Dir En Grey The Unraveling Firewall/SMEJ 03 April 2013
By David Keevill
The Japanese metallic monolith that is Dir En Grey have had a fairly minimal penetration into the tight-knit UK music community considering the number, and calibre, of their records over the course of the last sixteen years. 2013 sees the release of an EP called The Unraveling, a seven track record that, despite increasing momentum into a metal scene dominated by Western publicity machines, is more a retrospective consolidation of their swollen discography than a push towards a greater consciousness.
Thrash Hits .com decamped to Oxford for the evening last time Every Time I Die were in town. Raziq Rauf talks to guitarist Andy Williams about making a great record and wearing just swimming trunks and braces on film.
In September 2007 Every Time I Die released their fourth full-length album, The Big Dirty. It was well-received across the board, as was their breakthrough effort, Hot Damn!. It was the record in the middle that confused everyone. The added rolling, twanging Southern-sounding riffs to their traditional hardcore sound didn’t quite seem to fit together.
“We weren’t really trying anything new on Gutter Phenomenon. I think we just over-thought everything,” Williams explains. “We only spent three months on Hot Damn!. With Gutter Phenomenon, ‘Easy Tiger’ was the first riff I wrote for Gutter Phenomenon. Seven months later, we finished the song.
“The Big Dirty took just over four months to write and record,” Williams recalls, shifting in his seat. “Usually your first intuition is the best and, with us, that’s definitely true.”
Watch ‘We’rewolf’ by Every Time I Die
If you look at any heavy music bill these days, you are more than likely to see a band performing that has the word ‘die’ in their name. It’s something that Andy Williams has definitely noted.
“It’s been ten years already. We were a band five years before bands like As I Lay Dying and the rest of them. I’m not taking credit for it,” Andy smirks, “But we definitely had the word ‘die’ in our name before anyone else.”
Aside from band names, ETID have always tried to do something different within their admittedly limited genre. “I definitely think that we’ve shaped things and that bands have been influenced by us,” he says. “It feels good when I walk into a place and some young kid in a hot new band comes up to me and says, ‘Hey your music changed my life.’”
Indeed, some current megastars are amongst Every Time I Die’s biggest fans. “There are dudes in My Chemical Romance that literally wouldn’t be where they are unless they saw Every Time I Die in 2000 – when they weren’t even a band.”
When asked how it feels to have Gerard Way’s voice on Gutter Phenomenon, Williams merely says, “It’s very flattering”.
Every Time I Die’s Keith Buckley onstage
Every Time I Die’s Andy Williams onstage
Andy Williams’ Top Tips
Saviours are my shit right now. It’s the best name for that band because I hope they save music. They’re just a great band.
Gallows are bringing a British swagger to a really distilled American crowd and it woke people up on the Warped Tour last year. If a band’s going to shake things up then more power to them.
Torche – Meanderthal. Listening to that was like listening to Nevermind by Nirvana. It’s a band that can really shake things up along with The Sword and Saviours.
The Buffalo, NY band is completed by vocalist and master lyricist Keith Buckley, his guitarist brother Jordan, drummer Michael ‘Ratboy’ Novak and their seventh and hopefully final bassist Josh Newton but there was a sixth member for the first time on the recording of Gutter Phenomenon.
“We busted our asses for six months writing that shit and then the producer tells us it’s not good enough,” Williams complains. “He wasn’t being an asshole, he was just trying to make it sound better – that’s what a producer does.”
Complaining, however, is not something that Andy Williams takes lightly. “Bands who stress about being in a band are just not cut out for it,” he proclaims. “There’s always some dude on the tour who is moping around and complaining. If you’re in a band there’s no fucking reason you should be on any sort of anti-depressant pill. I play guitar for a living and I’m in England right now, riffing.” And riff he does.
As a result, Every Time I Die have built a reputation of being a fun band and this extends all the way through to their music videos. “If someone gives us $30,000 and a camera, of course we’re going to take full advantage of it,” Williams laughs. “We don’t want to be in a warehouse with some dudes, looking hard. We want to be in a house that looks like it’s in the ‘70s having a party.” See the results below.
Watch ‘The New Black’ by Every Time I Die
From images of the master guitarist in a pair of Speedos at a retro house party to the future, Andy Williams remains matter-of-fact throughout. “I hope there’s another ten years of Every Time I Die,” he ponders. “It’s all going really well right now but we are all starting to get really fucking old.”
Every Time I Die are playing the Warped Tour across the United States from 20 June 2008.