Interview with Cellador guitarist Bill Hudson

- Jan 15, 2007 at 01:44PM
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Currently, one of the coolest and freshest metal bands to have a significant impact on the Metal scene is the power metal band known as Cellador. Although the band has existed for barely three years, they have already gone through several lineup changes and managed to reap massive gains in popularity to the point where they are now on major tours with bands such as Trivium. Cellador hails from Omaha, Nebraska and they just recently released their debut album on Metalblade Records titled Enter Deception towards the end of 2006. Recently we caught up with the band’s newly added and extremely friendly guitar player Bill Hudson to talk about the origins of the band, how he exactly came into the fold, their tour with Trivium and, what the future holds for Cellador as a band.

Cellador is an extremely fresh band having formed as recently as 2004. Does Cellador’s history trace back any farther and how did you guys come so far in so little time?
Bill: Yeah that’s something everybody asks. Well actually the band started in summer 2003 I think, it was started by Chris Peterson the other guitar player and uh, he basically wanted to introduce the style to the USA. I mean, three years ago, it wasn’t very well known, not that it is nowadays but three years ago nobody had a clue about what it was. He wanted to do something new so he started placing ads everywhere and the first person he found was Dave Dahir the drummer, who was only fifteen at the time, he’s only seventeen now, not that big of a difference. So after that he found Valentin Rakhmanov the bass player and by that time they started like playing, rehearsing as a three piece and they also started recording the demo which came out in 2005, but they started in 2004 actually, late 2004 they started recording the demo despite the fact that they didn’t have a singer at all. So in January 2005, they found Michael Gremio the singer and the first thing he did he started recording the demo and playing live, they were playing as a five piece. And I was the last one to join, I joined in November, 2005 after I found the band online when I was in my country, I’m from Brazil. And uh, I found them online and you know, their style is extremely popular in my country and you know, I was online and I was like, wow that’s really odd that a band like that comes from the states. So I started researching about them and I found out they were looking for a guitar player, I had lived in the USA previously so I was like, yeah since I know how things work there, why not try? And to my surprise was things got even better after I talked to them and they told me they were on Metalblade Records. You know, that’s how we came together and that’s how we’ve been since November, 2005. As far as you know how we got so far, I don’t know, I think we are hard workers. That’s the best way to describe it.

I don’t know if you’ll know because of the fact that you’re a more recent addition to the band, but there’s a movie called Donny Darko. In the movie Drew Barrymore, the character she’s playing, she quotes a linguist, a writer basically saying that out of all the phrases and words in the English language ‘cellar’ and ‘door’ go so well together. Does that pertain to your name? How did the band name come about?
Bill: Well first of all Donny Darko is one of my favorite movies and I thought that too, but you know, oddly enough, it did not come from the movie. It was actually, it came from an essay from 1955 by JRR Tolkien, he wrote the Lord of the Rings, you know, the author. And he said that a combination of cella and dor created the most beautiful sound in English. The funny thing is that Chris found out about it and since he was starting a power metal band he was like, well you know what, it does sound good, it sounds epic, so I’m going to name my band this, but he dropped one of the Rs and it also use to have another O but he dropped one of the Os just to be more unique. And the funny thing is, after that we found out that in Tolkien’s language, there is a word, I don’t remember what it means but it’s “cellador” with a hard C. It’s just a big coincidence, it’s not really from the movie, it’s from Tolkien but I’m pretty sure that the movie came from this essay too. Some people say it was Edgar Allan Poe, but I don’t really know who said it first.

How is it in that in three years or such little time, you guys have managed to release a demo and get signed to Metalblade Records? It just seems like a ridiculous and amazing feat.
Bill: I ask myself, when I joined the band, it was signed already so I wasn’t part of it, but basically here’s what happened, they recorded the demo and even before they started really distributing it, they were invited to open a show for The Black Dalia Murder in Omaha where we live and uh, the guys from The Black Dalia Murder just freaked out, they were like wow you guys are incredible and Metalblade is actually looking for a sound like that, why don’t you guys give us a demo.... So the story goes that Chris doesn’t even have a copy of the demo so he had to drive all the way to his house which was like a half an hour away from the venue to burn a copy of the CD, he didn’t really expect anything, he was like why would Metalblade call us. So twelve days later Brian Slagel (Metalblade’s owner) calls him and offers him a contract. Even more weird is that Cellador wasn’t suppose to play that show, it was a different local band from Omaha that dropped out and then Cellador was like a last minute replacement, I guess it was meant to be.

