Saying "DODECAD is one of the best bands, not only in St. Louis, but in their entire genre of sludgy, mathy, noisey metal, does not even begin to give them the credit they deserve. DODECAD is more than just a band. They are what bands should strive to be, not necessarily speaking about just their sound or unique style, but in their dedication to taking a concept in their minds, tweaking it, refining it, and presenting it with such passion and near flawless execution that some times I wonder if these dudes are even human.
Outside of just playing their music with an extreme level of talent, they are model musicians to work with. Any time I've approached them about a show they have been insanely prompt with their responses, and they set up/tear down their gigantic rigs with such a meticulous efficiency it's clear that they are a group of people who have been doing what they do for a very long time, and they do it well. Bands like DODECAD don't come often, and they don't come without their share of dedication and years of experience. This is a band made of people bonded by common ideals and a shared love of pushing the envelope as far as possible, while all the while keeping an eye on their roots and staying true to what keeps them grounded.
Name: Cully Meier
I hit the drums.
I hit the drums.
Name: David Dragoo
I play guitar and shout when Michael needs to extra shouting or doesn’t want to learn a vocal pattern.
Name: Michael Gerhardt
I play bass and shout in Dodecad. I also write the lyrics that I shout.
1. Let's start this off with some basic info on you guys. Where did the name DODECAD come from and what does it mean to you? How did DODECAD form and how long have you guys been playing together?
MG: The name and its meaning is kind of a long story, so bear with me.
Sometime between 150 and 210 AD, gnostic theologians integrated ancient Greek cosmology and gnostic christian theology. They believed all of creation arose from a single being, an aeon, which they called the Monad. The Monad then emanated a weaker, less divine aeon called the Duad. The Duad followed suit, emanating the Triad, which then emanated the Tetrad. The process occurred 12 times, eventually resulting in one final creation: the Dodecad. Of all the aeons, the Dodecad is the weakest. The most flawed and imperfect, the aeon which resides closest to the material world the Monad created.
It’s that dichotomy that gets me; the Dodecad is a powerful and ancient divine being, yet it’s also the result of 11 prior dilutions. It’s a god among ants and an ant among gods. What would that do to its psyche? What is it like to be the weakest god? What does it think about itself and the fleeting, irrational actions of humanity? This is my first time writing lyrics, and the name provided a lot of inspiration.
The three of us have been playing music under the name DODECAD since March, 2015. We originally met in May 2014 as replacement members for a Columbia, MO noise rock band called Bad Investments. That didn’t really pan out, and the three of us eventually moved on and became DODECAD.
2. I would describe the overall sound of your band as crushing, oppressive, and aggressive. Would you agree that those descriptors fit your sound? When you started as a band, did you start with this sound in mind or did it find you as you progressed?
MG: I think those are descriptors are extremely accurate, and I appreciate you saying that. From the very beginning, we intended to play heavy, mathy noise rock. But as I wrote the bass lines that originate our songs, I found myself working in more and more aspects of sludge and death metal. Fortunately, I am in a band with two exceptionally talented and open minded individuals, and together we found ourselves where we are now.
I can’t overstate this: there are no musicians in the world that I respect more than Cully and David. If you listen to my bass lines without drums and guitar, they’re total nonsense. I don’t have the slightest idea how they write what they do. But because of them, I am involved with creating the music I have dreamed about for as long as I can remember. I am an extremely fortunate person.
3. Y'alls collective choice of gear is stunning. It lets you guys get very loud while maintaining articulate note definition. Tells us gear heads about your instrument, cab, and effects choices, and if so. Does your gear impact your song writing? For Cully, how your cymbal choices and kit construction effected you as a drummer?
MG: Gear talk is weird for me: there’s always a little voice in my head telling me that I’m fetishizing inanimate objects or committing the same kind of crass materialism that causes so many problems all over the world. I think we use every bit of our gear for a specific purpose, and that quiets the voice well enough.
I’ve been using the same 4x12 bass cabinet forever, with only a few speaker replacements. Maybe it’s just because I’m so familiar with it, but no cab I’ve tried has the same blend of articulate lows and snarling mids. I pair it with a rackmount bass preamp and a power amp; that’s a much cheaper way to get good tone and a lot of power, rather than buying a “bass head.” I used tube amps for a while, but they break all the time and weigh 100 lbs and are expensive to get fixed. For my bass tone, a tube amp just isn’t worth it.
