Death Metal has been around for quite a while now. I can recall practicing with my Ska band in some crack house on the Northside of Syracuse that must have had 20 death metal bands rehearsing, squatting, or otherwise growling over distorted guitars at any given time. It was pretty fun!
I think it is safe to say that Death Metal’s popularity is at an all time high, both in regards to the music itself and the popularity of the scene amongst its followers. Thankfully, I can’t see bands like Dying Fetus releasing an Alternative-Rock recording or coupling with Lou Reed any time soon. Death Metal bands usually stay that way, for better or worse, depending on your take and the talent of the players involved. This is extremely difficult music to play.
Currently supporting Reign Supreme, their latest full-length on legendary Relapse Records, I managed to get in contact with Dying Fetus in during their recent stop in Syracuse, NY with Hatebreed, Shadows Fall, and The Contortionist on my 35th birthday… Super fuckin’ heavy lineup! I spoke with drummer Trey and make no mistake… These guys are the real deal.
G- Thanks for taking the time to speak with me for Live High Five today!
T- Hey… Happy Birthday, man!
G- Thank you very much! This is one heavy ass lineup you’ve got on the road with you, and you’ve got one day left after this show… How is the tour going so far and how have the crowds been treating you guys?
T- The crowds have been really great. We’ve had a tremendous response, definitely a better response than the last time we toured with Hatebreed. I think we’ve got a better presence within the scene, so fans have been very generous with their energy… You know, Hatebreed fans and our fans, so I’m sad to see the tour end.
G- Right on. Well, I’m just happy I get a chance to see you guys because it’s been a long time coming, and this is the first time I’m seeing you, soo…
T- Oh damn!
G- It’s my berfday!
T- Hell yeah!
G- So, Death Metal has noticed a strong rise in popularity in recent years, with many younger bands churning out some excellent stuff. Dying Fetus can certainly be credited as an inspiration to many current acts, and especially the current Deathcore scene. How do you feel about your lasting influence within this genre?
T- You know, any band that says they’re influenced by us or were inspired by us, we’re flattered, you know, that we could give them some sort of drive or direction, someplace to go with their music, you know? We’re really stoked to see how the scene has evolved.
We did a tour with White Chapel before they were the big band they are now, and those guys were saying ‘Hey, we loved (Dying) Fetus back in the day!’ So, there’s an example of a band that, you know, has gone beyond what we are, but used us as an influence.
G- And that follows nicely into the next questions… Dying Fetus has lots of recorded output and a lot of performance credits at this point. To delve into your history a bit, when did you feel the band really started coming together as the powerhouse it is now?
T- Well, in 1998 – 2001, that was, when I think, Dying fetus had a lot of people’s attention, and the band was kind of new and fresh on the scene, although the band had been around for a while. I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but…
G- Toot it! Toot it!
T- Since I’ve been in the band, we’ve been coming up and coming up and coming up, so there’s been, like, 2 different peaks for us, as far as I see. I see we’re still going up now, but there was also that initial exposure peak, which happens for a lot of bands. You know, you get your freshman release and people are stoked and all that.
G- Nice. Now, you have been with Relapse Records since 2000, am I correct?
G- What is it like working with one of the most legendary extreme metal labels? How are they treating you and what do you think about working with them?
T- They treat us very well. We have had a really good time there. I mean, it’s a one-stop Fetus shop right now! You can get everything Dying Fetus from Relapse. And you know, they’ve broke so many bands, like Mastodon and Baroness on the more mainstream side of things, and then bands like Suffocation and how they’ve re-issued the Death albums and stuff. So, there’s a lot of great stuff coming out of there.
G- Relapse, if you hear me at all, you’ve always done very good work and keep doing what you’re doing!
Now, to talk about the physicality of playing in a Death Metal band, you guys play extremely fast and it must take a toll on the body… What I’d like to know for some of the musicians out there is do you have any particular kind of conditioning exercises you have to do to keep your chops in good shape, both from a physical exercise standpoint and a practicing standpoint?
