We will all inevitable turn TO DUST at one point in our lives. But before we return to being mere atoms again we all should lend this band an ear or two. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
Was it hard to come up with a name? What does the name mean to you?
Joe: I wanted a name that was short and easy to say, I think I was primarily influenced by Despise You, a two-worded name like that. Personally for me the name suggests the concepts of social decay and erosion.
Who would say are the founding stones of the kind of sound you have? Who are your house Gods and how have they coloured your music?
Joe: The foundation for our sound are varied. Obviously Brutal Truth, Napalm Death, etc. and grindcore pioneering bands but also a lot of punk, hardcore, and powerviolence bands as well as death metal. As far as bands held to the highest standards for me it would be Motorhead, even though they have virtually no influence on To Dust musically haha.
Thomas: Napalm Death is an enormous influence on me. They the godfathers in my book and continue to get better with age – it’s uncanny. Beyond stoked to share the split with the likes of Shane Embury!!
As Joe mentioned above, we also try to invoke the true spirit of hardcore that bands like Minor Threat, Agnostic Front, Black Flag, and Youth of Today embodied. I feel like music, all music today, has tragically lost the art of sending a message. We speak about real life, things that are fucked up with this world past and present. The U.S. today is in an especially fragile state. We are attempting to educate.
Another big influence you may not hear directly is Godflesh. I have a feeling with the upcoming full length we are currently writing, more of that influence will shine through.
When you play slow do you have to think differently arranging the music than if you play faster and vice versa?
Thomas: Not really. I mean, when I write I do everything based off feel. I went to school for music and all, but I went for percussion, so a lot of the melodic-based knowledge has escaped me over the years from not using it enough.
I’m just a half-ass guitar/bass player that can riff. That’s about it. I try to create music that honors the forefathers that paved the way before us without directly copying or ripping anyone off, while at the same time create a mood/platform for the harsh reality we live in thats reflected in Joe’s lyrics.
How does your music work in a live environment?
Thomas: We have actually yet to play live, but it’s definitely something we are looking forward to doing down the road. This all started as a project of passion for Joe and I, and our love of grind. We got Zach Gibson involved b/c he’s the most furious drummer I’ve ever witnessed playing, and I knew it would fit our style perfectly. It’s funny – in any band that I play a creative element in, I always have a drummer in mind once the riffs are laid down. Maybe it’s being a drum nerd, or whatever, but once the riffs are written, I know exactly who I’d love to get to play on it. I’ve been fortunate that I know so many great drummers, and they’ve been willing to work with me!!
How important is having a label to back you up today when you can just release your music on any sort of platform online? Are there any negative consequences to music being too readily available to fans?
Joe: I think a label is still necessary in today’s climate, the roles are just different. Give Praise has done so much for us in terms of distribution, marketing, and providing fans with a quality vinyl format. Could we do that ourselves? Possibly, but not as well and certainly not with the same results. Tommy and I grew up in a different era, we caught the tale end of a more primal and purist underground scene when you had to discover bands from zines, liner notes, photos, etc. I think it’s GREAT that fans can access tons of music so easily, but there’s something that is lost when a kid can wake up on Monday knowing nothing and by Friday be some elitist on the internet. As with everything, there are positive and negative consequences.
I get the feeling that fans that are true to a band, is a lost thing with the easy access to music these days. Do you feel that this is a bad thing or are there any positive aspects of it at all?
Thomas: Joe already touched on this a bit in the last question, but I agree with him. There are always positives and negatives, but I like to believe there is still that magical feeling for some people, that when they hear certain music or a certain band, it touches them in a way that’s undeniable and unavoidable. I like to believe that anyway. I do think that most people’s attention spans are the shortest they’ve ever been and tend to listen to a song or two they like for an artist and not listen to full albums anymore…thats the biggest bummer.
What to you is a great front cover? What should a cover have to make it great?
Joe: Your front cover is one of the most important aspects of your release, it’s the first point of reference for your band. Before anyone hears a note or even decides to, your artwork is the first outreach to people. Don’t blow it.
Thomas: Agreed, it speaks for you before the consumer even here’s you “speak”. It’s the way I used to purchase albums back in the day. If the band had a killer cover/ killer artwork, I was more likely to purchase that just based on the art alone. We set out to do the same with our band…while we are simple and minimalist at heart, we also understand the importance of quality art and treat it similar to how we treat our music. It’s part of our delivery, it’s how people view us, so we wanted to create something iconic that people could link us to and I think our good friend Remy of Headsplit Design nailed it.
Do you feel that you are part of a national scene? What is the climate for metal in your country?
Joe: I don’t consider To Dust part of any scene particularly, we just try to release the harshest music possible to anyone who cares enough. I think America is more open to metal now than it was when we were growing up in the 90s and early 2000s. Obviously European markets fair better and probably always will but kids nowadays seem to be more open to metal and underground music in general.
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when your out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
Joe: To Dust is not a means to make a living for us. We have families and careers, so we aren’t struggling as other artists are but I think it’s important for fans to support bands, labels, etc. A lot of bands sacrifice time from their families, wives, jobs, etc. for you and if you appreciate them, support them. If you don’t want to buy the record, cool, see the show, buy a shirt, a patch, offer to buy them Chinese food, do something other than sit on your couch expecting entertainment for entertainment’s sake.
What does the future hold?
Joe: Violence, social discord, economic unrest, racial injustice, and sexism to name a few. So, more releases from us to document this horrible planet’s corrosion.
Thomas: For TO DUST? A full length 12” vinyl on Give Praise Records, and hopefully some shows in 2017 to start spreading the GRIND word!