Art of Dying Frontman on Being Signed to Disturbed’s Label
There must be something in the water in Canada. For well over a decade, our neighbors to the North have been producing an endless list of radio-ready rock bands including Nickelback, Hedley, and Default. The latest group to get in on the action is Art of Dying. Their single, ‘Die Trying,’ is currently all over radio and the band has been out on the road as part of the Avalanche Tour along with Stone Sour, Theory of a Deadman, Skillet, and Halestorm.
Art of Dying is signed to Intoxication, a label run by Disturbed members David Draiman and Dan Donegan and distributed by Warner Bros. Records. They recently released ‘Vices and Virtues,’ their sophomore record. Noisecreep spoke with Art of Dying frontman Jonny Hetherington about the band’s deal with the Disturbed duo.
You are the first band signed to David Draiman and Dan Donegan’s Intoxication record label. How did you guys hook up with them?
We worked really hard as indie band for many years to get our name out there and stay on people’s minds. Greg and I never left the house without a CD in hand and we always made sure to spread the music to whoever was willing to listen. One of those CDs found their way into Jimmy Walorz’s hands [a radio promoter Hetherington met in Boston]. He had a connection to Dan Donegan. I then sent Dan a copy of our indie record and got on the phone with him after he checked it out.
I think Dan was really impressed by the quality of what we were doing musically and even more so with the work ethic that we were putting into the business side of the band. We were begging, borrowing and stealing our way into huge festivals like Download in England. I think Dan and David really respected our drive and passion.
Since you’re the first act being launched through the imprint, do you feel a lot of pressure to commercially perform for them?
I think we put that pressure on ourselves regardless, but yeah, we want to continue to impress them on every level we can. It’s amazing to have their guidance and experience to lean on.
We know Dan Donegan co-produced ‘Vices and Virtues,’ but how much did he impact the actual songwriting on the record?
It was amazing to work with Howard and Dan on the recording. They both had a lot of experience to bring to the sessions and in very different ways. I think they were extremely impressed with the songs that we brought to the table. On the writing side, not many things changed, although things always got better. Both Howard and Dan pushed us to dig deeper and allow an honesty to come out in the recordings.
I slowly learned throughout the Chicago sessions with Dan, that 9 out of 10 times -and sometimes 10 out of 10 [laughs] — his suggestions were spot on. Basically, when Dan takes the time to chime in and suggest something, you listen, because his instincts are incredibly sharp.
You have Adam Gontier from Three Days Grace guesting on the track ‘Raining.’ How did you guys end up hooking up with each other?
Adam is Cale’s cousin and they basically grew up together in Ontario. The Gontier family is some of the coolest people on the planet — not to mention talented. We did some writing together last year on Cale’s patio and we all connected on a couple of songs very quickly. It was actually Adam that invited me out to sing on a 3 Days Grace song that really got things rolling. That was the first time I was introduced to [producer] Howard Benson and when it came time to record our record it felt only natural to ask Adam to sing on ‘Raining.’
He knocked that s— out of the park for us right in the middle of a bunch of tour dates – amazing stuff! We’re so thankful that he was able to take the time to do it. We’re hoping to bust out a live version with him on some of our upcoming tour dates together.
For those die-hard Disturbed fans that are curious about Art of Dying, how would you describe the material on ‘Vices and Virtues’ to them?
We were lucky enough to tour with Disturbed three times and got to meet a lot of their fans out on the road. It was an amazing feeling to have our music embraced by that crew of people every night on tour. ‘Vices and Virtues’ is hard hitting with a ton of melody. I think we were able to capture an organic sound on the record that truly served the material well.
Watch the video for ‘Die Trying’