You can’t take your eye off the ball when it comes to your art. You can’t be lazy or expect anything to happen by magic. Lady Luck doesn’t appear on cue, and when she does you’d better have something of substance on hand. I feel like I did my growing up through my early years spent in bands. A lot seemed to fall right into my lap very swiftly and very publicly. I wasn’t necessarily prepared for it, and the UK music industry doesn’t like to give second chances. My response was not to become bitter and twisted. In fact, my endeavour was strengthened.
Die So Fluid operated differently – I wasn’t taking anything for granted any more, now I had a desire to create authentic music on my own terms. For the first time ever, I took on session work and used the funds to pay for our studio time. I was Sporty Spice’s bass player for about a year, which was way more lucrative and useful than having to take a job at Tesco or something.
We were inspired by a lot of the heavier and more individual music arising from the Nu Metal scene of the time, but we weren’t in love with the scene itself. It’s just that bands like Deftones, A Perfect Circle, Korn, Helmet, System … presented such possibilities sound and idea-wise. We added that inspiration to the melting pot.
We were introduced to this kid Mark Williams, who was the hot up-and-coming producer at the time. He was young and hungry, like some kind of prodigy, and he’d done stuff for SikTh and interesting heavier bands of that ilk. He totally understood our vibe and we hit it off. In 2002, he had teamed up with a lovely, unassuming, and skilled engineer Barney Herbert to launch Criterion Studios on Holloway Road in North London. That’s where we made the album.
I fondly recall taking breaks at the local greasy spoon, and coining the phrase ‘tone quest’ throughout the session. It was funny but it sprung from trying seriously to capture the richest phat rock tones known to man. Our tuning started in drop D and we pretty swiftly moved down to C from there.
That’s when we first captured the quintessential Die So Fluid thing which happens when bass and guitar interact to make a wall of sound which emanates from the ocean depths. T-t-t tone! Haha, Drew said it just the other day!
I think we recorded the album in about 15 days. We were hungry for it: organised and prepared as one tends to be when spending one’s own funds. We forged a bond as well as the musical bones of what we went on to do with the following albums. The people who appreciated our independent values have remained incredible fans, and I think there’s excitement about how we’ll push the boundaries each time we write.
It is amazing to think about how this early venture garnered the belief of so many who went out of their way to show support. Friends such as Paul Clare, who started up his own independent label specifically to release Spawn of Dysfunction. We’ve continued to work with John Dryland at distributor Cargo, photographer Paul Harries, and certain people repeatedly pop out of the woodwork. They must recognise the drive we have, especially in rapidly evolving times; if you love something you keep going, and you’re prepared to keep learning and developing. We’re constantly reborn.
My lyrics on Spawn were mainly focused on resisting negative influences. I was dealing with escalating traumatic episodes in my family caused by undiagnosed mental health issues. One drama after another. Perseverance, overcoming struggle, and uniting in the face of adversity are still key DSF themes today. My band mates are my brothers. They became my extended family at this time, which helped give me a sense of something solid and positive.