Interview: Dieth

I think we created something new, and it doesn't sound like any of our past bands. That’s really a great place to be.

Dieth, the new band that features former Megadeth bassist David Ellefson alongside guitarist/vocalist Guilherme Miranda (formerly of Entombed A.D.) and drummer Michał Łysejko (ex Decapitated), have just released their debut album To Hell And Back and it is an album that combines thrash and death metal with a knack for ultimately catchy songs and the results are brutal and vibrant. Gavin Brown caught up with David to hear all about To Hell And Back and how Dieth started as a band as well as hearing about how the band’s first ever live shows went, his time in Megadeth and how he has moved on with this fresh start of a band.

E&D: Your debut album To Hell And Back has just been released. Have you been pleased with the reaction to so far?

David: Yeah, super great. We had a pretty good indication when we put out the first song ‘In The Hall Of The Hanging Serpents’ last summer, that we have something pretty cool here, and of course, we like it, which helps! We’re excited about getting all the tracks out. Every single we’ve been building has been a good step forward and now, of course, the records out and we can get on with the next order of business, getting out on the road and touring and playing shows, and which is what we’re doing now.

E&D: Did you want to build momentum up from last year, by bringing tracks out one at a time?

David: Yeah, you know, part of that was strategic from Napalm Records, their job is obviously to sell the record, our job is to make it their job is to sell it. It’s always this collaborative partnership with your record label and management but it all comes as a team, right, because we make the record, the label puts it out in the market, and they sell it for us, now that has to sustain us for the next release and the rest of this year, as we get out on the road, and get this in front of some people. It’s a brand new band, we’re lucky because we’re playing big festivals and big gigs, which is cool. I’m pretty happy with the way this is set up right now.

E&D: On the album, you do your first ever solo lead vocals on the track ‘Walk With Me Forever’. How was the experience of doing the song and will do more vocals in the future?

David: Yeah, now the guys want me to sing a bunch of stuff! We’re talking about doing a couple of cover songs to throw in just for some of our headline shows, because the songs you hear, those are all the songs we have. It’s our first album, and we’re writing some new ones. We’re actually well on our way of having a second album, but we’re not getting too serious about that yet because bands grow on the road, they evolve, as we have our live experience. Now this summer, that will add another sort of component and that will ultimately affect the next record, plus us playing together, I’m one of the go to singers now. I think there’s a general vibe in this band and it’s cool, because the thing that keeps coming up is we don’t have to run this band, the way our previous bands were run, right? We don’t have to. I’m not talking just about the business of it, but I’m talking about just everybody can have a voice, and we can bring our best we can challenge each other to make parts better, to play better, to create our future together, and it doesn’t have to be dictated by one person. It’s nice, and I think that’s collective.

E&D: Do you feel completely re energised with this new band and how did you all get together in the first place?

David: Totally, 100% I think all of us do, not just me, all of us. It’s a good creative reset. It’s a nice professional reset, for all of us. I was introduced to Guilherme on an email in early 2022, and we cut the first track, we had to do it remotely because we were just coming out of COVID at that time, and it made the most sense to send files around so we did that. Then I came over here to to Gdansk, Poland where I’m at now and we shot that first video, and we just put it up on my Facebook one day. Very unannounced and unexpected, that’s  what usually gets the best reaction, it’s like, whoa, nobody saw this one coming, and that’s sometimes a good way to just gauge the response, something out of left field, and it really impacted people, people were calling it the metal song of the year and all this kind of stuff. Thats a pretty good indicator that we should probably keep going make more songs.

E&D: Does it feel good playing material that’s heavier than you have done in the past?

David: You know, to me, it doesn’t feel that way. Maybe that’s because I’ve played some pretty heavy stuff. Temple Of Brutality back in 2005. I played on the Soulfly records Prophecy and Dark Ages with Max Cavalera. I’ve done work with Al Jorgensen for Ministry. I’ve worked with heavy musicians, even some of my Ellefson solo stuff, it’s pretty heavy, you know, but I know what you’re saying there’s an impact about Dieth and I think part of it is that it’s intentionally driving and kind of derived from our past of, that death and thrash metal past but together, I think we created something new, and it doesn’t sound like any of our past bands. That’s really a great place to be.

E&D: Going back to ‘Walk With Me Forever’, you’ve done a video for the song. Can you tell us about that video and was a cool experience making it?

David: I mean, honestly, it’s funny, I actually wrote the treatment for it and we auditioned a few different directors and we found this guy Oscar, who does a lot of photography work and some some video stuff here in Gdansk, Poland. We shot it here just north of town up in Medina, which is kind of the next town going up around the bay here. Just to the north of Gdansk and we got the actress, who is a pretty well known Polish TV actress and the actor does a lot of work here at the theatre. It was really about Guilherme’s sense of grief and loss for LG from Entombed, who had died from cancer and it was very unexpected. The track has a sort of gloominess, that was the sentiment initially, and we put the song together. We rewrote the chorus together and collaborated on it, I also felt this almost romantic notion of loss there. With the video, the first part of the video is the guy gets in the car, he turns around, he looks in the rearview mirror and what he’s looking at in the rearview mirror is his wife. It’s like this movie that’s playing in the rearview mirror, and he’s reliving and  looking back at these happy moments. He’s essentially reviewing his wife because he’s already died and it shows happy times. You can see the actress is very sad, and that’s why it’s walk with me forever because in her case, she still alive and her heart is still with you. In the second half of the video, it’s him in the afterlife talking to her, pretty soon you’re gonna die and you’re gonna come over to my side anyway, then we will no longer be apart, we’ll always be together. That was the idea that I had on the video, splitting that chorus into two parts We’re able to do some different things with the video.


