Interview with Dry Kill Logic lead singer Cliff Rigano

- Nov 27, 2006 at 05:59PM
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One of the most original band names you’ll probably ever hear is the name Dry Kill Logic. Named after, of all things, an effects processor, Dry Kill Logic is a hardcore and metal band from New York City who has existed now in some shape for close to ten years. The group has undergone a couple of lineup changes along the way, but the recent release of the band’s new record Of Vengeance and Violence has seen Dry Kill Logic take their sound to a whole new level of progression. Recently we caught up with the band’s founder and lead singer Cliff Rigano for a chat about all things Dry Kill Logic, including the new record, the band’s lineup changes and a very interesting take on hard rock and metal music within the music business. Here’s how it went:

I know you guys have been around a long time now, but how exactly did the members meet and the band come together?
Cliff: Well I mean we’ve been around a long time, Phil and I started the band with a couple of other guys and released a few independent EPs in the ‘90s and then we put out our first record on Roadrunner Records which was the Darker Side of Nonsense which came out in 2001. In 2002, we went through a lineup change, we got a new bass player and a new guitarist and put out The Dead and Dreaming in 2004 and then from there, had another lineup change, got a new bass player and then put out this new record in 2006. We met Jason, the new guitar player, in a big band around here called Gargantuan Soul and um, we had mutual friends because we had just all come up in the same you know, quadrant so we all just kind of crossed paths when we went out from our home territories. He was looking for a gig and we were looking for a guitar player and he’s awesome and came right in and started writing and he’s great. Right now, the bass player is Brendan Duff who use to be in A Hundred Demons and A Thousand Falling Skies, so I feel like now we have a lineup of guys who have been through it a little bit and have a little more to offer under their belts as far as experience, musicianship and ability and it’s just really great for us at this point in our careers.

I read that at one time Dry Kill Logic was actually known as Hinge. Where did this name come from and why did you decide to change it?
Cliff: We were on Roadrunner and we were going to get sued if we used the name. There was a guy who owned the copyright to the name and he wasn’t in a band, he was a studio guy out of Chicago and just basically owned the trademark and was a dick about it and just had no desire to compromise. There were other bands before us named Hinge and he never let them use it, but he strung us along until the eleventh hour so we had to change the name. We had come across the name Dry Kill Logic in a manual for an effects processor, the processor had a logic button that would kill the dry signal and only let the wet one through. We just thought it was a cool name and we told it to a few people and they liked it and you know, off we went and it was probably the best idea that we had because we didn’t have any other good names for the band. Had we had think of something it probably would have been pretty brutal but you know we were fortunate.

Your new record Of Vengeance and Violence was just released about a month ago. Now that it’s out, how do you personally feel about the record in comparison to the band’s previous releases?
Cliff: You know, I think everything’s an evolution, I think that the records reflect musicians and their lives and the things they see and experience; kind of like the catharsis that allows expression. I think this record was an evolution for us from where we’d been from the last record and I feel good about it man, we just wanted to sit down and apply ourselves, really just wanted to write the best record possible and really just try to do the best job we could and you know, on some level we feel that we accomplished that.

Let’s briefly touch on the writing and recording process for Of Vengeance and Violence. How long did it take to make the album and did you do anything differently this time around compared to your past releases?
Cliff: Well, you know this is the first record that we’ve ever had a record deal while we made it. The first record we did, we did it at nights and on the weekends with the guys from Scrap 60 before we were signed to Roadrunner and then The Dead and the Dreaming we made after we parted ways with Roadrunner before we met up with Repossession so this was the first record where it was like, ok we get to do this fulltime. And I think that allowed us more time to really delve into songwriting and ability and just try to take everything as seriously as possible and not rush it. So that was definitely one of the benefits.

One thing that I thought was strong about the new album was the production work. Who did you get to produce Of Vengeance and Violence and why did you decide to work with them?
Cliff: Well we used Scrap 60, the same guy who’s produced all the Dry Kill Logic records and basically, we just wanted to, with this album, we just wanted to go back and just try to continue working with them. We always feel really comfortable with those guys in the studio, Rob was in Anthrax and he’s a musician, Eddie’s been in a bunch of bands and done a bunch of producing and it’s very comfortable, everyone kind of understands. And when you’re working in the studio, you gotta work with people where you know it’s like mutual, because you know all musicians are artistic and moody and you know, if you work with a guy who you don’t take seriously and he starts critiquing your record, it’s not going to lead to a really good record, that angst doesn’t always translate unless there’s some sort of respect. So with those guys [Scrap 60], we’ve just been working together so long that we all have respect for each other and you know, we just feel like Eddie has really delivered a record for us, Rob as well, so we’re happy you know....

