16 Oct INTERVIEW WITH JOE COTELA OF DED
DED, one of the hottest new bands in the rock scene has been blazing the charts with their latest album Misanthrope which was released in July. They are touring on their own for the rest of the month before joining up with Pop Evil in November. Their show was high-energy and they had everyone in the house pumped. Rock Documented had a chance to meet up with lead vocalist, Joe Cotela before we let some bullshit out with them.
What’s the story behind the name of the band?
The name, well, it was just kind of a working title when we started it. We started it all in the studio. It was me and David. We’d be like, “Oh, you wanna go work on the new band thing that we’re working on today?” Eventually we were in a group text type thing and I sent the word Ded, D-E-D, the way it was spelled like that. I just thought it looked cool and it was simple, but we weren’t really thinking about all of this stuff, we were just like, “What’s a cool name? What do we like? What are we going to call this?” Just for ourselves because we did it all in the studio for like a year and a half or something before we really showed it to anybody. So, yea, it was just a cool name and then it turned into things. It’s an abbreviation for dedicated. Which for us, being musicians for a long time, I would say that we’re definitely in that category. Then it’s also, you know, people say they’re ded when they watch something that’s super scary or super funny. I like that, an overwhelming type feeling. Our music can be that way really, overwhelming, heavy sometimes and all those things. It’s a quote from Spawn as well, a quote from Robin Hood: Men in Tights, it’s all kind of things. It’s just a cool word and it looks cool. Also the word Ded; we are way into horror movies and stuff. I have this whole horror movie sleeve and everything like that so it was just a name that we thought was cool. That was a long-ass answer but yea, that’s the answer.
It often takes a band several years to progress into the mainstream music scene. Ded has only been together for three and already have multiple singles on the rock charts. To what do you attribute your success?
I’d say a couple things. First, it’s not our first band. We were both in bands that were semi-successful, I guess, in other ways. We had made a lot of contacts, we knew a lot of people, we experienced a lot, we learned a lot from watching all the bigger bands that we were touring with, all those things. Also, I was ready to quit music before we started this, I was pretty much going to be done. I had gone through the whole industry and been put in, spit out, shit on, the whole thing. I was just sick of the idea of trying to be successful and feeling like I was trying to please the whole world to try to like me or something like that. I felt like I was getting to that point. When we did this, we did it for fun, we did it for the reason we did it when we first started our first band. My first band was a punk band and I was playing in my parent’s garage, just sweating my butt off in Arizona summers with my buddies. When we did this it was just fully we want to make something that makes us happy and there was no thought of anybody hearing it because we weren’t going to show it to anybody. So, I think it made for better music. Then, that coupled with us learning a lot from being around a lot of other people. I did albums with Chad Grey from Mudvayne and stuff, and just all kinds of things like that. We learned a lot to get where we are.
You’ve been nominated for Loudwire’s “Best New Artist” and in two weeks you’ll be performing at the Loudwire Music Awards. How does it feel to be in the running for this award?
It’s awesome because I’m a music enthusiast myself. I go to Loudwire, Metal Injection and all those things every day, or every two days, to hear new music and all that stuff. So it’s really cool to go on there and see our band on Loudwire. You usually see whoever on there, Ghost or Gojira or whoever, and to be on there is awesome. To have them put us in a group with other awesome bands, Black Map, Greta Van Fleet, all those bands are awesome bands, a bunch of people doing the same thing as us, grinding, trying to be the best they can be and all that kind of stuff. It’s awesome to be recognized
I understand you wrote nearly 50 songs for the Misanthrope album and ended with 11. Describe your songwriting process and what was the deciding factor on which songs made the cut?
Usually the songwriting process is, David will kinda riff stuff out, he has a recording studio at his house so we’d do a lot of things in the studio like that. He’d riff stuff out, he’d put things down, make all the crazy industrial, weird noises and stuff and then I’d try to write over it. That’s pretty much what it was and it would be challenging because he writes really chromatically. So it’s not like a big major scale for me to sing over a lot of times. Even though, we got into that when we started writing with Felde where it was more just open, big, punk chords and stuff like that. It’s always a little different. I wrote some parts in some of the songs as well. So, there’s no real certain way but it usually starts with David, usually starts with him sometimes he would riff for like an hour and he’ll send me an hour of just him playing guitar and I would go through and be like, “3:29 seconds, that riff is good.” So, it’s always different.
