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29th May 2011
Generically uncategorisable, London based trio Die So Fluid first introduced their sonically heterogeneous art to the world a decade ago with the release of four track EP 'Operation Hypocrite'. Not overly prolific in their recorded output, a debut album, 'Spawn of Dysfunction', followed three years later with its successor, 'Not Everybody Gets a Happy Ending', appearing in 2008. Then, last year they unleashed a career best, the musically eclectic, poly-genre beast that was 'The World Is Too Big For One Lifetime'. So ten years with just an EP and three albums to their name but we're most definitely talking quality over quantity with Die So Fluid whose original lineup remains satisfyingly intact since their inception at the turn of the century. In fact, it would be difficult to imagine any other personnel involved as bassist/vocalist Grog, guitarist Drew Richards and drummer Al Fletcher each bring their unique style of playing and creativity into the band to collectively make music that is best described as just, well, Die So Fluid. Their blend of metal, punk, rock, prog, grunge, stoner et al remains unparalleled and, married with their electrifying live performances, makes for one of the most exciting bands to emerge during the twenty first century. Playing the first day of 2011's Femme Metal Fest in Birmingham, Metal Discovery arranged to meet up with Grog and co an hour or so before they were due to hit stage. Sitting in the intimate confines of their splitter van that is parked outside the venue, Al is midway through devouring some sort of chicken wrap so it's Drew and Grog who predominantly engage in the various discussions that ensue...
METAL DISCOVERY: You did a couple of short UK tours earlier this year, in March and May – how did those go?
GROG: Really good. It was kind of like one long tour but split into two halves… [laughs] Yeah, and it was really cool. We did the Dingwalls show at the end of the first half of the tour and that was brilliant, you know, the high point for me. But there were some other really brilliant shows as well, like Southampton, Talking Heads, was rammed. It was really good fun and you feel like things are really sort of building now.
(Grog on the latest album's philosophy of life's alternative paths and how it relates to the band)
"It’s more speculative, really. And it’s more sort of reaffirming as well that we know we’ve chosen the right path in Die So Fluid. It’s a thing of love, really, this band, because we’ve all been doing it for a long time."
Die So Fluid oustide The Asylum, Birmingham, UK, 29th May 2011
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
Photograph copyright © 2011 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
MD: Taking off eventually.
GROG: Yeah, it feels quite buzzy at the moment so it’s really exciting.
MD: ‘The World Is Too Big For One Lifetime’… I re-read my review when I was writing these questions and I wrote something like this is perhaps the album that you’re finally set to hit the big-time with because it’s such an awesome record, but has your popularity noticeably increased since the album came out?
DREW: It has but I just don’t know how much of it’s down to the album, to be honest. I guess some of it must be…
GROG: It’s hard to tell these days.
DREW: It’s not like we got on the radio with it… mainstream radio, anyway.
GROG: It’s word of mouth more than anything that’s working for us which is actually really cool. I prefer that, really… [laughs] I mean, if you feel tough and it’s really solid, and then you get a bit more exposure, I think that’s a really good way to go about things.
MD: And the album’s yet to come out in the States?
GROG: We’re still working on that one! [laughs] I can’t say too much about it really because…
DREW: We only found out recently that it came out in Canada. It’s being distributed by Universal in Canada and it’s actually doing quite well.
GROG: Basically, some kind of fishy deal has been done without us being told and it’s a top seller in Canada.
MD: So you’re getting no money from that at all then?
GROG: Eventually we will!
GROG: But not yet hence we’re in this little van!
MD: It’s quite an epic album title that sounds like it could be from a Bond movie or something but I gather it alludes to alternative paths in life?
GROG: Yeah, that’s right.
MD: Is there a sense of regret with that or more curiosity and speculation of what paths you could take?
GROG: It’s more speculative, really. And it’s more sort of reaffirming as well that we know we’ve chosen the right path in Die So Fluid. It’s a thing of love, really, this band, because we’ve all been doing it for a long time.
