US group Dinner Music for the Gods release their first album Beautiful and Treacherous very soon. They play exotic and fanciful Instrumental Metal with a variety of influences and with a definite cinematic quality. I asked them some pertinent questions…
To those who are unfamiliar with your band – introduce yourself.
We’re based out of Las Vegas, Nevada, USA and consist of 4 longtime friends (two of us are brothers). We all share similar musical interests, and have a chemistry that we feel translates in our compositions.
Give us some background – how did you form?
Everyone in the band grew up in Las Vegas except for Andy. Jim, Matt, and Darrin started as kids playing Judas Priest, Scorpions, and Metallica covers. Eventually that morphed into writing original music. Andy joined the band in 1995. At this point everyone in the band started to broaden their musical horizons beyond metal and had discovered 70’s jazz/rock fusion bands like Al DiMeola and Mahavishnu Orchestra. This was an important element in Dinner Music for the Gods evolving into an instrumental band. We started out as a band that wanted the traditional metal lineup consisting of a drummer, guitarist (or two), bassist, and vocalist. The 70’s fusion bands gave us the blueprint to creating a sound that didn’t require a singer. Eventually our writing evolved as such that we felt that we didn’t need a singer.
What’s the mission of Dinner Music for the Gods? What are you looking to achieve?
The mission of DMFTG is to create music that satisfies us as artists. It would be nice if people connect with the music but the most important thing to us is creating something that is completely genuine without second guessing what others will think of it.
What is the meaning behind the band name?
One of the band’s influences is Al DiMeola, a Jazz/Fusion guitarist. He has a song called Dinner Music of the Gods, and we just thought it was a powerful and interesting name.
What are your influences?
Our influences consist of Kind Diamond, Iron Maiden, Van Halen, Al DiMeola and Mahavishnu Orchestra, to name just a few.
What are you listening to at the moment that you want to recommend?
Mostly we are stuck in 80’s metal mode as far as what we are currently listening to. We were impressed by Bruno Mars’ performance at the Superbowl. It is refreshing to see a pop artist that can actually sing and play an instrument well that doesn’t need to be auto tuned to sound good. That guy is the real deal and deserves all the success that comes his way.
Your album conjures up, for me, images of high-society parties and James Bond-style spy shenanigans. Obviously it’s subjective, instrumental music especially so, but what kind of images did you plan on giving the listener?
That is awesome! The album was composed in Matt’s converted garage/studio/bar in Las Vegas – the antithesis of high-society partying. We never have a plan in mind for us or for the listener as to imagery or feel. All of our songwriting happens during rehearsal. Someone will play a riff and from there everyone jumps in and adds to it. If it is any good it just keeps growing until we feel it is a complete song. For us it is all about inspiration and not calculation of imagery.
Give us some information about the songs themselves and the meanings they have.
We think a good album and song should play like a great movie, from action to emotion, to suspense and intrigue. We feel each song is like its own little move and that it should take you on an adventure. Absent of vocals the songs may have even more meaning for the listener because everything isn’t so literal and spelled out. Dynamics are an important element of our sound – both live and recorded. Dynamics in volume, and speed, with diversity in musical styles are all present in our sound. Metal is the common denominator throughout all of the songs on “Beautiful and Treacherous” but Sofia has an obvious Latin vibe. Wind through the Trees is more of a ballad. Ghost Troopers has a Spaghetti Western feel. Being able to control volume, intensity and speed we feel are attributes that come with maturity. Whether it is in music, cinema, food, or whatever – dynamics make for a more rich and enjoyable experience.
Are you happy with how the album came out – is there anything you’d do differently next time? What’s next for Dinner Music for the Gods?
We are very happy with “Beautiful and Treacherous”. We know how to write songs and put on a good show but the studio is not especially natural for us. Frank Klepacki did an amazing job with the mix and production. Frank is an accomplished musician and knows how to bridge the gap between musicians and the recording console. We don’t know if “Beautiful and Treacherous” will sell 5 copies or if people will respond to it but we can take comfort in the fact that it is the best songwriting, musicianship, and production that we are capable of.
Our first show since the completion of Beautiful and Treacherous will be this month opening for Winger in Las Vegas, followed by several more local shows. We plan a small tour through the Western United States in the Spring and Summer and hopefully follow that up with a few shows in Europe late 2014.