Music Interview: Dillinger Escape Plan fail math

By Chris Courtice

Think about the heaviest music you have ever heard. An endless onslaught of audio insanity somehow managing to connect into a perfectly tuned performance despite the crazy, jumbled sound. Then, take this image and increase its intensity tenfold. The result is what you should expect from The Dillinger Escape Plan at their upcoming show Mon., Nov. 14.

“At one show, Greg [Puciato, the band’s vocalist] lit my Marshall cab on fire,” Ben Weinman reminisces of a show where things got out of hand. “Then I threw my guitar into the flaming cabinet and then he picked up the whole thing and threw it in the river.”

For most bands sudden outbursts would be out of the ordinary. For Dillinger this sort of occurrence is normal. Their live performances are known for being a veritable cornucopia of raw emotion and energy, erupting into situations much like the above example . Trashing equipment and lighting fire to various other items has become a staple on tour, along with a strangely obtrusive light show and even fire breathing from Puciato. Though these actions are a part of The Dillinger Escape Plan, they do not define the band.

“We try not to make a gimmick out of anything, it’s nothing that we’ll always do,” Weinman explains in reference to the lights and fire.

Considering the amount of touring these boys have under their belts, you would assume the gimmicky violence and outlandish stage presence to usurp their reputation. Luckily, DEP’s eclectic hard rocking style easily overshadows any stage antics.

The hard rocking itself is an interesting concept, since DEP is one of the hardest bands to pigeonhole into a single genre. A unique mix of metal, punk rock, jazz and many others styles, Dillinger has been called anything from free jazz to death metal. Just don’t call them math rock, a style of music supposedly based around mathematic formulae and randomly or systematically changing counting based on some sort of mathematical principle. Though DEP may sound like they fit this mold, it doesn’t have an impact on the band’s writing.

“I’m horrible at math,” Weinman explains. “I couldn’t multiply two numbers if you paid me. Music is all broken down into numbers, into timing and counting. Even the simplest 4/4 music is still broken up into mathematical terms. [Math rock] just seems like a limited way of thinking.”

Though math is not an influence in DEP’s writing, there are some strange connections to be made.

“I grew up listening to show tunes,” Weinman reveals. “When I think of music, it just makes me want to do stuff that is so aggressive and so weird, because it’s just such a contrast to what I was brought up on. It’s a different kind of influence, but it has definitely influenced the way that Dillinger sounds.”

Whatever their influences, they’ve done a good job. The band has gained quite a following simply by doing what they love, doing it well and doing it to an extremely aggressive extent.

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