ARTIST NAME: Daeodon
SONG TITLE: Media Mask
ALBUM TITLE: Media Mask
RELEASE DATE: Aug. 24, 2018
Sam LeMay (vocals)
John Torstrick (guitars)
Greg Livingston (bass)
Rob Edwards (drums)
Daeodon – Media Mask
Sometime between 29 and 19 million years ago, Daeodon — from the Greek words daios (hostile, dreadful) and odon (teeth) — roamed across North America, using his elongated, tooth-filled skull and imposing physicality to fend off attackers, steal prey, and fight when challenged.
He wasn’t pretty, and he meant business — and the same could be said about the four-piece, post-grunge outfit from Louisville, Kentucky, known as DAEODON. Their music is difficult to classify or categorize, as it spans across multiple genres and follows no traditional music conventions or formulas. As evidenced by the band’s latest five-song EP, Media Mask, the music is rife with hard-driving, precision riffs, spacious, ethereal moments, extreme highs and lows, and passages that range from blaringly loud to calmingly soft. One thing is for sure, however — Daeodon’s music has teeth.
DAEODON — pronounced day-o-don — got its start in November 2016 when Louisville natives John Torstrick (guitars) and Sam LeMay (vocals) decided to form a band and began collaborating on the material. The lineup didn’t coalesce until six or seven months later with the additions of drummer Rob Edwards and bassist Greg Livingston, and that initial process of searching for the right rhythm section almost proved fatal for the young band.
“In all honesty, I didn’t know if we were going to make it through that,” says Torstrick.
“It was pretty shaky in the beginning,” adds LeMay, “and it required a lot of perseverance on our part.”
With a stable lineup (which also included lead guitarist Joshua Jacob) in place, DAEODON was off and running. By November 2017, the group — which draws influence from everything from Zeppelin and Sabbath to Soundgarden, Deftones, A Perfect Circle, Mastodon, and Faith No More — found itself recording its four-song debut EP, No Time to Die, at Electrical Audio in Chicago, a facility owned by legendary musician and producer Steve Albini. Recorded mostly live in only two days, No Time to Die has a raw quality indicative of a young band still in the process of finding its sound. In contrast, the five songs on the new Media Mask EP — recorded over the course of a week in the band’s hometown of Louisville — is a stronger representation of what DAEODON sounds like when they perform live. The songwriting is tighter this time around, and the production is considerably cleaner and more precise — clear signs of a group that’s continuing to evolve and mature as time progresses.
“We were definitely harder on ourselves this time around when it came to the songwriting,” says Torstrick. “We were really trying to find our voice.”
DAEODON have come a long way in two short years, and while they are certainly a stronger, more cohesive unit than they were in their early days, by no means is it always smooth sailing for this group of strong-willed individuals.
“There’s a bit of a destructive energy in DAEODON, and part of our success is being able to cope with that,” says Torstrick. “I think part of the reason that our sound is a little crazy and all over the place is because everybody has their own issues they’re trying to deal with.”
When asked about this undercurrent of tension that regularly flows between band members, LeMay adds, “When we were recording the first EP in Chicago, there was almost a fistfight on take one. I thought somebody was gonna die, or that we were going to end up owing Steve Albini like 50 or 100 grand from ruined equipment. But we got through it and everybody calmed down, and got a killer take out of it.”
“We’ve been walking a tightrope for a while,” says Torstrick. “Like, can we get over this hurdle, or is this going to be the end of the band? But I think that’s kind of the crux of the project that we’ve been able to deal with some very tough situations and capitalize on it. Sometimes when you have a fight with someone close to you, it strengthens the relationship. In the long run, it’s made all four of us a stronger unit — it’s made us trust each other more.”
State your reason for choosing music as a career.
We all feel a compulsory urge to create music – it’s what we do and have done our entire lives. For some reason when the four of us get together that music becomes something special and we believe it needs to be heard. That’s why we choose music as a career – there is no other way.
Tell us how you write the lyrics to your song.
John will often bring a song to a writing session with a title or a concept already in mind. So in that way sometimes we work backward from that initial vision. But sometimes the words come from another place at another time and never rest until they find a home in a Daeodon song. They wait for their opportunity. But always the lyrics are meticulously pruned. They need to mean something, sometimes, and they need to sound right.
Discuss your life outside the music world.
We are private people. We have been playing together for a long time now and we still don’t know much about each other outside of how we write, play, and perform. And I guess that’s a contradiction since we have a real urge to expose ourselves on stage. We work hard at everything. And life is too full for each of us to distill it down so far; but if you listen close enough, you’ll know who we are better than anything we could ever tell you.
Discuss your music career.
Our music career together has been more rewarding and more important than anything we’ve done separately. The success is just starting to build and build in our career and that is because of our fans. Without them, all the hard work we put into this disappears into the ether. But with them at our side, our career has started to take off. The back and forth of it all is like nothing we’ve experienced anywhere else. We’re grateful!
Elaborate on your artist’s name.
A “Daeodon” is an ancient beast that looked like a wild boar but was the size of a horse. It’s also called a “hell pig”. We thought it was fitting.
