Dead Animal Assembly Plant
This week we had the chance to talk to Portland’s own industrial metal band Dead Animal Assembly Plant about how their music is made, their distinct looks, what they have coming up and more. Read our interview below!
What are each member’s role in the band?
As far as our live show goes we have: Eric “Zero” Bergen on drums, Rags Jr. on guitars, Buzz on bass, and myself – Z.Wager on vocals. In the studio we all wear multiple hats as it were – from lyrics to composition – we all work together on that.
How was Dead Animal Assembly Plant formed?
Way before DAAP was even a concept I was in my friend’s band, Bound in Oblivion. He (Case) taught me a lot about using different software/hardware. The more I learned – the more ideas I had that didn’t quite fit into what he was doing with his project. So DAAP started as a solo side-project for me to get out these free floating ideas.
I tinkered by myself for a few years – when finally in 2011 I realized I wanted to do songs live, but wanted to have a full band. I didn’t want it to be karaoke – so it was important to make it as full as possible – for the time. So between Case (he helped me at the beginning of DAAP as a band) and myself we were able to pull people together. That’s how it all started. There has been some changing of the guard as it were, but we are in a really positive place now.
How would you describe your sound?
At a basic level we have become a lot more Industrial Metal. Early on it was more electronic but as different people came on – we started to write more as a group which – to me – makes it sound more cohesive and aggressive. Yet we reserve the right to do any damn thing we want in our songs, haha. We do like to be all over the place sometimes. Makes the writing process more fun because we aren’t too concerned about sounding too much like any genre.
What is the process of making music? Do you record everything separately or do you collaborate altogether?
Our process is really non-linear in the sense we operate really well together but also do a lot of writing separately. Sometimes it starts with a basic guitar riff or even a single line of a song. Most of the times the songs sound completely different from how they initially sound because of the back ‘n’ forth with each other. Everyone is involved in every song in some way from beginning to end. Whilst some may have a heavier influence from Zero or Rags – in the end we all put our stamp on it.
What inspires the lyrical content of your music?
Lyrically we try to jump all over the place. Personally I’ve always been really inspired by the lyrical stylings of Tom Waits or Jim Thirlwell. They’re very tongue ‘n’ cheek junk poetry – sometimes you don’t know what they’re saying but are so intrigued by their usage of words/phrases. It’s almost stream of consciousness, sometimes.
But everyone puts in their 2 cents about lyrics and structure. If someone has an idea we definitely like to work together to develop the song. We don’t want to be too one note heavy handed so we try to mix it up…write about religion, sexuality, governmental control, social degradation and the overall atavistic nature of humans. We really are a flawed species and there’s no shortage of inspiration to draw from sordid little madness.
Dead Animal Assembly Plant is known for their distinct look- who creates the masks/outfits and where are the inspirations drawn from?
From the beginning – even when it was by myself I would wear these cheaply made flesh masks/body suits that I made out of latex and painted up. It has always been very DIY but back then it was painfully so, haha. As the years went by we tried to change up our look and characters. I guess make them more defined so we can build a solid story off of them.
Once I found and became friends with Cody Wilhite (aka Dimension XIII) – he kicked our mask game up to a completely different level. He’s such an amazing artist with an incredible imagination. He works for Robert Kurtzman’s special FX company so he definitely knows his craft. He helped create some stage characters that we are working into a bigger story-line. He’s a pivotal part of the band absolutely!
Also the lovely couple at Scenesick clothing…we are slowly building up our stage attire with their wares. So right now it’s a mixture of self crafted stuff mixed with Dimension XIII and Scenesick. And we are kinda OCD in that we are constantly trying to find ways to add or alter things. We get restless easily.
What has been your favorite show you’ve played?
Hands down being able to play Knotfest in 2015. It was such a surreal experience being at such an enormous with thousands of people and all these incredible bands. It didn’t matter we didn’t get a long set or played at like 1:30 in the afternoon. Everything was just electric there. The crowd was already amp’d up even though it was early. We met so many great bands from around the country that were also playing the Headbang for the Highway stage. Bands that drove all the way from the east coast just to play a 15 min set at Knotfest. So it was also really humbling.
By total luck we ran into Corey Taylor back stage. Since that was the day Slipknot was playing – he was knocking around the small timer stages announcing some band that also won a battle. So we walked over to him and had a chance to talk with him for a few minutes right before we went on. He was really nice and even caught our set. We’re just waiting to hear back from him…any time now, haha!
Hopefully we can get back there, but Portland has allowed us to play with so many great bands we grew up listening to…that’s been really rewarding in and of itself.
You’re battling it out for a spot on the Portland date of Warped Tour. What would winning mean to you?
I can’t even put into words what it would mean to play Warped Tour. Not only is this year’s line up insane, but the opportunity to play in front of that crowd. Since Warped Tour draws such a unique mix of people – it would really get us out in front of a lot of new eyes and ears. And unlike Knotfest which was all the way in San Bernardino – this is just right in Salem so people from the area could come see us. Festivals have such great energy and it’s infectious. Everyone there just to enjoy music of all sorts. Nothing beats that experience.
What’s next for Dead Animal Assembly Plant?
Currently we are working on a new album which will come out next year, but this year we still have some tricks up our sleeve. We are planning on releasing a remix album later this year and already have some amazing musicians working on remixes. Buzz does all of art – all the cartoon, logo, graphic design work. So she is currently working on a DAAP comic book. It’ll start at the beginning with the Sweetmeats Slaughterhouse where the mythos of DAAP began and then work it’s way through our characters. That will be really fun. We’re also working on putting a tour together for at least the west coast into the southwest. And who knows what this year has in store…
You can catch Dead Animal Assembly Plant battle it out for a spot on the Portland date for Warped Tour on April 26th at the Hawthorne Theatre.