Can you give a brief summary of your vocal history; how you started, who/what inspired you, and where you are now? I started doing metal vocals entirely by accident. I was at a music summer camp around 9th grade with some friends and I was just awful at what was my primary then, guitar. I wanted to start a band with my best friend at the time so they suggested I try doing vocals, clearly, it stuck. A couple of years after that, when I was 18, I was picked up by Vivisepulture as their vocalist. As a vocalist, I felt like I hadn’t really improved too much until recently when I started recording [Vivisepulture's full-length record] "Omen" in 2017. That summer, I started taking lessons with David and there are clear differences from my before and after takes while in the studio. He showed me how to warm up, how to get into a proper mindset, and how to keep my voice healthy. Now, we are beginning to work on expanding my range of techniques and working on creating sound in a way that I would have learned if I had studied vocal performance in school. Who would you consider to be your vocal idols now? I never really had “vocal idols”, more voices that can drag you into their music and their world, and just blow your mind. Some of those most seductive voices come from Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth), Rody Walker (Protest the Hero), Seth Siro Anton (Septicflesh), and Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad, Devin Townsend Project). I’ve always really enjoyed Mark Jansen’s intelligible growls in Epica, despite him not being the lead. Recently, some newer vocalists I’ve been getting into are Cammie Gilbert from Oceans of Slumber, Xenyor from Ne Obliviscaris (he gave me a short vocal talk when [Vivisepulture] opened for them in October), and Jake Dieffenbach’s most recent performance with Rivers of Nihil.
How long have you been a student at Extreme Vocal Institute? I took some lessons in the summer of 2017 when I first found out David was teaching. Once I finished school and started working, I immediately started taking lessons again in the fall of 2018. Those initial bout of lesson helped with the recording of "Omen".
Since working with David at Extreme Vocal Institute, how have you seen yourself grow as a vocalist and a performer? Since I never had any former vocal training before now, I feel many improvements have been made. I know how to keep my voice healthier, I don’t feel like a one-trick pony as an extreme vocalist, and now have more confidence in all of the sounds I make. Can you describe something that you’ve been working on at EVI? Right now, we are working on improving the directionality of my voice, making sure I am aware of where the sound is going so that I can project and control it better before it leaves my head.
The anniversary of Vivespulture’s record “Omen” is coming up, how has the band evolved in the last year? What are your plans moving forward? Putting out "Omen" was a great first step for us. We’ve already written some exciting new music since then. What we are focusing on is having conceptual contrasts between our most brutal bits against our most evil bits. Vocally, I want to have two distinct styles that can connect these sounds, but also are just as strong on their own.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring vocalists? Anything that you wish someone had said to you when you were starting? As I started vocals on a rather unexpected note, I hadn’t taken it seriously in the beginning. So my tips are:
Don’t eat junk before shows and rehearsal; your body is your voice
Own your own microphone
Water is the only beverage that will make you “sound better”
Be confident in your voice; it shows
You can follow Dan on Instagram @dan.wilson.vox - - - Interview conducted by Rilee Dubilo