I use two electrical guitar company basses; the tonal aggression intrinsic to an aluminum instrument really fits with our sound. There’s just so much more grind and attack to every note, and the low end is a lot clearer. Plus they won’t ever break when I drop them or knock them over.
For our mid paced or fast songs, I use a couple different distortion pedals, usually set up for extra attack. For the really slow stuff, I dial back the distortion and send that signal to a fuzz pedal, and if I’m being honest the sounds that result still make me very, very happy. I use reverb and chorus in a few spots, but most of the time I just roll with distortion. (Note: it gets really techy after here so no worries if you delete this bit)
As unsexy as it may be, a huge part of my tone is the result of a really intelligently designed parametric EQ pedal that I basically don’t ever turn off. I cut out a lot of my low mids, between 200-300hz and boost from 40-100hz and 500-2hz. It keeps things rumbly and sharp, but it pulls out a lot of mud. That’s really important when you tune as low as we do. All of that horrible noise gets run through a high pass filter set around 40 HZ, and my bass preamp has a decent built in compressor. I’m sure my speakers appreciate those two safeguards a great deal.
CM: I tend to build my kits around the band that I’m in. For Dodecad, I need to cut through the wall of sound as much as possible, so I went with bigger drums tuned for more attack. I don’t use any sort of muffling material on any of the toms or bass drum - just open and loud. The majority of our songs are slow and sludgy, so I use bigger cymbals (17” and 19” crashes, 20” crash/ride) for more volume and sustain to fill up the empty spaces. I use an aluminum snare tuned pretty tight for a nice “crack” that cuts through really well. I recently added a 20” bass drum for a tom, because it seemed to fit with our over-the-top live aesthetic.
DD: For me, I am actually just using pretty much the same board from my last band. Since we have started I have added an ultra-weird distortion pedal, a volume pedal, and have replaced my delay, but other than that I am using the same board I started awhile back. I like having the multiple options for distortion but I tend to actually just run an overdrive pedal with some reverb and spots of delay. I like how drenched my guitar can sound at times in contrast to the more prevalent sharp drilling that I for some reason choose to be my tone.
I am fortunate enough to be still playing my first guitar that I got about 10 years ago. I love Telecasters and this one I chose with an alder body, which I like to think provides some semblance of warmth to my sound, and threw a lil’ 59 humbucker into the bridge pickup to give it more of a full bodied tone.
As for amps...I have been running my beloved Sovtek tube head into a 2x12 and Michael’s formerly beloved Fender tube bass head into an open back 2x15. Both of my guitar cabinets were built by Michael, actually, and they certainly allow me to make more than enough noise to be heard through Michael’s perpetually screaming bass tone. Our instruments are constantly fighting to be heard (not that it is an actual problem) which contributes a lot to how we sound.
4. Your first release was titled "Impotence" which means either the inability to take effective action, or the inability of a man to achieve an erection or orgasm. Did you choose this title with the duality of its meaning in mind? How do you feel this title reflects upon the music?
MG: That was 100% intentional. It describes the lyrical content perfectly, yes. But I also liked the idea of an album that will appeal largely to white men that forces them to think about a deep insecurity.
I don’t know if it reflects on the music very much. I suppose you could draw a connection between our down-tuned, angry screaming math riffing and a need to overcompensate for a lack of sexual potency. I don’t know. I like to play heavy music and shout. I like to fuck. It’s kind of up to the individual whether a cigar is just a cigar or not.
5. Keeping your first release in mind, these are the lyrics towards the end of your song "3" "No novelty in marring thoughts/Front the storm/Preach to choirs/Find your tribe/Paint your face/Wall yourself in/Fight off insight." Would you care to deconstruct these lyrics and tell us what you meant by them?
MG: There’s a some dual meaning in those lines, so once again, I apologize for a long response.
“No novelty in marring thoughts” is a way of saying “your ideology and thoughts aren’t new, and your pride in them is only closing you off to new perspectives and new knowledge.” If you’re really certain you’re right in what you believe, then hearing other perspectives isn’t something to be shunned. You know, keep an open mind.
“Front the storm/preach to choirs” The first line is a reference to the popular white power website Stormfront. It’s a website filled with deeply bigoted individuals talking at other deeply bigoted individuals about why it’s good to be deeply bigoted- preaching to choirs. It’s also referring to the recurring idea that so many people from groups like that display, this notion that they’re going to be the front of a societal storm and “tell it like it is” and blow people’s minds with their hot take on something because society is just too stupid or politically correct or whatever stupid shit. Sometimes fringe groups are fringe because the things they hold dear are terrible and you should only be open minded about which one you punch first. Let me make that very clear: The members of Dodecad are saying that you should punch nazis.
