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Soundwave: The Dillinger Escape Plan

Written by James Cotterell on January 5, 2009

As the leader of the world’s most fucked up bastardization of technical metal and pop music, The Dillinger Escape Plan’s, Ben Weinman is a very busy man. In the midst of writing a new album, and recently added to Soundwave 09, expect big things.

Usually known for the exploits on stage and in the press, 2008 has been a relatively quiet year by Dillinger standards. Aside from a massive beef with Disturbed, and a few tours, lead songwriter and guitarist Ben Weinman has been deep in solitude, working on a wide array of new music.

From being commissioned to remix Thrice to Lil Wayne, to his working on his own material, success has been far from the man’s mind – he’s just determined to keep cranking out new music. In fact, the man is so busy that it’s more than necessary to invent a new time zone for him – he just has that much to do.

The world of the weird and unusual is often the norm for DEP – Weinman thrives on stepping outside the boundaries of pop, electronica and heavy metal, seemingly all part of his covert operation to infiltrate all three from the inside.

More like the David as opposed to the Goliath world of heavy music, Dillinger always manages to get a few good head shots at the bigger beast – both musically and in the press. The near month-long coverage of his beef with nu-metal wiggers Disturbed seemed to gain the band even more publicity. It’s rare for DEP to not be in the midst of an all out brawl with a much goofier, more successful band.

What is it about Dillinger that pisses people off so much? “It always starts with something stupid and gets blown out of proportion. The Disturbed thing was pretty intense – that went really far; even to the point where one of the dudes coming up to me to try and talk it out.”
“At the end of the day, it’s funny to see these people, who are so successful, and say we have all these cars, we sell millions of records, get so sensitive over a little press from a much smaller band. They should be really happy – they play the same three chords over and over again and have made it this far.”
Far from fazed by corporate metal douche bags, record companies and current trends, DEP functions at its best when under the foreboding microscope of pressure. With the recent departure of drummer Gil Sharone to pursue his other group, Stolen Babies, rumours have sparked as to who his replacement could be. With original drummer Chris Pennie (now of Coheed and Cambria) so revered within the nerdy drumming community, any potential replacement for Sharone will surely come under just as intense scrutiny

It’s almost a sense of déjà vu for the guitarist – during the writing process of last year’s “Ire Works”, the band was without a drummer, leaving Ben to write the majority of the material himself
“I think pressure is what leads to thinking great and making great music. We’re certainly used to it”. Weinman says rumours of Hella/Team Sleep drummer Zach Hill or pigskin legend Terry Bozzio’s son Raanan, joining the group are off the mark. “The drummer thing is funny because we’re such a drummer’s band – some people just listen to the band because of the drums and people are always talking about it. I write music and I write it like a drummer; but at the same time it puts a lot of pressure on me to do new things”.

Whilst information on new Dillinger material has been scarce, Weinman’s studio hibernation is leading to a plethora of different music. The aforementioned Lil Wayne remix comes to mind, as does Weinman’s continual leaning towards IDM and glitch electronica in his remix work and Dillinger itself. Weinman says this influence stretches way before “Ire Works”, back to when the band was in its infancy. “People don’t realise that we’re just as much influenced by electronic music, if not more, than some metal band with mosh parts. On our earlier stuff – we tried to match the guitar tones of [experimental techno act] Autechre as opposed to Slayer riffs”.

That said, DEP’s constant delving into fucked up pop tunes (see ‘Black Bubblegum’, ‘Dead History Month’) may be just the tip of the iceberg. Weinman sees a future in production, possibly continuing his infiltration of pop (and possibly rap) from the inside out.
“I love to analyse pop music and the production values are pretty amazing”, the axeman claims. “I’ve always been a big fan of the Neptunes and all those guys. However, it’s really hard to get into production for big artists, because it’s like a little exclusive club. There has to be a market for people to sign off on it. I’d love to find a new rap artist and produce them, but we’d have to get more rap dudes into Dillinger first!”

Set to destroy stages at Soundwave next year, Weinman claims fans will be hearing glimpses of the upcoming, as yet untitled record, as the band takes a break from the studio to break some faces.

There may even be a few surprises along the way after the earlier whirlwind tour the band did this year. “We’ll be performing with a new drummer at Soundwave who will never have played with us before live. It’ll be the first time people will ever see him play with Dillinger so he’ll be shitting himself too, whoever it is. Soundwave’s looking to be pretty awesome, and we’re still Dillinger, so watch out!”

Expect to see the Dillinger Escape Plan explode on Soundwave 2009.

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