An Interview with Dead Label’s Dan O’Grady

The frontman and bassist of Irish Hardcore band talks us through his experiences of the industry, how they stand out from the crowds and what the future holds.

Credited as one of the most explosive bands in the metal scene, Hardcore band, Dead Label has taken the world by storm, conquering territory that most bands could merely dream of.

From opening for Gojira at their sold-out show in Brixton last year to playing Bloodstock and Download, the band are certain that they have only just scratched the surface for what is yet to come.

Speaking to the band’s frontman and bassist, Dan O’Grady, earlier this month, scroll below to check out the band’s perception on the music industry, their best memories and what Dead Label has up their sleeve.

1.  So, for anyone who hasn’t come across your music before- how would you best describe Dead Label?

Dan: “Dead Label as a band is just four individuals who live and breathe Metal music. We love to create, we love to play those creations in a live setting and we have a great time doing it. For anyone who has never heard our music before, the best way to describe it came in review that some publication gave us a few years ago. They described us as “If Machine Head and Gojira fucked and had a baby, then Dead Label would be that baby”. When I first read that quote I was extremely flattered because this person just compared what we do to two of our biggest influences, but it was so accurate. We play big riffs and we bring the groove.”

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2.  With the rise of social media over the past few years, the music industry has become so competitive with such an extensive number of artists looking for their big break. What would you consider to be the most important aspect(s) of Dead Label that allowed you to stand out from the masses?

Dan: “Our commitment, plain and simple. We keep our heads down, work hard and just keep pushing forward. If we get knocked down, which we have many times in the past, then we just get straight back up and keep on going.”

“We have been through many different things over the years that would break many bands up or cause other bands to lose heart and quit, but not us. Some people probably think that we are just stubborn, which is true, but we have heart, we have drive and that’s what it takes to stand out from the crowd in my opinion.”

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3.  From playing alongside bands such as Gojira and Machine Head, to playing festivals including Download and Bloodstock UK, what would you say the highlight of your career so far? Which was a moment where you took a step back and were awestruck by what you had achieved?

Dan: “Oh man, its very tough to just pick one, there has been so many. One that stands out to me wasn’t actually even a show. We were on our first US tour, I think we may have been on the road for about 2 weeks at this stage. We were driving ourselves from show to show in a 7 seater “Soccer Mom” car that was stuffed to the roof with people, clothes and equipment. We started that tour in LA and the awestruck moment for me happened when we drove into Manhattan. We had just driven across Northern America, that was a surreal experience”.

“Another personal moment for myself had to have been opening for Gojira in a sold out Brixton Academy in London last year. To play Brixton Academy has always been a dream of mine ever since I saw the Machine Head DVD “Elegies”. Hearing our intro tape play and walking out to a screaming crowd in that venue is memory I will never forget.”

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4.  In the short span of time since Dead Label formed, you have conquered territory that other bands could only dream of achieving. What would you say is the main reason why you have accomplished so much so rapidly?

Dan: “I think luck had a major role to play in that, but like I said before, we all work extremely hard for our collective goals which I think people within the industry see and take note of.”

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5.  Nowadays, the music industry has changed since the ’80s where you simply had to be signed to a record label in order to get widespread recognition as an artist. What has your experience of the industry been like since you formed? Was it what you expected or were there certain hurdles that you’ve had to overcome?

Dan: “We’ve certainly had our fair share of hurdles to overcome. The music industry has completely changed over the past 30 years and who knows what its going to look like Post Covid 19, which is quite scary for bands of our level. We have been going as a band since late 2008 and we have had a lot of ups and downs with the music industry but I have to say we have seen more good than bad, we have been quite fortunate which I am so thankful for.”

“Along the way we have certainly run into a few people who have tried and once or twice succeeded in ripping us off but it has only made us stronger and wiser and it has shaped us into the band and people we are today. Thankfully none of those people are in our lives anymore and we try to only surround ourselves with people that we know and trust 100 percent. People who will have your back should anything go wrong. I think that is a really important thing in this industry.”

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6.  Already, you have come to be one of the most explosive bands in the metal scene. Yet, from seeing the progress you’ve made in such a short period, it appears as if Dead Label is only just getting started… What are you exactly looking to accomplish through your music and where would you like to see yourself ten years from now?

Dan: “Apart from getting our music heard by as many people who are willing to listen, you know the dream is to be able to write and play music for a living. That, I think, is the only other major thing we would like to accomplish with our music.”

“Getting to a point where we can leave the day job behind and being able to be free to focus 100 percent on the music that we are creating, that’s the dream right there. That’s what we are all striving for and in 10 years time I hope that we are at a stage that we are no longer opening Brixton Academy but we are headlining to a sold out crowd of ravenous Dead Label fans who just want to lose their minds to big PHAT riffs hahaha.”

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7.  Finally, what do you have installed for us in terms of new releases? When can we next expect to hear some new music from Dead Label and what are you going to do differently this time around?

Dan: “Some stuff we are trying to play close to our chest at the moment but what I can tell you is that there will definitely be new Dead Label music out before the end of the summer so everyone keep your eyes peeled for that. Also we are just about done with the writing process for our upcoming album and we will be heading into pre-production in the next few weeks which I am really excited about because this album has been a long time in the making.”

“The biggest change to the music really has been the addition of our second guitarist Mick Hynes. Having the second guitar there has freed us up quite a lot to try many different things that we haven’t really been able to explore on some of the older songs. The new music is still as heavy as ever but we kind of feel like there are no limitations on us anymore, which is really exciting.”

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To find out more about Dead Label and what they have installed, check out the feature piece here!

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