Star Scene: Greg Puciato

KILLER BE KILLED

Interview by Mary Boukouvalas

It’s not surprising that Greg Puciato’s scene is either a “punk-hardcore scene or an underground, minimal electronic, something grungy – where everyone is wearing black”.

What is surprising however is Puciato’s unassuming manner. After all, he is the lead singer of the highly successful metal band, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and now part of the supergroup Killer Be Killed with Max Cavalera (Soulfly, ex-Sepultura), Troy Sanders (Mastodon) and Dave Elitch (ex-The Mars Volta, Antemasque).

Killer Be Killed’s recently released critically acclaimed self-titled debut album came in at #47 on the Australian charts, marking the highest entry for the album. Other chart positions around the globe included: USA at #58, UK at #71, Canada at #71, Germany at #90, and
Switzerland at #91. KBK

“Puciato is thrilled that the debut album has done so well. “It was a five year process,” he explains. “Killer Be Killed was me and Max Cavellera backstage at a Deftones’ concert, discussing how many offers we’d both had for guest vocals, and we were talking about collaborating and I ended up doing a song on a Soulfly album. We ended up hanging out quite a lot and talking about bands we liked growing up and we found we had a lot of common denominators, not only in the thrash scene but also in the hardcore punk scene”.

For Puciato, his type of music branches out into various genres. “The first bands I was into, of my own accord, were Guns N Roses and Def Leppard, when I was about 7. Then when I was 9 I became deeper into thrash metal like Metallica and Slayer. Then about 10 or 11 I got deeper into Bad Brains and Faith No More. They were my roots: from rock n roll, into thrash metal into hard-core alt punk”.

Cavalera and Puciato’s common denominators led to “talking about the artistic nature of collaboration and why bands don’t do it more, and not only for the one song, but why don’t they do it for albums. Then we got excited about that and said ‘fuck it why don’t we do a whole album together?’”

Slowly, but surely, the two began working on it from there though Puciato acknowledges, “It was probably easier said than done cause it took us five years”.

No matter the pace, everything fell in to place within a year of that initial decision. Puciato excitedly relays the events: “When Dillinger went on tour with Mastodon and Troy said, ‘I heard you’re doing this thing, who have you got to play bass on it, if you haven’t got someone I’d fucken be thrilled’ and I said ‘I hadn’t thought of you cause you’re so busy with Mastodon’, and he said, ‘Dude, you tell me when and where and I’m there’.

And I thought it was really cool cause the three of us sang and that was when it started to feel really exciting and that there was some artistic merit in doing it.

 And instead of having it be, ‘here’s Greg and Max, or Greg, Max and Troy, or here’s a song that Greg is going to sing or here’s a song that Max is going to sing’ all of us singing on the same song, that was the only rule we had from that point on. We can write whatever kind of heavy music we want, the only rule was that it had to have all three of us singing and that’s when it became exciting to me, having that parameter to work in”.

Killer Be Killed was extremely different for Puciato as “the principal writers in Dillinger are Ben and I and we’ve been together for 14 years. So, even when we bring something new to the table, there’s an element of familiarity to it. Even though we grow between each album, there’s still that element. And that’s a good thing. It’s different, we’re like brothers now so there’s that excitement of working together because we’ve done it before and we can’t wait to do it again.

Whereas Killer Be Killed, the excitement is we’ve never done this before and what the fuck is going to happen, and I haven’t had that feeling in 14 years.

And to do that again with someone and not have it be a complete disaster. It’s good to experience that feeling again”.

Puciato continues, “For me the first two tracks of the album, Wings of Feather and Wax and Face Down, were the most rewarding. They were the songs that we had finished early on in the process and when we finished those two that was when we knew it was going to work. Up until that point it was like,

‘What do you do if it doesn’t work out? Do you bail out? Do you finish it anyway just to show people that it didn’t work?’

The major point of collaboration is that maybe the process is the point. Even if it doesn’t sound good, it may not be working maybe it’s the process that’s important. It was like: ‘Do we do it anyway?’ and then when those songs clicked we were like ‘Fuck yeah this is actually really cool’. That’s when we got a jolt of energy, seeing that things click together”.

The final product clicked with the public as well and is already on heavy rotation on many playlists. Australia is certainly the lucky country in having Killer Be Killed’s live debut at Soundwave next month. A perfect outcome as Puciato’s appreciation of Australia is clearly shown. “Well the first time we came over there,” Puciato explains, “we didn’t know if anyone was going to care. We thought they’d be like five people there and there were a lot of people there. I remember that tour it was like thinking is there going to be people in each city, is it going to be a disaster, we’re gonna be in so much shit, we’re going to be in debt. But no, we went down there and people cared about us and for us it was like there was something really insane about getting on a plane and flying for 14 hours and then landing and actually having people be at the shows. I have a hard time understanding that there’s people from our town knowing who we are and so being there when I was 22 years old and people knowing who we are. You might as well have told me I was flying to Mars. That’s how far away it seemed.

And that’s what instantly endeared us to Australia because it was so surreal that we were so warmly received there.

You guys are always ahead, culturally and musically. You guys have a lot of really cool culture down there as far as music is concerned, a lot of bands break down there before anywhere else. Even with fashion, you’d be surprised how much Australian fashion trickles down to the U.S. I would say you guys are years ahead. I think there’s something cool happening down there. You guys have a natural filter for what sucks and what doesn’t suck”.

Photo by Mary Boukouvalas
Soundwave 2009 Photo by Mary Boukouvalas

 

Photo by Mary Boukouvalas
Soundwave 2009 Photo by Mary Boukouvalas

“When it came time to play our (Killer Be Killed) first shows, it felt really natural for me to have the first shows we ever play in Australia because I already had such an affinity for it”.

Puciato’s dry sense of humour is not inescapable. In food form, Puciato describes his sound as: “Pizza because it’s always delicious. You can eat it cold, you can eat it hot, you can put anything on it, you can have it for breakfast, you can have it for dinner, you can eat it getting fucked up, you can eat it to get over getting fucked up”.

Killer Be Killed Performing at Soundwave 2015
SATURDAY 21 FEBRUARY & SUNDAY 22 FEBRUARY, 2015
BONYTHON PARK, ADELAIDE
SATURDAY 21 FEBRUARY & SUNDAY 22 FEBRUARY, 2015
FLEMINGTON RACECOURSE, MELBOURNE
SATURDAY 28 FEBRUARY & SUNDAY 1 MARCH, 2015
OLYMPIC PARK, SYDNEY
SATURDAY 28 FEBRUARY & SUNDAY 1 MARCH, 2015
BRISBANE SHOWGROUNDS, BRISBANE
For tickets and more information, visit: soundwavefestival.com

Killer Be Killed is out now through Nuclear Blast Records

KBK

About Mary Boukouvalas 564 Articles
Mary is a music photographer and reviewer.

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