Based out of a city not really known for grindcore (Atlanta, GA), Dead in the Dirt are one of the best grindcore bands currently together. Earlier this month the band wrapped the recording of their debut full-length, The Blind Hole, coming out on Southern Lord Records this summer. I recently talked with Blake Connally (Vocals/Guitar) about the band and the upcoming record.
Toxicbreed's Funhouse: Dead in the Dirt recently wrapped up recording the new record with Andy Nelson at Bricktop Recording Studio in Chicago. How was working with a producer who is also in a band as influential as Weekend Nachos?
Blake Connally: It was very enjoyable and productive. Andy has been a good friend of ours for a while, and knows our material well and how we perform live. This was extremely helpful in communicating the specifics and tone of the record. We were very fortunate to work with him.
TBFH: How was the experience of recording in another city with a specific producer different from your previous recording experiences with the VOLD and FEAR EPs?
Blake: It was our first time being able to that, and I am sure that is what we will continue to do. It helped keep us focused, without dragging every day troubles in to the studio. We were able to completely immerse ourselves in the project, and in turn helped us a make a solid record.
TBFH: Being this is your first full-length release, how long were you writing and playing these new songs before you went to record? Was this any different from the writing process for the EPs?
Blake: We started writing for our LP a few weeks after FEAR was released. Since then we have been writing slowly but steadily, and the past three months, we worked out all the kinks and wrote the last bit of material. It has been a long time in the works, and we have put a lot of emotion and thought into this record. I feel like we are finally past the initial purge from VOLD and FEAR, and we are now able to develop and go deeper.
TBFH: The new record is titled The Blind Hole, which to me generates very vivid imagery. Where does that name come from and is there a theme to the record that ties into it?
Blake: "The Blind Hole" is a term conventionally used in drilling. It refers to anytime where a specific material is drilled without knowing the exact depth, as well as intentionally not breaking the threshold to the other side. We felt this directly related to a lot of the imagery and themes in the majority of our lyrics. We have all grown and learned new things not only from the time we started the band 5 years ago, but since we have been friends well before that. Through the things we've learned, we've realized that there is no specific depth to an individual and what they are capable of, on the other hand there is no telling how shallow and simple individuals can be. Playing heavy music has taught me a lot, but mostly, for all the so called anger and passion most bands would try like to convince you that they possess; it's the same old bullshit. Whether it's someone smashing a mic into their face trying to prove their masochism, or a person screaming their heart out with words they don't believe in; it's all shallow and forced. All of the words and sounds on our new album have come from a vulnerable place, which most heavy bands try to simulate or pretend it doesn't exist.
TBFH: How many songs can we expect on the record, and do you have any particular ones you like to play more than others?
Blake: We have recorded 22 songs, but we may hold a few back from the release for another release. We will be playing quite few new ones in our upcoming appearances, and some of which we have been playing for quite some time. I am more interested in hearing which songs people prefer.
TBFH: You guys have been pretty busy the past six months, with the new record and several tours under your belt including a direct supporting slot on Sunn O)))’s west coast run last December. How has it been staying so busy?
Blake: We all prefer to stay occupied, whether its writing or touring. We love to travel and see our friends from all over, and it keeps us sane when we are at home. Being able to perform the songs live as much as possible, helps keep us motivated and focused. We are very interested in seeing how everyone receives our new record, as well as what this year holds touring wise.
TBFH: Speaking of tours, you guys are about to go on a few week mid-west run this May. Is this your first time playing the mid-west, and if not, any cities you’re looking forward to playing in particular?
Blake: It is in fact our first time in a lot of those cities. Being from Atlanta, the Midwest often gets left out due to geography and time constraints. We are very much looking forward to playing new places, and meeting new people. Traveling to me is one of the best things you can do with your life.
TBFH: Thanks for the time, anything else you would like to say?
Blake: Thanks to you and anyone who finds this, for your interest and hopefully your support.
Go see Dead in the Dirt on their upcoming tour and pick up a copy of the record when it comes out this summer.
DEAD IN THE DIRT May Tour:
5/05/2013 The Owl Farm – Nashville, TN
5/06/2013 Haymarket – Louisville, KY
5/07/2013 Brain House – Cincinnati, OH
5/08/2013 The Brass Rail – Peoria, IL
5/09/2013 The Sandbox – Kansas City, MO
5/10/2013 The WestWing – Omaha, NE
5/11/2013 Underground Rock Shop – Des Moines, IA
5/12/2013 The New Direction – Fargo, ND
5/13/2013 Negative Space – Winnipeg, MB
5/14/2013 The Medusa – Minneapolis, MN
5/15/2013 Quarter’s – Milwaukee, WI
5/16/2013 Reggie’s – Chicago, IL
5/17/2013 The Donut Hole – Muskegon, MI
5/18/2013 The Halfway House – Detroit, MI
5/19/2013 The Roboto Project – Pittsburgh, PA
5/20/2013 The Odditorium – Asheville, NC