DIRT WIZARD – Interview
Hello! I’d like to ask you to start with a brief history of the band Dirt Wizard.
How did you meet and how did you decide to start a band? Have you known each other already?
Zak – I previously knew Sam and that he was in a band from Peoria. I called him one day to see if he knew of anyone in the area who would wanted to start a project. He said he did and had been jamming with a drummer (Switz) for awhile and they’d kind of been looking. Then He brought Slama in after a practice or two.
Sam – I had wanted to start a band like this for a while. I knew Zak, Switz, and Slama already, but none of them knew each other. You could say that I corralled this bunch of miscreants up if you wanted to.
Switz – I knew Sam. Sam knew Zak. Slama just showed up one day.
Slama – Sam asked me to join and I made the mistake of saying yes.
Have you played in other bands before or Dirt Wizard was the first attempt?
Zak – I have been in and out of bands before this, yes. This though is probably the first project that touches the closest to my writing style and choice of music. The rest were metal bands, or experimental (which was fun at the time).
Sam – I was in a handful of local hardcore bands in the area. That’s all people ever wanted to play. Music like Dirt Wizard is what I always wanted to play.
Switz – First for me.
Slama – I’ve been in a bunch of different bands but thats a story for another time.
At what age did you start listening to rock/metal and which was the first bands that you liked back then?
Switz – I have a distinct memory of discovering Black Sabbath at 11 or 12 years old. Still my favorite band. Other than that back then I went through a huge thrash metal phase. My tastes have gone every direction and back since. Everything from Elton John to Gorgoroth.
Sam – I’ve been listening to rock my entire life. Throughout grade school I listened to a whole lot of Black Sabbath, my dad had most of their records on vinyl so I would always put them and Zeppelin on. I listened to a whole bunch of The Sword in high school.
Slama – Growing up my aunt and uncle really liked a bunch of bands like Sabbath and iron maiden, so ive been listening to stuff like that for as long as i can remember.
Zak – I honestly can’t remember when I started listening to metal. Before that, I was really into southern rock like Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers, Molly Hatchet. I had always liked their solos and harmonies.
Where you came up with the name Dirt Wizard?
Switz – It’s a Red Fang song.
Sam – It’s a song title.
Zak – We found it the most fitting out of all the names we were throwing around. One including Smoka Cola. Not kidding.
How would you describe your style?Any influences?
Zak – Our style would be that fuzzy stoner rock. I really like a lot of movement on the fretboard, and harmonizing guitars. I often write one guitar part with a harmonizing part in mind. Most of my influences come from a lot of southern style bands.
Slama – I would say aggressive stoner rock. For personal style I just like a really fuzzy bass tone that stands out and to try to add something new to the songs.
Switz – Mostly upbeat hard rock with some grunge attitude, some misplaced anger and an occasional hint of doom. Throw in a dash of prog and a pinch of groove at the right times and that’s us.
Sam – I like to keep my playing kind of bluesy. At the same time I like really dissonant chords.
The first material that you released is “No Son of Mine” EP in 2013. What can you tell us about this album and what expectations you have from it?
Zak – I think there were two songs that we didn’t end up finishing because we felt they were a bit out of place and it was becoming difficult to finish them. So they kind of are tossed aside and we have no plans of picking them back up haha. This album was practically us just having fun and writing things we would have fun playing over and over. The expectations I had were far lower than the attention it has received, so it’s pretty exciting.
Switz – We recorded it ourselves, and even being asked about it exceeds our expectations by a long shot. To me this was an attempt to find out who we are and where we should go next.
Sam – The album is pretty fun. Everyone sat down and recorded their parts pretty quickly. Zak did it for us with an accumulation of some of my recording stuff and a whole lot of his. I never really expected many people to get into it. We don’t live in a very good area for this type of music.
Slama – I think the album far exceeded my expectations of it and a lot of people seem to like it.
How long did it take to write the songs for “No Son of Mine” EP and how long have you recorded them?
Zak – Writing the material took a few months, we are only able to practice once a week and lucky if we get that much time, so it took awhile. I recorded us and the process went fairly smooth. The recordings turned out waaaaaay better than I had expected.
Switz – Couple months I think. We wrote a lot of stuff in those months and scrapped all the good stuff. The EP is what’s left. We spent a couple hours for each instrument to record them back in September 2013.
Sam – The recording took pretty much no time. We each did our own parts of the recording in a couple hours. Me and Zak did the vocals in a single day later on. The songs themselves took a while to write. We had a handful of others over the past year, but we didn’t end up recording them. Zak and I had parts already written when we came into it.
Could you make a brief description of your EP?
Zak – Thick. Dirty. Fuzzy.
Slama – Its alright i guess…
Switz – It’s got a bit of charm to it, and some surprises along the way. It’s free and less than a half hour long, so sit back and give it shot, you got nothing to lose.
Sam – It’s kind of like being put in a Ketamine induced coma. It knocks you on your ass and leaves a shitty taste in your mouth.
How do you get inspired to write music?
