Upon the announcement of their break up and final tour, we here at Damnation Magazine felt it necessary to reach out to The Dillinger Escape Plan one last time for an interview. While it wasn’t able to go down in person, their final show here in St. Louis is coming up tomorrow (October 20th) and we are glad to be able to post it here for you all just in time for the show. We are grateful to have gotten responses from guitarist Ben Weinman and vocalist Greg Puciato. Find out what these fine gentlemen had to say about the upcoming album, their crazy antics on tour, and their favorite horror movie(s) below!
1. DEP is known for their over the top, high energy, chaotic performances. (I.e. Breathing fire, running across the crowd, or hanging from the ceiling). How does one prepare for a performance like yours?
Ben Weinman: You really can’t. Our shows are so unpredictable. All you can do is accept that there will be some things you can control, but many that you can not. We have learned to adapt in the moment.
Greg Puciato: For me the energy is always there, but I mean I guess stay in shape off tour, stay hydrated, have good reflexes. There’s a lot of things that can get in the way of good onstage energy flow; it’s more about just learning what those personal obstacles are for you and making sure to do your best to prevent encountering them. Your gear working, your voice being there when you call on it, your monitor mix being good. Knowing that the PA sounds good. Just finding your own personal sweet spot. But overall, I just feel like we’re fortunate to be doing what we were meant to do, so it all comes pretty naturally.
2. Tell me about your most memorable performance.
I’m still hoping to have it. We have played thousands of shows. Everyone has its own story and charm. One, in particular, I can remember was when we opened for the Misfits in Disney World, and they broke up on stage in front of the audience. Pretty nuts.
I wanna say probably when I was in a band at 15, and we played in some kid’s backyard, and the cops came, which was a total success for me at the time. That was a good precursor to what my life would become.
3. 20 years together is quite the feat for any band. What kind of struggles has the band had throughout the years?
Probably many of the same difficulties most bands have. Aside from the usual ego clashes of the titans, that all strong minded individuals have, we definitely have had our share of misfortune. Mostly in the form of physical injury…
Without going into specifics, or the obvious injuries and member changes we’ve been forced to adjust to, there is a lot of individual growth that happens in your twenties and thirties. Trying to have that individual growth while joined at the hip with other people is very difficult. When people ask what I feel the most proud of, I think just getting through a lot of that is what makes me the proudest. Having navigated rocky waters with other people, and trusting that the end result would be worth it.
4. Within just a few months you announced a new album and an indefinite hiatus/break up. Did you know going into recording that this would be the last album?
Pretty much. For most of it anyway.
We knew maybe two thirds of the way through the music, and before any vocals or lyrics were written.
5. What was the recording process like for Dissociation? How was this different/similar to past releases?
It was very scattered. We recorded it in many different studios with a bunch of different people. We have never made an album that way before. It was not easy. But, I think it produced something original. It doesn’t sound like anything else we have ever put out.
It was significantly different logistically. Usually we at least track in the same studio with the same producer, but this time we were in four separate studios and four separate producers/engineers worked on it; and that’s not including mastering. It isn’t something you would necessarily plan to do, but it gave the record a sonic fingerprint, which I feel is important.
6. With each album release you guys always seem to top previous albums. After hearing the first couple songs on Dissociation, it sounds like you’ve done it again. What can fans expect from the rest of the album?
Everyone has a different perspective and everyone will get something different from it. We are the type of band that express ourselves in a way that, to some, is completely unrelatable. Some relate to it right away. Even if they don’t know why. We can’t really predict how people will process what we do, so we have no idea what they should expect. It’s not for us to say. We do our thing like we always have.
There’s an uncredited Nas guest verse.
7. “Symptom of Terminal Illness” seems unlike most DEP songs I’ve heard, and yet it still has that DEP feel. What can you tell me about the meaning of the song.
I can’t speak on the lyrics. I didn’t write them.
Again without going too much into things because it was very autobiographical, it deals with panic disorder and addresses specific circumstances in my life. But, I won’t really go any further than that. A lot of songs on this record for me are more like letters to people than songs, or me trying to release myself from something I’m dealing with by way of giving it a form.
8. A name like Dissociation can be interpreted as having a deeper meaning. How did the band land on this album title?
Greg came up with that album title a while ago. Interestingly enough, it was before the decision to disband. In general, a lot of the fuel which has kept the Dillinger creative candle burning, has been related to codependency. Although the title was probably originally more related to that, it now has even more meaning.
I had that title about halfway through 2013. It wasn’t conceived to reference the breakup, but it ended up being a convenient thematic tie in. I use double meanings a lot lyrically, and always have, and this is no different. It originally started out as the psychological term, and then eventually it also dealt with physical loss and separation.
9. What other projects or endeavors might you be working on?
We all have other projects. I think the band is more prolific than ever. I have Giraffe Tongue Orchestra and a few other creative things going on. Liam has a band called John Frum coming out on Relapse records in the near future. Greg has been pretty active with his band The Black Queen, and Billy is working on a number of unreleased projects that I’m sure will start to surface in early 2017.
Ben has Giraffe Tongue Orchestra, and I’m thinking about making an omelette.
10. Throughout the month of October, we here at Damnation partake in the 31 days of terror, one horror movie each night. What are some of your favorite horror movies?
Well my favorite has been the Presidential Debates. That movie, Keeping up with the Kardashians, is pretty frightening as well.
I like the classics. Alien, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Nosferatu. I like a lot of the more arthouse newer ones too. The same ones everyone else has heaped praise on. Babadook, It Follows in particular was incredibly well done, a lesser known movie called Spring was really good. I like Trick or Treat just for the Halloween vibe. I loved House of the Devil, which was a fairly recent 80’s throwback movie. I really love all of the Twilight Zone episodes, so much vibe, I’ve watched them all probably ten times each. There’s one in particular, An “Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge”, that really gets me.
11. Marvel, DC Comics or other?
Marvel for me!
The Dillinger Escape Plan’s new album Dissociation is out in stores now via Party Smasher Inc. Records. Run out and get it and be sure to catch the band on their final tour. Look below for a date nearest you.