Intense Nick checks out Defiance of God

DOG 1This band that I wish to introduce has requested that anonymity is to remain with regard to their true identity. The reasons for this is so that any opinions or judgements formed relating to them remain honest. This is something which I respect both professionally and personally, and of course, if I were to let anything slip they will the need to kill me (bad joke, honest).

The internet or its mis-use is rightly to blame for an awful lot of negative aspects of modern life and culture. Occasionally though, something bright and positive shines out of this vast matrix of information and mis-information. This project which shall be named DOG (Defiance Of God) is just that: Originating from the same valley in South Wales, UK, as the Stereophonics, DOG began life as a writing project and internet blogging concept. It was to be a way of expressing frustrations and rants against modern life. A blog page was formed, named the band DOG. An unusual way for a band to form, but also relatively normal in the modern context of life, freedom of information and everything that goes with it.

The Blog was a chance to tell those who cared, or stumbled upon it what life is like in a typically small South Wales town, it was also a chance to muse over societies ills overall.  Considering that DOG had been a keen player/mover & shaker in the Welsh music scene for some time, it was also obvious that a lot of the context and content of the blogs would be music/culture based.

The variety and styles of music that this blog concept has led to is just plain brilliant and amazing. Such a contrast in styles that it can be hard to believe that they come from the same band, even with the changes of musicians.

The first of three tunes which I am going to mention here is called ‘Slap my Face’ – it is angry female fronted punk rock, with no holds barred in its social observations. This shows a slice of life in any suburban town in Britain.  Knives, hoodies, ugly scars…..as the lyrics go…. It was produced by Les Davies (ex Squeezebox) in Abercynon, South Wales.  Wales can be particularly brutal place to grow up, especially if you’re different in any way. DOG have always felt like outsiders and understands the trauma of expressing ones individuality in a  society which shuns and alienates non-conformists so negatively and blatantly.

The bands first two releases were collaborations for the CD, Tongues for a Stammering Time , Released May 09 and featuring guest vocals from Steve Balsamo (currently touring with Jon Lord (Deep Purple) and Patrick Jones (brother of Nicky Wire) Manic Street Preachers.  Now you must be getting some idea of the variation in sound and style here.

‘Meat’, this is a collaboration, there are two guest vocalists on this song.  First is writer of lyrics Patrick Jones second voice is Steve Balsamo….Patrick does the spoken stuff and Steve does the high pitched wailing. There are details of Patrick Jones via his myspace. www.myspace.com/patrickjoneswriter. He’s the brother of Nicky Wire, the Manic Street Preachers  bassist and writes highly controversial plays/poetry. Earlier this year Patrick fell out with an organization called Christian voice, he had some readings banned etc.  Pat’s really anti-censorship. This track was produced by Les Davies. It is a truly brilliant musical blog, Patricks accent gives a realistic, heartfelt and cynical feel to the song while Steve’s joyful banshee like wailing floats throughout conjuring a majestic mixture in this song.

Musically inspiration was SOAD, Muse, Metallica, Pendulum.  Strangely the song was cut and pasted together so that the version you hear on record was completely different format to that what was played in the studio..  (full credit to super producer Les)…

‘When We Become Mountains’ is a musical celebration of the human spirit full of accurate observations relating to life. It is an ethereal and spiritual masterpiece.

‘Slap My Face’ is an observation of life from the harsh reality of being the outsider in a small town. Full of social attitude, this song mirrors ‘When We Become Mountains’ but from the other end of the spectrum of life.

Check out Defiance of God at

http://defianceofgod.blogspot.com/

Or

http://www.myspace.com/defianceofgod

Check out my interview with Defiance of God……

iNick – You have an eclectic list of influences, could you say something about the strongest ones and why?

D. O. G. – Nirvana and The Cure.  Growing up in South Wales valleys its probably not the easiest route to take if yr a self confessed goth, wear black and play cure cover in pubs – especially at a time when GNR were gods who could do no wrong.  it wasn’t ever going to be easy worshipping Robert Smith, but to paraphrase Neitzche – what doesn’t kill you makes u stronger.  Time passed the music scene changed. Nowadays it feels that rock has embraced a far more wide set of influences and it’s cool to love Bauhaus, NIN as well as Sabbath and SAOD.  Always have a soft spot for The Cure……  Nirvana – they did inadvertently kill the dinosaurs of poodle rock – but they were right in describing their sound as Black Sabbath doing Beatles songs.  It’s dead on.  With our songwriting at moment we try so hard to get do what they did.  Make it Catchy!

iNick – would you say that your location in the valleys of south Wales stunts or inspires creativity?

