Dieth – Trust Your InstinctsSunday, 11th June 2023
An international band with ties across multiple continents, Dieth features a killer combination of musicians: ex-Megadeth bassist David Ellefson, ex-Entombed A.D. guitarist / vocalist Guilherme Miranda, and ex-Decapitated drummer Michal Lysejko. Releasing their debut single “In the Hall of the Hanging Serpents” in the summer of last year, this primal output kept the buzz going as we venture into their debut album To Hell and Back. Combining elements of death/thrash with some traditional/groove-oriented nuances, their sound makes a statement immediately and should impact audiences as they take these tracks on the road.
We reached out to Guilherme to find out how the band started, the style of music they developed, the importance of strong lyrics to match the musical content, funny moments getting a bass to Mr. Ellefson for a video shoot, talk of the Brazilian music scene plus some thoughts on the importance of Sepultura and Megadeth to Guilherme’s outlook on metal, as well as future goals.
Dead Rhetoric: Tell us about the formative days for Dieth – how did you develop your bonds during an unprecedented time in history with the pandemic? And did you know straight away the style of death/thrash you wanted to produce, or was it a feeling out process to arrive at what you want to achieve musically with this band?
Guilherme Miranda: When we started this whole thing, I already had some songs written. I knew pretty much what I wanted to achieve with some of the tracks. I wanted this thrash/death metal vibe for the tracks that I had ready – but I wanted to bring more into a thrash direction with a death vibe. When David said yes to start working with us from the very beginning, from the first song – Dieth was the name that David brought to the band. He recorded the first demo “In the Hall of the Hanging Serpents”, and he brought something very important, his signature sound to the song. You can hear the personality of the band members there, and then when you hear the drums, we took it from there. We developed the whole style from there.
Dead Rhetoric: What about the ballad “Walk With Me Forever” – was it a surprise to hear Dave take on the vocals?
Miranda: Yeah. We had a few more songs, but when I came up with the ballad, we were trying to decide what songs would go on the album. I was really questioning if this should go on this album, it has a strong meaning to me. It had clean guitars, and I am a big Opeth fan. I like that, I like Mastadon, Gojira, and there are different set ups in bands that I played in that didn’t fit into the settings of the music that I was playing with. David was on board 100% to make this ballad, it’s super heavy and sad. The sadness of the chords, the idea behind the song, and the meaning of the lyrics bring about the heaviness. When we were about to record the song, he read the lyrics and got really touched by the whole meaning of the song. I told him why don’t you take this step and sing this song. We demoed some tracks, and the next day when we heard it, we really loved it.
Dead Rhetoric: After dropping your first single “In the Hall of the Hanging Serpents” last summer, we finally have the debut album To Hell and Back. How would you assess the songwriting and recording sessions for this set of material? What sort of challenges, surprises, or obstacles had to be overcome – and how do you feel about the final output now?
Miranda: There are many feelings that come about when working on an album. Once you are finished the album, your head is so stressed. We managed pretty well to do the mixing, writing, and recording process here (in Poland). We got so much shit done, we were so productive, this whole process was enjoyable. It’s the first album where I didn’t get super stressed or furious. I like all the songs; I think they all have a certain personality and are all very strong. This album has a variety of musicality that I always wanted to hear in an album. I like “To Hell and Back”, that song – it has this raw feel. “Don’t Get Mad… Get Even” has this more thrash, angry vibe. We have some stoner vibes; we have some brutal stuff. The biggest challenge was to put all the songs together. It was really rewarding; I think we should repeat the process again next time and improve some things here and there.
I sent the tracks, Michal sent me drum ideas, and then I would talk with David. We would meet along the way, jam, do things in the studio and I would produce the tracks. It’s a really cool process. You need to have a lot of patience and requires in my case a lot of kickboxing to keep on top of it (laughs). The main challenge for any album from now on is to nail the feeling of the songs and write something that means something to you, deep inside yourself and put it out in a good way. Besides that, a lot of work, but technology nowadays allows us to do really good stuff even with the distance. I have a lot of professional recording equipment here – the other two do as well. We can do our thing, I can breathe, I can listen, I can improve some parts, then we meet again in the studio.