Zak – Doesn’t take a whole lot these days for me to get inspired. Just about any mood I have these days, I am able to write something.
Switz – The best inspiration is procrastinating for more important things.
Sam – I don’t get all that much free time to play guitar right now, so when I do, it just feels so good I have to go with it.
Slama – It just sort of happens theres not really a way to force it and have it turn out good that ive found.
What reactions have you received so far, after the release of the EP, and how did it increase your activity as a live band?
Zak – For the most part, positive. There have been a few that dislike it, or didn’t review in our favor haha.
Switz – We had our very first fan request to hear some tunes before we had recorded anything. As soon as we had Amis Tabu done I sent it to him personally and we instantly lost our first fan. Since then feedback has been mostly positive, which made us more confident live.
Sam – I’ve heard a lot of good things about it, but I can never tell if it’s just people trying to be nice, or genuine interest. Playing live is more fun now that people have heard our stuff.
Slama – I would say its been pretty much all positive feedback. Weve gotten more show offers then before we released it.
What can you tell me about the stoner rock scene in U.S? How do you think it will evolve in the future? There are many stoner rock bands in your area?
Switz – It’s a little dead in our area, there are a few bands popping up in neighboring cities that are similar but not in Peoria. As far as the U.S. I think it is a growing genre. I hope it continues, because to me it’s a big genre right now that operates outside of the pop-culture crazes we all hate. Yeah, stoner rock has its clichés no doubt, but we don’t jam on this music and get into the visual and lyrical tropes because it’s ironic or the latest hashtag; it’s simple rock and roll and we love it. No self-aware disclaimers, no apologies, no bullshit. This is music for music’s sake.
Slama – The scene throughout the country is awesome. Theres a lot of great bands doing a lot right now. I think it might push farther ,but right now in America its pretty huge. Peoria on the other hand doesnt really have much at all happening in that sense.
Sam – Like I mentioned earlier, we don’t personally live in the best area of the US for stoner rock. The US in general has a solid amount of really good bands. I’m hoping that it just keeps getting more popular as time goes on.
Zak – Stoner rock in our area is far and few, but I like it that way. It’s more fun to put us on a bill with a bunch of metal or punk bands around here and see the reactions. My guess is stoner rock in the US won’t evolve until a certain group of people want to ruin it.
Where are you now with the band Dirt Wizard and where do you want to get in the future?
Switz – We are in the process of writing our second batch of material. Who knows where we will go from here. I think the future of this band depends on a lot of different factors, and we will just have to take those as they come. We really just want to create music we can all enjoy, any recognition and support is unexpected and appreciated.
Sam – We are writing new songs, and so far they are really good. I’m pretty excited to see where it goes. I’ll be moving a couple hours away from the rest of the band members here in a few months, but I’m hoping we can try and continue to write and practice.
Slama – Were writing now and im excited about it. I just want to see where it goes.
Zak – Right now we have almost one new song completed and bunch “in the works” or riffs that are being thrown around. We are hoping to have more material and a new EP or album by the summer. We will see how that goes. As of right now, the future for us is very uncertain, and some big changes in our lives are on the way. It’s going to be an “at stride” strategy from here on out.
How do you spend your free time and what new bands have you discovered?
Switz – I am working, in grad school, and in this band, so free time used to maintain sanity. I try to keep listening to new music. Recently I’ve been into the Canadian band Woods of Ypres, some fantastic blackened-doom. I also discovered the band Huntress at a festival last year. Great band. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats is a band we have all been listening to a lot in the past year. They are more in our genre than the others I mentioned. Some lesser-known bands I want to mention as well are Earth Witch and Wizard Union.
Sam – I don’t really have all that much free time as of now. I’m finishing up college and trying to find a job. What little free time I do have, I’ve spent bowling, playing guitar, and playing video games.
Slama – I pretty much just make music for one project or another all the time. Other then that I work and try to find time to relax. As far as new bands Earth witch and Doomsayer are cool and theyre less then two hours away from us and chicago has weedeater and that band rules.
Zak – Well, I graduated college back in May and still in search of a job. So I spend most of my time writing, job searching, and trying not to punch my brain out of my skull. Though, I am waiting for it to warm up here in Illinois so I can finally start riding my bike again. I have recently been listening to Beastwars. They are pretty legit.
Where can people listen to your music and from where can we buy it? Also please tell us if you have a website, facebook, twitter, etc..
Switz – Our EP is pay what you want on BandCamp. Also available on Amazon, iTunes, and Spotify. We have a Facebook.
Sam – We have our music on bandcamp, facebook, itunes, and a multitude of other places. I think it’s free on half of the places out there.
Thanks for your answers and please say a few words to Metal Maniack readers.
Zak – Big thanks to Metal Maniack for giving us this opportunity and to his readers for giving him the support in doing interviews such as this. We appreciate it!
Switz – Hey readers. Nice to meet you guys.
Slama – Thanks for taking the time to interview us and I hope you all like the ep.
Sam – Keep on rockin’ in the free world.