Nov 2014 28

Bassist and second longest serving member of the band, DV Karloff speaks with ReGen in part two of a three-part InterView series with the members of Society 1, touching on his musical and creative role in the band.
DV Karloff & Matt "The Lord" Zane

 

An InterView with DV Karloff of Society 1

By Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

Through the many incarnations and lineups Society 1 has endured over the years, bassist and backup vocalist DV Karloff holds the distinction of being the second longest serving member of the band under front man and vocalist Matt “The Lord” Zane. As imposing and intimidating in his appearance as he is in his sound, Karloff does more than provide the bottom end for the band’s industrialized metal assault; in many regards, he provides a solid foundation that has kept the name and sound of Society 1 alive across the years.
In part two of ReGen’s three-part InterView series with the band, Karloff provides some insight into his musical and creative upbringing, touching on his role in the band and giving just a hint of what we can come to expect from Society 1 in the future.

 

Let’s start with a little bit about your own background; how you got started out as a musician and a bassist, and what led to your association with Society 1?

Karloff: I’ve been playing music since I was a kid. My mother got me my first guitar when I was 11 or 12. I switched to bass a couple of years later when a friend from school asked me to join his band, and I fell in love with the instrument; never looked back. I moved to LA in 2003 with my buddy Preston Nash. He was playing with Society 1 when the band lost its bass player, and he asked me to come audition. I was already pretty familiar with the band; I had seen and met them a couple of times when they were touring through the Midwest. Matt and I were into a lot of the same things on a non-musical level, so we clicked right away.

Next to Lord Zane, you are one of the longest running members of Society 1, so obviously your affinity for the music and your friendship with him is very strong. Can you tell us any more about what playing in Society 1 does for you as a musician? What keeps you going?

Karloff: Zane is, hands down, the best front man I have ever worked with. If you have ever seen us live, then you know what I’m talking about. I was pretty green when I joined the band, and Matt really took me under his wing, so to speak. He taught me how to really emote onstage, and turned me into the performer I am today. When he called to tell me he was going to give the band another shot, I was into it right away. It really comes down to the music… the music, and the fun we have creating it. There really is no money in this industry anymore, so to stick around this long, it’s really got to be about the love of the music. I love what I do, and I don’t really want to do anything else, so I’m just going to keep on doing it until I can’t anymore.

Let’s talk a little more about your inspirations as a bassist and a musician; you mentioned taking up bass as a teen – who were your primary influences at that time, and did any of them extend from your earlier affinity for the guitar?

Karloff: In the beginning, the guys I looked up to were Gene Simmons and Nikki Sixx. Those are the ones who made me want to play bass in the first place. Later on, I got into guys like Steve Harris, Geezer Butler, Cliff Burton, Hal Patino, and Pete Steele. They’re the guys who made me really fall in love with the instrument, the ones who made want to learn more and become a better bassist.

What about today? What sorts of music do you listen to now – any particular bands or artists that have influenced your approach to playing bass and writing songs?

Karloff: As far as newer bands go, I’m really into GHOST right now. Tryptikon is amazing. Anything Devin Townsend does. To be honest though, I don’t really listen to that much new music. I’m going backwards. (Laughs) Growing up, I was never really into bands like The Beatles, or Zeppelin because they weren’t ‘metal’ or whatever, so now I’m having fun rediscovering all that older stuff.

In Society 1, you’ve been the bassist and have provided backup vocals, but is there any more you can tell us about your role in the band? How much of a part do you play in the songwriting or production process and how you fit your abilities into the music?

Karloff: I write songs too, and sometimes Matt and I will collaborate as well. Everyone is welcome to bring songs or song ideas into the fold, but Zane is very prolific. By the time I’ve come up with two or three riffs that I really like, he’s already got 10 songs finished, demoed, and ready to go. (Laughs) I also do a lot of the artwork for the band – album covers, flyers, T-shirt designs; stuff like that usually falls into my lap.

While labeled an industrial/metal band, Society 1’s music has incorporated elements of other forms of rock, including blues, hints of ambient and classical, and even spoken word. As more and more bands infuse different elements of music together, what are your thoughts on the validity of such categorizations? Do you think we’ll ever get past the necessity for genres in music?