Dead Rhetoric: Is it important to gain trust being so far apart across the internet? Do you trust your instincts as musicians to know what fits and what doesn’t work?
Miranda: You have to trust your instincts and you have to trust the instincts of the people playing with you. For example, Dave and I really trust Michal, his approach is of a high-performance quality. Sometimes tempo-wise, he knows what he needs to do so we filter the riffs through him and trust him. Dave is really good with the details – sometimes he will hear something in the background, he is very sensitive with this. If you trust your instincts and when each person is doing their part, it becomes great work.
Dead Rhetoric: Where do you want to come across with the lyrical content for this band? Do you believe you spend as much time pouring over the topics and words, phrasing, melodies as you do the musical components?
Miranda: Yeah. This is very important, as they really represent what you really want to say. How you want to manifest yourself to the world, and to the people. We had a lot of attention on the lyrics. We recorded some stuff in the studio, and we looked at certain words that have better meanings and are more aligned to the concepts. We did lyrics not only about our world environment but also about our inner feelings. I enjoyed it a lot, this fits the music perfectly and it’s the direction that I want to go in my career. Dave is on board with it, “Don’t Get Mad… Get Even” is his lyrics. That’s why we are so energetic. The feedback we are getting so far with the material is fantastic.
Dead Rhetoric: How much of a challenge was it to figure out what songs were going to be singles and that you would shoot videos for?
Miranda: Actually, choosing singles is always tricky. There is a song on this album called “Free Us All”, when we finished the album, I sent the master to Napalm. I felt like this may be a weak spot on the album, I wasn’t 100% sold on it. The first email I got that the product manager of Napalm sent us, he loved that song – it was one of the highlights of the album. That also means that sometimes you have in mind a certain song is killer, but you never know what the other guy is thinking. At the end of the day, we knew the narrative we wanted to have for the album. We built a logical timeline.
Dead Rhetoric: How are you able to balance time management and get things done for Dieth, especially considering the three main musicians living on three different continents? Are you thankful and appreciative for instant technology at your disposal to get things accomplished quicker than ever before?
Miranda: Yeah, technology definitely allows us to reduce costs, travel costs. One thing I’ve understood with Dieth is, if you really want to do something, you find a way. If you don’t want to do it, you find an excuse. With Dieth we want to make things happen. Sometimes I don’t even know how we made this band happen. We recorded the video for “In the Hall of Hanging Serpents”, and I still don’t know how we pulled this off. Everything was so crazy; Dave was in London, and he didn’t have a bass because his bass was somewhere else and Jackson the manufacturer was going to send it from the Netherlands to London. Everything was a mess, and he called me the night before the video shoot. He said, ‘dude- maybe we have to cancel this whole thing because the bass didn’t arrive’. He had to use something with Jackson as his sponsor. I put out a post to people in Poland. I bought a bass from a guy, borrowed a car from a friend, drove there and I arrived there to get the bass. The guy gave me a lecture about it being a Dave Ellefson signature model bass. (laughs). I didn’t know if I could tell him that Dave was going to use this bass.
It was crazy. When I arrived there to record the video, he was able to sell the bass after the shoot with his signature on it, we made enough money to pay for the video shoot. That is a hell of a Dieth story.
Dead Rhetoric: What sort of goals or expectations do you hope to achieve with Dieth that maybe differ from your previous work over the years?
Miranda: The expectations and main goal with Dieth, I have already achieved, 100%. I was very depressed after I left Entombed A.D., losing L.G., he was a really good friend and some other people during COVID, everything went upside down. I was in a deep depression state. And Dieth took me out of it. It kind of saved my life. I have goals – I think we have all the talent and ability to make this band as big as it deserves to be. We know where we want to be and how to get there. It’s going to be a lot of work, everyone works hard. Even Dave likes to work hard, his drive is really strong. This has been super cool. I think we are going to get far away from this crazy start. I am pretty sure we are going to make it bigger than our previous projects, that’s for sure.
Dead Rhetoric: You’ll be performing at some summer festivals across Europe soon. What can the fans in attendance expect as far as the outlook of Dieth live compared to what they hear on record?
