Monday, September 10, 2012
Exclusive Interview With Arkansas' DYING!
Genre: Psychedelic Crust
Country: USA (Arkansas)
If you could, describe the process in making this album. What was the toughest part of that process?
Beau - This album was recorded in our home studio over many months. We recorded on weekends and in our free time. We weren't worried so much about perfection as we were conveying the idea of the title and opening track "Born" being a dream sequence that drifts in and out of the album. That piece of music clashes with a very raw almost demo quality record.
I noticed bits of punk, post metal, doom, sludge and even screams that remind me faintly of black metal. What were your influences on this album and for this band in general?
Andy- For about 8 years Beau, Jonny, and myself have been playing music together, and regardless of what band we were in, it could have always been described as punk. I think that no matter what, if we're getting together and writing music it's going to have those punk rock influences. As far as the doom and sludge influences go, all we had to do was go to one local Deadbird show and that sealed the deal.
What does the name Dying mean, in reference to the band? Who came up with it?
Beau - My original idea was "The Dying and the Dead" which I lifted from an Amebix song but we figured the shorter the better and the Dying name seemed to suit the material Andy was writing.
Before I discuss the album in general, I want to discuss the album cover. First off, it's one of the most interesting covers I've seen in the metal genre. Could you go into detail and explain exactly what this cover means, and what the four words that adorn the corners of the cover mean? I'm profoundly curious and have been ever since first seeing the cover on bandcamp.
Beau - The cover was a concept that was created by Noir33 long before he heard the band. Something that he had laying around. He came to a show and we mentioned we were making an album and did not have a cover design. He sent us the layout and we were blown away. It seemed to fit.
Andy-Although our friend and creator of the album Noir33, had the album design previous to hearing the band, the art fit so well with what I was writing lyrically at the time we had to use it. The occult symbols, images of bees, an hour glass, and a mountainous background, all seem to be channeling a portal or doorway into another world. This all worked so well with the concept we were trying to convey.
The lyrics of this disc actually revolve around what I would consider to be an "abstract" concept of Stephen King's classic, (and a must for all fans of the fiction literary genre) The Dark Tower. I was a little surprised by the nature of this disc, especially only being able to hear "Born" on the bandcamp and not knowing what this album could've possibly been about. Being a Dark Tower geek, a smile definitely saw it's way across my face. But what exactly are you trying to convey with this album, as I sense that there are some messages hidden within, especially closer to the end of the disc?
Andy- I'm so happy to hear that you are as much of a Dark Tower geek as we are. Honestly, I didn't know how many people would even get the references. You don't happen to know how I could get ahold of 'ol Steve and sent him a copy of the album, do ya? Hahaha. As far as what we're trying to convey with this album, it's pretty much out in the open. I like to describe the atmosphere as kind of like, a blissful, yet anger fueled psychedelic sludge trip through the Gunslingers eyes, and just like in real life, all trips come to an end.
Beau - We started rehearsing the first couple of parts of the record without words. When Andy started bringing lyrics to practice he said "I think this is all going to be about Roland.." and we said "Cool".. ha! Then the music tied to the story, and the story to the riffs, and back and forth.
How has bandcamp been treating you? Are you turning in a decent profit for the music that you've all created?
Beau - Everyone who has downloaded the album has done so for free. We have sold hard copies at shows but the Bandcamp is really just a way for people to conveniently obtain our music.
When I received my disc, I was told to "excuse the blood, FYI it's fake." How did all this come about, and what was the fake blood being used for?
Beau - Ha! We played a show in Fort Smith with a one-man death/grind project called "BLACKTAPE". He had an elaborate stage set up with fake skeletons, cobwebs, fog, and was throwing blood-soaked stuffed animals into the audience. When we left he let us keep a couple as souveniers and the blood found it's way to our CD stock. Completely worth it. I suppose the warning note was meant to be a) hilarious and b) informative; I wanted you to be sure you were in no danger of catching anything!
(Seriously guys, that was like the most bad ass metal note ever.)
Where are you guys planning to play, or where have you already played? Is this just going to be some local venues, or will you be touring other states as well?
[i]Beau - We've played a couple of shows in Fayetteville and one in Fort Smith this year. We will be at JR's Lightbulb Club in Fayetteville October 13th. No tour plans.
What do you guys do when you're not working on music? Are there any books, films or games you could recommend?
Beau - Watch more westerns, your fathers were right about them.
Andy- Remember the Face of Your Father.
According to some website, a solar flare could knock out the planet's electricity for an entire week or more - maybe even months. Apparently, this storm is supposed to occur in September. What would you guys do if something like this, or another kind of apocalyptic scenario occurred?
Beau - We got a couple of bbq grills and plenty of neighborhood pets, I'm sure we'll be fine. Haha, I'm kidding about the pets.
Andy- We'll be ready.
