High on Fire Interview
Matt Pike, Jeff Matz, Des Kensel (High on Fire) with Monty Wiradilaga and Brian Kracyla
Manchester, TN – Bonnaroo
MT: We are sitting here back stage at Bonnaroo with High on Fire. What’s going on guys?
M: Not a whole lot, just got done playing, just checking out the fest’. I am Matt Pike. I sing and play guitar in High On Fire.
J: Jeff Matz, I play bass.
D: I’m Des Kenzel, I play drums.
MT: That was one hell of a set guys. That was just brutal, back to back metal sets on the same stage. What were the promoters asking for, total destruction or what?!
M: It seemed like a big jam band thing before that and then Dillinger, then us, then Shadows Fall. That’s kinda brutal, someone booked it kinda cool, definitely surprising. The energy comes up a little bit.
D: Yeah, I thought it was cool that it was the “metal stage” for today. Going on after Dillinger, not an easy thing to do. We thought we played pretty good and then we were like ‘Yeah, good luck Shadows Fall.’ (laughs) But I’m sure they’re gonna hold their own.
M: They were playing good. It definitely lights a fire when you after go on after them. And all of us have been touring buddies for a while and shit. It’s kinda funny to have to go on after each other. All the metal bands nowadays are really super tight and really super good and you have to play after your buddy live or something. You’re like, ‘Whoa, step it up a bit!’
D: It definitely keeps us in check as musicians. We’re like, ‘Man, we gotta go play after that?! You fuckers.’
J: We’ve been doing our homework, that’s for sure.
MT: I interviewed Dillinger Escape Plan earlier and I said that it was basically, ‘Wake the fuck up Bonnaroo! It’s the last day. Here’s some metal ya.’
D: It’s your last chance!
MT: So what did you guys think about the crowd? Did you expect anything? Did you expect just hippies or what did you expect a mix of?
D: We weren’t really sure what to expect…
M: I was kinda of surprised at it! Cuz I expected a bunch of hackey-sackers looking at us all weird and shit. Like, “Hey, man, you must be the devil!”
D: But I think something like this, 4 days, even though it’s the last day and we were figuring that some of the people might be tired, everybody still wants to let loose.
J: That was a good enthusiastic response from the crowd.
MT: There were a couple of moments during your set that I had to laugh a little bit because, for one, the girl standing right in front of me hit you with her bra!
J: No, it was her underwear.
M: It was her underwear and…
D: It was a pair of panties and it had skid marks on it! We all saw it!
MT: It did not! It had skid marks?!
D: She probably been wearing whose panties for like 4 days in the tent man!
M: Don’t say it out loud but I saved them for my tour manager.
D: Oh yeah, we’re gonna have fun with those later on, stashing them in someone’s pants or their jacket pocket or something! (all laugh)
MT: I thought that stuff was just reserved for guys like Frank Sinatra.
D: Vince Neal or something… Nah, the panties Vince Neal got, they didn’t have skid marks.
J: Are fans are for real!
M: I only got one pair, that dude got hundreds.
D: The panties Vince Neal got thrown up on stage had front butt skid marks.
M: Damn bro, why you dissin on Vince?!
D: No, I’m not hating! You want front butt or back butt?
MT: (to Matt) Could you possibly the first metal pimp?
D: The first metal pimp! Man, come on, don’t pump his ego! As if we didn’t already have a road case for his ego.
MT: But I saw him. I saw you looking over there, working your magic. I saw you giving her the eye.
M: Well, you’ve got to give them the eye, especially if they throw you their soiled panties.
J: Give them the eye among other things…
M: It could even be the stink eye.
D: She gave you the brown eye!
MT: Give her the shocker after your set.
D: I actually got hit in the head with something during the set. I saw a few lemons get tossed up on stage and then some piece of plastic something hit me in the head.
M: Ha, lemons are awesome, dude.
D: Lemons mean you rock!!
M: Well maybe I’m not fucking Jerry Garcia. Oh well.
J: Bitter pills to swallow.
MT: There was something refreshing about your set. I haven’t seen too much metal with a smile. You had a smile on your face for the whole set. Maybe I’ve seen it with the lead singer of like Dragonforce..
M: I’ve done it for the last thirteen years because it’s totally ridiculous. It’s the funniest thing that I’ve ever done in my life. Just playing and doing metal and trying to take yourself too serious, you can’t help it after awhile and you have to laugh. If you have any sort of comedic value or if you knew anything about our band, we laugh a lot. We take ourselves very serious when we play but when you take yourself too serious with your fans and they know that you have personality, you can’t help but to smile or laugh. It’s for everyone. We have a rapport with our crowd and it’s like; yes, we’re goofballs and we play very seriously and very somber sometimes’ but it’s all about emotion and it’s all about a rollercoaster that we all go through. High On Fire is basically about life. Every lyric, everything we have is about us being alive and us having some rapport with our fans. If you can’t smile, you can’t cry, or you take yourself too serious, you have corpus paint on. And I’m with a bunch of goofy ass dudes that are all fucking hilarious. That’s all we do is laugh all day. Then we’re supposed to get all serious about playing?
MT: And you drink Pennsylvania beer, well done by the way. Congratulations on the Yuenglings.
M: It’s not bad shit.
MT: You guys have a new album coming out. Let’s talk about it.
D: Well, we’re still in the writing process. We’re hoping it’s gonna come out this year. Just typical High On Fire fashion we’ve had some setbacks…
M: It’s not that it’s not fuckin good. We have a lot of everything. We had a fallback, my drummer had a little bit of surgery. We…
D: “Your” drummer?!
M: Our guitars haven’t been in tune lately. So, we’ve been recording on a…
MT: Part-time basis?
M: We all kinda suck. Eventually we’ll get around to it. Too many bong hits, too many beers.