Miranda: We are playing pretty much exactly like what you hear on the record. When I write for the records, I write with two guitar players in mind, so we will add another guitarist for the live shows. There will be tweaks here and there. I like to go watch a gig and even with the amplifiers and band, we want to extend some parts here and there, feedback ringing. Let’s rock!
Dead Rhetoric: How do you view the state of the metal scene within Brazil and beyond – are there specific styles that you think are gaining more traction globally, and are there any changes you would like to make for the greater good of everyone involved?
Miranda: Brazil, it’s really interesting. Before it was worse, but growing up there as a metalhead, everybody hated your guts. It was like being a criminal, they would point the finger at you, ‘metalhead!’. They would bully you, there were fights. Nowadays, I think people are accepting more music, understanding the music and the market has grown there. They are passionate about it, the culture, big festivals are growing there. We have a Summer Breeze festival there, and it was a big success. I see the Brazilian scene with really good eyes. The underground scene I can’t really complain about there. It’s quite a thing to grow up in Brazil, from the countryside. The access we had to things was a little bit before the internet time back then, access to good instruments, was more difficult. That adds to the passion, if you are going to do things in a difficult environment you have to fight for it.
Brazil is progressing a lot. It’s more and more professional. We have excellent bands, excellent musicians. It’s great.
Dead Rhetoric: I would imagine a band like Sepultura gave a young musician like yourself a lot of hope and inspiration to be able to achieve global success…
Miranda: Sure. Sepultura, when I met Max Cavalera for the first time, I was shaking. He was my hero. Imagine in Germany you have a list of bands that have achieved worldwide success. Scorpions. In England, the same thing. Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, all these Liverpool bands like Carcass, Napalm Death. In Brazil, we have Angra, we have Krisiun who are heroes. I became close friends to Krisiun, I have been over their house. Sepultura were the national heroes for me. When I was a kid watching MTV, I thought Sepultura was from the US (laughs). I didn’t know they were Brazilian. It became an obsession for me, that someone understands me from this country. When I met Max, it was incredible. L.G. was with me, and Max – I thought I was meeting the Pele from metal. We had a really good chat; I gave him a hug. I think all their projects outside of Sepultura have been great.
Dead Rhetoric: Have you been able to pick Dave’s brain regarding some of your questions or memories relating to his time/years with Megadeth and how much that has meant to you as a musician/guitar player?
Miranda: That’s another really cool subject. I actually started playing guitar with an acoustic guitar, my parents wanted me to play “Happy Birthday” on guitar and I hated that. I don’t know how I managed to hate it so much. I listened to rock and metal; my mom didn’t know where I got this from. At the end of the day, I didn’t want to play guitar until I heard more Brazilian artists. Even “Attitude” from Sepultura, that riff. I was watching MTV and I saw the video for “Holy Wars” – that opening riff – I knew that I had to play guitar. It gave me a purpose in life as a pre-teen that hated everything. It’s ironic that now I’m in a band with Dave Ellefson. Rust in Peace, that album is a cornerstone when it comes to my playing. Although I had a good musical background, I was more of a listener than a musician. That album made me want to be a musician.
Dead Rhetoric: What concerns do you have most regarding the world that we live in today? Where do you think the leaders of the world need to put more focus, energy, or attention on to make things better for the average person/planet overall?
Miranda: This is a difficult one. We can have the most beautiful speech ever, but the interests behind the decisions that the people make, the politicians, may be beyond our comprehension. At the end of the day, countries don’t have friends, they have interests. They put their interests above the common man. We hope for the best, and I think in life if you treat yourself good, if you have good will and respect towards others, it’s a good first step to make the world a better place. If you want to point the finger at the politicians, you are just doing the same thing.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s on the agenda for any activities related to Dieth over the next twelve months or so for promotion, live shows, etc.?
Miranda: We have a lot of work. We are fully booked until September. Our management company is from the US, they just called us to have more plans to follow up with after September. We are receiving a list of things to do. We have more videos to be recorded. We have some opportunities to tour the US already. In between these things, I want to keep a routine of writing new music. We have some songs that didn’t go on the first album. We left behind three or four tunes that could become something for the new album.