July 2004 - DUSTER 69
The first life-sign of DUSTER 69 was way back in 1999, when this group released a split-7" together with Calamus. A first full-length album followed and things start to roll. It was much in evidence, that this German group was on the best way to create a forceful heavy rockin' sound, and due to the fact that they've played hundreds of solid shows since then, they slowly build up a strong following. Now we have 2004 and the new album "Ride The Silver Horses" will surely enlarge this fan-base. Guitarist Jochen was kind enough to answer my questions, but we didn't only talk about the new album, because he's a very busy man running his own label Daredevil Records and so it's up to the reader to find out what's going on.......
Hello Jochen! DUSTER 69 will release their new album "Ride The Silver Horses" in September 2004. I think, that band has done a great step forward. Where do you think is the main difference between the last album "II" and the new one?
There are more reasons. First we have another singer since the Split release with Awesome Machine from Sweden. On the debut and on "II" our bassplayer did the vocals. After some years as a three-piece we searched for a new singer who can spread our horizon musically and we found a very good one. Lucki is a great singer, good friend and a cool guy. Especially on stage he is awesome! On the other side we played 2 tours and some great single shows and so we grow together. I think it is a natural step forward for us.
What's the meaning of the album title? Is it some kind of a special metaphor?
No - first we had the opener "Deep Down" in our mind as the title. Because that fit perfect to the artwork and the lyrics. But on one day Lucki called me and talked about "Ride the silver horses". I don`t know it exactly, but I think it has something to do with his motorcycle. It sounds cool and so we have chosen it it.
I think it's a very cohesive whole and especially a dark atmosphere surrounds the album. Did this mood comes out naturally or was it the band's intention to create something sinister?
I don`t really think that the album is sinister or has some dark atmosphere. But if you have this feeling after listening to the album it is ok. As I told you before, we don`t want to show the exact way for every listener. Everybody has to search for his own direction. Some guy told me that he thinks that this release is much more aggressive as the last record. You see - some different meanings. But all came natural. We had no intention before we wrote the songs. We met in the rehearsal room and all worked out out. Thats all. Maybe some darker lyrics will lead your thoughts. Some lyrics are about Luckis past and maybe that is the reason.
You've recorded the album in the Freakstone Studio in Weiden/Germany, but decided to make the mastering in New Jersey at the West West Side Music Studio. What's the reason for this decision?
The reason for recording the album in the Freakstone Studio was that it is so close to our hometowns. It was clear from the first moment that we will not find the time to record the album on one take. It was clear that we had to record this one piece by piece over some months. And so we made our mind up for the Freakstone Studio. We know the producer for years and the studio has one of the best equipments in our region. So it was the first address for us. And it was clear from the first moment on that we will work with different persons on this CD.The West West Side Music Studio in New Jersey did some great work with bands like Monster Magnet, Sick of it all, Sepultura and so I asked them and they told me that I should send some material. And after some days they called me back and said that they will do it! I`m so happy that we got Alan Douches. This guy mastered the last output from Give up the ghost and Converge. Some of my favourite bands.
On the CD, you've included the video clip from the opener "Deep Down". Are there any chances to see it on MTV or VIVA or do you try to ignore the commercial mainstream channels?
It is very hard to bring such a "non-commercial" track on the 2 big stations. But we got a lot of enthusiastic feedback so far and some smaller TV-stations will show it. Maybe we can arrange it for MTV or VIVA, but I don`t think so. You have to give them more than a good clip. Believe me!
In the booklet are tasteful b/w pictures of the band, but I miss the lyrics. Why did you leave 'em out?
Because we all think that this is not important. If somebody will give the album some time, they will feel what the lyrics are for. And without the lyrics everybody can make his own descision of the meaning. I think the booklet fits better without the lyrics. It is simple, but great in my eyes.
DUSTER 69 is a well-known name in the international Heavy Rock underground and you've been around since a few years. What do you think about the development of this underground during the last ten years?Is there any kind of development?
