Bay Area metal band Mudface are getting ready to release their new album, The Bane Of Existence (pre-order here), so we checked in with the guys to learn more about this fast-rising group. The Bane Of Existence was produced by Sahaj Ticotin (RA) and Bob Marlette (Atreyu, Coal Chamber, Rob Zombie, Seether) and lead singer Chris Dinsmore and drummer Tim Davis helped us understand how it all came to be.
For those not familiar with your band can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Dinsmore: My name is Christopher Dinsmore, vocalist for San Francisco Bay area band Mudface. The band began in May of 2005 and we played our first show in July that same year at a benefit for Chuck Billy of Testament called Thrash Against Cancer. The band has gone through many line-up changes with myself being the only remaining member from the original line up that also consisted of Death Angel guitarist Ted Aguilar, at the time. The current line up consists of father and son guitar duo Robert (dad) and Grant (son) Kolowitz, keyboardist/vocalist Brett Crane, bassist Jim Pegram and drummer Tim Davis. We have two self-titled EPs and one other album titled Anti- under our belts and with be releasing our second full-length album titled The Bane of Existence on March 18th.
Davis: Most of us come from experiences in tons of other bands and projects. We each bring a unique ingredient to contribute the overall sound of Mudface. There is a lot of individuality within the band which becomes distilled in the final product.
Your new LP The Bane Of Existence is about to be released. Now that it is complete, how do you feel about it and what has been the response so far?
Dinsmore: We are really proud of how this album turned out. Producers Bob Marlette and Sahaj Ticotin did an amazing job not only making this record sound great, but these guys also really pushed us to be better and how we view songwriting as a whole.
Davis: The album should just be on the street at press time, but the early response to the teaser is phenomenal. We think this record will push the band a huge step forward in the global scheme of things.
What is your writing process like?
Dinsmore: Usually Robert or Grant will come up with ideas with an arrangement in mind. I listen to it, make any necessary changes to the arrangement, write the lyrics and then we will all get into a room and jam it out, fine tune it and jam it out until it feels right.
Davis: Initially it is like putting together a puzzle to build the framework of a song. Once the general riffs are in place, Chris maps out the vocal lines. In the latter stages it is more like cooking a stew, adding musical flavors that turn the song in different directions than my be expected.
When you write do you do so with the live setting in mind or do you write a song just for the song’s sake?
Dinsmore: We always go into the writing process with the live setting in mind. Our band is all about the live feel. You always want that connection between the band and the fans. It’s very important to us!
Davis: We are always pushing a bit beyond what we think we can achieve without stepping over the cliff, you know? Every track has some elements that will really challenge us to replicate live, but if we think it serves the recording, we will go for it, and find a way to do it true justice in performance.
What’s the story behind the name of the band?
Dinsmore: Ted Aguilar (Death Angel) was one of the founding members of the band and had the name already in mind, but I’m not sure if he ever felt there was some kind of meaning to it. To us, it’s like you’ve just come back from fighting a war. Dirty, bloody, sweaty.
What is the story behind the name of the new LP?
Dinsmore: The album’s title signifies the daily grind that is life. Its about the path you take in life, ebbs and flows by the choices made. Many choices you choose to make for yourself and some are chosen for you. How you choose to respond to the challenges before you either strengthen or weaken your true character. You only live once. Fight or flight!
You have toured the U.S. Is there anywhere you would like to go that you have not been, especially outside the U.S.?
Dinsmore: This band has its sights on Europe and South America as well as the Eastern half of the USA. We will play anywhere we are welcome!
Davis: Brazil, Columbia, Germany… some things are in the works, others are goals further down the line. Getting established over the pond can be easier sometimes than gaining a foothold in the States, unfortunately. We will work the paths that hold the most promise for the band.
What’s the Rock scene like in San Francisco? Do you receive a lot of support from your local scene and fans in general?
Dinsmore: It’s obviously not like it was from the ’80s through the early 2000s, but it is making a resurgence again. The scene is still thriving with fans who support those who work hard. Bay area fans are extremely passionate about the bands they choose to support. I think my one critique would be that the scene as a whole needs to stop living on past glories and find ways to be unique again. Too many bands trying to be the next Exodus or the next Cannibal Corpse to the point where an entire show sounds like one band!
Davis: It is a little bit segmented and divisive, but we still have a lot of supporters in the local scene, and there are some truly promising bands plying their wares. It can be a little difficult to build a buzz because there are so many bands vying for attention, and many of the good venues have been drying up or looking to other forms of entertainment to bring in revenue.
Do you have any rituals before you hit the stage? If so, what are they?
Dinsmore: As a vocalist, it’s not only the physical preparation, but also the mental. You are not only the voice in song, but the one who speaks in between as well. I just like to make sure I’m in a good head space so giving myself some personal time before a show is always good for me. Obviously warming up the vocal chords and stretching the body out, is a definite. And if I can, I like to take a quick jog around the venue if I can to get the blood flowing. But most importantly, try to keep the humor fun with my bandmates.
Davis: Just staying pumped and loose, head in the music, and let everything else take care of itself.
Do you have any touring plans in support of the new recording?
Davis: We are working on a couple of smaller springtime trips with some other regional bands that will take us up through the Northwest and back through the desert states. Beyond that, we are building up a buzz with the album release that should help get us on a couple of larger festival bills happening in the summer.
Check out the song “Hellfoot” here.
What is the strangest thing that has happened to you on tour, or at one of your shows?
Dinsmore: There was the guy who got on his hands and knees and begged me to sleep with his wife, a guy tried to sell me explosives right after we got done playing a show once, a woman kept licking my sweaty arm and leg every time I was on her side of the stage. There are many, I just can’t think of them at the moment
What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
Dinsmore: Playing the Mayhem Festival in our hometown. Was an amazing day made because so many of our friends and family came out to support as well as making many new friends that day. We really liked working with Bob Marlette and Sahaj Ticotin on this new album. The entire album process from start to finish was a lot of fun and an education.
Davis: Playing onstage with the late Jimmy Bain during a tribute show in 2012.
When, where and what was your first tattoo?
Dinsmore: I haven’t gotten any tattoos in years. I have eight. My first was a tribal arm band that I got at a local shop in Fremont, Ca. Because it is my first, I’ve kept it although tribal is considered passe.
Do any of your tattoos have a particularly special meaning behind them? If so, do share man!
Dinsmore: Not really. They do signify my independence as an individual at that time of my life but I’m just glad they flow and aren’t some completely ridiculous thing that I regretted and had to get covered up. I am hoping to get a few more soon!
Do you have a specific shop or tattoo artist that you frequent (insert shameless plug time!)?
Dinsmore: There’s a place here in Santa Cruz where I live called True Art Tattoo. Now as I mentioned it’s been a minute since I’ve gotten work done however, I was happy with their work and they are still in business, so they must doing great work. Now I’m feeling the urge.. Hahahaha