Interview with Trey Williams of DYING FETUS
18 May 2016
Dying Fetus is currently on the sixth annual Metal Alliance Tour, along with The Acacia Strain, Jungle Rot, and Black Crown Initiate. How’s it been going so far?
This is the second one we’ve done. It’s been cool. It’s a little smaller this year, but still just as passionate. Fans have been really good to us and so far, the shows have been pretty killer. I’m actually really looking forward to tonight’s show more than some of the big venues because this is the kind of venue that we really thrive in. And I would hope…I think it might be a war zone tonight.
We’re on the downhill side of it. This is the tail end, the last third of the tour. We just hit the halfway point a few days ago. We started on April 29th.
Are there any memorable moments from this tour? Any venues or gigs that you enjoyed playing more than others?
Well, the Shredmonton Fest was pretty cool. Our friends in Goatwhore were there. They played the day before, and it’s always cool to see some road friends and have a couple of drinks. Every night’s been really cool. We’ve been really surprised by the turnouts.
Then in July, you go overseas, right?
Yes. Various European festivals. We got a few headlining dates over there. We’re doing some shows, co-headlining with The Black Dahlia Murder and Goatwhore, so we’re really looking forward to those.
I know it’s just a few dates, but that would be an awesome tour!
Don’t you think? I think that needs to be a tour.
Do you enjoy playing the European festivals? I’ve never been over there and would love to check them out. I just think that the reception of metal, or heavy music in general, is greater overseas than in the States. There are more of the larger festivals featuring extreme music.
You know, I think … I hate saying this, I love America. I love my people. I love my home country, and this is not to say that this is the way our fans and people that like our music view music, but America in general, doesn’t appreciate live music anymore. The soul artists, and the DJs and the hip-hop world dominates here in the States, on the radio and in the media. Metal is generally viewed as a joke to most media, but it’s not a joke to us and it’s not a joke to our fans. That’s why we stay in the underground. We won’t change our sound. We’re going to stay true to what we do because that’s what our fans like and that’s what we like. This is our home and we do love it here, but live music is considered a joke in America.
Do you think the impact and rise of social media, and digital in general, lessens the need or desire for people to go out and see live shows, if they can just go and watch a show on YouTube?
I’ve heard some artists say put down your phones, and not because they don’t want their material put out on the internet. It’s more of “put down your phone and take part in the show.” If somebody is impressed by what we do and they feel like they want to have it with them for posterity and want to post it on the internet, I have no problem with that because all that’s going to do, is going to have somebody else see it and maybe they’ll come to a show and they’ll get in the pit also. I kind of look at it from both sides. It’s a double-edged sword. You got people who are helping to promote you without having to spend a dime on your own, but you’ve also got people that are, they’re being wallflowers. They’re just hiding behind their cameras and stuff. You know what, they paid to get into the show and they paid to come see us and that’s what matters.
This June marks four years since 2012’s Reign Supreme. Rumor has it that you guys are working on a new studio album. Is that correct?
The music is recorded. It’s pretty much done and in the can. We’re going to do vocals when we get back from this tour. The guys wanted to have really strong voices when they came off of tour because that’s when, you know they just barked for a month. They’re going to come back from this tour. We’re working on lyrics and patterns now in our off time, in between the shows. We’re going to go and have those guys bark it out but music’s all done. We’re looking forward to release somewhere in the fall, early winter, still in 2016 album. You know, we’re not trying to have a huge break in between. It just worked out that way. It wasn’t something we intended. There was just a lot of demand for us to do some touring and then we need a little bit of time off to focus on writing.
Has the writing process been pretty much the same or have you changed it up for the new album?
It’s a little different this time because we did the pre-production all ourselves. On the last two albums we had tapped our friend, Darren Morris, who is a guitar player in Misery Index. He has a little home studio. He’s my roommate and we would just demo stuff with him, but now we’re like, “Look, let’s take that under our own wing.” I did a lot of the pre-production stuff for the guys. I mean, we all did it. You know, I was behind the keyboard, cutting and pasting and stuff.
We’re playing a new song tonight. It’s called “Induced Terror.” We’ve been playing a new song all, this new song all tour and so far, response has been good.
The new album will be on Relapse Records, correct? You’ve had a pretty good relationship with them.
