The next book to spill from the Dark Hayride is a very special one for me. Why? Three words: Die So Fluid. If you’ve not heard of them (and shame on those that haven’t), they are an incredibly talented band from the UK with a unique sound that shifts between Siouxsie and the Banshees, Concrete Blond, and Slayer. Ultimately, however, their sound is their own and it’s one I’ve loved for a long time.
So color me fan boy when I reached out to the Die So Fluid singer, Grog, with an idea — to toss the band into a fictional world of my creation — and she said “Yes!” Fast forward to now and the release of The Dark Seduction is upon us. To celebrate that release, I had the pleasure of interviewing both Grog and guitarist Drew from the band.
JW: Art, in so many forms, I believe is crucial to the survival of the human soul and spirit. I’ve been listening to your music for a very long time and find the depth and breadth of your words transcend the standard fare. Where do you draw your artistic inspiration from?
Grog: I share the same view, and it’s as if I’m on a quest to keep myself open to all the channels that messages, ideas and visions might come to me from. It’s fairly well known I’m a fan of horror films and literature, and drawn to dark fantasy, but still I think that inspirations can be found literally anywhere and it’s a question of recognising them. It’s often how those experiences or thoughts interact and inform one another that gives birth to a song. Since I moved out to a particularly mountainous area north of Los Angeles I feel much more immersed in nature and at one with it which has been great for practising being in the moment and letting go of mind ‘clutter’ and wasteful energy that can hold you back and cloud your thoughts. Riding my motorcycle is exceptional for that.
JW: I remember the day I was listening to The Opposites of Light and realized there was a story in the warp and weft of the music. What drew you to the idea of getting Die So Fluid into another medium? Were you nervous about having yourself “immortalized” in fiction?
Grog: I’ve always liked the idea of merging artistic mediums and pushing the boundaries of what’s deemed an ‘accepted art form’. I have a degree in fine art, silversmith in my spare time, and create many of my stage outfits, I’ve become increasingly more aware that one thing inspires or feeds another, even when I play bass or collaborate on someone elses musical project there’s a process taking place where subconscious sparks are flying. And to be made a character in a book is just amazing, and a wonderful honour! It’s crazy because the fictional things that happen in the story feel right somehow, because although they’re fiction, they’re rooted in how magical and powerful music is to me for real. Also I adore how the story highlights the camaraderie and bond that exists between Drew, Al and I. That’s one of the fundamental elements of Die So Fluid.
JW: The three of you meld so seamlessly together. How long did it take for that which we hear as Die So Fluid today to emerge? Was there a moment in your early career where you said “Aha, there it is!” Or did it just slowly evolve?
Grog: I guess we’ve had one or two “eureka” moments along the way, one which stands out is when we wrote ‘Gang Of One’ and finalised the arrangement. I feel that the latest album captured the best and most whole elements of what we previously created and built on those, and that is why it feels so solid and special.
Drew: I really remember the ‘Gang of One’ moment too. It felt like our vision had finally been made flesh and after breaking through that barrier we were free to do whatever we wanted. Before that we had to work really hard to get our ideas to solidify. But everyone wanted to work really hard and I think when we met Mark Williams and made our first album the sound was already finely honed and he kind of put a frame around it.
JW: Although the story, The Dark Seduction, is fiction … do you believe in such things? Is it out of the realm of the possible that there might be other planes of existence that some people are drawn to? Or do you believe the whole of ghosts and spooks to be rubbish?
Grog: I’ve had supernatural experiences and so has Drew, so I know it isn’t rubbish. I think it would be ridiculous, supremely egotistical, fearful and also boring, to explain away all the mysteries of this world and our existence to nothing. It is quite the opposite. The universe is infinite and each of us contains that within us. I believe in energy. A track on The Opposites Of Light’ called ‘Spark’ talks about how the earth is a giant magnet recording the events of all time, and I think there are layers and layers of recordings replaying themselves around us. I know there is good and evil in the physical world we know, so it doesn’t seem crazy to me that energy could be manipulated for good and for selfish purposes in other planes of existence. I choose to believe in the possibilities of the imagination as opposed to limitation and narrow mindedness, which to me are like a destructive sickness. You know I would rather rub someone up the wrong way to make them think, than give way to complacency.
