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- Vocals: Efrem Schulz
- Guitar: Dan Palmer
- Guitar: James Patrick Gericke
- Bass: Jeff Clarke
- Drums: Chris Dalley
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Since their inception in 1998, DEATH BY STEREO has been balancing consciousness and chaos with their unique genre-bending amalgam of hardcore, metal and punk. Recently signed to vocalist Serj Tankian’s (System of a Down) label Serjical Strike Records, the Orange County based band will see their 5th studio album Death Is My Only Friend released July 14 of this year. Previously, the band released their last three studio records via Epitaph Records and their debut album on Indecision.
DBS, as they are known by many of their loyal followers, have assembled a worldwide fan base built upon a seemingly endless international tour schedule, with enough passport stamps to make many of their contemporaries jealous. They have shared the stage many times over with the likes of Slipknot, AFI, Serj Tankian, Avenged Sevenfold, and Rise Against, just to name a few. They have headlined some of the biggest and best festivals around the world (Germany's "With Full Force", Belgium's "Grozerock", U.S.'s "Warped Tour" and Colombia's "Rock Al Parque"). Having toured in over 20 countries is an accomplishment few bands of any stature can lay claim to
Spearheaded with the frenetic energy and rabblerousing lyrics of vocalist Efrem Schulz and illustrious chops of guitarist Dan Palmer, Death is My Only Friend finds the band’s sound venturing into uncharted musical waters. Guiding them throughout the process of writing and recording the record was producer Jason Freese (Green Day, Jewel, Goo Goo Dolls). The album was also mixed by Jay Baumgardener (Linkin Park, Evanesance) at NRG Studios in North Hollywood, where he was able to hone in on all the right musical cues, making for the biggest sounding DBS record to date. When all was said and done, a year had passed before the completion of the album and this latest offering from Death By Stereo showcases a level of depth and craftsmanship never before displayed by the band. The maturation of the band’s songwriting skills have manifested themselves on Death Is My Only Friend in a way that makes the heavy parts sound even heavier, allowing for the melodic and sing-along chorus’ to become new anthems for the DBS faithful to sing along to
“Jason was amazing to work with,” explains Palmer. “He brought a new perspective to writing songs and arranging parts. He was non-stop positive energy and just fun in general to write and record with.
These statements find their musical truths evident on tracks like “I Sing For You” and “The Ballad Of Sid Dynamite”, where this new level of songwriting shines through as the band exhibits the ability to write the catchiest of melodic anthems alongside chaotic landscapes. “The Last Song” introduces a more heavy rock element into the band’s sonic arsenal and features some of the most powerful and heartfelt lyrics found on the album. Efrem Shulz confesses in the song the difficulties he would have with ever giving up being the voice of Death By Stereo. As a founding member of the band, the song serves as an ode to fellow members (past and present) as well as a dedication to the fans that have been by their side throughout the years.
“This album is much more issue based, but does not lose sight of writing about personal battles and looking for that light at the end of the tunnel,” elaborates Schulz. “It covers some dark topics but finds a positive way to let them all out. At the end of the day, this band is all we have, music being the friend that has never let us down. When times were tough, we only had each other and ‘death’ was our only friend.”
With label formalities out of the way, Death By Stereo is once again functioning as a five-piece band (with the addition of second guitarist/vocalist James Patrick Gericke). Tours across the North America and Europe begin this April and continue through the remainder of the year and onward. Death By Stereo is looking forward to once again functioning as a five-piece outfit, which is the way their music was intended to be performed. Besides the aforementioned three, the band is rounded out with the slick-fingered bass twiddling of Jeff Clarke and the intensely robust double-bass drumming skills of Chris Dalley. An amazing note about Dalley is that it took him a mere 8 hours to complete all the drum tracking that comprise the 15 tracks on the new album.
Death By Stereo’s credo of honesty and strong work ethic continue to bolster the unique connection the band members share with their loyal fan base. A family-like connection to the kids in the scene is what built DBS from the ground up and they continue to nurture that relationship. Staying after shows for hours sometimes and just hangin' with kids is what has built this house and keeps it strong. There is an army of kids out their with the bands trademark "Skull and Bolts" logo tattooed on as many body parts as seen on “Mr. Slim Goodbody” (google him). If you don’t believe me, just check out the DBS tattoo photo gallery on the band’s myspace page.
One of the burgeoning pioneers of the newfangled late 90’s Punk/hardcore/metal scene birthed in Southern California, Death By Stereo has given wings to some friends along the way (A7X, ATREYU) as well as catch the attention of many fellow musicians. Serj Tankian was one of those fellow artists that has kept tabs on the band’s progress and maturation.
“As someone who appreciates DBS and what they’ve done over the years, when I found out that the band was looking for a new label partner, I immediately approached them about the possibility of signing to Serjical Strike,” comments Tankian. “They are an amazing band that has always impressed me with their musicianship, honesty and work ethic. Their latest album is one that I am very happy to be a part of as I feel it is their best yet.”