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Interview with DISSONA
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
-At a young age I was exposed to an overload of musical genres by my parents and immediate family. Classical, progressive rock, funk, jazz, alternative, rap, you name it. It wasn't until high school when I met Craig (bassist) that I was really exposed to the metal world and it's vastness. I would like to think that I might have delved further into visual art had I not gotten into music so heavily.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
-Cooking and creating visual art are basically the only other things I do. They each require an understanding and sharpening of certain skills, including balance, discipline, sense of space, and memory. For me, these activities exercise the same muscles used for musical creation and performance.
How long has your band been around?
-We have been around since 2007. Drew (drummer) entered perhaps a year or so later.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
-Matt, Craig, and I are all Chicago suburbanites, while Drew grew up in St. Louis. Being near any major city likely means much music exposure, but probably even more so being near Chicago. It seems that the metal scene here has only grown stronger since we were young, so I'm sure that has influenced us quite a bit.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
-Matt got the name from combining two words from an article about a jazz artist. The quote was "He had a dissonant persona." The mashup of these words into "Dissona" was fitting for a few reasons. Our music is not necessarily dissonant in a literal way, but in more of a broad and symbolic way. Our material includes a wide variety of sounds, meaning our differing songs could easily clash if we don't establish a signature style to support it all. It is our responsibility to maintain a strong and unmistakable "persona" as a foundation to support all of these sounds, lest we want to have a mess of material that could have come from a dozen or more different artists.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
-If we are talking about shows we have performed, by far the most memorable was the one in our hometown Chicago during the Leprous tour in 2016. Of course, the crowd response was the strongest there for us, but also because I almost completely fucked everything up by plugging our 110V into a 220V outlet. I blame the sleep deprivation rather than myself on that one... As far as shows I have seen, Susanne Sundfør was probably the most memorable. While she happens to be one of my favorite artists of all time, this show was also the only one that we as a band attended together.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
-We have a soft spot for Reggie's in Chicago since some of our most significant shows took place there. A packed show at The House of Blues is something I would very much like.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
-Plugged in: Dissona, Carpenter Brut, Opeth. Acoustic/Semi Plugged-In: Dissona, Empyrium, Susanne Sundfør. It makes sense to me, at least
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
-Find the flavors you like and start there. Learn how to cook with them, while always keeping your personal touch in mind. If your tastes change, embrace it. A changing mind is often a sign of a growing mind. I believe this is good advice for anyone, including my past and present self.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
-This is essentially the same answer that I gave above. I can't quite stress it enough.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
-This is material that has yet to be released. Ask me again in 2024.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Favorite to perform:
Odium, The Prodigal Son, Skinjob (yet to be released and performed)
Another Sky is most requested amongst these, which would be my next favorite to perform, so it works out.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
-Our process always begins with a discussion of emotional purpose, as in what we wish to express based on our current positions in life. Aside from personal experiences, film is definitely a reliable source of inspiration, as raw emotional performances of skilled actors accompanied by cinematic visuals is appropriate as a foundation for our own "soundtrack," if you will.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
-We have many messages for our listeners, but above all our goal is to simply encourage and evoke deep feeling and processing as opposed to simply spelling out what we are trying to say. If you feel moved by our music, we have done our job.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
-Our disagreements have occurred so far in the past that it is difficult to even pinpoint them, or consider them as anything that matters anymore. We have worked and grown together for so long that we have fortunately landed at a unified understanding of most things. This allows us to organically flow together without having to worry much about our differences drawing us apart. It is a rare thing, no doubt.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
-Future plans include a consistent flow of material without any further massive hiatuses. Aside from this EP due in November, we also have a full album basically ready to complete in 2024.
For now, I would like everyone to keep their eye on October 13th. This is when our next single and music video "Skinjob" will be released.