The Dillinger Escape Plan are known throughout the industry for their challenging sound and their crazy live set. Recently, I talked with guitarist Ben Weinman, who was surprisingly relaxed and extremely candid.
Tanner Fisher: I’m doing it live here with Ben Weinman. How are you Ben?
BW: I’m good. How are you?
TF: Oh I’m great. So speaking of the “Do it live!” thing, I saw you guys on Fox News. What prompted you guys to go on and do that?
BW: Man, I don’t know. We kind of find ourselves in weird situations pretty often. I don’t know how it happens, but we’re excited to expose ourselves to people who aren’t expecting it. We like to do that as often as possible, so we took the opportunity.
TF: Now you guys don’t really follow any trends in metal or any genre. Do you have anything to say about current metal trends? What do you like, and what don’t you like?
BW: I like anyone who is trying to do something different, you know. I like when people try and incorporate new things into metal…mostly I consider real metal as an attitude. People who are just trying to do things differently, in an extreme way, you know, not following the herd. So to me, something that is heavy isn’t necessarily metal. There are a lot of metal bands that are just following the formula, and you know, things like that. I don’t consider that real metal. But anyone who is trying to do new things, and who is trying to push boundaries is exciting to me.
TF: So your last album Ire Works was your most diverse. The critics loved it, but it kind of divided the fan base. What were the band’s intentions with that album?
BW: We’re always just trying to make a record that’s honest, that we personally enjoy. We can’t predict what people are going to like. If we do a record that sounds like the record before, then people will say we just made the same record, and if we change things up, people might not know how to react. We kind of realized that we can’t please everyone, so we just try to make records we like. I mean, previously to Ire Works, we did some diverse stuff on Miss Machine, and we pretty much realized that we lost a lot of people that just wanted to hear really extreme, you know, crazy shit constantly. We figure now we can just do what we want.
TF: When that album came out, you hit the media spotlight a little bit. You made appearances on Conan, among other spots. How weird was that?
BW: It’s weird, because we were still on a metal label, we still didn’t have a ton of money put into us for marketing, or anything like that. It’s just been some interesting people taking notice to us, so it’s exciting…maybe that means we’re doing something special, I don’t know. Yeah, but there really aren’t any strings being pulled, you know it’s all real with us.
TF: So your new album, Option Paralysis has some melodic parts, but it goes back to more of an earlier sound for you guys. Talk to me about what you were doing on this album.
BW: On this one, we really wrote in a similar way of how we did it back in the day. We took time and made a record. Our drummer moved in with me, we played in the basement, and we made the record. So maybe making the record like this brings back some elements back from our old-school sound a little bit. It’s a little more consistent; we wrote it all at once, and I think that’s why it sounds like it sounds.
TF: You said your drummer moved in with you. You’re talking about the new drummer, Billy Rymer, right? What has he brought to the band?
BW: Oh man…kind of innocence, in a way. He hasn’t had a lot of experience, I mean he hasn’t toured the world a million times; he hasn’t been in a million bands. He wasn’t very well known, and not many people knew him, but he is an amazing drummer. So this is a great opportunity not only to showcase his skills and make a name for himself, but also to rise to the occasion and really make the Dillinger fans stoked. He’s had a lot of pressure put on him, but I think the pressure brought a really great energy to the record.
TF: You guys are known for your on-stage antics. How do you physically do what you do on a nightly basis?
BW: It’s not easy, to be honest. We’re on like, nine days without a day off right now. Everyday something happens that you don’t expect. Someone collides into somebody, or someone falls, or something happens. I don’t know man…I just couldn’t imagine doing it any other way. So as long as we’re out there doing it, we’re going to give it 110%.
TF: I’ve heard that you’ve had doctors telling you that you can’t continue to do what you do on stage.
BW: Yeah, I had some pretty serious injuries, along the way, and doctors say that I shouldn’t be doing this in any way, shape, or form, not only during the injuries, but ever.
BW: Yeah, Tosin [Abasi, guitarist] is someone that is going to do something special. I think he’s the modern day Steve Vai. Tosin is really an amazing musician, and we’re really excited to expose that band to a lot of new people.
TF: After this tour, what do you have planned?
BW: We’re pretty much busy until Christmas. We have dates in Australia next and then we have a short run in Europe. We’re also doing Warped Tour all summer, then more Europe, then more U.S., so yeah, we’re all booked.
TF: Well congratulations on the new album and good luck tonight!