The Tracks and Greg from Dillinger speak about camaraderie, DIY or Die and more at Bonnaroo.
DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN INTERVIEW WITH MOE TRAIN’S TRACKS
Greg Puciato, Monty Wiradilaga, Brian Kracyla
Manchester, TN – Bonnaroo 2009
You never know what’s going to happen during a Moe Train’s Tracks interview, as Greg Puciato, frontman of Dillinger Escape Plan, has his own interview with a dazed and confused girl, we speak about the camaraderie of the scene, how “DIY or Die” fuels his band, their new lineup, and next year’s upcoming album. Enjoy.
M: What’s going on man?
G: Nothing, just hanging out, just walking around checking some stuff out.
Random girl: (to Greg) Can you point me in the direction of the Rendezvous Tent?
G: Umm. (Laughter) What is your name?
RG: I’m Caroline.
G: Caroline, I’m Greg from the Dillinger Escape Plan, and we are doing an interview right now.
G: Um, and I have no idea where I am right now either.
C: I’m supposed to have a rendezvous at the Rendezvous Tent.
G: That what you do at the Rendezvous Tent, right, but you don’t know how to get there, which poses a problem. I don’t know either. (to random passerby) Do you know how to get to the Rendezvous Tent?
RP: I don’t know how to get there.
G: What good is trying to rendezvous with someone if you can’t get to the Rendezvous Tent?! (all laughing) Caroline, good luck trying to get there.
C: Thank you.
G: Wow! How many drugs did that girl take?
M: Welcome to Bonnaroo.
G: Seriously, that was amazing. She was higher than a kite.
M: (Laughter) I think that’s the general consensus with most people here right now.
G: Most people I look at here, if they don’t have sunglasses on, you can just look in their eye and be like, “You’re on some other thing right now in some other place.”
M: Exactly. Earlier today, when you guys came on, it was like, “Wake the fuck up Bonnaroo!”
G: Dude, I can’t believe how siked people were. I thought for sure, in general at this fest’ because it has a reputation for being more of a hippy peace-love type of thing, that as soon as we come out and start screaming at people and doing cool shit, people are going to turn around and just walk the other way, but people were siked, at one in the afternoon on the last day! It was honestly, we were talking about it after the show, the best big show that we’ve ever played in the United States.
G: Yeah. We felt like we played well. People seemed stoked on us.
M: Yeah, the reception was definitely great.
G: This type of vibe, it just doesn’t exist that often in the U.S., this type of festival vibe. It felt very European. In the United States, when you think of a festival, you think of Ozzfest or Warped Tour, and it’s like the same thing all day long. But this is cool because yesterday was Nine Inch Nails and today, if you wanted to, you can see the Dillinger Escape Plan and then Erika Badu.
M: She’s still on right now.
G: I really wanted to see her…
M: I’ll cut it short then.
G: It’s okay. It’s cool because it seems like, for a very long time here, people have been very into the mind-set of like, “I’m only listen to metal” or “I only listen to hip-hop”. Now, it’s cool to see so many people turn out for such an eclectic thing.
M: Exactly. It’s just always weird to see the different the different scenes clashing.
G: No, it’s cool, it’s very cool.
M: In watching your set it became evident how camaraderie really works its way into your music. You don’t see often where you can throw your mic into the crowd, let them sing, and when you call for it, they throw it right back to you.
G: I think something about our music, we’ve been around for ten years, I think there’s some aspect to it, besides the obvious insane energy and aggression of it, there’s a vibe of everyone knowing that it’s not the easiest thing in the world to listen to and it’s not the easiest thing in the world to get. For as many people who are siked on it there’s a lot of people that just probably hate it. I think that makes the people that are into to it have this really us-against-the-world type of vibe. We’ve always tried to be really hands-on with our fans and really communicative and never to-cool-for-school and always talk to them and do cool stuff with them. If they right to us online we try to write back to every person. I think, over the years, it’s created now a point where we have this really cool synchronous type vibe with our fans. It’s neat man, it’s really nice.
M: It’s also basically crossed the line from camaraderie to trust.
G: Yeah, that kid could have stole the mic and ran away with it, but he threw it back. That’s the other thing, I think when you have confidence and you give someone some responsibility and your cool to them, they feel obligated to be cool back. If that kid had tried to run away with the mic I probably would have jumped on him and killed him. But it feels good and it’s interesting, I have a lot of people say that our shows, even though they are so aggressive and so violent, it feels like the overall vibe is still positive in a way. So, yeah, that’s really cool.
M: Absolutely. Also, not just that, but you doing stage diving and your guitarist stage diving with his guitar! Now that’s trust.
