They are fascinating and unique, intimidating yet approachable, entertaining, talented, and sexy. Of course, I’m speaking of Oregon’s Dead Animal Assembly Plant. They have some of the most unique costumes in a genre full of bands like Mushroomhead, Rob Zombie, and Marilyn Manson, yet they stand very far apart. A little metal, a little dance, a little rock and roll, peppered into a beautiful arrangement of well-done Industrial Metal. They’ve created not only a band who writes and plays good music but a band that draws you into their performance as if you are watching classic suspenseful horror movie characters… off the clock…enjoying playing in a band, pumping out a killer soundtrack. They’ve also created a culture all their own, that you’ll want to be a part of…I know I do.
I’ve seen them quite a few times, but the last time I saw them in Portland, Oregon, they made me bleed. It’s not as sinister as it sounds, but the battle wound was cool. I went to say hello to Jason, the drummer, and the razors on the shoulder of his awesome suit actually cut my cheek. I wasn’t mad at all…it was appropriate and earned dribble of blood down my face for the night.
They are industrious in releases, battle-worthy in touring, solid in composition and production, excellent musicians, and creative in their videos. They make some of the most enjoyable music…and have some of the best, most exciting live shows you’ve ever seen. Between singer and band there is often pushing, bumping, kicking, and grimacing…and it makes you nervous because it looks real and unexpected; you wonder if they had a beef prior to the show and wonder what is next. But the lovely Rebecca stands proud on one side of the stage while this is going on…by herself, untouched…killing it on the guitar.
Recently signed to Armalyte Industries, their new single, “A Violent Breed,” is out now. They recently tapped into the talent of Karl Whinnery to make the video for “A Violent Breed.” The video will premiere on May 13th. The single and video all lead up to their new full release. I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy, and…well, the version I have is 10 songs of high quality, well-produced music. Intriguing artwork, nicely arranged, and solid songs. This album will translate very well live. The first listen my mind swirled with imagery and imagination that isn’t that easy to do with music alone; the second listen defined the story I gleaned from the tracks, and I’m excited to see what the third…fourth…fifth…listen will do.
We had a chance to sit down with the band (we’ll not actually sit face to face due to the co-vid pandemic). Check out the interview below.
MIRP: You recently signed to Armalyte Industries. Congratulations. What are your expectations?
DAAP: Thank you so much – we are elated to be a part of the Armalyte family. We’ve been fans of a number of their signed acts for a while, so we feel confident in this partnership. Up to this point, we’ve been releasing everything independently, so having this level of support will help us get to more ears and add a stronger foundation. It’s an honor to have people believe in what you do enough to take a chance.
MIRP: With the recent virus restrictions, what, if any, negative thing(s) has happened with the band?
DAAP: It definitely has thrown a monkey wrench in a number of plans we had scheduled for this year. Eric ‘Zero’ Bergen and I (Zach) were scheduled to perform at the Oddities Flea market in Los Angeles on the first weekend of April. We were also going to be a part of the horror convention – Crypticon. It’s also delayed the release of the new album because understandably, the label wanted to initially time the release around a tour, but who knows when that will be feasible. Despite that all – we know it could be so much worse. So, we are very thankful for what we have and don’t want to get too wrapped up focusing on uncontrollable forces.
MIRP: Is there a silver lining to this quarantine?
DAAP: Even though it put the sharp breaks on a lot of things, it has allowed us to slow down enough to breathe a little after last year’s tour, reorganize, and take a step back to find some semblance of balance. It’s funny to be able to find balance during such a tumultuous time. It’s also allowed us to work on other projects, both music and other mediums.
MIRP: You are no strangers to touring, best-case scenario, which bands would you like to tour with on your new label?
DAAP: That’s an easy answer…PIG..haha. Raymond Watts is a sordid depraved junk poet legend and I know I could die happy if we had the opportunity to tour with our fellow labelmates. Outside of the label, it would be wunderbar to tour with other theatrical bands such as Wednesday13, Skinny Puppy, Rob Zombie. Or, we can go pie in the sky and say Slipknot. Hey, why not?
MIRP: Favorite place you played?
DAAP: Wasteland Weekend – hands down. There are really no words that can really define the experience that is Wasteland. It’s such a surreal immersive world and everyone there is just so full of frenetic positive energy.
MIRP: Most exhausting show/city/venue?
