“The thing about DevilDriver is our reputation precedes us. A lot of venues in the United States won’t play us because it’s gets so insane! The venue people say we don’t want to deal with that! That’s a good thing. I’m proud of that!”

Dez Fafara, frontman of metal band DevilDriver, has always been a whirlwind of enthusiasm and today is no different. “Iain my man, I’m up at 4:30am, I run five different business from The Oracle Management, The Oracle Merchandising Co as well as starting a record label, DevilDriver plus SunCult is a family run business I run with Randy Blythe from Lamb Of God.”

It’s this energy we are to expect from the upcoming DevilDriver tour of Australia with All That Remains in August. “It’s going to be a blistering set. The songs are are going to go so quickly I won’t be able to say hello until eight or nine songs in! Some throwback stuff from my past is entering the system too. Bringing All That Remains is a real good bill for people. Anytime you can put a good package on for people is great.”

“I’ve been sober for four years, vegan for a bit more. When I look at my past I understand where my future needs to go. It’s exciting to come to Australia and play in the best shape of my life – I’ve dropped almost forty pounds – sober as a judge. I’ve dialled up all this ferociousness and it came when I dropped booze. So to come with DD to Australia and you guys get see that person on stage rather than a dude who has had eight or nine shots of whisky beforehand.”

Over the years DevilDriver has pushed the boundaries of their own music with the conversation mentioning their last output, the country covers album Outlaws ‘TIL The End: Vol 1. “I had a lot of calls saying you can’t do this, you can’t put country and metal together, it will be bad for your brand. Now those same people are sending me emails congratulating me. When you do things out of the box, not skewing art, doing it for yourself, it comes out authentic, it comes out tight and I’m really proud of that record.”

A common theme throughout our chat is Dez’s love of being creative for the purest forms of art. “We won’t skew our music to fit. A lot of bands I started with have all turned into radio bands. It’s not for me. If we make it to that format it’s because we made something viable that was ferocious to that format.”

Which brings us to the new album, originally announced as a double concept album, Dez updates us on what to expect. “It will be two standard albums, one year apart. They are still concept albums. People are going to be tripping, we’ve messed with our sound, gone even more heavy and chaotic! We’ve rewrote all the rules! For example if you like me in Coal Chamber or DevilDriver, you are going to get a bit of both. I’m embracing all my past and that’s making for a huge sounding record. Someone was listening to it the other day saying ‘The music is heavy and your vocals are doing all kinda different things’. I asked what does it sound like to you? ‘He said a new sound’. That’s great. We pushed the boundaries, we didn’t water anything down, we didn’t skew our art.”

“There’s one tune in particular with clean vocals, this verse has to have clean vocals, the chorus though is going to be the heaviest chorus ever. It started a huge conversation within DD about why and how bands do it. Example; heavy chorus, clean chorus is skewing your art for radio and TV. You do it the opposite, the chorus is balls out, that then becomes pure art!”

DevilDriver are about to embark on a tour across the States with the ‘re-imagined’ Static-X with Dez managing the project. “They are getting ready to see you guys, it’s going to be something special, you guys are going to get a phenomenal show. From the music I’ve heard, to the record deal we are negotiating for them, to the tour I’m honoured to co-headline. I’m humbled they are paying homage to Wisconsin Death Trip which is by far one of the best records in the last twenty five years. Period.”

Some quarters have called this a cash grab though? “People don’t know this, the band are giving fifty percent of the proceeds to his mother, it’s a real deal, something special coming through. It’s about art. If it’s a cash grab, it’s a cash grab for Wayne’s mom. I back it wholeheartedly, I’ve put my name on it, my band on it. They are doing it not only for the family but the fans?”

“Coincidently I said to my band, Coal Chamber are never going to get back together again, I’ll be goddamned if I’m never gonna play some of those songs for the rest of my life that made me. So we are going to start doing some of those songs too on this tour.”

So expect a blistering show Australia, Dez is ready, primed, fitter than he’s been to blow your face off with his band this August, as the man says himself “Every time you do something, you better make it your finest moment.”

Interview By Iain McCallum

Catch DevilDriver on the following dates, tickets from Destroy All Lines

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