Laugh and the metal world laughs with you. Cry and the genre changes along with the fans. So, stay metal and read on my friends.
Chris Dinsmore (vocals), Rob Kolowitz (guitar), Grant Kolowitz (guitar), Jim Pegram (bass), Brett Crane (keys), and Tim Davis (drums) are the moving parts in the plan of world domination known as Mudface. The San Francisco, CA area outfit is riding high on the heels of a successful Mayhem Fest run and on the legs of a well received video for their single, “Hellfoot” from their latest album, The Bane of Existence. Their future is looking bright, hence their need for sunglasses at night, in a club, at… well, you get the point.
We, at the National Rock Review tattoo parlor, got a chance to catch up with Chris and Rob for a few beers and shop talk about the album, their live show presence, and the possible new line of facial products by the band. Yes, you read the last part correctly. Anyway, after the read head over to our Twitter or Facebook and let us know your thoughts. Just make sure to follow and ‘Like’ us before you do. We like to spread the love.
NRR: Thanks for taking some time out to answer some questions for National Rock Review. What’s been going on with the band, Mudface, so far in early 2016?
Chris Dinsmore: Thanks for speaking with us! We have spent the first two and a half months gearing up for the release of our new album The Bane of Existence. We also did a video for the first single “Hellfoot” that has caught people’s attention.
NRR: You guys are going out with it looks like the Ghost Next Door and the Venting Machine. Are you guys looking forward to hitting the road?
Chris Dinsmore: We will only be doing one show with these guys here in the Bay area although it would be great to go out with both bands. We have a few things brewing here at home but we will definitely be hitting the road soon to push the new album. And yes, we are really looking forward to venturing out and meeting some new friends.
NRR: Ah, got it. Well, The Bane of Existence is your latest effort like you mentioned a minute ago. Tell me about the new disc and what should people expect from it?
Chris Dinsmore: For those fans who know the band well, they have said we have grown quite a bit with this album and I definitely would agree. People who have never seen us, can expect a great balance of energy and dynamics. We feel we have a batch of songs that the audience can really grab on and relate to.
NRR: You have gotten some pretty big eyes on you since winning a spot on Mayhem and a little boat ride. Is the national attention a little surreal to a one time small Bay Area local band?
Chris Dinsmore: I have to admit, it is definitely surreal. I knew we had a great album that we personally are very happy with, but I wasn’t expecting it to get the attention that it has. “Hellfoot” is one of my favorite songs and I am pleased that people are enjoying the song too. We still have much work to do, but this is a great start!
Rob Kolowitz: It is great to finally get some recognition. We have all been at this individually for well over 20 years. It is humbling as we still consider ourselves a small time Bay Area local band. Maybe after we do some European tours we will feel big, but not yet.
NRR: Speaking of which, you are at the epicenter of the Big Four stomping grounds. Did any of those very talented artists have any influence in your own careers?
Chris Dinsmore: We enjoyed all four of those bands growing up and still have much respect for what they have done for the metal genre. Here in the Bay area, we have been blessed with some incredibly talented metal as well. We consider many of them as friends.
Rob Kolowitz: Absolutely, I had the honor of being an opening act for Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer when I was in an earlier band called Hellhound. At the time we didnâ€™t realize how big of a deal it was. We also did shows with Legacy (Testament), Death Angel, and Forbidden Evil. It was an amazing time to be in the scene.
NRR: With the mindset of the band being what it is, would playing behind chicken wire on a small stage to a packed bar, i.e. Roadhouse, be more rewarding then playing in front of sixty thousand in a pretty sterile Levi’s Stadium setting?
Chris Dinsmore: (Laughing), it really doesn’t matter to us. We’ve been doing the bars and clubs for years, but have also had the opportunity to play to some large crowds as well. I’m not going to lie, I have always wanted to play festivals all over the world, but I enjoy the intimate shows too.
Rob Kolowitz: We have done plenty of those small shows. They are fun and intimate, but they donâ€™t pay the bills. We pride ourselves on our maniacal stage show. Believe me, Leviâ€™s wonâ€™t be sterile after we get done with it!
NRR: Being in a band is like being a pro athlete, you need a certain amount of poise in your sound or ability. What would be one or two things that you’re really proud of in how your vibe comes across?
Chris Dinsmore: I am very proud of our preparation in anything this band does, and to go with that, our ability to communicate to one another. Right now with all of this attention we have been receiving lately, preparation and communication are huge.
Rob Kolowitz: We pride ourselves on playing very technical music while running all over the stage and jumping and crashing into each other without screwing up the songs. There are times when I have seen stars because of doing backup vocal and running and there are times where I have missed a jump and nearly fallen into the audience. So yes, we keep in shape and we entertain the audience instead of just playing and staring at our shoelaces.
NRR: What would be the perfect storm for your music and a first time listener? To see you live with buddies and witness the maelstrom on stage or to pick up a CD and hear the audio in its most pristine form? Or you don’t give a shit as long as they listen, (laughing)?
