» Jesper Binzer - D-A-D
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Interview conducted August 04 2017
Interview published September 05 2017

"Who needs an album? Nobody buys them. Everybody wants to hear the old songs anyway."

The Danish party rockers D-A-D made a quick stop at Sweden's Skogsröjet festival and Metal Covenant was able to get some time with guitarist and vocalist Jesper Binzer before the band's set. Jesper is indeed very honest about today's rough situation of being a rock musician and why the band pretty much against their will choose to play quite a few classic songs in their live sets.

"Every time we make a new album it's like we rediscover a whole new band and a whole new sound and suddenly when we're finished it sounds like D-A-D."

Tobbe: Your last album was out in 2011 and what is taking so long this time to come out with a new record?

Jesper: It's so embarrassing. It's actually ultra embarrassing. There's a lot of good reasons, but all these reasons are bad excuses. So, reason number 1: Who needs an album? Nobody buys them. Everybody wants to hear the old songs anyway. Blah, blah, blah, blah.

Second: There's no money to make an album. The money from, you know, that circle of record business has gone away, because there's more or less only streams. If you're big in Germany, maybe sometimes you can sell some CDs, but the rest is more or less gone.

And third: We've been playing so much live and we enjoy playing live and we are live musicians, so that's what we do and that's where the music is alive. But what happens is you need an artistic vision and you need to reinterpret yourself and you need to reframe yourself every now and then. And it is part of being a rock band and an artist, that you do that, so it is very embarrassing. Sorry.

Tobbe: 6 years is a long time, yes. So do you think that D-A-D eventually will end up being a band who doesn't release albums at all?

Jesper: That would be a very, very sad situation. I don't think so. I think that it goes in circles, it goes in waves and we've been very active in, you know, recording/touring/recording/touring. Then we tried, in a period of time, which has been within these 6 years, where we have been embracing the past actually.

It has been something that's been very forbidden for us, because we were brought up in the '80s and brought up around punk, so everything about, you know, the old days has always been forbidden.

But this time "Hey, hey! We did a great job. It's okay to release 30/30/30 [Compilation. Out in 2014].", as we did. "It's okay to release more live albums and do something stupid and crazy. It's okay to celebrate ourselves.". So that's what we've been doing these 6 years. But now, I mean, you can feel it in the band, it's like it slowly kills you, if you only play old songs. It really does.

Tobbe: But still, to release an album, or to make an album, you really must be inspired and have energy too, because if you don't have energy the album won't be any good. So how will you try to win back that energy?

Jesper: D-A-D and bands that are from the same place as we are; our only relevance is energy. That's the only relevance. So that needs to be felt and seen and heard in everything we do. It's no problem live, so that kind of energy is what we're holding on to. You know, the more time passes, the harder it gets to get down to… You know, because suddenly it becomes a monster that you really have to fight and that's where we are right now. But the swords are out and we're ready to fight that monster and the thing is we're going to the rehearsing space in October, this fall, and totally work on a new album.

Tobbe: It's kind of sad that people don't take their time to listen to a new album, because your newer albums, if you listen to them, they're pretty much as good as your old shit.

Jesper: Rock is an old culture. Rock is now as old as jazz was when I started to play punk. So there's a lot of rock music and there's a lot of rehashing and there's a lot of redoing and there's a lot of genres that stay a subculture. There's a lot going on; there's a new album coming out every hour and you need more time to go deep into an artist.

I mean, I haven't heard a whole album maybe in the last 5 years. Maybe I've heard the first 4 or 5 songs and then I've gone onto the next. And, you know, I have a radio program, so I listen to a lot of music and I'm very shortsighted, like "Hmm, first verse, nooo.". So, you know, things are moving faster and that's one of the reasons you just know that people won't listen to song number 10. You have this feeling and this whole feeling goes around and this is from the wrong point of view. But sometimes you end on the wrong point of view and when you get back to the right point of view, who cares?

I mean, I wanna make this song and I wanna make this music, and that's where we are right now. We wanna make music regardless if people are gonna listen to it. It is very important for us, as a band, for our lives.

Tobbe: Like 25 years ago you made some very classic songs and almost timeless songs, so is it also difficult to try to live up to that expectation and make such iconic songs nowadays too?

Jesper: Yeah. That's a problem we've had ever since… Actually ever since Riskin' It All we've had a problem living up to Sleeping My Day Away [Opening track on No Fuel Left For The Pilgrims, 1989]. That's been a problem all the way through, but still you find out that a lot of songs that came out since that became classics.

