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Death Angel’s Mark Osegueda Talks Metal as Therapy, Bonds Forged on the Road + More

WIlson Lee Photography
WIlson Lee Photography

Death Angel frontman Mark Osegueda was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio program. The singer discussed releasing anger through music, leaving him in a generally positive mood, maintaining the same lineup over the last eight years and life on the road and in the studio today compared to the ’80s and more. Check out the chat below.

What’s up?

Doing amazing.

Let’s talk about the latest Death Angel album it’s called The Evil Divide — a very angry album, yes?

You know, it’s kind of carrying on the tradition of the last two. For sure, you know, in that vein. And I guess as long as we never achieve a certain amount of success we’ll always keep that anger.

It’s funny because you’re such a happy and giggly dude. So it’s funny to say the record is angry. How much do you rely on music to purge anger and other emotions from yourself?

I think, I mean, more than ever, more than ever. That is my thing. And, I mean, literally — and you’re not ironically the first person to bring that up that, “You’re always in such a good mood, you’re always laughing. You know, finding joy in everything.” And I think the reason being is because I have this outlet that I think a lot of people that aren’t musicians don’t necessarily have, or, you know, do some sort of truly strenuous physical activity.

But, when we’re on tour and night after night I get to yell out my aggressions and see the release that it’s giving to other people. There’s no better therapy out there. There really isn’t. And I mean, it’s, and I thrive off that feeling. And I do, I get it out every night and it drains me, but at the same time it just fills me with an abundance of energy for the next night.

What changes about the way metal invigorates you when you’ve been playing it most of your life?

Well there’s a way because I removed myself from it for quite a few years, as far as when Death Angel had a hiatus. So, I think the first time around, as magical as that time was, now, I look back on it with a greater appreciation. And, when I took that downtime off, I thought if I ever have the opportunity to do this once again, I’m going to savor every second of it. And so now, I have this appreciation for metal I wish I had the first time around. I loved it as a teenager, I just loved it, and playing it as a teenager and I ate it and breathed it. But, now, just the appreciation is much more, just, I don’t know, just all encompassing.

And while I’m on stage to while I’m recording, I’m enjoying every bit. And even if there’s a time I get pissed off, so to speak, I’m just thinking, you know, if I’m lucky enough in my life to be complaining, for one moment about music or performing music or creating music, I’m very far ahead of the ball. I’m very far ahead in the game. If you’re lucky enough to get to complain about your passion, keep it to yourself [laughs].

The current lineup has been together coming up on eight years now. What are the significant things that have really bonded you together, both musically and personally?

I think with the first album since we came back with this particular lineup was Relentless Retribution, that we were really definitely getting to learn each other and each other’s strong point and just kind of figure out each other as people.

And so I am very proud of that record but is is a very aggressive record and our first step in this kind of newer reborn aggressive side of the band. I think now we’ve done so much touring, a matter of fact more touring than the original mach one lineup or mach two lineup have done. This is the most touring we have done as a band with this lineup and it’s just made us strong players individually, stronger players as a unit, stronger performers for sure, not just in terms of musical ability, but just how we are onstage.

And it’s just, we really feel that bond of it’s us against the world when we’re on stage. You know, there’s that friendly competition with any band we’re playing with, touring with, on a festival with and we just want to make it .. if we’re playing last we just want to make it be known why we’re last. And if we’re not playing last we want to make it so people who have to play after us go, “Wow, we have to follow that. You know, we gotta follow that.” And we do it now with a confidence we might not have had the first few shows with this lineup, or the first even few tours with this lineup. But now we definitely feel like we’re onto something because of the reactions of the crowd and the popularity of each album comes prior to the last getting more popular. I think we’re on the right track for sure.

The band recently wrapped up the ‘Bound by the Road’ tour with DevilDriver, Winds of Plague and more. Death Angel was the longest running band on that lineup. What is fulfilling interacting with bands that came up after you?

I find this a really huge compliment that we were asked to be a part of this tour. What it means to me is that DevilDriver finds us relevant. We work really hard and we try to bring younger bands out when we headline and the fact that bands that have made quite a name for themselves that maybe haven’t been around as long as us, that are taking us out, that I truly find very humbling. I find it as a very huge compliment.

Death Angel are a band that’s been around for a long time at this point. In the music business, it has changed so much since the big budget days of major labels. What makes the way you record and tour today a better fit for your life?

What it does now with technology it’s come so far that it kind of expedites the recording process and for us. It’s been wonderful because we can turn around and get product out faster than we could in the ’80s without quality being affected. The digital technology has come so far and also with the songwriting process. Rob can just fly files over to me and stuff he’s recorded and I can just write from home, whereas before there was always some big recording device or your little portable mini studios. Now you don’t need that and it’s been wonderful.

When you go into a recording studio now, how they look nowadays versus how they looked in the ’80s has transformed immensely as well. Just the sound quality you’re getting for the budgets you’re working with, whether a band larger or smaller than us, I think it helps bands smaller than us immensely. As far as on the road, that’s a whole different story. Because record sales aren’t adding up to what they used to. Now when we’re on the road a day off is money burning. There’s very few days off on the road. You’re playing almost every day. You’re almost relying on that adrenaline the crowd gives you because sometimes it’s inhuman, borderline inhuman some of the nights we have to play in a row [laughs]. But we do it because for the love of the music and it keeps the band alive, it keeps the fans hungry for more.

Thanks to Mark Osegueda for the interview. Pick up your copy of Death Angel’s ‘The Evil Divide’ at Amazon or digitally through iTunes. Keep up with everything the band is doing on their Facebook page and find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show at this location.

See Where Death Angel’s The Art of Dying Ranks Among the 10 Best Thrash Metal Albums of the 21st Century

See Death Angel in the 10 Best Thrash Albums NOT Released by the Big 4

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