I've said it before, and I will say it again.
What makes a good rock show? Danger.
And nothing could be more dangerous that New Jersey's Dillinger Escape Plan. There is no way to give this band the justice they deserve by attempting to explain the fury that's unleashed at one of their shows. It surrounds you, grabs you up and drowns you in pure boisterous catastrophe. From the second they took the stage to the last droning chord, every member of this band sprang and vaulted across the stage like a speed freak on fire.
With the release of their latest EP Irony Is A Dead Scene, featuring Mike Patton on vocals, Dillinger Escape Plan have taken the sonic chaos of sound to a new level.
We caught up with Ben Weinman (guitar) and Greg Puciato (vocals) before taking the stage in New Orleans.
Dillinger Escape Plan
LAB: How did you hook up with Mike Patton?
Greg Puciato: I guess when Dillinger toured with Mr. Bungle, before I was in the band, in '99 on the California tour. Someone had given Patton a bunch of CDs, and one of them was Dillinger's "Under the Running Board." He apparently loved it, and called up Relapse and asked us to come out on tour with Bungle.
Since then, Ben has kept in contact with Mike, and vice versa, just a mutual respect thing, you know? When the band split with Dimitri, there were 3 or 4 songs that were slated to be on the next full length that were more or less done. The band was basically in a position of, well, it'll be a while till we find a new singer, and then at least another year to get things going and get another full length completely done. So, we decided why not just put out something now, since it may be, who knows, four years between Calculating Infinity and the next full length.
So, we called up Mike. We have a clause in our Relapse contract that says we can still put out collaborations, or split EPs on other labels. It was pretty much put in there so the band could put out EPs or collaborations with friends bands on small labels and whatnot. Mike was pretty adamant about not doing it on Relapse, and we did not want to do it on Ipecac. We did not want it to be viewed as one of his million side projects.
Initially Ipecac had actually called us about releasing an EP of instrumental music, and Mike was like "well, if you need anyone to sing on it, let me know." We were pretty excited to say the least, heh.
LAB: Why did you choose to cover "Come To Daddy" on the new EP?
Ben Weinman: Well, first off, we were all pretty big Aphex Twin fans. We always tried to do what they do in the electronic world, which is push the limits, and for us it was something slightly new, at least for our world. That guy is always coming up with something new, and just when you think he's going to do one thing, he comes back and does something completely different. It's the same with Mike Patton. I think one thing that you can pretty much expect, maybe the only thing, from Aphex Twin, Mike Patton, and soon us, is the unexpected.
Basically, we've always wanted to do something electronic like that. There have always been bands that have sort of incorporated electronics into their music, whether it's drum loops or samples or whatever. But there aren't a lot of bands that are influenced by electronic music. What we were trying to do is recreate something that was completely electronic, with full instrumentation.
LAB: How would you describe your sound? I've seen the term "mathematical" thrown in a lot in the press.
BW: I've always been down on that; it kind of makes me laugh in a way. I mean "calculus-core" and all that. I couldn't spend five minutes in a calculus class, without, you know, shooting my brains out or something, heh.
For us, it's all about music. I mean, you can break up almost anything in the world into mathematical terms. For me, it's no more math than a leaf is. I assume people say mathematical because of all of the details. Someone once said, I don't remember who, that "god is in the details." And that's the way I view it. If you want to become something, bigger than fuckin' big, you have to consider all the details. That's what we try to do, to become an entity where there is so much going on that you have to pay attention to all the details. It's viewing every millisecond of music as important as the other.
LAB: Is there a new full length in the works?
BW: Yeah, we're working on a full record right now, which we're pretty excited about. I have a computer out with me, and we've been writing on the road, recording vocals and whatnot. We're not taking any hiatus because we really want to support this EP. I think it's strong and we're all proud of it. The label really put a lot of work into it, so it's our job to go out and tour and promote it. That being said, we're excited to be moving on and getting the next Dillinger full length together.
LAB: I had heard something about a DVD release?
BW: Yeah, that's in the works. We have tons and tons of video footage as far back as when the band started. We've been touring for like six years now, and kids have sent us in lots of video footage as well. We figured we'd put out a DVD of footage before Greg was in the band, as kind of a nod goodbye to one phase of Dillinger before we move into the next.
LAB: How does it feel watching videos of yourself playing live?
BW: It really doesn't come across for me, it's kind of hard to capture our live show on film in my opinion. Another thing is you realize how conditioned you are, and how much of it is just instinct, you know, from playing multiple show after show.
LAB: As far as Relapse goes, do you feel it's now time to move on from the label?
BW: We're not sure what's going on with our next album yet. As far as how the industry has treated us so far... look, the bottom line is, people who are not on major labels and are on smaller ones tend to be down on smaller labels, saying they don't support you, etc. People who are on major labels tend to be down on other major labels, saying they rip you off or don't provide any money, and that they would rather be on an independent label.
The truth is ALL record labels suck. The trick is to get the most you can get out of your situation to continue what you're doing and survive. Whoever can do that better, be it a small independent or large major label, that's all that matters. People don't understand that a record label is a record label is a record label. They have the money you don't to put the record out, press it, etc. They don't give a fuck about the art or music most of the time.
The industry is tough, and the bottom line is everyone gets their cut before the band, the lawyers, managers, record people. The industry is about making money, and you have to try and see if you can get it to work in you favor and still have things on your terms as much as possible.
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