Friday, March 06, 2015

Interview with Ven Scott from Dead Earth Politics

Founded in October of 2005, Dead Earth Politics is a Austin, Texas-based heavy metal/groove thrash band with one full-length LP and three EPs to it's name. The group's latest release, "Men Become Gods", is due out on March 14th and it comes with my highest recommendation! With the foresight to see that this band will soon enough be a very big deal I set up an interview with lead vocalist Ven Scott while he was still attainable! I want to thank him for chatting with HMTM and if you haven't had the opportunity yet then be sure to head over to the group's Facebook page when you're done here.

Andy-Let's start this interview off with the simple questions. How did the band start off and where did the name come from?

Ven-We started off as a bunch of idiots who thought we would eliminate stress in our lives through art. Now we are a group of artfully stressed idiots tens years running. As for the name - imagine yourself in a field of seething petunias; writhing about in a fluttering fashion of fickle feasibility. Further finding fashion in a facetious foreground of feral findings. But drunk. 

Andy-I can dig that. Next question then. Who is who in Dead Earth Politics?

Ven-You and your existential questions! I, Ven Scott, am vocals and herding strategist. My brethren at arms are Will Little on bass, Tim Driscoll on guitar, Mason Evans on drums and Aaron Canady on guitar as well. He and Tim cuddle. Its cute but distracting.

Andy-Well, such manly love can only help but strengthen the internal bonds of the band right? Can you give me the lowdown on your three EP plan?

Ven-It all began with "The Queen of Steel". Being as we are broke musicians, as most are, there was no way we could afford a full album in 2014. The problem was that we needed new material out - nothing since "The Weight of Poseidon" in 2010! Aside from a four year silent run we had new members and the sound had evolved. We needed to introduce ourselves again. With these three albums, per year, fans (and haters, I am sure!) will get to listen to the evolution as it happens. "Men Become Gods" is a great example of that - the title track is also the last of our "old guard". We have one or two others that were maybe B-Side worthy but "Men Become Gods" itself is about six years old and the last tune that was not introduced by either Aaron or Tim. Rather, it was introduced to them. The third album - who knows! Not sure of the number of tracks or title yet... but we already have the art! Yep, cart before the horse, baby! We expect to release that monster around the same time next year, but right now I am more than stoked about "Men Become Gods". Taz, our producer and engineer, helped us get this sucker fatter'n hell and almost larger than life. In my opinion, of course. guess I should add that we recognize that three tracks after fours ain't gonna cut it. That is when we resolved to hammer out three EPs in three years. Something to look forward to every cycle without the half-decade wait.

Andy-I recon us fans can wait another year to get new music from Dead Earth Politics. I mean if we have to!

Ven-Not really a question but a concession. As it should be. Yes, you will have to wait! Or give us money to record some new stuff! Pick one! We will take either!

Andy-Well, as a single father of two teenagers I've got to admit to being a little low on funds these days! That being the case and all should I ever strike it rich then it's game on my friend! Anyway, could you talk to us about your latest EP? Things like what lead up to it, the inspiration behind it and what it was like in the studio now that your band is gellin' like magellan?

Ven-"Men Become Gods" is a lot more aggressive than QoS. Not intentionally, but it worked out that way when we determined what tracks worked best together in a four track listing. Interestingly enough, though it is more in-yo-face t is also more melodic with experimentation of harmony. Vocally I also decided to explore a bit more with the aggressive melody than the heavy stuff. The title track is the most vocally percussive where as the dirty vocals take a bit of a back seat. Even the dirty vocals in "Casting Stones" , though prevalent, are more pitched throughout the versus. Not much to relay regarding studio time and never has been. We pre-produce so we can get in and out of the studio ASAP. We can't afford much more than that! All the drama is in the initial songwriting, rearranging, restructuring, shit-canning, and eventual complete bastardization of what we started with. Then there are the tears, the whining and the fit throwing.

Andy-Hmmmm. Whining and fit throwing. Are you sure you're not talking about Metallica? Seriously though, Dead Earth Politics has been described as a cross between Iron Maiden and Lamb of God. While that is a fine description what are some of the bands other influences? What does everyone bring to the table?

Ven-Honestly our influences are all over the spectrum. Maiden definitely. Dio - most definitely. Judas Priest, Lamb of God, Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, Dream Theater, Seikima II, Kiss. Name it and its likely an influence with one or more of us. The important thing is we don't limit ourselves to heavy metal. Muse, Holdsworth, Bad Company, Genesis (both Phil & Peter).... plenty of embarrassing music fodder that really doesn't embarrass us. So every member brings their ideas. One riff may sound Lamb of God like to one while someone else goes "That sounds like Muse." Then, with that influence in mind, we end up going in a completely different, more kick ass direction than originally intended.

