Maryland’s Dying Fetus have been pummeling audiences across the globe with their pioneering and instantly recognisable brand of brutal, slamming death metal for over 20 years now. The band have never shied away from using their music to make political statements, so M3 spoke to drummer Trey Williams to find out about the band’s opinions on filesharing, the internet’s effect on young bands and whether music is capable of changing society…
M3 – First of all, could you tell us a bit about yourself, and what it is that you do?
Trey – My name is Trey Williams and I play drums for the band Dying Fetus.
What would be your preferred medium to listen to music (eg. Vinyl, CD, tape, MP3 etc.), and why?
I like to listen to CD, and MP3s. I like to listen to CDs for the quality of the audio, and I listen to MP3 for convenience.
Do you feel the idea of an album, as a piece of art that people will listen to from start to finish, has been undermined or forgotten about in the digital age?
No. Most of our real fans enjoy the albums we make as a whole entity. I still like to own physical copies of albums for the art and long term storage myself. But the digital age has allowed people to just hear, purchase or steal one song to see if they like what they hear. But digital theft is just like copying a friends CD or recording a song off of the radio.
Much has been made of the supposed death of the record store in recent years. Do you believe the digital age has killed the record store, and if so, do you think that this is a necessary part of progression, or a tragic loss?
It has decimated the industry. But it also thinned the pack. Unfortunately it also killed many of the indie and mom and pop record stores. The small stores catered to specific genres, which made discovering bands easier because the owners typically had their ear to what was cool at the time.
Dying Fetus are undisputed death metal veterans at this point. Would you say the rise in the internet’s popularity has affected how you operate as a band over the years, and if so, how?
Absolutley, the internet has allowed us to promote ourselves basically for free. It has allowed bands better avenues to become noticed. But it also has made it harder to be seen also, because of the number of bands out there now. Yes you have the ability to promote yourself but also how do you get noticed among the multitude of other acts out there?
Many people have claimed that there is no longer any money in record sales, and that touring is the most efficient way to earn an income as a band. How much truth do you think there is in this sentiment?
To my knowledge we have always made our money from touring, and merchandise sales. Even when the record industry was strong only a small number of bands made money from record sales.
Do you think traditional copyright laws are still enforceable in the digital age, or do you think we will have to rethink the concept of copyright itself?
I don’t really know if the old laws apply today. But did they ever really matter? Once the public was able to make copies of music the old laws did not matter. Once cassette recorders entered the market music theft has run rampant. But I would have never got to hear some awesome music if the act of copying never happened.
Do you feel that music is still capable of bringing about change or influencing political decisions?
I believe that music is a product of the masses current feelings. During the Vietnam War the flower child/hippy movement was brought about because many people felt the same, and some of them put their feelings/motivations into music form.
What would you say are the main challenges facing an up-and-coming musician/band in today’s cultural climate?
Just getting noticed among the ocean of other musical acts out there, building a solid following is difficult. As a musician you choose to follow current trends or pave your own path. Sometimes it’s profitable to do what others are currently doing. But the true trend setters are going out on a limb with their art. That is a risky endeavour. You are relying on your ability to do something unique and also predict where the trends are going.
Finally, what does the future hold for Dying Fetus?
Dying Fetus will continue to do what we do best and that’s play brutal slamming death metal.