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Die So Fluid Interview
Written by Robin Stryker   
Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Die So Fluid Interview
May 2014

 

Pucker up, baby! The UK/US rock trio, Die So Fluid, are coming at you with a punch and a kiss, delivered straight to your face compliments of The Opposites Of Light. The band’s fourth full-length album is something of a Janus, with a “heavy” side that has the driving pulse of previous albums and a “dark” side that explores a quieter, moodier side of Die So Fluid. Either side could stand alone, but the band chose to release them together as a whopping 16-track album.


Die So Fluid

 


Sonic Cathedral’s Robin Stryker circled up with vocalist/bassist Grog for an early morning Skype session. Dive in for a closer look at The Opposites Of Light, stab-tastic Easter fun, the wonder of onesies, and much more!

Sonic Cathedral:  Welcome to Sonic Cathedral, Grog! First things first, would you introduce our readers to The Opposite Of Light”?

Grog:  Okay, sure. The Opposites Of Light (it’s plural) …

Sonic Cathedral:  Eek, sorry …

Grog:  … It is a 16-track album, and it’s coming out very, very soon. I am actually in the UK for a tour to support the album. It is an album in two parts, reflecting the heavy side of what Die So Fluid does, and also the more introspective, brooding side. So, if you’ve never heard Die So Fluid before, The Opposites Of Light is going to be a great summary of what we’re capable of. It’s actually our fourth album, but we’ve really striven to build on those elements that people have come to know and love us for. <laughs>

 

Die So Fluid 

 

Sonic Cathedral:  The Opposites Of Light essentially is two distinct albums. (Early on, there was talk that the physical album would actually be on two discs.) Considering that The World Is Too Big For One Lifetime came out in 2010, was there any thought of releasing the “heavy” side and the “dark” side as two separate albums, or do they need to stand together?

Grog:  Well actually, it is now coming out on one CD, and it’s supposed to be listened to in two different sections. So, we’ve indicated that by the way we’ve done the artwork and the track-listing. I mean, we were talking about this the other day, and it was just a really difficult decision to make. We COULD have waited and released it in two different sections, but I don’t know, it’s almost more of a financial concern. <rueful laugh>

I don’t really want to look at it in that cynical of a way, and I’m quite happy to put it out as one complete body of work. There was one point where there were less songs that we agreed upon, but now there are 16. So, we could have gone either way with it. Personally, I’m happy to put the whole lot out because it’s just such a large and strong body of work, but there is no filler on it. To me, it’s a journey that makes sense and that you can hear in its entirety.

Sonic Cathedral:  Die So Fluid has always been a very visual band, and there are already at least two videos off The Opposites Of Light. In the new “Black Blizzard” video, you seem to have taken more of a cinematic approach, rather than creating a performance video. Would you tell us about “Black Blizzard”?

Grog:  Yeah, we wanted to do a video with more of a story line to it. You know, we try to do a lot of things in a very DIY way in Die So Fluid. (It’s the nature of what we do.) But we had the opportunity to work with a really fantastic director for “Black Blizzard”. It is one of the most important songs on the album, and it deals with the tragedy of the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. That is what inspired the song. The version of the song that we captured is just so EPIC that we wanted to make a video that really, really reflected that. So, we went for something so dramatic and cinematic with it, and I think that we did achieve that.

It is really nice to get away from the whole generic “performing band” thing that you always seem to end up doing when you’re making a video. <laughs> It is usually sort of restraints of location and all these things. We were just very lucky to be able to team up with David Kenny and put together this almost fantasy, theatrical story line, and be able to film it. We actually filmed it in the UK in a place called Deal, by the sea down there … at minus degree temperatures. <laughs> But there was this amazing spirit about it. All the people who worked on it pulled together, and this is what we ended up with. It has been great, and it’s really drawn a lot of attention to the band.

 

Die So Fluid 

 

Sonic Cathedral:  I will go out on a limb here, and assume that the upcoming video also has a story line, and you didn’t spend Easter weekend randomly stabbing people on set. Can you give us a sneak peek at the upcoming video?

