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Dust Eater Dogs

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Interviews, just like bands, can be so boring. So predictable! They don't surprise me with their uncreative questions and answers. I have to say that also my interviews can be so mediocre. But not this one, in my opinion. But what else can you expect? Dust Eater Dogs is an unpredictable band with a creative mixture of styles such as hardcore, funkrock and rock and roll. And vocalist Benny Majabacka of this Finnish quartet was clearly willing to put in some originality. This interview is a must-check-out for sure.

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Interview with Benny Majabacka (guitars, vocals) and Harri Heikanen (guitars, vocals). At first this interview was with Benny until we started talking about Harri so I asked Harri to join.

Date: July 13th 2000

Where: This is an E-mail interview. Date refers to date first E-mail answer.

Other Band-members: Markus Majabacka (bass), Daniel Majabacka (drums).

Band's Geographical Home: Turku, Finland

Discography: Thunderleg EP (1997), Motor (1998), King Kong Fist (single; 2000)

Available Through: Dust Eater Dogs & Little Rose Productions

Official Website: Dust Eater Dogs

Interview By: mpo

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Recently you released the single King Kong Fist through Little Rose Productions. Personally I think it's a real rock 'n roll with a raw Dust Eater Dogs twist to it. How would you like to describe the sound of the band?

Benny: The new album that is now recorded is going to be called Oil. The single gives a little bit hint what it's going to be like, but the album is far better, better sound, groove attitude etc...Personally I'm not satisfied at all with the single, we produced it ourselves and you can hear it. The new sound is live, raw, shitty rock 'n roll sound with some punk, hardcore and country influences. We call the style Hardrock 'n roll. It's all about energy and close to the earth rock...

It's interesting that you mention that you're not satisfied with the single.
The inlay of King Kong Fist states however that the single was produced by
Naa Myan Ling, or is that the same as "self-produced"?

Benny: Yep, Naa Myan Ling is Thai language and means monkeyface, it's basically me and Sebastian (band's manager, mpo). We didn't want to have our names as a producer in something that we think sucks, if we are willing to have some work in the future...But still, the single is worth buying...

The weird thing is that you released an album called Motor which didn't have a titletrack. Now you have a single, King Kong Fist, but it doesn't contain the song King Kong Fist. What's on the disc is the song Motor which could have been the titletrack for the first album. The inlay says King Kong Fist isn't on it because "It sucked so bad". Is this the kind of Dust Eater Dogs humor?

Benny: To start from the beginning, we released an EP called Thunderleg. I think that even the song wasn't written at the time. So we decided to keep on
that line, name the releases with something to come in the future. That will hopefully keep up some interest. The song King Kong Fist is an excellent song, but the recording failed. We didn't use a metronome, so it was impossible to have the Jewish harp sections in it because it wasn't tight. It will be re-recorded in the future.

We don't know such a thing as humor. We are just fed up with traditional ways of doing things. But sometimes we think we are very funny.

As a cool thing you've added a video for Motor. What made you decide to
add a video?

Benny: To fill up the space with something. A friend wanted to shoot a video,
that's about it.

You once suggested that there was possibility of a remix by Jimi Tenor of the song Thunderleg to appear on the single. As there's no such remix I wonder how that went.

Benny: This is something I'm still pissed off with. Can you believe, Day -Glo Records destroyed our original master reels with Thunderleg in it. They recorded some Swedish punk over it. NO hard feelings, but it's gone for ever. Shit, man! There were great plans for the remix single.

You have no hard feelings but at the same time you're pissed off?

Benny: Yea, it's kinda pity and makes me sad but that's what happened and it
can't be taken back. And everyone makes mistakes, so it's a thing to be accepted. I'm not really pissed off with anything, just pretending to be, because you usually are after these kind of things. I try not to worry too much.

There's a mystery to be cleared up. Last year the news came Dust Eater Dogs had decided to quit. In December you told me that the reason for that were hard times. Can you explain more about that and why you decided to restart the band later on?