You guys have been labeled as a power metal band but you’ve played with death metal bands, hardcore bands, many different types of music. What do you feel about this whole labeling thing? How is it that your music seems to be popular amongst so many different types of kids?
Bill: Yeah, you know we are definitely a power metal band, those are our biggest influences. But we add to that more extreme metal, such as thrash metal, death metal, you see, Metallica, Megadeth, Pantera, Slayer are bands that we love and that definitely influenced us. And uh, that’s why we end up playing with creative bands like that, but on the other hand, what other options would we have? We were talking to another power metal band that is getting kind of popular and they were saying you know, we want to play with other types of bands, like hardcore, but they’re from Europe. Yeah we’re trying to get more into the hardcore, metalcore scene so more people will know about us, because the scene is definitely bigger than power metal. And we were like, we do the same, we just don’t have any other options.

So being one of the few popular power metal bands in the U.S., you’re forced to look at other styles of music?
Bill: Exactly! Trivium was the closest style we could think to tour with. But on the other hand, I think people are opening their minds you know and we may be able to open it.... A couple of years ago, the bands on MTV with all the low tuning, singing about nothing basically, mumbling about life.... Nowadays, a band on MTV has guitar solos, they have melody and at the same time Cellador, even though we are power metal, we are faster and heavier. So I don’t know, in my opinion, things are kind of united you know, a couple of years ago there will be no labels anymore probably. I think Trivium is a good example of that, on their new album no screams at all, all singing.

Unlike other power metal bands that sing about fantasy and dragons and such, you guys tend to sing about more real world topics. Why did you guys decide to change from the power metal norm?
Bill: That was just natural you know. Even though Chris wrote all the songs before I joined the band, I was apart of some of the lyric writing. And we don’t sit and say let’s not talk about dragons, but we don’t say let’s talk about dragons, you know, let’s see what do I want to talk about. We are young people you know and we have to deal with issues that everyone else has to deal with and we think that the way we deal with our issues helps improve the character, it’s something about self improvement. Basically what we think is that you shouldn’t change what you are and what you believe in order to fit a certain trend or a group of people or whatever else. But at the same time we are musicians, not preachers, so if we were saying hey don’t change because we said so, it would be the same, just the other way around. So basically we sing about the way we deal with our lives and how we improve our characters. If you listen to the song and you’re like, whoah that catches me then good, if you don’t then don’t, just listen to the song. But every word we say is how we feel, how we live our lives.

Enter Deception, your first Metalblade release, your first full length album released in June, 2006. Tell me a bit about the writing and recording process and how you feel about the CD in general.
Bill: Yeah I wasn’t part of the writing process of this album at all because when I joined the band they already had the songs done. But uh, it does represent a lot for me because I was in the studio and I did record my guitar solos, and I did do a lot, wait not a lot, all of the vocal harmonies. This is stuff that I had to think about so I do have a connection with all of the songs and most of the lyrical content has to do with the way I live my life. So Enter Deception’s definitely the first album I’m in. And the writing process as far as what I saw when I joined the band is Chris basically makes the demos in his own home studio and then he brings them to the rest of the band so they learn their parts and give their input. And after that, after we play everything as a band, we re-record the songs, this time with vocals and ok, let’s see, what can we do for this song? But on the next album, that’s how we work, I did the writing that we did so far, but I know Chris has ideas, I know that he has a lot of them. And as far as the recording, it was a great experience you know, Erik Rutan our producer, he’s just, he’s like a flawless human being, real friendly, real nice but at the same time very professional. You know, if you can do it better, he will make you do it better but he’s not going to be a dick about it.

