The veteran frontman confides his competitive drive, his distain for the disingenuous, and explains how Devildriver are in a lane all their own.
Among the genre’s most respected, accomplished, and articulate frontmen, Devildriver’s Dez Fafara sat in for a session on Mosh Talk to discuss the details up his upcoming double LP, Dealing with Demons Vol. 1.
Revealing that the plan initially was to craft a double record and stagger the release to account for a world tour to support each installment, Fafara found a little irony in fact that this has been the longest stretch he has been home from the road. While the logistics of the album have called for some changes in the wake of the pandemic, the significance of the album is one that remains in tact as highly personal to the frontman.
Dez discussed how the lead single “Keep Away From Me” was a profoundly honest statement about his ongoing balance with agoraphobia. Reiterating his appreciation for the fans and the longevity of his career, Fafara explained that big crowds, parties, and socially-saturated situations make him uneasy. Given the current climate of social distancing, it’s a concept that now seems much more relatable for the general public.
Famously tight-lipped about explaining the meaning of songs, Dez typically leaves the interpretation of the music to the fans. For Dealing with Demons however, the goal was to create talking points, dialogue, and share the same human element he has always explored, only this time, though a much more personal frame.
Dez also discussed how the album features his first clean vocal performance in the history of the band with the track, “Wishing.” He talked about how it was his homage to the kind of goth-punk background, in the vein of Bauhaus and Sisters of Mercy, that he really grew up with and continues to indulge now.
Dissecting the longevity of the band, Dez attributed the successful stretch to the creative chemistry and versatility of the band as a whole. Disregarding trends and conventional categories, creating a sound that doesn’t fit into a box seems especially important to Dez. Cultivating whats being referred to as ‘darkgroove,’ Dez proudly explained that the ability to fuse influences tastefully is, at least in part, why the band continues to resonate so well with fans.
Pulling no punches, Dez transitioned into the notion of being disingenuous and how that really is the crux of selling out. Reiterating his criteria, particularly for the metal genre, Fafara laid out that the music needs to be “violent, vicious, dark and visceral” or he is out.
That hardline approach loans itself to the kind of ownership and pride that Dez takes in his craft and of the culture. A few times during the discussion, he would reference his competitive disposition when it comes to taking the stage.
Dez recalled the first time he met Lynn Strait of SNOT and confided that the tone of the conversation was initially, “get the fuck out of L.A.” until Strait shared a joint and a shot with Fafara and began a friendship predicated on being like-minded frontmen. In the same breath, Dez would recall the force that was Mitch Lucker of Suicide Silence and how his prowess onstage pushed Fafara to up his game.
With Devildriver celebrating more than 20 years of existence, it’s an anomaly to have a frontman that is still as passionate and as fiercely competitive about his craft as Fafara. It’s a reality that motivates him to continue working, creating, and evolving. For Dez, once that drive stops, so will he. With a double album on the way and a cache of songs on deck, it doesn’t look like that is happening any time soon/
Watch the complete interview with Dez Fafara of Devildriver on the latest installment of MOSH TALKS.