Relapse has been very good to us. Relapse is kind of a one-stop Dying Fetus shop at this point. They have a license to all of the old material and they have all of the albums. It benefits them to keep us in the roster because whenever we put out a new album, back catalog sales go up and they treat us really good. They actually were one of the reasons why the album’s coming out a little bit later too, because they wanted to put a good marketing push behind it, which we’re very stoked to have them have that much faith in what we’re doing and to push behind us.
Do you guys have a working title yet or is that still a secret?
We’re keeping that to ourselves. We got a couple things that we’re working on, but I’m sure it’s going to be brutal in title, and in cover art and all that.
I recently saw some news about a fan who passed away and asked to have his ashes spread on stage. Is that something that you are comfortable talking about? Just wondering how it kind of came about?
Yeah, sure. No big deal. Well, the guy, his friend, I cannot recall his name right now, has been pretty cool to us in the past. We’ve got over time, gifts from fans of like, fan art. This guy made action figures for us. His friend, not the guy who died, but his friend made some action figures for us. It’s really cool, you know. When we see him, we’re like, “Hey, what’s up man?” And he’s like, “Look,” He gave us the spiel, “Hey, my buddy, Nick died and he’d love to, you know, have his ashes spread on the stage during “Homicidal Retribution,” his favorite song.” We took it one step further and sprinkled him into the pit. We told the people in the crowd, “Yo, this guy’s ashes, you might want to step aside.” But, some people got a little bit of Nick on them, but we said, “Rest in the pit” So, RIP. Rest in the pit.
We didn’t do it for any press. I mean, it got some pretty cool press but we did it because we appreciate our fans. We couldn’t be here without these guys. Pretty wild but we’re not the only band that did it. Of course, Behemoth and a couple other bands have been given the opportunity to do that too. They’re very cool for obliging that request to do that because you don’t necessarily have to do that, you know, but to do it is very cool.
Dying Fetus has been around for two decades now. What would you say are some of the highlights of those twenty plus years?
Well, I can’t speak for the other two guys in the band or the previous members. For me honestly, I can’t really say it’s one thing, but it’s more meeting guys in bands that I look up to, or like and respect. Them, knowing me by my first name and going and asking how was that last tour or like, I heard your dog was sick or something and you’re a peer. That’s still to me even now, to go and have these guys you put on a pedestal a little bit, I don’t think anybody should be put on a pedestal because they’re all human. We all make mistakes and fuck up and stuff. To be viewed as a peer is, I think to me, the coolest moment.
I’ve always been curious with how people get started down that path to becoming musicians. When did you pick up the drums? How did you get into music? Who were your influences?
I wanted to play drums a long time ago, way before I actually got a chance to play. My folks were like, “Can you pick something a little quieter?” So, I picked bass. Some years passed and I got a little band. We lost our drummer and I sort of stole his drums. Sorry, John Fitch. I stole your drums. Well you told me I could grab them, but I don’t think he told his folks. So I used his kit for a little while and that’s when that happened. That was about junior year of high school.
That’s an expensive instrument to pick up. A lot of things to replace over time.
Yeah, it’s not the cheapest. I always wanted to play another style. I’ve never played any other style like, don’t ask me to sit in on your jazz session or anything like that. I only know how to blast and do that.
Your parents were supportive then?
They were down with me doing music. Now, they’re super stoked. My dad wears Dying Fetus shirts in the grocery store and stuff, and gets weird looks from adults and awesome looks from the kids. Generally, it was like, once mom and dad are home, you’re not playing anymore. I practiced at my buddy’s house with the band I had in high school. We would you know, it’s called Torture. My parents would go, “You know, your music, you should call it Tortured Parents.” I’m like, “Not you guys. Bobby and Eric’s parents are the tortured parents. We’re over there jamming it all up and stuff” That’s how I got started doing this stuff, but what’s funny is, my dad saw this movie on Netflix, Drummer’s Dream. He watched it and he texted me and he’s like, “Check out this movie.” And then he texted me again and goes, “I should’ve let you start playing earlier.” I can’t imagine how good you’d be if I let you start a couple years before. No harm, no foul. Look, they support me now. They’ve never not supported my hobby or anything like that. They just rather, you know, I would do something that was positive, not something that’s going to get me in trouble.
Good parents. They’re good. They did a good job, I think. Hope mom and dad hear that.
Thanks Trey, I appreciate you taking the time to chat.
No problem. Thanks for your time.