Live Music Adelaide chatted to the king of horror rock about his upcoming album The Dixie Dead and his plans for 2013.
The songs from The Dixie Dead sound like a mixture of all your previous releases in terms of style, was that intentional?
I don’t think it was an intention, I think it just naturally happens that way. When it came time to write this record it wasn’t like I had too much music. I just started writing the music over the past year and a half and then I started putting all the songs together. There are songs that are reminiscent of my first record, and Skeletons, and I guess it’s just natural for me to keep trying to write heavier, darker music and that’s what it always comes back to for me. When I started writing the new songs, I recorded the demos, and I thought ‘wow, this is heavy’. To me, this is the heaviest music I’ve released as WEDNESDAY 13.
The track Curse The Living off the new album certainly sounds very heavy considering your previous releases. Is that true for the rest of the record as well?
Not necessarily. The record is heavy, but not quite like that song. I can say that this record is definitely diverse, every song is different. It’s different in that, it’s not like an ACDC record where you’re going to get the same kind of song every track, with this you’re going to get heavy songs, but heavy in a different way. To me Curse The Living is more like a stoner rock, kind of BLACK SABBATH kind of song, but there are heavier songs on the record. There’s one song that’s kind of like MINISTRY or METALLICA. The Dixie Dead is all over the place, and I think it’s influenced by what I listen to. These days I listen to everything, whereas years ago I’d only listen to one type of music. Now I listen to everything from country music to black metal, I listen to everything. That’s why I like this record, it comes off showing all of my musical sides.
You’ve had the same band for a while now, does that change how you write music, or do you do it all and then present it to the rest of the band later?
I still demo all the songs like I always have, I have a little recording system set up in my house. I’ll record a basic idea for a song, a verse and the chorus, and some guitar riffs, but if people who don’t know how I do demos hear it, they’ll says ‘I don’t know how you could get a song out of that!’. I’ve been playing with these guys for a long time now, they know how it works. I just need to get my ideas down on a recording. My guitar player ROMAN (SURMAN) is the kind of guy who can hear a riff I’ve written and go ‘oh well how about we add this to it’ and he can craft it and tweak it around. I’m still very much involved in it, but it’s awesome to know I have a band who can take what I have, and turn it up to 11, so to speak.
Having the same band for so long must be helpful when touring together as well, or are you sick of each other by now?
[Laughs] Oh yeah. This is the longest I’ve had a line-up consistently. It’s awesome because it actually feels like a band and we perform well as a band. It’s cool to watch from when we first started to now. We’re excited about what we do and we think we’re a good live band, we always try to step it up whenever we go out.
No, it was an idea that I came up with and I mentioned it to my manager. We started throwing it back and forth over a couple of days until we had an idea of what we wanted to do with it. There’s lots of bands doing these Kickstarter and Pledge Music fundraisers that are really cool, but we’d already recorded the album. Being an independent artist though, I don’t get tour support from a record label or anything like that so when I tour I have to put my own money up for it, things like that. So when we were trying to think up ways to do videos this time, or get more things for our stage, things like that, I thought ‘what should we do to get extra money, but at the same time could give back to the fans?’. The pre-sale was such a cool idea, as is everybody’s reaction to it so far. Now I’ve seen all of these limited edition things we’ve done, like the other day I signed 100 posters that we sold six months ago, and I’m looking at them thinking there’s some kid who ordered it and is going to show it off to other people who’ll say ‘I wish I had have got that’. It’s cool to see 100 t-shirts that we only did a limited run of, and I’m lucky to have a fan base where I can do things like that.
It seems like vinyl records have come back in vogue, is that something you’d consider for a future release?
Yeah, I put out a vinyl 7” a few years ago at one show we did, actually a Wednesday the 13th show, and those went pretty quick. I believe there’s going to be a Dixie Dead vinyl released in Europe that was talked about last week. I don’t know if it’ll be released in Australia because it’s on a different label.
I’m a big fan of vinyl, and my fans seem to like it. I’m a collectable artist. My fans want to get all the different things from me so I’m always looking at different outlet s and ways to release music and products, whether that is toys or vinyl or anything else.
You seem to tour pretty heavily off the back of every release and last year you went to Russia for the first time. Are you ever surprised by where the demands for your music come from?
Going to Russia for the first time I had no idea what to expect. I saw some fans on our Facebook page, because I’m really active with the social media, who were posting pictures and saying ‘WEDNESDAY 13 come to Russia’. We showed all that to our booking agent who showed it to a Russian promoter, and it was that easy. I wish it was that easy everywhere else. I always use that as an example to encourage other fans and tell kids that if it can work for Russia it can work for them. As far as me and touring, I want to play anywhere my fans want me to play, whether that is outer space, or wherever. I go where my fans are at, I love touring and going to new places. Fans are always asking ‘when are you coming to South America?’ and that’s something I’ve been talking about for years. Fingers crossed this will be the year I get there, but it’s really up to the fans. It does matter when fans make a demand for you.
There’s always a huge demand for you in Australia. In 2012 you not only performed at Soundwave Festival and several sidewaves, but you came back later in the year for a headline tour which was packed out. Is that something you’ve come to expect when visiting Australia?
No, I didn’t expect that at all, that was awesome having that happen. That tour was sold out, and the venues were upgraded before we got there! To come back to Australia after Soundwave, in the same year and have your shows sold out, to see a packed venue and seeing fans singing all these songs, and not just songs off the new record, some songs I wrote in 1996, makes it all feel so worthwhile, and it was such a warm welcome. Australian fans are unbelievable! To me, they’ve taken the spot as my most dedicated and loyal fans. Not to say that my fans are bad anywhere else, they’re just rabid for it. Being there is like Beatlemania, and that’s not something I’m used to.
Yeah! Well when I heard we were doing Soundwave Festival and that MARILYN MANSON was on it, I definitely hoped that if he did sideshows that we’d be on it. We were immediately added to the shows, with COAL CHAMBER, and that was cool. I didn’t know anyone from any of those bands prior to that, and thanks to those shows I’ve stuck up a friendship with DEZ (FAFARA) and MARILYN MANSON and hopefully if I can bug him enough he’ll take me out on tour one day.
That was a great experience. It was cool to go and play in front of someone like MARILYN MANSON who obviously I’ve been influenced by and I’m a big fan of a lot of his music.
About a month ago you released a teaser video to accompany The Dixie Dead which is odd to say the least. What was the intention for that video?
It was meant to be bizarre, it was meant to be stupid and low budget. I’m a big fan of 70s action films, and for that little teaser for The Dixie Dead, that was us trying to take one of those 70s movies like Shaft and make a video of us being goofy and not taking ourselves too seriously. It was fun to do that and it was not meant to be taken seriously. It just shows that sense of humour is a big part of what I do. There’s nothing I hate more than seeing someone take themselves so seriously all of the time. I don’t like doing that, I like letting people know I’m a goofball 24/7.
What are your plans for the rest of 2013?
After the album is released, I’ll be doing a lot of touring. That starts in the States next week on Wednesday the 13th in Hollywood. Then we’ll head to the UK, at the moment we’re working on a full US tour for Spring and Summer, then that tour is probably going to escalate to a world tour, which will turn into an Australian tour including Adelaide and Perth this time instead of just a short three day thing. There’s so much stuff going on. I also have a movie I want to start working on by the end of the year, and put out. When I do the movie of course I’ll release a soundtrack, so I’ll be recording too. It’s a busy, busy year which I’m calling Wednesday 2013. It’s going to be awesome.
The Dixie Dead will be released February 22nd on 3Wise Records.
Interview by Sofie Mardsen