Andy-I've got to admit that it has been awhile since I heard Bad Company mentioned in the same sentence as Slayer! Not that it's a bad thing. Alright, we've got the current EP down and we've talked about what drives Dead Earth Politics so let's talk about your band on the live stage. Who are some of the bands that you've already shared the stage with and if you had your choice to be on a dream bill with any bands or artists who would it be? 

Ven-Man, the fact that Bad Company is generally ignored by the metal community hurts. Really hurts. Anyways, we have been blessed to have been able to share the stage not only with national and international bands but also incredibly talented local artists! I list a few of each in no particular order: Lamb of God, Down, Choke, Southern Front, Critical Assembly, Broken by the Burden, Eyehategod, Headcrusher and will be joining Death Angel, Cavalera Conspiracy and a metric ton others in April for Texas Independence Fest!  As far as dream tours - Iron Maiden for me. I wouldn't be able to play, though, as I would likely be staring at Bruce's bus/room/wizard's tower trying to will him out to talk to me. Of course, I would love to resurrect Dio and tour with him. That will, sadly, have to remain a dream, but I plan on singing back up to him in the after life.

Andy-That's one performance I wouldn't want to miss Ven! To say Dio is missed by the metal community is an understatement. His music is timeless. Back to "Men Become Gods" though. Will you be touring behind the release of your new EP? 

Ven-We'd love to and are working on it. Unfortunate is the life of the aspiring musician who has a mortgage. And is a musician. Always broke and always needing to work.

Andy-Knowing far too many musicians I realize that is sad but true. When playing out live what are some of the essential back-stage items for Dead Earth Politics? I mean besides lots of alcohol! 

Ven-Actually we generally don't touch alcohol before playing. An occasional pre-show beer but to answer that question we would need to start playing shows with a back stage area! Ha!

Andy-LOL! Either or time. Metallica or Megadeth? 

Ven-Megadeth. Anytime. I will always find myself in the eye of the tornado

Andy-Good on you! How about Black Sabbath? With Ozzy or with Dio? 


Andy-OK, AC/DC with Bon Scott or Brian Johnson? 

Ven-Actually I like both Brian and Bon and have little to no desire to fight about that one. Especially since I will likely be tired from fighting over the previous question! 

Andy-I actually agree with you as far as AC/DC goes and your choice of a Dio-lead Black Sabbath? Most definitely! "Heaven and Hell" and "Mob Rules" are both classics in my mind! How about this one though? Genesis with Peter Gabriel on the mic or Phil Collins as the lead singer? 

Ven-Both Genesis eras are good for me but I prefer Phil. I also love his solo work.

Andy-Same here. I love prog-era Genesis as well as the pop rock one. And yet there is just something about Genesis with Phil that gives it that extra edge. And I actually like the solo work of Phil Collins as well. Odd as it might be it does seem as if we share similar tastes in music! Given the choice is there any tribute album that you would like to appear on and if so what song would you choose?

Ven-I would jump on any Maiden or Dio/Heaven & Hell tribute. With much trepidation, mind you, since those are incredibly heavy shoes to fill. I would really have to step up my game. As far as songs; Maiden would be "Moonchild" and Dio/HH would be "Sign of the Southern Cross" or perhaps "Stargazer".

Andy-Those are some sweet cover choices there. You are selling yourself and the band short though as Dead Earth Politics would kill it covering Iron Maiden or Dio! How about a Bad Company cover then?  

Ven-I would totally cover Bad Company tunes if the idea of a metal band covering a Bad Company tune hadn't already been tainted. You know what I mean.

Andy-Sadly I do know. All too well in fact. I would love to hear a real metal tribute to Bad Company that isn't pure cheese (Five Finger Death Punch) or a total crapfeast (Five Finger Death Punch again!). The ground's already been soiled though. But anyway, even if there won't be a full-tilt boogie tour what can fans expect out of Dead Earth Politics in 2015? 

Ven-We have some festivals in our sights an we are celebrating our ten year anniversary later this year! No line ups or dates to announce yet, but that is definitely on the radar! 

Andy-Well now. Congrats on number ten! That rocks! How about beyond that celebration? What should Dead Earth Politics' final legacy be? What's the band's Tombstone going to say? 

Ven-Our tombstone will read "Here lay five guys (sometimes four) that were too bullheaded to quit. Also they were old."

Andy-I like that. I'm going to let you have the last word Ven. Anything you want to share with your fans? Heard any good knock knock jokes lately? Words of wisdom that are sharper than knives? The mic is all yours friend and yours alone!

Ven-The best thing I can lay out is to never get into music, especially metal, for fortune and fame. Do it because you love it. Love it enough to not copy that one band you like so you sound exactly like them. I hate that. For non-jammy fans - please go to your local shows! Skipping out on that ten-person-crowd show all the time to see your national touring act means that you might miss out on something special before it blows up. Chances are that local band is better because they still do it for the love. It ain't a job for 'em yet.  Eat your spinach!


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