“‘A Pair Of Questions’ is a sentiment of being able to feel someone when you aren’t around them, of time passing, life passing, but you can still hit the same note with that person, and how nice it is to know that,” former Dillinger Escape Plan frontman Greg Puciato tells NME about his new solo single. Many fans may have felt that way about missing the band over the last three years since they split, but now Puciato is back to fill the void with something straight from the heart.
“It’s a very literal song,” he continues. “Two people whose roles in each other’s lives are hard to define, hard to pin down, dancing around one another, maybe it never focuses into a fixed definition but the feeling never changes. It’s obviously a romantic song, but there’s also some longing, and there’s an element of being perplexed and a little frustrated by the feeling as well, but ultimately there’s sort of a bewildered contentment and appreciation for the feeling.”
Check out the video for ‘A Pair Of Questions’ on NME first below, as well as our interview with Puciato opening up about life after the band, and what into into his debut solo album ‘Child Solider: Creator Of God’.
Hello Greg. Why now for a solo album?
Greg: “I started writing really heavily in the Spring of 2019, out of nowhere. I initially didn’t know where it was going, or why it was happening, or where it was coming from, because I had just finished a different album musically immediately beforehand. The stuff I was writing was all over the place musically, but it all still felt like me and didn’t feel like any band that I’m in. When I realised what it was, I initially pushed back against it mentally but then when I accepted it, it felt very exciting and very empowering – and it felt like a necessary step for me.”
It’s always felt like your bands The Dillinger Escape Plan and Black Queen sat at extremes from each other. Where does ‘Child Soldier: Creator of God’ fit?
“Those two bands are definitely emotional and sonic extremes. I felt very defined by The Dillinger Escape Plan in a way that felt like misrepresentation of my actual complete self, and of what I was experiencing in life. And the longer that happened, the more panicked I felt. That doesn’t mean I was creating other outlets out of sheer defiance and push-back. I’ve been excited for everything I’ve done creatively. I don’t feel like it’s healthy to create purely out of defiance. You have to be moving towards something with positive fuel, not just away from something with negative fuel, but there definitely was an element of feeling like I needed to show a fuller representation of myself artistically, I needed to be able to fully actualize. I could feel the walls closing in, and I hate the feeling of being trapped more than almost anything, maybe more than anything.”
Do you feel an emotional distance from those bands and those songs now?
“The Dillinger Escape Plan was so dark, so violent, and so time consuming, and all of those things only grew as we went on. Emotionally, sonically, we felt dark and violent to me, and we really became a vehicle for that side of the emotional spectrum, for me particularly I think, because there’s also a lyrical component, and because the ends of my own emotional spectrum are really wide. Those are powerful feelings, and you can harness them into something that feels strong and untouchable and all powerful. But it crowds the other parts of you out of the room when you become fused to that, when you’re expelling and living in that energy constantly, nurturing and reinforcing that energy constantly. Looking back, I’d say that the rest of me, creatively, emotionally, musically, was starting to freak out, I’d say as far back as 2010 or so, and so obviously The Black Queen was as far on the other side of everything as I could go, which makes sense.”
Is this album a reaction to those feelings?
“This record doesn’t feel like a reaction at all. It feels like integration, it feels like the big picture, in one thing. It feels like a representation of the work I’ve done to get to this point, both externally and internally.”
Sonically, what can you tell us about this solo album?
“There aren’t any genre or stylistic restrictions. I used what I needed to use, and included what I needed to include, in order to say what I needed to say, without any limitations. It doesn’t feel wild to me, it feels natural. It’s what I wanted to say. I think people always feel like an album sounds the way it does because you’re trying to make it sound a certain way. To me it’s more about just letting it be what it’s trying to be. Let your subconscious express what it’s trying to express, and be fearless about that. Your only real obligation as an artist is to express truth. It’s so weird to me when people act like it’s weird for an album to not be a genre album, or for an artist to not be a genre artist. I can’t operate that way. You can have a movie or a book that doesn’t neatly fit into a category. It can have a funny scene, but the movie isn’t a comedy. It can have action, but it isn’t an action movie. It can scare you without being horror.”
What does ‘Child Soldier: Creator of God’ mean to you?
“To me it’s a symbol of freedom and integration: Fully owning your shit and not feeling guilty about that. Every album carries opportunities and obligations. They’re opportunities for creative growth, for emotional growth. For personal and professional growth. They’re opportunities to get the best out of yourself, and mostly, to get the truth out of yourself. To take an honest snapshot of where you are, what you’re feeling, what you have to offer at that moment in time. And you also, as an artist, have not just an opportunity, but an obligation to do those things.You have to take those opportunities and obligations seriously, or else you’re a fraud, or a product, or a dancing clown. You’re squandering your potential.”
It’s been almost three years since Dillinger’s last show. How are you feeling about that band’s legacy now?
“I’ve been so non-stop since it ended that it really only feels like a half a year ago to me. I don’t spend a lot of time looking back. I’m proud of what we did, but I don’t feel like it’s missing from my life in any negative way. I’m excited about now. That seems like another place to me more than another time. It will never be dead, it’s there. We could go hang out in that place if we wanted to. It’s a part of me, it’s a part of the other guys. There’s no question to me that if we turned it back on, we’d be better than we were when we turned it off. No question. And any nonsense about us not being able to do it physically anymore, or that finances were some sort of issue, that’s all nonsense. We killed then, we would still kill now.”
‘Child Soldier: Creator of God’ is released on October 23. Pre-order it here.