(this interview originally appeared in issue #13 of Modern Fix Magazine in 2002).

– interview by bushman

So you’ve been hearing hard rock on the radio. People are saying metal is cool again.

Labels are sticking money into the genre. Great huh? Well, only if you think Disturbed and Godsmack are metal. Linkin Park? Hardly. If you are looking for some ferocious metal, look to the east. What was a loud punk core scene a few years back has been boiling and re-inventing itself in bastard forms of music derived from kids growing up on Metallica, Slayer and Iron Maiden living in cities that catered to a more aggressive punk core sound. The result is a growing presence of crushing metal bands that are contemporary in their delivery, but have managed to capture the rage of big crunching guitars and manic paced rhythms that launched the late eighties thrash movement. Sidestepping the whole grungy-rap inflected metal the labels are currently sapping for all its worth, bands like Diecast are content to play true to the heart, crunch and crush metal that would make bands like Pantera smile knowing they had an impact. While relatively new as far as bands go, this Boston crew had made considerable strides in smacking the masses with their brand of mass heaviness. I’d rather see these guys in some club than most of this years OzzFest lineup. Dig deeper people, the radio is force feeding you. There is a better fix. Diecast.

How long has there been a Diecast?
Colin (Vocalist): About three and a half years.

So the band doesn’t have a real long history.
Not really. We have a lot of history with each other and have gone through a lot together with being in the band.

How’s the state of heavy music in Massachusetts?
In general there is lot of good heavy bands. The only thing about Boston right now that suffers is all the all ages clubs have shut down because of people getting stupid and people getting hurt. So there are not that many places to play, but there are a lot of good bands from around here.

The kids are out of control in Boston?
Not so much out of control, just every once in a while, it gets a little rough and someone will get hit. Then a lawsuit happens and the clubs just said the hell with it. All the clubs are 18 and over now.

Do you see any specific directions metal is taking, or is it getting into an era where it’s just a free for all of genre swapping?
There are a lot of different types of metal. When I first started listening to metal when I was a lot younger, metal was a lot more clear-cut. Now there’s grind, death, thrash, core and they all have their own different sounds, but they all kind of borrow from one another. So it gets difficult to classify.

Any impressions on the marketing of the rap-metal?
I won’t lie, I’m not really the biggest fan of rap-metal. I like a lot of old school rap, and I like a lot of old school metal. I’m not too sure how I feel about them being mixed. I think it’s definitely a viable genre on its own, but it’s not to my particular tastes.

How do feel about how the market has seemed to latch onto it and made it into a money-making genre?
I think rap just exploded in the last 10 years. Anything that takes what rap has done and capitalizes on how big rap has become is going to get big. Especially if you are doing something new. And a couple of years ago, rap-metal was the big new thing.

Do you hope bands like Diecast could crack the mainstream on that level?
I never want to set any kind of limits on what we can do. I’d like to get the band to the point where I can live off it, I don’t want to be rich or anything, but just enough so I can pay my rent and not have to worry about bills. And then just play my music to as many people as possible. Playing in front of a large crowd is like the best possible thing. I can’t compare it to any other kind of feeling you have. It would be great if we could break into a larger market where we could play in front of a thousand people as opposed to a hundred, but I wouldn’t want to do that at the expense of the music I like to write.

Songs like, “Singled Out” and “Invent the Truth” feature a more melodic use of your voice, which seems to define Diecast into their own sound more securely. Do you have any insights into how you choose to vocalize certain parts to certain songs?
I like the singing parts because I think they make us sound a little bit different. I try and make the song go in the direction I think the song wants to go in. If I think it needs more melody, I’ll try to write something that has more of a catchy singing part over it. I don’t really go out on purpose writing stuff, it just kind of happens.

Where the hell did you find your drummer?
Yeah, Jason’s a nut. A lot of bigger bands have tried to get him. At one point White Zombie wanted him to play drums and that rap band Gravediggers wanted him. He’s just an undiscovered talent I guess. He worked really hard and played drums for a long time. For like 10 years, all he played was death metal. He’s just got a lot of talent. He plays traditional to; he holds his sticks like a jazz drummer. He hits a lot different than most drummers who play death metal. It’s really weird to watch him play.

