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Dillinger Escape Plan - Interview

  by Mark Rowland

published: 29 / 12 / 2003

Dillinger Escape Plan - Interview


In the five years since their last album. 'Calculating Infinity', metalcore act the Dillinger Escape Plan have changed both singer and direction. New frontman Greg Pucciato talks to Mark Rowland

You may have heard about a film called 'Underworld', which is being sold as a Goth version of ‘Romeo and Juliet’, with plenty of vampire- werewolf shooty bits. Don’t go to see it, it’s shit. You may, however, consider buying the soundtrack, for two main reasons: the new Icarus Line song, and even more so the new song by the Dillinger Escape Plan. ‘Baby’s First Coffin’ is immense. It’s metal-core like you’ve never heard it before. The old elements of the Dillinger sound are there- discords, jazz leads, time changes, screaming- but this song also has (die-hard metal-core fans, you’d better sit down) melody. Even more shocking, it even has a chorus(kind of). This song is significant to Dillinger fans for two reasons. One: It’s the first Dillinger song to feature Greg Pucciato on vocals, the singer that’s been in the band for the last two years. Two: It’s the first taste fans have had of the sound of the new Dillinger album. It’s been 5 years since the last Dillinger album, ‘Calculating Infinity’, was released. Since then, the band’s fan base has grown steadily, and a collaboration with Mike Patton on the EP ‘Irony is a Dead Scene’ opened them up to a wider audience. Now finally on the verge of releasing a new album, the band have a chance of becoming a very successful band. It wasn’t that long ago that rock fans tried to bottle the band off-stage when they toured with System of a Down. Now those same kids are going to selling out Dillinger shows on their recent UK tour. Speaking over the phone from the Bristol venue at which they were playing, singer Greg Pucciato spoke to us about the band’s increasing popularity and the ever-changing Dillinger sound. PB : You recently did a show with Ol' Dirty Bastard. What was that like? GP : Ol' Dirty Bastard was really fucked up. He could hardly speak or anything. He was on stage for about 5 minutes. He couldn’t remember any of his lyrics. There were about twenty other people rapping for him! We were all really excited about the show. We’re all really into Wu-tang and Ol' Dirty Bastard. We’d joked before about touring with him if he ever got out of jail, but we never actually expected it to happen. PB : Did the crowd give you any abuse? GP : No, most of the crowd were there for us. I could see a lot of the kids that we usually see at a lot of Dillinger shows in New York. I was expecting a lot more of a hip hop crowd, I didn’t think we were going to go down well at all, but there seemed to be a lot more hardcore kids there. PB : Do you know what Ol' Dirty Bastard thinks of your band? GP : Well, Ol' Dirty Bastard couldn’t talk so I don’t know what he thought of us, but some other guys that were with him came up to us. They really surprised me. A lot of them were like really into hardcore, like ‘I know Converge and Sick of it All!’ and stuff like that. Most people praised us. It was nice to know that we made a good impression. PB : You recently recorded a song, ‘Baby’s first Coffin’, for the Underworld soundtrack, which was the first Dillinger song released with you singing on it. Were you nervous at all when you went into the studio? GP : I’d done a few cover songs with the band, like Black Flag and Guns ‘n’ Roses, but yeah, ‘Baby’s First Coffin’ is officially the first Dillinger song I’ve recorded. I wasn’t nervous about recording it. I’ve been in the band for two and a half years now, I’m comfortable with the rest of the band and I’ve been accepted by the fans, and I want to get my voice out on the songs. PB : Do you think you’ve brought some new influences to Dillinger? GP : I think I have. We deliberately chose that song for the soundtrack because out of all the new songs we’ve written, ‘Baby’s…’ has a lot of new flavours compared to the older stuff, so when people hear it, they won’t know what to expect from the new stuff when it comes out. PB : You’ve obviously brought some melody to the band. I love the really melodic bit in the middle of ‘Baby's First Coffin.’ That’s brilliant. GP : Yeah, we were really excited about that part. A lotta people who’re involved in the hardcore scene say that there’s no place for singing or melody in this type of music, which I think is fuckin’ ridiculous. Some people don’t want anyone to push any boundaries. It’s like saying you can only use heavily distorted guitars in hardcore music, or that you can only use blast beats. That’s just stupid and the music would get boring. PB : How’s the rest of the album coming along? GP : We’re pretty much done with it. It should be out in a few months. The new material’s going blow the ‘Calculating…’ stuff outta the water. For people who’re really into the ‘Calculating…’ stuff there are some tracks that are really heavy and extreme, really hardcore, and on other tracks on the album we’ve added a lot of new influences. Our sound’s really expanded. PB : Do you think it’s good that there seems to be a lot of bands with hardcore taking in different influences into their music? GP : Yeah, definitely, I mean if you look at bands like Tool and Faith No More when they were around, they always pushed the boundaries with everything that they’ve done. They both developed their own sound and moved rock music forward, and it’s good that there are bands around now that are trying to do something different from everyone else, and moving forwards rather than going backwards or not moving at all. It proves that hardcore music can be made by intelligent people for people with some intelligence, and that it’s not just for backward thinking meatheads. PB : Do you think Dillinger fans are expecting such a big change? GP : Well yeah ! It’s been 5 years since ‘Calculating…’ and over such a long time a band’s gonna develop and find different influences. Two members of the band joined since the last album, so that’s going to bring new influences to the band as well. There’s like two kinds of bands. I mean a band like Slayer, they’ve been going for years, and they have a certain sound that’s identified with them, so if they tried to do anything different on an album now, it’d be frowned upon because it wouldn’t be Slayer. Then there are other bands, like Tool and Nine Inch Nails, who add to their sound on every album, and I’m glad that Dillinger is a band that is allowed to change and develop, and add to the Dillinger sound with each record. PB : You did the 'Take Action' tour recently. How did that come about? GP : We were asked to do it last year, but because we were doing the Reading and Leeds festivals, and touring over here we couldn’t get back to do it. So this year they asked us again, and so we joined the tour from and gave them a song for the album. PB : That was with the Locust wasn’t it? GP : No… PB : Oh yeah, the Locust’s in January isn’t it? GP : Yeah, we’re touring with the Locust in January. We toured with Poison the Well, Eighteen Visions and Further Seems Forever for Take Action, then our leg of the tour finished and Shadows Fall and I think Killswitch Engage joined at the end. PB : Seeing Dillinger and the Locust on the same stage would be pretty damn cool. GP : We’ve toured with the Locust before a couple of times. It’ll be good to do this tour, because there are a lot of Dillinger fans who aren’t familiar with them, and probably a lot of Locust fans that are unfamiliar with us, so it’ll be good to introduce fans of us to the Locust and vice versa. PB :It’s amazing how fast the Locust play. I have ‘Plague Soundscapes’ and that really shocked me- 23 tracks in 21 minutes! GP : Yeah that’s pretty ridiculous! There’s no way that Dillinger could pull that off on an album. Have you heard their new stuff? It’s like 60 tracks into like 18 minutes, it’s insane, like each song is about 7 seconds long! PB : Do you think your music has the potential to reach a wider audience? GP : Well, just look at a band like Tool. They are basically an art rock band, which is hardly a commercial direction, but they’ve sold millions. It’s unlikely that a band that mixes their influences could become a big thing, but Tool have shown that it is possible. I would like Dillinger to reach a wider audience, and appeal to a wide range of people, it would be nice to know that we’ve made a difference and influenced a significant number of people. PB : Thank you the photograph that accompanies this article was taken by Matthew Williams

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