“Find your tribe/paint your face” The ease of worldwide communication provided by the internet and smartphones has made it very easy to find large groups of people who share your beliefs and experiences, and to get their support whenever you need it. It’s how we find our tribe. Politics, sports, media preferences, internet forums, it’s all modern tribalism. After you’ve found your tribes, there’s a lot of pressure to commit actions and buy stuff that outwardly display your membership- painting your face.
“Wall yourself in/fight off insight” Once you’ve found your tribe and painted your face, it’s a comforting feeling. I certainly don’t judge anyone for seeking comfort and assurance in this increasingly alienating world. But as that alienation increases, it becomes easy to isolate oneself further and further from people and ideas which conflict with their experiences, walling themselves in. Any criticism is an attack on a core belief, not a chance for personal development.
Of all of our songs, this is the one that is most personal for me, because I think about the lasting effects of postmodern society every single day. Most the time, my opinions and those of the Dodecad don’t really line up, but in this case there’s a decent amount of crossover. If all of this comes across as a bit “old man yells at cloud,” that’s the point. I mean, the record is called Impotence. It’s about an insecure God getting mad at human nature. Is there anything more impotent? Does postmodern society care about what I think? Not in the slightest. That’s kinda the point of the last lines of the song.
6. The opening lines on the final track of "Impotence" are "They will inherit this crippled system/A gift from an era long gone/Our old meaning, our old ways/There is no relief from the past" It sounds like you are making a statement about humanity having trouble moving past our old ways, and carrying our past customs and traditions with us, even if the younger generations disagree. What was the inspiration for these lyrics? How do you feel that these lyrics can be applied not only to society and politics, but also to the way our music communities are shaped and led?
MG: I apologize in advance if I don’t directly answer every section of this question; there’s a lot that went into those lyrics, and a short answer really doesn’t convey their intentions accurately.
I’m saying humanity can’t move on from it’s old ways. I’m saying that humanity has an instinctual biological drive to bring about destruction under the guise of comfort and security. I’m saying our infatigable fear of death will eventually create ecological and social devastation the likes of which we cannot possibly comprehend. Individuals can do their best to delay it, yes, but there’s no way humanity as a whole is going to make the necessary changes to every single aspect of our lives such that we don’t succumb to our own flaws. We’re still to subject to millions of years of evolutionary heritage that reward us for choosing short term gains with serious long term consequences.
That’s a lot of jargon, and an example might help. I usually go with air conditioning. For all but the slightest fragment of a percentage of our evolutionary experience and history, we didn’t have AC. If it was hot outside, we either suffered through it or found shelter from it. We had to, because for millions of years, heat wasn’t an inconvenience. Heat was death. You didn’t know if the water you drank to slake your thirst would kill you, you didn’t know how long the heat would last or how intensely it would radiate from everything around you, you didn’t know if the cave that blocked out the sub’s merciless beating hid an equally vicious predator, you didn’t even understand a sun burn. You were at the mercy of a very indifferent planet. Then, in the 1930s, AC starts to become commonplace, and now we can be cool and comfortable and safe even if it’s blistering outside. This is an absolutely massive change to our daily function, and one we now take for granted. But to your brain and its millions years of evolutionary heritage, 1930 was a fraction of a second ago. As much as we like to think of ourselves as modern and knowledgeable, the brain still functions as it did when your ancestors stalked their prey on the Serengeti.
Of course, the creation and refining of the materials required to build AC units is disastrous for the health of the planet, as is the process of generating the energy required to power them. Now, expand that to nearly every single product of modern society. Our animal brains compel us to create objects and environments that make us feel safe and secure, no matter the future cost. And that probably isn’t going to change in time for anything even slightly resembling modern society to survive.
7. Your second, and latest release is titled "Growth". Is there any connection between the titles of your releases? How do you feel you have grown as a band since these releases?
MG: The lyrical content on Growth is a direct continuation of the concept introduced on Impotence. The lyrics for the last song on Impotence explain the Dodecad coming to grips with the all-but-inevitable downfall of humanity. So at the beginning of Growth, it decides that it will be an inspiration, that it will finally prove its own power and worth by preventing humanity from destroying itself. It labels this as decision as proof that it can experience “growth.”