Yeah - it is. But today it is more difficult to sign a newcomer and give them a good name in the underground scene. When we started the scene was fresh and everybody helped each other. Bands like Awesome Machine, Dozer, Fireball Ministry were all Demo-bands without any following and we were in contact with them from the first time. Today a lot of new bands grow up and every band sounds like the other band. Every band has a release and nobody knows which record to buy first. I really think too many bands are around at the moment.
The band shared the stages with a lot of bands like Sixty Watt Shaman, Karma To Burn, We or Sparzanza just to name a few. What were the best shows you played and are looking for a tour in 2004 to promote the new album?
Our last German tour with Sparzanza from Sweden was a blast. Hell`n`Diesel and Sparzanza were excellent guys and we had a lot of fun. Best show is hard to tell. I think in the last 2 years we only had great shows. We had some luck with our tour-partners and we only met great people in the last years. End of 2004 we will promote the album again with a tour. Without being around live it is hard to survive in the scene.
Which kind of musical background do you have? Where are your musical roots?
I`m not the youngest guy and I grew up with the Thrash Metal scene in 1985, 1986. Bands like Slayer, Metallica, Testament, Exodus, Forbidden, Sacred Reich were unknown and great. I still have their demos and I`m proud of that! I`m still listening to bands like Massacre, Pestilence, Danzig, Misfits, Slayer or the Rightous Pigs. Not to forget the mighty Celtic Frost. Today some great bands are around and I really like bands as Poison the Well, Raging Speedhorn, Burst Nine or Sunride on the same way like the old stuff.
Apart of playing guitar in DUSTER 69 you're running Daredevil Records. Please, when did you started the label and what was the reason for it?
In 1998 I started Daredevil Records with the only aim to supporting bands I like. At this time it was very hard to get some great so-called Stoner bands. I got a lot of bands at this time without any deal or chance to get out of their rehearsal room. At this time I had some great contacts to bands around the world and some other important companies and so I tried. And I am talking here about bands everybody will know so far! Mustasch for example. I had them on our first compilation and nobody knew them at this time. Same as Awesome Machine, We and many more. And with our two first releases, Calamus debut and Duster 69 debut, we had two sold out releases in a few weeks. And that was the point to go forward.
Are you working on a 100% independant level and how important is this attitude for you?
Yeah - it is 100% independant. Because this music is independant. I tried in the last years to make it bigger. I got major distribution Bellaphon at this time but it doesn`t work. Here in Europe now Daredevil has Soulfood, a subcompany from Sony, as distributor and they did an awesome job. And I spent a lot of time on this label. But without a lot of money not so much is possible. Money rules the world. But Soulfood believes in my work and so it runs. So far we are on a good way.
In the past you released records of Subversion, Devillac, Transonic Science or Calamus f.e.. What are the next releases? Have you discovered any new hot bands in the European underground? Any recommendations?
Next will be the mighty DISENGAGE from the states. This band is awesome and they are big in the states. Sounding like a hammer! A mix of Chum, Only Living Witness and some Hardcore influences. I will release this record together with Swell Creek Records. And BURN THE STREET Vol. 3 with a lot of hot newcomers and well-known bands. Burn the Street Vol. 1 and 2 were released as 7" in 1999 and were sold out after some weeks. And some people asked me all the years about a follow up. And here it is. It will feature some unreleased material from mighty bands like Sparzanza, Awesome Machine, Chum, Sissies, Devillac and material from Sunride, Dozer, Hermano, Milligram and many more. I spent a lot of time into this sampler and it will blow you away!
Do you only work for the Daredevil record label or are you inlvolved in the webzine, too? I
In 1998 I worked for Daredevil Magazine. One year later I opened the book Daredevil Records and I have been working one year for Label and Magazine. But after that we split both up and so I only work for Daredevil Records. And that is enough work my friend!
I like to thank you for your time, Jochen! Is there anything you like to add at least?
Yeah - thanx for support! Get your copy from "Ride the silver horses" and check out the video-it rocks!
(All photos by Anja Winkler / www.anjawinkler.de )