Tuesday, June 11, 2013


 Connecticut based roaring experimental Sludge band WHEN THE DEADBOLT BREAKS are about to release their 4th new album "Drifting Towards the Edge of the Earth" within the next weeks, and believe me this one is a massive masterpiece of dark creativity which is a serious contender to enter upcoming Doom Charts !!! An amazing double-album of about two hours with some of the heaviest and most sonically diverse Sludge you could ever expect. Basically harsh downtuned, crushing and chaotic, the band's sound is awesomely open, alternatively melancholic and hazy, it breaks almost all boundaries of Sludge as you usually know it...
This needed some investigation on this largely underrated band, headthinking Aaaron Lewis (guit/voc) kindly answered my questions :

Hi Aaron, WHEN THE DEADBOLT BREAKS is not really a newcomer in the scene but sadly your name didn’t come to many European ears over the years, so could you please give us a brief historic of the band ?
First, thank you for your interest in When the Deadbolt Breaks, we do appreciate the interview! 
When the Deadbolt Breaks started at the end of 2004 or so when I left Cable.  At the time, it was just an idea I had, where a drummer (Eric) and myself started writing and recording simultaneously.   Halfway into recording the record, we got picked up by an indie label (Spare Change).  We finished the record (In the Ruins No Light Shall Shine), found the rest of the members for that time and started doing some shows.   Since then, the band has had numerous line-up changes.  But the idea has never been about the members themselves, its been more about the music and the vibe as a whole and the music that is written as a unit.  So, who ever is in the band at the time, is who it is. 

Where does this name come from and what does relate it to your sound and identity?
The name came from a cartoon idea I had in my head.   More of a scene I suppose.  The song “Fist Full of Flowers and an Empty Handgun” from our first record is really the first song that I had written for this band.  The name of the band and that song go hand in hand.   Maybe its better described as a feeling.  That feeling you get when something isn’t right, when violence is about to take place and you can feel it.  The door is busted open and there’s a shadowy figure with a pistol on the other side.  That vibe is the essence of what we work with. 

The new album starts with “the woods are full of killers”, probably the doomiest song of the album, why did you choose this one as opening song?
“The woods are full of killers” just seemed right for an opening tune.  I think it sets the mood perfectly and maybe it gives an uncomfortable feeling because it takes so long to really get moving...  So we rolled with it. 

We’ll come on the 2nd part of the double album later but on the 1st part of “drifting toward the edge of the earth” you guys like to include lots of moods variations within a song, it can start in a up-tempo stoner, then turn after a few minutes in crawling sludge and ends with a quiet acoustic guitar… this can describe "The Scavengers Daughter" but is in fact without any order established from one song to another, do you pay attention to the balance of the different moods or just let things coming out all naturally?
We just let things come out naturally.  It’s the only way we can.  Much of our live set is improvised.  Always has been.  So, our recording sessions tend to be the same. 

“Too much perfection is a mistake”, I’m more than ok with such philosophy but why did you give that name to a peaceful instrumental?!  Is that a guideline that you apply as musician and individual in life in general?
“Too much perfection is a mistake” was just something that came about when I was experimenting in the studio one night.  I was playing with layers and sound-scapes and everything just seemed to fit together.  The name itself just fit the feel of the tune.  It has a certain flow to it.  I think it also fit the mood I was in at the time.  You plan of some things and put such high expectations to them, and later they let you down.

The song after is “California comes the rain”, it’s different but still quiet in its 3 first minutes with your vocals à la Peter Steel then turning into crushing doomy sludge with sick despaired growls, damn this is awesome… must not be easy to make this one accurately on stage or … ?
Thank you for the compliment on this tune.  Actually, California Comes the Rain is one of the songs we tend to play live often.  I think we pull it off better live for the most part.  It maybe one of my favorite songs to play live.

What about your lyrics?  is there a special theme in this album that link the songs?
Lyrics are moody.  There’s no specific theme to the album aside from maybe desperation or melancholy.  My lyrics often reflect my mood, but I find that I don’t really write if things are going well.  So, to a point, I think my lyrics are introspective. Even if they don’t reflect a thought, they reflect my mood or vibe.  In general, I feel that regardless if we think we know what were doing… we’re all kind of lost. Its just the nature of the game.  Drifting.  

I hear at several times some Industrial sonorities, like early Godflesh and that kind of stuff from the early 90’s, is that some sounds that influenced you ?
As a group (Rich, Mike, myself),  we all have a broad range of influences.  For myself, Godflesh is definitely one.  Along with Big Black, Black Flag, ….. and many many others.   When we write, it’s a total group effort.  When we jam live it’s the same way.  Everyone throws in their own flavor for the greater good! 

 The influence of Peter S. (T.O.N.) can be heard at several other moments too (“gun swallower” especially or on various parts of “my coffin is loaded…”) , even some death/grind hints too here and there, but all those were more present in your previous album which was globally more brutal… how do you see the evolution of WTDB sound over the years ? Do you feel this new album is your most rich and personal production yet ?
I have never been a huge fan of Type-O Negative.  I like them, but have never really spent much time listening to them.  But I do appreciate the vocal comparison. 
The line-up’s on the previous records (In the Ruins No Light Shall Shine, Spit CD with Negative Reaction, The Last Day of Sun)  have been very different. Actually, myself and Cherilynne are the only ones that have been consistent over the years.  So, that does have some accounting for the changes.  But I think as a whole, When the Deadbolt Breaks has been working toward something, a sound or feeling maybe.  And I feel that the current line-up has actually achieved what the band is really about.  I love all the stuff we’ve done in the past, but there’s a chemistry with Mike, Rich and myself that has was missing before.  Most of our live sets are improvised and there needs to be a certain connection for that.  I do think the new record; “Drifting Toward the Edge of the Earth” is our best effort to-date.  I think it’s the most open and experimental with less restraint.  Plus brutality is all in the eye of the listener.  Personally, I think this record (records…) are more sonically brutal than anything we’ve done before.  More cohesive. 