When we finished Growth, that was kind of the first time we’d really heard “our sound.” I know it was the first time I’d ever been able to catch everything that David and Cully did on those songs. We intentionally mirrored the songs on Impotence, but better- growth. In addition, now we know what we can do, and we can write with that in mind- growth. And now we know what we haven’t done, and we can try and create songs that say something new- growth.
8. The opening lyrics on the final track of "Growth" are "I tolerate no void/give no glory to the mire." You end the track with "There is no high ground/Only mud and the stench/of those who would will it all to char/Now we are all sons of bitches." That's some dark, nihilistic imagery there. What was the inspiration for these lyrics? What was the meaning behind them?
MG: Those closer lyrics are from the beginning of 1, with “now we are all sons of bitches” being the first line on Impotence and the last line on Growth. It’s a quote from Kenneth Bainbridge, one of the scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project. It was his response to witnessing the first atomic bomb test.
Human beings have always been very good at killing, there’s no doubt about that. Tool assisted and persistence hunting played a critical role in our neurological and anatomical evolution. Our entire history as a species is largely defined by large-scale slaughter or our reactions to it. But the atomic bomb was something new. Prior to that first detonation, we could always kill each other, but Bainbridge and his ilk made us an extinction level threat to ourselves.
A handful of men and women decided that they had the right and obligation to spend their precious intellectual gifts creating a weapon capable of obliterating the world as they knew it. The shortsightedness and appalling arrogance of such a decision is absolutely breathtaking, regardless of allegiances. These are people who understood the nature of the universe better than almost anyone alive. How can there be a high ground when the most talented members of humanity deliberately create things which have no purpose other than to utterly destroy us? Again: Impotence.
The first line- “I tolerate no void, give no glory to the mire” is the Dodecad’s arrogant proclamation that while saving humanity from itself, it will eliminate much of human nature in the process. It will help, but only if we change to fit what it believes is right. The rest of the song is the Dodecad rationalizing why its own barbaric violence is morally justifiable and fighting off the realization of how impotent it truly is.
As an aside, I was hesitant to including the word “bitch” in my lyrics. It is a word I stopped using a long time ago, due to the sexism and homophobia from which it derives its meaning. I ultimately decided to use it because Bainbridge’s words are a perfect summary of the flawed human condition; a male scientist, one absolutely crucial to the creation of an incomprehensibly powerful weapon, somehow linked his own willful and intentional actions to a way of insulting his own mother.
9. How did these two releases come to fruition? What inspired this direction for band. What factors influenced the sonic shape of the record?
MG: So far, all of our songs have started with one or more bass lines that I write in my apartment, terrified of playing too loud and bothering my neighbors. Then I bring them to practice, and Cully takes upwards of 75 seconds to think of a beat that would take a different drummer three hours to find. The three of us hammer out an initial arrangement around the drums and the bass, and then David takes home a recording and inevitably writes something really weird and awesome that doesn’t make any sense yet fits perfectly.
In terms of influences, I think it’s pretty obvious that I really like The Jesus Lizard and Eyehategod. David and I also adore Ulcerate and Lord Mantis, and that definitely pushed us into heavier and heavier territory. Cully doesn’t really like any of that, so he brings an entirely different set of influences and really ties David and I’s nonsense together. I don’t know if I’ve made this clear, but he’s really, really good.
But Dodecad absolutely wouldn’t exist without Venetian Snares. Yeah, he’s a weird dude behind a laptop, but his early work is absolutely the darkest, most claustrophobic and oppressive pseudo-music I’ve ever heard. His understanding of pacing and composition are unreal. Go listen to Doll Doll Doll right now. His reliance on odd time signatures helped me learn to utilize atypical rhythms and meters as another way of creating an uncomfortable sense aggression and confrontation.
One of the biggest influences on my playing is definitely my father. He’s an incredibly talented organist and pianist, and I always admired the power and dynamics in his playing. My father played organ the way he wanted to, not the way people might’ve wanted to hear. I think that same attitude is evident in our band.
CM: My playing on these releases is rather subdued as opposed to flashy - accuracy and heaviness was my main goal when writing and recording drums for these songs. Even though I have been playing drums for a long time, I’m still constantly in a state of self-criticism, and always trying to become a better drummer. DODECAD has definitely influenced me to be more aware of every element of my playing.
