As a pale man in a white t-shirt pulls up in his motorcycle with one side mirror missing and the other quickly taped on, I am introduced to Billy and Jeff from the experimental metal group Dillinger Escape Plan, as the faded sticker on the front of their bike reaffirms.
How many times have you guys been on the Warped Tour now?
Jeff: This will be three years straight now. The tour ends but we keep on going.
Billy: We make our own Warped Tour.
Doesn’t that make you exhausted?
Billy: I don’t think so. We were out for two and a half weeks before this, so we’re good.
How do you keep your energy level so high all the time?
Jeff: Monster energy drinks.
Billy: You know how when you do drugs and build up a tolerance? We now have to mainline Monster.
Jeff: I have an IV of the stuff.
Billy: We don’t have blood steams any more. It’s just Monster.
Jeff: But honestly, it’s like any form of exercise, really. When I get home, if I don’t have adrenaline going through my body, I’ll shut down. I get depressed. I crave the adrenaline.
And what happens when you don’t get your adrenaline fix?
Billy: Just mainline some Monster!
Jeff: I sleep for a few days. Put on some Cure records and dim the lights a bit.
Billy: Jeff is always trying to steal my epinephrine.
(We all break into a round of laughter. After whipping the humor induced tear from my eye, we continue the interview.)
Did you guys set out to make as hardcore, brutal music as possible? What was your aim when writing music?
Jeff: We just go to write music, man. Everyone has that conception of our writing process. We’ve heard everything from rolling rice to come up with chord progression and time signatures. Whatever, man. When it comes down to it, I think we all come from such different musical backgrounds. We draw inspirations from things like Latin music and hip-hop to electronic music and any time you’re doing that, you’re going to end up with music that sounds a little bit different than most people are accustomed to.
Would you ever plan on incorporating that kind of music which you draw such inspirations from into your own?
Billy: That’s too much of a conscious effort, man. Honestly, music is written by being influenced by life experiences. Life can generate music vicariously through a musician. I’m the new drummer, and its part of my job to write with this band, which was very natural. It’s like, this is the sound that would naturally come out of this group of musicians and it just came together naturally as if any band would get together and write in their studio or write in their garage.
Jeff: A lot of times people will be like, “How did you write that song in 9/5 times?” and I’ll be like, “Thanks for telling me that was in 9/5 time, we just kind of came up with the riff and jammed on it.” It’s not like, “We need to write this part with a time signature.”
Billy: What nobody realizes is that every song is actually in 1/16, and I can prove this.
Are you guys big on music theory?
Jeff: I’m big on music, man!
Billy: I’ve learned it to forget it.
Jeff: I can read music like I can read Spanish. I can pull things out and I can read certain things, but if I had to read it on the fly it wouldn’t happen.
It’s like, you can make your way in Tijuana but any further than that and you’d be lost. Billy, the drummer, how long have you been with the band now?
Billy: It’s been about a year and eight months.
Jeff: And three days, five hours, and forty-six seconds.
What are the bands plans after the Tour?
Jeff: Take some time off and then head back to Europe for the third time this year.
Billy: We’re going to work on some more material to prepare for the road. Some other tracks we have for Rock for Paralysis next month.
So you’re heading back to Europe to write and record?
Jeff: No. we’re doing a six week tour there.
What is the name of that tour and with whom?
Billy: We’re coming for your Dog tour.
Who was that guy up on stage with you earlier?
Jeff: He is our surrogate singer. We travel with an understudy. Sometimes Greg’s inner Axel Rose comes out and he refuses to go on stage. So we got a guy that we keep in the trailer like the dude from Pulp Fiction.
Jeff: The Gimp, yeah. So, Greg’s hair wasn’t really working for him this morning, so we had to get the gimp out. He did a good job, though. The parts that he did sing, at least, he did well. Which wasn’t many. But thanks to that guy, the gimp.
And thank you for chatting with me.
Photos by Pamela Lin