The UK-based music magazine Rock-A-Rolla recently did an interview with Dysrhythmia in their most current issue. Below is the complete Q&A version of the interview, for those curious to read the whole thing.
Glad to have Dysrhythmia back, it’s been three years since the last
album. Of course you guys are constantly busy with other stuff as well,
so how much of those three years was actually dedicated to the making of ‘Test Of Submission’?
Thanks, Jose. It is true we are always working on many things
simultaneously. In the case of this new record, I would say we worked
pretty consistently, without any real breaks, on the material. A track
like "In Secrecy" dates all the way back to 2009. However, the title
track was written just 4 or 5 months before we recorded it. And in
between then is how long it took us to write the other 6 tracks. We are
very concerned with details. Those little nuances are what can make a
good arrangement into a great arrangement.
How is your usual method of writing, do you jam it out, does someone come in with ideas already… ?
It changed over time from being more of a "jam on a few riffs"
situation, to coming into rehearsal with a completed song ready for the
other members to work on. In the case of this new album, I wrote 6
songs, and Colin wrote 2. However, when I say "write", I mean we wrote
the songs ourselves on our respective instruments, then each of the
other members wrote their own parts to that song on their respective
instruments. Ultimately though, it all ends up being extremely
collaborative. We love to leave room for each others creative inputs.
It’s obviously pretty complex music, or at least it sounds that
way to regular human beings without your dazzling skills. Do you spend a
lot of time perfecting the songs until all the parts gel perfectly with
each other? Or is it more spontaneous than we might think?
KH: Yes, we do spend a lot of time on it. We want things to flow
well, ideas to repeat but not in obvious ways. We focus on transitions.
Colin and I are very picky about drums. This drives Jeff our drummer
insane, but he's a good sport! One thing that was different for this
album though is, traditionally, we would go on tour for a month playing
our whole new album before recording it... to get the songs as tight as
possible. This time we didn't do that. We were also changing and adding
things on the fly while recording the guitar parts, which was fun for
me. I liked having a touch more spontaneity involved this time.
If you had to play the music writer for a bit, how would you
compare ‘Test Of Submission’ with past Dysrhythmia efforts? What do you
feel has changed or evolved since the last album, for instance?
It's certainly heavier. In one way this was unintentional. I was
planning to use my usual Fender Stratocasters for the recording, but we
discovered while tracking that they had intonation issues that couldn't
be fixed, unless I replaced the bridges, since the screws were rusted
and stripped. I still was able to use them here and there, but I ended
up using my Gibson SG a lot more than I planned to, and even Colin's
Ibanez Iceman. This lead to a heavier guitar sound overall, which, in
the end was fine with me! I also focused more on textures, effects, and
tones. Other guitars used on the album were a Fender Telecaster with a
Bigsby vibrato tailpiece on it, a Taylor 12-string acoustic, and a
Starfire fretless guitar. I think you could also say this record
balances our melodic and dissonant tendencies better than any of the
others, though I'm still happy with the 'Psychic Maps' record as well.
Could you elaborate a bit more on the title of the album and its exact meaning?
I think it's best to let people interpret it in their own way. It can
mean so many different things. It has a dark, yet triumphant tone to it.
In fact, speaking of titles, how do these show up and when, in
the whole process? Without lyrics and a singer giving it all out easily
for the listener, it’s interesting to know if you ever actually write
music inspired on a title or an image, or if they all come later when
all the music is done.
KH: I come up with all the titles. They always appear after the
music is written. Usually they are based on an image or feeling I get
from the music. I take titling songs seriously. It's part of the big
picture. I like the titles to have meaning. While working on the
material, they usually have goofy working titles like "Old new song",
"Band Intro", and "Colin 1".
The Profound Lore press blurb is, as always, awesome, and there’s
this great bit there – “Dysrhythmia also write actual and proper songs
with proper songwriting structure instead of merely showcasing that they
can play the living fuck out of their instruments.” This is EXACTLY the
problem with the large majority of bands operating more or less within
your style these days, and the main difference why you rule and they
don’t. Is this a particular care you have during the songwriting? Does
it happen that you throw stuff away when it’s just too “masturbatory”
and not enough of a proper song?
KH: I'm glad you hear it that way, because that is our focus when
writing songs; coherency, without being predicable. First and foremost,
technical skill is only a tool. We've never written music simply to show
off our technique or whatever. That's lame.
Funnily enough, this sort of technical, instrumental kind of
thing has become quite popular in the past couple of years. Are you
reaping any benefits from this, have you noticed an extra deal of
attention for the band? And, do you feel like pioneers, in a way, since
you’ve been doing this since when people probably had no idea how to
figure out what they were listening to when they put on a Dysrhythmia
KH: It's too soon to say if we're reaping any benefits from it yet.
We'll see how the new album does, and how touring goes. Personally, I
would love it if we were invited to play some of these larger festivals
that are always happening. Even locally, it's rare that we are ever
asked to open for any larger acts. In some ways I see this as a
compliment, because it appears they're just aren't many bands people
think we make sense playing with. We are sort of off in our own world.
"Pioneers" is a strong word. I can't say we feel like that, we all come
Have you particularly enjoyed any recent band, say, bands that have appeared in the last four or five years?
Certainly. There are some pretty obscure artists that I really think
are doing some awesome things. A few of those being; Feast of the
Epiphany, which in the main project of Nick Podgurski, drummer of the
band Extra Life (another great act). Here he's mainly doing electronics
and singing, invoking some sort of dark drone prog doom, unlike anything
I've heard before. Their yet-to-be-released new album will fully
showcase this. Fielded, the solo venture of Ga'an keyboardist/vocalist
Lindsay Powell, is another really great project that I think should get
more attention. Though not new bands, the more recent albums by bands
like Deathspell Omega, and Blut Aus Nord are the most exciting things
I've heard in the realms of metal in years.
What are the future plans for the band, are there live shows
planned? Your live show is amazing, by the way – do you have any special
preparations or little personal rituals before you go up on stage?
We are scheduling a headlining US tour from October 17th to Nov 17th.
This tour will miss certain areas like the Northeast, and Florida, which
we hope to make up for early next year. As for pre-show rituals;
nothing out of the ordinary... stretch, warm
up, have a beer, pace around anxiously. The next plan, recording-wise,
is to do a split EP with the instrumental band Loincloth, in which we
will switch drummers! They will write a few songs for Jeff, and myself
and Colin will write 2 songs for Steve Shelton, their drummer, who also
happens to be one of my all-time favorite players in the world. So, that
will be quite a trip.
José Carlos Santos / Rock-a-Rolla Magazine