After almost 20 years together — the first eight as the underground indie band Pezz — multi-platinum rock band Billy Talent lead guitarist Ian D’sa take charge as producer of their new album, Dead Silence.
He hadn’t done that since he produced a four-track cassette of Pezz 19 years ago. He was always interested in producing a proper album for the band later, once he gained more experience and know-how.
“I think we all feel that we earned this in a way,” says D’Sa. “I’ve been in the band for 18 years (now 19 since they hit the studio) so it’s a bit of a no-brainer after working with guys like Gavin (Brown) and Brendan (O’Brien) and learning so much about what they do that I was able to apply to this record.”
[quote]It’s literally, really, 100 percent true to our creative output. There’s no middle man and there’s no one trying to change the direction or things like that.[/quote]The album, which begins with the ominmous “Lonely Road To Absolution” and kicks into “Viking Death March,” the intense first track the band released. “Surprise Surprise” is a fun shout-style grinder, while “Stand Up And Run” is a rather earnest melodic pop-rock track, something a little different for Billy Talent.
D’Sa co-produced Billy Talent II with Brown and says he was going to produce their last album, 2009’s Billy Talent III, but then O’Brien came onboard. D’Sa had started producing up-and-coming bands on the side by then.
“Going into working with a guy like Brendan O’Brien, he’s the producer and he’s got the same guys that he’s been working with for years, so it was more of a take a step back situation and learn,” says D’Sa. “And it was great. I learned so much from the guy.”
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D’Sa long-time friends and bandmates — frontman Ben Kowalewicz’ voice, drummer Aaron Solowoniuk and bassist Jon Gallant — were entirely supportive of the idea to have him produce the new one.
“I know exactly their styles and I know what their strengths and limitations are,” says D’Sa. “I’m a real detail hound and I really like getting awesome sounds so it’s a really good opportunity to learn and experiment for me. It’s literally, really, 100 percent true to our creative output. There’s no middle man and there’s no one trying to change the direction or things like that.
“The songs on it are a little bit faster than the last record and goes back to our first or second record. It’s kind of an upbeat record. It’s still got the angst and aggression of the first two, but it’s not as dark as the last one. So I think this record is a good combination of all three records and where we are now.”
Billy Talent has been touring Europe September and October and has 11 shows in the UK in November. There are no Canadian dates confirmed at this point.
Photography by: Dustin Rabin