Earlier this week we had the chance to get on the phone with guitarist Mike Spreitzer of DevilDriver and talk about the new album, Beast, touring, and 'keeping it drama free'. Listen to the interview above. You can also head over to Blabbermouth and listen to a new track from Beast, "You Make Me Sick". Beast will hit the US on February 22nd.
We have transcribed the audio interview which you can read after the jump.
MCO: Hey guys this is Cody with MetalCallOut.com here with Mike, the guitarist from DevilDriver. Alright thanks for sitting down and doing this interview with us. How are you today?
Mike: Great, just got out of Canada, show went better than expected. We are in Flint, Michigan back in the States. I got about another week of touring and then I got about 10 days off, then we are off to Australia to the Soundwave Festival.
MCO: Yeah man you guys tour, what is it, every day or every other day. How do you guys keep that energy alive and come out 100%?
Mike: We never really seem to get bored of it. I mean, our lives revolve around the band and this is what we do and we absolutely love doing it. Sometimes it can cause problems back home with significant others and other loved ones but this is what it is.
MCO: Oh I bet, how do you guys cope with that? You just call frequently, webcam?
Mike: Ah yeah, I mean my family is really cool about it, they don’t ever put any type of pressure on me. I’m recently single so I don’t have…I don’t have to worry about the girlfriend aspect anymore, which actually makes my job a lot easier.
MCO: Oh yeah leave that drama out of it.
Mike: Yeah, so things are more drama free for me lately.
MCO: Cool, Cool. You just mentioned that you’re off to Australia for a week. I’ve heard the fans are very passionate, you enjoy touring there?
Mike: It is my favorite place to tour actually. I absolutely love being in Australia. The people there….it’s a lot like Southern California too which is where we all live and it kind of reminds me of home a little bit, which is nice. But at the same time the people are just very nice and they just love heavy metal over there and rock n’ roll, you know. Lots of people come to your shows and you can always find a good rock club, something that you can’t find in America a whole lot.
MCO: Ah that’s too bad. What’s your favorite song to play live?
Mike: Oh favorite song…I will have to go…..probably…….lets say Fight Words or I’ve Been Sober. A couple of songs that I wrote and it just…you know…very proud of them.
MCO: Yeah, I’ve seen you a couple times live and I would say my favorite probably Hangman’s Noose.
Mike: Ah, Before the Hangman’s Noose, that’s definitely….that’s another one of my favorites, that one always goes over live really well. We played that almost every tour I think for the last couple of years, so you know that’s a definite favorite.
MCO: Yeah both times I’ve seen you play, you guys played it both times….so very cool. But with all that touring aside the real news that’s coming up in the next few weeks is your new album Beast, which comes out on February 22nd. What can DevilDriver fans expect from that?
Mike: Brutality. Its…we went into this record….our mind set for this record was to make it heavy.
MCO: Nice…..we all like that.
Mike: It volatile, visceral and it is just absolute brutal record, I think it’s the most brutal DevilDriver record we have ever done. Everyone that has heard the tracks, you know the journalists, you know who have been reviewing the record absolutely love it. Our record label is really happy with it and personally I think it’s our best record.
MCO: Yeah we’ve heard a couple of singles over here at Metal CallOut and man very very very good, very heavy….aggressive.
Mike: Thank You, Thank You very much.
MCO: Why did you choose the title Beast for your new album, does it have any significant value behind it?
Mike: It came from a couple of different areas. We went in with a mindset of just wanting this record to be so heavy, I think the term Beast just describes the record very well and it’s a term that Dez’s kids use around the house to describe things that are just bad ass. I think he just kind of, listening to his kids say it, it just clicked in his head and I think that would be a great album title and he told all of us and we’re just like well it kind of describes it exactly what we structured a lot of the songs, we just want it to be really heavy and brutal and volatile. I think this is the first time we actually went in with an album title and did not change it when we were done recording, because we loved it so much. It was just right off from the get go we wanted to call the record Beast.
MCO: Did you guys have the title before the album or just kind of stuck and you kept with it?