Grog:  It is for a song called “Violent Delights”, and it’s a very personal song. It was written thinking about a really traumatic relationship with somebody who feels like kind of an odd nemesis, if you like. It is about saving yourself and drawing on enough power to move on with your life, when you have this addictive relationship that you know is wrong for you, and you have to move away. So, that’s the nature of the song, and the story line takes it and elaborates on it into something even darker actually. <laughs>

Don’t worry, I didn’t really stab him! But that is what the song deals with. We got together in this derelict house location and worked with this up-and-coming actor, named Mik Crone. I won’t tell you too much because the story sort of unfolds in a nice way in the video, which you need to SEE. But anyway, it’s a dark and twisted story, and it develops really nicely through the video.

Sonic Cathedral:  I believe “Violent Delights” will be the first video off the dark side of The Opposites Of Light; is that correct?

Grog:  Hmmmm, let me think. Yeah, you’re right! There is also a little video for “Crime Scene”.  I don’t know if you’ve seen that one as well.

Sonic Cathedral:  I did, but I was a little muddled on whether it was an official video.

Grog:  “Crime Scene” that’s a weird one because it was done very early on. The thing is, that was the song that was sort of the first stepping stone towards making the album. Actually, the first version of it was recorded at the tail end of the last studio session we did before this album. But it didn’t somehow fit with that body of work, so we decided to use it as a way to set the bar for the next album. There is a new version and mix of it on this album, so that set the bar for this one. So, that was a very early video we got to make, and then carry on from there.

Sonic Cathedral:  From the standpoint of a musician, how is acting in a video, where there is a narrative arc, different than emoting when you are doing the performance segments for a music video?

Grog:  To me, it’s kind of part and parcel of making a video, but I have to say this last video we’ve just made was the most intense “proper” acting I’ve ever been asked to do. It was really hard work actually, but really interesting and really enjoyable! Because I am playing a character in this video much more than ever before. In “Black Blizzard” it was slightly different because I already had that kind of force of nature idea in my head. I am playing a symbol of Nature, if you like. Whereas, in this video, it’s more an actual character in a story, and not fantasy.

 

Die So Fluid 

 

Sonic Cathedral:  Die So Fluid is a bi-continental band, with the fellas -- Mr. Drew (guitars) and Al Fletcher (drums) -- in the UK, and you in Hollywood. How did you bring a massive, 16-track album to life, when the members are eight time zones and two continents apart?

Grog:  <laughs> With difficulty and a lot of conviction! It has just been very interesting because we’ve had to do a lot of work by email. So, we use the Internet to fire ideas back and forth across the globe. I’ve certainly had to learn a lot more about recording on my own, which has been BRILLIANT for me. That is how it develops.

And then, when we do get back together … obviously, we get back together to tour and stuff … we always try to tack on extra time so that we can go into the studio if we need to, or just do lots of rehearsing and playing what we’ve already written to see where we’re at. But it’s actually working surprisingly well, using the Internet for this writing process, and it kind of pulls you together. You have to be a lot more efficient with your time and more responsible, I guess.

Sonic Cathedral:  You are currently back in the UK, and will be kicking off your tour in just a few days. How much of The Opposites Of Light will you be debuting, as opposed to favorites off Die So Fluid’s previous albums?

Grog:  We’re going to do about five or six songs, and we’ll probably play mainly songs that people have heard, so all the one that have come out with videos. We’ll maybe test one or two out that people haven’t heard. I don’t want to push it too far that we’re just playing unheard material. It is more challenging for the audience, and obviously they want to hear things they can rock out to. <laughs> So yeah, we’ll give them a nice tasty chunk of the new stuff and also all the faves. We’re going to do an hour-long set (maybe an hour-and-a-quarter), but I think people will be very happy with what they hear.

Sonic Cathedral:  When you’re back on British soil, what are the things that you go: “Oh my god, I have MISSED this so much”?

Grog:  Obviously, it’s great to back with my buddies, and I’ve seen my family as well on this trip, which is great. But it’s just really odd things that you forget about, funny little things. I think I did a post the other day from rehearsal about Bourbon biscuits. <laughs> Because you just kind of forget about those little things that are nostalgic, and it’s just strange, the feelings that come flooding back.

