cKy Singer Deron Miller Talks "Afterworld" and "Jackass 3D"
Fri, 15 Oct 2010 11:11:28
For cKy, evolution is a way of life.
Their latest single, "Afterworld," from the Jackass 3D soundtrack, elevates their patented progressively pummeling hard rock into new sonic territory. The song teeters between deadly and dreamy with a combination of polyrhythmic riffing, searing lead lines and impassioned, infectious vocal delivery. cKy took listeners to Carver City last year and now they're opening up "Afterworld." With its daring bravado, the song perfectly fits Jackass 3D.
cKy vocalist and guitarist Deron Miller speaks to ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino about "Afterworld," what grossed him out in Jackass 3D, the first slasher flick that terrified him and so much more in this exclusive interview.
Do you feel like "Afterworld" is a natural progression from Carver City?
Well, after we were done cramming to to finish Carver City—especially the version with 15 tracks on it—I said, "I've got this really cool idea." Chad [Ginsburg, guitar] pressed "record" on the computer and started playing these riffs that stood out. They were just coming to me one after the other, and they actually worked together. After I heard it and recorded it, I was able to write more. In about 20 minutes, I had all of these riffs we recorded simply so we could remember them. It was too late to do anything with it for Carver City, so we hung onto it. Then Jackass 3D came about, and there was an opportunity to have a song on there so we grabbed that song we were working on. I went out to get some pizza. When I came back, Chad had vocals on it already [Laughs]. I was like, "Run with it, man! I could use a break." He really liked it so he came up with all of these vocals for it.
It definitely fits in the same vibe as Carver City.
Yeah, it always does when it's cKy. We really only have one cKy way of doing things. It works, so we stick to it. There is a progression that we try to grasp every time we work.
"Afterworld" is heavy, but there's a dreamy aspect to it.
It's different! There's always a little weird element to everything we do. We're just trying to make stuff interesting because, these days, what kind of music would you say is interesting? I really don't know.
Lyrically where were you coming from?
We wanted to write a song that fit into the mood of the movie. After we started seeing clips of Jackass 3D, we started to figure out what the song should be about and Chad just ran with it. He tried to make it about just going for it—in stunts and stuff like that. That's pretty much what it turned out to be. It's a song about stunts.
Did you have a favorite stunt in Jackass 3D?
I liked the whole movie. I can sit there and watch it over and over. There's one scene I can't take, and it's "The Sweat Cocktail." That makes me gag. Sweat makes me sick. I can't do it. The idea of drinking it makes me so violently ill. I couldn't even watch it [Laughs]. There's a lot of barfing!
Is "Afterworld" indicative of where the music will go next?
I think everything's going to be different in the new pasture for cKy because we're handling each song individually now. We're not cramming to get an album out. Albums all sound the same because people sit down and write and record 15 songs all at once. We're not doing that anymore. I don't think the next song's going to sound anything like "Afterworld." It's not like we're trying to fit into that groove. Each song we come up with now is going to have a totally different vibe making it more exciting. When we get enough songs, we can put out an album that's a lot like our first album. All of the songs were from different time periods. We always wanted to focus on one song at a time rather than ten or twelve.
Was Carver City particularly special to you? It is so cohesive.
It's an album that I can listen to without saying, "Damn, I should've done this or I should've done that." It's the only album where I can be like, "This sounds like we were on top and we knew what we were trying to do." The other albums are awesome, but I think each one of the first three records have something where, if it hadn't been for a time or money constraint, we could've done something differently. Carver City is the complete opposite. It's an album that I wouldn't change one single thing about.
On every listen, you see and hear something different on Carver City.
That was the goal! I wanted people to see the songs. I wanted them to see themselves in the songs—kind of like a dream. I wanted people to try to remember certain things about themselves and their childhoods when they listen to songs. I wanted them to try to relate to the lyrics in their own way. It definitely worked for me obviously because we wrote it [Laughs]. However, my goal was for everybody who got into the record to remember of feel something that they hadn't felt in a long time.
The imagery is iconic when you go back to it.
It follows a pretty loose story. It's a really creative piece of work, and I'll always be proud of that album. I think it's our best one. Now, it's going to be a song-by-song piece. "Afterworld" isn't the beginning or end of anything. It's just a one-off song that's going to be one of many other one-off songs. When we do get an album's worth of material, it'll be really interesting to go from place to place.
What sparks cKy's visual sensibility?
It has a lot to do with movies. It has a lot to do with voids in certain entertainment. There are a lot of things I wish I could see in movies or hear in songs. We get inspiration from things that are missing in our society. I love words. I love using words. I love testing my vocabulary and challenging myself when I write lyrics. It's all about making the most of the English language and your ideas pretty much.
What are some of your favorite movies?
I love horror movies. I love comedy like Airplane! and the Naked Gun series. I love slasher movies like Halloween and Friday the 13th. I like anything that's scary and out-there that you remember for years and years after you see it. The Wizard of Oz is obviously something you never forget. There are a lot of movies out there that don't stay with you [Laughs]. The best kind of movie is one that stays with you. After you stop watching it, you still think about it. Maybe it affects you after you've seen it. That's why I love horror movies so much. They used to have an affect on me where I'd have to stay up because I was so scared of what I've seen. You don't really do that with a romantic comedy. You usually go to a romantic comedy to make a girl happy. You just want it to be over. Those kinds of films don't inspire too much. I like anything that keeps a hold of you.
What was the first slasher you saw?
It was probably Halloween. I used to see it on TV, and I'd shut it off because I didn't have the balls to watch it anymore [Laughs]. Then I'd turn it back on to see if it was at a good part. Then I'd shut if off. A commercial would come on, and I'd be relieved. All of those things are memories I don't want to forget. That excitement and fear is what I try to put in the songs.
Have you heard "Afterworld"?
Watch our interview with the cast of Jackass 3D here!