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David Draiman has a new project, please do not disturb


On paper, it would be hard to find a more tempting project than Device, steered by Disturbed’s frontman, one of the most respected and recognizable vocalists in his generation. It could be its promise of efficient, catchy industrial metal – the frontman himself mentions juicy inspiration sources like Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, KMFDM, Front 242, or Rammstein. It could also be the deluge of prestigious guests: Lzzy Hale, Serj Tankian, Geezer Butler, Tom Morello, M. Shadows and Glenn Hughes. It could many other things. The albums’ packaging kindles so much curiosity and desire that it could do with no advertisement at all.

But in actual facts, this album was made possible almost out of chance, because of the bond shared by David Draiman and former Filter member Geno Lenardo. The two men wanted nothing more than to “write something good”, without any “playing plan” or “strategy”. By insisting on this, Draiman gives us the key to comprehend this album simply, and therefore as well as possible. For how many works of art have been ruined by excessively high expectations?

At any rate, Draiman is proud to introduce his new project, the first without his mates from Disturbed in sixteen years. And this might well be the key to the revival of Disturbed. It’s impossible not to think of the latter while listening to Device – after all, could Draiman sing anything and not make the listener think of Disturbed? But starting a new project from scratch has probably helped him get away from certainties gained with his main band, and maybe even revive some spontaneity. At least that’s what transpires when he talks about this first album.

David Draiman tells us all about it after the jump..

« I love being the new guy again and being the project that everybody is curious about. »

Radio Metal : When did this whole Device project started?

David Draiman (singer): The very beginning of it was when Geno (Lenardo) approached me at the tail end of the Asylum record cycle for Disturbed, not past September but the previous one. So it was a while in the making. Geno was working on a number of tracks for the soundtrack of the Underworld Awakening film. He did one with Pete (Loeffler) from Chevelle, one with Lacey (Sturm) from Flyleaf and one was for me. That track came out so great that we decided to keep it and hold on to it. There was originally a conflict on the radio with another Disturbed track that was worked at radios at the time. They wanted to release the Underworld Soundtrack and they wanted to use « Hunted », which is the track on which we worked on, to lead. So instead of there being a conflict on the radio, the two tracks fighting for the same momentum, we held on to it and it grew on us. It ended up becoming a continuation of the writing process when Geno came out here in March the following year. That’s really when we started writing the beginnings of Device.

This record is an industrial metal oriented record but some parts aren’t that far from Disturbed. Haven’t you tried to include those industrial influences in the past in Disturbed?

There are a couple of songs in Disturbed that definitely has some of those elements. Like off of the first record, like “The Game” or “Meaning Of Life”. These have some of those more prevalent and present electronic loops in them. But you have to understand that it was not done with some sort of game plan or anything like that. It’s not like there was a strategy session. This kind of came together organically. There was no science going into this like: “Oh do I try to incorporate any of the styles that I’ve done with Disturbed or not or anything else?” It wasn’t really thought out that way. It was just writing. You know, for the sake of just writing something good. The electronic styles that has become more present in this record and this project is just reflecting a love of those by me and Geno, as far as industrial music is concerned, and being inspired by those elements. Like early Nine Inch Nails or Ministry or KMFDM or Front 242 or even early Rammstein. The interweaving of the electronica with the harder rocking elements has always been something that has been appealing to me. It was somewhere Geno and I just happened to go to naturally.

Device is the first non Disturbed music that you have created in sixteen years. How do you feel about it? Are you anxious about the reactions of the public?

Very! (Laughs) I’m very anxious, very eager to know what people think. I’m very nervous about it to be honest. But as I said before, I think with each reaction I get to the record as more and more people get exposed to it and hear it, the less nervous I am and the more excited about it I become.

Does it feel for you like a fresh start?

It does. In many ways I love that. I love being the new guy again and being the project that everybody is curious about. I love being able to start over. (Laughs) It’s a invigorating feeling!

(We hear a dog barking over the telephone) Is there a dog behind you?

Oh yeah, this is my dog barking at everybody walking all over the place! (Talking to his dog) Hey, come here! Israel! Come here! This is Israel, it’s a big boy! He’s a big hundred pound male Akita. (Laughs) A big furry beast!

(Laughs) Ok. How do you think the Disturbed fans will react to this record?

I can only hope they’ll love it. I think that good songs are good songs and this solo record has great songs. So I think they’ll love it. I think that it’s still aggressive, still dark, still very rhythmic. It definitely goes in different directions than Disturbed and definitely sound different than Disturbed. It has its own unique identity but I can’t imagine somebody who’s a big Disturbed fan not loving this record.

« It’s different than anything else that I hear on the radio. The sounds are unique and fresh and exciting. It just feels like futuristic rock, man! (Laughs) »

Are there any mistakes that you did younger at the beginning of Disturbed’s career that you wanted to try to avoid with this first Device album, whether it is in the composition or for the upcoming shows?