DAAP: That’s a good question! In terms of parking/loading in – Pittsburgh was an absolute nightmare. Maneuvering our big blue bus and trailer down those narrow cobblestone streets gave us several strokes. We were playing a small comedy club (hilarious) and had to load all our gear down an alley barely wider than the drum kit. Despite it all – that was one of the most fun shows on the tour and Pittsburgh is a beautiful city. Just. Fuck. Those. Streets.
Physically exhausting was McAllen, Texas. The humidity and heat were oppressive, and even though we played late at an outside venue – we still damn near passed out from heatstroke. I’m pretty sure we all lost several pounds in sweat that night, haha.
MIRP: Best fans (besides home)?
DAAP: In terms of a single event – Wasteland Weekend definitely had the most intense energy. Those in attendance really connected primally to the music…almost a hypnotic energy. When we played Bar Sinister in L.A. we didn’t know what to expect since it was our first time there, but the built-in crowd there is incredible. They didn’t have that jaded detached – too cool for school – attitude; they were really into it. El Paso, Texas loves aggressive music. There’s a lot of heart in that city and the music scene. We have a lot of love for those fans as well.
It’s difficult to really pinpoint one city or another because we’ve met so many amazing people every place we’ve played. Everyone has given so much shared energy…it really keeps pushing forward.
MIRP: What is the best part of being in DAAP between touring, writing, videos, recording?
DAAP: All of the above, haha. Since we started as a live band over nine years ago, it’s been a pretty insane ride. Every little step…every little shared moment offers a whole new adventure of unknowns. The music videos have been fun in their torture – the suffer for art cliché in full force. Whether it’s filming in 14-degree knee-high snow for the Rise video or trying to put on makeup amongst a swarm of bees after camping in the parking lot of an old abandoned school. It’s grueling but fantastic. Same with touring. Grinding every day with the same people. Sweating. Hurting. Screaming. Crying. Laughing. All the pieces make the whole thing wonderful…even when it’s not.
MIRP: You’ve done a few videos with Hot Karl Productions. What is it about the partnership with Karl that is important to your videos?
DAAP: Karl – from the onset – not only understood what I had in mind for videos but elevated the vision. He’s not afraid to push himself to make things perfect. He has great attention to detail and when he believes in something, he puts every part of his energy into it.
No matter the environment I’ve thrown at him to film in, he never complains and almost revels in the challenge.
MIRP: The banter between some members looks almost violent, do any of you get hurt playing live?
DAAP: I mean what a better place to take out your frustrations than on stage with your bandmates? As violent as we’ve gotten with each other on stage – it’s always good-natured. I can’t exactly say it’s choreographed, but we definitely know how much to give – then push it a little further. That isn’t to say we haven’t gotten a little too rough – maybe a little pent up hostility.
No major injuries. Lots of bruises. Cuts. Sprains. However, one time at a show I was thrashing around and caught the corner of my eye on the head of Rebecca’s guitar. I have a nice little scar from that. If it was about two inches over it probably would have taken out my eye. Phew.
MIRP: The costumes…Who makes the majority of what you wear clothing-wise?
DAAP: The majority of our costumes we’ve made ourselves, however, some of our more brutal pieces are custom made by Scenesick Clothing. An absolutely charming married couple based out of Ohio. They are wonderful people and make some of the most epic clothing ever.
MIRP: What about mask and metalwork?
DAAP: We’ve gone through a number of different mask makers over the years and I have a slight obsession (shocking I know) with masks. There’s a few we’ve made ourselves, but the more prolific ones were made by Dimension XIII, Ministry of Masks, or Devon Shomper.
Metal wise – that’s all Jason ‘Skorn’ Moore’s handy work. He designed and made the mic stand, mic extension, ego box, killer tambourine, and is currently working on a metal version of my plague doctor mask. He is – just – stupidly talented. He really never ceases to amaze me.
MIRP: How long does it take you to get ready for a show with all of the accouterments?
DAAP: When we’re really focused and don’t get too distracted, we can get ready in about an hour. It really depends on the level of detail we want to put into the makeup that night. The makeup really fluctuates depending on how we’re feeling.
MIRP: Your shows are both mentally and physically exhausting. Which is harder to prepare for?
DAAP: They both present their own sets of hurdles really. That calm right before you hit the stage, for me, is the biggest mind fuck of the whole experience. You get so distracted with loading in, setting up, getting ready…that you don’t really process your nerves. Then there’s that moment, that moment that sometimes seems to last forever…where you’re waiting without distractions. That’s when it’s easy to psych yourself out. Then, once you hit the stage, that mental part drops like a curtain and you go into performance mode. That’s where the physical test comes in to play, especially with all the layers of our heavy outfits. The masks are hard to breathe through or see out of. Adrenaline helps, but that crash is staggering!.
