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A Dirty Dozen with DUST BITERS – February 2023

| 16 February 2023 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Dust Biters is an emerging, emotive post-hardcore band from Chicago, IL, with a torpedo of groovy riffs and aggressive swing – a sound indicative of their mosaic of influences like Refused, Glassjaw, and Against Me! – that is as clever as it is reckless. Guilt, the debut full-length record from Dust Biters, was independently released on August 12, 2022. Recorded, mixed, and produced by Alex Lackner (Lazarus A.D., Repentance), Guilt is built on soaring guitars, furious drums, and gripping melodic hooks that flirt with both the somber and the rapture. Throughout the 12-track album, Dust Biters creates harmony between thoughtful post-hardcore and melodically measured alternative metal. In conjunction with the record release, Dust Biters released two collaborations: a burger with the lauded metal authority Kuma’s Corner that unites ingredients from each member’s native region, and the “Guilt Gose” with Metal Monkey Brewing – a traditional German-style sour wheat ale spiced with habanero peppers and pineapple, an allusion to the band’s penchant for musically blending the spicy and sweet.” We get the guys – well three of them – to discuss new music, influences, and more.

1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Miller: Our latest single, “Progeny,” is the first single off our full-length album, Guilt. Listen through once and catch the cowbell, then go back and listen to the vocals again. I bet you sing along to one of the parts on the 2nd listen.

Bryan: “Progeny” has a lot of layers and different ear candy. I feel like we all give each other space to express ourselves individually in our music. In all our songs. Each of us has a moment to shine, whether it be the drums, or a guitar solo or a bass lick you have so much to hone in on to really appreciate it… it’s fun to sit with your headphones on and dissect it. If you listen close enough you can hear that fence hit my face.

Tommy: All of us in Dust Biters grew up listening to albums, so we decided to make our debut full-length Guilt rewarding for those who experience it from start to finish. I hope anyone interested in our music will especially check out the closing track, “Goddamn Guilt” because it is a total departure from our otherwise groovy acid metal.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Miller: Music was always important, but I grew up in a small town in the 80s and 90s, so any musician I was aware of was also a massive rock star, so the idea of being a musician just seemed unattainable. When I met some people in high school that were in a band and playing shows, I was blown away that starting a band was something that people could just do. Then I chased the white rabbit down the rabbit hole.

Bryan: I was Born in Puerto Rico and watched my Grandfather perform in his band when I was 5. It was an ensemble of the Puertorican musicians that just played good feel music. Kinda like Buena Vista Social Club. Lol but I remember being star struck and wanting that. How everyone loved my grandfather and how people would just show up to celebrate live music and community it was so dope. When I moved to Chicago I was slowly exposed to music from friends and just being in the punk rock/hardcore scene and there was no other choice.

Tommy: I had no choice. My family threw me into music. My parents were constantly playing records from their collection – a merger of the Chopin, Miles Davis, and Rat Pack from my dad with the Black Sabbath, Elton John, and Steely Dan from my mom. My aunt and uncle sang and played guitar together. They took me to concerts and plays. I liked the sounds and wanted to make them. My parents bought me a Casio keyboard when I was three because I was too small to play piano. I learned the language and then dove into piano. Then I picked up pots and pans and eventually drums and later a guitar and synths. I grew up on grunge, hip hop, and metal. I played in as many bands as I could. As my vocabulary expanded, so did my search for new music and different musicians to play with. This hasn’t stopped.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Miller: I have ADHD. I like A LOT of music.

Bryan: Impossible to name just one dude. Come on. Lol

Tommy: Cardiacs.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Miller: Ross Robinson. Because he’s fucking Ross Robinson.

Bryan: Robert Smith. He’s the ultimate goth icon and original sad boy. haha

Tommy: Makaya McCraven. He’s a badass musician and a master of playing in the moment. Or Josh Homme who is a maestro riff and melody writer, arranger and producer.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour? What do you like to do to unwind?

Miller: I like to play music to unwind. Bouldering clears my head.

Bryan: Writing music for sure, hanging out with my kid. Digging for Vinyl.

Tommy: Being on the ocean.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Miller: As in, the person soliciting a description is a person that has solicited advice or information from me before, but disregarded everything I told them? If that’s the case, and the person just refuses to listen to me. I would use reverse psychology. I would tell them that they SHOULDN’T listen to us, Because we don’t shredd very hard at all, we’re all super ugly, and the music is made specifically for people with bad taste in punk or metal.

Bryan: I like to describe us like… imagine that you’re in some kinda metal or punk dive bar. Then all of a sudden a bar fight fucking breaks out… we would be the band playing on stage when that bar fight pops off. Someone said we sound like the Sex Pistols. And they couldn’t have been more fucking off. Haha.

Tommy: Dust Biters sounds like a 1977 Pontiac Firebird and a bag of mushrooms.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Miller: HA! We smoke weed and order gopuff.

Bryan: lol…what Mullet said.

Tommy: Miller nailed it.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Miller: Aesop Rock, 2015.

Bryan: I mean I haven’t met too many of my musical heroes. I Met Dani Filth once at Rolling Stones. And gave him a fist bump and he talked in his British accent and I started to talk like him. It was really weird. Completely not intentional. Just being a kid and nervous to act cool in front of the front man of Cradle Of Filth. Lol.

Tommy: Dave Lombardo last year.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Miller: Organizing music festivals or something. I don’t know, I have a pretty cool job now, I would probably just keep doing my job.

Bryan: Best part about being a musician is having that creative outlet and playing with these goons. But for sure having a place to let out all that my brain constantly comes up with. I like being a Barber. Sooo I would say that. But food critic sounds fantastic. Strictly pizza. But clearly Dave Portnoy has that shit covered.

Tommy: The best part of being a musician is that I get to experiment with sounds, chase the music I hear in my head, and collaborate with genuinely awesome people. If I wasn’t a musician I’d be completely happy being lost at sea.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Miller: “What do you think God is?” …Hahaha. JK. “What got you into music?”. 😉

Bryan: is it true if you don’t use it. You lose it? Which of course the answer is yes… annoying frequently asked question. What would you consider the genre of music your band is? And I would just say. The good kind. 😉

Tommy: What’s your favorite atom?

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Miller: Definitely wish I could have played more shows with Flesh and Blood Robot.

Bryan: No regurts…..yet?

Tommy: Rather than do something over, I’d prefer to work with artists from my past to make something new that represents where we are now.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Miller: This is a massive question! How do you just toss this in as the last question? Pink Floyd – Dark Side of The Moon or The Beatles – Sgt Pepper. They were both so thoughtful and intentional and just absolutely mind blowing records that were made under really tough restrictions by today’s standards. Would have been cool to hear the discussions around mixing and composition, plus like….everything else about the experience.

Bryan: Dude really?!?! So many come to mind. The Cure Pornography, Nirvanas Nevermind, Rage Against The Machines first record. I remember listening to that one and feeling dangerous walking down the streets of Chicago as a kid. Absolutely not knowing any of the political stands they were taking and fighting against. Hahaha Rust In Peace by Megadeth. Man there’s just way to many to chose from. I’ll say Rage as my final answer only cause I remember feeling powerful listening to that as a young punk rock throw away kid. but I’m fighting every fiber to change my mind.

Tommy: I wish I could work with Tim Smith from Cardiacs.






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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