You started recording in December 2012 and finished in April 2013. That’s a long time to track. Who are you? Metallica? I’m kidding. It was done in pieces, correct?Dez Fafara: [Laughs] Yes it was. The first part was that we had the demos and went on a two month run in the states and I wrote the lyrics daily on the road. It was a different application from my normal way of writing, which is often in seclusion as I’ve found that isolation produces the best out of a writer. Every day, I would call back various band members to the back lounge of the bus and show them the songs, go over directions as well as make arrangement changes and we would all note them. This I found interesting to hear immediate feedback on a line or a chorus idea. The second part—when we got off that tour the band flew directly to Audio Hammer in Florida and began finding tones and preparing to track while I went home to my studio and finished off second verses and kept refining chorus ideas. The third part—is I recorded vocals at my studio I recently built at my house—which, as you can imagine, (not being away from family) added a very positive killer vibe on the record! Most of all you will hear first takes, as it was firing off incredibly during the sessions! While I was taking small breaks Mark would drive the two hours to LA to touch up guitar leads and doubles, etc. The fourth part—DevilDriver left for a European run with Cannibal Corpse and during that tour we had four weeks to listen down to all that we had done and make notes. (Which we’ve never allowed ourselves the time to, actually live with the record.) So, when I got home from Europe three days later Mark flew back out to my pad and we completed notes that both the band and mark had made regarding vocals as well as song structure. Taking our time with this record was essential in its making! I do believe, and have never said this regarding a new record but “it’s our best work.”
Where did you record DevilDriver album number six?
Dez Fafara: Music at Audio Hammer in Florida; vocals at my home studio.
What did you learn from Beast that you didn’t want to do on the new album?
Dez Fafara: This production on the new one is so different from Beast. It’s a whole new level for the band. Mark took almost four days to get these guitar tones and as long to get drum tones too. That’s unheard of in this day and age of hurry-up-the-clock-is-ticking! [Laughs] Everything from the real raw, almost abrasive biting new guitar tone we have, the massive but tight tone of the drums, even the snare sound is something special. Also, the vocal tone is totally different from beast as we utilized gear that we used on the Last Kind Words, DevilDriver’s third record, and instead of taking hours and switching mics, etc. Mark and I nailed it within a half hour and then starting tracking at 11 a.m. the next morning.
What were the sessions like? Any snags?
Dez Fafara: No snags! Just pure getting down on the music and recording it! This record was smooth sailing! And has a positive/cohesive vibe all over it that you can hear!
Any fun stories of being in the studio? Debauchery, weirdness, “ghosts in the machines,” or is it all business?
Dez Fafara: On my end it was “Let’s fucking do this!” At home, I’m a morning kinda cat.
I would wake up go downstairs to my studio drink coffee, then Mark would arrive [at] 10 a.m., we would go over what we were doing and I would do my thing, then hit the mic. Most of the whole record vocally is first takes, one takes, and very little stacking of vocals in fact. All the verses especially are single tracked. (No one does that. Most singers in metal stack themselves over and over to achieve heavy. It’s not honest and it’s something I wanted to avoid at all costs.)
How would you describe the music? A continuation of Beast?
Dez Fafara: Album six is far from Beast, far from Pray for Villains, which were both very different records. DevilDriver never wants to make the same sounding record, so we change it up. To try and compare it with our past efforts would be hard to do. Raw in-your-face aggressive guitars that aren’t over-produced! Huge hooks, both riff wise and vocally, grooves… man, it’s got groove! There’s choruses you can sink your teeth into on this one! The drumming is fantastic and in the pocket! All in all, it’s our best effort and show cases the California groove at its best!
When will the first song premiere?
Dez Fafara: I believe July. That’s turning out to be difficult as there are six songs in the running for first up and any musician will tell you that’s fucking rare!
The new album’s your first for Napalm Records. Any expectations? You were Roadrunner artists for 10 years.
Dez Fafara: Yes! Napalm and DevilDriver are a match made in heaven right now, filled with passion for what we do and they have been stellar, aware, and on top of it so far…
OK, give us the album title. Or maybe a few song titles?
Dez Fafara: Nope, too early.
And finally, what separates DevilDriver the live band from DevilDriver the studio band?
Dez Fafara: Focused in the studio! Focused and showing teeth onstage! Nothing changes. We attack both with the same furious nature!
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