Interview By Kassu Kortelainen / February 2008
In the darkest, snowiest, coldest stretch of nordic winter, Die So Fluid, a british trio strongly on the rise, arrived to the city of Kuopio as part of their finnish tour. Steel Mill seized the moment and sat down for a chat with the band at the venue, Kuopio’s premiere rock bar Henry’s Pub.
Vocalist/bassplayer Grog, guitarist Mr. Drew and drummer Al Fletcher shared their thoughts on the new DSF album “Not Everybody Gets A Happy Ending”, future plans and… vampire bats and painful video sessions! Read on!
First of all, though there are lots of new bands showing up all the time and many of them good ones, most of them sound a lot like some other band. Die So Fluid on the other hand sounds like…. Die So Fluid. When you’ve got such a mix of different styles ranging from metal to punk or to grunge or even ska… it’s hard to describe Die So Fluid. How would you describe yourselves?
Grog: Well, we see that as a strength cause I think that’s part of what makes a good band. You know something that you can never quite put your finger on or what the influences are. And you can hear a few influences in there, the ones that you mentioned but I suppose it’s because there’s three strong characters in the band and some of our musical tastes cross over but some of them are quite different as well and all of that is poured into this tight unit. I like the fact that people can’t quite pinpoint it.
Does it ever cause any problems, you know if you hear of a new band and describe it to your friends – if you say “these guys play power metal” or “they are a stoner rock band” it instantly summons up ideas about how they sound. But with Die So Fluid, it’s impossible to properly categorize the music – it’s a band you need to hear to know what it’s all about…
Grog: Yeah, I think that’s really true and actually when we first started out that was annoying because I think people jumped to conclusions about what they thought the music was like before listening to it. And now people are really getting out to check it out, luckily, and so that’s how our audience is growing finally cause they’ve realized that we’re not just some like goth metal thing that they’ve heard before but it’s actually got lots more to it, you know more depth. So now it’s a strong point.
So now it’s all working for your favour….
Grog: Yeah if people aren’t lazy then it’s okay, ha ha… and the latest really good description we had was that we were a cross between Siouxsie and Slayer, ha ha! We quite like that!
Die So Fluid: mr. Drew, Grog & Al Fletcher
© Kassu Kortelainen
Okay, so you’ve just recently got onto this new record label Parole Music that’s quite small but a very enthustiatic one. How did the switch to Parole go?
Grog: Well, I mean it’s not our sole label, one of the guys attached to Parole label is actually our manager (George Jackson) and that’s the most important relation. And we’re actually licensing through Parole but also we like to look other labels around the world.
That sounds good…
Grog: Cause we own our own records so we think it’s important to keep hold to our copyright and keep creative control as much as we can. And then just licence out and work it through distribution companies. We’ve just actually got a new licencing deal in america of which we’re very excited about.
Oh yeah, I just spotted that on your website yesterday. So you’re heading on to the USA?
Grog: Yeah, we’re going to Phoenix…
Well, it’s gonna be a lot warmer than here then that’s for sure!
Grog: I know! It’s gonna be one extreme to another, ha ha, from furcoats to bikinis!
So, after Spawn Of Dysfunction that was released in 2005… or actually it was recorded before…
Drew: Yeah… 200…4… I think it was released here in 2006. Yeah, anyway I don’t know where your question was going… ha ha
I don’t know it either, heh heh… oh yeah – it was quite a long wait for the new album then? I mean Spawn was a great record and I was really expecting the follow-up and now it’s here, thankfully…
Grog: Finally it’s here! Um… because the first album was funding the second album. So as the money trickled in we were able to go on and record a bit more and then a bit more and then a bit more. So that’s why it took us a little bit of time.
Die So Fluid live @ Henry’s Pub Kuopio, Finland / feb.28th 2008
© Kassu Kortelainen
And at the moment you’re touring, how’s the tour started out?
Grog: Last night was the first gig in Helsinki and it felt like quite an animal gig really cause each time we come back the crowd’s roaring and now of course the album’s out and it felt like a celebration since we released the album, it was really cool.
