Dead To A Dying World is an epic-crust/black metal band based in Texas. 2018 saw the band release a re-imagination of their debut record, Reprise.
We spoke to the band to get find out what led to this look into the past and what the future holds for them:
Let’s start with a bit of background on Dead To A Dying World. Tell us a little about yourselves individually, where you’re from & what brought you together?
James – I grew up in the suburbs of Dallas, playing in grunge bands and burning as many brain cells as I could. Somewhere along the line I switched over to the heavier side of things. I didn’t really know Sean when he asked me to play on a studio-only project and handed me a packet of sheet music, but here we are nearly ten years later.
Mike – I’m from Fort Worth and I grew up playing crust and metal. One day I was helping out at a collective warehouse space in Dallas and overheard a band rehearsing with strings and I was immediately drawn in. I had already met James and Sean and luckily they were looking for someone to do vocals. I still have that sheet music somewhere!
Eva – I moved to Austin from Denton and Sean started asking me to join the band. At the time I thought that seemed illogical to join a band that wasn’t where I lived. Sean probably asked me 3-4 times. I finally gave in after they stayed at my house after playing a show during Free Week at The Scoot Inn. Since joining I have come to learn that categorizing ideas as “logical” or “illogical” is a fool’s errand because everything we do is difficult. Why let common sense stop you from doing something amazing? I’m kind of joking, but that honestly is a great lesson I have learned from this band. Limiting thinking can stop you from doing great things, and honestly nothing is really THAT hard once you start. Thanks for not giving up on me Sean 😉
John – I’m from Dallas and the newest member of the band, but I’ve known the other members for a while now. A couple of my bands put out records on Sean’s label, and James and I have both been heavily involved in the DIY metal/punk/weirdo scene around town for a number of years. James had originally asked me to join when he was making the switch to guitar but I was too busy with my other projects at the time to commit. Fast forward a couple years, and a couple months after I had stopped playing with Cleric James asked me again and I jumped at the opportunity to join some friends in their continuing endeavor to create something impactful.
Heidi – I’m from San Antonio. I’ve been in bands here and there since high school, but the only truly legit thing I did prior to Dead To A Dying World was my old band Ecocide. Sean originally asked me to play violin and sing in Dead To A Dying World when they were first getting together, but I had too much going on at the time to make it work. A few years later, James asked me to record guest vocals on Litany, and then I was asked to join the band after I passed tour hazing.
Sean – I grew up outside of Dallas. I always had more talent in recognizing strengths in others than any real talent of my own. Really I’m the lucky one to have such talented friends who helped pave the way to forge my own creative endeavors. Eva in Sans Soleil, Heidi in Ecocide, James in Vorvadoss, John in Tyrannosorceress. These are all Texas bands that had a huge impact on me, more so than any larger touring acts. Together we constitute a big band with big personalities, and even bigger ambition.
Josh – Music has always been something, for me, that brings people together. From a young age, I’ve played in bands or set up shows in my hometown of Lafayette, IN. I moved to Texas and really became who I am as a drummer in the Austin music scene. Along the road a friend connected me with Sean, and I instantly resonated with what he was doing. After jamming with James, Heidi, and Eva, I realized the immense talent and drive of this group.
Let’s talk about your latest release, a working of your debut record “Reprise” that came out in 2011. Can you tell us about the process that lead to it’s re-imagination?
Sean – Our self-titled album really allowed me to push myself creatively as much as possible at the time. It is also what solidified our continued involvement for what was originally intended to be a one-off studio project. The album itself had been sold out for a number of years, and people have patiently asked when it will be made available again. We always knew that if it was going to happen we would want to do a proper remix and remaster with updated artwork. We were all very inexperienced in working in a studio environment, and the process was extremely rushed, with only half a day for mixing. When the timing was right, naturally we called upon Billy Anderson who we had worked with on Litany for a full remix. He really gave the original material the attention we felt it deserved and made it sound as we felt it always should. The source material is the same, with the addition of the Leonard Cohen “Dance Me to the End of Love” cover, but with updated mixes and imagery Reprise most accurately represents who we are and came to be as a band.
Eva – I’m just happy to say I’m on every album now.
What inspires you lyrically?
Mike – Writing lyrics can be a cathartic process. I tend to pull from personal experiences first then historical or current events and what I’m reading or watching at the time. For our next upcoming album we wanted to continue with the feel of the story arc started in the first album. It’s our take on post-apocalyptic themes while referencing the ancient past and looking forward to reflect upon modern culture.
