David Draiman Talks Device, Producing Trivium and More
Mon, 18 Mar 2013 06:24:55
Device has got the power to revamp and revitalize modern hard rock. Embracing his industrial side, Disturbed frontman David Draiman takes listeners down a new road altogether with Device's self-titled debut, out April 9. Electronic soundscapes fortify guttural, gnashing guitars and Draiman's voice rises above it all with the same potency, passion, and power that made Disturbed metal icons. Make no mistake about it, this is exactly what the 21st century should sound like.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, David Draiman talks Device' self-titled debut, gives the story behind multiple songs, discusses producing the new Trivium album, and more.
What ties the Device album together for you?
It all came together organically. There wasn't really a plan. The only thing that we had as a template was "Hunted". It's the song we did for the Underworld: Awakening soundtrack, and that's just from a stylistic standpoint. There wasn't a definitive battle plan as far as that's concerned. The fact that it all does seem to work together is just serendipity [Laughs]. I didn't construct it as such. It happened to work out that way! Each song takes on its own life, momentum, and direction. It's not always completely in the artist's control, believe it or not.
Do you feel like you're telling stories with these songs?
Yeah, I definitely have gone more in that direction—especially since this was meant to be a departure anyway. I already towards that a little bit with Asylum. I decided to continue going in that direction, being more descriptive and definitely telling stories as far as the lyrical delivery was concerned.
At the same time, the stories are universal.
Many listeners have either been through similar experiences or view things in a similar way. That's the beautiful thing about music. There's nothing better to bring you to a very clear, crisp recollection of a time, place, event, or feeling. You can do that just by listening to a piece of music.
Where did "Haze" come from?
"Haze" is an interesting one. That was one of the last songs we wrote as part of the whole writing session. From a lyrical perspective, it's basically about what our greatest addictions as musicians is. That's playing live. It takes almost a tongue-in-cheek approach at describing it almost treating it as if the experience itself were some kind of intoxicating drug. It's the most intoxicating experience I know of. That's for certain. There's no drug that can hold a candle to it. It's the whole thing. It's the life. It's the stage experience. It's everything you take with the feeling of leaving from the stage, the feeling you get going to it, and the energy you get from the crowd.
Did you and M. Shadows [Avenged Sevenfold] discuss that idea?
I told him what the song was about ahead of time. I'm not one of those guys who likes to go, "Hey, would you like to guest on my record? By the way, I need you to write something for it!" That seems pimp-y to me [Laughs]. I sent the Matt the completed song, and I said what I had in mind for him to do. I wanted him to take the second verse and second chorus and for us to finish the song together. He loved it. It was a matter of him finding the time to do it. I think he did it when he tracked "Carry On" for Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
At the moment, what song resonates with you the most?
There's never just one [Laughs]. There are so many reasons why I have a love for every one of the songs on this record. They're very unique and different from one another. They have their own character and identity, and I love each of them for those reasons. It's impossible for me to choose.
It's immense to have a legend like Geezer Butler on "Out of Line".
Geezer Butler and Glenn Hughes are both in that categorization but Geezer especially. I'm blessed. That's all I can say. The fact that these people would even consider working with me and doing a track is an unbelievable honor. I consider myself so privileged and blessed to even know them. To have their mastery, playing, and singing abilities is unbelievable. When you listen to the record, you can feel Geezer's presence in "Out of Line". The low end and bass line on that song is unlike any other track on the album. That's him. There's nobody who can do what he does the way he does it.
You've never shied away from challenging listeners, and your erudite sensibility shows through. You're one of the few guys brave enough to show some intelligence in the genre.
Thank you! I continue to try. It's not always meant with standing ovations [Laughs]. All I can do is write from my heart. I have to be able to look at myself in the mirror. I have to be able to write about things that are real and mean something to me. That's all I can do. Either people will like it or they won't. I've always been categorized by the fact that people either love it or they hate it. There's nobody who's lukewarm about something I've done whether it's Disturbed or Device. It's either, "This is amazing" or, "This is garbage" [Laughs].
All that matters is you're making an impact…
Amen! People are reacting one way or the other.
If you were to compare this album to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
That's tough. Let's see. Maybe The Godfather meets The Matrix…There are definitely some elements of vigilante justice on the record. Vibe-wise, I'm not sure. That speaks to me though [Laughs].
What does "Hunted" mean for you?
Evil can be inviting when it's done in a fun, campy way, and you're not taking it seriously. It's meant for good storybooks. That song was written for that. If you read the lyric, it's very obvious that's what it's about. It's born of the same thing. I love the traditional vampire and werewolf mythology not the whole fucking glittering, shiny, and happy Twilight crap [Laughs]. I always loved that going back in the day. Even take things like An American Werewolf in London to the Lon Chaney days, I'm a fan of the mythology. I continue to be. It bugs me that it's been cheapened so much and turned into a soap opera. Vampires and werewolves are supposed to be scary.
What's about "Think You Know"?
It's enough aggression, but enough of that other element as well. It's the right message. It's originally written from a relationship standpoint. When you're talking about the concept of the record and the band, it's exactly that.
And "Through It All"?
It's a trip. You don't know where we're going to go from there. That was written for my wife. She was the source of inspiration for that. She's gotten me through a lot of shit and has been with me and stood by me through all of my bullshit and idiosyncrasies. She's been the one. She's my rock. It's my tribute to her. It was always so atmospheric and ambient. I originally tracked it myself. I went to the opening of Glenn's autobiography at the John Varvatos store in Malibu. I'd just finished mixing everything. I started to entertain the idea of having guest spots on the record. He's so fucking good, and he's got that inhuman ability. I approached him about it and asked, "Would you want to do a guest vocal?" He was like, "I'd love to".
When did it feel like everything finally came together?
The only time you know is when you actually get to sit back and listen to roughs after you've tracked things. You can have things in your head. You can do things during the writing process. You can do things during pre-production. Until you've actually tracked it and you sit down and everything's sitting where it should be sitting, and you have a good accurate representation of what the song should be, that's when you get to have your first moment, if you will. That's always the moment I look forward to it. I knew I'd have to give it 120 percent, because it deserves it.
How was working with Trivium?
I just finished tracking the Trivium record. We're getting that mixed sometime this week. I've been friends with those guys for a while, but their last record is really what drew me to them. In Waves was a big record for them. It opened the door, as far as I was concerned for us to be able to work together from a creative standpoint. I think they took a big step with that record. This album we just finished is another gigantic step for them. What we've been working on is all I've been listening to.
Are you excited for Device to drop April 9?