Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Interview With Dave Requisite of Death Requisite

This is an interview with David Requisite, the guitarist and one of the original members of Death Requisite, an awesome Christian Death Metal band hailing out of Sarasota, Florida. It's saddening that this band isn't more well known. The band is full of true musicians. They put a lot of time and effort into every release. Please, do yourself a favor and check out their facebook page. Also, pick up a copy of their two latest releases, "Second Death" and "Prophets of Doom".
Questions for Dave Requisite of Death Requisite
1.     What is your testimony and how did you begin your relationship with Jesus?
My conversion occurred in stages. As a child I bought fire insurance: I heard someone teach on Heaven & Hell, and it seemed like a no-brainer (because it was). I had no understanding of the Lordship of Jesus Christ, however, so there was little spiritual fruit in my life. As a youth: I attended a conference where I encountered the Spirit of God for myself and committed myself to Him. Later as a young adult: I experienced some serious faith challenges that ultimately encouraged me to study and really learn why I believe what I believe about God, and gain revelation about His nature. As a result I have firm convictions that I am able to relate in person, in writing, and in song.

2.     How/What inspired you to start Death Requisite? What inspired the name?
I was raised in a very musical home, and have been performing various instruments since age 4. For as long as I can remember, I knew I would be performing music of some fashion for the rest of my life. My desire for technical instrumentation, love for the guitar, and joy for pushing boundaries, made a metal band an easy outlet to choose. Furthermore, I have long felt that metal-heads are an often over-looked mission field that most believers are not willing to address.

I really wanted a name that was obviously metal; but I also wanted to convey something significant and serious about our faith at the same time. A “requisite” is a requirement due to a particular circumstance. Because of humans, there is sin in the world; and sin is the circumstance that requires death. Before sin there was no death. Furthermore, for followers of Jesus, there is a daily requirement of death to self. Disciples of Jesus Christ do not walk an easy path; it is a daily death-march discipleship that requires you carry the instrument of your own execution.

3.     What message were you trying to convey to whomever picked up a copy of your releases?
Like most bands we communicate a variety of messages, and these change over time. In the beginning we focused a lot on glorifying God, while warning of the dangers that await those who don’t choose Him, and communicating some of the experiences of those who choose to align with Jesus Christ. More recently, we have been much more specific about certain topics and we’re more deliberate to make sure we are teaching sound biblical theology and not religious assumptions taught in most churches. We still write a lot about the supremacy of Yahweh, and the evil that is natural in this present age of wickedness; but today we give much more attention to details, and our presentations are more theatrical and dramatic.

4.     How did you record? Explain, and if you can, include what software you used?
We have never recorded on our own. We have always used a local studio. The first EP back in 2000 was at a friend’s new self-made pseudo-studio; the next 2 releases were recorded with JDA Records staff in their facility; the last 2 times we went to another friend who has a real studio. All 5 times we used Pro Tools.

5.     How did you get involved in having one of your tacks featured on one of the greatest Christmas albums ever written, “A Brutal Christmas – The Season in Chaos”
I knew the founder of Sound of the Dead Records and he personally requested that we appear on that compilation. At the time we had no idea how successful it would be. Recently, many of the songs from the compilation, including ours, have been released again on another Christmas compilation called “Repossession”.

6.     Did you ever receive any backlash from the Christian community for the type of music you play?
It does happen. Long ago, all of Death Requisite attended the same Church together; that was until some of the leadership saw us perform. After an interesting conversation we decided to “part fellowship”. This was probably the most extreme case, and we have received lots of support from other congregations.

7.     How many times, if any, have you been accused of having “satanic music”?
This happens also. Over time more and more people are familiar with extreme metal genres, consequently we hear this less from believers these days. What’s amusing to us is how many nonbelievers assume we are satanic or anti-religious at first listen. We don’t sound like what is commonly understood as “Christian metal”, so most non-Christians don’t expect we are until they hear the message. This temporary misconception doesn’t happen at shows however; we conduct ourselves in such a way that people know we are “different”. It’s actually quite powerful when we’re out in the world and our music opens doors with someone who now feels that they can be real with us without fear of criticism.

8.     Has death requisite ever been featured in any other compilations you’d like to make mention of?
Before “ABC” we appeared on “Screams of Abaddon 2” on Dysmorphic Records; more recently we appeared on another called Florida Metal Underground. We don’t do compilations often because most of the time the artists are expected to pay to be featured on the release; then the artists get copies to sell themselves to recoup their investment. Often this is the entire marketing strategy of those compiling the artists; which means, even though “exposure” is the goal, the only new fans we might get are those to whom the other bands sell their copies (if they don’t already know us).  Usually, you can’t regain your money by selling your copies, and I’d rather sell someone a disc full of Death Requisite than just one song.

