"Dredg guitarist Mike Engles influenced by Pink Floyd." - Interview

Rock group Dredg, whose 2009 release “The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion” was critically acclaimed, quickly jumped back into the studio for an early 2011 release that as of now is still untitled. Recently I got the chance to catch up with Dredg guitarist Mike Engles to talk about the upcoming album as well as some of his favorite concert memories.

Q - Hello?

A - Hey it’s Mike from Dredg.

Q - How are you doing?

A - Very well, sorry about the tardiness, I went to grab a coffee, walk off the bus. Us stupid rock stars, always late.

Q - It’s cool (laughs). So how would you describe the Dredg sound?

A - How would I describe our sound? We’ve changed a lot through the years. It’s tough to pinpoint, you’d almost have to ask for a certain record or time in our band. We have a lot of guitar driven rock, atmosphere. We also have a lot of melody and layers. When we started out in 1997, ’98 it was mainly heavy guitar driven music. Now there is a lot more instrumentation going on and different styles going into it.

Q - You released your last album in the middle of last year and I was reading online that you were already working on your next album for an early 2011 release. Is there any truth to that?

A - It’s done. It should be out I believe March 29th is the tentative release date.

Q - Why the quick turn around?

A - A lot of times we’re pretty reactionary. We took so long from our 2005 release to our 2009 release, because a various label things going on and we wrote so much material and put a lot of pressure on ourselves and ended up kind of shooting ourselves in the foot. This album, we came off the road, took a little bit of a break and just started writing again. We hooked up with our friend Dan the Automater who was our producer. He works very quickly and we were on the same page. Let’s do these different songs, let’s not over think it, let’s just make a unique record for ourselves. It’s a very different sounding record for us. It’s much more beats and keyboard based stuff, so it was fun.

Q - What is your band’s song writing approach? Is there a designated songwriter or does the band get together to write etc?

A - Our singer Gavin Hayes is the main lyricist. He definitely does all the lyrics. He’s always had a skill for that. When it comes to the actual music, it’s very collaborative. The way we wrote this record was very different than the way we wrote the previous records. Our previous records were mainly us in a room. We’d get together five days a week like a normal job and sit in the room for five or six hours and just jam and record everything and then go back and pick up the highlights and kind of piece it together. For this album we actually wrote it apart from each other. Gavin lives in Seattle I live in San Fransisco other guys live in the Bay Area around me, but we didn’t really get in the room all the time. We have pro tools and we just started sending each other files. We know a lot of people are doing that, but for us it was the first time writing that way. It was really fun and a totally different angle.

Q - What are your current touring plans?

A - We’re on tour right now with Circa Survive as we speak. In Salt Lake City and we finish in New York in a couple of weeks. We’ll probably take December off then go back out in February, when the albums out do America, maybe do Europe again. Hopefully get some good support tours.

Q - What can fans expect from your live show?

A - A lot of energy, just like our albums, a lot of diversity. A lot of dynamics, some very mellow parts and some very energetic loud parts, to kind of keep you on your toes, try new things.

Q - Is there a stand out performance in your career?

A - Yeah. I live in San Francisco and I’m from the Bay Area so the first time we sold out the Fillmore was kind of a lifelong dream. That one will always stick out in my mind. We ended up making it a live album, “Live at the Fillmore” from a second show there and that always sticks out.

Q - What was the first concert you saw live?

A - (Laughs) I saw Iron Maiden, Testament and Corrosion of Conformity in 1992 at the Cow Palace in San Fransisco. I went with my brother, who inspired me as a kid to play guitar. He was a drummer, he brought me. I was probably 13 years old, good times.

Q - Who was the artist or band that made you want to pick up the guitar?

A - When I was younger it was a lot of metal and punk. Bands like Black Sabbath, Randy Rhodes. A little bit later, maybe in high school Pink Floyd was really a big influence on me.

Q - Who are you listening to now?

A - All sorts of stuff. As you get older and I’m 31 so I listen to almost anything that is great. Blonde Red Head I love. We’re playing with a band called Animals as Leaders who are incredible. All sorts of stuff.

Q - That’s all I had, is there anything else you wanted to add?

A - I’d like to thank you guys at Zoiks! for taking the time to cover independent music.


Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at bob@zoiksonline.com.
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