MIRP: Besides instruments, are there certain positions in the band (like visionary, businessperson, writer, etc.)
DAAP: One thing about DAAP is that we all put in our personalities. We develop our own characters. If someone has an idea, be it a song idea, photoshoot, art direction, etc., we all have input. Since this was my brainchild, I have, by default, dealt with a lot of the business elements of the band such as contacting promoters, venues, etc. When it comes to recording – it really is a collective effort. Certain songs will have a stronger imprint from a certain grouping of band members. The vision that I started with has grown so much because of the group dynamic and I couldn’t be more grateful for it.
MIRP: What is the question most people ask you?
DAAP: Honestly the “how long does it take you to get ready” is one of the most common ones. Also, I get the “where did you come up with the name of your band?”
MIRP: There is a marriage in the band. How hard is it to tour with someone you live with?
DAAP: Luckily, we’ve been able to operate pretty well within the band as a married couple. Whatever problems or issues we may be having personally – we never bring that into the band. Of course, with all of us being close there’s inevitable tension at times. We’ve always been able to maintain a level of professionalism when it comes to performing or writing music. I will say one of my greatest pleasures is to see Rebecca kill it on stage. How she commands people’s attention on and off stage…it is thrilling to watch.
MIRP: First inspiration to want to be a musician?
DAAP: I’ve always been a drama nerd – it was the one thing that allowed me to be me, but through the eyes/actions/speech of another character. It was liberating. So the stage itself was always a form of escape. But when I was a teenager, I went to Portland music festival (remember NRK’s Big Stink?) and watching the crowd/bands from afar – specifically Gravity Kills and Stabbing Westward – I really wanted to share and connect with people in that way. Music is something that saves us and understands us. I really wanted to put something back into that ether.
MIRP: First inspiration for the look and sound of DAAP?
DAAP: The look came from my lifelong love of horror movies, namely the slasher flicks of the 80’s. The strong visuals and hyperbolic villainy. The gore. The visceral primal elements. Then seeing bands like Rammstein, Skinny Puppy, early Manson, Zombie…they just didn’t play music but provided a full performance. People deserve that – so that was something that pushed me on and inspired me.
The sound of DAAP has changed so much over the years as new members have made their imprint. We all come with different, but similar tastes in music. From anthemic metal to experimental electronic music to lyric heavy storytelling, we try to keep it open enough to not pigeon hole ourselves to one specific sound, whilst at the same time…trying to define a sound that is uniquely ours.
You want to toe the line of experimentation to keep things new and exciting but also maintain consistency.
MIRP: Best compliment ever received?
DAAP: After our Halloween show in Portland in 2019 – this guy came up to me and said: You know, my life has just been total shit lately but when you guys went on stage it all went away. None of it mattered and I was just lost in the music.” That sentiment is the biggest reason why we love connecting with people through music. Because we can all say that at some point music got us through the darkest times of our lives. Music has given us all an outlet of understanding, therapy without criticism, indulgence without judgment. Music – art in general – saves. That was really touching, and if people come away with that feeling from our music, then it makes everything worth it.
MIRP: Self-criticism? What do you want to fix in 2020?
DAAP: I let depression, anxiety, and self-doubt really toss me into distance/isolation, which can be perceived as arrogance or disinterest. Fighting through those nagging little bastard voices…all those inner enemies. We’re all in that fight at some point. That is for sure something I need to work on.
MIRP: What did you get right in 2020?
DAAP: Not sure yet – feels like nothing is going right in 2020, haha. I suppose the biggest challenge right now is to keep people’s interest. Without being able to do shows it’s about keeping the eyes onto what you’re doing. I feel thus far we’ve done a decent job grabbing people’s attention despite having to slow down a lot.
MIRP: Each member has a persona…can you tell the story of DAAP for anyone who doesn’t know?
DAAP: The story harkens back to the Sweet Meats Slaughterhouse whose proprietor was caught feeding the local townsfolk to the grinders and feeding to the unsuspecting hordes. He soon met a similar fate as the outraged mob tossed him into the hungry metal teeth. After years of quiet, the dilapidated visage of the slaughterhouse growled again with life. Each character represents a piece of the unfolding mythology of the Sweet Meats Slaughterhouse.
