We have a new interview with Dan of the ohio based Death Metal band Ton who Reformed a few moths back.If you remember them defintly get ready for some new music soon.
keep it brutal
Interview with Dan Gates guitarist for Ton Done by Patrick
1.Metal hails Dan how are thing s going with you these days? Please introduce yourself to the readers.
My name is Dan Gates and I play guitar in TON and also Fully Consumed. Everything is going great! Glad to have TON back together and Fully Consumed is releasing a full length CD Soon.
2.You all started Ton back in 1993 when did you get the idea to form Ton?How did you all come up with the name for the band? Who were some of the bands biggest influences?
Jeff Shepler TON bass player and I had been jamming together for probably a couple of years. We played without a drummer for a while and then started playing with a drummer for a little while. It was nothing real serious but we did start to write some songs and we knew that we wanted to form a more serious band. Eventually we hooked up with Kevin Kraft TON drummer. Kevin and I had known each other for quite a while but had never played together. One day Kevin called me and asked if I wanted to get together. Jeff and I jumped on the opportunity and things started to come together. We added guitar player Paul Bennett who Jeff and I had played with before and we started writing, recording and playing shows.
The name TON came about because we just couldnt come up with a cool band name but all of our friends kept telling us how heavy the music was. We thought TON sounded heavy.
We didnt set out to be a death metal band. When we started we were listening to alot of thrash. I was very into 80's thrash when I was in high school. I loved early Metallica and when I heard Slayer for the first time it forever changed my idea of heavy music what I listened to and what I eventually played. I was also into Testament, D.R.I, Nuclear Assault, Death Angel, Dark Angel, Sepultura, Sacred Reich I could go on all day. If it was heavy fast and angry I liked it. Shortly after we started TON we discovered death metal. Once we started listening to death metal we wanted to step up our playing and become heavier. Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse, Fleshgrind, Dying Fetus, Internal Bleeding were amazing to us and we wanted to play like them.
3.Your demos Point Of View and Blind Follower were two of the best demo's to come out in the ninetyshow long did it take to write and record these demo's?
I'm not sure how long they took to write but the music was written and they were released probably between 94 and 98. Both demos were released separately and eventually together on CD by Pathos productions.
4.your debut cd "Plague" was originally released by United Gutteral how did you all come to work with this label? What was the response from the fans and the press that heard your debut cd?
I traded TON demos with Rich Lipscomb from Fleshgrind and had seen Fleshgrind live a couple of times. Thats how I got to know him. When Rich started United Guttural he contacted me and was interested in releasing Plague for us. We were really excited to work with him because we all loved Fleshgrind and Rich had big plans for his label. Rich is a very cool guy and we talked on the phone during this time period many times. I felt like we established a friendship and I always liked him alot.
The response was great. We got alot of positive reviews. There were also alot of people that liked the Blind Follower stuff better. Our writing style had changed and we were trying to achieve a more brutal sound. Some people thought we achieved that and others preferred the older stuff.
5.What were/are some of the subjects you all write about?
I dont write the lyrics Jeff does but I would say he tries to write about real things. Things that have happened in his life or things he reads about or hears about in the media. We dont really write about gore or fantasy stuff. Gone from the Blind Follower release is about Jeffs wifes grandfather being murdered by Some scumbag that was robbing him. 13-13-89 is about a guy that wrote us from prison. He said he was in prison for executing a guy that molested his young niece. Brutal topics but real life stuff.
6.Ton recently reformed in 2014 why did you guys decide to reform after so many years? How would you say the newer songs are different then the older ones?
Kevin and I have been talking about the possibility of reforming the band for a long time. There were many years that I was convinced it would never happen. Kevin and I have been playing together in various bands pretty much non stop since the breakup of TON. Jeff formed a band called Fully Consumed and thats has been his primary focus musically. About a year and a half ago I joined Fully Consumed with Jeff. Kevin, Jeff and I also were playing together in a band called National Collapse. After the re-release of our Blind Follower/Point of View CD on Fresh Blood Management we started to talk about the possibility of bringing TON back. With the response we got from people about the release and people asking us if we were going to write new music we decided to do it. I was really surprised the amount of support we got cosidering we had been inactive for about 13 years.