DD: There is one common influence that binds us all together: the 90s. Otherwise, we all have our own taste for the most part. I will say that Deathspell Omega has been a great influence for me as well. I love the way they make their guitars sound and I love grooves that they sprinkle throughout an otherwise relentless torrent of brutality.
10. I was talking to Cully recently and he mentioned that y'all are in the process of writing and recording your next release. Will it carry over the themes of the first two releases or will you branch out into new territories?
MG: We’re in the process of finalizing what we hope will be the last song for our next release right now. It will be another 3 song EP, titled “CONTEMPT,” and it will definitely continue the story of the Dodecad. Musically, it’s going to be a bit more straightforward and very, very heavy.
11.Currently, what is your recording process? How does it compare to the recording process for the previous releases?
MG: Honestly, it hasn’t really changed. We write and record our songs at our practice space outside of Columbia. With the help of the incredibly skilled Daniel Ruder, Cully and I track drums and bass simultaneously, and David tracks his guitars over that. Once music is done, Cully tracks our vocals in the bathroom at the space, mixes it until it, and then we send it to Daniel for mastering. We’re very happy with the results so far, so I don’t see it changing too much unless it has to.
DD: Yeah, nothing has really changed with our process, though there is some talk of potentially recording Contempt in an old abandoned church that we have access to. I like the idea of how BIG this could potentially make this new record sound but at the same time there are some worries over our control of the wash of reverb that will most likely occur with a room that size. As you had mentioned earlier, with our gear we are able to get loud but maintain note articulation. I wouldn’t want this to be lost on the new record because though there may be a bit more of a straightforward sound, there is still a lot going on.
CM: Speaking of the old church, I’m pretty stoked on possibly recording drums in a huge open room with lots of natural reverb. We’ll see if it pans out, but I’d love to hear how booming my drums would sound in that type of space.
12. As humanity grows and evolves, our music has steadily progressed with us. Over the past few years we have seen some of the heaviest forms of music ever created being performed in basements and DIY venues across the country and the world at large. In your opinion, what's the appeal of such extreme music to DIY musicians? How do you feel about the current place extreme music has in society?
MG: All of my favorite art is confrontational and divisive. It might be the lyrics or the color choice or the tonal quality or the the texture of the paint or the recording or myriad other qualities, but I think the best art always breeds uncomfortable introspection in some form. It seems like a lot of the DIY scene feels the same way. Music, or art in general, gets more extreme because people get desensitized and every generation wants to take their expression in a new direction. The kind of person who is more interested in creating their own art than simply consuming is often the same type of person who wants to push the envelope.
I appreciate every single person who chooses pursue their art despite the potential alienation, cost, and tepid response. I’m not saying all artists suffer for their creativity, but I am saying sticking your creative neck out is definitely less safe than watching TV.
DD: Just to expand on that thought, I was talking with our friend, Paul, awhile back about why there are people drawn to such extreme forms of artistic expression. I mean, I have always appreciated heavier, more grating, abrasive and dissonant music. I am not saying that I would have loved Lord Mantis or The Lack when I was younger but I certainly would have appreciated what they do and had seen the intrinsic value. Anyway, we were just discussing how there has also seemed to be people who were just wired a bit differently. Some people listen to something melodic and hear beauty; and then maybe one or two people listen to Dodecad and hear something pleasing to their ears. I guess I am just happy that those people exist in the world. That sort of stark contrast in perspective is part of what leads to such great works and advances in art, songwriting, literature, etc. There were a lot of great composers who clearly understood this, and though I doubt they would have necessarily enjoyed the Dadaism movement, on and on we have trudged and now here we are with some of the wildest works of artistic expression that I could fathom; and there is actually an audience for it.
13. When you look at the current state of society and humanity at large, what do you feel? Do you think there is still a hope for us?
MG: I answered the second question earlier, so I’ll just do the first here. How do I feel about the current state of humanity? I don’t know. I really don’t have any idea. But I know why I don’t know. Like I said, humanity will always choose immediate rewards, because chances are the consequences of that choice won’t matter until later. Well, now it’s later, and things are going to get really ugly over the next 100 years. But simultaneously, I believe each of us, as singular individuals, are fully capable of drastically reducing our environmental impact. I believe atmospheric carbon scrubbing, hydrogen fuel cells, asteroid mining, solar/wind/fusion power, GMOs, and countless other technological developments can stop us from limping back to the stone age. I just don’t know if we will recognize the importance of these possibilities in time.
