Metal behemoth Bad Wolves exploded onto the scene in 2018 with their cover of The Cranberries hit “Zombie”. Tragically Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan would pass away the night before she was to add vocals to the track, but the band decided to release the song as a tribute to the late music icon. A year later in 2019 the band released their sophomore album “N.A.T.I.O.N.” and then this past year parted ways with singer Tommy Vext and welcomed Daniel “DL” Laskiewicz to the pack. DL, formerly of “Acacia Strain” brings a more melodic sound to the band but can still belt it out hardcore when needed. Their third album Dear Monsters has just dropped along with the video for the single “Lifeline” and DL was kind enough to talk about it with us at 519.
Congrats on the new gig.
Thank you, sir. Thank you. Appreciate it.
You have a new album out Dear Monsters, and two singles already dropped.
“Lifeline” was definitely the first intended single, but “House Of Cards” really isn’t per se, just a single, it was the track that we all agreed that was the next step to showcasing, bridging the gap between the more melodic and the heavy side of the band. It wasn’t an intended single or anything, but it was just the second reveal. But both songs are doing better than expected, I believe.
That being said bridging the melodic with the hard side, this album does seem more melodic to me. Is that something that you bring to the band?
Yes. I think stylistically what I bring to the table and everything and just with the vocal change, singer change, it was just something that the band really wanted to touch upon and maybe even just really utilize the new style that I bring to the table and try some new things that haven’t really been tried in the past. We definitely got to stretch our legs a little bit in those terms, especially with songs like “Springfield Summer” and things like that.
Springfield Summer, is that all your song, basically? You live in Springfield, don’t you?
That’s my hometown. That was a song that was done after we had finished recording the album. There were some late 9th inning songs, and that was actually one of them that John Boecklin and I had put together remotely. So yeah, that was a late 9th inning song and it just came together organically. It really gave John and I a chance to test our chemistry writing wise, especially remotely.
I feel that it has a little bit of a contemporary country sound to it.
Is Country music something that you like?
I don’t mind it. That wasn’t done intentionally. There’s really never any intention. We just kind of go with the flow and see what happens. Most importantly we write for ourselves. At the end of the day, we make sure that we’re writing music that we’re fans of. That’s how “Springfield Summer” came about. It started off with an acoustic riff that John had been kicking around forever, that first intro riff. Then, we just took it from there and built a song that we enjoyed.
The first song, “Sacred Kiss” is a great song to kick off the album with. It catches you by surprise because it’s got that mellow hook at the beginning, and then it just kind of grabs you by to throat. Is that the secret to good songwriting? Kind of draw the listener in and then just hit him in the face kind of?
I don’t think there’s any really secret to great songwriting. Like I said, it’s not really even a secret, just the most important thing to songwriting is writing music that you believe in, that you’re actually a fan of. If you’re a fan of it, then it’s a lot easier for other people to be a fan of it. I’ve even said it in other interviews and stuff, and I’ll just keep reiterating that point that I’ve worked on a lot of records in my career, and this is definitely one of the first ones that months after I’ve heard every song on this album so many times already just working on it and then doing revisions and listening to mixes and stuff.
Usually, in the past, my experience making a record, you really tend to get tired of the material by the end of it because you’ve heard it so many times and it’s just you’re ready for the next thing. But with this album, I can safely say that I can listen to this stuff still as a fan. I view this album almost as an outsider still. It’s just fun to listen to. As far “Sacred Kiss” is concerned, that song was from day one of even that song being written, it presented itself as an album opener because it just has this we have arrived kind of sound to it.
You’ve been mainly involved in production for the last eight years. What made you decide to just focus on production?
It just slowly became something that I was really interested in. After working with guys like Adam Dutkiewicz from Killswitch Engage in the studio, and then guys like Chris Harris of Zeuss, just seeing those guys work and put all the little steps behind the building of an album, it just fascinated me.
When I first started there wasn’t, now there’s this plethora of YouTube videos and tutorials and lessons. It’s almost amazing, you can just take classes almost on all this stuff. But when I first started, it was more of a small community. If you had a question about EQ moves or those kinds of things we would migrate to forums and just share things. So it was just this cool learning process. I never did any schooling with it or anything, but I don’t believe that that’s the right way to go about getting into it anyway. The more you do it, the more hands on you get, just trial and error kind of stuff.
It was just really fascinating to see these guys work an album from top to bottom, the creative process is so fascinating to me. You can bend and shape audio and limitless things. It’s just fascinating.
