||GROG: IN CONVERSATION ABOUT DIE SO FLUID
Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke
What wonderful imagery is conjured when playing 'The Opposites Of Light', album number four by a dark-loving, art-based Hard rock trio by the name of Die So Fluid.
The chemistry shared by Mr Drew (guitars), Al Fletcher (drums) and Grog (bass & lead vocals) is evident on the 16 sweeping tracks contained on this latest release and will provide listeners with plenty to wrap their ears around.
Encompassing imagery and styles appealing to Post-Punk audiences and the Metal fraternity, it isn't just their ability to crossover to the varying corners of these communities that makes them so interesting, it is their daring nature to be provocative in playing music that is distinctly them, and avoiding conformity and pigeonholes.
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To find out more about Die So Fluid, I was fortunate enough to get some time with Grog, front-woman of this exquisite three-piece and discuss all manner of things as she spins herself around on her chair.
Why did the band name their album 'The Opposites Of Light'?
Grog: "We liked the way it sounded and we thought that's a really great framework to use, to build this body of material and we'll see how it pans out. Actually it did turn out to be perfect because it allowed us to demonstrate the heavy side that we do but also this more dark introspective sort of brooding side as well. Also that side of it allowed me to showcase my vocals on top of that."
Pondering over the amount of material they have on the album, I quizzed Grog about why this was. Maybe they just loved each and every song they had created during this session?
Grog: "We never have that attitude. We were always like you know, does this cut the mustard, is this good enough? We're almost pedantic about what we let people hear. We did actually fully record 18 tracks and two of them we decided weren't good enough for the album. It's not that they weren't good enough, it was just the actual recordings and maybe parts on them weren't quite as good as we had originally intended."
Picking up on what Grog said about the two tracks that didn't make it, I asked about whether any of the 16 tracks that have been included on 'The Opposites Of Light' surpassed expectation.
Grog: "For me, I'm really pleased with 'Black Blizzard'; just when we put those Egyptian strings on that Samy Bishai played for us, that was the icing on the cake, brought the whole thing to life. It's just such an epic song and I love the subject matter of it so yes, for me that one stands out. There's lots of performances I'm proud of on it."
This sparks a line of thought that Grog then goes on to share.
Grog: "The new way we were writing for this album 'cos of me being in the U.S. it was a new technique 'cos we were firing ideas back and forth over the internet. Then recording it, I mean I recorded all my vocals by myself so it allowed me the luxury of being indulgent almost you know. I wanted to get perfect performances for every single song, so we were basically reaching for the stars with everything we did on this album."
To clarify what Grog was expressing, I took her back to the previous three albums and wanted a comparison in the way the band approached recording them.
Grog: "The thing is those first three albums allowed us to forge that spirit of what we do, and we haven't lost that at all with the 4th album - it's still there. We've basically built on it. We've expanded our abilities – I've had to learn a lot more about recording. We've all had to become more responsible I think as separate entities in the band, and I've always felt we're like the three musketeers, I've always felt like that about our band.
"There's a lot of love there in our band and it doesn't really matter where me move to or what happens to us in our lives. Two of us have got married, and it hasn't changed anything – we have this really strong connection, we're like a family. That's such a cliché - people say that, but it's true for us."
The conversation moved on to their music videos for 'Comets' and 'Black Blizzard'where we discussed costumes and the ideas behind each video.
During this moment, Grog acknowledged her reputation for making outfits was becoming recognised more and more. The head dress worn in 'Black Blizzard' was discovered in a costume shop in central London.
Grog: "I went to art school when I was younger, and I went to Chelsea School of Art but during that period was when I started playing in bands and that's when music really made sense of my life and something clicked, gave me my purpose. So everything else became paths into that for me, so it's all connected and all the things I do feed off one another but ultimately it leads back to Die So Fluid – that's my priority, my baby."
Taking specific tracks from 'The Opposites Of Light', I enquired about their source or the inspiration behind them. First up – 'Crime Scene'.
Grog: "I can generalise about the topic and say that it's basically about control freaks."
Next up - 'Carnival'.
Grog: "That's a special song for me actually, but I don't know if you noticed that there's a lot of tarot references in it. That's something I 'm really fascinated by and I've gone back to learning it all again. I sort of dabbled with it a few years back, but I didn't really have the time and patience to really get to grips with it.
"But I've started again now. There's a lot of references to that – It's like a symbol for the whole process of the entertainment business, of being in a band and touring and what you see in the song is the magical aspect of the performance and the showmanship coupled with the blood, sweat and tears that go into making that happen and all the hard work. How you can't have one without the other."
Finally – 'The World Opposite'.
Grog: "That one has a lot of references to the Polar night and how over recent years having moved here (U.S.) I'm constantly crossing time zones."
We moved in to the area of looking after yourself to get the most out of the working day and in achieving as much as you can.
Grog: "I actually do Kundalini Yoga now and that's been really beneficial because it helps with your stamina and your breathing techniques and strengthens your spine. Also it really helps you focus and you can summon up energy very fast and then you also learn to be able to relax very fast, so that's been amazing."
Noting the tremendous horizon of sounds incorporated in places on 'The Opposites Of Light', I posed the question whether Grog found being a trio restrictive?
Grog: "Somebody actually asked me on Facebook the other day about this subject because of the songs that have extra instrumentation on them on the album, people are wondering – what does this mean?" The front-lady of Die So Fluid lets out a chuckle and then continues. "Is there suddenly going to be an orchestra on stage or something? The bass parts run all the way through so I don't see how I could be playing any other instruments and singing at the same time.
"On this tour we've just introduced playing backing tracks and so for 'Black Blizzard' and also for 'Violent Delights' which also has strings on, we use backing tracks which Al was controlling from behind the drums."
Grog confirmed that these backing tracks were made of the original recordings by the musicians featured on the album. During this point of her thoughts on being a live band and how in a way using such techniques might not work for the band, Grog accepted that it worked really well and she felt it added a new dimension to the set.
So, Die So Fluid isn't happy to be put in a box or labelled.
Grog: "Absolutely not. We probably upset some people because we don't go - oh here's our band and it sounds like a thousand other bands and it fits neatly into this box so give it a listen! I'm just not interested in that. We make music because we love music, we don't think about what people mightl think about to be honest, we just think about making fantastic music that we might like to listen to ourselves, which I've said a lot of times before but that's true. I think that's the only way you can make any great art you know - it's a labour of love."
It was a pleasure chatting with Grog as she tackled any subject I sent her way with gusto and sincerity. Not too shy of a word like "gothic" or particularly bothered by what people think, Die So Fluid are a rare band that follow their hearts and their own expectations trying to produce music that pleases their own benchmarks of quality. With art being respected by Grog and with her constant interest in a world around her, it feels like Die So Fluid with their strong bond is not going to give up any time soon.
Prepare to discover new treats hidden within the layers of music they brandish on the latest opus 'The Opposites Of Light', and ready yourself for a dark and sexy soundtrack to the next couple of years of your life. The press release sums it up all very well; "...with a flair for heavy rock, post punk experimentation and vampiric desert ballads."