Thursday 25 October 2012

20 Questions w/ At Devil Dirt

At Devil Dirt

In our continued quest to bring you amazing music from around the globe it never fails to surprise us where on the glode this music comes from.  So, when Chilean psychedelic desert sludgers, At Devil dropped their amazing second record, Chapter II "Vulgo gratissimus auctor", we were quick to bring you a cool review.  This is what Steve had to say about the record. "The riffs are louder, heavier and better than ever. This album just blasts the other one into dust. At Devil Dirt have released an album that should cement their fame and reputation as one of South America’s best Stoner/Sludge Metal hopes."
Following At Devil Dirt's recent appearance on Chilean television, I contacted the band and Nestor, kindly agreed to speak to us.  So, without further ado, he is my interview with At Devil Dirt.  Enjoy!
Chapter II "Vulgo gratissimus auctor" cover art
Q)Hey Nestor, How are you?  I appreciate you taking the time to talk to talk to us, here at the Sludgelord.  Where are you at the moment and what are you doing in terms of the band?  Have you have been touring this summer? 

N: We are working on new songs and we're playing only in Chile at the moment. We have received two invitations, one from Australia in a festival called Doomnations in Melbourne, and another one from Germany. We are still a very young band and we do not want to tour. We'd like to visit Europe, we think it's easier to get there than the USA. For now, I think we will be here, we will look for a label to support us , and then see the possibility of touring in Europe, especially UK, Italy, Holland, Germany and Sweden


Q). Steve and I are big fans of your band, but for those people who are not familiar with the music of At Devil Dirt, could you tell us a little about the history of the band and some of the bands you've played with? Where you’re from? When At Devil Dirt first formed? Current band members?


N: The idea came in early 2010. Together with Francisco, we have played since 1990 in several bands in Chile. I always wanted to explore minimal and low sounds with my guitar and harmonising with many voices. I cannot scream, it wouldn´t sound natural. My voice is very thin, or so I think, so I double all voices in studio to feel secure. Usually I'm a very insecure person


Q). Is At Devil Dirt full time project?


N: Musically yes, but we have regular jobs and we need to work to live, we both have families and children to feed. Music is our escape, but we take it seriously.


Q) What made you start the band?  Did you and Francisco know each other before you formed the band?

N: Yes, we have known each other since we were teenagers, we have always played together and At Devil Dirt is like the natural process of our evolution as musicians and as a search of an identity (as musicians), and we may not be young guys with many concerns, but I think we still have things to discover and things to say to anyone who wants to listen


Q) It is seemingly harder and harder to underground band these days, bearing that in mind, what motivates you as musicians?


N: Some people go to the stadium to watch soccer, others go to the casino to lose money, we spend our money on what we love as children do. We have never made ​​money with music, and I feel sad as music has changed. Nobody seems to buy records today; very few people seem to do so.


Q) Are you big fans of rock/metal, if so what are you listening too at the moment? Any recommendations? We spoke recently and you mentioned Electric Wizard are big in Chile, is that right? (Electric Wizard, if you’re reading, they’d love for you to take a picture holding their CD)


N: I listen to a lot of music from Beethoven to Cannibal Corpse. I listen to any kind of music that tells me something or gets me. I respect many bands; even the big ones because I know what it takes to become big. As for influences, I think there are too many to name them all. Somehow, all music influences us, or allows us to generate ideas and give our own sense.


Q) When you started At Devil Dirt, what were your hopes for the band?


N: Honestly, not much, only to play live and record, everything else comes only with time, e.g. recognition or respect.


Q) If someone was unfamiliar with your band, how would you describe your sound and due you feel it has evolved?  Was that a natural progression?


N: I think I leave the band label to our listeners. It is easier for many to sort, store and say: Yes, that band is.... I think it is indisputable to possess certain characteristics of Stoner, Sludge, Doom bands which are the most obvious. But many people know that we go a little further, maybe we are a band of Stoner / sludge / doom, but we have a different flavour. Perhaps the vocals, or by the structures of our songs, I do not know. I like to think that we are a band of Rotten Blues sometimes. On the other hand, I feel a small evolution from the first album, but we are still the same band.


Q)  Who would you say are your influences/heroes both musically and artistically in terms of the bands sound?  Was it always the intention to have a base heavy sound similar to early Electric Wizard or Kyuss for example? 


N: Indeed, let me add more names: Sleep, OM, C.O.C, Paradise Lost, Cathedral, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Black Cobra, Helmet, QOTSA, Floor, The Black Keys…. Mix that, and I think you have our sound.


Q)  Why did you choose the name, At Devil Dirt?   What does it represent, if anything?


N: there is no good translation in Spanish for At Devil Dirt, but for me it's like being in the middle and getting all the crap out of a consumer society. In our case, look at the map, we are at the end of the world


Q) What gear to use in terms of guitars, amps and why? Also what tuning do you use?  I always wanted Washburn like Dimebag and mostly recently I love telecasters. 


N: I have SG Gibson, SG Epiphone, I used only bass amp, (Fender Jazz bass, Sunn and Hartke), I mix the three, and I used Electroharmonic pedals (Big Muff pi, and Germanium 4), that´s all I have.


Q)  What is the scene like in your hometown?  What are your thoughts?  Where do you think At Devil Dirt fits within that?  Any bands we should be keeping an eye out for?


