With Disturbed on indefinite hiatus for the foreseeable future, Dave Draiman is not one to rest on his laurels. In 2013 he returns with his new project called Device. HEAVY catches up with Dave and he fills us in on all the goss!
So where did the idea for Device come from?
It came about quite accidentally to be honest. We always intended during this hiatus to do some of things we’d never had a chance to. I’d planned to do some producing, working with the guys from Trivium on their new record, but I’d not really planned another project. Gino Lenardo from Filter, a friend and colleague of mine, reached out to me about participating in the Underworld Awakening soundtrack. I told him to send me some music, and I listened to what he sent me and was really into it. I wrote something to it, and then called him the next day and said ‘alright, when are we tracking this, because it’s big’.
So I flew to Chicago within a week and tracked it, then kind of sat back and was really amazed at what we’d done. Lakeshore wanted to use it as the lead track on the soundtrack, but we had a Disturbed track from The Lost Children B Sides compilation out on radio at the time and we didn’t want the two tracks competing with each other. So I said let’s hold onto it, and wait for the next opportunity. Then the song grew on us, and we started talking and said maybe we should write some more, so Gino came out to my home in March 2012 and we started writing. ‘Hunted’ was the track for the soundtrack, and it set the template for what the project was to become.
Now that it’s underway, do you have any ideas on where you wish to take this project?
I think that the music always tells you that. And I think that right now I just want to take the project through to it’s fruition, and that will determined by everyone else, not me [laughs]. I’ll do everything I can, but people have to dig it, people have to come to it on their own, you can’t force it.
Is there any concern that the public may not share your enthusiasm?
Sure, always a concern. Thanks for adding to my anxiety, I appreciate that [laughs].
‘Dark’ is one of the words you’ve used to describe the Device sound, and it certainly fits. Was it a deliberate decision to write like that?
No, really by doing that first song for the Underworld soundtrack it set the template stylistically. But there’s a whole blend of flavours to this palette, each song has it’s own direction, so the discernible bonding element is the style, the infusion of electronica. That’s really the identifying universal characteristic that resides within. But it’s hard, I’ve been struggling to explain what this thing is like – until you hear it, you really can’t conceptualise it.
Something that stands out instantly – there are some very heavy riffs on this album…
Oh yes, I need to have it that way. I can do stuff acoustically as well, but when it comes to doing album versions the thing that fulfills me is strong, heavy guitar. To me, a distorted guitar defines Rock. If you don’t have that in it, if that’s not driving the song from a musical perspective, it isn’t Rock.
Has it be a different experience writing/recording away from Disturbed?
It’s been a wonderful experience [laughs]. I’ve been loving it, really just free to go and create. With as much respect as I’ve had from the people I’ve been working with, with as much great input I’ve had from the people I’ve been working with, it’s really been an amazing new experience and process. Like, imagine you have an opportunity to create something really amazing and unique after already being in the business of doing that for 16 years; being given the chance to start over again with all the knowledge and experience that you’ve already accumulated, and being a better musican as well – I’m chomping at the bit. I love being the guy where nobody has any idea what this is about yet. Although, that has some weird consequences. I think it’s pretty ridiculous I’m nominated for a Golden God award for instance. I don’t get it – I’m very thankful and I thank everyone so much for the nomination, but no one has heard this! How can you nominate something for best new act when you haven’t even heard it. I appreciate it, but … it’s almost an overwhelming vote of confidence, and it can be quite a burden to have to live up to that kind of hype.
Adding a little more to that hype is the long list of ‘special guests’ for the album – Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath), Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Country Communion), M. Shadows (Avenged Sevenfold), Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) and Lzzy Hale (Halestorm). How did that all come about?
I wanted a guest for the Ozzy/Lita cover, so that was Lzzy. But for the rest, they are good friends of mine and we finally found an opportunity to do something together. For a number of these guys, it literally just came up in dinner conversation. We’d been toying with the idea of doing something together for years. It just kind of all fell together very naturally. I always try to surround myself with great, positive people.
The first single and video is ‘Vilify’, a great track with a huge chorus. What’s the thinking behind the clip?
We hope to have it out for the single release. It’s a live clip, but also conceptual, there’s a lot of CG going on. Basically it’s depicting how we are prisoners of technology – slaves to it.
Once the clip is out you’re taking Device live, with Virus( Dope) on guitar and Will Hunt (Evanescence) on drums. Initially you’ll be playing some festivals?
Yeah, really looking forward to that, putting together the elements of the live set – just can’t wait to see what kind of effect these songs have on live crowds. And if you’re gonna do it, do it big [laughs]. Get in front of as many people as you can, kick their ass, make a big impression as quick as you can. I’m all about that. I’m still going to do smaller shows, don’t get me wrong, and I have no delusions of grandeur coming out of the gate here, but I love the festival environments. I love the opportunity to see friends you haven’t seen for a while. And I am actually looking forward to being the new band, the band that everyone is curious about, the one everyone wants to check out. It’s new energy, it’s like being reborn. Experiences that you never thought you’d be able to get again. It’s pretty badass [laughs]
Speaking of a ‘rebirth’, you’ve seen a lot over the past 16 years in the industry. Would you rather be launching Device in 2013, or in 2003?
Oh, I would so have preferred to put it out in 2003! It’s just night and day … even as hard as it was in 2003 it certainly wasn’t as bad as where we are now. As a business it has gotten so much worse. It’s trench warfare out there, everybody fighting for everything, everybody expecting to do everything with nothing [laughs]. Really, it’s an unreasonable state of affairs, as an industry it’s very frightening. We all, no matter who we are, no matter how strong a record we’ve created, we all need all the luck in the world right now. And I believe if you’re going to go into battle, you better bring your biggest guns – that’s what I’m doing with Device.
Finally, are there any plans to bring Device to Australia?
Absolutely, we have to – a huge Rock market, I’m very aware of how much Aussies love Rock. I’ve always had an amazing time in Australia, always look forward to coming.