Interview by Alan Daly
© Olga Kuzmenko
Photos by Olga Kuzmenko
Alan: Hi Trey. Nice to meet you. Welcome back to Dublin!
Trey: Nice to meet you too.
Alan: Tell us about your last trip to Dublin.
Trey: Yeah, We were at The Pint and some dude got his face busted up all on the stage. Huge puddle of blood. A stage diver landed on the back of his head, and pushed his face right into the stage. I feel bad for him! But the funny thing is he was there to review the show. So maybe we got a good review, maybe we didn’t.
Alan: We saw you perform at Bloodstock in 2013. You were up against Slayer on the main stage… That was a tough choice on the line-up! But we came over to the Sophie stage, and the tent was full. It was awesome. How did you feel about that?
Trey: We were very thrilled with the response and attendance. You know, you’re going up against legends like Slayer and there’s going to be competition for the audience. But I think one thing that we had going for us was that not everybody wants to hear thrash; sometimes people want to hear some death metal, you know? So even though Slayer are the kings, we can get the scraps! We were thrilled though, because it showed us who our fans were in the U.K.
Alan: And then you played at Download this year, on the main stage. What did you think of the whole #WhyNotDyingFetus campaign that went viral?
Trey: It was pretty cool man.
Alan: Were you following it as it was happening?
Trey: We didn’t know until it had already kinda played out. Our manager called us up, and was like “Um, yeah, Download wants you to play. Mainstage. You’re going to be like the sixth band announced”. And what are the other bands? Aerosmith. Linkin Park. And Dying Fetus! That was really cool. And then the promoter there apparently said that he’d love to have us back. So I can’t confirm whether or not we’re playing there this year, but if they want us, we’ll come back!
Alan: Your current tour looks hectic. Almost non-stop for six weeks. You’re nearly one third of the way through now. How’s it going?
Trey: No breaks! We’ve had some issues with people getting sick. We had a little flu, stomach virus that kind of worked its way through the bus, and really no band was immune from it. I fortunately [knock on wood] didn’t get anything. But who knows? Tomorrow I could be sick too. But right now, the last two guys to get sick are on the mend. Other than that, the shows have been cool. We’ve toured with Fallujah and Goatwhore before. Just hanging out with friends we already know. And now we know Malevolence too.
Alan: Has anybody made any comment about your “Infatuation with Malevolence”? [1995 album containing reissues of Dying Fetus’ early demo material]
Trey: I never made that connection! I like slam! And they play slam! So… A little bit!
Alan: I wanted to ask you about your touring plans for next year. I saw you have announced slots at Hellfest and the Forta Rock Festival. Anything else lined up festival-wise?
Trey: There’ll be a couple of others. Can’t confirm them yet. But yeah, we’re going to come back in the Summer and do the festival thing. Other than that though, we going to really focus on putting a new album together. We don’t want to have any touring lined up for a little while so we can just put the axe to the grindstone and make a really sharp, good album.
Alan: When do you plan to make a start on that?
Trey: It’s been a little bit in the works already, but we’ve been doing touring. We did have a little bit of a break before this but the way we work as a band is we’re either in the playing-live mindset or it’s the writing mindset. So once we go home, we’re changing our mindset to just be worrying about writing some music.
Alan: You’re finished this tour just before Christmas. So is that the end of the touring cycle then?
Trey: There won’t be any more up until the Summer festivals.
Alan: So it sounds like you have a good six months early next year to focus on a new album then?
Trey: Hopefully in the early Spring we can get into the studio and start recording.
Alan: Any thoughts on how your direction might change compared to Reign Supreme?
Trey: Nobody has any concepts or anything. Just evolving the Dying Fetus sound a little bit. Not too drastically, but you know; add a couple of new slams into our repertoire and a couple of new technical parts. I think our fans know what they’re going to get out of us when they buy a Dying Fetus album. You’re going to get technical, brutal, slam and death metal with a double vocal attack, and we’re going to bring that again.
