friends with each other. Half of us never get to see each other during any other time of the year, so having something like this where everyone is together, having a good time and watching some of the best bands you can find is a wonderful thing. This is an independant festival that’s run by fans, for fans. We have amazing bands, wonderful people, the splendid Mr. Jim Beerman as a compere for the show, great bar staff, cheap prices, an easy location and the fantastic Malcolm Shipman as our sound man for the day. You won’t get that sort of quality anywhere else, I assure you.
With a line-up like this I think it’s safe to say there are going to be people traveling to see this show. Are there any nearby hotels fans can stay at after the show?
Plenty! There’s a Travelodge a mere five minute walk away and another hotel a little further towards the town centre. It’s perfect, though as I’ve found out recently, the rooms do tend to get booked up extremely fast so you need to be quick with your reservations.
I’m super stoked about this show, and I’m honored to have the Global Thrash Assault logo on the event poster. I know I’ll be promoting this show in whatever way I can and I’m sure your other sponsors and bands playing the show will be too. But what can the fans do to promote this show? Any suggestions?
Social media and word-of-mouth is a good place to start. For the super dedicated, they could always print off the flyer and then slap it around their local venues, pubs and clubs as well. Anything that people can do to help us out is greatly appreciated, it’s very difficult to effectively promote such a show entirely by myself.
As I said in the beginning you’re a busy man. Would you like to take this opportunity to plug your other projects?
Oh you, you’re too kind! Well, I’m working on an album with my main band Vindicator (UK, not the US one!!) which will hopefully be out before summer, I’m currently writing a sort of death metal-crust punk hybrid album with Nefasturris, putting the finishing touches on The Devil’s Legion: A Tribute to Onslaught which I’m hoping to finally release in the summer, and as I mentioned at the beginning of the interview, I’m hard at work on two web series’. One is a sort of “Let’s Play” channel (I hate that term) with Vermintide from Vindicator entitled “44. Caliber Game Surgery” – no prizes for where that title is from – where we play video games, talk a load of old rubbish and generally harp on about speed metal. The other one is a similar sort of thing, but it’s myself doing video reviews of video games and metal albums which is entitled “Dingram Observes” after the small smattering of articles I wrote online. Which is another thing I do, write reviews for Brutalism… so yes, I’m quite busy! Episodes of Game Surgery won’t be up for a couple of months yet, but I’m plugging away in advance because… well, it’s very, very funny. The gaming and heavy metal communities cross over more than you might think so I reckon that there’ll be something here to appeal to everybody. The same goes for my video reviews, though I’m currently halfway through doing my first video so expect that a little bit sooner.
Vindicator UK: www.facebook.com/vindicatorukofficial
The Devil’s Legion: A Tribute to Onslaught: www.facebook.com/thedevilslegionuk
44. Caliber Game Surgery: www.facebook.com/44calibergamesurgery
Full Thrash Assault on Facebook: www.facebook.com/fullthrashassault
Thanks for the killer interview man. I’m hoping I can make it over and witness the madness that is Full Thrash Assault for myself. Is there anything you’d like to add?
It’s always a pleasure, Chad. You’re doing such a tremendous service for the genre with GTA that you deserve a fucking knighthood. As for the fans out there… support unsigned bands, give everything a chance, and don’t accept candy from strangers.