You worked with the band on the last album on the production side, and did some writing.
A little bit, yeah. Just did some co-write stuff.
What is the writing process in the band, does everybody contribute or is it mainly certain members?
It really depends on the song. Every song tends to be different. Some songs Chris would bring a riff to the table or Doc might even bring a whole arrangement to the table, so really it just depends on the track. But I think moving forward, it’s more important than ever that all of the guys in the band have a voice just because every guy in the band can almost be a producer in their own right. It’s stupid not to utilize that and it’s really nice to have that level of talent in a group where things just flow and it’s pretty easy to write.
Your last band, the Acacia Strain, was a three guitar band. You play guitar. Are you going to be more involved playing guitar in Bad Wolves? Is it going to become a three guitar band or has that not really impacted the dynamic of the band?
There’s been little talks here and there, so never say never. If the time comes and it feels right, maybe if it’s an acoustic radio station thing or something like that. I guess dependent on the format. But there’s no intention for it right now.
I’m just really excited to not have a guitar. Just take on the role of the singer and not be tied down by the instrumentals so much. It’s such a new thing and it’s a lot of work going into it anyway that I’m just trying to take it easy and not overwhelm myself at this point, for sure.
Does that help with the writing too, with the band, you playing guitar? Do you contribute some guitar parts in the writing process?
A song like “Springfield Summer”, once we started tossing the song back and forth I kind of arranged the song in my studio and did the guitars and the choruses. Even beyond that song, there’s a B side that I’m not sure what we’re going to do with yet, but it’s from the same sessions as Dear Monsters and it has the same mix and everything, so that’s a song that I brought in and I had written front to back on an eight string. I’m sure moving forward from here, there’s going to be plenty of involvement with everybody during the writing process.
Your management company, Better Noise, are involved in film-making now, and there was a premier last week for new movie called “The Retaliators”. How was the premier?
I wasn’t there. but, this was something that they’ve been doing for a while. I think this was a project that’s been going on for a little bit now, so I wasn’t even in the fold yet when all these guys were working with that project.
They’re an L.A. Base band and I’m a Massachusetts guy, so right now I’m on the opposite end of the country doing the fall thing. But I do know that three out of five of us were there. I believe Chris, Doc and Kyle were all there. It looked like a ton of fun. They were partying and just celebrating their win.
I’ve seen that Ivan Moody is acting in the movie. Is any of the band in this movie or does anyone like yourself have any acting aspirations with this kind of connection with the company?
I believe Doc is in the movie. I’m not sure to what extent who does what, but I’m pretty sure the guys are in the movie. I think everybody is really of the mindset of just creating, whether it’s music, movies. I think we’re all artists, in a sense, and we like challenges and we thrive under pressure. So if that kind of opportunity arises, it’s like, “Why not?”
What was it like for you the last year and a half with the pandemic? What kept you busy?
Definitely this process of the tryout and just going back and forth with the guys. With that also doing production and just taking the time and just utilizing this time. Especially for artists and people working in this industry, it’s still kind of a shaky time. I think the best thing that I was able to do and just anybody in general in this industry was to be able to spend more time than you normally would on records or just kind of creating. It was a blessing in disguise
Even with that, even this record, doing Dear Monsters, writing it, it was a different scenario. We were able to wrap a song and then come back to it maybe even a month or two later because we had that the luxury of just having time ahead of us. So I think that might be one of the reasons why we feel that this album is so special because we really had a chance to let it sink in and simmer and make it arrangement changes and just really digest the material for longer than what we normally would have in a record cycle.
It seems like that’s pretty much the universal response to that question because everyone’s being asked that, obviously. There’s been a lot of creativity in the last year and a half and I think it’s really impacted people that way.
Yeah, I think that helps mentally too. Just dive into your work and lose yourself in it.
You guys were supposed to tour with Disturbed a few months ago and that tour was postponed. Is that tour still being planned or what are the plans for live shows coming up and promoting the new album?
I’m not too sure what happened with the Disturbed tour. Maybe they’re rebuilding it to for a later date, but I do know at this point we did get green lighted and okay to talk about what’s coming up for us.
I think in February we’ll be doing a tour. It’ll be Bad Wolves, Hollywood Undead and Papa Roach. That’s what’s on the docket right now. We’re really excited. It’s going to be fun to get out there.
Go to BadWolvesNation.com to check out their tour dates, new music and more.