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DevilDriver’s Dez Fafara: New Members ‘Came in and They Stuck Like Glue’ [Interview]

Liz Ramanand, Loudwire
Liz Ramanand, Loudwire

DevilDriver‘s Dez Fafara was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio program to discuss the band’s latest record, Trust No One. The frontman spoke about retaining the band’s signature sound while diversifying their writing, recruiting two new members before writing the album and maintaining his vision for the group. Check it out the chat below.

What’s happening?

Hey, how you doing? Thanks for having me Jackie, good to talk to you.

The latest album from DevilDriver of course, is Trust No One. Dez what keeps being on the road new and different for you? You’ve been doing this a long time.

Yeah, well this time around it’s killer. We have not headlined since we released the Trust No One record. And previous to that we took some time off. So we really hadn’t headlined for almost three years. So this one is a no brainer. Go out, headline, we are taking full production. Huge LED walls with videos. And then when we got this lineup of bands we’re like great, as soon as Death Angel signed on we’re like, “Great, this is going to be a killer package.”

And what keeps me going is, I mean I love the road Jackie, I love what I do, I love music and I’m extremely proud of this record. Trust No One came out our highest debuting record that we’ve ever had. So I want to thank everybody who supported us and it’s just been long overdue. We get a good headline run in and people can come out and spend an hour and fifteen, an hour and a half with us onstage and we can play some songs we haven’t played in a while, et cetera, et cetera. But I’ve think bringing out full production is going to be a really big deal. It’s going to be a really big show for people.

This is DevilDriver’s seventh album. What’s the strength of the album that really makes it shine among the rest of your catalog?

You know I think the reason this thing came out and debuted so high for us, it was the highest debuting record for us was because we put our all into it. But we’ve got a pretty rabid fan base. And so it’s not just us that make us, it’s really the people who have grasped onto our sound. We have a different sound than a lot of other bands. The fans have come out and named us groove metal because they really couldn’t find any other avenue to put us in. So we’ve kind of kept up with that moniker.

But this album has a lot of killer musicianship on it. It’s just backed by great, great songs. Start to finish. It’s got some surprises in it as well. Songs like “My Night Sky” are very, very diverse for us. I think people really to to this record. I didn’t see one bad review. So I’m extremely thankful about that. And like I said, the album sales have been through the roof the first week. So we’re really proud of it.

Your the one constant throughout the history of DevilDriver. How has your vision about how the band should be changed most over time?

You know, my vision has always been the same. If you can go out and tour and have a good time and keep your ego at bay and not become a rock ‘n’ roll casualty, then that’s what it’s all about. And I think the vision for DevilDriver is to continuously make good metal music and continuously do something that’s different. Make sure that we keep our sound apart from other people so we remain special to those people who found us years ago.

I think that’s part, but the reason why this record was critically acclaimed and the way that it came out and debuted so high, just the people behind us. And much like — there’s a lot of other bands that have been out a long time and they’re constantly making records and constantly touring, but when I hear their catalog, it really does sound almost like the same record over and over. And we just don’t want to do that.

So if you take Trust No One and put it up against Pray for Villains or Trust No One and put it up against one of our earlier works like Fury of our Maker’s Hand, it’s just heads above. You can see the growth in the band, but you can also see the diversity as well between the records. That’s an important factor with DevilDriver. People always know that they are going to get surprised and that’s what it is.

DevilDriver, every record is different. You’ve never written the same album twice. This record is very much in keeping with the band’s signature sound, but it’s definitely distinct. Talk about what sets this one apart from your previous ones.

Right, there you go. The signature of DevilDriver. That’s very well said. We do have a signature sound but we want to make every record different. This one encompasses, well not only this, I changed two members, I changed the drummer, there was a long time drummer and then a guitar player. But a guitar player who didn’t really write for about 12 years. So it was probably incumbent on me to find a musician to replace him that was a writer, and I did in Neil. And when Neil came in the band, it’s like, the material he brought was unbelievable. It was almost like he fit right in with Devildriver. He’s from Texas. He grew up on listening to Pantera, et cetera, et cetera.

So the first single that we debuted, you played it. Thank you very much for putting it out there first. But you played “Daybreak” and it’s not very often that a new member will come into a band and you end up releasing his song as the first track off of the new record that he enters the band. That’s just how it happened. These guys came in and they stuck like glue.

To really characterize what is different about this record? It’s hard to do unless you heard us before, unless you’re a musician I can only say that it definitely has a different sound. It’s a definite evolution for the band, we’re going to continue in that direction with the players that I have now. We’re all constantly writing, so we’ll see what comes out in the future but I’m really looking towards the future of DevilDriver and the next few records for sure.

Dez, what’s the timeline for the rest of the year – what are you other plans?

This summer we have big festivals, and a lot of stuff coming up in the fall time as well. There’s a possible second leg to the “Bound by the Road” tour that might be added with a real special band, we’re talking to them right now. So I don’t know. There’s Just gonna be a lot of work coming in the next year or two for sure, we’re touring the next two years straight before we come off to even to do anything album wise. That’s that. We’re having a good time doing it.

Thanks to Dez Fafara for the interview. Pick up your copy of DevilDriver’s ‘Trust No One’ at Amazon or digitally through iTunes. Keep up with everything the band is doing on their Facebook page and find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show at this location.

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