IDIOTEQ

Oakland punk’n’roll band DEALER: new track premiere & interview

17 days before the official release of their debut full length ‘Billionaire Boys Club’, Oakland, CA metallized punk’n’rollers DEALER (ex-SEXLESS) pop up with a new tune called ‘Solar Dominion’ and is not only better than we had any right to expect, but it’s relentlessly creative, powerful, and manic. The new jam is a radical joy from beginning to end and we’re proud to serve you its first official airing below. Check it out and scroll down to read our short interview, revealing more details on the Greg Wilkinson produced record (Earhammer Studios; IRON LUNG, GRAVES AT SEA), the new track, their local scene, some politics and looks for the future.

Released on LP, CD, digital and cassette Billionaire Boys Club is released worldwide on Wicked World Records on 17th February 2017. Catch the band live a their record release show at The Golden Bull, Oakland on 18th February with CCR Headcleaner, Andy Human & The Reptoids and Stucko. All proceeds will be donated to Planned Parenthood.

Hey guys! Congratulations on the forthcoming release of your debut record! How are you?

Thanks! I’m good. About to eat these vegetarian tacos, life is wild.

What’s gone into Billionaire Boys Club for you personally? What can you tell us about the way you’ve written and recorded this album?

Personally, I think we put 100% of ourselves into Billionaire Boys Club. I remember we went on this two week tour, where we had something like a 10 minute set of all 1 minute songs and when we got back I was like ok this is really stupid we can obviously play let’s try to write some real songs. It used to be hard to write cause there was always so much turnover in the line up, and for the first time in our history it felt stable. We already had prototypical versions of ‘Total Horse’ and ‘Slur’ working, and the Blue Oyster Cult cover, when we started writing ‘Odious Charm’. That was our first time really experimenting with a down-tempo sludgy groove, which in turn really opened us up to a whole new world of sound. We started playing with tunings too, and went from being an E standard band to a drop D band. ‘AM Gold’ is even in DADGAD. Then I simultaneously got fired from a soul-sucking job and my girlfriend dumped me for some scrub, and that’s when the riffs really started pouring out. I sold a bunch of music gear and sold my white blood cells and bone marrow to a cancer research center, and I didn’t have to work for a few months so was getting extremely wasted all the time. I sleep with a guitar in my bed, and during that period it seemed like every morning I’d roll over hungover and pick up my guitar and something new and exciting would come right out. It’s good to write hungover because you’re usually stripped of your ego and there’s always this strange floating clarity, like the eye of the storm before you get drunk again. Then I’d bring these riffs to the band and together we’d work on finding a dirty sexy groove, which is perhaps the most important element to any song. A song can’t stand alone without that essential funk, and Aaron and Darien got really creative and locked in tight with all these badass grooves. We were practicing 3-4 days a week so we were like a well-oiled machine by the time we stepped into Earhammer, and we recorded almost all the songs live in one take. I busted out a slew of guitar overdubs and solos the next day and then the vocals really took the most time because my voice kept dying out. But we took our time getting what we wanted out of the record, and I’m beyond stoked on the way it turned out. Greg Wilkinson at Earhammer really just did an amazing job with it as well, and I don’t think the album would translate the same had we gone through anyone else. He really found the sonic potential in every song, and BBC’s huge sound owes a lot to his intuitive engineering.

Do you think the arrival of Trump is going to have an affect on the music you play or do see music and politics as two very different things?

It won’t affect the trajectory of our music, unless artistic expression is outright banished during his presidency. Which of course is well in the realm of possibility. If anything we’ll just be writing more to stave off the fear and dread of whatever paradigm shift is inevitably bound to occur. But that’s always been there for me. Now every day is just even more of a blatant satire of our unfortunate existence. Society as a whole has devolved in such a tasteless, sensationalist fashion during my life, and it only makes sense to me that leaders like Trump are starting to pop up. It’s fucking sad, I am in no way rationalizing what is guaranteed to be a very dark age in all of our lives, but it’s happening. I’ll keep making music. And no I don’t necessarily think music and politics should be segregated, but I’m sure we can agree that by trying to cram too many opinions into a piece of art you run the risk of coming off like a douchebag or a fucking cornball. A lot of my lyrics touch on politics, but I try to keep it all pretty cryptic and free to interpretation. Because let’s face it, no one really cares about what I have to say.

