Where’s the fucking hard-core these days? Can’t anyone capture that feeling, you know the one where you’re at wits‘ end and all you can do to stay close to sane is go agro, break shit, punch your friend and smile a black-tooth grin at the end of it all?
Somebody help us!
Thank the Gods for THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN. Progpunk-grindcoremathmetal madness comes to a head with their highly anticipated second full-length album Miss Machine (they have two EP’s as well) on Relapse Records July 20th. Amidst a slew of comparable bands like The Locust and The Blood Brothers, the DEP reign supreme when it comes to ballzout musicianship and inciting beautifully cathartic riots.
WAV caught up with lead singer Greg Puciato on the verge of Miss Machine’s release, marking his first complete record with the band, helping to cement DEPs legacy as pioneers in a burgeoning hard-core scene.
Describe the band’s growth musically and personally from the last record, 2002’s Irony is a Dead Scene featuring Mike Patton, to Miss Machine. (Editor’s note: If you don’t know who Mike Patton is don’t bother reading this interview or this mag for that matter - thanks)
It’s been five years since the last full length and there is really no excuse for that (laughs). It’s pretty much due to the fact that the Irony EP really boosted our profile and consequently we had to tour more than we thought we would, and you don’t get much downtime when you are touring, it’s only an hour here and there, and an hour isn’t much time to write anything good.
You need at least two or three hours of writing pure trash before anything awesome starts to happen. In terms of growth? That’s another reason we take our time. We all feel that it’s necessary to inhale enough to make exhaling worthwhile you know? If you don’t take your time to explore new influences all your records will sound the same, and while that may work wonders for some bands, we really aren’t interested in wasting our time putting out the same sounding album over and over.
What do you say to people who write off your music simply because they can’t understand any lyrics, or all they hear is a bunch of noise and banshee screams?
Who are you guys compared to most often?
We get compared to that movie E.T. because our drummer (Chris Pennie) resembles the guy who played E.T.
Describe your songwriting process with regard to structuring out the myriad of fast, intricate riffs and odd timings?
Actually we do have a few songs on the new album that are in reasonable timings! Honestly, we don’t set out to purposely write difficult or technically intricate songs. We all just happen to be fucking geniuses, therefore the stuff we write reflects our masterful command of the universe.
I saw you in March in Austin and by the second song the drum set was broken and the stage lights were dangling, how does anything survive? (Editor’s Note: those lights were on the ceiling people – no joke)
It doesn’t. We just continue to be broke and poor because all our money gets used to pay for broken equipment and knocked out teeth and so forth.
What comes first, the music or the lyrics, and what are your songs about?
Generally speaking the music is written and pretty structurally complete, and then I start writing phrasing and lyrics, but I do have a big bag of lyrics ready to go that I can pick from if I need to. Usually I just write and have no idea what I’m writing about, then as I’m writing I realize what’s coming out of me and where it’s coming from. It’s pretty good, like letting your subconscious look into a mirror.
How much of your time is dedicated to your hard-core electroni-punk side project Error, featuring Atticus Ross (programmer for Nine Inch Nails) and Brett Gurewitz (Bad Religion)?
Error is something that me and Atticus would love to keep doing. Both of our schedules are so busy though, mine with touring and his with getting Trent Reznor’s coffee, that Error just happens whenever it can. We would love to get a full length out and possibly even play shows one day, but it really all depends on scheduling. If our album does well and Trent doesn’t invest in a coffee maker it could be a while.
With so many band member changes, who has what role? Who’s “in charge” of what? How long has the current lineup been intact?
This current lineup has been struggling to stay intact for about three years now. Ben (Weinman, guitar) and Chris write most of the music, I write the lyrics and phrasings, and Brian (Benoit, guitar) and Liam (Wilson, bass) take what Ben and Chris write and add the lettuce, tomato and mayo. We keep each other in check by any means necessary, including full force right hooks to the face, dirty sanchez type maneuvers, and forming
secret alliances behind one another’s backs.
So Reagan died, did anyone of you cry, cheer, or just change the damn channel? How much
of a difference does his death as opposed to Ray Charles’ recent passing affect musicians like your selves?
Reagan really wasn’t alive. Don’t believe that hype. Just because zombies walk and talk and shit doesn’t mean they’re actually alive. I can’t believe you were fooled. And as for Ray Charles, the only thing that changes for him is that now he can’t hear anything either.
Howz the new tour bus working out? Is your concentrated flatulence any more tolerable given the advent of more square footage to pollute?
No. We upped the output to match the extra space.
How do your overseas crowds compare to those stateside?
They’re all pretty similar, but some places have more ridiculous accents and languages than others. Since earlier you inferred that you can’t understand what the hell we’re saying anyway, what with all the screaming, then it doesn’t really matter what language you speak does it? I think that if you get our vibe you get it, regardless of where you’re from. But then again, David Hasselhoff sells millions of albums in some of those countries, which shows that those sneaky bastard foreigners can’t be trusted at all.
At the end of the day what do you want people to remember about The Dillinger Escape Plan?
Remember the good times man. Hey...you remember that one time when we went to your grandmother’s house and she let us play video games until like 3am? Those were great times. The best times man...the best.
(This was originally published in WAV Magazine, which gave birth to Kotori Magazine, in the Summer of 2004. Click here for a PDF of the full print magazine, which also includes interviews with Ozomatli, Michael Franti, Shepard Fairey, the Mars Volta's Ikey Owens, Congressman Henry Waxman, and much more.)