N: many bands, but here is more popular metal bands, they have a very solid scene with a large audience. We try to play with similar bands. Some good bands that play are: Demonauta, Yajaira, Hielo Negro, El Gran temor, Vulkeche, Mal de Testa, Acido, Icarus gasoline, Invitado de Piedra, and I can go on, the list is really big.


Q)  What are your views of blogs such as the Sludgelord reviewing your records, as opposed to mainstream music magazines?  Has your music reached the mainstream mags, at home or around the world?


N: we are not even known by many people, if there is a underworld, we are further down. About you guys, I love this kind of contact with normal people who do blogs. Everything is real, and you can tell me what you really think about us and you take the time to listen to our music with interest


Q) I recently tried to buy your special vinyl package of Chapter II but it has now sold out, which is awesome. This package seemed to be like a collectors items?  Is that deliberate and does it surprise you when people buy your music and merch, given that Chapter II sold out?  Any plans to reprint your vinyl?


N: Yeah, that´s really cool and took us by surprise. Now we need to sell the CD to finance the next album, is a pretty digi-pack edition, buy it!

I'm glad you asked about reprint. In fact, we are preparing a very special edition of 40 units of our two albums. Here in Chile there is a guy that recorded vinyl in real time.

It will be a truly handmade edition, and the sound is much higher than a factory edition.

We are thinking of a box with the two vinyls, CD copies, t-shirts. Only 20 copies are expensive maybe, but these are only 20 units and that would be all, then we get ready for another album. By the way, we have 80% ready for the new album (10 new songs), and this time we would like to sign with some small independent label. We are not interested in money, just someone to edit our music.


Q) One of the things I like most about your band is that you release your own stuff and your DIY ethic?  How do you support the band financially? 


N: Yeah, it's pretty hard to keep that line of work, so we want a label to support us, and in that way we continue to make music and try to get more people to listen to us-


Q) I recently asked Black Cobra the same question, but do you find being a two piece places any limitations on the band? 


N:  There are advantages and disadvantages.  First, you can work faster, ideas flow almost instantly and there is less discussion, it is what it is. On the other hand, there are restrictions as to further enrich your compositions, but that's what keeps attention, just two guys, I like the format. Our music is simple and direct, right now I like it that way.


Q) Correct me if I am wrong but you have been active since 2009 and 2 releases to your name so far, what have been some of your highlights so far? What are your aspirations for the future?


N: Together with Francisco, we have played in several bands since the late '90s, and we started this project in late 2009, early 2010. We recorded the first album in a week, with very little preparation. The second album, we recorded and mixed in one month. Our expectations are simple, only people to listen and enjoy it as much as we do. The feedback with all the world was great and we met many wonderful people from all over the world like you.


Q) Do you have any interesting stories from your tours, favourite places you’ve toured and bands you’ve toured with?

N: oh, we have nothing good to tell yet, I hope we make it to Europe and are able to tell you everything. I hope it is soon.


Q) What is your agenda or game plan in terms of what you want to write for your Chapter II? Do you both contribute song ideas and do you feel it is your best work so far?  Why did you decide to sign in English as opposed to your native tongue, Spanish? 


N: Ideas come and go to my head, and write. I have no concept. I do not want to create a concept for what we do. I let things flow. So far it has been easy to make music for the band. I hope I don´t go off my ideas. 

I do not know if my English is correct.

In fact, I'm always very insecure about it. Do you understand what I sing? I mean, not the words, but in general terms what the fuck is he singing. Maybe the third album will be in Spanglish. Así nadie entendera lo que canto, excepto yo.


Q) You also released an EP recently called In Atacama’s Landscape, which you can download free and consists of songs from the Chapter II sessions, what was the thinking behind that?

N: They were only songs, from my point of view, it did not fit with the album's sound. According to me, they were very happy, and I'm not very happy in life generally.

Q)  A televised stream of you playing live was broadcast recently which was cool, could you tell me a little about that experience?  Was that televised on mainstream TV? 

N: Well, we were not very comfortable there.  It's TV; there are many rules, the sound was not what we wanted, but it helps to promote the band. Usually, when we play live, we sound much louder and heavy.


Q) What are your thoughts about free legal downloads (I am referring to bandcamp) and the difference between buying a physical copy?


N: I prefer the physical copy. I buy many vinyls because I like collecting them and for me, music is a ritual. I have a beer and listen to a vinyl. However, I respect people who like to download music to listen to it in an iPod


Q) 2012 seems to have been a particularly busy year for you, releasing arguably your best record. What are your plans for the rest of the year and 2013, any chance you'd consider coming to the UK? 


N: I would love to be in UK with you and enjoy, I hope to get there soon. Is there any agency that wants to take us? In 2013 we will release a new album which might be called LENTO (Meaning: SLOW).

Q) Thanks for answering my questions, but one final question, you got anything you like to say to your fans?


N: People! Whoever wants to help us please write to us, we need a new label,  a promoter and people who want to buy our crap.

Thank you to Nestor for answering my questions and thanks to you guys for reading.  At Devil Dirt are featured on the new Dommantia Vol.1 compilation which you can purchase here.  Check out the link below for information about the band.  Support them, they truly are an independent band and your monies helps finance their records.  Cheers Aaron