What would you say defines Diecast? What sets you apart from other hardcore metal outfits?
One thing we always try to do that a lot of bands fail to do, is we try to make every song sound different if we can. We don’t want to fall into that thing where you buy a CD and every song sounds the same. You could attach all the songs and play it the whole way through and never remember one part. We want all the parts to be memorable and we want each song to have its own personality.

When you write lyrics dealing heavily with oppression, being held back, being lied to… do you have a specific target in mind? Or do you carry a general sense of having been fucked with?
Depending on the song, a lot of times when I write lyrics about stuff like that, it’s more of a general thing where I want people to be aware of something that I think is wrong and should be paid more attention to. A lot of the songs on the album deal with either really personal stuff or they deal with really general stuff that needs to be addressed. A good example is the song, “Exacting My Revenge”. That song is about this guy who is in the Irish-Republic army and gets sent to jail for something he didn’t do. It’s about what he’s thinking when he’s incarcerated. The message is kind of cryptic and you might not really know what it’s about.

What is Diecast’s biggest accomplishment?
Just finishing our first US tour last summer with One King Down and Stretch Armstrong. That went really well. We had tried to book US tours before, but dates fell though. So this was the first successful full country tour. It made us feel like we were accomplishing something and it was a big step for us. We wanted to get to the next level so we could call ourselves a touring band. And playing the New England Metal Fest last year. We played in front of the largest crowd we ever played for (like 3 or 4 thousand people). That was definitely a highlight.

What goals as a band have you not reached yet?
We’ve reached a lot of them. We would like to get to the point to quit our jobs and just tour full time have the band pay for itself and our rent and bills we might have.

You all have day jobs?
Yeah. Jeremy is the manager of a gym. John is in school right now for music. He really doesn’t do anything. Jason works at this kind of game shop in Harvard Square called, “The Games People Play”. I work at a company called, “Student Advantage” and I update web accounts and do website stuff. And Kirk is a mechanic. We had a dentist in our band before.

What’s the most underrated band that deserves some mention?
There’s this band on East Coast Empire Records called Cannae who are really good friends of ours and are just coming up. They just released their debut CD. They are more traditional metal than us. Good breakdowns and dance parts also. And there’s another band who just released their CD called Unearth that we are friends with from Boston (and they are on Eulogy Records). They have an Iron Maiden/InFlames metal thing. They are really good and I think they are one of those bands that are gonna blow up in the future. (editors note: they most certainly did.)

You a fan of the traditional metal?
Oh yeah. I totally grew up listening to metal. I didn’t listen to hardcore and go to metal. It was totally opposite for me. The first concert I went to was Metallica in 1986. I was really young and my cousin took me and I was totally into metal ever since then.

Any bands you into that might surprise the average Diecast fan?
You asked the right member because I listen to a lot of crazy stuff. A lot of the rest of the band pretty much listens to straight metal, maybe a couple of things here and there. But I listen to a lot of Jazz and Blues. I love classic rock of the 70’s. Whatever, if I think it’s good I don’t care what anyone says. I’m sure there are a lot of things I listen to that to that everyone hates. Ever heard of that band “Rush”?

(laughing internally because, I obviously have a few years on Colin… and he’s asking me if I ever heard of “Rush”.)
Of course.
I love Rush. My band gives me endless shit for being into Rush. But I like them.

Old Rush. Albums like “2112” and the first Rush. That song “Working Man” rocks.
I even like the “Caress of Steel” record that nobody likes.

How come you east coast bands rarely make it out to the west coast and slap some of these prissy pop punksters into line?
(laughing) It’s tough to get through the Midwest. The one time we went to the west coast it was great. But we should’ve played more shows in CA. We just couldn’t get more than 4 shows. Everyone says there are a million places to play in CA. We love playing out there. I think the real reason is a lot of them have a day job, and it takes a while to get out there. You have to go through the Midwest to make it worth while and it takes a lot of time. It’s really tough for a lot of bands to take off from their jobs.

What’s the typical Diecast show like?
We try to keep the intensity level up for the entire show if we can. We play with full stacks because we like it loud and it sounds bigger. Our sound is really important to us live. We spent a lot of time with the guitar and bass sounds and getting them to mesh together. We just try to play as heavy as possible live. To get the crowd moving, that’s a big thing. In Boston, a lot of our shows are known for having a really raw, big pit. And that’s cool as long as nobody gets hurt.