This also leads me to ask you  if the 90’s is your biggest influencing period?   or more  surprisingly  are you also into a 70’s retro-karma like so many many other bands ?!!!
Its hard to say.  I do think both the 70’s and 90’s are huge influence’s to us, but Im also a huge jazz fan and feel that has had a huge influence on how I approach music. 

I hear in the new album a big improvement in terms of production, where “the last day of sun” sounded raw, this  time things get pretty much thicker and hazy…
The production is without a doubt much better on “Drifting Toward the Edge of the Earth”, we do everything in house, so I think that has come with more experimenting, better equipment and going for an all out different feel.  Thicker and hazy are perfect descriptions for what we were going for this time.

 “my coffin is loaded with sand and fire” is the title of the 2nd disc/part of the double album which is just one long long song splited in 5 parts , you told me that about it“ There are multiple vocalists there.  myself, Cherilynne (who has been on all of our records),  Merillee and Randy Larsen from Cable.     The song was a spur of the moment "jam" that we did over 2 days…”
And indeed it still has its raw moments (2nd part) but there’s a lot more psyched-out, mystical (pt 3) and melancholic (pt 4) -  it’s not jamming in the sense of  some typical overflow of unbridled guitars, but more like a shamanic musical exaltation, gathering good friends who share the same visions at the same moments … was the atmosphere that special to make it so intense and inspired?
“My Coffin is Loaded with Sand and Fire” was kind of an experiment for us. Especially working with a song that is over 50 minutes in length.  We had a few small ideas for riffs and figured before we went on tour, would just drink wine, set up the mics, hit record and see what happens.  There definitely was an atmosphere and a flow there.  Everyone had their own things to add and there were no rules.  I think that made it more of an experience for us then just writing a song.  It was interesting to see the whole thing develop as it went along.  It’s a great thing when everyone involved can share the same trip.

The 2nd part of your previous double album already had a more experimental touch than the first but was composed more classically of 6 six different songs, yet it was also more quiet and experimental (save “spinal carve”) than the 1st part, was your wish to push things further this time with “my coffins is loaded with sand and fire” ?
I think the intention of “My Coffin is Loaded with Sand and Fire” was really just to push ourselves in general.  To see what more could do with improvisation.  Like I said earlier, much of our live shows are improvised, so we wanted to see if it would come across well on a record.    Our 2010 record, “The Last Day of Sun” didn’t have much of that to it. There was more of a structure.  It was also an entirely different line-up at the time, so the vibe was very different.  At times it was more tense… which I feel ultimately lead to the harshness of some parts.

Do you think it could ever be possible to play live that “my coffin is loaded with sand and fire” ? don’t know , maybe even just once, something like at Roadburn 2026 for your 2nd reformation ?!!!
We’ve actually been working on playing it live. And plan to in the very near future.  And shit… if we could do it at Roadburn…. We would be more than happy to.

Cherryline is singing on all your albums,  does she take part in live performances or don’t you ever play those  atmospheric songs  live ?  
Cherilynne has taken part in some of our live performances.  We’ve played shows with up to 6 people on stage and as few as 2.  She will be with us when we do “My Coffin… “ live.
When the Deadbolt Breaks is playing live regularly with many awesome bands from the East coast, just to name a few - for example recently Weedeater and War Injun, previously with Hour of 13 and Pilgrim, soon with Lord Fowl and Backwoods Payback… which ones did leave you the best memories to gig and party with ?
All those bands are great, and we are always honored to share the stage with them.  Over the years we have met many great bands and made some great friends.  We always look forward to the next gig.  Cheers to all our friends!

I know that musicians are rarely satisfied of their own live performances but there’s maybe a special gig -where musically everything went perfectly well- which has your preference among others?
I dig all of our live shows. Each one is so different.  Even if we play the same songs, we never play them the same way twice. Which… makes it new every single time.  There’s just something satisfying about getting a few drinks, turning up the volume and loosing yourself in the flow of feedback and fuzz.  I think that’s what we do.  Or at least that’s how we see it. I always leave feeling satisfied… even if the gig isn’t perfect, its still a release that we need.

How can people get the new album ? Which are other merchandise available currently ?
Drifting Toward the Edge of the Earth will be out this summer on Ear One Productions.  We don’t have a release date as of yet, but we will soon.
As far as other merch,  you should be able to find our first 2 records  (“Split with Negative Reaction” and “In the Ruins No Light Shall Shine”) through Spare Change Records and other various distros.   Our 2010 record “The Last Day of Sun” is available for FREE download at www.FuzzTownRecords.com

Any further plans for gigs and touring ? Which part of the States you’ve never been yet would be a priority next ?
Once the new record is released, we plan to head out west to tour for a short bit.  We are currently working on plans for that.

What about Europe ? Is there a special country you’d like to play in first ?
We would love to hit Europe and man, we’re not picky.  Just to get out there and do it would be enough for us. 

Well, thanx a lot Aaron… feel free to add something if you wish !
Thank you Stephane and Temple of Perdition for your interest in When the Deadbolt Breaks and thank you to 313 Inc Artist Management for all their support.
When the Deadbolt Breaks – Drifting Toward the Edge of the Earth will be out on Ear One Productions this summer.  Check www.whenthedeadboltbreaks.com for more information or you can find us on Facebook. 
Stay heavy! 


(from all songs streaming, just the 1st one is from the new album, watch out for more new songs soon from their fb page !!!)

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