Yes! (Laughs) Yes there are! Hopefully we all get wiser with age. So there are definitely things I’ve learn over the course of the past sixteen years that will not facilitate making the same mistakes. That’s for sure.

How different was it to write this first Device album compared to the first Disturbed album? How would you compare the two situations?

I definitely know a lot more about music now. I’m definitely better at doing what I do now and more comfortable in my own skin. Hopefully that’s reflective off of it. But what’s also probably reflective of it is that we’re still ferociously honest and very eager to do this. I think that people are going to get something much like a fine wine: it gets better with age. (Laughs) Hopefully the same is true here!

What is your ambition with Device?

To really develop it as a viable touring entity. To treat it like my child. To be as serious about it as I’ve been about Disturbed. It deserves that. It’s got unique and solid songs. It can be its own entity. I intend to give it all my attention.

There are a lot of guests on this album. Where does these collaboration come from?

They’re friends of mine. We all know each other. We’ve all talked about working together in the past and this presented the opportunity to do it. I’m very blessed to have a very talented group of friends and colleagues and this finally gave us the opportunity to do what we’ve been talking about doing for years. I’m tremendously grateful to work with each and every one of them. They’ve made an amazing contribution sonically to the record. I’m eternally grateful.

You described your music as futuristic rock. Do you think that industrial music mixed with rock n’ roll is the future of rock?

I don’t know. I just know that this is a fresh different take on what rock has been. That’s all I can tell you. I would never be so presumptuous as to assume that I know where things are going, or trend or anything like that. But I definitely know that this is different. And it’s different than anything else that I hear on the radio. The sounds are unique and fresh and exciting. It just feels like futuristic rock, man! (Laughs) It’s the only way I can describe it that makes sense! Because it doesn’t sound like classic industrial. It’s more anthemic and more melodic than classic industrial. Even though it has elements inspired by the genre, it’s done in a different way. Even the electronic elements are different. More current, I would say, than classic industrial. I think we definitely got a general inspiration from it but it’s definitely its own thing, man.

« Disturbed will get back together when it’s the right time, when we feel right about doing it. »

On a different subject, you’re extremely active on Twitter. Is it important for you to have your fan know everything about you, beside your music, like your political opinion, your thinking, etc.?

Well, I spend on it an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening, roughly. Sometimes it’s when I’m in between stuff when I’m on the computer doing twenty things and I answer to some questions. When I opened an account, I did it under the commitment that I would use it as a means of interacting with the fan base and not as a mean to tell people what I’m doing every single minute of the day. A lot of other people utilize it for this. But it’s a very valuable mean to stay connected with the fan base and a lot of them want to know who I am, what I believe in, what I stand by or the type of person I am behind Disturbed, behind who they think David Draiman is, behind the lyrics. And this gives them the opportunity to do know about that. I’ve been given a blessing to get the type of stature that I have and I just want to be able to be responsible about it and use it for whatever good action. I’ve never been somebody that hides behind what I believe in. What I believe in I believe in it passionately and powerfully, without apologizing. That’s part of freedom: having an opinion and expressing yourself.

Since you’re very interested in politics in general, what do you think about the French military intervention in Mali?

The continued expansion of fundamentalist factions who are anti any other religions but theirs or any other way of life but theirs, is a frightening thing. I think that the French did what they felt they had to do, that they were compelled to do. I’m against conflicts in general but when you have factions creating a society where Christians and any other faith are not allowed to practice their beliefs in peace, when you have other societies being taken over by people who want to bring things back to dark ages… I’m not happy about the conflict but it’s not something that shouldn’t be allowed to continue without consequences. People should have a mutual respect for one another. Their way is not the only way. They should be able to respect other people systems and beliefs. It’s a conflict situation, so from a philosophical stand point I have mixed feelings.

And how is it perceived in the USA, like by the press?

To be completely honest, I’ve been so wrapped up in the Trivium record (Note: David is producing it) these past couple of weeks that I’ve kind of been a little bit out of it. I know somewhat about it, but it’s limited. My television-watching hasn’t exactly been up to par, my periodicals-reading hasn’t been up to par, because I’ve been so immersed with the Trivium guys. I don’t really have an accurate description to give you as far as the American media is viewing it, other than what I’ve read online. It’s pretty much matter-of-fact kind of stuff, without any kind of slant attached to it. I know what I know of it because I understand the nature of the conflict and who you guys are up against. But I’ve been a little busy! (laughs)”

Since you guys in Disturbed are on pause and needed to rest, do you guys have already some ideas musically for the future or is it too early?

It’s way too early. I’m gonna see this Device project through to its fruition. Right now it’s getting all of my focus and energy. Eventually, Disturbed will get back together when it’s the right time, when we feel right about doing it.”

Interview conducted by phone on February 5th, 2013.
Intro : Spaceman
Transcription: Spaceman

Device’s official website: deviceband.com

Album Device, out since April 9th 2013 via Warner Bros Records.



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