Dredg: The Gun Shy Interview

Dredg

On Saturday night, I went out to New York’s Irving Plaza to catch the second-to-last gig on California prog rock outfit Dredg’s recent tour with Circa Survive and Codeseven, and — had I not experienced a crippling bout of food poisoning — I probably would have been able to stay for the whole show. Unfortunately, that grandma slice from the pizza place around the block was seemingly tainted.

But before I started getting dizzy, sweating profusely, and nearly vomiting outside the venue, I had a chance to speak with Dredg’s Mark Engles and Gavin Hayes. Of course, most of my questions concerned the forthcoming follow-up to 2009’s The Pariah, the Parrot, the Delusion, which the band recently tracked with producer Dan The Automator. The album is set for release March 29. How in the hell did this heavenly pairing come to be?

“We’ve been friends with him four or five years,” Engles tells Gun Shy Assassin. “He did a remix for us five years ago, and we both live in San Francisco, and I think it was more just over dinner, over drinks here and there, we brought up the idea of working together at some point, so this was the perfect time to do.”

For fans of Dredg and fans of Dan The Automator’s work with acts like Gorillaz, Ben Lee, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Head Automatica, Peeping Tom, and Lovage, the collaboration makes perfect sense. And Hayes tells Gun Shy he feels the forthcoming record — which remains unnamed at this juncture and will boast album art from bassist Drew Roulette and his brother, Beau — “is a big leap for us.”

I can’t tell you how excited I was getting talking to the guys about the new disc. They seem amped about what they were able to accomplish with Dan, which makes me think this record’s going to be one of the year’s best.

“Its more of a collaboration really, because three of the songs were actually musically written by him,” Hayes continues. “So, it’s my voice, but its tracks he wrote and we added some instrumentation as well. So I think if you’re a fan of either side, you’ll probably like one aspect of it, or two or five.”

According to Hayes, Dredg wanted to do something different on this next record — the band’s fifth.

“At this point in our career, it’s important not to regurgitate, like, a Dredg rock record, but I would still say it’s more of a Dredg record than an Automator record,” Hayes maintains. “On the rhythm side of things — that’s where you’ll see more of a Dan influence.”

Dredg — known for incorporating various style of instrumentation into their music — will be introducing sitar into their sound on this next disc, and utilized Dan’s extensive keyboard collection to get just the right vibe for the disc. “There’s a lot of great keyboard sounds,” says Engles. “There’s definitely some sounds that we’ve never worked with. Just a ton of instruments.”

The band will be touring when the disc drops. Hayes says that tour — most likely a headliner — should launch March 22, and last well into late April. No word yet on who Dredg will bringing on the road with them, but the tour will be starting in Southern California, the singer noted.

While Dredg are far from the textbook definition of metal, they’ve certainly amassed a large metalhead following. Ask most longhairs if they dig Dredg, and they’re likely to throw you the fucking horns. Why is that? Engles has an idea.

“There’s an energy there, especially live,” he starts. “We all play the hell out of our instruments, and we have an energy and some dynamics that some metal has. That comes from our roots; we all grew up listening to punk and metal. And it’s still there, even though we incorporate all sorts of melody and instruments.”

Agreed. Again, look for the new Dredg album to land in stores March 29. I can not wait to hear what these guys have come up with working alongside Dan.

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