THE MAKING OF DAATH, PART 5: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH BASSIST JEREMY CREAMER
Jeremy Creamer is a crazy motherfucker, and I mean that in the best possible way. He’s often the quietest guy in the room, but his mind is always working, working, working. When he speaks up, everybody listens. I’ve mentioned this before, but, at least during my time vising Daath in the studio this past June, his ideas were the ones most quickly and consistently adopted into the music. It’s the old cliché: The man who speaks the least is actually the most worth listening to.
And Creamer is worth listening to. After the jump, get his thoughts his particular place in the scheme of the band, the ills of modern metal production, why he doesn’t like to plan things out too far in advance, and a remix/reimagining of Daath that will hopefully be released for free in the not-too-distant future.
Well, basically my thing for this record is to kind of go very old school. Because today in metal, most bass players seem to be just another guitarist playing exactly what the rhythm guitar plays, or basically just playing right along with the lick. If you listen to old bass players — all the great old Maiden and Thin Lizzy and stuff like that — they’re just sitting there, bringing the rhythm. So my role is basically going to be show [the rest of the band] off by making a bridge to the audience, where I’m laying down somewhere in the middle of the stringed instrument section and the rhythm section.
It sounds like you don’t see yourself going crazy as they have been with with the guitar and drum parts.
I’m actually going a little different. When we started doing the demos for all of these songs, I ended up going very punk, doing the Lemmy thing. It ends up making a real bridge, because if I’m sitting there and laying it down, you actually realize what’s going on, instead of me just slopping up the mix again with the same note that they’re doing. It ends up being really cool if I do something a little more stylish, a little more thrashy and punk, where it’s a simpler thing, but it’s laying down the rhythm so all their syncopation and their arpeggiated stuff and the crazy, whacky Eyal-istic stuff comes through.
[laughs] I like that — “Eyal-istic.”
It’s good, man. Basically I’m laying it down.
Then I’m going to do some sneaky, sneaky underhanded programming. Actually, I’m trying to do some new things on this record.
I’m going to bring out the Mac. I’m going to put a second Mac onstage, and I’m going to start doing sub-bass and different kind of textures. Maybe I won’t always be playing my actual stringed bass, but there will be something going down.
Like more electronic stuff?
A little bit. The sounds will come from there, but obviously if we’re going to bring it to the metal realm, we can’t go totally that way, so I’ve been experimenting with a couple of things. It’s more like sub sounds, where it gives room for the drums and the guitars to breathe a little more than just having another tinny, scratchy sound in the mix.
Do you see that as something being coordinated with Eric Geunther’s synths?
Yeah. Mine would actually take the role of the bass. So it’ll be basically bass stuff. And maybe some samples here and there, just making mood and ambiance to counterpoint what [Eric] is doing. What I’m talking about is not always playing the guitar. It definitely causes some different sensations, especially when they’re going really fast.
So I’ve been experimenting with stuff and just laying down the sub and getting at it. It really opens it up and adds a bottom that is missing, frankly, in a lot of metal records. If you listen to a lot of other genres… It actually gives the song a place to go bigger. Our main goal right now is not to have that stagnant wall of noise that turns off your attention after a song and a half because it’s just all pounding all the time, and you don’t have any dynamics or feel the way old records did. So we’re always looking for ways to make it bigger, smaller, quieter, louder, whatever.
“The Ender,” an amp Jeremy made extreme modifications to specifically for the purposes of recording this album.
How prepared are your bass parts in advance of going in to record?
I would say that I’ve come up with concepts and basic structures for like the choruses and verses and stuff. I’ll let some of the transitions happen here, and some stuff on certain songs I’ve specifically kept fresh.
It seems like that’s how you guys are approaching most of the record.
Yeah, it definitely is. It’s going to open it up. Before we’ve gotten caught in the trap of doing it twice, and although the second time is more technically correct, maybe there isn’t that little bit of inspiration. So this time we’re definitely opening it up for that.