DREW: Yeah, I mean, you do question whether you’ve done the right thing with a lot of things you’ve done in life and then, if you do believe in existing alternative realities, your imagination can really run with you and you can think – oh, I wouldn’t be at this point now if I hadn’t taken that path and all that kind of shit.
MD: So do you see life as more a series of random choices rather than a fate or destiny kind of thing… based on the album title?
GROG: Erm… [laughs]… you’re spiralling my brain here!
MD: Sorry!
DREW: It’s hard to exclude one from the other because every choice you make might be a result of fate.
GROG: Yeah, and it’s more to do with placing yourself in the best position, really, for fate to play its game out…
MD: A bit of both, then.
GROG: Yeah, a bit of both, yes.
MD: So are there any paths you wish you had or hadn’t taken as a band over the years?
GROG: Erm…
AL: Not really!
MD: That’ll do! That’s a good enough answer!
GROG: Yeah... Al - “Not really”!
DREW: We’ve taken every opportunity that’s come, really.
GROG: I think that’s always been our attitude. Just go for it.
DREW: We’ve done some kind of random things but that was like – “okay, you’ll come out and play this random book reading in Cologne and you won’t sleep for thirty six hours”. And it’s like, well, it doesn’t really sound like something that’s gonna progress our career much but, at the same time, you never know so you go and do it.
GROG: You never know who’s watching you or what’s gonna crop up by venturing out there.
DREW: We haven’t actually had one of those crossroads where it’s been where we’ve had this great offer and this great offer, and which one should we take, and then we take the wrong one or the right one. That’s not happened. Usually, one thing comes up and then another thing after.
MD: The album has so many disparate styles on there like metal, rock, grunge, punky bits with ‘How Vampires Kiss’ and stoner groove like on ‘Hearts Are Hollow’ – did you set out to make an eclectic, cross-genre album or did it just transpire that way?
DREW: I think that’s always gonna be a signature of what we do because we do listen to a lot of different things and we like a lot of different things. I just really like albums which are colourful. I suppose I do like really focussed ones as well, like if I’m in a certain mood and this album’s not gonna change this mood all the way through. But, generally, yeah, I wanted the record to be quite colourful.
GROG: Yeah, our albums are like journeys, really, aren’t they.
DREW: Yeah.
GROG: And, hopefully, they have fluidity to them and you can experience different kinds of moods throughout them.
MD: I have to say, I gave it eight and a half out of ten in my review when I originally listened to it but would now rate it nine and a half because it’s more of a grower maybe. You know, like a year on, it’s a bit of a grower perhaps.
DREW: Cool. It’s gonna have some depth to it, for sure.
GROG: Yeah, and people sort of live with Die So Fluid and it stays with them throughout the things they experience, and then you start to associate some of the things that happen to you. That’s what people have told me, anyway… you know, “oh, his song helped me get through a break-up with someone.” I think that’s really rewarding as well.
MD: Definitely a cool thing to hear. There’s the hidden piano/vocal piece at the end of ‘Sound In Colour’… like, right at the end after nineteen or so minutes of silence…
GROG: Yeah.
DREW: A secret track.
MD: Have you ever considered writing and recording more stuff like that, as a side-project maybe, because it’s pretty awesome? It reminds me of Silje Wergeland from The Gathering, like a piece she did on the last Gathering album, ‘You Promised Me a Symphony’. That kind of vibe, anyway.
GROG: Yeah, we were actually thinking about developing something inspired by that direction for the next album.
DREW: Yeah, but it won’t be a solo project or anything. I think that’s the thing is that we’re allowed to do whatever we like. That’s what we do in this band.
AL: We’ve made that bed, really, yeah.
DREW: Yeah, so what we’re toying with the idea of is the next album will be a double album with the first disc being rocking and the second disc being more this kind of subdued thing.
GROG: Intimate baby.
DREW: Yeah, it’s where you get that thing I was saying when you get in a certain mood and can play one or the other.
MD: Like Opeth’s ‘Deliverance’/’Damnation’ kind of thing.
GROG: Yeah.