Quebecois deathcore juggernaut Despised Icon are preparing themselves for a brutal summer. They’ve recently reformed stronger than ever, and are preparing to unleash their first LP in seven years, Beast. In preparation for this leviathan’s arrival, they’re currently tearing apart Europe – set to arrive on English shores as part of the Impericon tour next week.
Given the monstrous nature of the band’s sound and stage show, we genuinely feared for our journalists’ safety. So we thought it would be better if we just got Ryan and his DI diehard pal Keith to email guitarist Eric Jarrin for an update…
Let’s start with the new record. Will it take a different approach to your previous albums, or will it be similar to your earlier material?
We pretty much picked up where we left off. I think Beast is a good balance of our earlier stuff combined with the technicality of our latest albums. This new album is definitely one of the most brutal we’ve written!
What can you tell us about your touring plans in support of this record? Are there any new places you’re excited to visit? Or old haunts you’re looking forward to coming back to?
Well, extensive touring was one of the reasons why we broke up in 2010. But now, everyone is at a different place in their lives and we can manage to free up some time every year to do small tours and a handful of festivals. We’re happy to be back in Europe and very excited to go back to Japan next September. But, if you ever see that we’re playing your city sometime soon, make sure you come out because it might take a couple of years before we come back!
When you’re on tour, what’s your favorite thing to do with your time off?
Just to hang out together is awesome. We missed each other and now that we’re a little older, we all go out together and do some sightseeing whenever we get the chance. So many awesome places to see!
Do you have a favorite memory of your time in the band? Either from the tour bus (van?), the studio, or just jamming together?
We’ve shared a lot of stuff as a band over the years, some good memories, and some more difficult moments. But all in all, I think some of the best times we’ve had so far is since we reunited. It’s just been fun since then and the response we get from the fans is overwhelming.
When you first started the band, who were your biggest influences?
Back in 2002, we were into brutal bands like Devourment, Dying Fetus, Disgorge, all those Unique Leader bands. We were also into bands like Hatebreed and Madball, the newer generation of hardcore bands at that time.
When you started the band, did you expect to make it this far? Do you have any long-term goals for the band, or is it more a day-by-day approach?
This band started as a project between [vocalist] Alex Erian and I. Our only goal was to have a good time playing brutal music. Looking back at what we have accomplished, we are all very much grateful that so many people have embraced our music and made us what we are. Since we reunited, we pretty much take it a day at a time and we’ll see where this thing gets us in the future.
Do you have any new favourite bands? Any cool new artists you’ve played with or heard who we might not have heard of?
We listen to all kinds of music. Everyone in the band does. I know Alexgrind always listens to liquid metal on Sirius XM a lot, so he always gets to hear the latest metal stuff. Both singers have always enjoyed hip hop artists and we pretty much all stick to our individual musical roots from when we were teenagers.
What is your personal favorite Despised Icon record?
“Beast”. I think some of the best work we’ve done is on this new record. Maybe it’s because to me, it’s the best representation of where the band is at right now, but I love it.
You’ve been identified as pioneers of ‘deathcore’ – would you agree with that title? What does that phrase mean to you?
We’re cool with it. I mean, when we started as a band, our goal was just to create some of the heaviest stuff we could. By combining fast blasts and grinds with hard breakdowns, I guess people could relate to both hardcore and death metal genres. There were not a lot of bands doing that back in 2002, so we understand why would people say that about us.
How would you describe your sound and shows to someone who’s never checked out DI before?
Sheer brutality mixed with high energy combined with lots of fun! Come check us out, I guarantee you will have an awesome time!
Despised Icon play the Manchester and London dates of the Impericon Tour next week.
Beast is released 22nd July.