Horror Dance Squad – Interview
Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
HDS: Horror Dance Squad is Estonia’s hardest-working, most ambitious band in the modern-metal/metalcore scene. Our goal is to make the music we love and to love making it.
PD: Tell us a brief history of yourself.
HDS: Horror Dance Squad hails from Estonia’s capital, Tallinn. The squad began taking formation when guitarists Indrek Ulp and Mikk Peetrimägi put their eagerness to keep the metalcore genre alive in Estonia together and began writing songs. They took on drummer Henri Kuusk and after about a year of practising and trying out vocalists (including Ian Karell who is originally from Pittsburgh, PA) the first line-up was established. We played our first show at the beginning of 2014. After a couple of years, we made a small line-up change adding vocalist Karl Mesipuu and synth and sample wizard Margus Tammela to our squad. This new line-up took us on a path that has definitively shaped and evolved our music into our own signature style. Throughout our years together we have had the enormous pleasure of sharing the stage with international heavy hitters such as Siamese, Comeback Kid, Dead By April, Adept, Eskimo Callboy, We Butter The Bread With Butter, Deez Nuts, August Burns Red, One Morning Left and may others. We also represented Estonia at the 2016 Wacken Open Air Metal Battle.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
HDS: As a six-piece–each with our own long, personal music history–it shouldn’t be a surprise when we say that we have been influenced by more artists, musicians, writers, philosophers, scientists, activists and policymakers than can properly be named. However, we can trim it down to a few for you. Musically, we have been largely inspired by bands like Bring Me The Horizon, Enter Shikari, Parkway Drive, and Sikth. Non-musically, writers Stephen Pinker, Graham Hancock, Allan Watts and J.P. Lovecraft have inspired us in different ways. And, without a doubt, general curiosity and a drive to grow and learn will continue to influence us until the end of our days.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
HDS: In a way, we can say that we are indeed living our dream. Not that the dream is anywhere close to over, not at all, but the story we are writing right now is a dream-come-true. With the release of our upcoming album, we are fulfilling a very significant goal and have created something we can be forever proud of. However, that does not mean we are simply satisfied to stop here. Not even close. The main goal for us is to continue doing what we love to do: create awesome music that is super fun to play for our awesome fans. For as long as we can. To continue living this dream, we continue to create new goals and next steps each time we reach our existing ones. We want to continue growing as musicians and as a band so that each new song, each new album, each new video is better or different or more challenging for us in some way than what came before.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
HDS: Our songwriting process is a full-band effort and very collaborative. While we often start with guitars and drums before working on vocals and lyrics, the moment an idea is born the whole band is invested in making sure we are writing the best song we can. Ian writes a majority of the lyrics for the band, but the topics are always those which all of us feel are important. We sing a lot about social and personal issues, justice and injustice, philosophy and spirituality. Questions and topics that are pressing for us as individuals, but which we feel are common issues for mankind in general. We hope that if someone is struggling with an issue in their lives we will have a song that will speak to them and help them find positive ways to deal with that issue.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
HDS: We have certainly become quite proficient in using social media for promoting the band, events, concerts or anything else that might be interesting for our fans. We have a few friends in the industry as well helping us with organizing, but we tend to usually do everything ourselves – Posting to social media, booking bands, making deals with the venues, printing flyers etc. In the end of the when you have a successful concert, the payoff is so much bigger if you have put in the effort. But most importantly, when we have a chance to play live, we take the time before, onstage and afterwards to talk to anyone who wants to come and talk to us. It is the absolute best time to connect with our fans, new and old, and it is an essential part of who we want to be as a band. After all, we are a Squad, not just a band.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
HDS: We are happy if people get their hands on our music, no matter where it comes from. What we hope is that if you download, stream or buy our music, it will encourage you to come to see us live when we are in a town near you!
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
HDS: All of us in the band have been very impressed with the evolution and professional development of the band Bring Me The Horizon. Their last album, amo, had so many hits that it is hard to choose one, but there is a lot to be envious of there from a songwriter’s perspective. Certainly, the example they have set as a band is one we have a lot to learn from.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
HDS: Not being able to spend more time making music. Like most artists, we also have day jobs in order to support this expensive and addictive habit which often take up more time than we would like–time we would rather spend on writing and performing the songs that truly keep us passionate and motivated.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
HDS: That’s a tough question to answer when it feels like each new accomplishment is our next proudest moment. However, there are a couple we can pick out: Firstly, finishing our album No Flag With Fly Forever is something we are extremely proud of. A combination of an immense amount of time, energy and passion, this album is our best work yet and truly embodies who we have been striving to become as a band. Winning our local competition and being chosen to represent Estonia in the 2016 Wacken Metal Battle was also an incredibly proud moment for us. It was one of those moments when we truly received confirmation that we were doing something right. And playing at the Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany to a bigger audience than we had ever played for before was a moment none of us will ever forget. But we are certain this list will continue to grow and grow in the years to come.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
HDS: Right now the big project is the release of our album. We are working on our most ambitious music video to date and have a couple of others in the pipeline which will require a great deal of our time and attention. We are also working hard to make sure our album release show this October is the most intense and inspired one yet. And, of course, once these projects have come to an end, we will continue to work as hard as ever to keep this ball rolling.
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
HDS: Starting in 2014, we released a couple of singles before putting out the Gamechanger EP in 2016 and the album LEAP in 2017. Since then, we have been working energetically on our upcoming album and began releasing our newest singles since March 2020. You can hear us on all major streaming platforms and we’ve got plenty of videos on youtube. We also have an online store on our website www.horrordancesquad.com. And! We are currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Hooandja where you can support us in printing our upcoming album on vinyl and get some very sweet merch as a reward. And, of course, make sure to follow us on facebook and instagram to get the latest news.
Horror Dance Squad links:
Band/Artist location – Tallinn Estonia
Website – Facebook – You Tube – Soundcloud – Bandcamp –
Merch – Twitter – Instagram – Apple –
Spotify – Amazon – Deezer – Google Play – Last Fm
Check our page for Horror Dance Squad