Karloff: I think genres are boring. Society 1 started out very industrial, but to continue to lump us in under that umbrella is a bit unfair. That industrial element is still there of course, but we stopped using backing tracks and stuff like that years ago, so I hesitate to use that term to describe our music anymore. We’ve all been influenced by so much music over the years, and I think a lot of that winds up being reflected in the songs we write. If you don’t evolve, you will start to stagnate. I mean, we could keep doing records that sound like Exit Through Fear over and over again, but that would be boring. We’ve all grown so much as musicians over the years, and I think it shows, especially in the new material.

Sin Quirin is back with the band after several years; what’s it like to be playing with him again in Society 1? As well, the band now has two guitarists – Sin and Beau Ashley – for the first time; since Society 1’s lineup has changed so much over the years, how has this current lineup changed the dynamic of the band and the music?

Karloff: Having Sin back really feels like home. We’ve had many very talented guitarists in the band over the years, but when Sin is there, we are really firing on all cylinders. And having two guitarists up there, man, we’re like a freight train! No one can touch us; the sound is fucking huge! Having Beau and Iorden in the band really lends itself to the new tunes. I’m very happy with where we are musically right now.

Besides playing bass, you’re also a tattoo artist. In what ways would you say are the two related in terms of your working methods and how you approach them as artistic expressions? What’s it like to balance your schedule between the two?

Karloff: To me, they are just two different forms of art, and art is my life. I also paint and do a lot of digital artwork as well. If I’m not busy creating, then I may as well get busy dying. I’m always striving to be a better artist, a better musician, than I was yesterday. For me, that’s what it’s all about. I have sacrificed so much in my life to be able to pursue this dream of mine, so to sit around and stagnate or coast through on what I’ve accomplished in the past would really be a disservice to myself. My schedule is pretty fucked, but I kind of like it that way. I really don’t like having a day off with nothing to do.

What’s next for you, both in Society 1 and in your other endeavors?

Karloff: We have the new album, A Collection of Lies, which is out now, that is comprised of a bunch of unreleased stuff we have done over the last few years. We have a whole new album written, called Rise from the Dead, that we are releasing one song at a time. We’ve got a comic book in the works called No Salvation, which I’m very excited about! Other than that, we are just playing as many shows as we possibly can. We have a lot of lost time to make up for.

You mentioned the No Salvation comic book, and just a moment before about your contributions to the artwork for the albums. Has that contribution extended into the artwork for the comic?

Karloff: No, our friend, Dominic Valecillo is creating all the artwork for the comic. He is very talented and the stuff I’ve seen so far looks amazing!!

Can you tell us more about the story of No Salvation? Is it a biography of the band, or are the band members characters in an original story?

Karloff: It’s an original story. All I can say right now is that it involves zombies… and hallucinogens.

It’s interesting that there is a Society 1 comic as MINISTRY also has a comic series in the works, and Sin is a member of both bands. Obviously, given MINISTRY’s influence on a great deal of modern music, and Society 1 is likely no exception, what are your thoughts on these connections? Or to put it another way, what is it about the comic book form that you feel complements the music for bands like Society 1 and MINISTRY or the like?

Karloff: I honestly didn’t know MINISTRY was doing a comic as well, but they aren’t the first band to venture into that arena either. KISS did it 35 years ago, so it’s not a new concept. I think it’s just another avenue for bands like us, MINISTRY, KISS, etc. to be creative – bands like us, who try to do something more than just get onstage and play their instruments. It’s all about the show, the performance, giving people something to look at as well as listen to. Boring shoegaze bands don’t put out comic books. (Laughs)

 

Society 1 Website http://www.society1official.com
Society 1 Facebook http://www.facebook.com/society1
Society 1 Twitter http://www.twitter.com/society1music
Society 1 SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/society1

 

Live Photographs by Kaley Nelson, courtesy of Kaley Nelson Photography (http://www.KaleyNelson.com)
Sin Quirin Photographs by Dean Karr, courtesy of Dean Karr Photography (http://deankarr.com)
No Salvation by Dominic Valecillo (https://www.facebook.com/dominic.valecillo)

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