Benny: Can't remember too clearly what happened at that stage. It was Harri who left the band unofficially, and we all were having really hard times in our
personal lives and with the vision of DED. But you may believe that it was quite hard for me. I took it quite seriously, but we managed to solve all the problems. That is one of the reasons we've been taking it easily lately. And, two weeks ago Harri was ready to leave the band again, but we managed to survive again. The things behind this are quite complex things, basically connected to the vision. But now, we're strong and united and we'll keep on going for the next 20 years, that's for sure.We love each other and there has never been personal problems amongst us.

This is still vague to me. What is really the vision of the band and how did that bring you into conflict?

Benny: OK.When we first started off we played clubs and the secular scene. That was our vision in the beginning. After a while a Christian promoter started to sell our concerts and we ended up playing Christian shows only. It got really boring after a while because Finland is such a small country and the scene becomes really familiar too soon. When we had put out the album (Motor) we played about every weekend. We got fed up with our songs and it tasted like crap. So we didn't see much reason to keep on playing.  Well, we tried to go back to our original things but we had kind of lost the first childish enthusiasm. We talked it over many times, and came up to a conclusion that DED is now more like a ministry, not for fun. Of course it can be fun as well. So we had a different approach to the thing and we weren't after the same hype anymore. There were also problems with my leadership. I tried to avoid responsibility and after long sessions of discussions it was great to see that we all have now found our roles in the group. And playing is fun again.

One other thing is with Harri. He is very talented singer and songwriter, but he doesn't like DED stuff too much. So he wants to have more channels to do his own music. But nowadays we don't play too often and everything is quite fine. We take care of our relationships by having nights out with the guys, bowling or sauna or whatever, so the problems can't grow too big because we share them now all the time.

We have also learned a lot about visions. They can die and change. One important thing is that if you are willing to have one, state it out clearly enough that it doesn't get confusing.

Dust Eater Dogs

On the website I read a story about a show with Sentenced. Is that the kind of thing you would like to do more?

Benny: Well, the main point in our ministry is not to cause problems or hassle. This is the goal. Fact is, that they often arise. But we like to do things that are not obvious and that force people to think and choose their sides. Sometimes these kind of things are really challenging because you know that the audience is being touched somehow. We would like to do more warm up shows, but not necessarily with heavy metal bands, because the music itself is so far from our stuff and the metalheads are really not into our style.

Twice Harri wanted to leave the band, you said. How steady is the line-up then?

Benny: Steady as a rock. Funky as a frog. Hectic as a hog.

Hectic as a hog is something I can see as Harri wanted to leave again just two weeks ago. Why do you want to keep him in the band while he doesn't like the band's music too much? It almost seems like he's not allowed to move on!

Benny: Harri and we are the best friends, and he's been there from the beginning, we don't want him to leave. If he wants to do so, that's ok but it'll be hard to replace crazy Harri. DED is not a band that can change members. We are strongly bound together. DED is a family. And even though Harri is not a big fan of rock 'n roll, he still finds it so good fun to jam with us, and that groove that we nowadays got can't be found anywhere else. I believe it's a God given groove. And like most musicians, you just love to play, it doesn't matter what the style is, you don't have like to listen to it, but playing itself is the thing.

Okay, Harri, can you give us a little bit more insight into your motivations to either leave Dust Eater Dogs or to stay?

Harri: Well, DED has been together for years. I think in that time you're allowed to have some problems and it's not so big deal if I sometimes think about leaving the band. I never really left anywhere. Sometimes problems get way too big and then you just think that maybe it's time to move on. But like
marriage, you just can't run away. We talked about these bad curves and now we can drive straight ahead again. FULL STEAM ON. I have this love and hate relationship with DED. Sometimes it's the dream come true, sometimes it's just hard work and frustration. But that's life man!!! DED lives forever and Harri is always complaining and whining and leaving the band... But these brothers love me anyway and I love them so that's it, we pull the same rope.
And what are the problems, I hear you ask. Well, this band is just one thing in this short life. I have to make up my mind how to live it. Where to put my time. How to handle my lovely wife and so on. The band is not the most important
thing in my life and that makes me unsure about how much time to give it. And of course I have my own music interests, but it's too much work to start something new and I'm not so much into it now. And last but not least, our vision was lost and it made everything meaningless and a waste of time. Some
problems are personal and doesn't belong to anybody. We have good stuff for
an excellent soap opera, don't you think?
 
