Interview with Dead Earth Politics at Housecore Horrorfest

When I attended Housecore Horrorfest last month, I was surprised to see that TGT spotlights Dead Earth Politics had their own merch table set up well before anyone else did at the festival. They sat out there for three days talking and mingling with people, which is a lot more than some of the other acts were able to do. I came to the festival nearly broke (also considering the fact that I had completely forgotten ALL of my clothes and toiletries in the typical Grim Lord fashion) so I wasn’t able to buy anything, though I figured the least I could do to support one of my favorite acts in recent memory was to get this interview out. So I interviewed Tim “TIMMEH!” Driscoll (Lead Guitar) right at the table, as he and the rest of the guys later blew my mind during their Sunday performance. It was definitely one of the best shows I saw at the festival and I’m still under the impression that this is an act to watch. Go out there and support your local scene, folks!

First, tell me a little about the band.

The band started back in 2005 from the remnants of other bands. I know that seems like ancient history at this point, but Devin our vocalist, Will our bass player and Mason our drummer are the ones that are still around today. They put out an EP, full-length album and just rounded it out like all bands have to do. I’ve been in the band for a little over two years. I joined in the spring/summer of 2012. Since then we’ve put out one EP and right now we’re wrapping up another one which should release the beginning of next year. I guess that’s the broad overview.

What is your position in the band?

I’m lead guitarist. On rhythm we also have Aaron Canady formerly of Shrapnel who joined in March.

How long have you been playing guitar?

I’ve been playing a little over nineteen years. I started in the summer of ninety-five and went to the elite college of music in Boston for four years. I majored in performance there. As far as guitar sound goes, I like anything that sounds cool and has some passion. It can be loud, it can be soft. Anything that’s clean.

What are your influences on guitar?

I started out with Metallica, Pantera and Megadeth, then slowly moved into more of the mainstream 90’s rock like Soundgarden and Alice In Chains. Then I moved on to Dream Theater. John Petrucci is a huge influence of mine. There’s also Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and then the later stuff like Lamb Of God and Children Of Bodom. Alexi’s a ripping player. I dig some of him. I also listen to a lot of jazz and other stuff that creeps it’s way in as well. It’s not as obvious, I suppose.

What are your some of your favorite records of all time?

Metallica – And Justice For All

That was my introduction to music.

Pantera – Far Beyond Driven

Heard it when I was eleven and I didn’t know it was possible for music to be that heavy.

Dream Theater – Awake

I got into them a little later, when I was in high school.

Radiohead – OK Computer

I know that’s a bit of a strange one to be talking about during a metal fest, but it was basically a before and after in the way that I viewed music.

To those who haven’t heard the band before, how would you describe your sound?

I would say that we’re kind of A meets B, a three-headed Cerberus of music. Like if you took Lamb Of God, Iron Maiden and Megadeth and put them together. We’re sort of the middle of that triangle.

So tell me a little bit about the name Dead Earth Politics. Who came up with it and what does it actually mean?

There have been a lot of stories over the years, but as for what I’ve been told; the guys were listening to Dillinger Escape Plan and for some reason the DEP initials spoke to them. They couldn’t obviously use Dillinger Escape Plan because that had already been taken, so Devin (vocals) said, “Well, what about Dead Earth Politics?” and that seemed to work. I don’t know how much alcohol was consumed during the process of that, but that’s a legend that has been passed down.

Can you tell me a little bit about the forthcoming new release?

It’s part two of a trilogy of EPs. We released The Queen Of Steel last year and the new one is going to be called Men Become Gods. We’re looking forward to getting that out the first quarter of next year. I don’t want to say that it’s more of the same, but there’s four tunes on it and it’s heavier and with a catchier and thrashier style similar to bands like The Haunted and other Swedish bands. We also have some more stretched out and complicated material in the vein of bands like Mastodon. It’s like those two divergent camps. You want to have stuff that the kids can sing along to, but something that’s more brainy as well.

Dead Earth Politics - The Queen Of Steel

What can you tell me about The Queen Of Steel storyline?

That’s mostly the brainchild of Mason, our drummer. He wrote the lyrics for that. You can see from some of our previous album covers like The Weight Of Poseidon. She is a badass dame. I don’t know what she’s pissed off about, but she started wreaking havoc and seeking revenge against all those who wronged her, including Poseidon. The rest of the story has not yet been written.

What advice would you give to bands that are looking to get signed?

Whatever advice we could give them, we would take ourselves because we’re also looking to get signed. We’re looking to go that route too. Mainly, it’s the importance of being professional and being a good person. Music is a big part of it too, but just because you can go out there and play an instrument – that’s not all there is to it. You gotta know what you want and even though it’s cliché, you gotta not let shit get your way. I don’t really have a more articulate answer than that.

When you became musicians, did you feel it was more about just playing the music or were you trying to be rock stars? A lot of bands follow trends these days.

If I wanted to be a rock star, then I’m definitely in the wrong band. I should have tried out for Kings Of Leon or somebody like that, if that was my goal. There’s art and there’s entertainment and there’s always room for both. I guess I would lean more towards the art side. The entertainment aspect of it is secondary. If you’re worried about being a celebrity, maybe you’ll get that and maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll like what happens to you, maybe you won’t. But I don’t worry too much about that.

Tell me about your gear.

My main guitar is an Ernie Ball Music Man John Petrucci Signature model, which I’ve had for about twelve years. Playing that guitar is like driving a Ferrari. I’ve done some modifications to the pickups, but it’s almost like playing a video game on easy mode. It makes you sound better than you actually are at times! (Laughs) I play through a First Edition Carbon Legacy Steve Vai Cab. Not a whole lot of processing, just a big badass loud tube amp and you get right up next to it and get some feedback, the way the gods intended.

Finally, what is your impression of the metal scene these days?

I guess it’s hard to say because there’s so much out there now. Metal has been its own form of music for going on thirty five or forty years, if you go all of the way back to the first Sabbath and Deep Purple records. There’s so much now that is under the umbrella of metal. I think it’s a good thing that there’s a cross-pollination of styles out there and people are more accepting these days of things that aren’t genre specific. Metal is always one of those things that will sometimes be more mainstream then other times. You know, obviously the eighties metal was everywhere. But people are always gonna want loud, no matter what it is. There’s always going to be a market for that.

Thanks for making a great album and answering my questions and I wish you the best of luck! – Eric

Alright, thanks for talking to me.

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