Deadstar Assembly are one of the strongest and most established industrial bands to come out of America in recent years, their buzzsaw riffs, big beats and raw attitude to rock sounds has made the band an international favourite within the alternative-electronic and metal scenes. This summer, the band will be playing some European festival shows and as a result they are hoping to break into the UK before the year is out. We chat to the band about their new album, ‘Coat Of Arms‘, their influences and slaying zombies.
“European crowds have much more energy than those in the States“
S] How was it working with producer Jeremy Staska and Adam Ayan (mastering) on the new record – what were some of your best experiences?
D] Working with Mr. Staska is great – cool studio and great vibe. He is more from a hardcore, punk and metal world so he tries to best capture and exploit our heavier side, concentrating on big guitars and drums. Ayan is super talented and was able to give the album the gloss it needed.
S] Do you think that this new album will bring forth an opportunity to come to the UK or Europe – what would you look forward to the most?
D] We are hoping so, we have been contacted by promoters in the UK to do a tour in the fall and we are very likely going to be doing festivals in Germany so we are excited about this! I’ve been to shows overseas and they have so much more energy than those here in the US. I think our electricity on stage will ignite the crowds overseas.
S] How do you feel you have progressed and evolved as people throughout your albums?
D] Our first album was really a well packaged glorified demo and ‘Unsaved‘, our second album was our first attempt at a group effort. With our latest ‘Coat Of Arms‘ We tried to capture the magic of our first two albums and make it into something that would be relevant today and appeal to a new fanbase. I feel our songwriting and musicianship really shined this time around.
S] What were some of your biggest challenges when making this record?
D] Luckily for us we got out of our deal in the US for ‘Coat Of Arms‘ which was great, and we had a clean slate with no deadlines or pressure. However not having a deadline can prove detrimental too, we spent a good year writing it and about a year recording it. We also had two hard drive failures with most of the recorded material which was a major setback. Luckily for us everything was recovered and it let us stretch our wings a little bit and fire off a few more keepers that ended up on the album.
S] What has been the most positive experience throughout your history?
D] I would have to say the one-on-one feedback from the fans. When we tour we always make an effort to meet everyone after the show. When I hear how our music and performances have affected them, it makes it all worth it. Also working with great musicians and collaborating with Mr. Staska and our original producer Luis Duran (also known as O.S.S). The body of music we have created is very special to me.
S] What has constantly fuelled the band’s passion for mixing metal sounds with electronics?
D] We are big into cinema, big into hard rock, metal and electronica. We really like the depth keys and sound design can give to song that features big guitars and drums. Collaborating with Luis Duran in the early days really started the fire, we just refuse to put it out!
S] Can you tell us what personal experiences inspired the track, ‘F.Y.G’?
D] This song is poking fun at celebrity worship, and how ridiculous the tabloids and media can be – the whole reality TV tidal wave. What happened to becoming famous for doing something relevant? Now you can have eight kids or be an imbecile on some reality TV show and your famous overnight.
S] Is there a consistent theme to the record?
D] Not really beyond just being kinda of angry and irritated after three legs of the ‘Unsaved‘ tour. We wanted to harness that brooding energy and make an album that best represents the band hence the title ‘Coat Of Arms‘.
S] How have your goals for DSA changed since you began?
D] When we first began I think it was more show and less substance. We didn’t have a lot of material, just really exploited the look and a cover song. We wanted to get on a big label and you know be huge but now looking back I am glad that didn’t happen. If it did we would be broke and broken up. A lot of our friends that signed to the big labels are now defunct and have horror stories. We are DIY all the way so we can manage on our own and still reach the fans.
S] Do you have a song from the new album that you think represents the state of the band right now – if so, why?
D] I would have to say either ‘Arm And A Leg‘ or ‘F.Y.G‘. just because they captured that sense of angst and hunger we have and they are really killer to play live! We have opened up the tour with these two songs every night to much excitement and fists in the air, and that is why we do this.
S] What are your biggest plans for this year?
D] To get the new video out for ‘The Darkest Star‘ and really use it to introduce us to a new fanbase. Also get overseas and finally show Europe what we can do live – this is a must do!
S] Being a successful band in what some would call a niche genre, how have you coped with the world-wide recession and the recline of the music industry?
D] We felt a little bit of the bite this tour, some cities we used to do really well in have been hit hard by the recession and it has affected attendance here and there. Die hards always make it out though. In regards to the music industry it is really tough to keep your head above water especially if you are an independent, but luckily we are well versed in doing the indie thing and also have a track record and relationships with store chains and distributors so have been able to get the music out there.
S] What do you enjoy most about playing live in contrast to being in the studio?
D] Live is where we shine, we are doing well every night on this tour we are currently on. The personas on stage, the volume, the energy is intoxicating. In a studio environment it is very prescribed, very methodical, however we do have some moments in the studio where things just happen organically much like a live performance. But we are rarely all there together at once. It is typically a musician at a time, which of course has it’s shortcomings.
S] In the event of a zombie outbreak, what would you use to defend yourselves?
D] The *iss bottles from our tour bus, they are lethal and could most definitely kill a sh**load of zombies. The bottles come in an assortment of colors, we would launch a rainbow of grenades and be sure to fend them off!
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