DevilDriver's Dez Fafara: "The Earth Knows How to Purge Itself of Brush and People"
That's great; because that doesn't always go so smoothly for bands.
Well, it's a different scenario I think with Napalm. They are a smaller label and they are run by people -- and this is very important -- but the owner is very passionate. I think in 20 years, I met the owner of Roadrunner once, and all he ever really wanted to do was talk business. He didn't care to ask me about how my wife was or my children. You know, when you are in business with someone for so long you expect that type of interaction. And what I found in Napalm was an owner with massive amounts of passion. Being with them now for less than a year, I've met and hung out with the guy like six or seven times. We're drinking wine, listening to music--it feels like a great partnership.
DevilDriver has always been a band that believes in cutting its own path with out-of-the-box music styles, delivering something different on each record. With that being said, can you elaborate about one thing on each of the six records that you feel really stand out for you?
That's easy to do now that we're on our sixth record. What I do think is, and people should notice, is that we were only a band six months before we got a record deal. And I said early on that the records that would come later would be more interesting and more growth, because naturally you are growing as you play together and getting to know each other musically and personally. I think the first record [2003's DevilDriver] was a little linear yet there are some absolute standout tracks on that record. And it's still one of my favorites; it's what broke us open. We still play tons of that music live. I think our second record [2005's The Fury of Our Maker's Hand] is where we really grew; that was really obvious, that growth. We just had to do what felt natural in where we wanted to go. Our third record, The Last Kind Words , really took a heavier turn. We were in a ... I don't want to say dark place, but it was a strange place for us as a band. We were really starting to grow and, um, we wanted to put our foot forward on doing something different. And that record is like critically acclaimed so that brought a lot of positivity towards the project. From there, by the time we got to Pray for Villains it was a mid-tempo record, back to where we were at at the beginning. And with Beast , we were really straddling the lines of who we were at that point. The arrangements are really wide open, there's a ton of riffs in each song. We tended to really go off on tangents musically. And I love that. And now with Winter Kills; it's way, way different than any of those. The arrangements are much tighter, the grooves are much groovier and the hooks are way bigger. Instead of trying to be ultimately heavy with these huge breakdowns -- like so many other current bands are doing -- we just wanted to stay true to what we're doing. Kind of a long answer to a short question!
Well I think it's important to paint that big picture of you reflecting back on those records because that's one of DevilDriver's goals: You guys want to deliver something new each time. You know, for me personally a record like The Last Kind Words brought forward a stronger melodic metal influence which broadened your appeal to a mass audience, even though you say you guys were in a dark place.
Well, when I saw darker place ... there was like a stretch right there where I was constantly moving my family during the wildfires in California and there was all this displacement while I was trying to make this record. We had no home, and were touring so hard that when I did get home I had to move my family and the animals three times I think. What we never want to do is make the same record twice. Ultimately, you have to stay to your signature sound. And our signature sound is the groove. Me, myself; I came around in music in '94, '95. I have lived through several different scenes and DevilDriver has been around for 10 years now so we've been through several different scenes too. We've learned to stick to what you want to do, know where you want to go with your music and don't be afraid to step forward or backwards to make your art better.