G: Yeah. To me, we just try to take the vibe of playing in a basement to twenty people where we came from and try to get that to translate to bigger places and the only way to do that is to be as hands-on and as physically in people’s faces as possible and force them to wake up a little bit. It sad to see so many people have such a rock star complex that the only time that they engage their fans is if they do some kind of scheduled meet-and-greet or a signing or something. You know, hang out for a little bit and shake some people’s hands or jump into the crowd or do something. I do know man, you (the rock star) are no better than anyone else. This is going to be over for us one day and who knows what we’re going to be doing. So to try to act like you’re cooler than school is silly.
M: Hippies versus hardcore kids…
G: It’s two sides to the same coin because the whole hippy vibe and the punk rock thing, which is what hardcore came out of, are both very socially aware movements. The
re both very communal, we’re all in this together versus some type of exterior force type of vibe, and one just took a much more aggressive approach than the other. It’s kinda like one is Malcolm X and one is Martin Luther King Jr. They want the same thing but one is like, “I’m gonna smoke you out” and the other is like, “I’m gonna kick you in the fucking face!” But we want the same thing, so I think that’s why it translates. It’s not like we’re just knuckleheads trying to incite the crowd to beat each other up. I’d like to think it’s more intelligent than that.
M: What do you think about the term “DIY or die” and how’s that relate to your band?
G: Well, for us, that’s pretty much exactly how we try to do everything. We don’t have a manager, we self-manage ourselves. We are very hands-on, there’s no merch’, there’s no poster, there’s nothing about our band visually, sonically, how we are represented in press, anything, that we are not the seed of and have the final say in. As much as it drives us nuts and we spend every waking moment of our lives working on this, I know that there is absolutely nothing out representing us that we didn’t see from its inception to its finality. I think that it’s another thing that our fans appreciate. If they get a t-shirt from us, they aren’t getting it from some graphic designer that works for the record company that we were just like, “Yeah, whatever, that sounds cool, how big is the check we’re gonna get?” That thing has to look like something that I would wear, that means something to me, that’s looks cool. I think, especially in the climate now where the record industry is just collapsing completely, that the people that can do the most DIY are the only ones that are going to stay afloat.
M: That’s basically how the trend in music is going these days.
G: It has to be. It has to go back to that. If you’re forced to be in a position financially to cut back every bit of slack you possibly can and to try to do as much by yourself as you possibly can, it’s gonna weed everybody out. The only people that are going to stay alive are the people who really give a shit and the people who care enough to put in the time to do everything themselves. The days of being a kid, and thinking that your rock star fantasy is going to come true and someone else is going to wipe your ass for you and do everything for you and you’re just gonna get a check at the end of the day, are completely over.
M: Hit the road and promote yourself.
G: Yeah man, go out and do the shows. Don’t suck live. Don’t write shitty music. Put out cool shit and you’ll last.
M: So what’s your favorite lyric, the one that means the most to you?
G: You know what, it’s probably a lyric that’s going to be on our upcoming record because, for me, lyrics are snap-shots of where you were in your life, and you don’t want to be there forever. So when we sing songs from our past records it’s like looking at a picture of myself in an auditory way. I’ll be singing a song, and I’ll remember writing that song, I was twenty-three, I was in my basement, this is exactly what I was talking about. I might not relate to it now. Hopefully, you’re in a different place, especially when you’re yelling and screaming and pissed, you know. You shouldn’t still be pissed six years later at the same thing. The trick is to find a kernel of that memory and hone in on it, you can still mean what you saying and you’re not just spitting out consonants and vowels. That’s for someone else to decide. I know that’s a shitty answer, but I don’t have a favorite one of my lyrics. I know they’re all pretty piss-poor, to be honest with you. (laughter) If you want to listen to lyrics, you should probably listen to Dylan or something.
M: So when’s the new album coming out?
G: February or January of 2010, which sounds like a long time but it’s realistically like 6 months away. We do three more weeks of touring and then we go home and start recording in late July, early August. January, February at the latest, we’ll get it out, and we’re siked man.
M: What can we look forward to in the new album?
G: Well, we got a new drummer, and that’s the biggest difference. Our new drummer is just on fire! He’s twenty-four and honestly the best drummer I’ve ever played with. He wants to crush everyone. He’s got this fire in him that he needs to prove to the world he’s the shit. That’s kinda cool because he’s pushing us, and we’re really hard on ourselves so to be pushed by someone who is brand new is a really good feeling. I can honestly say, after being in this band for a decade, that the stuff we’re writing now is the most inspired stuff we’ve ever written. It’s hard to know whether you’re still going to be able to do stuff without becoming a caricature or parody of yourself. The fact that we can still have something to say, ten years into it, with essentially the same style music, to me is nice, the fact that people still give a shit. I think everyone will like it. Anyone that likes us should be pleased with the new record.
M: Awesome. We look forward to it. Thanks a lot for being with us.
G: Definitely dude.