JW: The idea of obsessive fans is fairly prevalent in the world of rock. Have you had to deal with your share of those fans? Or do you find Die So Fluid fans to be pretty cool and less likely to stalk you?
Grog: Most of our fans are awesome but I have had my fair share of them. I’ve always been open and honest with people expecting them to be sweet and respectable. Because of the way we interact pretty closely with our fans there’s bound to be some issues from time to time. I’ve had to learn to build some boundaries to protect not just my own sanity but those dearest to me. Back when I first started, if you were on a record label you would get some protection, and that’s good because there was this one fellow who used to ‘sieg heil’ me at shows. He believed we had been lovers in past lives and in one incarnation I had been a nazi who had tortured him. He amassed a huge book filled with paper clippings, evidence he thought ‘linked’ us together and sent it to me via the label, who decided not to let me see it.
JW: As a writer, there are times when a piece of work from my past haunts me — almost begs me to revisit it and even (on some levels) re-write it. I’ve never given into that siren call. Is there a song you’ve written that you’d like to rewrite or rerecord?
Grog: Only one. ‘Not Everybody Gets A Happy Ending’ I like the version on the album, but since then it’s become a huge live favourite, with people often shedding a tear! It was never a single or a video, so I keep having the urge to record a new version and make a spectacular video.
Drew: Yeah the original recording of that is quite soulful but live it’s an epic so I would agree. Other than that there are a couple of mixes that niggle me but not enough to want to spend money on remixes that could be spent on new recordings.
JW: What about the story of The Dark Seduction drew you in? As you were reading the first draft, was their a moment when you realized you wanted to be associated with the story?
Grog: Apart from the sheer delight and novelty of seeing us come to life and as you say, become “immortalised” in fiction, I often say that music is modern day magic, and to see this quite literally happen in the storyline was a winner for me. I’ve always love characters like Wonder Woman and ‘Promethea’ in the Alan Moore graphic novels, and the Grog Rox catsuited stage persona reflects that, so it’s a thrill seeing my character overcome her fears and grow powerful through trusting herself and her music. That’s an inspiring analogy for my life and for anyone!
JW:. Your song “The World Is Too Big For One Lifetime” was inspiration for my book “Among You” (which sort of helped lead me to where we are now). What brought that song about? Is there a story behind it?
Drew: We often come up with an album title before it’s necessarily a song and use that as a theme to write the album under. That was the case with ‘The World..’ which was sort of a yellow brick road moment in our lives. We were all entering into commitments and making big life decisions that would take us down a particular path and when things get tough you wonder what is happening to your parallel self on those other paths. I wished I could live all the possible lives from that critical moment onwards and experienced the different outcomes. Some people interpreted the song to be about reincarnation but it really is the same thing in a certain context – living more than once – be it in series or parallel.
JW: I know we’ve chatted about a sequel to The Dark Seduction. I’ve been listening to the song “Figurine” (one of my favorites, as well as the song that got me hooked on Die So Fluid) and I keep thinking there’s a hook for a story in that song. The words “Someone’s been sticking pins Into my waxen image. The further they get screwed in, the more I give up on living.” almost gives me an idea for a story that hinges on quite the opposite found in The Dark Seduction. Do you remember what brought about those wonderful words?
Grog: I wrote it at a time when I felt trapped, repeating the same cycles of behaviour and I couldn’t escape. Like the spinning doll inside my jewellery box when I was a child, and the more I struggled the more I got sucked back into the swamp by the obsession manipulating me. It’s about remaining in an unhealthy situation because you miss the kick of the drama when it’s gone.
JW: What’s in store for Die So Fluid? Will we see a new release anytime soon? Continued tours? Videos? “Die So Fluid, The Musical?” Add to that, what would “satisfy Die So Fluid’s craving”?
Grog: We’re touring the US throughout June with The Dreaming and then we’ll tour some more here in Fall. I’d like to make a new video. I’m just getting into the frame of mind to write some new material but there’s no time limits set at this point. We’re just inviting the creative juices to flow and we’ll see what adventures come next!
Pre-order your copy of The Dark Seduction on Amazon.com now!
Find out more about Die So Fluid:
Check out their video for Black Blizzard (from The Opposites of Light)