Interview: Ian D’sa – Billy Talent

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With a new album ’Dead Silence‘ being released on September 7th, Billy talent are back with a bang. On the scene nearly twenty years they have outlasted many of their contemporaries and succeeded where many others have failed. Saranne Murray caught up with guitarist and producer of ‘Dead Silence‘ Ian D’sa  to talk about the new album, and what the future holds for the band.

You have a new album dead silence coming out next month, tell us a bit about it?

We actually just finished getting it mastered and mixed a few weeks ago, it sounds great, we couldn’t be happier with. Its due out in September and we can’t wait for it to be released.

It’s the first album that hasn’t gone in the number sequence, why did you decide to go with a completely new name?

It’s actually kind of funny, the truth about why we changed the name. After three albums of naming it numbers we always used to laugh about how we would get asked by journalist what is the significance of the numbers. We thought it was funny that people thought that we were putting any kind of significance or thought into it. The truth is just that we couldn’t think of anything and we were pressed for time so we just kept going with the numbers. This is the first album where we have had time to think about it. We wanted to throw people off a little and name it something different. That’s why we called it ‘Dead Silence’. And Dead Silence is the last track on the record, so we thought it summed up what the whole album was about.

I’ve had a listen to the album and it’s great, did you guys intentionally go for a more mature and heavier sound?

Yeah, the songs on this are a little more mature than anything that we have done before. We wanted to get back to the sound that we had established on the first few records. I ended up producing it myself and it took longer than expected but it was a great six months and we are super happy that it’s done. It feels like a fresh beginning for us in a way.

You said that you produced this album, did the fact you are also a member of the band help you understand what direction to take it in?

Yeah absolutely, some of my favourite bands of all time like Led zeppelin and Pink Floyd produced their own albums. If you can separate the two sides, musician and producer then you are able to experiment with ideas more and focus on what the band is about. I think that’s what we all wanted to do on this record. After co producing the second album with Gavin Brown I think the guys had enough confidence in me to do this record. It felt like the right move to do it.

Is it something you would like to do more of in the future? For your own band and maybe other bands?

Definitely, I mean my main focus is being a musician and playing in the band and writing songs with the band, but it’s something I’ve done on the side for other bands but only if time permits. When I’m free I love to just be in the studio working on something but we do a lot of touring so that takes up most of my time.

You have quite a lengthy tour ahead to promote the album, are you looking forward to being back on the road ?

When you are in the studio after a few months you can’t wait to get back out and tour, but once you are out there you wish you were back in the studio! After so many months out on the road you are excited to just get back home. But I am really looking forward to touring the new record and seeing how fans react to the new material.

You’ll be playing Dublin on August 22nd are you looking forward to coming back to Ireland?

Absolutely, it’s one of our favourite places to play. Our fans there are great and they have always come out and supported us on the last two tours we’ve done there. We love hanging out in Temple bar it’s such a cool area, Dublin is such a great little city and we are excited to be heading back.

You have a degree in classical animation and have worked as an animator in the past, do you think it’s what you would be doing if the band hadn’t worked out?

I would definitely have been involved in film or something. I originally went to study film and I loved it, I wanted to go into directing but I ended up in animation. I really loved animation and visual art. After working in the industry for a few years I can safely say that I much prefer being a musician and doing what I do. If the band was to end I would probably end up staying in music and do production or something like that. As much as I loved doing animation on the side, creating music is my biggest passion.

As well as animation you have done a few musical related side projects over the years, have you any more on the horizon?

Probably not for now because we just spent so long on our own record, and it’s nice to take a break. I would really like to get back to writing for the next record. I feel like I’m on a bit of a roll right now so it’s good to keep going while you are in the right mind set. I also find that its best to do it while in the right mind set, because once you get back into the touring mode, the writing bug that you have gets lost for months and months on end. So it’s always good to keep writing while you can. It’s why I will just be focusing on projects of my own for the near future anyway.

Because you will already have some material done do you think you will start working on the next record sooner rather than later?

We will probably take a couple of months off after touring, when you are touring there is so much down time that its really good to be able to work on more material while you are on the road. We literally only finished on the last one as recently as two weeks ago, so even though we could start soon we will probably just all have some down time first.

What does the future hold for billy talent?

I definitely think that we will be together for long time. We have been together almost twenty years now and there is no sign of us slowing down. Right now our focus is going on ‘Dead Silence’. I think that this record is something our fans are really going to love. Our fans were a little thrown off by the last record because it was too much of a departure from our sound. So this one will be more familiar to our first and second record and I think people are really going to take to it. I hope we just get to tour a lot over the next year, and after that there will definitely be at least one more album. We are here to stay. 

Billy Talent play The Academy on August 22nd. Tickets are €25.00 and are on sale now

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