The Paradox of Choice: Dillinger Escape Plan Interviewed

As The Dillinger Escape Plan prepare to break loose with album number four this month, guitarist Jeff Tuttle explains how a modern problem forced them to write their most expansive offering to date.

Feature by Dave Kerr | 02 Mar 2010

When we last checked in with The Dillinger Escape Plan, guitarist Jeff Tuttle was the quiet new guy in the corner, soaking up the experience of conquering Europe with the mathcore quintet for the first time. Now, two years later – finding a minute to talk in-between two sold out shows they’re playing on the same a day – he’s their measured spokesperson, at ease within the ranks of perhaps the most primal, polarizing and stupefying hybrids of hardcore, jazz and progressive rock to stab its flag in the metal underground this past decade. As The Skinny dons its crash helmet to listen to new album Option Paralysis, we look both ways for danger…

A wee bit of chaos can be a fine thing, but when we met you in Glasgow – not long after [2007 album] Ire Works came out – you were feeling the benefits of slowing the gigs [where the band have broken many bones] down to less of a frenzy. Did you take that mentality with you to the studio for this album?
“Absolutely. I think the biggest departure on Ire Works was Mouth of Ghosts, with the introduction of the piano, but the piano shows up quite a bit more on Option Paralysis. We’re going to be incorporating a lot of that stuff live and we definitely look forward to playing a lot more of the piano-based songs from the new album.”

Does Option Paralysis relate to your relationship with music, in that there's an increasing number of forms and directions that a Dillinger song might take?
“I’d say so, but I think more so that the idea of the Option Paralysis concept deals with the nature of technology and the direction that the information age seems to be headed in. There are millions of bands, millions of critics; everybody with a webcam is now a music critic. Everybody with a laptop is now a musician or a recording engineer. That’s something we see as problematic, as the reason why people are becoming more alienated from one another. Both conceptually and lyrically, the album touches on it quite a bit.”

In terms of the options you’ve explored quite recently, was joining Trent Reznor onstage for the last [ever?] Nine Inch Nails gigs an inspiration?
“Maybe not so much musically, but ethically I’d say Trent was definitely influential, he’s somebody who really took the music that was going on when he started out in a new direction. And if there wasn’t a way to create the music that he wanted to make, he’d figure out a way to do it himself. That ingenuity is something that we try to emulate when we write, record and play live.”

You're releasing Option Paralysis on a variety of elaborate formats, including a box set which folds out like an accordion. It seems to be a growing trend; I mean, Fear Factory went a bit mental and released an album with a massive toolbox last week. How important is the principal of selling recorded music as an artefact to you?
“Very, man. We recognise that getting people to buy a physical CD is a hard thing to do, because it’s not really even necessary anymore. When you’ve got any song you want at your fingertips for free it’s very hard to construct an argument to get people to see your point of view on that subject. That’s why we did this with the packaging – to remind fans that there’s something special about the physical media of a record.”

Dillinger has become notorious for a huge turnover in its members over the years, do you feel as though the current line up is rigid or might that change at any old time?
“No, I think we all feel strong and – for the first time in a very long time – there’s a rigid core to the band. There’s a definite feeling of semblance between the five of us right now and I think it’s going to show through on this record, because each one of us really had the opportunity to add a little here and there. There’s something special about that which we all recognise and want to pursue for as long as we can. That’s true not only in the studio but also on stage, there’s a definite gelling. None of us want that to go away anytime soon.”

We got Greg [Puciato, vocals] hooked on Irn Bru the last time you were in town, I take it you’ll be back soon so he can restock?
“Absolutely, we’re planning on hitting Europe very hard this year. If everything works out we’ll be coming back in June. You’ll definitely see us by the fall; Scotland has always been good to us.”

Is touring still a giggle?
“It is, man. As much as we try to complain about it, at the end of the day it’s not hard to forget that we get to do what we love every day for a living. All the bullshit that we deal with, the lack of sleep and the lack of privacy doesn’t even compare to being able to go on stage every night.”

Option Paralysis is released via Party Smasher Inc/Season of Mist on 22 March.