Speaking of your debut record Enter Deception, at least from what you’ve seen, how have people been responding to it? What’s the reaction been like to the CD?
Bill: It’s surprisingly overwhelming honestly. I haven’t read bad... well I have read a couple of bad reviews from Europe, more talking about the fact that we don’t have keyboards you know. I mean you can’t please everyone, but it’s been incredible, I cannot believe the reaction. We toured with Bullet for My Valentine before and I thought people would hate us, but no, I just can’t believe, whether it’s the numbers or sales or people who ask for us to sign the CD, or people going “dude that changed my life, it’s so awesome.” I can’t believe it, it’s incredible and I speak for the whole band.

When comparing Cellador’s first EP, the one that came out a couple of years ago, how do you personally feel about the transition of the music from that EP to Enter Deception?
Bill: It’s an incredible evolution, there’s no doubt about that. Playing wise, you know because I’m not on the demo, I didn’t play on the demo, but I know Chris and I played with him and I know how much better he is nowadays than he is on the demo. But for me to highlight when it comes to improvement, it’s Mike, like he doesn’t sound like the same person to me, it’s definitely an evolution. But I think at that time, what they wanted to do with that demo was perfect, the songs were slower, all the songs are sped up now because we have more experience and we’re heavier and we’re more aggressive but for that time I think the demo was perfect, I think it’s just a natural evolution.

Just like Trivium, your band is full of younger guys. Do you think the fact that you’re all young is going to allow you to grow a lot with each record because you’re still learning about your various instruments and how to make music?
Bill: Yeah sure, I hope so because you know, that’s one thing, me and Dave, Dave’s only seventeen but he’s been playing since he was like... he was talking to me the other day and he said when he was three years old he was already starting to play so Dave’s been doing this his whole life. I started to play when I was eleven so we’ve been doing this for a long time. But I do think as a band and especially when it comes to touring, doing videos and all this stuff, we are definitely growing and our age has to do with it. We are still kids and we’ll always be kids but I mean, maturity, when it comes to touring and stuff like that, there are still a lot of things that we have to learn.

On select dates of your tour, you guys have been able to share the stage with Trivium. How has this experience been for you and how did it happen that you were added to the Trivium tour?
Bill: Well it all started when Mike our singer went to do some promotion at Sounds of the Underground, he went with Brian Slagel the president and owner of Metalblade to you know, make contacts. It turns out that Brian met the guys from Trivium and they were real fans of us, they knew songs and names of our songs and we were like, it would be cool if we could tour together. So Brian went back and when we all went to Sounds of the Underground, it was in the middle of our last tour in the summer, Corey and Matt came to us and they’re like so you guys want those dates? As far as the experience goes, I’m trying to think of something bad to talk about. [laughs] The band is incredible with us, the crew is incredible. This show, this very show in Toronto, I broke the strap buckle of my guitar and Calvin, their guitar tech in no time ran and fixed my guitar, in the middle of the song and he’s not even my guitar tech, they are incredible. And the other bands, Protest the Hero and The Sword are great bands, great guys, we’ve been hanging out and drinking together. I don’t know what to say, I’m really sad that we’re leaving today but I guess that’s it. I mean I hope in the future we tour more.

What does Cellador have planned for the rest of 2006 and the beginning of 2007?
Bill: We are talking about a US tour with another power metal band, I’d rather not say the name right now because it’s not confirmed. That would probably be around December, January, something like that. After that there is some talk about Japan and even Europe with Trivium, but none of this is confirmed. What we want to do, we were just talking about it, we’re going to get home, spend five or six days doing nothing and after that, we’re going to start rehearsing again the new songs because we already have new songs we’ve never played as a band.

Any final thoughts?
Bill: If you’re reading this interview and you never heard of our music I’m sure that now you’re curious. If you’re not, it’s cool! Go get our album that came out on June 27th via Metalblade Records, I am sure you will not be disappointed, regardless of the style you listen to.  [ END ]
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