On March 25th, I was invited to Dread Engine’s practice space to get a live taste of the new album. They put headphones on my ears and proceeded to play their live practice set for a few songs. All I could think about was how much they’ve grown since I first heard them and it moved me to tears! Tragically beautiful and yet with a lot of bite, Deception by Design is Dread Engine as we’ve never heard them before. This show coming up is going to be amazing and prepare to have your mind blown. The band has pushed and pushed hard to challenge themselves and it shows. Jake Spears said during the session that he didn’t realize how hard some of the parts he had written were until he had actually started playing them. When asked my opinion, I told them that as a fan that met them nearly when they originated, I am proud. Truly I am amazed at how much the band has grown in a year and while I was excited before for the release show, I am a totally different level of excited that I didn’t know existed now! Afterward, we went outside to talk about the album and what the fans might expect at the Alrosa Villa on Saturday April 8th.
Interview with Dread Engine
( Band Members: Sam Stockdale ( Vocals ), Jay Coughlin ( Drums ), Tommy Sartin ( Guitar ) Johnathan Collins ( Bass ), Jake Spears ( Guitar ) )
Why Deception by Design? Where there any other name ideas that were seriously bounced around?
Sam: Jay is actually the one who pushed for Deception by Design. We had Heart of the Locust written primarily by Jake Lahmon and Shaun Hale before they transitioned out of the band. We decided that song would be the flagship for the record and we kind of said it was a working title. Jay was reviewing some lyrics that we were working on for a song that didn’t even get produced, and he just said “I like deception by design”. I was attached to “Heart of the Locust” and was like ah man, but that’s me, I get attached to things. The rest of the band was like let’s change it.
Sam once said that each member of Dread Engine brings a part of themselves to the table when making music. What parts of yourselves did you bring to the table for Deception by Design? What did you personally want to accomplish and do you feel you succeeded?
Sam: That’s a great question. Let’s start over here with Jake Spears.
Jake: I wanted it to sound as heavy as possible, while still maintaining a clarity of singing and style. We’re meshing so many different genres in one album. It feels like that to me. I feel like we absolutely achieved that goal. Every song is completely different but it still sounds like us.
Jay: My main goal for this album was to get better as a drummer. To be able to keep up with the young bucks and yeah, I feel like I did that. A few of the guys brought a lot of different styles into the band, and you know you can either grow with that or fight it and stay where you are. I feel like we definitely grew as a group with this album. I think it pushed everyone’s limits a little bit here and there and I feel like everyone kept up with the pack.
John: I totally dig what Jake was saying, having that heavy element and then still having these pretty melodies and stuff. For me, I wanted to bring those thick ass heavy grooves. Everyone digs that! That’s just my thing ya know? So that’s gonna be anywhere in the writing process. I think the combination of all that man, just makes a killer fucking album.
Sam: Do you think you accomplished that?
John: Oh hell yeah, yeah. They just gotta wait to hear album and it’ll all make sense.
Tommy: My goal was to make some gnarly tunes and I definitely accomplished that.
Rick: I had a unique roll on the record, because I did the mixing and producing. So in that realm I wanted the record to be much heavier and sound better than the EP. It definitely does, it goes hard. On the vocals side I wanted to up the lyrics. I think there’s a lot more meaning behind these songs than the ones on the EP. The lyrics are more complex, and there are ideas within the lyrics that won’t necessarily be picked up on first listen. This record is going to be something the fans digest and over time they’ll really start to see the underlying meanings behind these songs and how they don’t appear so on the outside upon first listen.
John: Deception by design
Sam: I’ll just say that there were two things I was hoping to accomplish. First I’ll talk about my artistry, the fact I’m a singer and clearly I get compared and pigeonholed a lot to James Hetfield. I of course really can’t deny that but I would really like to believe I did some different stuff this time. There are clearly some elements to the record where you’re going to hear my roots and that Hetfield influence, but I definitely think like Jay pointed out and complimented me on one of our songs called “Survival of the Richest”, is definitely a different approach for me vocally. I wanted to do that and I think I did accomplish it. The last part I would say is my ultimate overall goal was that I wanted a local band to create a record that would be loved as much as a national record. I wanted to make a record that I hope when people get ahold of it, they don’t see it any different than the new Metallica album or the new Gemini Syndrome album or whatever. I hope they feel as excited about it and what they get out of it. I don’t know if we accomplished that. I hope we did.