Chris Dinsmore: I am always taken aback when somebody comes up to you and tells you how a certain song meant something to them in some sort of way. It’s not always easy baring your soul, so when somebody relates to something you wrote, you realize that we are all in this moment of time together and music bonds us in so many ways. This band really feeds off our audience as well. There’s nothing like the connection between a band and its fans. Nothing!
Rob Kolowitz: The perfect storm is for the first time listener to see us live, then feel compelled to buy a CD or a download of the album and get that pristine listen. That way they will have the show as a reference every time they listen to the CD afterward. And we would also love for them to listen on Spotify or Pandora.
NRR: Is there a moment, that thinking back on it now, in the your career since 2005, that you can’t help but still feel a tad bit embarrassed about, makes you laugh about despite yourself, or just still makes you shake your head in disbelief? A Spinal Tap moment if you will, that you’d be willing to share with me?
Chris Dinsmore: For me as a singer, it is my job to keep the people engaged and entertained during the show [like] in between songs and what not. I usually don’t think about what I’m going to say or do before I do it and I can’t really pinpoint anything said per se, just know, that I have said some of the stupidest shit that’s kept me up at night saying “Really?” ugh!
NRR: The band has been pretty active in video band “battles.” How was making the video and why choose that song to go head to head with other bands?
Chris Dinsmore: Out of all the songs we wrote for this album, lyrically, “Hellfoot” spoke the most to me. In life we make choices that I believe carve your life’s path. For some you live and learn and you become a better person because of it; for others you continue to push the envelope and it eventually catches up with you, then there are those who are dealt a card and aren’t given any choice at all. I have been one of the fortunate ones to make the right choices for myself in life, although I am in no way perfect. I think about some of the potential situations I had put myself in, in the past and I all I can do is just breathe a sigh of relief.
Rob Kolowitz: I think â€œHellFootâ€ is the most dynamic song on the album and as such best represents all the elements on the album. Thatâ€™s why it got my vote as the video song. The making of the video was a blast. All the people in the video are friends and family and huge supporters of the Bay Area metal scene. When we arrived at the shoot I had to do a double take because Iâ€™m not used to seeing all those people in suits and ties!
NRR: How does the group go through the writing process, is it all one person doing the lion’s share with help or is it a group effort from start to finish?
Chris Dinsmore: Robert and Grant usually send me songs and I will apply lyrics and arrangements. However with “The Bane Of Existence”, we didn’t have a lot of time to write so the band hammered out sixteen songs, tracked them in preproduction, and sent them to Brett and myself. He and I would get together and formulate melodies, suggest arrangement ideas, we write lyrics to them, send them back to the band and then get together and jam them out in a room until we are all happy with them.
Rob Kolowitz: Grant and I usually write a song (all the guitar parts) from beginning to end. Then we will jam it with the band and Chris will tweak the arrangement and sometimes hum a riff if he wants to change a part or introduce a new element. We will go back and forth sometimes for weeks making changes based on input from everyone.
NRR: What show, lineup, venue, etc is on your bucket list as a band that must be done before they pull your instruments from your cold, dead hands?
Chris Dinsmore: Way too many to name. However, playing with Iron Maiden would be a dream come true. It would also be a dream to play all the festivals around the world as well. But at this stage of my career, I’m not going to be picky, (laughing)!
Rob Kolowitz: I really, really, really want to play Wacken and Bloodstock Open Air festivals. To me playing those festivals means you have really arrived as a force to be reckoned with.
NRR: When you are out on the road playing the bigger lineup shows, have you picked up any good habits to incorporate in your own routine or seen things that you made a mental note never to do yourselves?
Chris Dinsmore: When we played the Mayhem Festival, we were backstage seeing most of the bands just having a good time, drama free, just having a great time laughing and telling stories. Seeing that really makes you realize how important it is not to take everything for granted. Be confident, be a pro, but keep things loose and really enjoy the moment because nothing is forever.
Rob Kolowitz: The biggest thing I have learned and incorporated is to go out and interact with the fans who have come out to see us. I want everyone who comes out to see us to feel appreciated. I want to know their name, how far they drove, what song they like most, what song they like least and if they had a good time. People have a lot of entertainment options nowadays. Itâ€™s so easy to sit on the couch and watch a band on YouTube and call it a day. So itâ€™s incumbent upon us to make a Mudface show an experience, with a personal touch that can only be had face to face. We love signing autographs and taking pictures with our fans. Without them we are nothing.
Chris Dinsmore: A sound activated cod piece with a leg attached to it that kicks you in nuts and shoots sparks and viscous fluids when your tunes come on.
Rob Kolowitz: After I registered our domain name I got a call from the registrar asking me what kind of business we were. He was guessing health spa or Metal band. So it got me thinking maybe we should sell a Mudface facial scrub. Because every self-respecting Metal Head wants to look their best in the pit!
NRR: Please feel free to give a shout out on anything you’d like mentioned that we didn’t hit on already.
Chris & Rob: Our fans are everything to us. Without them, we are nothing. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to making many more on the road. The Bane of Existence was released Mar 18, 2016 on iTunes, Amazon.com, Spotify, Google Play, etc. We have several social media sites listed below (see links). Please stop by and say hello â€“ like and Follow us. We look forward to seeing you out on the road!