Since they rolled into the rock world in 1997, the Dillinger Escape Plan have been in the running for most reckless band in the world award. Their chaotic, well-calculated math metal style is well matched with a daredevil live show. I recently got the opportunity to catch up with the DEP mastermind Ben Weinman about live shows, the new album One of Us is the Killer, and, of course, injuries.
What’s going on in the world of Dillinger today?
We just got back from Australia, so we have a few weeks off and then we’re getting ready to hit a U.S. headline tour so to answer your question yes we’re on tour kind of. [Laughs] We’re home at the moment
How many times in the past year have you been asked who the Killer is from the new album?
Ah god, a lot of times [Laughs] a lot of times. Why? Are you asking me?
I’ve heard you guys say that part of the reason you guys aren’t revealing your guest collaborators on the new album is because you don’t want that to be turned into a marketing tactic. Do you think you’ll ever reveal these guest appearances?
Good question. There is some video of some of these guys in there so maybe we’ll drop some of those out somewhere. Miley Cyrus’ publicists and managers are really specific about what we let out there.
Is Miley Cyrus hard to work with?
I don’t know. I would imagine. [Laughs]
In the credits for One of Us is the Killer you’re the only one credited with writing music and obviously Greg (Puciato) is credited with all the vocals and lyrics. Did Billy or Liam not contribute to the album creatively?
It’s a hard thing with music writing unfortunately, and I don’t know if this is fair or not, drummers don’t usually get credit for writing music. Yah know, if that were the case then they guy who came up with the Amen beat which is in every trip hop and drum and bass song ever would be a billionaire, yah know? [Laughs] But I will say that Billy especially is extremely instrumental in writing with me in a way because while he doesn’t necessarily write music, the rhythms and the drums are a huge part of this band. The writing process is usually myself coming up with ideas ahead of time and then sending them off to Billy to learn or elaborate on and then us getting together working on those ideas and then maybe jamming out some new stuff. Just kind of going back and forth. I will say that people like Billy have a big impact on arrangement and stuff like that but predominantly I’ve been the songwriter since the early days so we just keep it that way.
I’ve heard you guys say that the band isn’t 100% satisfied with the production on Miss Machine. 10 years later, have you guys considered remastering that record?
Nah. I like moving forward and making new stuff. I don’t really like looking back. I like learning from the past and trying new things. I’d be interested in remixing a song just for fun at some point but I don’t really see the need to go back and remaster.
Obviously you guys put on one of the wildest live performances in the game. Have you or anyone in the band, past or present, done anything that genuinely scared you? Something that has made you say to yourself “Oh shit!”
Yeah! There have been many moments where I felt like, wow, this is going to be our last show ever. Things get out of hand. There was a time in the past where our old singer Dimitri (Minakakis) was blowing fire in a small club and I saw something on the ceiling catch fire. I was literally blowing at it like as if that was going to [Laughs] do anything. But it went out! … I mean, there so many. We’re always on the brink of being out of control.
Do you have an injury or anything that sticks out to you?
I mean there are always things for me personally, like on the last European tour particularly I climbed out on to this giant ledge on the side of the club. It was so high and there was no way to get down. I had no idea. I always play! I never stop playing. So if there is something crazy going on, #1 is playing, for me. That’s the reason I get injured a lot. It’s not necessarily what I’m doing but the fact that I don’t use my hands to protect myself when I land because I’m always playing, yah know? So on that European tour, I’m on this high ledge that is literally being held together by like one screw that was falling apart and I was like, “that’s it. I’m dead!” I don’t know how I got out of it to be honest with you. It’s one of those feelings where it’s like, “Man, I don’t think I’m going to get out of this one.
Wow. Do you remember your first injury doing a Dillinger live show?
I remember one show many many years ago. I fell. I think I jumped onto the crowd and they threw me back on stage and my head and my neck hit the edge of the stage and I couldn’t move my head. My neck was really jacked up. It’s been jacked up ever since. That was probably about 12 years ago.
You have your own label Party Smasher Inc., have you been working on anything with that?
Yeah actually I’ve been doing a lot with Party Smasher and I’m going to be putting something out there in April. Actually working on a more in depth website for it. Not necessarily focused on a record label but just culture in general, the culture of Dillinger and the culture of the bands that we’re friends with. Party Smasher is going to be evolving into something much more complex in the near future.
Obviously you guys are still touring behind One of Us is the Killer but once this round of shows is wrapped up do you know what’s next?
Well we just did Australia, we’re getting ready to do the full headline tour in April, and then we’re doing some European festivals in the early summer. That’s all we really have in the books for now. Typically around the time of a tour cycle we do things like support tours, go out with some bigger bands or something, try to do things like that, but there’s nothing really at this point. We wrote a new song that we’re releasing through Party Smasher on a 7 inch that’s only going to be available on the tour. That’s kind of exciting! We haven’t done anything like that in many many years, like actually release music in between records! Something new out there while we’re still working and supporting the last one.
So it won’t be available online?
I mean there’s a VIP package you can get, like buy tickets early for the tour and it comes with a cassette tape with the new song on it and a bunch of other stuff. Then we’re coming out with the limited edition 7 inch with the new song and some demos from ‘One of Us is the Killer,’ which is kind of interesting to hear. As a fan, I’m always interested to hear that stuff. Once people have it’ll be available digitally, but we’re not selling it digitally.
DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN + TRASH TALK + RETOX + THE SHINING. BRIGHTON MUSIC HALL, 158 BRIGHTON AVE., ALLSTON. SUN 4.6 AT 7:30/18+/$25.