I still have many of the things that I’m used to in Hollywood anyway. I think people think that it’s like 50 years ago, and you can’t get anything that you could get in the UK. But you actually can. <laughs> It’s not that bad. But yeah, it’s just those little familiar things … and places. I miss being in different places. I went for a walk with my guitar player yesterday, and it’s like your eyes get thirsty for all the old architecture. I miss that kind of thing.

 

Die So Fluid 

 

Sonic Cathedral:  As a Yankee, I am perplexed and mildly alarmed by the popularity of onesies in the UK.

Grog:  <laughs> You’ve really done your homework!

Sonic Cathedral:  <laughs> I have a number of British friends, and they love ‘em some onesies. What the heck, Grog?

Grog:  <laughs> They are just EVERYWHERE now in the UK. I am sure I’ve seen them in the US, but they have a different name. They are like these lounging suits for watching TV, but yeah, we just love them over here! For me, they are just ridiculously funny, and you can get them in Primark and all these shops. I always loved the idea of skeleton suit … I don’t know about you, but I love a good skeleton suit.

As soon as they started making onesies with skeletons on them, we had to get some. Then of course, we just got all these different ones for a laugh, and ended up taking pictures of them. You’ve got to love a onesie! <all laugh> I actually have my own onesie at my drummer’s house for whenever I come and stay. So, when I’m tired, I can just get into my onesie and hang out.

Sonic Cathedral:  What is your onesie of choice for sleep-overs?

Grog:  Actually the one I have here is a bunny suit -- a cheeky bunny suit with a fluffy bunny tail.

 

Die So Fluid 

 

Sonic Cathedral:  Fantastic! <laughs> Enough about onesies, and back to the music. I would love to hear more about a couple of songs on the dark side of The Opposites Of Light. Two in particular that I find myself going back to are “Echo Of A Lie” and “Spark”. Would you give us a bit of insight into those tracks?

Grog:  Let me think about this. Hmmm okay, we haven’t actually been playing those songs recently, so they’re not fresh in my mind at the moment. In “Spark”, you know this theory that the world is like a magnet, and all the events that happened are still happening? So, events are repeating themselves. I don’t know about you, but I’m really into watching ghost programs; I am really fascinated by that kind of stuff. I really think that ghosts are this energy that is just repeating itself and it’s trapped, and the world is like this big magnet. And that is part of the theme of “Spark”.

“Echo Of A Lie” is like a relationship where you put all your hopes for what that relationship could be, and pile them on top of it, and try to convince yourself that this is what the relationship could be. But it never is. When that relationship is over, it’s easy to think of it that way, so you’re crying for something that you never really had. But it’s important to remember what it really was, so you’re not going to spend the rest of your life crying for something that was in your imagination.

Sonic Cathedral:  People love labels because it helps them distinguish tribes and whether something is likely to suit them or not. If you were forced to, how would you categorize Die So Fluid? The Opposites Of Light has elements of post-punk and metal, but there are also things like Egyptian violins, cellos, parts that are soft and brooding, and parts that are bass-heavy. So, who are you?

Grog:  It is interesting, isn’t it? I think Die So Fluid is all about trying to discover that for ourselves almost, because we just don’t believe in trying to fit into any category. We draw upon everything that we genuinely like, and we have no shame in that. I have never understood this whole idea of limiting ourselves. We love soooo many different kinds of music, but I think Die So Fluid always still sounds like Die So Fluid. I think my voice is distinctive enough to hold all those different things together. Hopefully. <laughs>

I mean, we still do have elements of metal and post-punk and all these things, but basically, we’re a rock band. We are not afraid to push those different genres to their limits within the scope of what Die So Fluid does. We always bring our own angle to things.

 

Die So Fluid 

 

Sonic Cathedral:  After finishing the UK tour, Die So Fluid has a tour in Finland booked for later in the year. Finland seems to have a special place in Die So Fluid’s heart. Why is that?

