Interview with Dead and Dripping

Interview with Dead and Dripping

- in Written interviews

Hi Evan! How did you approach the songwriting process for “Blackened Cerebral Rifts”? Did you have a specific concept or theme in mind when writing the album?
Hey Stanley, thanks for the interview! For this album I went with a more straightforward approach in terms of songwriting as compared to the last two albums. I aimed to really get weird and open up the riffing style, so a lot of the songs have a relatively simple structure to highlight that. Another goal was to shift the focus onto technicality in a more rhythmic sense, with most songs featuring polymetric grooves and things like that. Overall, I wanted to create a strange and surreal atmosphere.

Can you talk more about your decision to go for a more natural sound instead of a more polished, modern production style?
I prefer to feel like I’m hearing a real performance when listening to a record. Sterile-sounding drums in particular ruin a lot of recordings for me that otherwise would be top notch. I can still enjoy lots of albums that I think are a bit overproduced, I just don’t prefer it. I also don’t have a problem with triggered kicks, sample blending, etc. I just think these things should be used as a conscious choice rather than just the default method. Simulating a live sound is something I’ve tried to achieve on each record.
I also need to give a shoutout to Scot Moriarty who has engineered each session (at Backroom Studios) and also mixed and mastered each album to date. He is an absolute master at dialing in drum sounds and we always end up with a great mix.

The album features an interlude right in the middle. What was the inspiration behind including this track, and how does it fit into the overall structure of the album?
The interlude is intended as a bit of a palate cleanser. It helps the flow when listening to the album in full. The track right before it is the longest on the record and one of the more intense tracks, and the song right after the interlude is fairly short and more mid-tempo. It sort of helps shift gears halfway through the album, and gives the listener a quick breather.

How did you ensure that all of the complex elements in the music were perfectly audible and didn’t become muddled or chaotic?
I don’t pay too much conscious attention in making sure each note is distinct, but I do think one thing that maintains some clarity is using a fairly clean bass tone. There also isn’t any added reverb on the drums, which helps keep things sounding a bit tighter as well.

How do you see your music fitting into the broader landscape of technical death metal? Are there any specific bands or artists that you consider to be influences or peers?
Technicality is definitely an element of the music, but not the express purpose. I think Dead and Dripping’s music is more progressive than technical. I’m not sure it fits in with most other tech death bands of today, but I also don’t keep up with the subgenre all that much so I’m not sure.
As far as influences go: Cryptopsy, Devourment, Cerebral Effusion, and Gorgasm are some of the bands that initially inspired this project. I’ve pulled from some more old-school influence over time, including Demilich, Morbid Angel, and Death. Meshuggah is often an underlying influence as well, though it might not be as apparent.
I’ve gotta give a shoutout to some of the sickest one-man death metal bands as well: Nithing (Matt Kilner), Anal Stabwound (Nikhil Talwalkar), Meshum (Erkin Öztürk), and Dissociative Healing (Anton Eremin), to name a few.

Can you talk about the meaning behind the title and how it relates to the themes explored on the album?
Some themes of “Blackened Cerebral Rifts” include dismantling and reforming associations, tides and the moon, existential duality, dreams woven indiscernibly into reality, and of course some general Lovecraft influence. I wanted it to sound surreal and somewhat psychedelic, and the themes are meant to feed into that. Some of the themes were inspired by a couple of particular video games: Bloodborne (From Software) and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (Retro Studios/Nintendo). I thought the title concisely (for once) communicated all of that stuff while still being vague enough to leave something to the imagination.

What is the relationship between our fascination with gore and our fear of death?
Lots of people are attracted to extremes, and I think often fear breeds fascination. We are at least morbidly curious enough to observe death from a safe distance, especially with imagery of gore and death being so accessible in modern times.

From your point of view: what moral and ethical considerations should be taken into account when handling corpses and the dead?
My friend who’s a funeral director would probably have a more insightful answer. I would say it depends on the corpse. If the person was cool, treat it with respect. If it’s the corpse of a garbage person, then fuck it. Figuratively and/or literally. Personally, I don’t care what happens to my body once I’m dead.

