Greg Puciato (THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN) recently spoke to STM’s Casper about KILLER BE KILLED, the new band comprised of Puciato, Max Cavalera (SOULFLY, ex-SEPULTURA), Troy Sanders (MASTODON) and Dave Elitch (ex-THE MARS VOLTA).
Hello, How you doing man?
Mate, it’s a privilege to speak with you and thank you very much for your time it’s very much appreciated
Thank you man, thank you for the opportunity
Absolutely thrilled that you performing at the upcoming Soundwave but first if I may I would like to talk to you about the album briefly.
Congratulations on the new album it is an utterly brilliant achievement, I wish to ask you first about the cover art if I may can you describe the meaning of the cover image?
Well you know I had the idea of doing the cover as a kind of Homage to a lot of cross punk that I listen to like DISCHARGE, they were pretty much the inspiration. I said to the guy who made the art, I want the record to look like DISCHARGE. They always had these stark black and white covers and I thought their albums had so much fucking vibe. But the three people on the front of it was an obvious schizophrenic image, and I think the thing that has the most sonic fingerprint is that Troy, Max and myself sing on almost every song but it’s still the same band. I think it still feels like you’re listening to a band, it doesn’t feel like three random singers all over each other. So the image of three people becoming one explains who we are I guess.
That makes perfect sense the album is terrific but, more importantly, the collaboration between all four of you is even more important what led to the formation of the group?
I was hanging out with Max backstage at a concert in Los Angeles and we were talking about collaborating and I ended up doing a guest vocal on one of their records and when we did that we were also talking about the bands that we were into and our influences that we had and then we started talking about metal and the idea of doing a full album of collaboration we realised that no one does it, it’s not something anyone does and they do it in other forms of music, they do it in jazz, they do it in hip-hop, why doesn’t anyone do it in metal? it would be so interesting. Like why doesn’t the guy from this band and the guy from that band just get together and do a new record, even if it was just one album, it would be so fucking cool for people to hear collaborating. I feel like metal often becomes very territorial and egotistical and everyone’s trying to hang on to whatever character they have created so while we were talking about that we thought fuck, why don’t we just write an album together and that was a little easier said than done and then you realize that that actually takes a lot of effort. First of all, we don’t live in the same state, we’re both in other bands so from 2009 till about 2011 it was just Max and I and anytime we had time off he would either come to LA or I went to Phoenix. We wrote 20 or 25 songs together then Dillinger was on tour with MASTODON and Troy had heard about Max and I and he said whatever you guys are doing you gotta have a bass player. I hadn’t even thought of that far ahead yet and he said “Dude I’m your guy I would love to do it” I mean I have known try for 12 years I didn’t even think to ask him because MASTODON is incredibly big, MASTODON has become f****** huge, so I didn’t even think he would have the time but once he came on board the whole thing started to feel a lot different when we got in the room the songs started to suddenly feel really exciting and the idea of all of our voices being on each song became something we decided early on instead of it being just the Troy song and here is the Max song… To me, it would be a lot more exciting for the listener to kind of trade off parts within the same song and made us excited & when I listen to the record I can hear how excited we were being in the room.
Absolutely and I think you pulled it off brilliantly and I’m trying not to be too much of a fanboy
Thanks, man, I appreciate it
In your very busy lives, how important was it to get you all together in the same room so you could actually record
We did not send one file, a lot of people may think that because we lived in different places and we were always on a tour that we would be emailing ideas back and forth. We never sent a single file, every single thing that was written was written in the same room, every single thing that was recorded, we were always all in the same room for every single step of the recording process. We were changing vocal parts all the time Max would be recording a guitar part and I would jump in with vocals that weren’t planned and then Max would jump back in and say “Well if you’re going to do that I’m going to do this” and all of a sudden you’ve got a verse and then you go a chorus and then you sit back and go holy shit, this is exciting. Instead of sitting in a room alone and having to write an entire album to and just mulling over every second of every part of the song its kind of inspiring to jump in with two other people and your feed off one another
And you can see that comes across really well on the video clip of you all playing. I.E.D and dusk into darkness put together back-to-back in my point of view is just a masterstroke of production it highlights your true diversity but also your capabilities was there a particular reason for the tracks being placed the way they are on the album?