Heidi – The Anthropocene.
James – Literature, history, and the realization that the combination of humanity’s denial of our situation and our refusal to change will almost inexorably come to pass.
What are your expectations or goals in terms of what you want to achieve with your music/message?
James – I don’t think we have wanted to achieve or change anyone’s mind about anything. We have always just written what was inside of us. Take it or leave it. Our sound has changed as we have changed. We aren’t Crass. However, people have, on occasion, reached out and said our music has helped them through their darkest hours. That means something. Many of us have had those hopeless times. And if what we do helps anyone get past that abyss, then we have already surpassed any goal we could place on ourselves.
Josh – If we could restore faith in humanity and blow people’s minds musically at the same time? That would be the thing to do.
Can you tell us a bit about the story behind 2015’s ‘Litany’?
James – We never thought Litany was going to happen. Sean and I were working on another project that never quite made it off the ground. When Eva came around we realized we had something again. We had this concept about tribalism. But for me it always boiled down to making the hardest decisions: starve or cannibalize your loved ones, continue the human species or let it die out knowing the destructive power of our very nature. It was different than anything I had ever worked on to completion. We never expected the response it received. We learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t while making Litany, and those lessons definitely influenced the process of the new record and the Cohen cover on Reprise. We’ve come along way. I hope it never ends.
How would you describe the DIY community in Texas at this point in time?
James – Dallas has always had a very diverse and vibrant DIY community, and it’s only gotten wilder over the past few years. We have always embraced the weirder side of things, but lately the experimental wing has really exploded in ways nobody could have predicted. If anyone is interested in checking out the Texas scene I would definitely check out the Tofu Carnage collection. Sean really caught a moment in the scene here even if it was a few years ago. We are all family. We are strong together.
Eva – I miss everything about the art, music, and DIY community in Texas! I don’t know what it is – maybe I’m just homesick, but it’s just weirder than every place in the world. Honestly, I have so much admiration for and draw so much inspiration from the people I know in Texas.
Josh – Texas is a wealth of diverse people and the scene benefits from that. If you want to make it happen, you can do it here. No matter what genre.
If you could choose a band or artist, dead or alive, to share a stage with, who would it be and why?
James – Aphrodite’s Child and Leigh Bowery.
Eva – Aphrodite’s Child for sure! C.A. Quintet? I mean a show as a revelation of the end of the world – I wouldn’t want to go out any other way.
Mike – James took the words out of my mouth – Aphrodite’s Child would be amazing.
John – Prince. I couldn’t imagine a better party.
Sean and Heidi – Lil Wayne.
Josh – I would love to open for Led Zeppelin. Can you imagine people saying the opening band was actually louder?
Is the creation of this kind of music a cathartic process for you?
Eva – Well as a seven-person unit writing bicoastally now, I’m not sure if the creation process is cathartic, but the result of creation is.
James – Our process certainly has changed now that we have members in three coastal states, none of which share a body of water, and five different cities. But at least for me the process is still a much needed release from reality.
Sean – I always tend to lose myself in the writing process, or any creative process for that matter. It’s always a dynamic and grueling process, but very rewarding in the end.
Josh – I’ve been in some cathartic writing processes and this one is soothing for me. It seems to me that everyone in this band has a clear idea of what they want a particular song to sound like, which is key in the endgame.
What would you say is the biggest issue concerning the world currently?
James – Unfettered greed.
Eva – Capitalism, but more specifically the consolidation of money and power in the hands of a few. The destruction that greed inspires is universal.
John – Humanity’s unrelenting consistency when it comes to manipulating and enslaving each other in order to obtain the fleeting sensation of power.
Heidi – Environmental destruction and sociopolitical inequities.
Sean – Whether a Fugazi reunion will happen before climate change kills us all.
Josh – I believe that Mother Nature will have her revenge on humans for the damage to her planet but it is most likely the absence of kindness.
What are your plans for Dead To A Dying World going into 2019 & beyond?
James – Keep an eye out for a new studio album in 2019 through Profound Lore. We are also playing Northwest Terror Fest in the spring. Thanks to David Rogers. He’s the best dude. We have a few other unannounced surprises coming up as well. Then hopefully we can make it out of the country to play some castles or whatever. Acoustic set at Milford Sound? We’re in.