Where’s your head at when you play live?
Y’know, that’s like the best question anyone’s ever asked me. My head is really nowhere. When I play live, I cannot remember anything. I get kind of in my own world. I see everything that’s going on, but it doesn’t really register. I see everything that’s happening, but I’m having so much fun I don’t have time to remember it. I just kind of live in the moment on stage. Nothing really goes through my head except just having fun.

As a primary vocalist, do you write words to the music, or is the music constructed around a lyrical idea?
It depends on the song. Sometimes I’ll be walking down the street and I’ll have an idea for the music and I’ll call my answering machine and hum it into the machine. Then I’ll come home and write lyrics. Or I’ll have a topic I feel strongly about, and I’ll just summarize what I want the song to be about, and then I’ll write the music around the lyrics already written. Every song comes about in its own way.

What do you want people to get out of listening to Diecast?
I would just like people to listen and think to themselves, “Wow, that’s a good song. I feel better for listening to that song.” Just have a good time listening to it, which makes it more fun for the band when people are enjoying their music.

What images come to mind when you picture someone listening to your music?
Never thought about that before. Tough question. I’d like to think that when people listen for the first time, either relate to what the lyrics are saying or hear something that makes them want to move. I want them to just get up and go crazy. That’s what I’d like to happen.

Being in the position of a lyricist, and giving what you perceive as a pure source of truth, where do you get your conviction of what is right? Where can you find the truth?
A lot of that lies in just everyday life. Observing what happens and forming your own opinions on things. I think too many people go through life and don’t stop and pay attention. I think if people stopped and reflected more about what’s going on around them, that would be a good place to find more truth.

Any political rants or motivations you need expressed?
Not really. I have my own political views that are not typical musician views, but it’s never been a big part of Diecast’s message. We’ve never made that a big issue. Our songs are more about personal feeling or stuff that’s happened in my life, or to the band. Like the song, “Plague” is about cancer. And that one is dedicated to Josh’s father who died of cancer. And I’ve had to deal with family with cancer, so it just took on a meaning for both of us.

I suppose those songs take on double importance when you have something that’s touching so close and it’s not just an abstract idea.
Funny you mention that because the opposite happened with the title track of the CD. The song, “Day of Reckoning” at the end, originally, I wrote it because we have a really strong core of friends in Boston that would do anything for us, and we’d do anything for them. So we wrote this song about not letting anything come between us and our group of friends. Two of our friends (one was our roadie) died in the last month, and that song has taken on a large significance for the band because it’s something we all really cared about.

People have been pronouncing metal dead since the 80’s, but yet bands keep proving them wrong with recent years seeing the market supporting it on record financial levels. Do you feel this will continue, and will metal start crawling back underground in reaction to this?
I don’t think metal ever died. It just got forced into the underground by major labels. Metal will continue to get bigger until it reaches some apex of some sort, and it will get smaller again, but I don’t think it will go into the underground again. If you listen to the radio, everything on the radio is getting heavier and heavier. Three years ago, could you have imagined hearing Slipknot on the radio? I couldn’t. It’s a sign of things to come.

Is this attention going to dilute the scene or make it more successful?
As metal becomes bigger and more marketable, there will be an influx of bands that capitalize on that and write songs just to get to the next level. That will hurt metal in general. Whenever you have bands that write songs just to get big, they are never very that good. There will be a lot of bands like that. Like the whole grunge thing in the early 90’s. Nirvana starts this whole thing, and then millions of bands sounded like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. All those bands just kinda cropped up. I think that will happen with metal.

‘What’s your drug of choice?
I actually don’t do anything. I don’t even drink. I don’t call myself ‘straightedge’, but technically I am. I am the only member of the band that’s like that. Everyone else is pretty much into… well, alcohol is the big one.

What’s the first thing you’d do with a million bucks?
I would pay off all my student loans. Then I’d buy my mom a new house.

Who is a Saint?
If I were to call anybody a Saint, it would be my younger brother Ian. He’s just the nicest kid and never has a bad opinion about anybody. Always goes out of his way for people. The most polite, quiet, shy great guy you could ever meet.

Who is a Sinner?
Any girl. Any female.

– (Editor “word”)

What is the coolest?
Being on stage and being in front of people who appreciate your music.

What is the lamest?
Going through life without any kind of goal, or hobby to make you happy.

Messages to the masses?
Please hear our album. And if we are coming through your town on tour, c’mon out.