List your five favorite music videos with reasons.
Metallica’s “One” – It has a life of its own. It’s dark, and it makes you question the world we live in and hopefully, through that, you can learn about yourself and the world. That’s the whole point.
Foo Fighter’s “Run” – (Or any Foo video honestly). Because they don’t take themselves too seriously and get a point across too. Not everything has to be so serious all the time. Sometimes you just need a rowdy video with all your friends in makeup!
Primus’ “Southbound Pachyderm” – We love animation videos because you don’t have the limitations of the real world. And Claymation is nostalgic and usually wholesome, like Rudolph from the ’60s. Primus did an excellent job of taking a normally childlike and innocent medium and making it gnarly.
Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” – Because sometimes you need to be reminded of what it’s like to have a bad trip on a perfectly beautiful day with a brilliant soundtrack playing in the background.
Tomahawk’s “God Hates A Coward (Live)” – Mike Patton. A respirator. Screaming. And hook with barbs in the chorus. Get some.
Tell us your source of inspiration.
We’ve heard that if you ignore your muse she’ll leave your ass. We just try to pay attention to what’s going on around us, inside of us, and between us. Then put that down on paper, on the drum heads, and the fretboards. Inspiration for us is more of an act of subtraction; block out all the nonsense and receive the transmissions that mean something.
Tell us your impression of dealing with paparazzi.
We just put on our poker face.
Elaborate on the recording of this song.
We recorded this song over the course of a week and it was a great experience. Jordan Haynes at Earlygrace Studios really stepped up to help Sam with the vocal harmonies and to dial in the tones on the guitars. And most importantly, Jordan was able to criticize and encourage us in a way that pushed the songs forward. It was like a really hard workout – it sucked while we were in the thick of it but afterward we had this glow about us and we knew we had created something exceptional.
Tell us about your future projects.
We are going to tour soon, no dates to properly announce just yet, and we are going to finish writing our first full-length album. We have a few months before we start pre-production on it but the foundation is there. Until then we are going to be releasing some more music videos, putting on badass live shows, and just generally doing whatever we feel like.
List the names of those that have supported you so far.
This is a really long list and we don’t know how they would feel about us putting their names out there. But this is a good opportunity to thank them because without their support this would not be possible. So thank you!
Tell us your point of view on vocal tuning.
Like autotune?! We aren’t into it. The best thing for vocals is to rest, practice, and drink plenty of water. You know, like a house plant.
Tell us your thought on quality and quantity for the release of songs.
We would have loved to have recorded more songs for this release but believe in quality over quantity. There is no worse feeling than buying an album only to find out there are one or two good songs on it and the rest is filler. It feels cheap and like the artist was manipulative or dishonest. That is not who we are. So if we are working on something and it’s starting to sound like shit then we cut it. That’s the rule. Everything must stand up to our merciless process of elimination so that only the strong survive.
Tell us your viewpoint on comparing a music career to a non-music career.
They say if you love something then make it your career and you’ll never work a day in your life. That’s wrong. Work is a part of life and a music career is like any other career. Sometimes it’s the most rewarding thing you could ever imagine. It’s better than anything in this world. But it’s more difficult and elusive too. From the actual business side of things to the more ethereal artistic side of things you need to be able to do both. Switching gears frequently is a challenge but not impossible.
Tell us your opinion on categorizing music into genres and sub-genres.
It’s a difficult task to categorize art but the attempt to categorize it comes from a good place. It helps fans navigate the waters to find more music and artists they enjoy which makes everybody, the artist and the fans, happy. If we didn’t have sub-genres we would be at the mercy of the sage-like record store employees. Actually, maybe that’s not a bad thing.
State the genre you despise most with reason.
It all comes down to purpose and transparency. Don’t tell the fans one thing, or pretend to be something you’re not, just to sell records or tickets. Remember that muse we mentioned earlier? She doesn’t like that. And the fans will always uncover you. So if you’re into it to make money, or for a cause, or just to become famous, just be honest. Art at its center is honestly reflecting back at the artist and into the audience. We think.
List your five favorite movies with reasons.
Forest Gump – A good heart is all you need.
Blue Velvet – Why do we like this movie? Just kidding, David Lynch is one of our favorite directors. Be warned however if you haven’t seen this movie before. You’re going to have some questions after watching it.
Armageddon – Because sending a manned rocket to land on an asteroid and blow it up saving earth from impending doom is nothing without Stephen Tyler and Joe Perry’s help. Don’t sleep on Aerosmith – they’re bad.
The Weatherman – We think part of Sam’s brain was locked into this movie when he saw it because of the condition of his condition while he watched it. Regardless, the soundtrack by Hans Zimmer is perfect and the story deals with modern man’s struggle to be.
Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii – This is one of the best live performances of any band, anywhere, at any time.
State the title of the song and the meaning.
Media Mask – The meaning is right there if you listen for it. Besides we aren’t going to limit the meaning for you. As we leave it now, undecided, you can make it what you want it to be or need it to be and take it with you. It’s yours now anyhow.
State the title of the album and the reason for choosing the title.
The title envelopes what we had to say this time. Stay tuned for more because we’re just getting started.