9.     Death Requisite seemed to fall into a sort of limbo during the mid to late 2000’s. What happened during this time? Did you consider giving the band up? What helped bring the band back?
Around the time our hiatus began, I was performing with other bands as well (Archer & AnTheorem), and within a year all 3 bands came to a halt; each for different reasons. DR was the only band that had collectively decided to take a “break”. During this time people were getting married, going to college/seminary, joining the military, participating in mission trips, having babies, etc. We hadn’t decided to quit, but we hadn’t even spoken about reuniting either. The reunion happened when 3 of us spoke about meeting up for what we called “nostalgia night”; an opportunity to play some songs together and scratch a collective “metal itch.” In preparation for “nostalgia night” I just started riffing for fun. Then, once we were together, the others asked if I had anything new to share. So much for nostalgia; we were back!

10.  Did Death Requisite always have the goal of playing symphonic metal, or did you consider a different genre at some point in time?
Yes; and kind-of yes. As the primary writer I have long desired to include the symphonic and cinematic feeling orchestral parts. Early in our experience we just didn’t have access to the resources to make that happen. So we performed a form of melodic death metal with other various elements. In the last few years virtual instruments have come a long way in quality and accessibility; so now we can make metal more like I always intended: full-on trans-metal musical theatre!

11.  What are some of the coolest bands you shared the state with (Christian or Secular)? Who are some of the most brutal?
Some of the “coolest” bands we’ve performed with are unknowns that have come and gone, like Soul of the Savior and Yeti. In the early days we made friends with many other Florida bands who are now known such as UnderOath, Sagoh 24/7 (aka Anberlin), SeventhStar, and The Absence. Thanks to some of these connections we got to share venues with bigger names like Zao, Extol, and Living Sacrifice. In recent years we have performed with some other better knowns like Norma Jean, Terrorizer, Vital Remains, and Vale of Pnath.

12.  (This question probably won’t go on the interview, but I figured I’d ask anyways). How did Cuinn Griffin get involved with the band? I know he’s a pretty solid musician. Did you guys know about his mission trip to South Carolina in 2010? That’s where I actually met him!
I’ve known Cuinn since childhood: we grew up in the same neighborhood, his older brother and I played games together, and Cuinn attended a school where I used to teach music. In 2010 he and I both were hired to perform in a Christmas orchestra together, and I was so impressed with his performance that I invited him to join Death Requisite. He really is a fantastic musician.
(Cuinn is currently taking a leave of absence from DR. It was his choice, and we respect his right not to tell us why. Another long-time friend is now on bass.)

13.  What advice would you have for up and coming metal bands? What would you have for any Christians starting metal bands?
In vest the requisite time to know your craft; don’t rush. Learn about other artists, and their stories; this is encouraging for you the artist, and people like to talk music with musicians. Be patient and persistent; there are a lot of bands out there and it takes a lot of hard work to earn a place in the market.

Being in a Christian metal band is one of the most unpopular things someone can do: some Christians will question your godliness, and some metal-heads will question your ‘metalness’. In a sense, according to some, you don’t belong anywhere.  This existence requires lots of sympathy and understanding. Everyone has a right to an opinion, even if it’s wrong and/or has no basis in fact or reality. Demonstrating godly character in the face of unjustifiable criticism will be a regular challenge; but consistently responding in kindness and respect will be the ultimate testimony that cannot be ignored.

14.  If you ever had the chance to go on a nationwide tour, and all conditions for it were right, would you go?
Yes. Naturally, as a band comprised of family men with added responsibilities, we have more conditions to consider than single folk in between high school and college. Once we knew for sure that all necessities were accounted for, we would love to play all over.

15.  What got you so interested in metal?
As a virtually life-long student of music, I expect a lot from my musical entertainment: skill, technique, flare, adventure etc. I want to be impressed by the musicians and I want to be drawn into the musical performance. Metal genres and artists provide the most experiences of this nature in the current world of music. As a youth I listened to classical composers and 70’s classic rock bands back to back, and then I found metal bands like Tourniquet, Metallica, and Believer. After which it just progressed from Living Sacrifice and Mortification to other more complex bands who are now our contemporaries. Consistently my favorites are those who incorporate really heavy metal elements with very complex and exciting symphonic and orchestral arrangements.

16.  Your drummer had an accident at work where his foot was run over by a forklift. How did his foot recover enough from that to keep playing at the crazy speeds he plays at?
This happened a couple years ago, right before we were supposed to record “Second Death.” We actually changed the studio schedule a little to accommodate for a last-minute work trip William had to go on. We were incredulous when he called and told us what happened. We weren’t sure how it was going to turn out, and suspected we would have to reschedule with the studio. I went to visit Will at his home when he returned to deliver some family aid and see the damage for myself. Naturally I took pictures, which can now be seen in our studio “Vlog”. It was only a couple days later when William went into the studio and blasted out the parts in just a couple hours. Nothing short of a miracle, it was one of the fastest healings any of us are aware of. William is an amazing drummer, one of my oldest friends, and an honorable man of godly character; I feel incredibly blessed to work with him. This seems an appropriate to shout out to my other brothers in metal: Vincent St. James, Joseph, and Justin (aka Regnal the Just); all fine young men.

In closing, thank you guys for reaching out to us; and thanks to your readers for giving us some of your time and consideration. We hope to enjoy more metal adventures with you all in the days to come. Be blessed!