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Articles Home » Music Talk » DED - Interview with Joe Cotela
DED - Interview with Joe Cotela

 By: Nina McCarthy, Senior Music Journalist, Boston Rock Radio

 

 

Arizona based metal/nu-metal/hard rockers, Ded, have emerged out of nowhere and have taken over the airways and festivals like a hurricane.  Joe was kind enough to chat with me and open up about their humble beginnings, his anxiety, their debut album, and how the band exploded into the scene.  

(Huge thanks to Ed Bunker st No Problem Marketing for being so accommodating.  It's always a pleasure working with you.)

 

 

Xfinity, Mansfield, MA 7/20/17

 

BRR:  I know you guys have been together a little over two years now.  Can you give me a brief history of how it all began?

 

JC:  Yeah. It was David and I kind of coming up with the idea.  We were listening to a lot of new music, and we were of the opinion that we wanted to hear a band that sounded like Ded.  It didn't exist, so we wanted to make it and that was the reason that we did it. So we started going to his studio and just working on it and kind of studying different albums, a lot of different albums, that we wanted to combine and put together and make a sound with.  That was kind of the beginning of it. Then we met Kyle and started playing together.  Then with Matt and Kyle, we started playing live together in a room and just doing it for fun and the plan was kind of just that because we had been in bands before and we were kind of done trying to be successful and making everyone happy and that kind of thing that you fall into.   So, at that point we were just doing it just to have fun. We were going to play in like dive bars and not really worry about it and then we sent it to some friends, and then they sent it to some people and then it just took off actually.  We didn't honestly ultimately try that much.

 

BRR:  I was going to say, I know you were kind of waiting for the right time, but you had a lot of music. You said that in another interview.

 

JC:  Yeah, I guess that's true.  Initially, we kind of made it for ourselves, so we made a lot of it because it was fun. We were having fun. We would hit each other up every day, “What are you doing? Nothing? Cool?”   So we made some music and we made the name Ded as kind of the working title.  It was a name that we liked a lot and went with it from there.

 

BRR:  What seemed to be the big break?

 

JC:  There was a lot of them, it feels like ‘cuz it all accumulates.  But I think meeting John Feldmann was a really big deal.  He really took us under his wing and became our champion and he is such a well renowned connected person.  He made a lot of things happen for us, opened a lot of doors and showed it to a lot of people, that kind of thing.

 

BRR: That's what it is, being in the right place and knowing the right people.

 

JC:. That's right.  When he got excited about it, that was a good thing.

 

BRR:. “Remember the Enemy” is your follow up single to "Anti-Everything.”  Can you tell me a little about “Remember the Enemy?”

 

JC:. We're going to go shoot a video with Fred Durst for that in a couple weeks. (The video has since been completed in August.)

 

BRR:. That was my next question.

 

JC: Ok, we'll get to that.  One of the things when I write songs is that I don't really intentionally write anything in particular.   I just kind of write down whatever the lyrics are, however it goes. I like to leave it open for interpretation because I want people to utilize the song however they see fit for their life because I like to do that in my own way.  But, for me, it's kind of about how you are your own worst enemy.  You know what I mean?   And it's about the anxiety and the bullshit that I deal with with myself.  I'm a bit of a nutcase in a lot of ways with my anxiety.

 

BRR:  I think we all are.

 

JC:  Yeah, we all have it.  For me, it gets pretty bad sometimes just for whatever, so it's about staying conscious and cognitive of what's going on and not letting my mind and my body fool me and mess me up and that kind of thing and remember that I'm in charge of it.  You can be your own worst enemy sometimes and to just pick your ass up and fucking go live the day sometimes.  

BRR:  As you said, the video is going to get directed by Fred Durst.  How is he to work with?

 

JC:  He's awesome.  He did “Anti-Everything.”   He is a really good guy to work with and he really understands that we like to do strange weird things and so does he, obviously, like the Limp Bizkit stuff.  They always did interesting things.  So it's a really cool working relationship, and I hope we can obviously do the rest of our videos with him for a long time, so we'll see what happens.

 

BRR:  I just realized that this was the first time I've ever seen you without the contacts!

 

JC:  Oh shit. Yeah, I'm supposed to put those in.

 

BRR:  I know you've been asked this a million times, but for people not really familiar with you, tell me about the whited out eyes.

 

JC:  It's something we wanted to do early on, when we first started playing our first couple of shows.  We talked about masks.  We talked about different things because we want to do something a little extra because we really like horror movies, and that was part of the thing we were doing with the music, was making those really weird sounds from horror movies.   David makes a lot of strange stuff like on pro tools.  I don't even know how he does it.  I'm not a technical person.  I'm more like, “ That's cool, and that's not cool.”   So we really wanted to make the music feel like how you feel after you watch a horror movie, kind of with some of the songs at least when we first started it anyway, and so we wanted to incorporate some sort of visual aspect with that.  And then with the name Ded, it kind of it made sense.  And, to take away your eyes is a really empowering thing because your eyes tell so much about you.

 

BRR:  They say they're the window to the soul.

 

JC:  They are, exactly.  If you're scared or if you're excited or if you're angry or any of the kind of stuff you feel, your eyes can tell so much about what you're thinking and so it's kind of cool to take that away, and it gives you a bit of a leg up and it creeps people out really bad.

 

(Photo courtesy of Ded)

 

BRR:  It does. It's very creepy.  And you said you have a passion for horror movies and dark imagery which shows in your videos. How do you, besides obviously the eyes, bring it to your stage presence?

 

JC:  Wow, I don't know.  I guess there this is a lot of intensity on stage.  It's very aggressive.

 

BRR:  I listened to another interview where you said you played a show this summer and Matt (drums) vomited and kept on playing.  I mean you guys go all out and give it your all.

