Highwire Daze: Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in The Dillinger Escape Plan, and how long the band has been together.
Ben: Iím Ben, Iím the guitar player and one of the original dudes. Basically, myself and our singer and our drummer have been in it from the start. We'íe gone through a couple of guitar and bass changes. The bandís been together for about 3 and a half years Ė and weíre just rolliní it.
HD: Where are you guys from and is there a music scene there?
Ben: Weíre from New Jersey. And Iíd say that the music scene definitely isnít what it was when we started going to shows and see a lot of bands play. But I think that the New Jersey scene has inspired a lot of bands and a lot of music out there. While the scene isnít thriving that great right now, but there have been quite a few bands from this area that have done some cool things. Bands like Dead Guy, Human Remains, and even The MisfitsÖ
HD: If you had to describe the music of Dillinger Escape Plan to your granny, what would you say?
Ben: To my granny? (laughs) I usually tell my grandma that we play a mix between jazz and classical.
HD: Does she believe you?
Ben: I donít think she cares. But thatís obviously not what we are. Whenever someone I know doesnít care asks, I just make something up like that.
HD: Where did you come up with the name Dillinger Escape Plan and does it have any significance?
Ben: Actually, it doesnít have any significance to be honest. Itís just a name that we thought sounded kind of cool. The name itself refers to a bank robber from the 1930ís name John Dillinger. But the truth is that we donít have any special interest in bank robbers or gangsters or anything like that. We just kind of had a bunch of names strung together and thatís one of them. I donít even remember who came up with it. It was a bunch of random names, that one was the one that sounded the most awkward and hard to remember Ė itís really not catchy Ė so we went with it kind of as a fluke because we felt it was kind of obnoxious and long and kind of weird Ė kind of like our music, I guess. So we went with it. We wanted something that would take up a lot of space on flyers and kind of be a nuicense. And that was the most nuisence of all of the names we had. But itís kind of grown on us now, and we think itís a decent name.
HD: Where do you get the ideas for the lyrics?
Ben: Most of the lyrics, especially on our new album, are kind of relationship related, and kind of rooted in the fact that a bunch of us were having relationship problems at the time we were doing the new album. Itís kind of an untypical kind of subject for a heavy band. But we write about whatís real, whatís on our minds. Itís not necessarily a complete picture or story or message that weíre trying to give anyone. Itís just kind of personal. Itís something that we donít necessarily write with the intent of everyone knowing what weíre thinking. We kind of describe in graphic detail certain emotions or situations that weíre going through without telling the complete picture all the time because we feel thatís much more real to us and much more strong. Itís kind of vaguely telling a complete story.
HD: Whatís the strangest reaction someone has had towards your music?
Ben: Someone threw a garbage can at us once at the Bungle tour. That was kind of an interesting reaction. Itís interesting Ė we donít really claim to be anything. We just do our thing and it for purely selfish reasons Ė for our own enjoyment and self-satisfaction. People tend to read us in different ways and theyíre all a surprise to us. Theyíre all interesting to us because most of them are not necessarily whatís on our minds when weíre doing it. Weíve played everything from complete black metal shows with people wearing corpse make-up spitting blood everywhere to like art parties with fashion designers and these people who think weíre some kind of performance art. Itís pretty interesting and weíre really lucky that weíve had the opportunity to play in so many different forums. But weíve had all kinds of reactions Ė from people being totally disgusted with us to people being over-dramatic about what we are to people kind of digging it.
HD: How did you wind up on the Mr. Bungle tour?
Ben: To make a long story short, Mike Patton had received a bunch of CDís from Relapse. For some reason they were talking about doing something with his label and in the process he got a package of CDís. He just kind of took a liking to our CD. And right around that time they needed someone to open up for the Bungle tour, so he gave us a call and asked us if weíd be interested. That was really great, because we happened to be big Bungle fans for a really long time. So that was definitely a great opportunity and a great phone call to get.
HD: What kind of jobs do you guys have when your not touring?
Ben: I do corporate web design for a company. One dude is a manager of J Crew.
HD: Did you design the Dillinger web page?
Ben: I did, yeah, but I donít really like to admit it Ė because I think itís pretty bad, to be honest with you. I just donít have time to work on it. Actually, itís going to be updated soon Ė a brand new design. Itís just that Iím working on so many things that I have to do, that I canít really do anything with that. But it will be updated soon.
HD: What CDís do you have in your collection that might surprise people?
Ben: Itís kind of weird that people would be surprised, but people are because of the music we play Ė the stuff weíve all been listening to lately is the new Fiona Apple, we also like Sting and Aphex Twin and other electronic stuff.
HD: If there was one thing youíd like to leave a listener with after hearing your CD, what would it be?
Ben: Itís kind of a real interesting question because we never really think about the listener when we write music or when weíre playing. Weíre thinking about what we want to hear and whatís going to make us excited. I donít know Ė Iím always surprised by any reaction. Weíve always been like "Wow! Someone really gives a crap about this?" Weíre just totally surprised if anybody really acknowledges it Ė because itís definitely not music for the masses. Itís not written with the intent for a lot of people to like it. I think just the fact that people have been pretty open to it is pretty amazing to us. The most important thing is that Iím playing music I love.
The Dillinger Escape Plan have a new album called Calculating Infinity, out now from Relapse Records.
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