But do I think human beings will drive themselves to extinction? Not even for a second. About 26,500 years ago, the earth experienced its most recent ice age. The conditions were utterly merciless. Ice covered most of Asia, North America, and Northern Europe. The global drop in temperatures altered wind and precipitation patterns, changing many of the non-glaciated areas into barren deserts or permafrost. Global conditions were extraordinarily hostile to life, and yet humanity persevered, armed with nothing but sharpened rocks and fire. We’ll can do it again. Whether that constitutes hope is entirely subjective.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. We can survive every drought and ice age and solar flare and magnetic polarity reversal that the universe throws as at us, but eventually thermal activity on the sun will change such that earth can no longer support even archaic life. The moon will eventually drift far enough away that earth will lose its axial rotational stability. Our planet’s destiny is that of a lifeless ball in a totally average and anonymous section of the universe. Maybe we’ll be other places by then, but complex life on earth is doomed. Funny old thing, existence.
DD: Basically, we are roaches. But if the sun doesn’t get us, the Cylons will.
14. What are the things that influence you as a musician and as a person? Does your personal life influence your music or vice versa?
MG: I cannot remember a time when I did not want to create music. It’s been my dream since I was a child. I’m always working on songs for four or five different bands in different styles. All of my best friends are musicians. Most of my fondest memories and greatest accomplishments are directly tied to music. It is such a core part of who I am that I cannot separate it from my personal life. I’m not saying something as melodramatic as “I would die without music,” but I do find it the most meaningful and fulfilling part of my life. I’m stopping there because I fear coming across as even more pretentious and also I think I mentioned how much I like The Jesus Lizard earlier.
CM: Music has been an integral part of my life for over 30 years, and I have been playing drums in bands for over 20 years. I cannot imagine not being able to create music.
My main influences musically are always the guys I’m in a band with. Michael and Dave write the weirdest shit in the oddest time signatures, and the result has been a huge broadening in my horizons and skillset as a drummer. Writing drums for these guys early on was an immense challenge, as I had never written parts in, for example, alternating 7/4 4/4. Like really, what the hell is that - and that’s one of the simpler progressions.
Now I can’t imagine being in a band that only plays straight time signatures. I’m ruined.
MG: Hail fucking Satan.
DD: Just like these guys, music has always been the most important thing in my life and that has never changed. My dad used to be a radio DJ and our basement was always filled with hundreds of records and books. Due to this, I naturally grew up with a wide taste in musical influences. My parents have always been extremely supportive of this part of my life and when I look back at my childhood it would have been impossible to turn my back on music considering the environment I was raised in.
That being said, I would be lying if I said that these guys weren’t a huge influence on me and my advancement as a musician. I mean when you consider how long each of us have been playing music, it is no wonder. It was mentioned earlier that when we first formed as a noise-rock group and wrote Impotence, we hadn’t found our sound yet. When you compare Impotence to Growth that fact becomes glaringly apparent as Growth was the definitely the direction we were heading, which I dare say was away from simply just heavy noise-rock. My point in all of this is that I feel that we not only advanced as a band, but that these guys forced me to advance as a musician.
Basically, if you played me the first track off of Impotence and then the last track off of Growth, I genuinely wouldn’t believe that was the same group, let alone same guitarist.
15. Cully did the artwork for your previous releases and it's stunning. What gave you the idea for them?
CM: I had the idea of using old technical and medical manuals as collage material a while back, and had a couple in progress as Dodecad was getting started. The themes and aesthetics immediately seemed to coincide, so we decided to use two of them as artwork for Impotence / Growth.
The collages themselves are incredibly painstaking and time-consuming, sometimes taking weeks to take shape, which, coincidentally again, seems to mirror our writing process.
MG: I think they are real cool.
DD: I think Cully is real cool.
CM: Aww, you guys...
16. This is a question I have a love/hate relationship with, but I feel it's an important one to ask. How do you feel about the current climate of the DIY community as a whole, and the STL Louis music community? What are some things you love and some things you wish would change?
MG: It has never, ever been easier to be a DIY musician. You can book entire tours from your phone. A professional recording studio can fit in the back of a station wagon. Streaming sites and services, bandcamp, soundcloud, last.fm, etc. provide countless ways for people all over the world to hear your music that have nothing to do with labels. This is great because it makes it that much easier for people to find an outlet for their creativity, but it does mean that individual bands have to work a lot harder to stand out and get noticed. I think this is the best conditions have ever been for DIY musicians, aside from economic issues caused by the looming collapse of late stage capitalism.