 

JC:  It was really hot.  We do and I think, as far as some of that imagery, we're still in the early stages of things.  Once we get to that point where we have a lot of production, we will probably do some pretty crazy stuff, but we're just not quite there yet.

 

BRR:  You're leaving it for the videos now.

 

JC:   Yeah, it's still a building thing.  

 

BRR:  How was your experience walking the Red Carpet and presenting an award at the APMAs?

 

JC:  That was really cool.  The APMAs are something I've watched for years.  I've watched it on TV many times.  To go there and be invited and furthermore to present an award for Best Hard Rock was awesome.  It was really cool and something I hope we'll be up for some day.

 

BRR:  And Korn received the Vanguard Award, and you're currently touring with them, so that was cool.

 

JC:  And John, that produced us, got the Influencer Award.  

 

BRR:  Yeah, I missed part of it, when you gave the award, unfortunately, because I got a phone call.  However, I saw the YouTube video after.

 

JC:  The Pretty Reckless is a cool band, so that was pretty cool to be able to give it to them as well.

 

BRR:  Speaking of how you hope to win that award someday, you guys just seemed to come out of nowhere, and just take off running.  It's been amazing. I heard “Anti-Everything” first on Sirius Octane and I told my boss at Boston Rock Radio about it. I'm like, “ You've got to hear this band.”  He was like, “Oh, I'm playing them.”  He had just received “Anti-Everything” from Ed Bunker (Publicist). He's like,  “I'm playing them on the station because we focus on independent music.”  I just kept hearing it and it took off from there.  So, I'm proud to say I was a fan from the beginning!

 

JC:  That's awesome.  That's kind of the whole thing happened, we released it to a couple people and then it just kept going and going and going and everybody responded really well to it and it's cool.

 

BRR:  Now Mis•an•thrope is getting rave reviews and it's coming out tomorrow. (Released 7/21/17)  How do you feel about the reviews you're getting?

 

JC:  It's awesome!  It sounds like people are understanding what we intended to do when we need a made it, so that's really a cool thing to not be misunderstood with your art.

 

 

BRR:  Absolutely.  So, if your fans gave you gifts, what would you like on tour?  I've heard socks a lot from bands!  Do you need smokes, drugs? Haha

 

JC:  Xanax would be fantastic. (laughing)  I feel like I have everything I need.  Shit, dude, I don't know.  Maybe some new music to listen to.  That would be great.

 

BRR:  You're on all the major festivals coming up.  How do you keep your energy up or how do you plan to make it through the next several festivals after this tour with Stone Sour and Korn?  

 

JC:  I feel like when you're playing music, it gives you that energy.  The music lifts you up and moves you through.   You know, playing shows, exercising, and being conditioned for it.  Definitely staying hydrated.  I mean sometimes the drinking gets away with you a little bit, but yeah, yeah hydration for sure.  

 

BRR:  Do you have any special smoothies you make?

 

JC:  No, not while I'm out here.  I do have one I make at home with spinach, bananas, and vanilla whey powder and walnuts and a handful of ice. I don't do it on the road. It's just not as convenient to do it.  We're still growing.  We have only had music out for like 6 months.  We're still in a van.  We're still living like punk rockers.

 

BRR:   But you're blowing up real fast!   I work with a lot of local bands I always like to ask, what advice do you have for these aspiring musicians?

 

JC:  A lot of things.  I think one of the most important things to do is to always be humble and always be cool with everyone and not look at music as a competition because you'll shoot yourself in the foot real fast, and you never know who you're going to talk to who is going to become somebody that's going to know somebody.  It's a very small world.  I would say be a cool person and furthermore from that, be persistent and be honest with yourself.

 

BRR:  I get a lot of, “Just be who you are.  Don't try to copy.”

 

JC:  That's true for sure. If you put out something you don't like to make someone else like it and then if they don't like it, then no one likes it. If you put out something that you like and someone else doesn't like it then at least you still like it. You're the one that has to be fulfilled with the music that you create, so I think it's very important.

 

BRR:  I love the song “Beautiful”, which all the girls probably do because it's a slow one, but what made you do a slower song?

 

JC:  We tried a couple songs that were slower over the couple years that we were doing it but that one we were out with Feldmann in L.A. and he kind of put down the piano part and kind of the beat.   He was almost challenging us by saying, “Try to write a song like this and see what happens.”  And it wasn't like we're going to write a song like this and we're going to use this no matter what and it's going to be the slow song.  There was no thought process to it.  It was just like let's do this and see how it works.  It ended up being a really cool personal song.   We all were just way into it.

 

BRR:  It was a great way to end the album too.

 

JC:  Yes, it was a really cool way to finish the album up and it's reflective and it's honest.  Again, I think it can be interpreted a handful of different ways because I've had people tell me that they think it's about this or this, even though it's not, or it's very personal to them.   People just started hearing it because of Octane, initially, I think.

 

BRR:  They play the acoustic version.

 

JC:  We did the acoustic at a couple of festivals.  The song means something to me and it means something else to somebody else.   I almost don't even know if I would even tell anybody what it means to me, but I think it's a deep song either way no matter how you proceed.  I really do want to leave that one open to interpretation.

 

BRR:  Nice.  That's all the questions I have, but do you have any further comments or advice for your fans?

 

JC:  Just check out the album wherever, however you get your music, if it's Spotify or YouTube or whatever or if it's buying it, which would be freaking awesome.

 

BRR:  Great.  Well, thank you very much for your time and being so open.  I can't wait to see the live now.  Don't forget to put in those contacts now!

 

(Note: The live show was incredible and as energetic as Joe said!  I can't wait to see them live again!  Don't miss them when they come to a festival or venue near you.)

 

Xfinity, Mansfield, MA 7/20/17

 

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