German thrashers Dust Bolt are unleashing their third album Mass Confusion. Frontman Lenny Breuss checks in with the latest on the new record, tour plans, his musical background and more.
Chad Bowar: How did the songwriting process for Mass Confusion compare to your first two albums?
Lenny Breuss: It was totally different in many ways. I really think that the music one creates is influenced by the environment and the circumstances of the artist. As far as we are still really young kids, some things in our lives changed that had an huge impact on our music. Some of us moved in together and liv3 in a apartment, which is somehow our creative spot right now since the last one two years ago. So when we wrote the album there was a unbelievable high personal input and exchange by the members.
For the first two albums we did all the songs on guitars and went into the rehearsal room then. But this time we came home from tour, had some months without shows and just jammed every single day. I´d say that probably half of the songs were just raw ideas in my head that came together as songs when we just jammed out to them. Our drummer Nico and me went to the rehearsal room every single day for some months, working on the songs. It was really intense. Every one of us now has such a strong connection with each song, I can´t even explain how much fun it is playing them live together. One song called “Portraits of Decay” was even jammed in our living room with e-drums and an acoustic guitar in the middle of a drunk night. (laughs)
Did you record it in the same studio?
Yes! We had some people advising us to go somewhere else, but that wasn´t an option for us. Max and Lolli at The Engine Studios were a part of the Dust Bolt family since day one. They´re not just studio engineers, they are artists in their own way. We don´t want to record anything at home, or with any of that digital bulls–t, we want a real studio with amplifiers, no fresh air, no internet and a huge analog mixing desk.
As far as we jammed so many songs together, there was still space for some changes and ideas in the studio. And you can only get a creative and productive atmosphere if you trust the people around you. All of us went to our limits, all together and we totally love the production of Mass Confusion.
How has your sound evolved/progressed on this one?
The songs contain more details, rhythm and guitars. We also got way better as players over the years. We have toured a lot since Awake the Riot and we are all still young musicians. We had some great input from the Obituary tour for example and we explored some kind of musical power when we played together we didn´t experience before. We are also jamming on stage now, because we trust our musical instincts. So the sound of the band has definitely progressed. When we came into the studio, we used exactly the same equipment we play in our rehearsal rooms and live. There´s nothing fake, anything you hear on the CD is a thousand percent Dust Bolt.
How did you decide on Mass Confusion as the album title?
I had the idea already before the song existed. I don´t sit down and think for song titles or lyric ideas. They all come into my mind by time. I remember walking through the city, just watching all these people and asking myself, “what the hell are we all doing?” Giving up your dreams for jobs that do not make you happy, so you can afford what others told you that should be your dream, people wasting their time to escape the responsibility for themselves.
Many things make me think and make me angry. That´s what made me think that we might live in a state of confusion. As you can see on the artwork, the one perceiving the confusion still has struggles with his role and has to go through several fights with himself and with others. I think it sums up the album in a good way.
You have a lot of shows booked in Europe for this year. Any plans for a North American tour?
We are working on it! It´s not easy for a young European band to go to the States and tour because it is really expensive to do so and the promoters don´t want to risk anything. But all I can say is that playing North America and also South America would be a big dream come true and we´ll try everything to make it real.
What has been your most memorable Dust Bolt live show?
Wow, that´s not easy. I can´t really point out one show. Every show is memorable and different in many ways. I can’t tell which one I liked best, I just love playing music and going crazy together with people.
What’s the most unusual venue you’ve played?
I remember last year, when we played in some country bar in the middle of nowhere in Germany. I think a band cancelled and somehow we were the new headliners. But it turned out to be some kind of family event, but all the people just listen to gothic wave. So we played in a country bar, in front of a few people and kids staring at us and not knowing what was going on. I think it was the first time ever, I drank while playing. (laughs)
Describe an interesting person you met while on tour.
I’d say Donald Tardy from Obituary. The metal scene would be a better one if there were more guys like him. He’s just 100 percent musician and down to earth. I love this man. He supported us, took us on tour with them and taught us so much in so many ways. On tour, he always took care of our drummer Nico and watched every show we played, every single night.
How did you get started in music?
I grew up in a musician´s family. My dad made his living out of music. So for me it was clear since day one. I didn’t want to do anything else and I still don´t want to. I’m actually not able to do anything else. (laughs)
When did you decide you wanted to be a professional musician?
That same moment. For me it was clear from the beginning. I knew if I worked hard enough things would turn out well somehow. And as a kid I was lucky to meet my other boys and we started our first band which turned out to be Dust Bolt.
Which of the “Big 4” of thrash bands is your favorite?
To be honest, I´m absolutely no fan of that “Big 4” kind of thing. The thrash scene shouldn’t be a competition. The scene evolved by so many bands, not only by the “Big 4.” But I’d say Metallica wrote the best songs, Mustaine the best riffs, Anthrax made something so crazy and unique it’s just great and Slayer killed them all!
How’s the metal scene in your area of Germany?
Good and bad. On one hand we don´t have many small live events or underground shows anymore. I really miss that. We have many concerts in Munich, which is around one hour away from us, but they are all in bigger venues. Therefore the metal scene is great, I just miss the small underground.
But there´s a thing called Thrash Inferno, which tries to keep that spirit alive by doing small thrash shows twice a year. On the other hand, there are so many great bands from our area it´s crazy! Some people already called it the Bay(ern) Area Thrash. Toxic Waltz, Antipeewee, Battlecreek, Mynded, Traitor, just to name a few. I think thrash will rise again and there’s a new generation just waiting for their moment.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Get your dose of Mass Confusion on July 8th. And think for yourself.
(interview published July 7, 2016)