How does the experience of sickness challenge our beliefs about the nature of the human body and its limitations?
Humanity is both incredibly perseverent and incredibly fragile. Sickness puts into perspective things that most of us (myself included) take for granted on a daily basis, ranging from basic necessities to the ability to work for a living and still prioritize creative output.

Can you talk about the artwork for the album and how it reflects the music and themes on the record?
For the artwork, I presented Jason Wayne Barnett with the themes I mentioned earlier, asked him to use a lot of purple, and sent him the track listing. That’s about all the direction I imposed on him, and I think the result is absolutely killer: extremely ominous and mind-bending, perfectly suiting the music. I’ve always wanted to work with Jason and I’m extremely satisfied with the album cover.

The album has been compared to the work of bands such as Wormed, Demilich, and Suffocation. How do you feel about these comparisons, and do you think they accurately reflect your sound?
It’s a bit crazy to be compared to such legends. I can see where these comparisons might stem from to some extent, in the song structures as well as both the drumming and vocal style. I certainly wouldn’t make that comparison myself, but I do think it would give someone a decent idea of Dead and Dripping’s music.

How did you approach the lyrics for the album, and what themes or ideas did you want to explore through the lyrics?
For me the lyrics help flesh out the vibe of the song title and are usually more about feel than creating a narrative. Some songs do touch on weird aspects of humanity, how relative all of perception is, fascination with the unknowable, etc. I wanted the lyrics to work in tandem with the music to create an auditory nightmare.

The album features a range of intense blasting and slower breakdowns. How do you balance these different elements in your music, and how do they contribute to the overall sound and feel of the album?
Contrast is super important to me when writing music, and especially when things get really twisted and difficult both to play and to listen to, a nice groove is like a reward both for the player and the listener. The breakdown parts help punctuate the music, and let you headbang and jam out for a while, but you’ve gotta earn it by sitting through the chaos. This is something I picked up from bands like Nile and Cerebral Effusion, who both balance furious, twisted riffing with crushing, catchy grooves.

Do you feel that technical ability is necessary to create the kind of intricate, complex music that you make?
Some amount of technical ability is definitely necessary to write Dead and Dripping’s style of music. When I started this project, I had been playing guitar for about twelve years and drums for about eight. I think you need as much technical skill as your ideas demand and that’s about it, I’m not too interested in technicality for its own sake. I just try to push my skills in a new way with each release, usually writing stuff that’s just outside my comfort zone in some way.

The album has been described as “rewarding” and “satisfying” for fans of the genre. What do you hope listeners will take away from the album, and what do you hope they will remember about it?
Hopefully listeners will appreciate the production and overall sound and feel of the album, and enjoy the first listen enough to come back to it a few times. I try to write material that demands multiple listens to fully appreciate; those are the types of albums I personally enjoy the most and I hope this will be that sort of album for the listeners.

How do you see your music evolving and developing in the future? Are there any specific directions or ideas that you would like to explore in your next release?
Recording for the next release is in progress. It has elements of all three albums so far, with lots of longer tunes, weird structures, and more brutal Cerebral Effusion inspired grooves like on the first album. It’s the most twisted and technical but also some of the catchiest material to date by far, and I’m excited for it to come to fruition.

Can you talk about your creative process when it comes to writing and recording music? How do you approach the creation of new material?
Writing is the most fun part for me. The process varies; sometimes an idea comes to me at an inopportune moment and I try to verbally record the idea so I can figure it out later. Usually I just get stoned and sit with my guitar fleshing out riffs and putting them into guitar pro as I go along. This makes it super easy to arrange structures, and I’ll usually put down a handful of main ideas for a song and then bridge them together. Then I focus on rehearsing the parts one by one, starting with drums, in preparation for recording.

Can you talk about the advantages and challenges of being a one-man band? Thank you!
The main advantage is the total lack of compromise. The only limitations are self-imposed in a creative sense. My biggest challenge is that I’m terrible at promoting myself. I do think it’s inherently harder to promote yourself as a one-man band for some reason, but I am also particularly bad at it. I haven’t begun looking for a live lineup just yet, but I anticipate that might be a challenge as well. Anyway, thanks for a very cool interview!

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