Dry Kill Logic - My Condolences!
After waiting for almost six years Demondust and Buzzin Hornet drove to Hellendoorn to see the band Dry Kill Logic. After some intense communicating the week in advance we managed to arrange an interview with Dry Kill Logic front man Cliff Rigano. He ended up being a true (s)talker which resulted in a long but interesting and educational interview for us rookies.
Our thanks go out to Sophie at Repossession Records, Lobke at Rough Trade and Mark (TM DKL) for helping us arrange this interview!
Our thanks go out to Sophie at Repossession Records, Lobke at Rough Trade and Mark (TM DKL) for helping us arrange this interview!
So, here you are. Finally arrived in the Netherlands!
“Indeed, we have finally arrived!”
“We have read a review of your new album where the journalist is comparing your earlier work with Pantera and he is happy you finally found your own sound. What do you think about this comparison? ”
“You know, I think at the end of the day it is great for us to hear people actually like the new record. But when we were in the studio we didn’t do anything to intentionally change the sound of this band. Our first record came out almost six years ago and that is a significant amount of time for a musician to develop, grow and learn. With this record we went into the studio to put our best foot forward and tried to write the best record that we could and knowing that everything we would do was the best we could do at that time. And I think ultimately you never write the same record twice and this was the logical next step for the band. But again, I am just delighted people are liking the record and I have heard and read some great comparisons with great bands. It is humbeling to be in the same breath as Pantera.”
You also participated in the Gigantour of Dave Mustaine (Megadeth). That must have been a great experience.
“Dude, that was just surreal! We just came of the road with Drowning Pool and we had sent our cd to a friend who was friends with Dave Mustaine. We send it off, he gave it to Dave and apparently he thought we were a great band and wrote great stuff. He listened to it and he asked us to be a part of the Gigantour. And of course we have all been great Megadeth fans forever. So just to be in that situation was unbelievable for us. And because it was our first arena tour we had loads of new experiences and we were able to watch Dream Theater and Dave Mustaine and we got to see our friends in Fear Factory again. It was really cool and a dream came true.”
And the arenas, was it comfortable for you guys?
“Well, it is the same as most festivals. There were two stages and we were on the second stage. But still we were playing in front of a couple of thousand kids every day and the entire crew on that tour was great and professional. Besides that we made loads of new fans and sold a lot of merch and albums which is great for the band.”
And the crowd?
“Well, it is like this. At this tour you get the Dream Theater fan and the Megadeth fan which results in a very progressive music lover and they don’t necessarily like the hardcore sound like we have and they don’t loosen up. But it was good that the younger kids came early for Life of Agony, Fear Factory and us. And the older people came later for the bigger bands like Dream Theater and Megadeth. But still there were a couple of them watching our show thinking, this dude screams and thinks ‘where are the solos’ and I don’t like them because of it. But for the kids which came for the newer stuff it was a great show and we were really excited.”
Besides the tour you get a load of publicity thanks to the DVD and CD for the Gigantour.
“Yeah, thanks to those two products the tour gets know all around the world. And you should of seen the advertising of that tour, it is really important to promote a tour of that magnitude this big because the result is so much better.”
The story of Dry Kill Logic is a long one, what have you learned over the years?
“You know, I think the biggest lesson to be learned right now is with the music industry being the way it is, not being that successful as 5 or 10 years ago, for a musician it is really important to take their own career into their own hands. Gone are the days of record labels developing artists, gone are the days of managers taking care of the band very seriously. Nowadays it is al about the turnovers, quick money, the single instead of the album, how much money you can make with one album. They aren’t looking for a band to do multiple albums. It forces the musician to take their career into their own hands. They really have to spend time analyzing the business and making sure that every decision they make is a smart one, there is not a lot of room left for bands who rely on their manager and label. For me the best lesson I have learned is to always keep an eye on the bigger picture where the here and now is really the place you want to be. It isn’t really easy but it is way better than being a fucking garbage man. You have to adapt, reinvent and overcome! Always at the forefront because music is entertainment, is art, is very cynical, very new. People always want something new. You just don’t want to depend on one song. You still want to be here in twenty years, just like the musicians we all love.”
And that pressure on the band you are talking about, does that have any effect on line up changes?
“Well, it is so tough man. You start a band with people when you are 19 years old. And you cannot expect everybody still wants to be in that band when they are 34 or 35. People grow up, want to get married, have kids, buy a house. There are other things in life you want to do as much as or more than making music with the band. That is just life, all the guys we have lost within the band are still good friends of us. We all shared something together, when it is one album on Roadrunner or five years being unsigned. Everyone plays a part and I understand their choice. I can’t hate people for wanting to do other things with their life and go on. But you always hope you take a better step forward. We have been very fortunate that every time we lost a band member we've always gotten one that is better than the last one. And that is what helped us always continue, it is a part of where the band is right now. We really have the privilege of always having great members in our band. All the guys truly cared about the band when they joined.”
Dry Kill Logic and Europe (Especially Holland)is a long story, whe have been waiting for you guys for ages. We have been listening to the older records for many years now!
“Hahahaha, my condolences man!”
But the way we are seeing the bigger picture you guys got quite the following over here, why did it took so long?