Grog:  Yeah, we’ve been touring there for several years, and they just really “get” us. They seemed to really understand us straight away, from the first trip we made over there. And it’s just a beautiful country, and we’ve always had a really warm reception there. We are very close friends with Maj Karma here, one of the most successful Finnish bands, and they only sing in the Finnish language. That is their thing, but they felt an affinity with us, and they invited us to be (I think) the first foreign band to play the festival that they run.

Herra Ylppö (the singer) is now going out on his own as a solo singer, but he’s always championed the band in the press and everything. It is just really lovely. So yeah, we actually just ADORE going there, and we’re really looking forward to going again in September and catching up.

Sonic Cathedral:  Do you still have a little stash of Finnish Die So Fluid postage stamps?

Grog:  <laughs> I DO actually. I was at my mother’s house recently, and she was like: “You need to clear out your boxes around the garage.” So, I was going through all the things that I had stored there, and I found some of those stamps. It is so cool! So yeah, I’m not throwing those out. <laughs>

Sonic Cathedral:  A question that has nothing to do with music … DOGS. Around Christmas, you adopted Fonzi from the shelter, whom we see a great deal of on Facebook. What has been the most surprising thing about being a new dog owner?

Grog:  The most surprising thing is that I feel like he has ALWAYS been part of the family, so I can’t remember what it was like to not have him with us. It is amazing! He is basically my fur baby. <laughs> He has given us this kind of “we’re a complete family now” feeling, which is an amazing thing to experience. I had a cat for nearly 20 years, when I lived in London, called “Weasel”, and she was amazing! I still love cats, and we still may get a cat in the future. But dogs are much more like human babies to me … <laughs> the amount of attention that you have to give them. But he is adorable!

 

Die So Fluid 

 

Sonic Cathedral:  When you’re out on your motorcycle, do you write music? It seems like being out on the open road would be the perfect time for ideas and images to come.

Grog:  Well, that’s pretty much how “Comets” came to me, because it’s just that amazing experience. For me, I’ve mentioned this a couple time before, but just being in America still has a novelty value. I feel like I’m constantly recognizing places from film sets around Hollywood. It has this surreal quality, and it’s like: <squeaky voice> “Oh, my dreams are all coming true.” <laughs> And so, it’s really exciting!

I’ve always had this innocence about me anyway, which I’m still very grateful for because it stops me from becoming twisted about the music industry and life in general. So, “Comets” came to me through those kinds of experiences. It is exhilarating, driving around in these amazing settings, even just in town. I’ve actually recently moved out to canyon country, so I feel much closer to nature. So, there’s that as well, and the ancient Native American … ahhhhh, it’s just mind-blowing! Definitely. I am basically constantly writing, as things come to me.

Sonic Cathedral:  Are any plans afoot for some Die So Fluid show dates in North America?

Grog:  Yeah, we’re working on it. I don’t know why, but we’ve just had a lot of bad luck. We’re always trying to meet the right kind of agents and everything, and our manager has been talking to people who promise that they can get us tours and things. What we’d really love is a great support slot with someone. <laughs> Somebody needs to take us under their wing, so we can come around and play and meet everyone.

You know, we want to do it. It is not a question of not wanting to do it, so I hope people realize that. But it’s just difficult because we’re not on a big label; we’re still a very independent outfit. The amount of work and finance and all these different things that go into making these things happen, it’s immense. But we are trying to make it happen, and I would love to tour America hopefully by summer.

Sonic Cathedral:  I hope that happens! I am so bummed to miss Die So Fluid in the UK by only a week.

Grog:  I know. Dammit to hell! <laughs>

 

Die So Fluid 

 

Sonic Cathedral:  Grog, what final words do you have for Die So Fluid fans who are reading this interview?

Grog:  Thank you so much for sticking by us through all the years. And WELCOME also to all the new fans that we’ve met recently. Our Twitter seems to be exploding, which is really fantastic. We are going to do our very best to get out to where everyone lives. <laughs> We’ll come play in your town if we can, by hook or by crook!

Sonic Cathedral:  Thank you so much for talking with Sonic Cathedral today, Grog! We wish you massive success on your new album.

Grog:  Thank you so much. I appreciate it!

 Die So Fluid

Photo credits: Tina Korhonen and Gaynor Perry

Die So Fluid official site
Die So Fluid on Facebook

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