Interesting thing is that for some reason you’ve gotten a big following of fans in Finland of all places, and toured here a lot which is somewhat peculiar for a band from UK…
Grog: Well I guess we’re just really lucky because of the connections that we’ve made. And we were embraced very quickly by the finnish audiences and then we made friends with Maj Karma who invited us to support them and it just kinda escalated very quickly for us. So we feel quite lucky.
And now you’re getting much more well deserved recognition. What do you think are the key elements that a band needs to develop from a sort of a cult status to a major act?
Grog: Good music. Ha ha ha! I do think that’s what it is basically! You have to master every aspect of what you do, it’s actually hard work. You have to be a 100% dedicated to it. You know things just don’t fall into your lap, you’ve got to work for it.
Let’s talk about the new album then… compared to “Spawn of Dysfunction” album, what struck me on the first spin of “Not Everybody Gets A Happy Ending” was that it all sounded like everything was geling still so much better together. Songwriting, the sound… how do you see it? Did you immediately notice it’s getting better and better still – you making even better music?
Grog: Yeah, hopefully that’s what we’re doing which each album that we make. Ha ha, that’s what we intend to do!
Drew: It’s funny that, because of the way it was recorded, you know over a couple of years. It was not until we got the record back from mastering that we really listened to it as an album. And I personally was amazed that it hung together so well… Cause to me it’s like the album of Frankenstein, it’s just like “bolt this song here and bolt that one there…” and then actually it’s “oh no, it’s really good!”. And I think what people also really like about it is that we’d write a song, get a bit of money, go on and record it without even playing the song live. So all the ideas were really fresh.
It’s kinda the scene is the song was written and then we recorded it by the lot of us. And I think people liked that you know, the raw idea is kinda bare on the record.
© Kassu Kortelainen
And compared to the most bands that write the album and then go to a studio to record it on one go, the style you talked about probably ensured the good songs getting there and more thought going to the writing…
Drew: Yeah, and it made the album a bit more varied as well. You know I think that “Spawn” has a very focused sound and this one is you know, spread out a lot more.
About the songwriting, on the new album you have different kinds of songs, like the title track being dark and brooding song and then there’s a straightforward in your face punky piece “Something To Say” or “The Kiss And Then The Kick” which is like a pretty vicious pop song. And still it all sounds recognizably Die So Fluid.
Grog: Yeah, I don’t know how we do it but somehow we manage it, ha ha!
And still, nothing really seems out of place on the album…
Grog: Well maybe it is because the songs are all quite personal. You know, when I write all the lyrics and the vocal melodies… so maybe that’s one of the elements that ties it all together. Cause I kinda mean everything that I say and I think that’s important in music.
And that all shows in your singing too, I think.
Grog: Yeah, it’s all coming from the same place.
For example on the track ‘Throw You Away’ you can really feel the desperation in your voice…
Grog: Yeah, that’s a really passionate song.
© Kassu Kortelainen
About the album title… At first glance “Not Everybody Gets A Happy Ending” sounds quite a negative statement, but when you look at the phrase closer you also read between the lines that though not everybody gets a happy ending, some still do. So there’s an interesting duality on the title…
Grog: Well it’s really about the fight and struggle that we’re all in together. You know, trying to get there.
Drew: Yeah it’s kind of like… it’s more about trying to motivate you into… not expecting a happy ending but…
…everything you get is a plus?
Drew: Yeah, excactly. You’ve got to work for it.
Same kinda double meaning in the band’s name as well, right? And as we got to that I’m sure a lot of people are wondering what the name is all about, it is a quite unusual name for a band after all…
Grog: Well, it’s supposed to sound like a badge of honour. Kind of meaning live for today and leave behind a beautiful legacy. So it has a symbolic theme to it when you think about these two things. They tying together. And also it is quite an abstract phrase if you like… and nobody else has a name like that, ha ha, so you know that worked for us and we went with that.
