DevilDriver will be releasing “Trust No One” on May 13th via Napalm Records, and as Dez Fafara previously said, “it’s a vicious record filled with huge grooves and big hooks, guitar bass assery and thundering drums.” It’s also their first record with Neal Tiemann and Austin D’Amond in the band, and as you heard in the “Daybreak” single, there is a new fire with these new members, and the end result is DevilDriver‘s best record to date.
I recently got to speak with Dez on the phone about the new members, writing and recording the new record, and much more! Enjoy the chat below, and be sure to pre-order “Trust No One” today!
Metal Mark: Dez, it’s always great to talk to you man. How is everything on your end?
Dez Fafara: I can’t complain man. Not one bit. We got this killer new record coming out, and I’m more ready than ever to hit the stage and share this music with the fans. I’m just stoked.
MM: That’s great to hear. It seems like every time we speak before an album’s release, your excitement level gets higher and higher, and you seem more pumped than ever with this one.
DF: That’s a fact, Mark. This is honestly the most exciting record that DevilDriver has ever put out. I’m over the top with excitement right now man. The way the band is clicking on all cylinders, the way the music turned out, and hearing the initial response from press is just awesome. We are reading 10 out of 10 reviews for the first time ever in our history, and I think it’s well deserved. This record is something special man.
MM: “Trust No One” is definitely something special. I can agree to that. You mentioned the band clicking on all cylinders, so it sounds like the new members have gelled quickly with everyone. That’s got to add to the excitement factor.
DF: Absolutely. 100 percent. These guys don’t mind jumping on red-eye flights for gigs. They don’t mind rehearsing for 10 hours a day. They want to play, and they are damn good at it. When I was 15 I used to be so excited to go rehearse with my band. It’s all I could think about. I haven’t had that feeling in a long time until now, and it fucking rules.
MM: Rehearsing is one thing, but they definitely brought it on the new record as well. From your perspective, what did Neal and Austin bring to the table on the new material?
DF: A ton of shit (laughs). First off, I’ve known Neal for years now, thanks to my wife, and he’s just an incredible shredder. We would hang out and jam some nights until two or three in the morning, and I’ve always had it in my mind that I wanted to play with him, so when the opportunity came up, there was no other option. He’s been playing since he was a kid. He can build guitars from scratch. The dude can do it all, and once he joined us, his contributions have been amazing. Sometimes new members are skeptical about putting in their input, but he had a ton of stuff for us to listen to, and it was all killer.
When it comes to Austin, I’ll never forget meeting him for the first time. He came to my house, and I pretty much knew instantly that he was the guy for the band. He’s a monster behind the kit, and one of the coolest cats you’ll ever meet off the stage. He replaced one of my favorite drummers ever, and he’s upped the game more than I ever thought he could. You can easily hear his influence on the material, because the drums sound so sick on the album.
MM: When I hear the record, I do hear all the influences from each member. It truly sounds like a cohesive and well-collaborated album.
DF: I totally agree, and that’s exactly what I wanted. With previous members, sometimes the input would be leaned more one way than the other, but now it’s a true collaboration. Everyone was on the same page, and everyone’s opinions were taken into consideration on every single note. I’m glad you can hear that, because I definitely can. We are a unit, and with all of us working together like we did, we created a vicious record that I know fans will enjoy.
MM: Let’s talk about your lyrical approach for a minute, because you mentioned before that it was focused around what it means to exist. One of my favorite quotes ever is by Oscar Wilde who said, “To live is the rarest thing in the world, most people exist, that is all.” I think that sums up the approach as well don’t you?
DF: I absolutely love that quote, and yes, that nails it on the head. I think people need to live and breathe life more than ever right now, but you also have to take a look at what that means for yourself personally. Life involves your surroundings, and you really need to be aware of what’s going on and not keep a blind eye. Your actions affect others, whether negatively or positively, and I’ve learned to be more aware of that fact, and that’s what this album is about.
“Trust No One” is one of the most poignant records I’ve ever written lyrically. It’s not like “Clouds Over California” where people have to ask what the song is about. You read and hear these lyrics, and you’ll get it right away, and that’s what I wanted. Whether it’s about trust issues, vengeance, positivity, letting go, or whatever the case may be, these lyrics are as honest as they can be, and fans will hear it. Aggressive music has gotten me through the hardest times in life, so if DevilDriver can be that band for someone else, I’m all for it.
MM: I was kind of taken back by the title, because in every interview we’ve ever done, you’ve always come across as one of the most positive people on the planet, so to hear “Trust No One” was the title was definitely not expected, but it makes sense after you hear the record.
DF: It totally makes sense when you hear it. These are the most honest lyrics I’ve ever shared with people, and it needed to happen. I’m a very private person in real life, but if these words can help someone open their eyes or heal in any way, I’ve done my job.
I don’t really know why, but in the last year or so I’ve really taken a look at the people in my life, and decided whether or not they need to be in my life. I’ve been through it all man, and I’m by no means perfect, but at this point in my life, I know what type of people I want around me and my family. I’ve cut a ton of friends out of my life in the past year, and it’s all for the greater good. Whether it was because of their negative energy, or something else, I pushed a lot of people away, and my circle of friends has never been smaller than it is right now. At the same time, I’ve never been happier. Personally, musically, spiritually, I’ve never been as happy and stoked as I am right now man.
MM: That’s great to hear. The record itself is only 38 minutes long, but you definitely left it all out there for sure.
DF: I did as much as I could honestly. Like you said, it’s only 38 minutes long, but looking at it now, it wasn’t enough to express everything that I wanted. There was one point that we were thinking about doing a double album because I had so many lyrics (laughs). I will say that “My Night Sky” is one track that sums up everything really well. I don’t like picking favorite song, because I love every one with all of my heart, but right now that one is hitting home to me more than the others. Of course that could change tomorrow, but that’s why I love this record. There’s a lot of emotion in it, and I’m super proud to have my name on it.
MM: I bet you can’t wait to play this new stuff live. It’s going to crush!
DF: Dude, walls are going to shatter (laughs)! If you’ve seen us before, wait until you see us now. If you’ve heard us before, wait until you hear the new record. Everything is stepped up to a new level man, and we are ready to conquer the world with this material. I’ve never said this before about a DevilDriver record, but before this touring run is done, I want to play the record in it’s entirety live. I’m that fucking proud it, and so are the rest of the guys. While we’ll only play a few tracks on the upcoming tour, by the time we are done touring for this album, fans will hear every damn one of them, and get ready. It’s going to sound huge.
MM: Hell yes man! I can’t wait to hear it live, and I can’t wait for the fans to hear it in May. Do you have anything left you’d like to say to the fans?
DF: First off, thank you from the bottom of my heart. We are here because of the fans, and we never forget that. You give us energy and love, and now we are returning the favor with our best release ever. Anyone who has backed us over the years, this record is for you. We thank you. We love you, and get ready, because we are coming for you in your town!
“Trust No One” is out May 13th via Napalm Records. Pre-order your copy!