Alan: Cool. We’re looking forward to getting our ears on new songs! What about current influences? Anything that might shape the new album? Musically and/or lyrically and politically.
Trey: If you know Dying Fetus, we always do a little bit of social commentary about what’s going on at the time in the world around us; in our personal lives; war within the whole geographic world scenario. I can’t tell you one specific idea because I’d be kinda letting the cat out of the bag, but you can count on a couple of just straight-up brutal songs and a couple of songs that are “what the fuck is up with the world?”, you know?
Alan: Are there any bands in particular that you are listening to at the moment?
Trey: Not really. I don’t want to be too influenced by what’s going on. One of my roommates is Darren Morris; he’s the guitar player for Misery Index, and they wrote their latest album at my house, and they were like “Do you want to hear it?” and I’m like “No. I don’t want to know about it until it’s out. Because I don’t want to put my two cents in on your project and I don’t want to be too influenced by what you’re doing.”
Alan: Even subconsciously…
Trey: Right. Exactly. You go “Oh, they did a cool thing there”, and next thing you know, you hear it on the Fetus album, and it’s like “Oh… I see what you did there”. I try to just keep it as neutral as possible in my own mind. But really, John and Sean are the guys who put the music together. I kinda just throw beats on guitar lines, and I’ll go “That’s a cool part”. So that’s how that’s going to go down.
Alan: So speaking of the dynamics in the band; you’re what you might call “the new guy”; but you’ve been with the band about eight years now…
Trey: Yeah, going on eight now…
Alan: So this is the most consistent the band has been since it was formed. Do you feel like it’s solid?
Trey: Yeah. None of us are going anywhere. This is our lives and this is what we do, and what we are. This is our chance for glory! If there’s any to be had!
Alan: When you’re all living in such close proximity on tour buses, are there ever personality clashes?
Trey: Not within our group as the three band members in Fetus. We know each other’s personalities. We know when somebody needs their space. We know when somebody needs a hand.
Alan: But you’re also sharing a bus with two other bands. Does that sometimes cause friction?
Trey: Not right now! No. Everybody’s an adult. Let’s put it that way. Especially when you’re doing a six-and-a-half week run. You just gotta let it be like water off your back. Just let it run off you.
Alan: Tell me what your friends and family think about Dying Fetus and songs like “Kill your Mother. Rape your Dog”.
Trey: Well, my Dad wears a Dying Fetus hat and shirt when he goes to the grocery store! So I’d say he’s pretty proud about it. I think John’s family has seen that he’s been able to make this into a life, and whatever reservations they had in the past like “Get a real job” kind of stuff; they were like “Well, you made it work”. Right now, I think all of our families are supportive of what we do.
Alan: The name of the band was originally chosen intentionally to shock…
Alan: Do you still feel pressure to continue to shock?
Trey: Well yeah, we have to maintain a certain level of disgusting and appalling imagery and sound to appease our fans that we already have. But with a name like Dying Fetus, we’re never going to get big big big. We’re never going to get Metallica-big. I’d love for that to happen, but we know our place. We’re a death metal band.
Alan: Do you think the choice of name for the band has already restricted your success, even as a death metal band?
Trey: Absolutely. Oh yeah. Rumour has it, through our manager, that we had supposedly been offered spots on some pretty big tours and festivals in the U.S. And then the sponsors of the tour said “No. We don’t want our product associated with this band”. And we’ve had companies offer to endorse us and provide us with advertising money for our tours and stuff, and then the legal department gets wind of who we are, and they’re like “Nope. Not happening any more”. But then again, if you’re a death metal fan and you’re new to death metal, and you’re interested in finding the disgusting place where we reside, you’ll look through the CDs and you’ll see that name and you’re going to pick it up.
Alan: So it works both ways. Has anyone ever regretted choosing that route?