I’m hesitant to talk about “the STL music community” as a single entity. There’s a hip hop scene, a metal scene, a punk scene, a folk scene, a noise scene, etc. I don’t know much about anything outside of the metal and DIY scene, so I’ll limit myself to that.
The STL metal scene is weird. There’s no energy to it, there’s no excitement. Really, there’s not much interest in shows period. Suffocation played here last year and almost no one went. Suffocation, a band that has been around since 1989, headlined countless festivals all over the world, and basically created modern death metal, played for less than 20 people.
Since no one goes to shows, the handful of popular local metal bands don’t play very often, or only play when opening for touring national acts. I get it; they don’t want to dilute their draw. But it does make it difficult for new local bands and smaller out of town bands to network and play with the four or five big metal groups in STL and build an audience. It creates a nasty feedback loop, and a very, very high barrier to entry that discourages and drives out a lot of bands.
So, I guess I would change the fact that people don’t seem to want to go to shows. I’ll let you know when I figure that one out.
CM: I grew up in Burlington, Iowa. There were absolutely zero venues for heavy music, so if you weren’t DIY, you weren’t playing. Simple as that. My early bands used to book VFW halls and other community centers to put on shows, and it was surprisingly fun. Even though STL has its challenges as far as the DIY community is concerned, I’ve been impressed with its fortitude.
DD: I grew up in Mexico, MO. If I wanted to see a show, I had to find a way to Columbia, St. Louis, Kansas City, or Lawrence. There was a DIY punk venue in a coffee shop for a couple weeks, then one in a pizza parlor. Basically, from where I have lived in my life, St. Louis and Columbia have had much better music scenes than where I grew up. Before I moved here from Columbia this summer, I had noticed that the music scene there was on a kind of negative trend, unless you played folk or bluegrass. The kids enrolling at MU just didn’t seem to care about live music anymore.
So, to get to my point, I think St. Louis has the foundation to have a great scene here. It seems to be on a positive trend, and when I consider the people I have met through the DIY scene and playing shows around town, there are a lot of great musicians and people who are overflowing with excitement over all sorts of music. With the efforts of these people I see something very bright ahead for the DIY and STL music community as a whole.
17. When you think about the future of DODECAD what do you envision?
MG: Ideally: sleeping on floors all over the country, more friends in more places, more crushing riffs, long drives in a smelly van with two of my favorite people, and at least one more vinyl.
CM: Same. I have yet to go on an extensive tour - I’d like to do that with this band.
DD: I want to see if it’s possible to grow sick of these dudes (it won’t be) in a van.
18. Are you a book or a movie person?
CM: I devour books. I don’t have much time for TV or movies.
MG: Wikipedia and Captain America movies.
DD: Books, but man I love me some Battlestar and Psych.
19. What does "Doing it Yourself" mean to you?
MG: Practice your instrument alone for hours, write your own songs, write your own lyrics, work with your friends to get a good logo and good album art and good album design. Spend the time to perfect your songs, and the money to get a quality recording. Be friendly to everyone and support your fellow bands as long as they’re not assholes. Get your music into the hands of everyone who might be interested, and demonstrate your appreciation for anyone who gives you free press. Don’t play shows until you know you’d enjoy watching yourself on stage. Quit smoking and drinking or whatever and use that money on your band. I’m not saying this is how it should be, but I am saying it’s necessary if you want to have any success.
20. If our robot overlords rose up today and overthrew humanity, would you abide by their laws or pull some John Conner shit?
CM: Would they take the internet from us? If so, I’m out.
MG: I guess it depends. If Siri starts a meatbag purge cause we’re being jerks, I’ll be right there with it. But if my precious bodily fluids are needed to cool Deep Dream’s horrific crimson war machines, I’d like to think I’ll put up a fight.
DD: Have they not? Oh, I dunno, probably join them and get addicted to cybernetic enhancements until I no longer am myself. Like some sort of chrome butterfly.
MG: Attention people who play in prog metal bands: you can use the phrase “technochrysalis” but please give us a shout on your bandcamp.
*Questions where edited by Mark Boulanger from MASSA NERA
(Thank you once again, Mark)