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Interview: The Dillinger Escape Plan

mit Liam Wilson vom 10. September 2013 via Mail
Was macht eine Band wirklich groß? Ist es permanentes Airplay auf den Radiosendern dieser Welt, oder doch eher die Fähigkeit, den schmalen Grat zwischen Kredibilität und Massentauglichkeit problemlos zu beschreiten? The Dillinger Escape Plan scheren sich da allerdings eher einen Dreck drum und machen das was sie seit Jahren am besten Können: Die Extreme der Musik, ohne Rücksicht auf Verluste, auszuloten. Gerne wird ihr Stil auch als Mathcore oder Chaoscore bezeichnet, aber nur um eine Schublade für etwas zu finden, das eigentlich keine benötigt.
Der Live-Eindruck des Kollektivs spannt sich von "mühsam und schockierend" bis hin zur "besten Live-Band der Welt". Dermaßen polarisierende Kritiken schüren natürlich das Verlangen nach einem Besuch eines solchen Gigs ungemein. Leider mussten The Dillinger Escape Plan die heurige Sommer-Tour durch Europa auf Grund von Ben Weinmans gebrochener Hand, canceln. Und so haben wir sie zum Interview geladen, um dem ein wenig genauer auf den Grund zu gehen. Denn angeblich hält die Truppe nicht viel von Ersatzmusikern und sagt daher Gigs grundsätzlich ab, bei denen nicht alle Mitglieder fit auf der Bühne stehen können.
Eine nicht uninteressante Überlegung, da solche Konzerte immer einen fahlen Beigeschmack haben: Der eingefleischte Fan, und vermutlich auch viele andere, vermissen meist schmerzlich das Original-Line-Up. Weiters berichten sie uns vom aktuellen Album "One Of Us Is The Killer", den Unterschieden zum Vorgänger "Option Paralysis", warum sie noch nicht aufs Wacken Open Air eingeladen wurden und auch von ihren Anfängen, als sogar Mike Patton auf "Irony Is A Dead Scene" als Gastsänger das Mikro übernahm.
Viel Spaß mit dem Interview!

The Interview:

Michael Voit: Thanks for taking time for this interview. Please can you introduce yourself to our readers and roughly describe your role in the band?
Liam Wilson: Hi, this is Liam! I play bass in the band and I'm a Capricorn.
Michael: How are you doing?
Liam: I never had it so good. I just returned from a Mushroom festival about 45 minutes from my house in Kennet Square, Pennsylvania, which is the world's mushroom growing capital. I got a bunch of prize winning varieties.
Michael: You canceled the European gigs this summer because your guitarist Ben Weinman broke his hand. Why didn't you have played shows with a replacement musician?
Liam: Ben is the original guy, and playing a whole tour without him wouldn't have been right. It wouldn't have looked, sounded or felt right with him up there. We wouldn't have been giving fans the REAL Dillinger Escape Plan … We've played as a four-piece before, they've played without me when I had to go to a funeral – one or two shows without someone, only if under duress and with his blessing is one thing, but none of us want to do a whole tour like that and specifically without him.
Michael: Generally, what can you tell us about the life on tour?
Liam: It's a strange way to see the world. There's a quote I like that is something like - "I don't get paid for the hour I'm on stage, I get paid for the 23 it takes me to get there" - which is so true in so many ways. At the end of the day about a dozen of us travel in a one bedroom rolling apartment …your co-workers, who are also your family, never leave, there's little privacy, and everything is contagious … and yet, I love it. When things are good, they're great, and I find it really rewarding. It's just not without it's sacrifices and self-awarenesses. Having a sense of humor helps.
Michael: A lot of people think, it's only the sex, drugs and rock n roll cliche. How is it really?
Liam: We've played literally thousands of shows, some of them are as stereotypical and maybe even a little beyond stereotypical, others illegal, scandalous, embarrassing, depressing, and repetitive. Most of them are what I consider to be normal, but that's really subjective. If you know, you know … if you don't, it's better that you continue to wonder.
Michael: What do you guys do after a show?
Liam: There's no post-show routine … we usually all end up cooling down in or around the same place, discussing the show, the crowd, the sound on stage, gear problems, good moments, near train-wrecks, injuries, and taking inventory on what broke and how to fix it tomorrow … Hanging out with friends in those cities, eating local foods, local beers … Trying to experience something memorable.
Michael: How do you personally prepare yourself for a tour?
Liam: By taking care of the stuff at home I can't do while I'm on tour, so I don't spend the time on tour worrying about it. I try to stay in physical shape with yoga and a healthy diet, mental shape with meditation and playing my instrument whenever I can.
Michael: Is there a difference for you between club gigs or festival shows?
Liam: I prefer the vibe of club gigs because I think the impact is more personal and piercing; smaller rooms mean more contents under pressure … less predictability. Festival shows are a little more homogenizing when every band has to play the same stage, usually outdoors, to more people who are further away from the stage. They both have their qualities, and I enjoy them both, but I think club shows are more memorable for me as a performer.
Michael: Does one have to be more entertainer nowadays when compared to twenty years ago? For example to get a lasting impression. What do you think?
Liam: I don't think it's any more relevant today than it ever was, at least not for me … I think it all depends on the artist and their intention. A lot of my biggest influences were from twenty years ago, so it's hard for me to be objective, I guess?
Michael: In my opinion, nowadays it is more difficult, to get a lasting impression on stage: We have Mariln Manson, Rammstein or Slipknot with their huge live shows. So what's the right recipe?
Liam: Being honest is the only good recipe. There are some bands, some performers who are more focused on those things, and if it works for them, who am I to judge … there are many ways to skin this cat. I like to think we leave a lasting impression, and there's no smoke and mirrors, no stunt doubles, no masks … but it is a performance, so?
Offizielles Video zu "One Of Us Is The Killer":
Michael: Have you ever played at Wacken Open Air?
Liam: No, but I would like to if it was something we could work out.
Michael: What 's the reason for that? What do you think?
Liam: Maybe because we aren't "Metal" enough?
Michael: Your musical style is often described as mathcore or chaoscore. Do you think it is important to put music in genres that way?
Liam: Important, not at all … but describing things is in our nature.
Michael: How would you call your musical style?
Liam: I don't think I've ever officially called it anything, so I don't want to start now. It's a lot of things. We sound like the Dillinger Escape Plan.
Michael: Your actual and fifth studio album is called "One of us is the killer". What can you tell us about the new album?
Liam: I think it's our most fully realized, best sounding and the most focused record we've ever done. This is the first time the band has recorded a record with the same studio line up twice, which is remarkable.
Michael: What's the difference to its forerunner "Option Paralysis?
Liam: That record was transitional in a lot of ways - having a 3rd new drummer. It was written more through active jamming, where as "One of us is the killer" was composed in pieces, each of us almost making a exquisite corpse out of it.
Michael: I see that "One of us is the killer" came also out on vinyl! Whats your personal opinion on vinyl, should it get more attention, or is it more like a relict, that no one needs anymore?
Liam: I think it sounds amazing, and I love the larger format artwork. I'm not a vinyl freak, but I'm glad it hasn't left. I think CD's should disappear.
Michael: Do you think, the collaboration with Mike Patton on "Irony is a dead scene" gave the group a publicity boost?
Liam: Of course, it would be impossible to dispute that.
Michael: The critics about your live shows are very polarizing. I've read reviews using words like "shocking and exhausting" but also, that you guys are the best live band in the world. What do you think about that?
Liam: I know we're not for everybody. But I think to the people who love us, we're a very empowering force in their lives. Dillinger shows are really cathartic, highly interactive, and unpredictable in an otherwise soft-padded world of conveyor belt driven saccharine crusted music snacks. I'm glad some people like it, but at the end of the day I do it for myself, and I think that's how it should be. Critics can hate, but from my experience, it's really hard to truly hate anything you never loved.
Michael: Do you think any of your songs is more relevant today, than in the time you wrote it?
Liam: I'm sometimes surprised what songs have had the staying power, what gets the most crowd reactions, and how different certain songs feel after recording them, and playing them live a few hundred times, with different drummers…The songs change a little all the time, they're a living thing.
Michael: What is the most difficult part of the songwriting process?
Liam: Every part of the songwriting process. I guess measuring twice and cutting once, making sure your part is formal and functional in equal parts, catchy and clever. Writing in service of the song and not your ego.
Michael: Is there a point where you might lose objectivity when looking at your own work?
Liam: Yes, but I don't really know where that line is. I try to be my own worst critic.
Michael: Have there been any changes in the production part since the first albums?
Liam: So many changes: different studios, better studios, more experience, better gear, more maturity, more time – and sometimes less time – more tricks, better performances. Too many variables to consider.
Michael: Could you explain how your musical style has developed over the years?
Liam: I don't want to try and explain it as if I was aware of what was happening while it was happening … this wasn't planned, so much as dreamt up and manifested slowly and carefully.
Michael: What do you think about all the Internet Piracy? Do you think it can be useful?
Liam: I'm sure it can be useful, and has been useful in some ways. I think you get more honest music, but you also get a lot more bullshit to sift through that's clogging up the creative pipeline - I see it as dangerous and unsustainable.
Michael: This year the metal genre lost a real hero, Jeff Hanneman of Slayer. Do you think it's okay, that they go on with the touring like nothing happens?
Liam: I'm not going to pass judgment. Let fans vote with their dollars if they do or don't like it.
Michael: If you could change one thing in music industry, what would it be?
Liam: That is more about industry than music.
Michael: Are you already working on new material?
Liam: There has been no new musical ideas shared between us that I'm aware of.
Michael: What are your plans for the future?
Liam: I guess keep doing more of what I already do, better and more graciously than I do it now … I've got a lot of other interests, ideas, projects brewing that may or may not ever see the light of day, but I enjoy working on them nonetheless.
Michael: That's it, thanks again for your time! Now it's up to you to leave some final greetings for the fans.
Liam: Thrash hard or the terrorists win.
Moderation: Michael Voit

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