We talked about the music before, but also the DSF lyrics have all kinds of twists in them. For example you have many songs about love and relationships but instead of going along the lines like “I’m so happy and in love” or “oh my baby left me” there’s a sort of dark twist to them.
Grog: Well I just don’t think that I believe particularly in happy endings. You know when you read books and they say “they lived happily ever after” I’ve always kinda thought “but what happened next?”, I’m sure they didn’t.. you know life isn’t like that. So I think that’s what interests me. Reality.
And there are other elements as well, like in the song “Vorvolaka” which I heard is somekind of a mythical creature, a mix of a vampire and a werewolf was it?
Grog: Oh yeah! Yes it’s from the greek mythology, I was using it as a symbol for something and sometimes I find that that kind of imagery helps me to form a song and say what I mean.
© Kassu Kortelainen
You’ve also made new videos to support the album, one of “Existential Baby” and another one of “Happy Halloween”. And there’s also some improvement too, I mean “Spawn Of Dysfunction” video was a very energetic one but this time you can see a lot more effort has been put in the videos as well and they look much more professional too. How was it to shoot those? “Happy Halloween” for example has Grog being tied to a ceiling at one point then lying on an operating table at another…
Al: It was very funny actually, especially that one to make it. It was really good…
Grog: It was actually very painful to be tied up, ha ha, I was acting… but that was a real rope tied around my hands and I was really kinda hanging from it when I was getting carried away acting. And I had like rope burns for about a week afterwards. So actually that is real pain you see there ha ha
So, how long did you have to hang there? Since making videos you just don’t shoot it all right away…
Grog: Drew was actually filming me at that point, weren’t you?
Drew: Yeah I directed that video. I didn’t make you suffer too much…
Grog: Yes you did! You kept me there for hours!
Drew: Naaah… but when we were finished though, everyone left the
dungeon bit and just forgot about you…
Grog: Yeah I got left in a dungeon…
Drew: …and there was a little voice…
Grog: …lying naked on a table under a sheet going ‘Hello I’m still here!!” ha ha!
And meanwhile you guys went for a beer..
Drew: Yeah pretty much like that, ha ha
There’s some new material for the next lyrics then, “they left me in a dungeon…”
Grog: Yeah, these guys torturing me…
Alright, so what’s up next for Die So Fluid?
Grog: Well we’ll finish this tour. And then we’re going to Holland to do some gigs there, then we’re going to America… and we’re also going to Germany aren’t we?
Drew: It’s a festival that has to do with horror films. And for some reason we’re playing there..
Hopefully not because someone thought the songs were horrible…
Grog: Ha ha, The song “Happy Halloween”, maybe because of that video, I don’t know.
Drew: Anyways its nice to be asked to do these odd things around the regular gigs. It looks like a lot of playing this year and in the meantime we’re going to try to write the next record so it’s not such a long gap as before. We’ve already started demoing some new songs and we’re trying to be back home throughout the year, so maybe start recording at the end of the year.
Talking about these odd gigs, what’s the strangest gig you’ve had so far?
Grog: we had to play on the top floor of a doubledecker bus once, at a biker’s festival called the Bulldog Bash in England.
But the bus wasn’t driving around?
Grog: No that would’ve been really weird! ha ha ha. They cut out the sides of the bus though. And it was really… you couldn’t carry your gear up to the top because the steps were so tiny and you just had Hell’s Angels passing the stuff up and it was really good.
© Kassu Kortelainen
Well, that does sound pretty extraordinary for sure! But now, let’s close this interview like this: Could you list, let’s say three things people could expect from a Die So Fluid gig?
Grog: okay… a headache, ha ha!
Al: a hangover…and maybe… waking up disorientated with all your clothes missing.
Grog: Ha ha, that’s good!
Drew: Expect to be swarmed by bats, vampire bats chasing you on the way home! Happens all the time!
Ha ha, okay that sums it up nicely. Thanks a lot for the interview guys and best of luck to you!
DSF: Thank you!
Check out the official website for more info on Die So Fluid: