Interview with DIZYGOTE
The interview train keeps on a-rollin'! Next up are Dizygote, a father/son duo from Cape Coral, FL. As someone invested in the tradition of passing music down to younger generations, I was initially intrigued by the story behind the unique dynamic at play--but then I queued up their bandcamp and let those live tracks roar. Now I'm in it for the damn tunes, 'cuz let me tell you: despite being (seemingly) limited in terms of manpower, songwriting and technical prowess certainly isn't an issue. Demonstrating a remarkably full and dynamic sound, this duo sounds, well, like anything but.
Needless to say, we were tickled pink to chat with the outfit in question. Big thanks to Ned and Ethan of
Dizygote for taking the time! As always, we're deeply honored that cool bands are willing to sit down and churn our such thoughtful answers. When you're done reading this, head on over and check out 'em out.
Sleeping Village: Right out of the gate: describe Dizygote!
Dizygote: We are a father/son guitar and drums duo. I guess we’re a metal band. We like to play really loud!
SV: Sorry to hear the release of your new record had to be put on hold! Prior to its release, what can you tell us about Freedom, Incorporated?
D: Yeah, it’s a bummer but what are you gonna do? I know we aren’t the only ones in that situation. We need to be able to tour to support the record and that’s just not gonna be possible for a while, so we’re gonna do an online release--a mini-EP of two tracks from the record to give everyone a taste. We signed a contract with Farmadelica Sound to release two tracks and the subsequent record once the coast is clear. The record is 8 tracks, almost an hour long. It’s thick and heavy. It’s sludge. It’s doom. It’s punk. It’s thrashy. It’s a little bit proggy. There’s a surprise or two. There’s an overarching theme about social and political injustice. The cover artwork is really cool. We’re really happy with it!
SV: As a followup to the last: can you speak on the significance of the album’s title?
D: Well, our country (USA) has this penchant for exporting freedom by overthrowing governments then propping up puppet governments and ruining their economies by exploiting them economically…and if none of that works, we use our own people to invade them, kill them and take their shit. On top of that, the psychopathic corporate beasts have their tentacles wrapped around all of our necks while they do the most immoral and illegal shit known to mankind…all in the name of “freedom.” Freedom is now a business model for the 1%. At its heart it’s good vs. evil.
SV: How does the reality of operating as father/son duo significantly impact your songwriting process? Walk me through your methodology of creating a new track.
D: There’s a great deal of collaboration. Even though Ethan is only 15, he’s extraordinarily gifted and one of the best musicians I’ve worked with in terms of his talent and his work ethic. Sometimes I’ll have a complete song worked out and we’ll run through it until he gets the structure, then he does his thing. Other times, I’ll have some riffs and we’ll cobble them together and come up with these songs that have multiple parts almost life movements in a symphony, that take these unexpected left turns. Two of the songs on the record Ethan wrote the music for and I helped him tweak some stuff. In all, we share songwriting and arranging 50/50 for the whole record regardless of who did what. Of course, living in the same house, we can rehearse a lot, so that helps us move forward quickly.
SV: For Ethan: Given you are responsible for putting out some remarkably polished music,
especially given your age: what are you most proud of at this stage in your career?
D: I guess that my life-long dream is coming true already. I guess that’s it.
SV: For Ned: Similarly, what is your greatest pride?
D: Well, it’s a pretty amazing feeling to rock so hard with my own son. I’ve been at this for a long time, and this is by far the most fun I’ve had playing music…and I’m happy that Ethan is getting such an early start with some guidance. There are a lot of pitfalls in the biz. Ultimately this is an experience for our whole family.
SV: In your collective estimation, what is it about punk/doom/heavy metal/rock that allows it to be rediscovered and enjoyed by younger generations? Similarly, does heavy metal have an inherently timeless quality?
D: I think so. When I was Ethan’s age in the mid-80’s, I was the prototypical punk rocker. It was all about the sense of community, the energy and the bigger message of “all you bullshit artists are on notice”. I get that same vibe today. Also, ask any sludge or doom band who their major influence is and 99% say “Sabbath” so the music is timeless. Heavy music has expanded obviously, over time but all of the major pillars are still as relevant today as they were in their time. Newer generations are discovering them and putting their own stamp on that kind of music because it speaks to our inner beast. It’s very cathartic music.
SV: In your bio, you mention that Dizygote can sound at times more like a quartet than the duo that it is. Is it your goal to add in more members at some point, or are you content with the sound you’re able to make as-is?
D: We get asked this a lot. We like the duo. There’s an efficiency in a duo. It’s also a challenge artistically. Since we don’t have multiple guitarists or a bassist, etc. I split my signal three ways into two guitar rigs and a bass rig and I have independent control over them all. I love twin guitar harmonies, and I pull that off by sending the root note to one amp and the fifth above to another. Close your eyes and it sounds like two guitarists. That’s the way I did it in the studio as well. Same approach with the bass signal…on or off at will. Live, it hits like a brick wall and that’s one of the things people don’t expect when they first come to see us. Ethan’s drumming is so chaotic and technical and tasteful. It adds another dimension to our sound. He also does backup vocals. So we have a good deal of flexibility in those ways but there are other limitations and that’s where we are forced to be more attentive to the song structure. We can’t write these extensive guitar solos because we don’t have another musician behind us, so we get tricky with song structure and focus on writing songs that don’t need them at all. Guitar solos are cool and all, but the punk rock kid in me says we don’t need ‘em. Ethan is way into prog these days, like Elder and Ocean Collective for example and he’s writing some pretty complex stuff, already thinking about the next record. We’ve talked about how that might play out with just the two of us…in the studio between the two of us, we could track everything ourselves. Ethan is also a pretty damn good guitar player and my first instrument was bass. But we’ve talked about how we’d tackle some of his elaborate ideas live and we think we have it figured out. That’s all part of the fun of being a duo…defying expectations.
SV: Given the generational gap, does the door swing both ways when it comes to introducing each other to new music?
D: Yes, for sure. He seeks out a lot of 70’s era bands. He really likes Thin Lizzy. We have a secret stash of punk songs I wrote that we played out a few times last year. We’d bang out several in a row with no breaks to close our shows. Ethan had to learn how to play punk rock style drums because it was ironically too simple. So, I got him into that kinda thing. Earlier, when he was maybe 9 or 10, I had introduced him to Sleep, High on Fire, the Melvins, Sabbath, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Windhand, Baroness, Kylesa, Mastodon, Weedeater, The Sword, and he’s just taken that and ran with it, studying Brann Dailor’s technique for example. Meanwhile, he’s a metal archaeologist digging up all sorts of bands I didn’t know and saying “dad, you gotta listen to so and so”. Last week he said “Dad. Lysol, by the Melvins.” I just gave him an approving nod and said “I know, son.” He introduced me to Elder, DVNE, a lot of other European bands. He’ll make me listen to Meshuggah and I’ll make him listen to WHORES. (which he dug). I played him some Horseburner because we were getting ready to open for them and he liked it…then he met them and saw them perform and is now a huge fan. He’s into metalcore too. Not my thing, but I can appreciate elements of it.
SV: In your visuals, there seems to be a distinct focus on duality--e.g. two-headed snakes and conjoined twins. Even the band name suggests duality. Is this a reflection of your shared genetics, or is there a larger significance at play?
D: The answer is yes. It’s part of our identity as a duo and as father and son, but also represents the duality of humankind…good vs. evil, the whole red pill/blue pill motif…the choices we make. It’s a lot of what I write about and we represent that musically and on stage. It’s reflected in the cover art of the record too. There are only two of us, but we make a hell of a lot of noise and we defy expectations and, in that regard, it forces people to rethink their own expectations. There’s another side to the coin.
SV: Tell me about your appearance on NPR’s Three Song Stories! How did that go down?
D: I reached out to them and said, “hey, we’re so and so and we think we might be an interesting story for your listeners.” They were all about having us on and couldn’t have been more welcoming. We met them at the studio and they took us right in to the sound booth and we sat down and just talked for over an hour. It went by so fast. It was relaxing and really fun. 10/10 would do it again! When you’re an unknown entity like us you have to be aggressive marketing yourself and to do that well you have to really believe in what you’re doing. 20 years ago, I would have puked at the idea of running a band like a business, but that’s the reality these days. You have to work really hard behind the scenes, so I cast the net far and wide hoping to catch a few fish.
SV: What was it like working with Jack Endino?
D: Jack is cool. He doesn’t suffer fools and he’s amazingly good at what he does. If you check out his webpage, he has what amounts to a manifesto and in there he gives detailed instructions on how to contact him and at the same time kinda says “I’m choosy, so good luck”. I figured we had nothing to lose, so I followed his instructions to the T and he got back with us with a two-word reply: “I’m in!” THEN, I had to figure out how we were going to track the damn thing, lol, which also worked out very nicely. I let Jack do his thing and often deferred to him on technical matters. We did everything via email between us, our producer Howard Wulkan, and Jack. I sent him some initial notes saying we love feedback and in the layers of guitar tracks, he found feedback that was “musical” and brought that out in the mix. After hearing the vocals on a rough mix I sent him, he replied “so, I suppose you’ll want the Ozzy treatment on your vocals?” “Yes, please!” lol.
SV: We’d like to thank you for taking the time! Are there any last thoughts you’d like to leave us with?
D: Thank you! While the world is on lockdown, please spend your hard-earned coronavirus economic stimulus money on our music and merch available via Bandcamp. Follow us on Instagram and their evil twin Facebook (links below!) You can see videos of us of professional AND amateur quality on our YouTube page (there’s another professionally shot live show in the editing room right now). You can learn everything there is to know about us on our homepage. Our press kit lives there too (we’d like to hire a booking agent, hint, hint, wink, wink!) Be kind to one another. Don’t take any wooden nickels. Stop hoarding toilet paper. Eat your veggies. Brush your teeth. Support original music. We are the 99%!
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