T- Well, I know my guitar player and my bass player, John and Sean, practice pretty religiously, you know? This is pretty much our main job, so they’ve gotta maintain their levels, and I can always count on them to be well rehearsed.
Myself, leading up to a tour, it’s not so much playing the songs, it’s just playing a lot and building up the endurance. The more I’ve been in this scene, the more I realize that I’m a track runner more than a drummer… Just to last through the set.
G- Right on. Now, Dying Fetus is a noted political band lyrically. What overall message are you trying to convey through your music thorough your current release, Reign Supreme, and how effective do you think music is as a medium to spread one’s viewpoint?
T- Well, music has always been used as a method, a delivery method, for ideals. Just look back to the Vietnam War era and the hippie music scene… People were expressing the way they feel there and the current situation of the world.
You know, I think somebody told me a long time ago that “Ring Around The Rosie” nursery rhyme is all about The Plague, and so things like that where you’re being warned, or educated, about history through music.
As far as what we want to do with our music, I’d like for people to just think about what’s going on. Don’t just follow whichever side you follow… Think about what’s really going on, make rational decisions.
And then, we also like a lot of brutal shit! Like people getting pummeled and revenge and vindication through brutality. So, on Reign Supreme, we have political stuff and we have general angst, too.
G- Great! Now, to get a little bit into your personal headspace… What is your personal favorite recording from Dying Fetus’ musical arsenal, either to listen to or to perform? And to take it a step further, if you could give 1 song to someone who’d never heard Dying Fetus’ music before to make a new fan, what track would you give them and why?
T- “Killing on Adrenaline” from Killing on Adrenaline.
G- Short, concise, sweet, and to the point! It’s a good track, too!
T- Yes it is! It is one of my favorites and one that made me love what I hear! And now I’m here, so I get to play it!
G- That’s living the Rock Star dream in the Death Metal scene!
T- Death Star!
G- Now, in your time with Dying Fetus, do you have a particularly memorable, crazy, or favorite show and can you tell us about it? Where was it and what was it like?
T- My first show.
G- Your first show. Where was that?
T- Partysan, which is a festival in Germany, and there were like 10,000 people there.
G- That was your first show with the band? 10,000 people?!
T- Yeah, something like that. There were a lot of people. I couldn’t count them all (laughing!) But it was raining, and there was lightning, it was pretty fucking epic! And it was one of those things where the guys go ‘It’s time to do it.’ There’s no choking. There’s no choking. There’s just playing the show. And I’m still here now, like 5-6 years later, so I guess I did alright.
G- Yeah you did alright! Not bad… 10k for your first show? We’re not even at a tenth of that for tonight, but I have a feeling it’s going to go off here, too, and I’m pumped! I get to see you for the first time, so…
G- Lastly, you’ve been in the band for about 6 years and you’ve been playing your instrument for a long time… What advice can you give some of the young, up and coming bands out here that want to try and make it in the Death Metal circuit, who want to make it in music, on the road, and as a professional musician such as yourself
G- Don’t? Ok that’s the second time I’ve heard something like that today!
T- But if it’s really what you want to do, practice a lot, surround yourself with motivated people, play other styles of music, too. Don’t just blast, or double pick away. Learn some other stuff, because you never know what other styles could help you with your Death Metal writing.
But I really feel for up and coming bands right now, just with gas prices. Just look at gas prices, and I know what some of thee bands are getting for guarantees… Some of them aren’t even getting $100, and $100 isn’t even going to fill your van’s tank up at all. So, I really feel for them.
But, of course, if music is your passion, pursue your passion. But GO TO SCHOOL, GET GOOD JOB, BE RESPONSIBLE, SAVE YOUR MONEY!
G- Right on! Well look, can’t wait to see the show tonight! It’s a good birthday present, and thank you very much. We look forward to seeing you again!
T- Hopefully we can be around for… What did you say, 35?
G- This is 35.
T- I’m 34 and I’ll be 35 next time. Maybe we’ll catch you on your 36th!
G- Ahh you’re just a youngen! Thank you very much!
T- No problem.