E&D: Musically, with Dieth, did you want to have like a soulful song like that and also the heavier material, an eclectic mix of musical styles?

David: I’ll be totally straight with you. This album wrote itself. The songs that are on the album are pretty much in the exact order that we wrote them. It’s not like we wrote a bunch, and we had to pick the best. The title is significant because what you hear at the end of the record on the song ‘Severance’ is the breath you’ve heard also at the very beginning was the descent down into hell, to hell and back. So this whole record really comprises going through hell with these emotions in these experiences, That’s what it’s like to go to hell and back, right? ‘Severance’ is nice, because it’s literally and metaphorically severing yourself from that past experience that you had, you had to go through that. We all go through these things, right, where there’s either a loss or a breakup or for us, we’re not in our previous bands anymore. Theres an emotional journey during those processes, we’re not in Megadeth, Decapitated or Entombed AD anymore, it’s been a couple of years. I just continued to work and make music keep pushing through that whole chapter and get over to the other side.

E&D: Has it been refreshing working with Guilherme and Michał in Dieth?

David: It is, because, let’s just say I lived a lot of years in a group where there was always this kind of looking back over the shoulder, longing to be in Metallica. I always felt like that was never my story, It wasn’t my argument to have, it wasn’t my thing. I think when we’re looking over our shoulder towards the past, we’re really disrespectfully and not present with where we should be, and I think that’s the beauty of what me, Guilherme and Michał are doing, we’re not looking over our shoulder going, “Well, I wonder what those guys are doing”. I really do not care at all with negatives. I really don’t, and it’s not to be mean, I don’t say it to be disrespectful, I’d say that whole thing is just literally dead to me, it’s as if it doesn’t even exist anymore. I’ve just moved past it. I think that’s a healthy way to look at it because it allows me to be present. When I’m in the room with Dieth and we’re making our music, we’re excited, we’re fully sober in mind and judgement and I think you can hear it in the music.

E&D: How did your recent live show in Berlin with with Testament and Voivod go?

David: It was so good, Chuck Billy and I really connected, When I went back to Megadeth, we were doing the Slayer Megadeth, Testament tour and Alex Skolnick, we do Metal Allegiance together, so we’ve grown with one another. We’re a new band, but we’re not like this baby band. You know what I mean? It’s not like these unknown guys. So when we walk on stage with Testament and Voivod, there’s already a familiarity. I thought that was super cool for everybody to just give us 45 minutes of your attention, and they really did and I thought that was cool.

E&D: What are Dieths live plans for the future?

David: We’re going to carry on through the summer. We’re already at home working on the stuff, and I think we’re a band that first and foremost, we know our own songs. We’re professionals on the level,  that we know when the phone rings, you show up for the gig and be prepared!

E&D: How do you feel to be on stage playing live again?

David: It was great. I’ve done quite a bit. I guess what keeps it fresh, we did a bunch, last year, and then we did a tour a couple of months ago and I did a couple of rock cruises. I’m kind of dusted off, if you will, and ready to ready to rock the stage again. With this band, it’s felt very natural, because you hear the songs as a listener, even myself, I sit and listen to the record, I’m a listener, I’m a fan of what I’m hearing, right? That’s a very different experience than having the instrument onstage playing and it sounds very different from this side, we’re thinking more musically rather than just as fans, so we trust each other as musicians and that show with everyone.

E&D: What have been some of the most memorable gigs for you across your whole career?

David: I’m glad you asked it that way rather than what’s your favourite gig because I don’t have a favourite anything, life’s too colourful for that, but you know, look, especially talking to you in the UK, certainly the the first time we played the Hammersmith Odeon on the Peace Sells tour in ’87 was cool, mostly because it was all fucked up! Our guitars barely cleared customs, we thought we’re gonna go on stage playing Stratocasters and Les Pauls from a hire company! The entire concert was broadcast live on the BBC. It was a big thing, and it’s funny, a lot of the gigs I remember were the ones where everything really fucked up because when it all goes really smooth, it’s almost not memorable, because it was so good. It’s so easy. I kind of remember tours, you know, with Judas Priest on the Painkiller tour or the Big 4 shows we did back in 2011.

E&D: Even though obviously, Dieth is a fresh start for you, so you still look back on your time with Megadeth with pride?

David: Of course, yeah. Listen, I’m not trying to be disrespectful with what I said today. I mean, look, I helped with starting the band. Sometimes in the early days, when we were starting and things were not easy. We had success and we would look back and thank God for those hardships, because it just made it more appreciative when we struck the pot of gold, and it really did work. We felt that it was going to but then when it actually did, It just sort of reaffirms to just trust your gut, trust your instincts know that you’re on the right path.

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