Hey, how are you doing?
Pretty good but it’s cold and shit here in New Jersey.
Oh, yeah I’ve been hearing all about that *laughs* how’s that going?
It sucks, there’s nothing good about it, the only good thing is that yesterday was so cold that if you went out the back for one second your face just felt like it was going to fall off and today you could go outside for like ten seconds so it actually felt warm.
So the latest album, ‘One Of Us Is The Killer’, what did you hope to achieve with it?
We have no agenda ever, we’re the worst planned band in the world, we plan nothing. We don’t know anything…when we’re going to have records out, what the record is going to be about, we don’t even know what it’s going to sound like. You just start making things, you know? We have so much time when we are on the road, pushing the old music and playing the old music, and kind of being unproductive with your day because you're travelling as opposed to being around your equipment and recording stuff. You're around the guys in the band 24/7, you're arguing with each other, yelling at each other, farting on each other and then by the time you get home after two years of that, you're just filled with inspiration and filled with creative energy, you're like 'I need to just be on the other side of things and make music and not going out and performing music, I want to make something, I want to create'. There’s always a period after touring on a record where it's very obvious that a new record is inside of us and we have to start getting it out and we just start going. It could be anything from just tapping on the microphone on your phone to just hitting a piano or grabbing a guitar. It just starts with one little noise and then the whole recording it, and you have no idea how it happened, you just have to go day by day. We never thought that we would last this long, we never thought we would even last a year.
How do you think your fans have received it?
Well I don’t know, I have heard good things about that part of the world [Australia] and that it’s been doing pretty well. Somebody called me the other day and I did some kind of a live chat I think for the Soundwave Festival or something, and someone said something about how we had some kind of charting and I said I don’t even know anything about that, I don’t even know if one person has our record in Australia *laughs* I just don’t know. I think people in Australia and that part of the world and New Zealand seem to be much more open to experimental music, it just seems to be the case, I’m pretty good friends with some of the guys from that band ‘Mr Bungle’ and they ended up moving to Australia because they enjoyed playing there so much with their music which is pretty out there and pretty weird. It was just 'wow' that they moved there and made a living teaching music just off of their success and just in that region, so it’s great to be able to tour over there.
I also hear you guys have your own label, Party Smasher? Tell me, how did this come about, and what was the reason behind it?
Well we were pretty much tied into a traditional record deal with a record label for the majority of our career ,so almost like ten years. We signed that deal in like 1997 or something like that and things have changed so much since then that it was time for us to find a new record label. It was time for us to see what’s the next move and we wanted to make sure we didn’t tie ourselves into something that wasn’t adaptable to the new world and so we decided to do ‘Party Smasher’ as a way to do it our way and not really tied to any specific label culture or formula and say 'ok let’s just keep evolving and changing how we want depending on what makes the most sense'.
So it enables you to push boundaries and things like that?
It enables us to say like 'ok let’s work with different partners in different parts of the world' you know, who gets it the most and who understands what we want to do. Let's have different label names in different parts of the world, and let’s put things out ourselves under our own umbrella and no matter what we do under our 'Party Smasher' umbrella we will still be doing it the Dillinger way. The Dillinger way has always been that there’s no right way or wrong way there’s only your own way, the Dillinger way is that we have completely changed any rules or boundaries of how you're suppose to do things, we try to do things the best way for us.
Speaking of albums and record labels do you have any new ones in the works?
Not specifically but yeah we’re writing music, we are all writing music whether it’s in side projects or just writing for the Dillinger stuff and maybe we’ll put out or have like a limited addition tour release.
After all of the studios you would have worked in... do you have a preference?
I actually just love working in my own studio like a home project studio, which is very simple and comfortable. I love being able to wake up and walk down stairs and work and just wear my underwear *laughs*. I don’t have a lot of brain cells left so even the decision of what I have to wear can ruin my day so just being able to get out of bed in my underwear and go play music is great.
Do you tend to pick the producer that you work with?
Well, we are very hands on with the production and I’ve done a lot of the pre-production and demos and a lot of that stuff ends up on our record. With the albums with normally work simultaneously alongside a producer. With the last record I had a recording rig set up in the room next door and we just went back and forth, but we do use the same producer Steven Evetts, we have used him on every single record that we have done. He’s pretty much one of my best friends, I’ve known him longer than I have known anybody in the band right now. I think that he’s been involved in the band longer than anybody that’s in the band now. I mean he really just knows us very well.
Is there anyone that you have always wanted to collaborate with?
Yeah, tonnes of people. Being a child of the 90’s Rick Ruben as a producer I always loved his stuff. I’ve always loved the diversity whether it’s a Slayer record or Beastie Boys or Johnny Cash or whatever, I mean the guy just has a really interesting ear and I would love to work with him just to hear stories *laughs*. Just to hear about the first Chili Peppers record.
From that question, bringing it back to basics, your sound does switch from rather heavy to a more jazzy instrumental sound in certain songs. When you first started the band did you sit down and discuss how you wanted this to be or did it just evolve like that? This is obviously a rather unique direction.
Ah, no well we never discussed it, all of the guys in the band were coming from different places and then we had this time where there were certain bands that just bound us together, this overlap that we all liked. At the time our drummer and bass player were more into like technical stuff and I was more into punk and hardcore and blues, kind of more feeling stuff. Then there were a couple of fusion bands that we all loved like ‘King Crimson’ and then there were some death metal bands that we all grew up liking like the band ‘Death’ or something like that. So there were a couple of bands that we all liked and then we all had our own taste as well that we brought into the mix and when it came together our only goal was just to create the CD that wasn’t there, just create the music that we couldn’t find out there. We didn’t have any intention of becoming rockstars or making a living doing this at all, we had pretty much accepted that it’s impossible to make a living being a band, it’s like a lottery. We just came up with music that we thought people would like and we just did our thing.
Well I listened to a lot of guitar based music when I was younger, when I first started playing guitar and stuff live Van Halen or even blues stuff like Eric Clapton or Nirvana. By the time of Dillinger I wasn’t really listening to guitar music anymore I was actually listening to a lot of electronic stuff, I was really actually heavily influenced by electronic music and more complex stuff.
It also seems as though you guys have had a few line up changes over the years which is rather normal for bands of course. How do you go about choosing a replacement? What’s the process like and how does it effect the band?
Well first of all we make them stand naked out in the snow and throw lunch meat at them *laughs*. If they can withstand that humiliation then they’re in, they don’t actually have to play an instrument at all and anyone can learn how to play an instrument. That’s pretty much the process *laughs*.
I do find that slightly hard to believe *laughs*.
I mean honestly we have been touring so long and we’ve met so many people along the way that a lot of the people that have been in this band are just friends that we have met along the way so we really mesh with them personality wise better than we do as musicians. Every single person had their own flavor and flair of things, they were all pretty much fans of Dillinger so they knew what they were getting themselves into at the same time but as far as our drummers go, Billy our latest drummer he’s been in the band about five years already, we found him just through a couple of YouTube videos that he’d made. I saw some potential in him and ended up playing with him a few times and he just had the right attitude more than even skill level. I just knew that he would step up to the plate and he did.
Interview by Shannen Murphy