Mike: It kind of stuck and we just went with it, we had….I think the term came around during the writing process. And a lot of times we have ideas during the writing process and we actually haven’t solidified a title until after we were done recording the record. This wasn’t the case this time. The idea was floating around during the writing process and we couldn’t think of anything better and we just really like the way that it sounded and it describe the record very well so we stuck with it.
MCO: Hell yeah. You guys chose down at Sonic Ranch in El Paso to do your recording, that studio has a lot of history behind it, how do you guys feel to be a part of that history?
Mike: Feels good, this was our third time going there. It’s a very good creative environment because it’s on a Pecan Ranch. About half hour, forty five minutes outside of El Paso, Texas and its right next to the Mexican border, right next to Juarez, which you know it kind of gives it the nice cool creepy vibe. There’s literally nothing to do out there, other than just, you know be creative with the record. Even cell phone reception is pretty bad out there, so your phone isn’t rigging off the hook all the time. It’s very comforting and it’s a very magical place and I can see why a lot of bands like to go out there.
MCO: I heard its quite a secluded place, it probably keeps you guys very focused on what needs to be do.
Mike: Well yes it does because there’s no distraction you know. Other than…whenever it is time to eat lunch, I would say that is the only distraction we have. No, it’s a lot of fun. El Paso, Texas, the owner is very cool and he really much into wine and every now and then he’ll break open an insanely expensive bottle of wine for the artists there and he’ll take you into town. He’s kind of like an El Paso legend, so where ever you go in town, if you're with him it’s like front of the line, you get treated like royalty over there just being with him all the time. So it’s a really cool experience.
MCO: Yeah you guys actually stayed in the studio for time, didn’t ya?
Mike: Yes, it’s a live in studio, so you have your own room and then they have a chef. It’s this nice Mexican lady that cooks amazing Mexican food for you every day. Yeah, we are usually there, it was our third time there and we’re usually there for about….I would say about a month to six weeks….doing the records.
MCO: Oh wow. Could you briefly describe the music making process?
Mike: Well it starts out with the four of us being….you know Jon Miller, John Boecklin, Jeff Kendrickand myself (Mike Spreitzer), just coming up with ideas on our own and I have my own recording studio at my house where we do all the preproduction at. So basically I’ll start off you know….I’ll start off writing a song for myself and so when the guys come over I’ll show it to them, we’ll make changes. They’ll say I like this part, I like this part, then we’ll get it to the point where we are all happy with it then we’ll put it on CD. I would say it takes a good three of four sessions of us getting together. Even once we leave the house the first time you know, people will listen to the CDs and come back a couple of weeks later and then we’ll make more changes and once we get the song to the point where we’re all happy with it. We’ll pass it along to Dez (Dez Fafara) for him to write lyrics to. The same thing goes with the other guys, they’ll come up with their own ideas, they’ll come down to my house, I’ll record the guitar into my computer, we’ll program some drum to it, to get a good vibe out of it. Critique it til we all like it, then pass it on to Dez.
MCO: So usually you guys will write the music before lyrics?
Mike: Oh yeah. Dez has books and books of lyrics on hand all the time. He might go to his archives and pull something out that he has but obviously that’s….I think that’s how it works with almost all bands you know. Music comes first and lyrics….then lyrics are put on top.
MCO: So what’s your favorite track on the album?
Mike: For me personally I would say Talons Out.
MCO: I haven’t heard that one yet, so I’ll have to wait.
Mike: Yeah, that one hasn’t been released yet but that’s the only song we did on the record with a 7 string…guitar. So it really, really nasty tone to it, it’s awesome.
MCO: Nice. Well Thank You for sitting down with us and answering a few questions. Do you have anything else you would like to say to DevilDriver fans or anybody?
Mike: Well we have an extensive tour schedule coming up in the future. We’re going to be touring on this record for at least the next two, three years. Keep any eye out for ya, we don’t have anything solidified after Australia yet but I’d say in the next two weeks to a month check our website and you guys will see a lot more tour dates popping up in the future.
MCO: Once again that was Mike with DevilDriver. Make sure you check out their new album Beast which comes out on February 22nd.