D. O. G. – Thinking back a while ago – it was tough……that was before bands like Manics and Stereophonics hit the big time.  Culturally Wales was a no no.  Coming from the same Valley as the phonics, it’s mad – I remember supporting them when they were called Tragic Love Company – the band we were in at the time were ***t – we played 3 songs and did a strop to walk off stage…they (TLC)- well they changed their name and conquered Britain….. Nowadays it’s gone round full circle.  Kids in Glass Houses, Bullet For My Valentine, Funeral For A Friend, Lost Prophets…. Wales is back on the map..

iNick – Your music is driven by social observations, how much of this is personal experience and how much is from general observation?

D. O. G. – Real life is built from stories and inspiration is everywhere around us all the time.   I walked up the mountain the other day to chill out lovely day…but then… right near the top – the blackened husk of a burnt out Ford Mondeo.  (no where near a road at all).  This was about 2 miles off anything resembling a road…….

Similarly – Was visiting a metal band called Endurance of Hate in Maesteg a while back – they took us down the main street and stopped by a kebab shop.  Pointed at the floor and said – can you see that stain?  (Several dark splodges on pavement) It was blood – their blood – two of the band had been jumped/punched kicked to the floor, coming out of a kebab shop two days before – just cause they wore black – had hoodies and chains on – they looked just like any typical emo/skater/metal heads in the world, but bad news – a lot of valleys towns don’t like that – they’d prefer you to be a jock – conform to the norm, or suffer the consequences.   It’s a case of too many young males working out too much at the gym taking too many steroids and going looking for trouble…

Stuff like that is around us all the time.  I guess those sort of incidents came together for the lyrics to Slap My Face…

iNick – How did working with Steve Balsamo Nicky wire effect/influence effect the finished work?

D. O. G. – Manics are awesome.  They speak as they see it. It’s got them into so much trouble.  Patrick Jones is the same probably even more so.  Nick is a gent I’ve met him several times and he’s so sweet.  He’s also a huge Rush fan!  He showed me a pic of him and Geddy Lee taken on the last tour at the NEC!  I knew Nicky and James would be doing tracks and heard some early demos of James Dean Bradfield’s material for the CD (Tongues for a Stammering Time)… It was great.  VERY angry and confrontational.  Guess that made us step up our game and come up with Meat – the riff is kinda Rush (ish) but mixed with a more Rage against the machine vibe…

Steve Balsamo is the most amazing Welsh singer ever.  Being in the same room as him hearing him lay down the vocals to the tracks was incredible.  And then to get Steve to sing one of our tunes live….I felt humbled. (we are not worthy)  I really hope to record again with Steve.  I might get him to sing one of our newer angry punk rock numbers.

iNick – D.O.G. has a wide variety of sound and styles, is this a result of the collaborations or just your way?

D. O. G. – Since the way DOG has developed – blog – myspace – to fully functioning real band – collaborations are without doubt the way forward for us.  My voice is ***t.  I once sang a Velvets track (waiting for the man) and it was the worst 4 minutes of my life.  So yeah, guest vocals and collaborations are the way forward.  We’re going to need a permanent live singer too, since we’ve recorded and demoed enough songs for two albums….so somewhere down the road DOG will have a full time singer…

iNick – This Q is right off of the wall but you have worked with Steve Balsamo, Steve has a Deep Purple connection having toured with Jon Lord playing bold Deep Purple songs, and also played Jesus Christ Superstar in a Lloyd Webber production, given the opportunity would you consider working with Ian Gillan who was in Deep Purple and also played Jesus Christ Superstar?

D. O. G. – Stranger things could happen.  I mean this all started from a blogging project now we’ve had Steve B sing live for us, national radio play and who knows what next.  I think we’ve got the next two collaborators fixed up.  One is with the singer from a Welsh language Electronic outfit – very sexy and slinky – was hoping to do a NIN type track with them and the second is with an Australian folk singer.  We’re pushing Slap My Face as a possible first single, but after that one of our earliest tracks was a tune inspired by the Twilight book – by Stephanie Meyers.  I read it when I was in the States last summer (before the movie etc) so I guess we’ve missed the boat on this one but I think the myspacers will love our interpretation of the story.  It’s sort of like a White Stripes track – mixed with Metallica riffing!