When Dez Fafara ended his hugely successful run with Coal Chamber and decided to form a new band, no one was prepared for the response. The new project was critically welcomed from its inception, but since then has become one of the biggest metal bands of the new century.
DevilDriver are currently touring in Europe and will be on Australian soil very soon to tear up the stage with Lamb Of God to promote their fourth album, Pray For Villains. Dez took some time out from his busy schedule to have a quick chat with FasterLouder about the tour, the new album and what he would really love to do in Australia.
So you are touring in Europe in the moment; how is it going over there?
Yeah, we are in Sweden right now. It is unbelievable and most of the shows are sold out. We haven’t been to Sweden in five years, and I think that this gig has sold over a thousand people. It is really cool to see that happening. Europe has always been really good for DevilDriver.
Pray For Villains is the highest charting record out of your releases. How did you feel when you were told it was in the top 40 in the US?
I think it is important to look at those things and just be happy, but for us you know those things aren’t just going to stick in our heads. We were very excited and very appreciative that things are coming out well, but on the same token we are concentrating on writing the new album at the moment and we don’t want to lose our way with any current press that the new record is getting. But it is cool. The top 200 in the States is extremely hard to enter and for a metal band, even harder, so yeah we are definitely really happy.
It’s a more technical album than before, and you have previously said that Pray For Villains defines where your music is headed. Is the new material reflecting that so far?
I would think so. You have to realise that DevilDriver is in a constant ebb and flow and constant flux of change. We were only together for six or seven months before we even made the first record, so the growth has been over a period of years and is what you are seeing on record, rather than most bands being together for five or six years before they get signed.
So I have always kind of said that the fourth, fifth, sixth record will be our defining moment. So i think when I said that about Pray for Villains is what I meant that we found a sound that we really love. Between the last record, and Pray for Villains, is that we know where we are at now. So when we are writing for the next record right now, we really have a handle on our sound.
You are already writing for the next album; how is it going?
It is going killer! We have six new tracks and we are going to record in April/May and hope for a release in October 2010. We are trying to get a new record out there every 21-22 months. I think bands out there that make you wait three or four years between records are either not proficient enough or prolific enough to do it, but we are writing constantly. We aren’t holding back.
Because you tour so much, do you discover many new influences or inspirations for your material when you are on the road?
You know, I think the inspirations and influences are coming from within at the moment. It’s not like, oh we toured with this band and this is a huge influence now. I don’t think that’s happening. What is happening is that we know what works live and what doesn’t and we really write for what works live at this point.
The next record I think that that is really going to come to fruition because we have kind of made it a point to say that the record will be the record where you can play the whole thing live and it is going to go off.
You are heading to Australia soon. What are you looking forward to about the tour?
Heading out with Lamb Of God is always a great time. They are a great band to tour with and they are good friends. For some reason, whenever Lamb of God and DevilDriver get together – it could be [in] the UK, Australia or the United States – the shows are always more energy. I think for them and for us and for the fans. So I am looking forward to that and I got a lot of friends down there. And I have been in Europe for five weeks, so I am looking forward to coming down and getting some summer time definitely!
As you have toured with Lamb Of God before, are there any antics backstage or do you feel competitive at all?
We are all good friends, but I would say that when we hit the stage we are all at the height of our own game. I mean, everyone will answer this question differently, but when we get onstage, I want to take control and I know that they are the same. I think that that makes the show better for the people.
Are there any of your songs that you have never played live but you would really love too?
Hmm, that is a good question! I tell you what; we are only playing three or four off this new record. There are songs off this new record that I would love to play live, like Forgiveness Is A Six-Gun and Waiting For November. We may break some of them out for the Australian fans so we will see how that holds up. Personally, I would like to play the new record in its entirety but it is hard to do that on tour because people want to hear stuff from the other records and we only have a certain amount of time.
Does it get much harder to pick a set list as you release more and more albums?
I don’t think so. I think it kind of adds bullets to the chamber. It adds to the repertoire. And after a few shows you kind of work out what works live and what doesn’t.
Is there anything that you are really looking forward to doing in Australia that you might not have done on previous visits?
I would like to visit some wineries! So if there is anyone that would love to sign up and take me to a winery, let’s go!
Out of the three bands – Shadows Fall, LOG and yourselves – who do you think parties the hardest and will get up to the most mischief?
Personally I think that all of us together in a room it will be pretty mischievous! High On Fire just got added to the bill and I think that the bunch of us coming together, it is just like a bunch of pirates coming together and it is nothing but a good time! Me and Mark [Morton] together, we get a couple of bottles of wines in our hands, and well...it is good times.
Lamb Of God, Devildriver, High On Fire and Shadows Fall play these shows in December.
Friday 11 December – Brisbane, The Riverstage
Saturday 12 December – Sydney, Luna Park
Tuesday 15 December – Melbourne, Festival Hall
Wednesday 16 December – Adelaide, Thebarton Theatre
Friday 18 December – Perth, Metro City