Your bio states, “If you’re not pissed off, you’re not paying attention.” The aggression in the first several songs on Misanthrope seems to be directed at some kind of oppressor. What was the driving force behind the songs on the album?
I would say…it’s a lot of me feeling like I’m unhappy with the way that humans treat each other. When we were starting the band and writing a lot of the early songs, I was going through a pretty heavy time of anxiety attacks and things like that, depression, things like that, going to therapy and I was writing about it. Usually when I write, I just write from my head, I just write whatever comes out, it’s not a conscious thing. I try to write from my soul. When i’m thinking I’m not writing directly from my soul. Your brain kind of, I feel like, interacts and messes that up a little bit. So, yeah, it’s all about me just wanting to be fully free and be fully myself and to not want to be influenced by all the bullshit that I see around me and to hopefully empower other people to feel that same way. For them to try to be fully what they are, their essence.
What was it like having Fred Durst direct your videos for “Anti-Everything” and “Remember The Enemy”?
It was really cool. It was cool to meet him. When I get a text or call from him, you hold up your phone and it’s like, “Fred Durst is calling.” That’s so cool man. And I grew up listening to him and everything. He did a great job, he’s a professional, he knows what he’s doing, he’s done some awesome videos in the past. It’s really cool to be a part of the group of bands that he’s done, to be part of that. He really was all about, this thing being our message, it’s being yourself and not trying to fake it, not trying to be anything else.
What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
This past year and a half there’s been so many. So it’s hard to narrow it down. Probably two things, would be playing Rock On the Range and having Metallica headline the weekend. Being on a flier with Metallica, that’s just like in a musician’s dreams like, “I’m playing a show with Metallica.” And then Korn is on there, and Every Time I Die is on there, and Papa Roach, and then new bands like Wage War and Turnstyle. So many good bands and just being in that ritual of heaviness together was just awesome. And then just going on tour with Korn and Stone Sour and having Cory Taylor and Jonathan Davis be in my life every day for a month and just seeing them every day and that’s just something that’s just absolutely priceless that I never thought would ever happen ever.
Congrats on joining the Shiprocked family! Are you excited to perform in the middle of the ocean?
Yea, I’ve never been on a cruise, none of us have actually. But we keep meeting you Shiprockers and you’re all so awesome and such a cool like family environment and you guys are almost like the nicest cult that ever existed. Yea, we’re looking forward to it so much. It’s going to be sick. And again, same thing, so many awesome bands, what is it like Seether, In This Moment. We’ve been on so many of those fliers, there’s so many. It’s going to be cool. We’re just looking forward to it so much. It’s almost like a vacation but you’re also kind of working. It’s going to be awesome.
Any last words?
Just get our album, Misanthrope, it’s out now. Our single, “Remember the Enemy” is out now, pick that up, come see us live, you know, that’s the preferred way. The album is awesome and we love it but come see us live, come feel it live, feel the energy, get some bullshit out with us.
DED Upcoming Shows & Festival Appearances
10/17 – The Perch @ Tricky Falls – El Paso, TX
10/20 – Big Red Night Of The Dead – Fear Farm Festival Grounds – Phoenix, AZ
10/21 – Kino’s Veterans Memorial Stadium – Tucson, AZ
10/22 – Aftershock – Sacramento, CA
10/23 – Loudwire Music Awards Pre-party – The Regent Theater – Los Angeles, CA
10/24 – The Loudwire Music Awards
11/5 – Ozzfest Meets Knotfest – San Bernadino, CA
Pop Evil Dates
11/16 – Manchester Music Hall – Lexington, KY
11/17 – Oddbody’s – Dayton, OH
11/18 – House Of Blues – Cleveland, OH
11/20 – Jergel’s – Pittsburgh, PA
11/21 – The Forge – Joliet, IL
11/24 – KC’s Time Out Lounge and Grill – Evansville, IN
11/25 – The Regency Live – Springfield, MO
11/26 – Sammy T’s Music Hall – Huntsville, AL
12/1 – Apollo Theater – Belvidere, IL
1/18/18 – Shiprocked