Great Is Our Sin is the latest album from Revocation, and the band’s first concept record. Guitarist/vocalist Dave Davidson gives us the lowdown on the new album, some lineup changes, adapting to changes in the music industry and other topics.
Chad Bowar: Since your last album you’ve had a lineup change. How did drummer Ash Pearson come to join the band?
Dave Davidson: Ash had filled in for us on a tour in Europe and we were all really impressed with his skills and work ethic right off the bat. When we parted ways with Phil, Ash was the first person we called. It just so happened that his other band 3 Inches Of Blood were breaking up, so the timing worked out perfectly.
Was there anything unique about the songwriting process for Great Is Our Sin compared to your previous albums?
The songwriting process is very similar from album to album, but the one main change was working with Ash because he lives in Canada. We didn’t have the luxury of getting together multiple times a week to jam, since he lives thousands of miles away. So we had to be really focused in the rehearsals space when we got together to jam.
We also worked on a lot of parts over Skype, so that was also a new approach for me. Luckily, Ash and I have a really great musical connection so we understood each other and were able to flesh out our ideas no matter what the setting was.
You worked with producer Chris “Zeuss” Harris again. What’s his producing style, and what does he bring to the table?
Zeuss has a great ear and knows the sound we are looking for. He’s been in the game a long time and is really confident in his abilities, so he brings a relaxed and professional attitude to the recording environment. He’s also just a fun guy to be around. That goes a long way when you’re spending about a month straight with someone.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of Great Is Our Sin?
Hitting up Treehouse Brewery, which is a few towns over from the studio. They have some of the best beer ever and one of the juiciest IPAs I’ve ever tried. I desperately wish they were closer to me.
What inspired you to make this a concept record, and what is the album’s lyrical theme?
The title Great Is Our Sin was appropriated from a Charles Darwin quote that really resonated with me. I took a look back throughout history and chronicled the follies of man going back to the Middle Ages and leading all the way up to present day.
You have a lot of different options when it comes to touring (headlining, opening, festivals, overseas tours, etc). How do you go about mapping out a tour strategy for an album cycle?
I discuss our strategy at length with our manager and booking agent that way everyone is on the same page. We figure out what our plan of attack is going to be and the we start working on a timeline. We usually work out what our U.S. touring plans will be first once the album comes out and then we shift our focus over to Europe and other markets around the globe.
What is Revocation’s popularity/level of awareness outside of North America?
I think we have a fairly strong presence in Europe, but we’re still looking to expand the awareness of the band with every release that we do.
As the music industry has changed quite a bit over the band’s six albums, how have you had to adjust and adapt on the business side of things?
It’s sink or swim at this point. You have to adapt and constantly come up with new ideas, otherwise you won’t be able to survive in this business. It also helps when you have a solid team with good connections working for you so they can bring fresh ideas to the table to help maintain and grow the business.
You have not yet released a standalone live album/DVD. Any plans to do one?
Not at the moment, but it would be cool to do one at some point in the future.
What was your reaction to recently being named one of the World’s Greatest 7 and 8 String Guitarists by Guitar World?
I was stoked! When publications make those lists they never give you a heads up, so I think someone tagged me in it and told me to check it out. It was really cool to be on a list with such amazing players.
Do you enjoy doing guitar clinics and teaching others?
Yes. I find it very rewarding on many levels. I enjoy sharing my knowledge with others. It’s a great feeling when you can inspire someone or lead them down a path to a major breakthrough in their playing. I also enjoy teaching for my own person well-being as musician because it keeps me sharp and always forces me to think about different concepts in different ways.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
I think we covered it all. Thanks so much for the interview!
(interview published July 21, 2016)