Interview: DYING FETUS
What's behind the title and artwork of War of Attrition?
The main idea has to do with being bombarded by the various forms of the media, which are usually trying to sell us something or influence our point of view. The cover images show the patriotic and military aspect of this idea, so obviously there are some conflicting ideas inherent in that – basically, a sense of ambivalence. The cover art was done by Orion [Landau] at Relapse, and we had some concern that people might misinterpret these images, but ultimately we decided this is always a risk, and it shouldn't make us compromise anything.
What's going on lyrically with this record? Anything special or different from before?
A lot of people have noticed less of an emphasis on political lyrics since I joined. I feel the lyrics on this album follow the music – both are more aggressive than the last record. It offers some dark images on subjects like war, the legal system, excess consumerism, and so forth. These are the ideas I like to write about, and the rest of the band seems to enjoy it as well.
Dying Fetus has had a number of logos over time. Do these represent changes in the band's approach?
I think there are just two logos – one old-style logo and one logo in block lettering. For a while we were using both, and we still often incorporate both logos into our T-shirt designs. I suppose the two logos could suggest the two main musical elements we try to balance, namely, the fast technical sections and the slower groove breakdowns, but, really, we didn't approach them with that in mind.
War of Attrition sounds a lot better than Stop at Nothing. What did you do differently production-wise?
A lot of improvements had happened with the recording equipment, which gave us more time to focus on our performances and the sound of each instrument. We also used a different guitar tone – Stop at Nothing was a bit of a departure in this area. On both albums, we used my guitar rig, and for this one I have recently bought the same guitar head John has always used, the old Ampeg VH140C, plus I also use Marshall 1960 cabinets instead of the Randalls. I think this was a big reason this album sounded so much better than the last. We specifically wanted the album to sound closer to our classic albums, although we wanted a more aggressive tone.
Before recording this album, you put out a call for drummer auditions via video submissions. What was the response like?
Ha ha, personally I thought there would be a stronger response. We even heard later from some drummers who had considered auditioning but were too intimidated. As someone who has also had to experience this, I must say you never know if you don't try. If you give it a shot, then you have a chance, but if you don't give it a shot, you can be sure that nothing will happen. Duane is a very good drummer and he's also the only drummer who really nailed every aspect of auditioning – from sending us a video of himself playing our songs to flying out and jamming with us, and generally showing a sense of commitment to the band.
Playing with Duane Timlin vs. Erik Sayenga – compare and contrast.
Dying Fetus goes through members like J Lo goes through husbands. Why?
It isn't easy to maintain a consistent lineup in a metal band. We tour extensively, but we all still have to maintain day jobs when we are home, so balancing the needs of these two can make things very difficult. Also it can sometimes be due to musical or personal differences. In this aspect, lineup changes can be like earthquakes – you endure the tensions until it becomes too much and there is a slip, and then things tend to get shaken up.
What do Dying Fetus do for day jobs?
I do web development for TIG Global in Washington DC. Sean does construction, and John also does a type of construction or installation. I'm not sure what job Duane does at home, since he still lives in Texas, and I believe he has a side band or two. Our day jobs have changed somewhat over the years.
Evidently, you have some un-metallic musical tastes. What would surprise your fans the most?
Everyone has been asking about this recently – in particular, John's supposed interest in rap over metal. To be honest, we spent a lot of time in the tour van listening to 80's rock and metal. Some of it is because we actually like the music and some is just for the nostalgia or humor of it. I can't ever remember rap getting any play with us, actually. I also enjoy other kinds of 80's music, mostly songs from the GTA: Vice City soundtrack. I listen to some classical and flamenco as well, both of which have some of the same fury that we enjoy [in] playing death metal.
You recently toured with Cannibal Corpse and Necrophagist. How did that go?
The tour went very, very well – we all got along great and apparently some of the shows [had] the highest attendance Cannibal had ever had in those cities. For me, the most memorable nights happened in places like Milwaukee, Hollywood, or Orlando – I hear that the House of Blues was sold out on a Monday night in Hollywood, and it is always kind of amazing to be playing a death metal show at the House of Blues at Disney World.
Any last words?
Thank you so much for the undying support and all the loyalty over the years! We hope you will enjoy our new album and come to see us next time we play near you!