The Dillinger Escape Plan: Famous Last Chords
With social media as it is these days, and with a constant merry-go-round of supposed facts surrounding bands and their music, there’s little wonder why people loathe to believe the things they hear or read at face value. Unfortunately, rumours sometimes have substance, and when the question is posed to The Dillinger Escape Plan frontman Greg Puciato, it becomes painfully clear that the band are, in fact, calling it a day after releasing Dissociation and completing its subsequent tour.
“I think it’s gonna be the end,” Puciato sighs. “We’re definitely winding down. That was the plan going into the album, and it’s still the plan now. Unless there’s a massive change in collective thought, that’s just the way things are. I think we’ve reached the point where, for the first time, it makes a little bit of sense. I think we reached a point in our individual lives – musically, lyrically, and somatically – and we decided that if there was ever a time to take a break, now is it; now’s the time to see what happens to our lives in the absence of this giant thing that confines everything. Every single day when we wake up, [the band] takes up all of our time and energy, and it’s been that way for seventeen, eighteen, nineteen years for some of us. What do you do when that thing isn’t there anymore? I don’t think we wanna leave it until we’re 60 to find out.”
Musical trends have come and gone in the nineteen years since Dillinger forced their way into our lives, and Puciato hopes that, in some way, the band are leaving the scene in a better place than they found it.
“It’s not my place to say, but I would hope so,” he says modestly. “We were never doing this to try and make an impact on the scene, or cause some massive shift in the landscape. We were just doing it because this is what makes sense to us. The music that we write and the way we perform it just made sense and was exciting to us. It was never about anything other than expressing fierce individuality, and that’s something I’m most proud of – knowing that we were a beacon of individuality.”
“We were all torn in so many different directions, and it’s obviously a very fertile ground for writing, to be in that state of emotional distress.”
In a show of unity and loyalty to the fans who will undoubtedly miss them, Dillinger have released what is likely to be their final album, Dissociation. Puciato assures us that although it was a bittersweet experience, the band definitely pulled out all stops to leave behind a definitive body of work as their peace offering.
“Once we decided we were going to disband or break up, everything on the album became a lot more critical; we had to throw everything that we possibly could into and onto it, because it was our last chance. I think we all reached a new level as individuals – and as a band – on the record, and that wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t decided to stop and go into overdrive. It was a really strange feeling to know that we were creating a great record because we decided to stop.”
With the knowledge that it was likely the final time the band would record together as a whole – coupled with the pressure of expectation – Puciato says that the album cycle was an extremely difficult time, but also one which was rewarding on so many different levels.
“It was extremely stressful,” he conceded. “There was so many conflicting emotions that were happening when we were writing and recording the album. All of those things affected the process a great deal. We were all torn in so many different directions, and it’s obviously a very fertile ground for writing, to be in that state of emotional distress. Very few people write at all when they’re in a good place, so having that emotional chaos is a good breeding ground.”
One thing that is uniquely identifiable to the band’s legions of fans is The Dillinger Escape Plan’s sound, and after nearly two decades, even Puciato has trouble defining it to a specific genre.
“Dude, I was just talking about that with our sound guy,” he laughed. “We’re rehearsing at the moment, and I left the room and was having a listen to the rest of the band play – I said to the sound guy, ‘Can you believe that people actually listen to this?’ It just suddenly hit me: we are all over the place with different parts that sound nothing alike, it’s just total chaos! It dawned on me how unusual it sounds, and it amazed me that we even have fans who listen to it! It’s really tough to define. When I hear our music, I just hear ferocious ADD [laughs].”
“To be able to look around, and say that we’ve made any kind of difference to anyone at all is really fucking overwhelming!”
For a band, then, with no definable sound to have had the success they have is a testament to the collective talents of the members. Puciato also believes that the fact each member brought and maintained their own style to the music was an underlying factor.
“I think one of the most important things with us, and our longevity, is the fact that we ignored the industry in a lot of ways,” he reflected. “We weren’t complaining about record sales going down, or people downloading music. We weren’t really concerned about whether or not trends were coming or going. We became very insular and only cared about whether we were accomplishing what we wanted to accomplish, artistically. I think we’re just focused on being ourselves, and if you can be yourself for a long enough time, you start to stand for something – whether that’s a sound, or an ethic, or something reliable that people can say that belongs to you. We’ve never wavered with our commitment to being brutally ourselves at all times. Obviously over a period of time, people say, ‘Hey, that sounds like The Dillinger Escape Plan,’ or, ‘That feels like Dillinger,’ but there’s nothing more to it aside from ignoring the outside influence and really finding your own trajectory.”
With the album out and receiving deserved critical acclaim, the final chapter of the life and times of The Dillinger Escape Plan is about to unfold. Puciato says that a farewell tour is set to hit our shores “probably around August or September 2017”. In the meantime, he has a parting message to fans of the band.
“I just want to say thanks to everybody who has supported us, because we never expected any of this. We never expected people to care. We never expected people to be long-term fans, so when someone comes up to me and they have a Dillinger tattoo, or they say they have been to 50 shows, or tell me that we’ve been their favorite band for twelve years, it’s really fucking heavy! We have no idea how any of that happened. All we did was our own thing, and we didn’t really pay attention to our surroundings – this is the first time since we’ve been a band that we have come up for air and looked around objectively, and to be able to look around, and say that we’ve made any kind of difference to anyone at all is really fucking overwhelming!”