“A lot of that was and is label politics! When we signed with Roadrunner we focused a lot on building the brand in the US. We came over for a small tour with Spineshank to the UK, Ireland and Scotland back in 2001 but then September 11th happened when we were over here. And afterwards our relation with Roadrunner went sour and we ended up parting ways. After that it took us a couple of years for us to get back on track and release a record on SPV in 2004 but unfortunately back then we didn’t have a booking agent over here. So while we were certainly ready with a new label and album there was no agent to book the tour for us. We only did two shows in Germany for the release. One show opening up for Motorhead and one headlining show in London. Both shows were great with 400 kids in London and it solidified the fact that we did have a fan base over here. But then again, no agent so no chances for us to do a tour in Europe. And by the time we did found ourselves an agent we were no longer really a priority for SPV because the album release had come and gone and we had a lot of opportunities in the US and we had to go where the interest was. There were no big opportunities in Europe but in the States they offered us some big shows and we had to take those chances. And then we found our agent in late 2005 after the album cycle had finished after 15 months of touring. So we came over here in March. We were like, we got an agent, book the tour and let’s go! And it turned out to be really successful. So we went home after that, wrote, recorded and release the new record and now we came over here to do it again! The next tour we will do over here… we hope to do the festival circuit next season. We aren’t really a big enough band to headline big shows but that circuit is a great chance for us to get more exposure. I mean, we are not Killswitch Engage or Lamb of God. We need that kind of exposure for a lot of people. And then it is three tours over here within the time span of a year and that is a lot for a band. It is a good amount of tours anywhere I would think.”
“Yeah haha, when you are Slayer or Slipknot you can practically tour anywhere, anytime for shitloads of people. For us it is just like every time we take a step we want to make sure we take a step forward. For this tour there were some strange shows in the UK, for the rest it was a great tour. In the UK there were a couple of Barfly gigs, Academies, the Underworld. But we also played Lincoln, which is not a rock town, Newcastle, Western Super Mare which is like Gods waiting room. There were a couple of places which aren’t suited for a rock show but that is the case when you do a smaller tour like we just did. No one can ever take away our street credit you know what I mean? Hehe. We come out and play for 5, 50 or 500 people. We don’t care!”
So where have you been?
“Germany, Switzerland, France, UK, Ireland, Scotland and of course the Netherlands.”
The last tour you was also supposed to play this venue but that show got cancelled?
“Yeah, I don’t know what happened. We never got cancelled, booked or whatever. They never confirmed the gig because we were never informed about this gig. So for me it was totally new we were supposed to play here and got cancelled because we were never booked here…”
Phil also co-produced the new album, what are the roles during the writing process of a Dry Kill Logic album?
“To be honest with you I am not a big part of the song writing process. I don’t play an instrument so I write none of the music. These guys are the musicians; they play the instruments and are the actual brains behind the music of this band. They get together and Phil plays the drum, plays the guitar. And Jason plays a whole lot of different instruments and Brendan is a great bass player. They get into the rehearsal room and kick in all different ideas. And when they get to the point they got the basis structure they give me the song and that is when I sit down and start thinking of lyrical patterns and melodies and words and arrangements. I kind of finish the song. After that we all get together and hammer the details down. Normally the song is written at that point; in some cases better ideas make the song even better.”
But is Dry Kill Logic a full time job? Because of Phil co-producing the album and you being the A&R manager?
“Dry Kill Logic is our full time job at the moment. Before we signed the deal with Repossession I have worked for Universal Records as a product manager. I have worked with Hatebreed, Godsmack, Three Doors Down, Jack Johnson and Elthon John. Big and small bands. So when we were going to release The Dead And Dreaming in 2004 I told the record label I wanted to be on top of the decision making about finances and the path we were going to be taking. We were the first band on that label (Repossession) and I was coming from Universal so it was very important for me and the band that we had greater or equal control in the creative pattern and the way the money was spend. Again the long term picture and taking the control into your own hands and developing into the band we want to become. So it is our full time job and it is a lot of fun!”
“Better then selling toothbrushes!”
Several Busses, 4 RVs? WHAT DO YOU DO?
“Haha, you are on the road man and that is what happens! An RV is meant to be driven to one spot and then stopped etc etc. It is meant for old people and not 8 dudes in a band ripping it apart! The normal course when you are on the road for 14 months is that it is forcing you to cope with everything at least twice! It is a part of being on the road, shit breaks!”
“Yup, that is what it is!”
“Yeah, we got the night liner! We are still used to vans and small busses so it feels great to actually have a night liner. Don’t get me wrong, we toured in countless vans, most of them inadequate for being on the road. And now we are in the right time of our career and decided this is the logical next step. It allows us to stay at gigs longer and sleep better so we can be better in what we do. The bus is our sanctuary. It think it is really something a band has to work up to, it is pretty expensive and you have to earn it. And you have to appreciate the fact you actually can rent the night liner after spending months in those crappy RVs and vans.”
What about the release of Of Vengeance And Violence over here?
“It is going to be Repossession/Psychodrama/Rough Trade over here. It is a deal between Repossession and Rough Trade.”
“This is one intense band!”