Measurably intense and undoubtedly original, Stillborn Records' boss Jamey Jasta has a good thing going with Dead By Wednesday. The Hatebreed frontman signed the band to his label and promptly issued their latest, "Democracy Is Dead." The DBW crew gives writer Darren Cowan the straight dope on their music and the treachery that inspires their hyper-fast lyrical blasts. DBW were so excited to speak with The Gauntlet, certain members of the group couldn't even keep their balls in their pants. Read on and discover why "Democracy Is Dead".
The Gauntlet: How's the tour been going?
Mike Modeste: Pretty good. It has its up nights and it's down nights. Sometimes we're playing in front of 70, 80, 100 people or more. Some nights we're playing in front of a lot less. It's been pretty good, for the most part; I'm enjoying it.
The Gauntlet: How's the fan response been?
Mike Modeste: Really, really good, I'm surprised. Basically, Texas responded a lot better than I thought they would. Colorado had a pretty good response. Iowa was amazing. We got a really good response in Iowa. For the most part, pretty good. We've been selling a lot of merchandise. We've been selling a lot of CDs, a lot of t-shirts. We're building a following everywhere we go.
The Gauntlet: Do a lot of people come up to you and tell you this is the first time they heard you, and they really like your band?
Mike Modeste: Yeah, and I've signed quite a few autographs. I never see myself signing autographs, but people like it. The second night we played was in Allegan (Michigan), and we got a really good turnout. It was all ages, so it was pretty good.
The Gauntlet: How did you get involved in the J�germeister tour?
Mike Modeste: Our booking agent put the tour together, and I believe, for a lack of a better word, they courted J�germeister. When the tour was put together there were other sponsors, and J�germeister wasn't sure if they were going to do it. At first they were going to commit then they didn't. Finally, they said, "we're going to do it." When it comes down to it, it was all negotiation.
The Gauntlet: Does J�germeister give you any freebies?
Mike Modeste: Scum does, we don't because we're just the supporting act. Part of the SCUM OF THE EARTH merchandise is Jagermister shirts, goodies, freebies, key chains, shit like that. I don't think you have to buy any of that stuff. I don't know how well you know the whole J�germeister relationship, but basically you pitch J�ger as much as you can, try to get fans to buy it at the bar. In return, they put you on some cool shows.
The Gauntlet: How does DBW compare to Gargantuan Soul?
Mike Modeste: G-SOUL was more commercial. Physically it was more main stream. DBW is a mixture of multiple types of music. Some people would go as far as calling it "old school thrash metal." DBW is heavier than G-SOUL. G-SOUL had a lead vocalist with melodic vocals. We've got more yelling, screaming if you will, and even slight rapping. It's a politically-themed band as opposed to G-SOUL. It's very different.
The Gauntlet: How has "Democracy is Dead" been selling? How has it been perceived by the fans?
Mike Modeste: Very well. It's one of those things that has a snowball effect. The more we get out there and play, the more tours we do, provides awareness for the album. It gives people a chance to check it out. It's doing really well. It's a little slow, but for the most part it's doing well considering we don't have a huge, multi-budget conglomerate pushing us. It's part of the Indie movement. We are on Jamey Jasta's (HATEBREED) label. He helps out as much as he can with promotion. We're still pretty much on our own. We're doing pretty well. We're getting airplay a lot on the college level in different parts of the country.
The Gauntlet: Any videos submitted to MTV 2's "Headbangers Ball" or Fuse?
Mike Modeste: I'm not sure about Fuse, but we do have a video out on MTV, but they haven't played it. It's on a couple of video download places on the internet like "Itunes."
The Gauntlet: Are any of the bands in the Northeast (U.S.) inspiring for your group? You guys seem to have a hardcore style?
Mike Modeste: I wouldn't just limit it to the Northeast. Everybody has their own influences. The singers are into N.Y. hardcore scene. Opus, myself, Pat, and even Ross, our guitar player are influenced by many different bands out there, not necessarily all hardcore metal bands. I couldn't even begin to tell you: DEFTONES, old school METALLICA, you name it. Everyone's got their own.
The Gauntlet: Obviously SEPULTURA.
Mike Modeste: Yes. Everyone has their own influences, but I wouldn't regionalize it as being from the Northeast. There are a few hardcore bands from Connecticut that we're friends with that come out of our area, but as far as musical influences when we write, it could be anything�all over the globe.
