Intervju med Dez i Devildriver!
Jag ringde up Dez i bandet, som befann sig ute på vägarna i New Mexico. Det blev ett kortare samtal som främst kom att handla om nya plattan "Beast", men även skivbranschens kollaps.
Hey Dez, how are you?
Dez: Hey Nick! I´m doing good, man!
How´s Santa Barbara?
Dez: I´m not in Santa Barbara bro, I´m on tour.
Oh, you are! Sorry!
Dez: Yeah, I´m in New Mexico and it´s the first day with no snow on the ground and I´m happy.
You´re kidding, you´ve had snow there?
Dez: No, we´ve had snow for the last month. We went up and did Canada, so…
Well, yeah, we just got hit by a blizzard today right here in Stockholm.
Dez: Yeah, it´s really nice to not have any snow on the ground.
The new album then? I guees since you´re all located in Santa Barbara and close to LA, how come you ended up in Texas for the recording of the album?
Dez: Well, we found the place out there, the Sonic Grange, and it´s a beautiful place and it´s on 3600 acres and in the middle of nowhere. They´ve got over probably 3 million dollars worth of just gear and they´ve got the top notch recording studio in the world. It´s actually THE top notch recording studio in the world. The way that his studio is built is just unbelievable and even the sound quality and there´s nothing to do out there. You can´t even get a cell phone reception, so you go out there and you make art. Once we found that place years ago, we keep returning because you can go out there and just be surrounded by nothing other than your art and it´s important to do that when you´re making a record.
Right! What did Mark Lewis bring to the record?
Dez: Mark Lewis brought a lot to the record, man. He found the tones, he took the time, he pushed everybody on the technical side and he pushed me on the vocal side. He really brought a lot to the table.
Could you have produced the album yourselves or is it essential to have a producer?
Dez: Well, in some cases it is, I think. I mean, you have five guys with five different ideas and it´s important to channel all those ideas to one person otherwise it could get very condiluted and all of a sudden it becomes somebody´s record, you know what I mean. If a band member produces it, it can be “Well I produced it!”, so I think the five of us with all our different ideas, it´s gotta go through a producer. You find that that guy brings a lot to the table and he brought a lot to the table when it came to the music. He took a lot of time guitar tones and stuff like that and he wasn´t afraid to speak up if something wasn´t right and you really need that. You need an outside influence I think. Those musicians that do produce their own records, I actually think they´re doing themselves a disfavor. I think the music could be better with an outside source telling you that it´s good or bad, you know what I mean. I think it´s essential to have a producer.
Andy Sneap then? Were you there when he was mixing it?
Dez: No! I was not there, but Andy was mixing from London and I´m in California and Andy likes to work alone anyways. He´s not a guy you gotta sit over. He knows exactly what he´s doing.
Alright. How´s John doing, because I read the other day that he was sick.
Dez: Yeah, he got sick for a show and we had to fly Kevin Talley out to do the Chicago show, but he looks like he´s feeling good now. I just saw him about five minutes ago. It looks like he´s gonna make the show tonight.
That´s good. Was there any defining moment or anything that led you into the more aggressive music, so to speak? Was there a major influence or a record…?
Dez: You mean, coming out of Coal Chamber into Devildriver?
Well, anything that led you into this kind of music. Anything that made you feel like this is home?
Dez: My influences have always been the same, man, from Coal Chamber up till now. I love Bauhaus, The Sisters of Mercy, Fields of the Nephilim… I love Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Dead Kennedys, GBH. I love Black Sabbath and fucking Judas Priest. I love fucking tons of fucking black metal bands and tons of death metal bands. I love tons of blues, Howlin´Wolf and Muddy Waters. I love music. My influences haven´t changed, just the musicians around me are able to do different styles. Let´s say for instance, in the beginning of Coal Chamber we were doing aggressive music that was aggressive for us, but I think this is aggressive for Devildriver. I think each band has its own aggressive tendencies, if you will.
True. Writing an album like this, are there any main song writers or does every single one bring something to the table?
Dez: Everybody writes parts and bring to the table and I´m the only one that writes lyrics. I write all the lyrics, so we work together. They get everything down on demos and they give it to me and I arrange it as much as I can and put vocals to it and then we go back and forth talking about it. We pretty much go into the studio with pre production done and I think that´s an important thing. We don´t go in and then spend three weeks with the producer in order to pre produce our music. So in that essence, yeah, everybody brings something to the table.
Were there any other titles floating around before you settled on “Beast”?
Dez: No, that was it! It´s a word that encompasses the music within the record and it´s a word that encompasses us as a touring machine. It´s also a slang word in California for cool, so everywhere I go it´s all I hear. Like “That movie was beast! That meal was beast!”. So “Beast” is all around me and it just seemed perfect. It´s one of the only times we had the title before we even had all of the full record.
Cool! Since the music industry is what it is today, as a band today, what are your thoughts on selling actual records these days? I mean, do you hope to sell a lot of records, where do you stand as a band?
Dez: I think anyone with a record deal right now should be happy that they´ve got somebody giving them money to make a record. I don´t think about… nobody out there, especially in the underground of blues, punk, metal, nobody out there is making money off record sales, so I don´t really think about it. Once they give me the money to make the record, I know they´re gonna make their money back plus some, otherwise they wouldn´t have taken the chance, because that´s all it is. It´s a bank loan and it´s a bank that trusts you. After they make their money back, I don´t care. I´m not caring about the record sales part of it anymore. It´s just dying daily. The number one record over here, that got the number one spot a month ago, only sold 40000 records. The lowest sales in history that got the number one record. Usually 40000 sales will get you like number 40 on the Billboard chart. It´s losing ground every day and it´s obvious to me that all the record companies are gonna disappear soon and that´s the way of the dodo.
Do you think you´ll end up creating your own label or whatever?
Dez: I don´t know! I don´t have a crystal ball. I´ve got tarot cards, if you want me to read them? (laughs) I haven´t been trying to figure any of that out. I´ve got my head down to the grindstone, I´m making music and touring and that´s where my head is at. Whatever the record industry is at in five years, I´ll be there! I´m not worried about it.
Ok. What´s going on in Santa Barbara?
Dez: I don´t live there anymore, man! None of us live in Santa Barbara anymore. It´s where we met and it´s where we came out of and eventually everybody moved elsewhere. It was a great place to come out of, because it was a very small town. It´s why we met. It´s a very small town and everybody knew each other and then Jeff moved to LA, I moved outside into the mountains to get more private and get away from people, so none of us live there anymore.
Alright! Well, I passed through Santa Barbara a few years back.
Dez: It´s a beautiful place! It´s amazing!
It is! Touring wise then? I guess you´re going through the States now, but what´s after that?
Dez: Well, we just did our full Canadian run first time ever and almost all the shows were sold out. We´re finishing a few shows in America right now. We go home tonight after the show. Ten days later we go to Australia with Iron Maiden and Slayer at Soundwave. Then we come home for two or three weeks and then we go out with a very special package. We´re main support for a very, very special band, but I can´t tell you right now because it hasn´t been announced. It´s nothing but touring until probably late 2014. I´m gonna grind the fucking wheels off this thing. The way it should be done!
Wow! When are you guys coming over here? Are there any plans for Sweden?
Dez: Oh yeah, definitely! Are you kidding? For sure! We just don´t know when, but Sweden, yeah we´re definitely coming back there.
Looking forward to it! Thank you so much Dez!
Dez: I appreciate it, man! I appreciate the support, man! Thank you very much!