DYING FETUS – Unapologetic Death Metal
June 20, 2017, a year ago
For nearly a quarter of a century Dying Fetus has produced some of the most brutal death metal the world has seen. They are the typical death metal band, though. One listen to a Dying Fetus song shows the band has much more to offer. Groove and technical aspects also pervade their sounds. They have a penchant for creating catchy songs, songs that even though a lyric sheet is required to understand the lyrics, listeners will go away humming their music.
Wrong One To Fuck With is a title that will stick in one’s head. It conveys intimidation and violence. Much like their death metal brethren, it’s a title that can be highly offensive. Bearing the name Dying Fetus is enough to be offensive to many, as it signifies a controversial topic. The more offensive they can be, the better, and the band doesn’t mind not finding its name on the radio or in major record shops. In the following Q and A, drummer Trey Williams spoke to BraveWords on this topic and the making of Wrong One To Fuck With.
BraveWords: Wrong One to Fuck With is finished. How do you feel about the record?
Trey Williams: “We’re all very proud. We are eager to see how the public receives it. Major record store distribution will be difficult with a title like Wrong One To Fuck With. We are already named Dying Fetus, so there is an uphill battle there. We are stoked about it and eager to get it out to the public.”
BraveWords: What was the consensus on using the “F” word on the album?
Trey Williams: “We wanted a strong and intimidating album title. You’ve got to have something like that. We didn’t want something like a typical death metal album title like Slow Torment. We ended up tossing around a couple of ideas, but the one that stuck with was the song title, ‘Wrong One To Fuck With.’ We were like, ‘hey, that sounds tough as hell’, so why don’t we use it, knowing full well there was going to be some censorship backlash, but like I mentioned earlier we are already named Dying Fetus. We figured we would throw another log onto the fire while we were at it.”
BraveWords: Because of your name, do you get the big record store distribution?
Trey Williams: “We did in the past. I don’t know how relevant record stores are anymore. I barely see them anymore. Digital media seems to be the industry now. If we don’t get distributed in major record stores, I guess that’s not that big of a deal to us. We already named the album what we were going to name it. Our fans will find it and gravitate to it no matter what and maybe get new fans by having a shocking title.”
BraveWords: This is your first record since Reign Supreme. Why is there such a gap between those records?
Trey Williams: “We had a lot of demand to tour off of Reign Supreme. We kept getting great offers on good tours and going to places we’ve never been to before like India. The demand was there and we wanted to stay out there as long as we could. We were out there getting close to five years, so we took a little bit of time off and got our heads into writing mode.”
BraveWords: What was the tour like in India?
Trey Williams: “It was just one show. We played in a city called Shilong (?), which is kind of in the base of the Himalaya Mountains. Great show. Great people. The tour was amazing. It was a really cool time. It was great to see metal is alive and well in India.”
BraveWords: The production sounds really good. Who produced the record?
Trey Williams: “We recorded it with Steve Wright again at WrightWay Studios in Baltimore where we did Descend Into Depravity and Reign Supreme. We work well with Steve. He’s got good ideas and has a great attitude, so we just kept going with him. He’s also really not a metal guy and not a metal producer and we kind of like doing that because our albums don’t sound like other people’s albums. I’d like to put down a place like Audio Hammer Studios, but when you hear an album from there it sounds like an album from there, which is a good thing, but we want to have our own sonic identity, too. So going to somebody different is part of that. As a producer, we produced the album ourselves, Steve comes in and gives a hand. There was one song we had kind of an issue finding closure and Steve came up with a great idea. Sometimes Steve can come in and help us with an issue or polishing something up, but 95% of it is produced by us.”
BraveWords: You did a video on “Fixated On Devastation”. What was it like recording this live video?
Trey Williams: “It was killer! The Philadelphia crowd was so generous with its energy. We promoted the show as a video for people were frothing at the mouth and were ready. When we hit the stage I hadn’t heard any crowd in America so loud. I had to step back for a second and ask myself, ‘Who just stepped on stage? Is it someone more famous than us?’ It was great. We wanted to make up for not doing the Decibel show we were supposed to do several months back. Several of us got sick the day of that show. To make it up to the Philadelphia crowd, we decided to shoot a video there. They delivered. They helped give us a great environment to film a show.
BraveWords: What venue was this?
Trey Williams: “It was at the Voltage Lounge.”
BraveWords: You’ve been on Relapse Records for a while. What has kept you on this label?
Trey Williams: “Several years back, Relapse got the licensing for all of our previous works, so working with them just makes sense. Not only do they support the band 110%, everybody on that label is behind us ready to push out this new album. They have also been behind us since the beginning of our relationship with them. We have a great relationship with Relapse and we look forward to maintaining that relationship.”
BraveWords: Dying Fetus has a good balance of groove, speed and technical aspects. How does that all come together in the studio?
Trey Williams: “When we were writing the album we wanted to keep people’s heads moving. We didn’t want anyone to get their head lost in the music. Whether you’re hearing it live or at home on the album, we wanted your first listen-through to be impactful and have the melodies and rhythms of the songs get burrowed into your head like a worm. We really wanted to the listener to walk away from the album humming. If you can listen to an album one time and have a melody stuck in your head, that artist did something correct. That’s what we were trying to do on this. We didn’t try to making an overly technical or groovy album, we just wanted something that would stick in someone’s head.”
BraveWords: You said you started writing the album after you finished touring. When was this?
Trey Williams: “During late 2015 into 2016 we did the writing. We did all the pre-production this time around. We bought our own recording computer. I did all the pre-production. I was behind the computer doing all the edits. John (Gallagher) and Sean (Beasley) came in with ideas on the guitar and find ideas and tempos that worked and I would write drum parts to them. We would see what worked out. It started out slow. We just had ideas, like maybe a third of a song, and then we even ended up chopping some songs apart and using parts of them in other songs. That was kind of the writing process. Once we had the music written, we started to think of song titles. Just like the album title, we wanted strong song titles. We wanted song titles that would stick out and could be written on the back of a shirt. After we had titles for songs, Sean Beasley did all the lyric writing. We would give him an idea as to what a song might be about if he had a hard time getting started. For instance, ‘Wrong One To Fuck With’ is about situations where you’re walking down the street and you get mugged, but you just happen to be some Jiu Jitsu master. Well they messed with the wrong one to fuck with. Or a song like ‘Die With Integrity’, which is our take on a hit man story where he is kidnapped by a rival family and they want him to switch sides. So that’s some of the lyrical concepts and some of the writing and how we came up writing those.”
BraveWords: Does he write stories?
Trey Williams: “Not so much a story with a definitive beginning and ending, it’s more of a snapshot of a moment. That’s the best way I can define it. Sean wrote the lyrics so I can’t get into his head to describe how he wrote them. They are just snapshots of situations. We look for brutal situations he can expand on in the song.”
BraveWords: Are some of the lyrics political?
Trey Williams: “We try to get away from overt political songs. We try to look at messed up situations in the world and expand on those events.”