One of the most exciting releases of the year, Detach The Island‘s The Burden To Become Fact is one of the sleeper-hits of the year, blending the magical mayhem of chaotic post-violence with the stuttering, savage rhythmic battery of math metal. I’ve helped premiere music from the record and written a luminous review already but I couldn’t stop there. I hunted down the members of the band, held them at cut string-point, and forced them to tell me some of the bands and albums that helped them make The Burden To Become Fact so goddamn entertaining. You’ll be glad to know they are all in one piece. They answered my questions without hesitation. They knew what was best for them.
Psyche. Before we get to their responses, I’m taking more time out of your day to make sure you’ve seen the music video for their tumultuous, terrific track “Love Is The Miracle We Fabricate”. Now, I might be wrong in my use of this term, but the video shot in classic Dogma 95 fashion is the perfect way of visualising the kind of mayhem that Detach The Islands build with their crashing, careening hooks and jagged, panic-filled chords. The camera follows the band around a dingy room, pulling focus on their battered instruments and almost guiding you through the track. It’s one of the best on the record, and the simplicity of the video is such a nice touch. I won’t stop blowing smoke up this bands arse. You can’t stop me. Go see them perform in Brooklyn tomorrow (Saturday 14th – here).
Siddhu Anandalingam (Guitar)
Idiot Pilot – A Day in the Life of a Poolshark
When I was getting into heavier music, part of what drew me in was how seemingly “innocent” some of the musicians looked, and yet the music they made did not fit their aesthetic at all. While The Dillinger Escape Plan was definitely the culmination of this, bands like Idiot Pilot and early Protest the Hero helped me bridge the gap from bands like Blink 182 into heavier bands. The below music video is an example of how violence juxtaposed with happy/poppy synths creates some nice cognitive dissonance.
Emmett Ceglia (Drums)
Cerce – Cerce
If there’s any mile marker to point to on my journey in heavy music where I could say, “This is where I got into noisy, dissonant hardcore,” it’s Cerce. If this record didn’t exist, I don’t know that this band would exist the way that it does or maybe even at all. Our two bands don’t sound that much alike, but this is definitely what planted the seed in me to start making hardcore and gave me a skeleton to hang the rest of the influences that make up DTI onto. The drumming is ruthless; the basslines bulldoze the songs forward; the guitars spit flagrant discord left and right; the vocals are unhinged. The music is dense and not genre meat and potatoes at all. However, that never gets in the way of how it makes me feel or how much I can still physically move to it, and I find that to be as important as anything else. I thought, “Man, I want to be in a band like this. This attitude, this energy, this is what I want to capture and throw through the speakers with my own music.” That spirit is still very much a touchstone for me, and I don’t see that changing at all in the future. As far as specific notes for drumming go, Pat is pretty unbeatable on this record. His relentless energy is self-evident, but he is also incredibly precise. Every blast is clear and even. Every role is clear and even. Every hit counts, and that’s a mantra we can all keep to, no matter what we play.
Trashley Levine (Vocals)
Daughters – Canada Songs
I discovered Daughters in high school, while watching the Hellfest 2003 DVD, and couldn’t believe my eyes/ears when I saw frontman Alexis “Lex” Marshall flip the fuck out during the band’s performance of “Nurse, Would you Please Prep the Patient for Sexual Doctor.” I had never heard “hardcore” music that sounded so bizarre, so thin and wiry, yet so abrasive and catchy. I was immediately drawn to the chaos of the music, to the oddball guitar playing paired with an incredibly tight rhythm section, and of course, to Lex’s terrifying, writhing, spastic vocal delivery. He seemed possessed by the fury of the music behind him. I had never seen anything like it (and again, I was watching him on an early 2000s TV from my damn living room!). I had the privilege of catching Daughters live, on their Hell Songs (2nd LP) tour with Russian Circles in 2006, with an even more unhinged version of Lex at the helm (owing in part to his new talky vocal delivery on Hell Songs). His interaction with the audience was mesmerizing. At one point, he stepped off the stage, and proceeded to wrap about 50-or-so audience members in his mic cable, while talk-screaming songs from both LPs. So strange, so interactive, so damn cool. Looking at DTI, I pretty much exclusively play on the floor (in the audience), to be a part of the energy of the room, as opposed to being a guy pacing around on stage (which just feels awkward to me). Granted, I don’t whip my dick out, or drink bodily fluids, or stick the mic up my ass (Lex, you’re the damn greatest), but the energy I try to bring to the table definitely finds its origins in the frantic chaos of Canada Songs.
Jay Kohler (Guitar)
Frank Zappa and the Mothers – Roxy and Elsewhere
The music on this Zappa album really inspired my playing on The Burden to Become Fact via its process and construction. They’re both a collection of meticulously crafted compositions that are jarring and bizarre takes on established musical styles full of impossible to play runs, ugly/beautiful harmonies, and scatter-shot time signature changes all crafted by a single Italian-American Madman (Emmett Ceglia, who also looks a lot like Frank Zappa when his hair is long). I also needed quite a bit of courage to pull-off the parts Emmett wrote for me, and the performances on records like Roxy… show you just how far you can push technical ability.
Eric Messihi (Bass)
Converge – Jane Doe
Throughout high school, I was always into heavier music. I loved the energy and aggressive nature that came with it. It provided an outlet and a sense of community that I really needed in those years. It wasn’t until I heard Jane Doe in my sophomore year that I realized how visceral and raw it could be. From the get-go, Jane Doe was the heaviest, most brutal music I had ever heard. It honestly scared me a bit, but it was also exciting. I felt like I was kind of doing something wrong by listening to a record THIS intense. It changed my trajectory completely when it came to playing heavy music. I strive to find that balance between absolutely crushing walls of sound and totally raw vulnerability. I don’t know if I’ll get there, but I’m still trying.