Interview The Dillinger Escape Plan: ‘There Was A Lot Of Anxiety’

As The Dillinger Escape Plan release their fifth album ‘One Of Us Is The Killer’, Sarah Jamieson discovers just how pre-meditated their intentions are.

The Dillinger Escape Plan are one of the most admired heavy bands of this generation. Having created a hybrid of highly technical metal and explosive hardcore, they began their careers by carving their own niche, crossing over into the realms of universal respect in the process.

Now, standing tall as the aspiration to a slew of young artists, they’re set to follow-up 2010’s ‘Option Paralysis’ with their fifth studio full-length, ‘One Of Us Is The Killer’; an album which looks set to push their own musical limitations, while showcasing a wholly different side to the band.

“We’ve always tried different things and tried to stay true to our sound at the same time,” explains guitarist and primary songwriter Ben Weinman. “That’s the most difficult thing; to stay true to the sound we’ve developed throughout the years, whilst always pushing ourselves in new directions. That’s really the goal for us.”
‘It’s not metal at all.’
“This time,” he continues, “instead of just incorporating new styles of music, we tried to push ourselves in more uncomfortable scenarios. Some of the rhythms and things like that are just really not natural to me. There was a lot of anxiety. But when you’ve been doing something for years, you definitely have to try some new avenues.”

With a band like Dillinger, uncomfortable directions aren’t uncommon. In fact, they’ve built their legacy upon testing musical comfort zones; constantly treading into the more extreme realms of their genre. Unsurprisingly, this album boasts tracks that go even further to solidify their place as titans of math-metal.

The more unexpected twist comes with the songs that follow a much more conventional structure. The main point of reference for this stands within the album’s title track. Buried amongst the intensity, aggression and ferocity that so populates the rest of their release lies a much more initially tender and brooding offering.

“Yeah, it’s not metal at all,” nods frontman Greg Puciato, when the song comes up in conversation, before Weinman drops a bit of a bombshell. “It’s funny because that track was the easiest song.”

“The thing I love most about that song is - not just that it ended up coming out really cool - that it was so natural,” he explains. “So much of Dillinger is so calculated, but that song was a perfect example of the side of Dillinger that’s not.

“The thing that is different about Dillinger than other technical bands, is that it’s such an even pull of pre-meditated and happy accidents; jamming things out, feeling things and not thinking too much. It’s a total combination of that that makes us what we are.

“That song particularly was one that was born from the last idea for the record. It was something that was not thought out too much. It just felt really good and natural.”
‘We had no intentions of doing this for a living.’
“Vocally it just felt really nice to have something I could approach completely differently from any other song we’ve ever done,” Puciato adds. Having heard the lengths to which he pushes his range on their fifth effort, that’s not surprising. “Again, that song was the easiest one to write on the whole record, which is crazy.”

Just as the track, which is only the third of the record, draws to a close, the music lurches back into action and the frantic guitars return, just as quickly as they had dissipated. So marks the charm of this album and this band: expect the unexpected, and be prepared to abandon all misconceptions.

“It has been a conscious effort from the start of the band to not let people pigeonhole us or categorise us in a way that makes us feel restricted with the way we write,” explains Weinman. “We have consciously tried to do things and write music that we just enjoy, without thinking too much if a song is gonna be as effective.”

“When you start as a band, no one knows who you are; they don’t have expectations. You can make what you want to make, especially if you’re making the band for purely selfish reasons. We had no intentions of doing this for a living. Not that we wouldn’t have liked to, we just didn’t think it was possible.

“We won the lottery: we just didn’t think it was possible at that point, so we truly made this band with pure intentions. To continue with that ethic and vibe, you really have to try and not think about what people expect. These songs are a big part of that. It’s just so we can continue to enjoy it.”

The Dillinger Escape Plan’s new album ‘One Of Us Is The Killer’ is out now via Party Smasher Inc.

Read the full interview in the 20th May edition of DIY Weekly, available from iTunes now.

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