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JOHN TARDY Explains OBITUARY's Slow Album Output

"It's great to get started, put some stuff together, and then you don't listen to it for a month and a half or something."


Death metal legends Obituary aren't your typical album-a-year grind machine. While some bands churn out riffs faster than zombies devour brains, John Tardy and his cohorts take their time, crafting each song with the meticulous slowness of a swamp monster stalking its prey. And the wait, as Tardy explains in a recent interview with Sense Music Media, is all part of the magic.

"It's cool when you have the time to have some songs and mess with them for a while and put them off the shelf. It's great to get started, put some stuff together, and then you don't listen to it for a month and a half or something. And then you come back to it and then stuff kind of comes to your mind fresh."

This approach, honed during the pandemic's enforced downtime, allows the band to refine their ideas, adding "cool stuff here and there." Tardy emphasizes the importance of avoiding rushed songwriting, taking time allows Obituary to nurture their music, ensuring it reaches its full, skull-crushing potential.

"When you have a lot of time, like we did during the pandemic, it really gave us time to let the songs kind of grow, feel them out, and be able to add some cool stuff here and there to them. There's nothing worse than being rushed with a song. And even if it's a cool idea, get it down, write it, record it, because you listen to it and a year later, you're, like, 'Damn, I wish I would have done this. I wish I could have done that.' And the longer you let yourself let those songs grow and you can sit and mess with them, the less of that you have. You'll always get that no matter what, but the less of it that you do have, you give yourself that time."

Of course, Obituary's patient approach isn't just about artistic satisfaction. Tardy acknowledges the realities of the modern music industry. With touring becoming the primary income stream, the band prioritizes maximizing the impact of each album cycle.

"We've just never been the band to put out albums every year, every other year, other than I think Slowly We Rot and Cause Of Death were pretty close. But other than that, we're okay to sit back. And now with the touring, we just find that it really takes us three or four years just to cover all parts of the globe and get everything done with that album. And people don't buy the albums that much anymore anyway, so you've really kind of gotta get your money out of 'em."

So, the next time you hear Obituary's bone-crushing grooves, remember, it's not just brute force, it's the product of time, meticulousness, and a healthy dose of swamp-dwelling patience.

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