SUNDAY JUNE 25, 2017
 
Blog INTERVIEWS
DEVICE
DeviceLead.jpg

With its mix of hard rock angst and populist anthems, Disturbed stood out as a welcome alternative to the nu-metal sludge they were frequently, regrettably classified with. After four successive No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200, the band took an amicable hiatus in 2011 to focus on personal projects.

For frontman David Draiman that project is Device, an electronic / industrial influenced group with former Filter guitarist Gene Lenardo, rounded out by Dope guitarist Andre Michael “Virus” Karkos and  drummer Will Hunt. Several months before the album’s release, due this week via Warner Bros. Records, we spoke with Draiman about preparing a finished album for touring, being a crowd-pleasing frontman, and how great live music should win anyone over.

The Device album is finished, though we’re speaking well in advance of its release. What’s occupying your time?

Just doing a bunch of press, as you can tell, and finalizing marketing plans. And preparing the live show, going over all those intricate details.

How’s that?

We have to figure out how to replicate certain features of the song for a live show, especially considering we have an electronic element to our sound.

It must be an interesting challenge to have an entire set of songs written and recorded before they’ve been heard by any live audience.

You’re 150% right. You’re not the band you might become until you’ve played in front of a live audience several times. There’s a different energy that occurs. Ask any band — hours of practice everyday, for months, won’t give you (the same experience) as a few weeks on the road.

Have you found the first few shows surrounding a new album to be particularly  memorable?

They’re particularly frightening. Everything is new, untried and untested. It’s like going ahead and buying a 12-cylinder engine super car without having mastered how to not make the wheels backspin every time you hit the accelerator.

Your stage presence was a major part of Disturbed’s success. How will that be retained for Device?

That (stage presence) is the yin to my yang, if you will — it’s not only what the audience wants, it’s what they need. With it they can do what they came to, which is release their negative energy. It takes great stimulus to get that reaction, and while some bands just use their songs to get it, for me it takes much more than that. It’s an energy transfer, a projection of strength, power and fearlessness. That doesn’t just come from Disturbed, it comes from me.

How fulfilling is it not only entertain, but to provide a specific emotional catharsis for the audience?

That’s what the music is for, and it is the most fulfilling thing. The feeling you get in front of a crowd, feeling them let go of their burden, that’s tremendously positive. You can almost make an entire room full of people glow. That’s what live music should do.

It should also usurp any audience member’s specific taste and give them some kind of positive feeling, even if the music is not their thing.

Even if an artist isn’t your specific taste, in the right circumstance, and in the right setting you should still be able to feel that energy.

Notes are notes, man, and hooks are hooks. I prefer guitar-driven music, and music that is very rhythmic in nature, that doesn’t mean I couldn’t take any hooks from the Device album and refit them to, say, a country music song. (No matter what genre) the melodies should still resonate with the listener.

How far outside hard rock does your personal taste go?

I’m a huge fan of opera — Domingo, Pavarotti, and even more modern guys like Bocelli. I love operatic singing, and that’s in my background. As a cantor, I used to lead our Jewish congregation in prayer. The technique of that is very operatic in style.

That’s not too surprising, given you share the same ability with the men you listed to command the attention of a room with your voice.

The first couple times I experienced that, it was astounding. I finally realized I could make that connection, and as I went on I wanted to see how strong it could be. It’s pretty amazing shit, dude.



I’d like to ask about a few songs on the new album specifically. By glancing at the title I assumed “War Of Lies” was a topical song, but after listening a few times I’m not so sure. Can you elaborate on what it means?

You would pick that one [laughs] ... it’s one of the most difficult songs on the record, for me. It’s about my family ... being taken advantage of.

It was difficult to write?

Yeah. But that’s what catharsis is all about.

Say you write a song about a negative experience — five, 10 years later could the song be all you remember about it?

I wish that would happen more often. I’m not that lucky. If it was important enough to be written about it won’t go away.

Is “You Think You Know” aimed specifically at the music press — the line “You think you know how the story is defined” seems to suggest as much.

A couple tracks on the album, that one and “Vilify,” aren’t geared at any one entity of group of people. “You Think You Know” is aimed at anyone that tries to perpetuate false perceptions of reality, who try to spin stories their own way ... who bullshit. It’s an outcry to set them straight. “Vilify” is a callout to all the shit-talkers I’ve come across in my life, who’ve made me out to be a horrible person. I’m actually a pretty sweet, decent guy [laughs].

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