The cursed land it sits upon and the apocalyptic secrets it keeps in its catacombs. Only time will tell the true intent. The ultimate end.
MIRP: Goals for the next few years assuming the virus ban lifts and you can openly be out and about this year? What will you do if 2022 is the date?
DAAP: Our main goals are to get the new album out and then tour extensively behind it – hopefully with another – bigger act. We want to elevate the stage show with more developed props/sets/lighting/etc. But show show shows…did I mention shows?
MIRP: If you had to explain DAAP to someone who had never heard your music or seen you in photos or live…how would you describe it.
DAAP: Horror-themed industrial metal – if Leatherface and Pinhead birthed a post-apocalyptic car wreck.
MIRP: Who was a musician first between Zach and Rebecca? (Did one encourage or teach the other)?
DAAP: We were both musicians long before we knew each other. Rebecca has written a number of songs and taught herself at a young age. The only thing I had to teach her was to use the studio equipment to record her ideas. Musically we’ve been able to push and challenge each other. It’s easy to get locked inside a box, but we know how to force each other out.
MIRP: How do you handle disputes?
DAAP: There’s been a lot of conversation and compromise. The biggest thing to remember is that it’s never a personal attack or criticism. It’s always about how to make the music better. How to express what we’re trying got convey. You get your way so then you relent on other things. That isn’t to say it’s always peaches and cream, but there’s generally an amicable resolution.
MIRP: Favorite horror movie?
DAAP: I love love love Clive Barker, so the Hellraiser series (the real one with Doug Bradley… ahem) were always my favorite to watch.
MIRP: Favorite band?
DAAP: That’s tough because my favorite really ebbs and flows, but there are definitely timeless musicians. The biggest influence for me is Jim Thirlwell and all his insanity. He’s such a dynamic artist that has never been afraid to just do what he wanted. Like if Tom Waits did a copious amount of LSD and PCP.
MIRP: Band that got you into metal?
DAAP: My sister is a few years older than me and she was a dyed in the wool metalhead in the 80’s. Whatever she was listening to – I would listen to. Metallica’s “And Justice For All” album was one of the first that really stuck in me; Slayer’s “Reign in Blood” also.
MIRP: Something odd that you listen to?
DAAP: Lately it’s been a lot more trap artists. There’s a real raw aggression in some of those acts like Istasha or Ho99o9 that is really compelling. That and cold minimal electronic like Street Fever.
MIRP: Another passion besides music?
DAAP: Other forms of art like drawing and painting. Prior to music that was my biggest passion, but it’s taken a back seat. Time to go back to that old friend.
MIRP: Favorite thing about being in this band?
DAAP: The freedom to create music – put it out into the world and connect with people. To always push yourself to try something different. Push an idea to its breaking point.
MIRP: When can we expect the release?
DAAP: Unfortunately, we don’t have a locked-down release date for the full album because of the pandemic. The new single “A Violent Breed” is out now and we will have another single before the album is out. So, keep yet grapes peeled for that. Our new video for the released single comes out May 13th.
MIRP: Where can we buy it?
DAAP: You’ll be able to buy it from our or the labels band camp page. www.deadanimalassemblyplant.bandcamp.com . Then we will have physical copies available either through their online store or in person (you know when we can in person again, haha.)
MIRP: Best place to connect with DAAP?
DAAP: We’re all over the internet. Facebook. Instagram. YouTube… it’s not hard to miss our stankin asses with a long ridiculous name like Dead Animal Assembly Plant.
You can check out the single here: A Violent Breed
Official Press Release:
ATTENTION SLAUGHTERHOUSE RESIDENTS!
We are extremely excited to announce that our next album “Bring Out The Dead” will be released on the rad label Armalyte Industries (home of such legendary artists like PIG, Chris Connelly, Cubanate.)
To celebrate this, we (Armalyte and DAAP) decided to provide our first single “A Violent Breed” for free!!! We are working with them to lock down a date for the full album, but with this current pandemic, a lot is up in the air.
In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the free single!
A Violent Breed
Cabinet of Curiosities (previously unreleased instrumental)
Death and Taxidermy (previously unreleased instrumental)
Artwork by our incredible guitarist – Rebecca Wager
Thank you, everyone, who has helped us get to this point. Thank you, everyone, for believing in us for all these years. We are extremely honored to be on such a fantastic label among so many inspirational artists. Thank you, Armalyte Industries, for taking a chance on this ragtag band of misfits. Giles Moorhouse Brooke May and Jules Seifert.