I would say the new songs are a mix of Blind Follower and Plague. We want to keep the groove, mosh, slam parts but we are going to challenge ouselves with some fast and more complex riffs too though. We are real excited about the new stuff. I think whether its a groove riff or a fast riff it will all be intense but easy for the listener to pick up on.
7.I know you are working on new songs to go on the new cd do you all plan to work with a label for the new cd or self-release it?
We have had a couple of people express interest in releasing it for us. We have not had a specific offer and have not committed to anyone yet. We would love to put it out on a reputable label. But at the end of the day if we have to do it ourselves we will. These songs will be made available one way or another.
8.In your opinion what is the best and worst thing about the metal underground today? And what does the term Metal Underground mean to you?
The internet. Its the best thing because its very easy to get your music out to the world very quickly. You can connect with friends and fans very easily. Its also the worst thing because its so easy to to just slap something together and post it up. Its also easy for people to hide behind their computers and talk shit about bands or people. Part of me misses the old days trading tapes through the mail. Even being an adult I was excited to go to the mailbox after work and see what showed up that day. I was like a kid at Christmas. But the internet does make things alot easier. I spent a shitload of money at the post office in the 90's and early 2000's.
To me the underground is about people supporting the metal scene. Everyone has their own taste and not everyone likes all styles of metal. But at the end of the day its about supporting metal. I dont like every band I see or hear but if it appears to me they are good musicians or seem genuine in what they do then I have to respect that.
9.I remember back in the the mid to late 90"s Ohio had a great death,grind scene. what was your opinion of that time period in Ohio's scene?
It was a great time back then. We were young and we were determined to play some heavy ass death metal. There were alot of great bands in the scene and they were determined to do the same thing. I am most familiar with the bands from northeast Ohio because those were the bands we were playing with. But there were great bands from all over the state. All those bands together made a name for Ohio death metal and the Ohio metal scene got some recognition because of that.
10.What is Ohio's scene like today?Who are some of your all-time favorite Ohio bands?Are their any new bands you think the readers should check out soon?
Ohio's metal scene is very much alive. There are some very good bands. I have been playing out with Fully Consumed for a little over a year now and i have seen some really good Ohio bands.
Great Ohio bands from the past and some are still active: Drogheda, Blood Coven, Decay, Solidification, Regurgitation, Necrotic Disgorgement
Not necessarily new but from Ohio: Fully Consumed, Dissevered, Entity Of Extinction, Merciless Reign, Foul Spirits, Limbsplitter, Innoculation, Forged in Gore.
11.When did you first become interested in playing the guitars?Are you self taught or did you take lessons when first learning?
When I was about 17 a couple of my friends had guitars. They would let me try to play and they would show me some simple riffs. From the first time I hit the strings on an electric guitar I knew I had to have one. I am self taught. I learned by using tablature to learn Metallica and Slayer riffs. After I started to play with Jeff Shepler my playing started to get alot better. He had been playing different instruments as a kid and had played with other people before I met him. I hadn't really played with anyone else before I met him. We played a few cover tunes but started writing our own stuff very quickly. His musical abilities challenged me and my lack of music understanding challenged him. Some of my riffs were a little unorthodox because I had no music background at all.
13.Who are some of your influences/favorite guitarists? Do you play any other instruments?
I am influenced by metal. I can listen to other forms of music but I usually get bored pretty quickly and put some metal back on. Once I discovered death metal in the early 90's I was influenced by Suffocation, Death, Obituary, Disincarnate and many others. Bands like that were a big influence because of the great guitar playing.
I really dont play any other instruments. I did record bass on a demo I did with a band that Kevin and I were in called National Collapse. I did what I had to do to get the recording done nothing fancy.
14.Well Dan we have come to the end of the interview thank you for taking the time to fill this out.Do you have anything you would like to add before we finish?
Thank you for the interview and the support. You and I go way back and you have always supported TON. Thank you. Look out for a new release probably next year. We are writing new songs and are very excited to be doing it again. We guarantee some brutal but catchy tunes. We will be playing live this year also. Keep your eyes and ears open for TON.