Trey: We’re not changing name any time soon! Ever. If you see any of us doing something else, it’s going to be in another project with a different name. But what Dying Fetus is, is always going to be Dying Fetus.
Alan: That’s good. That’s why we’re all here tonight. What would you consider to be the high point of your career to date? Not necessarily the band, but your own personal career path.
Trey: Going from looking at some of the larger bands in the scene; Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel; you know, some of the godfathers of what we do. And they call you up randomly and sing a Lucifer song to you. It’s like “What’s up, Rob [Barrett, Cannibal Corpse]? Ok cool. Alright. You got anything to say? No. Alright!” [Laughs]. I’ll sum it up as; going from being a fan, to being a peer. I think that’s the most rewarding part; having these people look at me on the same level as them; as fellow artists. That’s what I like.
Alan: If you could share a stage with any artist, living or dead, who would it be?
Trey: Hall and Oates! I’m a child of the eighties, man. Riding in the car with my parents, I always heard Hall and Oates on the radio, and lo-and-behold, I’m 35 and I still like it. I’d love to see them live. Also, just to be on the same bill; Dying Fetusand Hall and Oates? What the fuck is that?! And just because I like Hall and Oates doesn’t make me any less metal!
Alan: Is there anything else on your iPod that might surprise or shock your fans?
Trey: I’m sure there is, but I’m just going to keep that to myself!
Alan: Are there any bands or artists in the industry at the moment that you would like to throw them into a mosh pit in front of your stage, and let your fans loose on them?
Trey: You mean let our crowd exact justice on them?
Alan: Haha, yeah, kind of. Or is there any genre that you think should be done away with?
Trey: No. Not really. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been able to appreciate more music and appreciate the artists on a broader scale and I found it’s easier to just have an open mind about what you’re hearing. And we’re all out there trying to do the same thing. I think that when you’ve got people that are going and judging so hard, I think “Why do you have to do that? Are you covering up for something of your own self, that you have to be so judgemental about these people?”. Of course, everyone would probably love me to say Justin Bieber or some EDM DJ can go and eat a dick and die in a corner. You know what? I don’t give a crap. They’re not even on my radar. I just do what I do.
Alan: I saw on a newsfeed today that Corey Taylor had a bit of a rant about people at gigs taking photos with their phones and making videos. Have you got a take on that? Maybe it’s not so relevant at a gig like Dying Fetus, where people are going so crazy in the pit that they can’t hold their phones up anyway. Does it bother you as an artist, when you see people watching your gig through their phones?
Trey: No. You’re just chronicling your life for yourself, you know. You’re out there; you go to a show; you think “Wow, the light show is really good. I’m going to video tape this”. I can understand a little bit where he might be coming from; it’s a matter of royalties and intellectual property, and you know maybe if they’re making a DVD, maybe they don’t want some of their stage antics get out there yet, because they want to profit off it themselves… We’re in a different era now though…
Alan: I don’t think that was is argument though. I think it was more: “You’re here at the show. Enjoy the gig. What’s the point in taking a crappy low-quality video”…
Trey: Oh yeah. Jason Keyser, the singer for Origin does that. He says “I see you out there with your camera and your phone. Put it down and get into the show”. So if that’s that attitude, then I can agree with that. Get out from behind the screen. You came here, right? Why are you still watching it on a little screen? In that regard I can appreciate that mindset.
Alan: Almost done. Have you anything you’d like to say to your Irish fans?
Trey: Hey! Thanks! Thanks for being a fan, and for being so interested that the promoters in the area wanted to bring us back again to put on a slammin’ show for the Irish people. It’s always flattering being able to come back to a place and it’s better, than when you were there before. And it’s not just the Irish fans. It’s thanks to all of our fans. We couldn’t be in this position if people weren’t interested in us. When people lose interest, that’s when you’ll see us stop. When all of a sudden the well has gone dry of your fans’ interest. And when that day comes, that’s when you just fade away. You just go back in the distance; wait five years, and then come back! [Laughs]