Benny: For me, I don't listen to this kind of music nowadays, hardly any heavy music, I find it boring. But playing it is different. Hardrock 'n roll and hardcore are the best things to play live.

You keep amazing me Benny! You play heavy music but you don't listen to this kind of music. What kind of music is not boring then, what's the thing you're into?

Benny: Well, I listen to all kinds of music, the only criterion is that it should be good. My favorites lately have been Morphine, J.J. Johansson, Sixteen Horsepower and Imani Coppola. From the harder edge I'm crazy about Clutch, I'm a true fan of them. I'm really into old country music as well, Jim Reeves and Johnny Horton etceteras. Also some hiphop stuff makes me groove. From Sweden there are good bands coming out, Refused and Lok.

Harri: I'm into everything that makes me feel something. I'm melancholic and that makes me very "feelish". If you know what I mean. I don't care about styles but about the music. There must be something real and it must come  from the soul, deep down. Then it's good  ----- if it doesn't suck!!! I don't listen much. Do you?

You also switched from Day Glo Records to Little Rose Productions/Bullroser
Records from your homecountry, Finland. How were your experiences with Day Glo and what is the exact deal with Bullroser?

Benny: With Bullroser it's kind of a publication and distribution deal. We wanted to stay indie for a little while, but I think we start to look for a bigger
label soon. With Day-Glo, they wanted us to play in Sweden and in Europe but we didn't want to, and that was the beginning of the mess. We are still
friends with the folks in Day-Glo, but at this moment we're not working together. I like it indie, problems only come with money.

Why didn't you want to play elsewhere in Europe at that time?

Benny: We are not ambitious, we hate this rock star thing and don't like too much attention. Actually, if this band was our only job, there wouldn't be any problems. But because we have studying and other stuff to do, we can't put too much effort into it right now. But we're planning that after a year we try it a little while full time and look how far we can get. I believe that there are no limits, if it's Gods plan.

As you mentioned earlier there will be a new album. Can you tell more about it?

Benny: The album will be titled Oil and it's the best thing we've done. I'm really
exited about it. There is a good rock 'n roll vibe going on and banjos and horns etceteras. It's about feelings and little things in life, about weakness and strengths, not dealing with deep theological subjects as the earlier one. Lots of friends will be showing up on the album.

Let me guess: Jacks Of All Trades! You did guest vocals on their album so it seems predictable to me. Can you tell more about appearances on the CD, who's gonna do the producing and when it will be released?

Benny: Yep, J Blast will be there, and Michael Wildside from Hallowed and a couple of guitarists and whole Minus SF will be there as well in one song. Plus some other not so interesting ones.

The producer is Mikko Oinonen. He has done quite a lot of productions in
Finland and he plays bass in a band called Bass 'n Helen. He's really cool, we
are more than satisfied with him.

And when will it be out?

Benny: I'm not sure when the album will be released. The final mixing happens
next week, and the cover art is now under designing. But we hope to find a label to release it, so it might take a little while.

Isn't it sure then that you're releasing it through Bullroser? Or do you have other plans with it?

Harri: I have no idea. I just play and complain.

Benny: Can't tell you too much about that yet. It's up to our manager and to God. I wouldn't mind signing up to a big label today, but don't now how I feel
tomorrow.

 

I found out you're gonna play in Belgium at the Maanrock Festival in
August. How did you manage to get to play there and are you gonna do more shows in these parts of Europe now?

Benny: Next summer we'll probably be playing in Europe. The Maanrock will also be next summer, not this one. That has been a misunderstanding.

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