Jay: That would be part of my goal as well. I definitely would like people to keep this in their CD player for a bit, like when a new Tool album came out or when the new system of a down album or Killswitch album. It doesn’t leave my CD player for a while ya know? It doesn’t leave my playlist for months. I’m hoping it’s the same thing with this album for sure. I hope it’s not something like you pop in the cd after the show and you listen to it and you’re like “Yeah, that was nice.” And then into the pile.
In a facebook video, Sam said there were some roadblocks in creating this album that you were overcoming. Are you allowed to talk about any of these and how they were tackled?
Sam: I think I can be just specific enough to create an understanding. The simplest way I can tell it is this is expensive. Not only is this financially expensive, but this is expensive when it comes to time, when it comes to energy. This is expensive when it comes to your soul. The last thing I would just say is, make no mistake. There have been money problems, arguments, there have been tensions. With just saying that as generalized and bluntly as that was, there’s no better group of human beings than the people that make up Dread Engine to go through that experience with and to fight with and to grow with. I am personally eternally grateful for all five of these people that are here today.
I have seen your live show evolve over the last year. It went from pure intensity to pure intensity with a bit of drama. For example, Rick and Sam shoving each other or getting all up in each other’s faces during Coward. How is your live show going to evolve next? What would you like to do?
Jay: I would say if you’ve seen a dread engine show and you liked it and it was definitely something that caught your attention, this album and our live show is going to be much more. Just all around with everything as far as the album, the production, the song writing, the stage performance, the stage presence. Over the past few months, we’ve gotten tighter as a group, we’ve gotten tighter as people and I feel a lot of that is going to show more on stage. Everyone here, we always have a good time with what we’re doing even when we’re stressed out, we find those moments where we’re having a good time and we try to relate that positive, having a good time feel on stage. Even when we’re playing something heavy, something really brutal, we’re having fun doing it and I feel especially for the CD release, we’ve just put a lot of time, energy, money and work into this show. My goal for this show is for it to be one of the biggest local shows Columbus has seen in a long time. Not just because of the bands, but because of the production value that’s gone into it, and the venue we’re playing it at. The Alrosa has always taken very good care of us and treated us with respect. They treat us like artists and not just somebody that’s coming in and playing music. We always put on a good show, and this CD release is just going to be a lot more. We’ve got a lot of surprises and a lot of big stuff you’d only see at the LC or Express live or ya know the Newport. We’re bringing all of that to the Alrosa, we’re bringing that big production value and sound. Jim, the sound guy has always taken good care of us but I’m going to be meeting with him prior to the show and letting him know that we want to put on a national show as locals.
Sam: The only other thing I would add is as far as specifically what is going to change on the stage, Jay has arranged for us to be filmed performing tomorrow ( 3/26 ) just like an athletic team has their games filmed and reviewed. We have become more in sync as Jay said, but Jay who takes a lot of initiative in these realms, has taken the initiative here for us to insure we are moving as synchronized as possible. I wouldn’t call it choreography, it’s just we want to be obviously part of that same engine moving in tune. I only bring up the filming to let the fans know we’re taking it that seriously.
Social media seems to play a big part for Dread Engine. For those still on the fence about it can you tell us how it’s influenced the band?
Sam: We are raw and honest. About everything, not just the stuff we officially release as Dread Engine, but also what we do in live videos. Obviously me, all jokes are welcome with all my posts, selfies, and videos. I’d like to at least at this point out humbly that it’s truly not because I think I’m the most awesome thing in the world. It is because I just think it’s necessary to keep the name circulating. I believe that the honesty, the sincerity has been a huge part of using the social platform instead of just pushing ads, it’s really us. Last thing I’ll add is as we are many parts one engine, we have to keep each other in check. I’ve had some pretty intense videos at times and the band has to reel me back and it’s something that we’re gonna continue to get better at. That’s an important thing too, we always talk about the content and help it get better and better by agreeing on what’s appropriate and what’s not.
Deception by Design will be out April 8th. You can catch Dread Engine at their CD release at the Alrosa Villa on April 8th or at any of the dates below.
April 29 – Muddy Creek Saloon – Heath, OH
May 6 – Bethel Road Pub – Columbus, OH
May 12 – Louisville, KY
May 13 – Bowling Green, KY
May 18 – Rock at the Villa – Columbus, OH
May 19 – The Vortex – Akron, OH