Die Young who hail from the longhorn state of Texas are a hardcore band that formed sometime in 2002. In the course of being banned from Canada–twice and denied entrance into Romania have managed to release ten slabs in various forms be it full length CDs and 7 inch splits with the likes of Invade and Generations. With a new full length “No Illusions” on Good Fight Entertainment, the storm no longer awaits.
It’s Gene with Capital Chaos TV.
I’m Daniel, and I sing on stage, but generally I am the riff-writer and rhythm guitarist in the studio, too.
What got you started in music and how old were you?
I’d say the roots of my inspiration in rock music were in 4th or 5th grade, when I started listening to popular alternative bands on the radio then. Stuff like The Offspring (when Smash came out), Pearl Jam (Vs. album), Smashing Pumpkins (Siamese Dream), Nirvana (Nevermind and In Utero) and Alice in Chains (Dirt). I remember those were all big albums for me at that age, and they were my inspiration to want to start playing guitar. I remember I asked my dad for a guitar on my 11th birthday. He got me a Peavey Predator ha ha. Soon after I was getting into Metallica, Megadeth, Pantera, Slayer, White Zombie, all that. Then even Machine Head, Sepultura, a lot of 90s Roadrunner Records metal bands, and I started to try to learn how to play everything I could, but I’d say I mainly started learning to play Metallica songs. It was another 8 years or so before I’d even attempt to be the vocalist of a band. My roots always came from playing guitar.
Biggest musical influences?
For sure it’d have to be Metallica as a kid. They were the biggest inspiration on guitar. When you’re young it’s the solos that really stand out, but once you’re older and into the songwriting foundations of music more so than the glitter of solos, you realize that their rhythm section is/was really the root of the magic on those classic albums. But as I got older and got more into underground music I took in a lot of very different types of influences. For example, even though Die Young sounds almost nothing like them, I’d say Bad Religion will always be one of my biggest influences. Vocally-speaking, I have probably found the most influence from 90s metallic hardcore bands like Earth Crisis, Catharsis, Ringworm, and All Out War. I love how all those guys growl and distort their voices, but it is still more accessible than death metal. Speaking of death metal, Tomas Lindberg’s work on Disfear’s albums and that latest At the gates are true inspirations for me. So nasty sounding.
What would you compare the style and sound of Die Young to?
I think we pull a lot from all the names and genres I’ve mentioned, well perhaps aside from the 90s grunge bands ha ha. But essentially we’re a 90s hardcore band that fits somewhere on the spectrum between bands like Earth Crisis and Sick of it All, full of both metal/thrash and punk influences. We’ve got some classic metal moments which nod to old Metallica and Slayer, because I believe those influences are nearly impossible to avoid when writing metal-influenced music.
The new album No Illusions, what went in to the writing process? Lyrically and musically? One or two guys do the writing or was it a group effort?
The lyrics all came from me, and they were very personal on a lot of levels. A lot of the lyrics tackle the absurdity of certain social and political issues, but it all filtered through my feelings about them–my cynicism and criticism. The title track was partly inspired by a former guitarist of ours who toured with a lot about 11-12 years back who lived with some mental illness issues and died of a drug overdose around the time our Chosen Path record came out in 2014, so there are quite a few songs which I began writing soon afterward, especially on the last half of the record that talk about existential issues, reasons for living contrasted against reasons for wanting to die, and struggling with the pain of human consciousness. In a way, the social and political type issues addressed in the first half of the record weave into the more personal and emotional response to it all that is really driven home on the last half of the record. For me the political is personal, and the personal can be very political. They are not two separate worlds necessarily, as they both make up our perception of the reality we live in.
Musically, I basically come up with the main guitarists riffs and compositions of songs, but Mike and I really worked on fleshing the songs out together, and I’ll let him fill you in more on the process of that.
What’s the Metal scene like in Texas?
I’m personally more involved in the hardcore scene by default. I feel like Mike ought to be able to describe the metal scene more clearly than I can.
Best and worst part of touring?
Best part is easily getting on stage and doing what you love every night. The runner-up to that is seeing the beusitful landscapes of the world and being a food tourist with your friends. Worst parts, haha, for me at this age (almost 34) are being away from my wife, my dogs and cats, and then screwing up my eating and gym schedules. The bottom line is always that doing what you love requires some sacrifices, so for me, at this point in my life, I try to find the balance between the good and the bad.
First show you ever attended?
I’m going to have to say when the Offspring toured on Smash in 1994. They had Quicksand and No Use for a Name opening. I was 12 and it was amazing. My buddy’s dad was best friends with some of the King’s X guys in Houston, and they got us backstage passes to that show, so to meet some of my favorite bands as a 12 year old was a really exciting thing. I remember eating chips with Walter Schreifels, not having any clue at the time of his involvement in the 1980s hardcore scene, bands like Gorilla Biscuits or even Youth of Today, which I’d later become such a big fan of. He was such a down to earth guy, him and all of the Quicksand guys. The Offpsring’s room was overcrowded with fans, so they saw us young kids hanging around backstage and offered us some of their catered snacks. I still have a signed copy of The Offspring’s Ignition from that show too ha ha.
You’re on a desert island and only have three album to listen to, what are they and why?
Oh man….so, being that it’d be the serene backdrop of a desert island, I wouldn’t want to disturb the peace of it all, unless I was working out. So I’d have to say Loreena McKennitt’s “Live at the Alhambra” album for its mystical ambiance and pagan folk songs with a nomadic flare. Great desert music. Chuck Ragan’s “Feast or Famine” or maybe even “Gold Country,” both for the feel good vibes of it, totally fitting for living the simple life. Then for working out, maybe doing pull-ups on a tree-branch or atlas-stone type carries with actual stones, I’m going to have to go with one of my favorite metal albums, “Broken Glass” by Crowbar. Best album for lifting heavy shit.
Dream tour, you get to go on tour with two other bands, who are they?
Honestly, probably just the two bands who got me into hardcore in the first place: Earth Crisis and Sick of it All.
Catch Die Young tomorrow night Nov 6 – Austin, TX @ Sound on Sound Festival w/ Carcass, Baroness, Young Thug