Yeah, I’m a real stickler for track listing. I really don’t believe you should make an album unless you’re making an album if that makes sense. I mean there’s no real reason to make albums anymore if they are just going to be a collection of songs. If you’re going to make an album then I feel that it should have a flow from start to finish. There aren’t many people anymore who will listen to an album from start to finish, but for the people that do I want those people to know that listening to the album from start to finish is going to be different than just plucking songs out at random and that’s why the songs connect to one another. I wanted to make sure that there wasn’t a lot of space in between the songs like there’s no space in between the first three songs on the record because I feel like having silence on a record makes it feel more like of a collection of songs. I feel like the flow on an album is super important and every song that was placed on the record specifically because of how it felt in conjunction with the whole album.
Indeed and right down to the last track it works so beautifully you initially want to be laid back about the production of this magnificent album in some reviews. in a recent review, I said so many people it will be the most important collaboration in contemporary metal history do you think it’s opening the door for others to follow your lead?
I hope so, part of the reason for doing this was because as I said, as fans we want to see other people do that. I think it’s a huge waste, there are a lot of bands who don’t collaborate while they’re in their prime because of their ego or a chip on their shoulder or because of someone got placed higher on a bill somewhere than they did back in the day or something it’s like who cares! You people, are in their prime and you should work together, it’s better for you, it’s better for the fans and metal as a genre is dying compared to a lot of other genres in music. I think a lot of that is just due to the fact that people aren’t stepping up out of the comfort zones and forcing themselves to collaborate with one another and even if it doesn’t work and the end result doesn’t actually work and it isn’t as good as other bands call may be the album to get well received. It’s still worth it not just for the listener but it’s worth it for you as an artist to grow and take yourself out of your comfort zone.
Absolutely and mirroring that sentiment it is very exciting for us to have you coming along to Soundwave 2015 but I have to ask you has Max picked particular performer he wants to throw up on this year?
Oh my god [laughing] I remember when he first told me that story, it’s the fucking best story ever! I just bought his book actually, I haven’t had a chance to read it yet but I picked it up a couple of days ago and I’m excited to read it but I remember him telling me a few years ago and he told me “you know I puked on Eddie Vedder once” and I was like “what?!” and then he told me the whole story about how it all happened it was like “yeah it was telling me how much for a big fan he was of Sepultura and I got really drunk and puked all over him” it was fucking amazing!! Maybe he’ll puke on Fall Out Boy, maybe they’ll be the ones right…. [laughing]
[laughing] Maybe, we will see some of that action
If you don’t mind me asking I have to ask one very very personal selfish question but I have to know, your entry into the Dillinger escape plan is often referred to as almost rollin-esque with his entry into Black Flag it must seem so long ago now but do you remember how it felt?
Man, it’s crazy, it’s very tough for me to remember, everything has moved so quickly. With all the personal stuff that we go through in our lives, all the band changes & all the bad that you go through, I find it hard to remember now man. Like, I can remember it like looking at a video or looking at a picture and I can remember certain shows and set environments but it’s really tough to remember the actual feeling individually. I can remember the feeling as a band, we didn’t think we were going to be around for very long so we really couldn’t conceive of being a career. We were all fucking completely broke, completely destitute. I declared bankruptcy within a year of being with the band. I had my car repossessed, we were all just completely broke and all we cared about was playing we were so explosive and we had so much fire as a band I’m a wanted to rewrite the rules and bring back like a punk rock energy into the metal saying we thought it was lacking at the time and kind of shake things up a little bit. I don’t remember it much individually as I do collectively if that makes sense.
It makes perfect sense
I’m trying not to run over time, but it’s such a thrill to speak with you albeit over the phone
No, don’t worry man.
Do you have a favorite track that you like playing off the album something you looking forward to playing live at Soundwave?
That’s a tough question because we have not played any shows yet. The other day for the first time I listened to the whole album and I was trying to think about what order we would play them live and the really, that the second track on the album “Face Down” is going to be really energetic live, for some reason I feel like that it is going to be great. And I think we are going to write some new stuff to play and that’s what I’m excited about writing a new song and throwing that in there somewhere or just doing weird shit to the songs. Making parts longer or slowing down songs to make them longer I think this is really cool shit we could do to trip them out.
Well, that makes it even more exciting Greg, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to me today and I can’t wait to see you guys live at Soundwave.
Awesome dude, we are very much looking forward to it. We can’t wait to do it
Thanks again for your time and congratulations again on the achievement of your album
Thanks again man, see you in February!
Looking forward to it