Is it in any way more anxiety-inducing, not having the entire album mapped out in advance?
[long pause] Look… What else can you do? You’re going to make a statement regardless. So whether you make a statement and then labor over it for months and months and keep redoing it, or you do it the way we are now… Nothing is ever going to be perfect. All you can really do is generate your own art. Doing it this way actually lets you do it once and be creative, instead of sitting there and second guessing your creativity. It’s worked on other projects that I’ve done. I like working this way better.
Because having it sound perfect only can go so far, you know what I mean? Having that inspiration to work something new out in the studio and be around with your buddies and go. “Wow, that was cool”… That’s the real experience anyway. When you’re grown up and doing it, you keep finding that you never get perfection. You realize that it’s about the experience and writing the tune anyway.
That’s a very Zen attitude.
Well, I see all these guys driving themselves nuts… It just seems that it never helps. It helps a little bit to sit there and go over your stuff and have everybody hear it and make sure that everything is exactly perfect. That’s going to happen anyway. You were in [the studio] and saw that [process].
But when you sit there and play a riff over and over and you’re like, “Is this good? Is this good? Is THIS good?”… You’ll tell yourself it’s not [good] eventually if you keep sending your mind there, or you’ll just get bored with it or whatever, so maybe it won’t have that little bit of the juice that you’d ideally like to maintain in the studio.
I know that I strive for getting the right sound and vibe of what I’m doing more than getting it technically precise. I do longer sections than most people do in typical, modern metal production. On the last record, I’d sit there and get my vibe right and do it all the way through, and then we’d just go for a cut of the song. I have the ability and freedom to do that playing bass, of course. A lot moreso than if you’re doing technical guitar riffs. I try to [record the part in a single take] because it adds that feel of the records, and you really have to put that feel in there. Otherwise it just gets really metronomic.
Other than opening up a little bit and not just doing it for a second time, are there ways in which this Daath album strikes you as being very different from the other ones?
I think all of the records we’ve ever done, even when we’re doing a record here in Atlanta before, they’re all so different, because your life experiences are different. You bring in a little different energy each time. But each because of the certain member switches and stuff, of course each Daath record is going to be varied and different. We don’t try to keep recreating the same thing ever. We’re into what we’re into right now. It would be a shame to sit there and keep doing the same record over and over again. We definitely just bring totally different stuff to each record. Everyone kind of has different goals for each record as far as what they’d like to say — the statement that they’d like to make with it. And that changes every record, because we all change. Our outcomes and goals for what we want to say on a record would definitely change over time, because our musical path changes.
In the end, it really makes it a very different record than the other two. If you listen to all three of them in a row, or even just the other two, you can just see the writing frame of mind is very different from album to album. This one is a little crazier, a little darker. Like I was saying, everything is more “er” — softer, quieter, louder, heavier. Pick an adjective.
So, to switch gears a little… did I hear you say before that you’re doing a remix record?
Yeah, yeah. I’ve been doing a bunch of electronica music. I have a partner in Boston, and we’re putting out CDs and stuff. As a way to just bring something different to the fans and do a little of what I like on the other side of metal, I’m going to do a remix record that’ll be available on the internet. So that people can have a whole different thing, smoke a blunt, chill out riding in their ride.
Is it all remixes of stuff from this album?
It will be all the coolest moments that I can find during the recording. There’s stuff that might not even make it onto the Daath record… It’ll be more of a remix of our time in the studio than the record itself.
That’s cool. So it will be different from the usual shitty remix albums, because it’s not just like a drum beat added over a song that exists already.
Right. I actually just finished two songs… There’s one instrument from a track, and then I’ll do a beat over a remix of something else. I just add a bunch of different layers. It’s totally re-imagined version of the tune. It really has little to do with the songs as they stand. It’s going to be great. It’ll be awesome.
And it’ll be free.
It’ll be free! And it’ll be vibed out in a very different way than the record. It will show a whole new side of the music.
THE MAKING OF DAATH
Daath is out October 25 on Century Media. Pre-order it here.