Breaking up at the peak of your powers is a concept most bands would probably gawk at, but from day one The Dillinger Escape Plan have pushed back at expectations. “Everything was about anarchy to everything,” remembers guitarist Ben Weinman, of those early days, “to the point where we wanted to be so punk that we couldn’t play punk music. We had to put in extreme jazz interludes, and distorted grind beats, because that would confuse people who liked stuff that was already aggressive,” he laughs.
The decision to call it a day came mid-way through the writing of new album ‘Dissociation’, adding fuel to Dillinger’s already-raging fire. Though there’s a year or so of touring still laid out ahead of them, vocalist Greg Puciato admits that oblivion is “looming”.
“I want people to look back at this whole Dillinger thing as one piece of art; as one statement,” explains Ben. “Not this thing that just goes until it dissipates.” It’s a feeling Greg echoes. “Not a band where people are like, ‘Don’t pay attention to these last five albums! Don’t pay attention to what they’re like now – look at this YouTube video from fifteen years ago or listen to this album from fifteen years ago.’”
There’s little danger of that – The Dillinger Escape Plan have never allowed much time for nostalgia, their attention-grabbing live show nailing its captive audience to the here and now, night after night. With the end approaching, they insist this isn’t a case of losing the wind in their sails. “I still feel very invigorated on stage, I still feel very excited to play,” says Greg. “Even if we’re completely exhausted backstage beforehand – the second we go on stage… sometimes you can have the best show when you’re exhausted…” he trails off, half a lifetime of chaos flooding his memory.
‘Symptom of Terminal Illness’
"We were so combative in every way."
— Ben Weinman
“And then, also, you realise when you stop touring how much you need that release. At the same time, every night when you would be playing, all of a sudden you’re like, ‘Fuuuuuuuck!’” says Ben with a grin. “You’re ready to explode. But it is kinda like, how long can you push the machine before it breaks down?”
‘Dissociation’ is the culmination of that soul-searching; the manifestation of a maturity that can only come after nearly two decades in the game. “We were so combative in every way, to the point where we’re now self-aware of why we do things, and what we do, and we want to learn more,” Ben explains. “So we’ve completed the circle – this album is our statement. There’s a lot of pain, but it’s coming from a place of knowledge.
“That’s the ultimate complete control. I don’t know if we’re passing a torch as such, but I’d hope we’d be an influence to bands that it’s not about just doing it as long as you can get away with it. It’s about doing it with purpose.”
The Dillinger Escape Plan’s new album ‘Dissociation’ is out 14th October via Party Smasher Inc.
Taken from the October 2016 issue of DIY, out now. Subscribe to DIY below.