The Gauntlet: The way your rhyming flows reminds me of the old school, fast punk and hardcore singers, yet it's rapped. Are any of the fast punk, 80s hardcore bands influential?
Opus: You're the only person who's mentioned that. We don't even have to answer.
David Ramos: BAD BRAINS is one of my favorite bands. MINOR THREAT, DEAD KENNEDYS, BLACK FLAG, all that shit (Ceschi agrees). SUICIDAL TENDENCIES.
Opus: It is more hip hop in this, obviously it's more rhythmic, but that's just because that's what we do. We are influenced by that scene, though.
Ceschi Ramos: They have more projects over in Cali. In Cali there is a whole movement of Hip Hop that was actually influenced somewhat by punk. I've got some good friends out there who are ten years older than me that influenced heavily by jazz scat and punk, like SUICIDAL TENDENCIES.
The Gauntlet: Dave and Ceschi have also taken Jazz lessons. Tell the Gauntlet about the experience and how it has shaped your vocals.
Opus: I play the drums, so rhythmically jazz drumming has to do with jazz scatting. You perform jazz rhythms like triplets. A lot of our vocals are based off triplets, which is what swing is based off.
We both play instruments. He was (Ceschi) a drummer, and I started playing violin at an early age, and then jumped to guitar about ten years ago.
Ceschi Ramos: Bass and keyboards. All three of us play triplets. Even though I was more into hardcore, around 16 or 17 I really got into playing jazz. I started listening to groups from the 30s and 40s that influenced hip hop groups in the 90s. Some of these groups were jazz vocal leads group from the 30s and 40s. They were doing basically what we do, really fast, scat with words. In the 90s and late 80s, bands like THE FREESTYLE FELLOWSHIP brought that into Hip Hop, and mixed it in with screaming. We're really influenced by thrash metal, not even so much hardcore, but thrash that no one is really doing like NUCLEAR ASSAULT, D.R.I., old school METALLICA, ANTHRAX. Not the new metal, but the old metal mixed in with new style vocals. We try to do something different because no one is really doing anything different. Well, SYSTEM OF A DOWN is doing something different. They're getting really poppy now, but whether you like it or hate, if you can do something that is a little different from what everyone else is doing out there then you're doing something right. It is so hard to do that today.
The Gauntlet: What rap artists influence you?
Opus: We have a lot from original L.A. Hip Hop like FREESTYLE FELLOWSHIP of Mexican descent.
Ceschi Ramos: I like the old school shit like old PUBLIC ENEMY, old N.W.A., KRS-ONE.
David Ramos: A TRIBE CALLED QUEST, L.L. COOL J., and stuff like PROJECT BLOWED, THE GOOD LIFE. The scene coming out of L.A. in the early nineties.
The Gauntlet: DBW is a group made up of members from California and Connecticut. Why did you guys decide to settle in Connecticut, considering how California is the entertainment capital of the world?
David Ramos: Because the Connecticut hardcore scene is where it is at. You know, we got bands like HATEBREED, THE RISK, TAKEN. The Connecticut hardcore scene is booming, so Connecticut is where we settled, ya know. My man here, Christian (Opus) is friends with Jamey Jasta from HATEBREED. We're already established in the Connecticut scene with G-SOUL. We got fans over there. We decided to move out from Cali to Connecticut to try it out there.
Opus: These guys used to live in California, they're my cousins. They're also brothers. They didn't move out here to be in this band. They moved out here long enough ago. They lived long enough in California to be influenced by the scene. They were involved in other kinds of music in the West Coast as well. They go out there and record a lot. They came out here and we just decided to form a band.
The Gauntlet: Has being in a band together changed your relationship in a family sense? Do you discuss business at family events?
Opus: We do, but we try not to, but we do. It doesn't happen on purpose, but it just comes out some times.
The Gauntlet: Sometimes at the Sunday dinner?
Opus: Yeah, the Sunday Italian diner. I'm Italian and they're both half.
David Ramos: Half Italian, half Puerto Rican.
The Gauntlet: Why should fans check out DBW? What do you have to offer?
Mike Modeste: It's different, it's edgy, and it's unlike anything out there if you're looking for something different. For example, the first time I heard SYSTEM OF A DOWN I didn't like it, but I couldn't get it out of my head. When you hear it, you recognize it as that. Either you like it or you don't. That's the response we get from our music. Some people don't like it, so they clear the room. Other people will stick around because it's something different. You definitely need to check it out! You need to go out and buy the album!