How would you describe the scene in Oakland? Where does Dealer fit in? Do you play a lot of shows? Is there a great creative community for you to work with?

Oakland has a very diverse, wide-reaching music scene, with people repping every obscure sub classification of literally every genre, and Dealer somehow still fits in nowhere. Which is fine because I’d rather not get pigeonholed and that’s what happens to bands down here. We do the best in the hard rock scene at this point, because the fans are the least pretentious and just wanna get drunk and have a good time. And that’s really what we’re about. I do think it’s a blessing that when we were still a young band trying to find our sound, we were able to play so many shows and learn how to do the damn thing. There are shows here every night, just blocks from each other. When I was trying to get bands going in LA we could never get shows because we didn’t know anybody, and if you’re not playing live as a new band you basically don’t exist. We’re also lucky to have a tight group of music-obsessed friends all discovering cool new bands all the time, and we live in a house with Lecherous Gaze–the coolest band around–and get to observe how they do what they do and kinda learn how to be a legit rock band through osmosis. A lot more goes into this rock and roll thing than most people assume. If you truly love it, it consumes your entire being. It keeps us going just having our all are pals in the same boat.

We’re going to première ‘Solar Dominion’ on the site soon. It’s a furious track. What can you tell us about it? How does it fit in amongst all the other tracks on the record? What’s it about? How and when was it written?

‘Solar Dominion’ is a song I’m really proud of but also the most hesitant to show around because it’s so crazy and different than all the rest. It was the last song we wrote for the Billionaire Boys Club, and we finished it like a week before going in to record. I had to write half the lyrics in the studio. Each verse tackles something different, one is about struggling with addiction, one is kind of about our obsession with commodity and the disconnect with Mother Nature, and one speculates which world power shall do the honors of pulling the plug on a sick and dying world. Pretty scatterbrained but I tried to find the common theme in insinuating we’re all shackled together in this mess, helpless little ants keeping busy and distracted under an ever-blazing oppressive sun (it was also really hot in Oakland at the time). The structure itself is just borderline nonsensical. It’s all triplets! 1-2-3-1-2-3-1-2-3. And the chorus is just a repeated guitar solo, no words. I was pretty much only listening to Voivod at the time, and was really inspired by their approach to heavy metal. You can especially hear us trying to rip them off in the structure of the extended middle guitar solo. It’s my favorite guitar solo on the record, and I put down some cool harmonies at Greg’s suggestion. Sometimes I hear it and it makes me wonder how we’d sound with two guitar players. Considering that Total Horse is the first song we wrote for BBC and Solar Dominion is the last, you can kinda trace how we evolved as a band as the writing continued. We’ve only played Solar Dominion twice live and each time barely recovered from getting lost somewhere. The triplets just throw it all off. Maybe we’ll play it again someday, who knows?

What’s next for Dealer in 2017? What are your hopes for the future as a band.

Well the record comes out 2/17 and we’ll be playing the next day at The Golden Bull in Oakland with CCR Headcleaner, Andy Human & The Reptoids and Stucko, in my opinion some of the sickest most original Bay Area bands happening right now. All proceeds from the door are going to Planned Parenthood because they do good things for the human race. We set out on a five week tour starting late March, which including our roadies makes five long hair hippies burning out in a purple van across Trump’s America. If we survive that we’ll have a song coming out on the next Sweet Times compilation through Who Can You Trust? Records in Germany, and we’ll also have two extra songs recorded for a single if we can find someone to pick it up. Then we’ll probably write another album and try to tour Europe and anywhere else under the sun, because what else is there in life?