Latest release: Reign Supreme (Relapse/Riot!)

Dying Fetus are about to bring their slam-ridden technical death metal assault Down Under this month as their latest album Reign Supreme gets some of the best plaudits the band has had since 1998’s Killing on Adrenaline. A few weeks out from the shows, Loud caught up with drummer Trey Williams for a brief chat.

How are things in the Dying Fetus camp at the moment?
Things are going pretty well. We’ve actually had a little bit of time to ourselves in between tours. We’re gonna go and do a show in Mexico at the end of the month, and then we’re gonna head down to Australia.

It must be good to have time off because it seems to me that it’s almost essential for bands to be constantly on tour now.
Absolutely. I mean, if you’re not on the road, you’re not making money. Nobody really makes money off records anymore, so if you’re not selling shirts and you’re not selling tickets, you’re not making anything.

How has the new album been going? It’s been out for quite a while now, so how has it been received?
The response from the fanbase has been really positive. I mean, we write music for people who like our music. We seem to have hit the mark pretty close with this last release, Reign Supreme, and we’re eager to actually play the songs for people.

What are you likely to play from the new album while you’re here?
We’ll play “From Womb to Waste”. I don’t know what else, but we’ll probably play about three. It will be a diverse set with plenty of old and new. We’re gonna highlight a little bit of everything.

You said that you play music for people who like that sort of music. Over the last decade or so there really seems to have been an expansion in the whole technical metal movement across all genres.
Well every music genre evolves. When it starts out it’s very raw, unrefined, pure in form. Then over time people come in, a younger generation comes in and they add their own ideas and take the influences of the old school and make it a vibrant thing. That happens with all genres. It’s a progressionist thing and I think it’s pretty cool. It’s pushing the boundaries of what is possible in music, and also bringing a sense of legitimacy to our history.

What do you think about the division that has arisen between listeners of heavy music recently. There seems to be a lot of resentment towards some kinds of bands that use breakdowns very extensively for example, and then those same people will follow a band like Fetus even though you guys use breakdowns a lot as well.
You know, it’s hard to tell what fans are going to find in music. How they’re going to interpret what they hear, you know. And if you can get away with it, and everybody thinks it’s cool, then we’re gonna keep riding it. Obviously, there’s black metal fans who only like kvlt black metal and there’s guys who are like, I only like porno gore-grind. There’s different tastes for everybody.

Dying Fetus has always had some pretty strong socio-political beliefs, and a lot of that has to do with John (Gallagher)’s beliefs. How do you fit into that personally? Are you just as political yourself or is it more about the music itself?
I think that when I was younger I was more into the music but as you get older you get more of a political side because you start to form your opinions about what is right and what is wrong and you start to think about it more and more and more. Especially in election years and stuff like that. I’m kinda like you. I have a political view, and I like to bang on my drum.

You must be close to the longest serving drummer that Dying Fetus has had.
Close to it! I’m not sure if I’ve surpassed Kevin (Talley)’s tenure, but I’m enjoying my time here and as long as they’ll have me, I’ll sit behind the drum set!

You had some pretty big shoes to fill when you joined Dying Fetus. What was it like for you coming into the band?
Oh, it was crunch time. I already knew all of the songs. I was a fan of the band before I got in. And over the years it’s become like auto-pilot almost. In America over the years, we’ve played a lot of shows. At a certain point, you’re not even thinking about playing and for me, my biggest prepartion is endurance. I have to make sure that I can make it through the set.

I was talking to John Dette recently about playing sets with both Anthrax and Slayer back to back in a single night, and he said more or less the same thing about having to keep his endurance level up more than anything else.
Well, I wasn’t doing a double set, but absolutely: endurance is more than half the game for me. You have to be in shape for this kind of music. There’s shows we play in Denver, and that’s a mile above sea level. The air’s thin and it’s cold all the time. You have to have the lung power. It’s like, Oh, it’s hard just to breathe! So you really have to have the endurance to play somewhere like that.

Dying Fetus has a technical bent of course. Has there ever been a time when you’ve thought something might be more complicated that what you expected before you sat down to play it?
Oh… every time I’m given a new song it’s like that! The guys really push the technical limits of what I can do. I’m not really that technical a drummer. I’m just a wind-up toy, man. Just wind me up and let me go, you know. The biggest thing for me is just being able to hit those speed levels, and being able to maintain it.

So what are you hoping to enjoy the most while you’re in Australia?
I’m going to enjoy getting off that plane, because we’re gonna be on it for a long time! It’s gonna be nice to see the friends we met from Australia, from our previous trips to Australia. That’s gonna be pretty cool.

You’re touring with Putrid Pile too, so that’s even more incentive for people to get along.

Oh yeah. It’s gonna be a slamfest!

Dying Fetus plays Australia this month with Putrid Pile:
19/4: The Factory Theatre, Sydney NSW
20/4: Evelyn Hotel, Melbourne VIC
21/4: Beetle Bar, Brisbane QLD
23/4: Amplifier Bar, Perth WA