Finally, If you had a choice in deciding an apocalypse that would befall all of mankind, (but you had to choose at least something, no matter how ridiculous) what would you choose?
Beau - I believe man will be his own undoing. Far more likely than anything biblical happening on this planet. Not sure if I would choose any apocalypse but if "the big one" were to hit somewhere in the country I would be quite content crawling in a hole and drinking until it all blew over.
Andy- I don't know what apocalypse I would choose if I had to, but hopefully it'll turn out to be like The Road Warrior.
Thanks gentlemen, for making a very unique disc. I hope that future releases will be just as great, or even better.
Beau - Thanks for listening.
Andy- Thank you for your time and your praise sir. We have new material in the works, you will be one of the first it upon completion.
Dying - Born (Band Request 2012) - Most of you probably have no idea who Dying is. But that's because they're a local band from my home state. But before you decide to boo and gnash your teeth because I've reviewed and interviewed a local band, keep on reading and realize that these guys have something to offer.
First of all, the disc is based on Stephen King's The Dark Tower series. But this album focuses on The Gunslinger, Roland Deschain. The album starts out with a very tribal, almost pagan in atmosphere; tribal drumming session complete with some great effects. The guitars start up, very much in the style of Neurosis or Isis, and some wonderful post rock is then played with light drumming. I'm also hearing some saxophone and that works well with the material too.
The name of this first track by the way, is "Born 4:41" which is I'm guessing reflecting around "The Gunslinger Born" arc of The Dark Tower graphic novels.
But the second song is miles away from that, sounding a little raw and punky, but it contains a great amount of energy that you really can't achieve without a raw production. The sound is very dirty, with barbaric shouts and hollers in the background. As I said, it sounds reminiscent of punk rock. But in that same song, the mood slows and goes back into Neurosis style post metal or even sludge.
At times I wish I could hear a little more of the vocals in some portions, but the vocal approach of the singers definitely works. All three of the band members also do vocals, so that definitely makes things interesting. Sometimes the music takes a turn to black metal, and it's certainly a change. You can see that there are several styles of music on this album, but you just can't quite hear everything as much as you want to, and while the saxophone portions are good they're also a bit hard to hear.
I understand that these guys didn't have a lot of money, and some people might look at this and see it as too raw - but I don't see it that way, myself. I see it as an interesting mix of genres, and these musicians are certainly talented and know their stuff. They set out to make an interesting atmosphere around the Gunslinger, and they succeeded in doing that with a very gritty and ominous sense. This is meant to be one long album, and each and every song adds something new to the mix that Dying create.
This is the kind of thing that you hear and you say, "These guys have some serious potential. There is something certainly noteworthy to be said about this work." And it's certainly a work. It has it's highs and it's lows, but the sporadity and uniqueness of the work permeates well through any sounds of amateurity. If I were going to listen to it in the eyes of some hot-shot big time records exec, I would probably say that the material is "too loosely carried out."
But I'm not one of those people, and furthermore I like a bit of originality and atmosphere. These guys are damned good at that. I would really like to hear more atmospheres in the next album, because these guys really excel in that department. You really never know what you're going to hear on this one, and that's what makes it unique, original, different. That's what makes this art, not just music.
I've heard plenty of "music" that is just music. Turn on the radio, you'll hear that right now. But let me tell you something, there's more art to Lady Gaga's damned wardrobe than there is to her music, or to any of these other Illuminati "pop stars." And that's what makes these guys unique. They've got the sense of art that pop stars try to push in their outlandish images, but fail to get through in their music. Art and originality are dying breeds in the music scene, and it's good to see that these guys are still creating art, not just outlandish displays and ridiculous images.
Fans of post metal, doom, sludge, punk music, avant-garde, and experimental music that just sounds "different" will most certainly enjoy this disc. This is my second listen and I'm already remembering some of the great things on this disc that I heard the first time. That's how you can tell it's memorable.
Though the disc is short, the atmospheres are long and exciting. Again, even though things might not congeal perfectly; this is certainly one disc that you might pass by, and you shouldn't do that - because these guys have a lot to offer. By the way, the last part of this disc kills with doom/ sludge. So there's another reason for you to check this one out.
So thanks to Andy on the vocals, guitars, synth, noise and drums, Jonny on the bass and vocals, and Beau on the drums, noise (and voice too) for making some great art in reference to an awesome book series.
I've also got to thank the guests, Thor on vocals (I'm not sure if he's the actual god of thunder, but he does deliver) Hank on the sax and violin, Justin on the trumpet, and secondary skinsman, Austin. This was basically one hell of a collaboration artwork that worked out perfectly.
Remember the faces of your fathers, as they would listen to this album. So should you, as well.
Aim true, Gunslingers!
Highlights: Born, Parts 1-6 (5 Tracks, 37:00)