Demon Hunter Vocalist Reveals How Acoustic Album and Livestream Concert Came Into Existence
Demon Hunter frontman Ryan Clark was our guest on a recent episode of The MetalSucks Podcast to talk about the journey of creating acoustic versions of classic Demon Hunter tracks for their new album, Songs of Death and Resurrection, among other topics.
Describing how the idea for the acoustic album came into existence, and how that preceded the band’s livestream of the same despite it appearing to fans to happen the other way around, he explained:
“It’s something we concocted early 2019 or late 2018. We came up with the idea first that we wanted to tour in a way where we did ‘An Evening With Demon Hunter,’ where we sort of highlighted the two different sides, the heavy and the melodic, and did a full blown, full band acoustic set which was like 12 songs, then have an intermission, and come back out and do a heavy set. We did a couple of short runs in 2019 with that format and it was really fun. It was the first time we dabbled with full band acoustic [shows]. We’d done a decent amount of just me and a guitar player, or me and maybe two guitar players in stores, and things like that. But they were always a little bit thrown together.
“So this time we wanted to put all of the same effort that we would into a normal show into an acoustic performance. We just all had so much fun doing it, and I think our fans really dug it. We wore suits, and made it a special event.
“After those shows went so well, prior to 2020 our plan was to do more of those shows and add to that. The recording of an acoustic record was taking that acoustic set and going even further.
“The piano is one of the standout factors in there, and that’s Joanna, who is Jeremiah [Scott], our guitar player’s sister-in-law. Phenomenal pianist. We gave her the songs and within a couple days she knew all of them better than we did. She added so much to the recording. So when it came time to do the recording, and especially after it was pretty obvious that nobody was going to be touring or anything this year, we just laser focused in on the record.
“That was just all about creating a vibe, first off. We’ve never actually recorded as a band live. It’s always been traditional layering. You know, you start with a scratch guitar, scratch drums and you start layering it. Lately it’s been more fragmented and we’ve been doing it remotely, jumping in and out of recording. So this was the first time we all got together [to record] and actually recorded the songs as we played them. ‘Cause we wanted to capture that vibe. And we did that with the piano. Beyond that we started overdubbing all of the stringed instruments, and everything from bagpipes to timpani drums and whatnot. So that was sort of layered after the fact. But what we definitely wanted to do was capture the vibe of us playing together.
“And that gave us a reinvigoration of these songs, put them in a new light. We felt really good about them, kind of birthed them anew, if you will. We just really wanted to focus on those songs for this year.
“We really had no intention of doing a livestream at the time when we were recording. But we sort of quickly realized that that was our way to pick up where we left off on some touring, ’cause we really were excited about touring and bringing that format to more people. We did probably 12 or 14 dates the year prior so we wanted to spread it out and hit more cities. This was basically our way of figuring out how to do that. At that point [livestreaming] had been pretty successful for a lot of bands, just the ability to do it and do it well, so there was kind of a template of sorts. We did a few things our own way but sort of gauged how to do it by virtue of other bands doing it. It was a lot of fun. We put it together pretty quickly but we had been playing these songs for so long, the years prior, we were really, like I said, hyper focused on these acoustic [versions] so it was really fresh in all our minds. We’d been playing them a lot so I felt like we were playing the songs really well. It was kind of the perfect way to sum up this little chapter of these songs. It seems like, to the viewer or listener, the livestream sort of preceded the record but it was just by virtue of scheduling that that’s the case. It was the last piece of the puzzle, really.”
Listen to our full chat with Ryan below or right here.