Alan Daly of Dublin Concerts conducted an interview with guitarist Mike Spreitzer of California metallers DEVILDRIVER when the band played in Dublin, Ireland on April 8. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Dublin Concerts: “Winter Kills” has already been out eight months, and you guys seem to be on an eighteen-month-to-two-year album release cycle. So have you looked forward to the next album?
Mike: We’ve already started writing for it. I know [John] Boecklin [drums] has a bunch of songs. I haven’t really had a lot of time to write, because I just moved into a new house and I’ve been building a studio in my garage to replace the studio that I have in my parents’ house, which I have outgrown, and that’s where we’ve been doing all the pre-production. I can’t even feel creative in that studio, I’ve been in there for so long. So I’m getting all my stuff out of there. I’ve been building this studio in my new house. I’ve been working on it for almost a year, in between tours, and it should be done in July. We have July and August off, so I’m going to spend all that time writing for the next record. Boecklin‘s already got probably, like, somewhere between three and five songs written, and a tentative date for recording of November/December, which means the record will probably be out some time next summer.
Dublin Concerts: I’ve seen it reported that you as a band feel that “Winter Kills” is your best album to date. Do you feel under pressure to better that?
Mike: I’ve never really felt pressured. The only thing I kind of feel pressure about is not repeating ourselves too much, and hashing out the same type of record that we’ve done before. You know, I see things from a different perspective than our fans do, but there’s a different vibe for every record for me. It always seems to come very organically for us. I just sit down and write. I don’t really think about trying to do this or that or have a direction I want to go. To some extent, I do. Now that we’ve done the song “Sail” [AWOLNATION cover], I think that kind of opened up some doors for me, where I can have more atmospheric tones, meshed with brutal guitars at the same time. Whereas before, I kind of strayed away from that. I didn’t know if DEVILDRIVER fans would be into something like that, but they obviously do. “Sail” has gotten a great response. You know, it’s not our song, but we added a lot of elements to that.
Dublin Concerts: And what about a live album? It’s been mentioned that you’ve considered it. And there was the bonus DVD with “Winter Kills”, which had some live tracks…
Mike: I’ve been hearing about a live record from our management and record companies since day one.
Dublin Concerts: Are they the ones who get to make the call or does the band have the final say?
Mike: If we really wanted to do it, I think they would be on board to do it. I don’t think there’s really much point to do it from an economical standpoint. But there are songs out there, that bands have put out live, that I like much better live. There’s a couple of BEHEMOTH songs that, because of production in the early days was so bad, and I’m sure they’ll agree with me, that some of their older songs, I can’t listen to the recorded version. I’d rather listen to the live version. “Creeping Death” on “Live Shit: Binge & Purge” by METALLICA is way better than it is on “Ride The Lightning”. Also [PANTERA‘s] Domination” at Monsters Of Rock in Russia, way back in the day. That’s another example. I would like to do it, but there’s no concrete plans for anything like that right now.
Dublin Concerts: How do you even make a living from metal music these days? Like you mentioned, downloading has killed off physical album sales to a large extent.
Mike: It’s about touring and merchandise. And when I’m at home, I also produce, mix and master bands. And I sold some songs to a music library that were just sitting on my computer doing nothing. I had a friend sing on them. It’s kind of cool; I see them pop up on TV every now and then. I was watching one of my favorite shows, “Dexter”, a couple of years ago, and they don’t tell me where my music goes, but one of my songs came up, and I was, like, “That’s a cool song. Wait a minute, that’s MY song!”. And the singer is big into wrestling, WWE or whatever it’s called, and he and his wife see his songs pop up on that from time to time. I think “Good, I’ll be getting a check in the mail!” [Laughs]. It’s not much, but it helps.