In our Triple Play feature, Euro Rock Scene asks our favorite up-and-coming bands to have each member to give a detailed description of their top three favorite songs in order to give their listeners a better idea of the music that has inspired them as individuals and the band as a whole.
Today we’ve asked thrash/nu-metal band Public Display of Aggression to give us some insight into the music that inspires them. PDA formed in 2009 in Denver, Colorado, USA and are currently working on their debut full-length album To Live and Die in Your Suit and Tie.
Dashing Kenny Daggers (Bass):
There are many, many songs that I would consider influential. My top three rely on my current mood and what is going on in my life. The following three are currently the songs that have meant the most to me throughout my life and have impacted my musical upbringing.
“Path” by Apocalyptica – While I was still young and my musical taste was still coming into its own, I discovered this band. Their unique blend of heavy sound played with traditionally orchestral instruments was what led me to look at music in a different way. I personally pride myself in finding music that breaks the standard mold.
“Blood Of Kingu” by Vader – During this time in my life my musical taste was very heavily influenced in the more aggressive, darker side of metal. However, Vader was the one band that I could listen to and could never go wrong. From the powerful vocals, the evil ensemble, and arrangement of the music, to the overall mood it put you in, just experiencing it.
“ieuD” by Igorr – Igorrr is currently one of the single most impactful and important artists that exist to me. This group of musicians have come together to make the kind of music that they want to hear, not what the world wants. To them, they love so many genres and see the intricacies in these pieces and blend them together brilliantly. They create such beautiful artwork attempting to categorize them into only one genre is almost an insult.
What these mean to me, above all else, is to create your own soul in what you do. Your music should never just be the same thing everyone else already does. It is important to add yourself into your music, even if what your own band is writing is ‘a different genre’ that follows its own specific set of rules. Break the rules, implant your own unique sense of self into what you do.
Frankie Four Fingers (Drums):
“Dog Like Vultures” by Haste the Day – Everything these guys do is a beautiful mix of pure genius and emotion. There is an explosion of frisson for me when the last chorus hits and the music changes up a little from the previous choruses. Especially the raw emotion portrayed in the line “We’ve been known to calm the storms, and silence the oceans. With strife to spare you from their teeth.” This has always reminded me of religion, and the human goal of finding salvation. This band has strong Christian values and even if you don’t agree with their theological ideals, you can still agree with their music. (In fact, listen to all of their music…bwahaha.)
“We Own the Night” by Dance Gavin Dance – Another ethereal band, too perfect for this earth. Tilian is a god. This song has always put a smile on my face, especially coming from one of my favorite DGD albums. This band, more specifically this song, reminds me of the technical side of Dance Gavin Dance. There is something immaculate about the way they mix the singing and screams along with the punky and polyrhythmic drumming and godly guitar and bass work. Every time I listen to them, I am inspired. They put so much thought and effort into their music and I’m beginning to realize I desire the same thing from my own music: to give nothing but 100%.
”Bat Country” by Avenged Sevenfold – It’s a classic! I remember when I was younger and my sister was going through a black metal phase and she would always watch music videos all on on MTV or Vuse. One time when I was about eight or nine, Avenged Sevenfold came on – it was either “Bat Country” or “Unholy Confessions” – and after watching The Rev absolutely slay on a drum kit, I knew I wanted to be a musician. The Rev alone inspired me to want to learn to play drums, guitar, bass, piano, etc. and so that’s exactly what I did. RIP buddy.
James Aggression (Vocals):
So many times in my life I have encountered songs that forever altered or enriched my views in making my own music, or in my personal life in general. The amount of bands and songs that have touched me spiritually could go on for days, so to narrow it down to three is quite tricky. The following three songs have altered my view on music and on my life. Anytime I was down, lonely, sad, or angry, these were among the many songs that were always there for me. Music really can soothe the savage beast. But it’s not all about melancholy weepings, they were also there during the highlights of my life, when I was the most happy. To capture someone in a trance like only music can do no matter what mood they are in is important when it comes to a song.
“This Fire Burns” by Killswitch Engage – Gripping me from the first second of the song with that guitar slide, and proceeding into this very fast and very distorted – almost angry – guitar riff, you can’t help but feel inspired by it. The opening line, “All I ever wanted was a name to be fulfilled” instantly made me feel less alone. I determined to make my name into something more than a word, but a legacy. The first time I heard the chorus I felt such a powerful surge of emotion through me: “Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always.” That first line in the chorus made me realize that my name is to be more than a legacy; it is to be cherished. It is my fire and it is always burning. No matter what happens to me, no matter how dark, alone, angry, or sad I feel, my fire will always burn. That song helped me realize my worth.