What would you say your favorite track is off of Of Vengeance and Violence and why?
Cliff: You know, I think it changes like every time I listen to the record, but right now I think it’s “Bone Yard,” just because it’s one of the heavier tracks and I feel like it definitely represents the band well.

Through Dry Kill Logic’s history as a band, you’ve gone through a few bass players and a guitarist. Did you ever consider breaking the band up when members left the band and do you think that the current lineup is going to stick together for at least a while?
Cliff: Well you know, I feel like we have the current lineup that will be with the band forever. I feel like with Brendan and with Jay, these guys are definitely dedicated to the career of the band and you know, I don’t feel like we’ll run into similar situations that we ran into with previous situations. But you know conversely, who defines forever? Who defines how long anything lasts? For us, we’re five years into the game and to be at this point where now we’ve released four records and we have a fan base, we feel really fortunate that we’ve even been able to get this far. We’ve been able to see some really great things and be apart of some really great times, and who knows, if it all ended tomorrow or if it all ended twenty years from now, I definitely feel like I’ve seen and done a lot and been apart of some really great things. Hopefully it’ll last forever.

I read on your official website that once the September 11th terrorist attacks occurred, your former record label stopped supporting your style of hard music and encouraged you guys to write more radio friendly songs. Could you elaborate a bit on this? How did this situation exactly unfold?
Cliff: Well I just think, it wasn’t necessarily all about September 11th, I think it played a catalyst with regards to how powerful radio could be for a label like Roadrunner. Aside from the fact that at the time Roadrunner just partnered up with Island and were just starting to feel that major label collaboration come together with Nickelback, when 9/11 happened basically they just cut aggressive music out of playlists on radio stations. You heard a lot less Slipknot, you heard a lot less Drowning Pool and you heard a lot less Machinehead and you heard a lot less of everything. But what happened was they didn’t necessarily replace the artists that they removed with new artists, they just jumped up the spins on the artists that remained, Incubus, System of a Down, Nickelback. And those bands that you heard at the time, they were just getting a lot more spins.

So when Nickelback got those kinds of spins on “How You Remind Me,” it just showed Roadrunner how you could compete in the major label world with a band that had a radio hit. And for a good two years after that, you saw the Jerry Cantrells and the Ill Ninos and the Theory of a Deadmans and all the bands that came out between 2002 and the end of 2003, they were really geared towards that mainstream rock that Nickelback had completely dominated. And I get it, their mindset was why spend ten years to try to sell two million records like Fear Factory when all you have to do is have a “How You Remind Me” like Nickelback? I get it, it’s business. And for us, we didn’t really fit into it, we were still a young band and we didn’t really fit into the mindset there. When we had signed it had been all about the Slipknot mindset of hardcore touring, hardcore street team, hardcore you know, building a fan base and then think about radio. Once they saw the real success you could have as a major label player in the radio game, they went after it a little more directly and we didn’t fit in.

I get it man, I’ve been around the industry a long time, it’s just how it works, we just didn’t fit in and that’s fine. I’m not even sure we were the right band for that slot anyways. You know without Roadrunner, I don’t think we’d probably even be talking today, if they didn’t put out that first record and do the job that they did and give us the opportunities we had, I don’t think we’d be in the position that we are in today. So although it couldn’t move farther, it’s not like where we went was bad. I’ve got a lot of respect for the label, they’ve gone on and done well and you know, especially with returning to the metal with the Chimaira releases since 2002 and Killswitch Engage obviously and you know, they just had a lot of success and they’re signing the players, Megadeth, Hatebreed.

At the end of this month, you guys will embark on a three week tour of England and other parts of Europe. What has the reaction to your music been like overseas compared to here in the United States and Canada?
Cliff: Well Canada’s always been great, on the last record we were able to do a good headline run of Western Canada and then we played Toronto and Montreal with Gigantour. So far we’ve done pretty well overseas. And I think that outside of North America, mainland Europe, the UK, Australia, Japan, they just don’t get as many American releases as we have here obviously so for them, it’s just something newer and exciting and the fans seem to really gravitate to it more whereas here, there are so many shows for a consumer to pick from that you become quite jaded to everything that isn’t your favorite. I feel like we’ve always been very well received overseas, well in most cases, probably better than we’ve been received in the US. But you know, again we just feel really fortunate that anyone likes it anywhere.

Besides this upcoming overseas tour, what does Dry Kill Logic have planned for the new year and into 2007?
Cliff: Well we’re doing this new tour, then we’re doing a month in Europe and then we are coming back and we are looking to do Canadian/US run probably first, starting sometime towards the middle to end of January. And then we’d like to go back to Australia, do another full US run and you know, continue to build and continue to hit the road and grow and build and just go from there.  [ END ]
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