They were four of the nicest guys you would ever meet but their songs sounded like a war.
Such were the extraordinarily apropos words ex-Hope Conspiracy/All Pigs Must Die vocalist Kevin Baker used to sum up Die My Will — one of the best, most powerful, most criminally underrated extreme music bands of the 1990s — when I hit him up (as well as members of Trap Them, Author & Punisher, Backstabbers, Inc and others) for a 2015 digital cry into the abyss entitled “It’s Time to Resurrect Die My Will, The Greatest Metallic Hardcore Band You’ve (Probably) Never Heard.”
Well, kids, sometimes nightmares really do come true.
Thanks to Blasphemour Records after nearly a quarter century the all-killer-no-filler absolute leveler of a debut from these Connecticut metallic hardcore visionaries is now remastered and ready to be unleashed to kill again — and it sounds as intense, vital, and relevant as ever. (Preorder here.)
Check out an exclusive stream of the track “Endless Suffering” — a real tie-the-room-together track that synthesizes a lot of the unique, brilliant elements of Die My Will in one sonic beast — as well as an interview with vocalist/guitarist Brandon Dubrosky delving into the past, present, and future of Die My Will below.
For those unfamiliar with the band, can you give me a thumbnail sketch of your history, from original intent to actualization?
Our intent was pretty simple. We wanted to write songs that were as intense as we could make them. We were all really against anything “extra” at the time. If a lyric or music section did not serve a specific purpose in the song we tried to identify that and cut it. I should say most of us were really against anything extra. All Jeff wanted was harmonics and pick slides, so we did have to strike a balance with that. I tried to write lyrics that would match the intensity of the music. Jeff and I met in second grade and then served 11 years in Catholic school together so the source material was all there. We met Todd and Rob while we were in high school and we all shared similar ideals when it came to music. I think this no frills philosophy naturally carried over to our live shows for us. We wanted to play our songs and give 100% effort and that was it. Sitting here now looking back, I think this may have been a defense mechanism. If the crowd did not like it, we could all still be happy with our effort at least.
I imagine the remaster process provided an opportunity to revisit the songs in a fuller, deeper sense. Was it interesting to come back to these tracks with the perspective only distance, time, and experience can grant? Is it surprising to you at all how enduring the music and lyrics have been on others?
It was really great to listen to these songs with our new life perspective. I am certainly less angry about some things but there are a ton of reminders in these songs for me still. When people take the time to reach out to us and let us know that a song from this album means something to them still or that they just discovered them after all this time…it is remarkable. I don’t think our younger selves would have believed it or would have dared to hope for something that amazing. When someone tells you that one of your songs helped them get though something in their life — there really are no words to express what that means to us.
Did you feel any momentum after the initial release?
When we originally released the self-titled CD I would have to say we felt very little momentum. It was slow going for us in that regard but it didn’t matter that much to us. All we wanted to do was play shows back then- as many shows as we could get ourselves invited to. So that is what we tried to do. There were many times we drove five or six hours, eight and a half hours one time, so that we could play for 20 minutes. I think we actually may feel more momentum right now from this vinyl release. It is an old tired man sort of momentum but still. We had been talking about trying to put something out on vinyl for a while. When Ryan from Blasphemour Records approached us, through our mutual friend Ian Kauffman, we were really excited. I gotta say, in stark contrast to us, that dude moves like the wind. I think we started talking about this like a week ago.
Die My Will was a uniquely powerful live band. I have a very distinct memory of seeing you play the track we’re streaming today, “Endless Suffering,” and just knowing before the last chord rang out I would be all in on this band. Can you tell me a little bit about the origins of that song and how it came together, musically and thematically?
I do not remember the specifics of how exactly the song came together musically. I do remember working out the back and forth vocals with Rob at the end of the song in the practice room. This is when the song really started to feel like, ya know…this was a valued rug. Rob did such a great job bringing the end of the song to life. His vocals there were so strong and carried so much emotion. Even when I hear them now I get the exact same feeling as I did in that room more than 20 years ago. Over the years a few people have approached me to tell me that this song in particular had helped them deal with something in their lives. That is an incredibly beautiful thing to me and the last thing I would want to do is to change that by messing with their interpretations of the lyrics. So, I apologize but because of that, I am just going to talk about the themes in a very general way. I think we all have to be more than where we came from and how we were raised. I think we have to consciously try to correct the things that we each perceive as wrong. If we don’t, we are the problem. Thematically, for me this really relates to the title of our second release as well …and still we destroy.
What do you think of the Brad Boatright remaster? From an outside perspective, it sounds amazing…
I have not heard them on vinyl yet but from the digital files it is clear he coaxed a lot more life out of the recordings. It’s nice to hear the drums. It’s been a while. The songs sound tighter and low end hits harder. We are really happy with the remasters.
Has the meaning and resonance of the band and these songs evolved for you?
Yes, absolutely and I have no idea how to put it in to words. So I will just say I feel absolutely lucky that Jeff, Rob, Todd and myself got to work together at this time in our lives. I feel like we did something worthwhile.
Are there any particular moments or memories that come to mind when you think of this record?
Yes, sort of, the memory that comes to mind is related to this record at least. I remember right after …and still we destroy was released, Keith from Piecemeal telling me how much better the self-titled release was. This memory always makes me smile. He said it carried more weight for him and each song sounded more epic or important to him, I think those were the words he used. I love Keith. He was probably right. I know it made me want to try even harder with our next songs. I was always happy he shared that with me.
Obviously, you’ve all moved onto other parts of your life journey. Are there any plans to revisit other DMW material or reunite?
Yes we have five songs that we had worked on when we were active that we never released or fully finished for one reason or another. We are going to finish and record those songs. If our old bones can make them sound in a way that we are happy with them, we will put them out there. So there is a good chance no one will ever hear them.