“Just So You Know” by American Head Charge – This is one of tne of the first songs that leapt at me from more than just a personal level and more on a creative one. It was the song that showed me a song doesn’t need to be fast-paced or have intense growling and screaming vocals to make it heavy or powerful. Specifically the way they write their lyrics impacted me above all other things. I was in a sense shown how to express my emotions into something articulate and poetic, rather than a random cacophony of words jumbled together with no real organization, be it in my head or even on paper.
“Machine” by Born of Osiris – This song was the stepping stone for turning my emotions and political outrage into poetry. Lyrics aside, this band – and song in particular – showed me how much a song can say with guitars and synthesizers. I had never once dreamed that I would take so much inspiration from a band that used so many samples, but low and behold, I heard the intense melodies of their guitar work backed by synthesizers and I felt like I knew what the song was going to be like before the lyrics even began. Lyrically speaking, the way they transform something that could be interpreted as political outrage and a desire to be free into something poetic, astounded me. I had always tried to write my own outrageous songs but it was too simple. To me my own writing never felt like music, just mindless ramblings with no scheme, rhyme, or reason. But I felt this powerful hatred and this intense need to express myself in a controversial way. Born of Osiris helped me find the words and metaphors that can be used to express yourself in such a way. They helped me become the writer i always wanted to be and for that I will always have deep admiration and respect for them.
Rage (Lead Guitar):
This is a question I feel I’ve been asked many times throughout the years that I have been in bands. Being an avid fan of all kinds of music, it’s hard to nail down a top three. Mainly, I find myself listening to songs more often when they fit a certain mood or capture a general emotion of what is going on in my life at the time. At this particular time, the songs that have resonated best with me would be as follows:
“Alpha” by Periphery – This song’s catchy intro melody hooked me from the first second I heard it. The 8-bit synthesizers take me back to being a kid, playing on all the old school Nintendo games. After this display of nostalgic undertones, the song quickly evolves into a heart-pounding rhythm that instantly gets your head banging. On top of all that, the overall dynamic of the song is truly inspiring to me as a guitarist. It’s music like this that has always challenged me to be a better musician.
“Hated” by Beartooth – This track spoke to an inner pop-punk kid that I didn’t even know was inside me. Songs like this help pull you out of the monotony of traditional writing. The guitars are all over the place in this song, but in a good way. It really makes me rethink some of the ways I would organize a song or even a guitar riff. And the crazy thing is that the guitars aren’t playing anything too terribly complex. It’s in the way they utilize their timing and spacing between notes. They aren’t afraid to play one note, let it ring out and sing. Needless to say I’ll be rocking this one for a long time.
“Help” by Papa Roach – All musicality aside, this song just makes you feel. The message is simple: “I Think I Need Help.” It’s very easy for anyone going through a hard to to relate to this song. I believe this song came along when I needed it most, as I was fighting off severe depression. When I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone about what I was feeling, I could listen to this song and it was like someone out there understood what I was going through. When a band’s message resonates with you that well, it’s unlike anything else you’ve felt before. If I ever had the chance to meet Papa Roach, I would simply tell them, “Thank you.”
Tommy Mayhem (Guitar):
Picking three of my most influential songs is like choosing which one of my offspring is my favorite kid. You love them all the same but each one stands out a little differently in their own special way. These are just a small sample of songs that continue to motivate and inspire me to want to pursue a career in music.
“Wish” by Nine Inch Nails – This song set the tone for my love of industrial music. The first time I heard this song, I was completely floored by the combination of synthesizers and guitars, which formed a sound so unique for its time. Trent Reznor’s lyrics and vocals spoke volumes to me when I was first introduced to NIN. I felt like I had experienced every heartbreak that I had up until that point though his music.
“Stinkfist” by Tool – I still remember the first time I heard this song on the radio. I felt as though I was hearing my generation’s version of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Rush all rolled up into one. The buildup of time signatures through every one of their songs inspired storytelling in song format like no other that I’ve heard before. Aenima is an album that I can still listen to from start to finish all the way through.
“Juke Joint Jezebel” by KMFDM – Simply wow….just a perfect combination of anything and everything metal and industrial. Every time I hear this song, the sonic beats combined with buzz-sawing-crunchy guitars along with Raymond Watt’ sultry vocals, I feel like it’s a timeless anthem for my personal life. It’s always been a “go-to” song that gets me pumped for everything.
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