by Steve Jenkins
Dystopia sees Megadeth fifteen albums into their career and still sticking the middle finger up to the haters that doubt them. It’s a reflection of the world we currently live in and the decline of human civilization accompanied by a full throttle heavy metal soundtrack, narrated by the famous snarling vocals from the man himself Dave Mustaine. In the last few months we’ll have had releases from three of the “Big Four” thrash metal bands, and Megadeth clearly still have it.
Steve Jenkins spoke with the man behind the metal, Dave Mustaine.
“There’s been a lot of records come out from us over the years and sometimes we get excited and sometimes it gets frustrating. Sometimes there’s disappointment when records we previously recorded get leaked really early. It’s been nothing but great this time around though, the whole campaign, the recording process and the addition of Chris and Kiko to the band. It’s been a wonderful time for me overall.”
With the newest additions to Megadeth being drummer Chris Adler (Lamb Of God) and established Brazilian guitarist Kiko Loureiro, Dave seems quite satisfied with how the recording went with such fresh faces.
“We had three guys moving back and forth between the bands house that we had and my house here because there was a period where Chris had his wife and daughter out and there was also a period where Kiko had his wife and daughter out. In the meantime the other guy was staying at my house and the studio was in-between the two locations. It was really easy to get back and forth because it was a private area and very remote up in the Tennessee mountains, very beautiful area. It was good for us, there were no distractions or anything from the outside world that took away from our writing.”
Lyrically, the album delves into a darker realm much like what we see on the news every single day. Mustaine always takes his lyrics from current world events to help him inspire the music as well as a theme for each album and Dystopia is no different.
“I think that oddly enough that the World has been in this condition for a very long time. With social media and the reporting of the news that it seems like it’s in worse shape than it really is. There’s a lot of bad shit going on right now, don’t get me wrong, especially with terrorism and the shootings as of late. But this sort of stuff has been going on for as far back as I can remember, it’s just that the media always choose to report the bad news before the good news.”
As of this stage, Dave goes on to tell us which track he enjoys the most out of the three singles that have been released thus far.
“Hardest to play would definitely be Dystopia, my favourite to play as of this stage would be Fatal Illusion, that’s a real fun song to play. It’s got some challenging parts in there just like most of the songs from the album but it’s a standout track for me so far.”
What does it take for a band in the heavy music genre to stay relevant for over 30 years? Is it a good name? Is it luck? Is it hard work? Or maybe it’s all of those things. But if anybody knows anything about the business and what it takes to make it as a metal band, look no further than the seasoned veteran Dave Mustaine for sage advice.
“I think its a little bit of all that (luck and hard work), I think the most important thing is perseverance because people like to say stuff. Even people that don’t like you or talk shit about you all the time; they’re saying something you can learn from. I usually don’t care what people think or say about me but I’m always taking any negativity on board as if it were something I can improve on to make myself better. Whether its sound wise or technique wise, there’s always room for improvement.”
As a massive gear head (instruments, not drugs people!) it’s always nice to know what Dave is using on tour and in the studio currently. Not much has changed it seems, and why change when it’s worked for so long?
“Well I like my Dean signature guitar, I use this model called the VMNT and for this record I mainly used two different ones. I used one that was made out of korina which is a wood from Africa and that was my lead sound. Then I used a mahogany one that was painted silver and it had an opaque finish on it, that one has a really bright sound that I use for my rhythms. My amplifier I use a Fractal Axe-FX, I use the second version.”
Having recently toured Australia in October 2015, it might be a while before we see Megadeth back here for a run of shows, but Mustaine seems nothing but eager to return. Happy with his new band of brothers, it looks like it’s full steam ahead for the mighty Megadeth for 2016 and beyond.
“Everybody knows what they’re doing, everybody’s having fun and smiling. The shows are good, everybody hangs out once the shows are over which we didn’t do before.”
“So far we’re booked until September 2016, which has never happened before in the 30 years of Megadeth. It’s a busy road that lies ahead but I’m looking forward to it. We’ve definitely got a solid year worth of touring booked ahead which will take us all over the world. We really want to come back to New Zealand and Australia and do it right next time. We did it well when we were there a few months ago, but Chris had only just joined the band and we didn’t get much of a chance to relax. I had some problems with my gear while I was down there also, but that’s all been resolved.”
“It’s always fun playing with people that you like, I think it makes you a better person because you’re happier and more positive. Chris and Kiki are both very positive people to have around, not to mention so talented. There’s great leadership and chemistry in the group now.
An avid user of social media, Mustaine made sure he snuck in his Twitter handles for all the latest on the band and himself. He also revealed something special that is quite innovative which could very well change the way people buy music from now on, if it succeeds of course.
“For any updates on myself or Megadeth the best thing to do it follow me on Twitter @davemustaine or @megadeth and we’re always posting new tour dates over on our website. I’m hoping we get back down there again probably later on in the year. We also did this virtual reality shoot where we shot five songs that are going to be super cool. I don’t know if that’s something they’re going to have in Australia, but at some point you’ve got to check it out.”
Released today, fans will be able to purchase the new album, a CEEK Virtual Reality cardbox headset with instructions, and a download code to access and unlock exclusive content, which will also be simultaneously launched with the release of Dystopia to begin their VR Experience. This special CD package will be available at all physical and online retailers.
Featuring 11 brand new tracks, Dystopia will be released on both CD and LP, as well as digitally through all online partners TODAY via Universal Music.