Friday, July 11, 2014

Meatjack Interview from 2003

As a tie-in with my Darsombra interview, I dug this one up from the archives: One of the first interviews I ever did was with Darsombra's Brian Daniloski and his brother Jason back when they were with Meatjack. It was in 2003, around the time the band released their last album, the criminally underrated Days of Fire.

For some reason, I always remembered the interview as not being very good; I was still learning how to put together questions, and phrased a lot of them awkwardly. In going back and looking at it again, I was surprised to find that the questions weren't that different from the ones I asked about Darsombra, a decade and change later. 

Sigh. Still learning.

DoC:  First off, how did the tour go? Any interesting anecdotes?
Brian: The tour went very well. After 2 1/2 years off the road/looking for a drummer we're incredibly happy to be doing this again. Usually in the past I've got some crazy tour stories but my mind comes to a blank on this last tour. There was a lot of the typical hard partying, sleep depravation and malnutrition that comes with any tour but nothing outrageous that I can think of.

DoC: What was the reaction to the new material?

Brian: People seem to dig it very much. We are getting a great response to the new stuff.

DoC:  Meatjack's sound seems heavily dependant on guitar effects.  Is this hard to pull off live, and how do you cope with any difficulties?

Brian: I don't think that our sound is heavily dependant on guitar effects at all. Maybe some of our earlier material was. It depends on the song. I've been highly influenced by people like Adrian Belew who build these whole sonic landscapes based on guitar effects, but now I'm trying to concentrate more on the song and melody first, then effects second. I think you can hear that shift on the "Days of Fire" CD. If you don't have a good song to start with, all the effects in the world aren't going to amount to shit. It's like a movie with great visual effects but a weak plot. There might be an initial impact of "wow!" when you're seeing it for the first time, but it'll have no staying power.

Some nights it can be a little difficult to pull off all the effects live, especially if I'm cramped for space or having electrical power issues, but for the most part it comes off just fine. I have an elaborate little dance that it looks like I'm doing around my pedals when I'm playing in order to make it all happen.

Jason: A house is only as strong as its foundation, a band is only as good as its drummer and a guitar riff is only as good as it is without effects. Effects are the icing on the cake. With the new stuff I was always saying to Brian, "I like that riff. Now play it like Wino (Hidden Hand, Spirit Caravan, Obsessed)." "What would Wino do?" was my mantra while writing this record. That always made everything rock more.

[completely unnecessary DoC interjection: Scott "Wino" Weinrich is the godfather of modern doom rock, and a living legend.  If you don't know who he is, head straight to Saint Vitus' "Born Too Late" or the Obsessed's "Church Within", or get yourself run over by a bus]

Plus when I write stuff I don't have any effects so they aren't too overbearing on those particular songs. It's all about the all encompassing riff.

DoC:  Do you still use the film projector in the background?  How do/did the visual effects enhance the performance?

Brian: No, we've stopped doing that. Our last projectionist J.R. decided that he wanted to move on and do something else with his life instead of constant touring. We spent almost three years just dealing with trying to find the right drummer so that we could get back to rocking. So by the time we did we weren't about to wait around looking for a projectionist too. We're a rock band first and foremost. So the idea was to strip away all the smoke and mirrors and just be a rock band. It was fun and cool when we used to do projections but I gotta admit the extra space in the van and the shorter loads and less elaborate set ups on this last tour were very nice.

DoC:  What is the writing process like for Meatjack?  Do songs start with jam sessions, or is it a matter of arranging sections that are created individually?  And at what point are the lyrics brought in?

Brian: The writing process can be like either one of those for us and more. Sometimes we'll just jam at the rehearsal space with the tape rolling and we'll come up with something. Lately it seems more like individuals come in with ideas and then the whole band works on modifying and arranging together. Lyrics usually come after we've written a piece of music but not always. Anything goes for the most part but the end objective is that we're doing justice to whatever the song demands.

DoC:  With your line-up solidified and an incredible record just released, what is in the immediate future for Meatjack?

Brian: More touring. Plans are to hit the west coast in spring. Hopefully to hit Europe sometime soon. Plan on seeing a lot more of us.

DoC:  Any bands that you did shows with that you want to plug/give shout outs to?

Brian: Rwake, Stinking Lizaveta, Swarm of the Lotus, Keelhaul, Weedeater, Kita, Nob, Minsk, Members of the Press, Today I Wait, Supagroup, Collapsar, Social Infestation, Cream Abdul Babar, Unpersons, Beaten Back To Pure, Igon, etc., etc., (sorry if we forgot someone, so many bands.........).

DoC:  Thanks so much once again for taking the time to do this.

Brian: Thank you. Anyone interested in more info please check out