DATE OF INTERVIEW:
DIE SO FLUID
29th May 2011
GROG; DREW RICHARDS; AL FLETCHER
METAL DISCOVERY: I’m completely anti-labelling music and I think your songs and new album epitomise that, of course, and it’s what makes your music exciting as well, I think, but are you ever concerned that not being able to be pigeon-holed by the press could limit your popularity and success at all?
GROG: I think it’s crossed our minds, yeah, because we don’t want to feel we get overlooked because they don’t know quite what to say about us, and they don’t know how to present us. And I suppose that’s what those terms have been invented for; they’re sort of journalistic tools. Basically, we used to always be classed as metal and now, in some magazines, we seem to be classed as just rock. I’m quite happy just to be put in the rock genre, really, and then people can listen and decide for themselves.
(Al Fletcher on the wide-ranging fan base Die So Fluid are able to attract with their cross-genre appeal)
"I got chatting to a group of lads that turned up who you think would have gone to the wrong gig...you’d think they should be off to see the Kaiser Chiefs or something. Just a couple of normal geezers with tracksuits on but I started chatting to them and they knew everything about the band, you know, massive fans."
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
DREW: Bring back broad genres! We’re gonna bring ‘em back so if, “they’re a rock band”, I’m happy with that. I hate the fucking micro genre kind of attitude. I mean, it’s not even metal but all the different subgenres of that and then subgenres of some of those subgenres. It’s like, well, I’m not doing music to be boxed in like that. It’s about being creative and, therefore, you should be able to do whatever you like.
GROG: Yeah, and it’s probably what’s wrong with the world in general, really.
MD: I’ve always said there should only be two genres of music – you either like it or you don’t.
MD: With such diversity in your music, do you find you attract a diverse fanbase, like with the people who turn up to your gigs with t-shirts you see in the crowd maybe, and that kind of thing?
GROG: Yeah, it’s very mixed. Also, there’s a real variety of ages as well, you know, fans as young as eight years old… [laughs]
GROG: There are some girls who have a Die So Fluid fanclub at school. Of course, they’re not allowed into venues which is really sad because they’re not insured to have kids in there…
MD: Yeah, this is an 18+ venue for this festival actually.
GROG: Yeah, well, there you go. They met us at soundcheck time and we gave them some signed stuff.
GROG: But yeah, it’s very, very mixed.
AL: I remember a couple of gigs on the recent UK tour when I got chatting to a group of lads that turned up who you think would have gone to the wrong gig... you’d think they should be off to see the Kaiser Chiefs or something. Just a couple of normal geezers with tracksuits on but I started chatting to them and they knew everything about the band, you know, massive fans. And you’re like, “what?!”
AL: But, I mean, fair enough and thanks for coming out but it just took me by surprise.
MD: Has your general attitude towards making music and what makes Die So Fluid tick changed at all in the last decade since you released ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ back in 2001?
DREW: I like that title…
DREW: …but it was ‘Operation Hypocrite’!
MD: Oh dear, that’s Queensryche isn’t it. I actually have ‘Operation Hypocrite’ written down here and I even have that EP so I’ve no excuse! I do apologise.
GROG: That’s quite alright! [laughs]
DREW: You have editorial control… no one need ever know!
MD: So do you have the same kind of dynamic in the band and the same sort of vibe?
DREW: There is a difference because, I think, when we started there was a whole load of bands doing the same sort of… it was sort of a post-nu-metal British movement and they’ve all gone now, and we’re still here. The reason is because we never quite fitted in. We would still play on the same gigs but we never quite… we were always the odd people out and we’ve kind of just gone more that way. Now we’ve done three albums and been here for ten years we can just say, “what do Die So Fluid sound like?… they sound like Die So Fluid”, and people just have to accept that now.
MD: [To Grog]… I believe you live in the States now?
MD: [To Drew and Al]… And you two still live in the UK?
MD: Does that ever pose a problem for rehearsing and stuff like that?
GROG: Yeah, it’s really expensive in bus fares!
GROG: Yeah, obviously it throws up its own problems but I think it’s been interesting because we’ve developed a new way of exchanging ideas which is, basically, by email when we’re writing songs. And it’s been a kick up the arse for me to get my recording gear sorted out and learn how to use it… [laughs]… because I never really went down that avenue before myself. I was always just writing on the guitar and then going to rehearsal with ideas and we’d play ‘em. So it’s been quite interesting, actually. But, yeah, we can develop a lot of material to a certain point and then we have to play it in so, I mean, I’ve spent most of this year travelling back and forth. It’s been a bit crazy but this is what I’ve always wanted to do so that’s fine… [laughs]
MD: [To Grog] I gather you’ve had some pretty big session jobs over the years… was the first one Kelly Osbourne in 2002?
GROG: Actually, the first one was Melanie C and then that led onto the Kelly Osbourne band.
MD: Have you ever been able to take anything from those experiences and bring them back to Die So Fluid that have helped you within the context of Die So Fluid?
GROG: Definitely, yeah. I think it’s more kind of subtle things that you take with you but you’re learning all the time. I think that if you’re a serious musician, that’s the attitude you need to have. You know, be open-minded and be on the lookout the whole time for things you can pick up. Even down to things like production is interesting to me. We just recently went to see Rush play at the O2 and you look at how it’s all put together, and how they’ve thought out the set, and all those kind of things, so yeah.
MD: Did they have a weird backdrop this time? Don’t they usually have a row of washing machines, or rotating chickens, or something like that?
GROG: The whole concept is the ‘Time Machine Tour’ and there was a film they’d especially made at the beginning – the time machine flicks a switch, they take a song and it goes through different styles, doesn’t it…
DREW: Yeah, like they’d do a song from 1977 and they have a good steampunk aesthetic, a sort of Jules Verne time machine. They had all these weird looking… they weren’t rotisseries and I don’t know what the hell they were supposed to be but…
GROG: It looked like the workings of a time machine! [laughs]
DREW: There was steam coming out and flames… it was a brilliant production, I’ve got to say.
MD: So are you big Rush fans then, the three of you?
GROG: Recent Rush fans.
AL: I was a fan as a kid, actually; I was really into it. I mean, partly because of the drums.
MD: Of course, yeah, Neil Peart’s one of the best rock drummers of all time.
AL: Yeah, yeah.
GROG: It’s funny because we’re a three-piece and people have come up to us at gigs every now and then and gone – “oh yeah, you’re a bit like Rush”!
MD: What, based just on the fact you’re a three-piece?!
GROG: Well, yeah, plus a singing bass player.
MD: Oh, that as well, yeah, but it’s still a lame comparison isn’t it, really?! The music’s very different.
GROG: It’s quite weird and I suppose that made us inquisitive.
AL: Geddy Lee sounds like a woman, I suppose!
MD: Not so much these days perhaps, from what I’ve heard, he can’t quite hit the real high notes like he used to.
GROG: No, he was good; he’s really good.
MD: Oh, can he then?
GROG: Yeah, it was impressive, actually. They’re all like really agile for their ages and everything.