D: Hopefully our label wont here that last comment. Sorry guys, too many bong hits.
M: That was a fucking joke.
MT: For the past couple of years, metal has gone through a transformation from a point where it was just straight shred, see how fast you play, to a more technical style. I guess in your old band you played a little faster, faster riffs, now you have got more, I don’t want to say regimented, but more calculated riffs.
D: I feel personally that now “metal” nowadays is a big mix; whether it’s old school thrash or punk rock or hardcore. Long haired dudes and guys with cropped hair can get along.
M: It’s a weird meld because the progressive kind of met the style of punk rock a little bit, the nitty gritty and the total rush style, like Getty Lee and that kind of stuff. It’s kind of like we all crossed over, we’ve evolved. Every band that we’ve been on tour with has kinda been like that. Everybody plays perfectly or has some kind of study behind them and is really kind of better than our forefathers. But there’s still something you get from our forefathers because it’s a different thing when you’re sitting there in a studio recording and when you’re on an open stage and you know how that’s going to transfer to people sitting there watching you. Everybody’s trying to find this feel about it. It has to do with feel and it also has to do with being technical. It’s being zen about how you play. Lots of bands are picking up on the fact that there has to be a little rough about it and it has to be a little more choppy, the chops have to be a little better.
J: And the groove of course has to be there. Its very groove oriented too.
M: The forefathers have handed all of this down. It’s a lot of study of Prague records and classic rock records and AC/DC and Circle Jerks and Black Flag.
D: Yeah, I’m sure a lot of these metal bands nowadays had Shout At The Devil but they also had Black Flag Damaged or the Circle Jerks Golden Shower of Hits. Mix it all together.
MT: So you guys have a big punk background as well?
D: Oh yeah, totally.
MT: Like who?
D: Like I said Black Flag, Circle Jerks…
J: Poison Idea, the Germs…
D: Agnostic Front, Cro-Mags, Nuerosis…
M: Christ On Parade…
M: Bad Brains!
J: Oh yeah.
D: Bad Brains for sure.
MT: You putting horns in your music then?
D: Oh yeah, we’re gonna have a little reggae breakdown!
M: I don’t know if we’re that crazy about it but…
D: I don’t know if we’re the crack smoking Rasta type.
M: I haven’t smoked enough crack to add trombones and trumpets. I’m just kidding, dude.
MT: Last thing. Do you guys have anything to say to your fans? There were a lot out there representing today, tearing it up.
M: I’d like to say thank you. We’ll continue to keep doing what we’re doing and, fuck, we love you all very much.
D: Yeah, thanks for keeping us out here. Just be patient, the next record will come out and we’ll be back out touring soon.
J: It’ll be worth the wait.
M: We will not let you down. It’s in the works, man. We’re just taking time to do it right, that’s all.
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.
KNOTFEST: Peformance Times Released For First-Ever Two-Date Festival On Friday, August 17 In Council Bluffs, Iowa And Saturday, August 18 In Somerset, WI
Leading up to the first-ever KNOTFEST powered by Rockstar Energy Drink®–an extraordinary two-day metal and hard rock festival–organizers have released set times today at www.knotfest.com (see times below). KNOTFEST headliners SLIPKNOT as well as DEFTONES, LAMB OF GOD, MACHINE HEAD, SERJ TANKIAN, CANNIBAL CORPSE, THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, THE URGE, PRONG, GOJIRA and more will perform live in the heart of America on Friday, August 17 in Council Bluffs, IA at Mid America Motorplex and Saturday, August 18 in Somerset, WI/Minneapolis, MN at Somerset Amphitheater.
August 17, 2012 – Council Bluffs, Iowa (Mid-America Motor Complex)
Doors: 2:00 PM
Serj Tankian: 5:25PM-6:15PM
Lamb of God 8:25PM-9:25PM
Machine Head: 6:20PM-7:15PM
The Urge: 4:40PM-5:20PM
August 18, 2012 – Minneapolis, MN (Somerset Amphitheater)
Doors: 1:30 PM
Serj Tankian: 6:10PM-7:00PM
Dillinger Escape Plan: 4:30PM-5:10PM
Lamb of God: 9:15PM-10:15PM
Machine Head: 7:05PM-8:05PM
Cannibal Corpse: 5:15PM-6:05PM
Prong : 3:45PM-4:25PM
For fans that can’t attend the festival this year, SLIPKNOT has partnered with TODOCAST and Event View Live to broadcast “SLIPKNOT Live at Knotfest” on demand starting Saturday, August 18. To reserve and purchase, visit: http://www.EventViewLive.com/. Fans worldwide can Pause Rewind and Watch the show–live as it happens, AND for a full 30 days after the event. Day-of-show footage includes a behind the scenes tour of the festival grounds, pre-show interviews with KNOTFEST artists and Mistress Juliya, the stunning high definition main stage performance of SLIPKNOT as well as exclusive post-show interviews with the band.
Step into KNOTFEST whose festival grounds will feature a one-of-a-kind apocalyptic underworld where firebreathers, nightmarish creatures on stilts and wild amusement- park ride, while fire, percussive light, and stunning visuals set the stage for an intoxicating and unforgettably sinister concert experience.
KNOTFEST 2012 dates:
DATE CITY VENUE
Fri 8/17 Council Bluffs, IA Mid America Motorplex
Sat 8/18 Somerset, WI/Minneapolis, MN Somerset Amphitheater
Purchase tickets: http://www.ticketmaster.com/KNOTFEST-tickets/artist/1741056.
VIP package options: http://vipnation.com/programs/knotfest-2012/
August 17: Hotel accommodations: http://knotfest.com/aug-17
August 18: Camping options: http://www.tempotickets.com/knotfestcamping