For instance, just a couple of months ago I found out that I Want What She's Got [Track # 2 on DIC·NII·LAN·DAFT·ERD·ARK, 2011] now has become a classic. You know, it took 6 years, but because we incessantly played it and played it and played it that's what happens. Not only society, not only music business, not only rock culture, but we ourselves have less and less time to give to the art. So when we have a setlist, 75 minutes, people wanna hear the classics, we wanna play the new songs; who wins? People win. Aargh.

Tobbe: Yes. Most people prefer your classics, but could you guys actually go into a period where you play more new stuff or do you always have to play so many classics live?

Jesper: I would have no problem going out and playing a new album and it's not difficult to keep a straight face doing it either. But then you look at yourself from the outside and you see that you're part of a chain, you're part of something, you're part of people's lives and you're part of their party. It's their party; it's not my party. We're here to give a good time and we're the only ones who know how to give a real good D-A-D good time.

And suddenly you find out that maybe we'd fuck the whole thing up by being like these '80s contrary punk aesthetics and "No, no. We do what we do." instead of, you know, joining the universe and give what we can give. And that's the fight that goes on inside of you all the time, because you want to stay artistic and you want to be totally immersed in music on stage instead of just playing what you've been doing for 25 years.

You wanna, you know, forget yourself by playing, but also you want the people to forget themselves while you play. And that's two different things, because when I play Bad Craziness I can't forget myself, but they forget themselves. [Laughs]

Tobbe: So, the coming album, will that kind of take off from where you left off in 2011 or will you try to start something new?

Jesper: Every time we make a new album it's like we rediscover a whole new band and a whole new sound and suddenly when we're finished it sounds like D-A-D. [Laughs] That happens all the time, but we really, really try to more or less destroy everything before we go into something new. The demos for the new songs have shown a different direction, but different directions [individually], so it depends on which way we go. But they're all different from what we've done, in that sense.

Tobbe: The only album that sticks out from your catalogue is Helpyourselfish of course and up to that point you got heavier and heavier all the time. Was that a fact of, like, the Sleeping My Day Away thing you told me about?

Jesper: I'm not afraid to admit that we are, you know, children of our time, as everyone else, so we were trying to incorporate what was happening around us. You know, you start off with your own thing and suddenly time catches up with you and suddenly you're in the front of the now. Suddenly you're just the It! and we really were an It-band for 6 months in '89.

And then time passes and then you think you should be with the time, so you look for what's going on. So we've been guilty, so to speak, of, you know, listening to the current music on the radio. And that's what we've done, but of course always with a lot of D-A-D in it. And I think that that was not a natural progression because the party rock, the hair metal, everything, was put aside by grunge and I think that it was time to get rid of the irony. Suddenly you find out that you're part of a culture that you can't make fun of in that sense because it was actually a culture that you lived off and it was a culture that you were in 24 hours a day.

So it became your life and making fun of your life started to be "hmm". So we needed to find, you know, a kind of seriousness around the old D-A-D image and that's what happened with Helpyourselfish and that's what's going on ever since.

Tobbe: You still have the energy on your live performances, but, obviously, everyone is getting older, you're getting older, I'm getting older, so if you lose, or when you lose that energy, what will happen to your live shows?

Jesper: I think that this time around there's a little more songs where I need to concentrate on the guitar and where I need to concentrate on the singing. So there's a little less clowning around and jumping around. And it's just this summer, because last summer it was totally, totally, totally out there. So this summer, you know, we needed to play something we haven't played before, because we needed to make it interesting for ourselves and, you know, the hardcore fans.

There has been a small change in our sets and it's been a blessing in that sense. We can do this all the time, because some of these songs have power within themselves and we don't have to jump around. So there's a lot of power in here still, which can be done with a bad back and, you know, with whatever comes. So there's only this summer where I've had this feeling, like "Hey! There's another way.". But there's still a lot of energy in it and none of us has become old yet in that sense.

Tobbe: Even if you have been a little bit pessimistic now with record releases and stuff, do you still see a bright future for D-A-D?

Jesper: That's the funny part of it actually. Maybe it'll take 3 bad albums for people to recognize that you're a bad band, because we have a strong brand. I feel sorry for people starting now. This brand thing, where, you know, you've got a festival and they need something, you know, to end this evening and "Let's call D-A-D.". It's not like you have to go to YouTube, like "Are they good enough?". It's like "D-A-D. We know what we'll get.". So we have such a strong brand, so if we don't fuck it up there's a bright future.

Tobbe: So, do you feel lucky that you started the band in the '80s and don't have to start a band today?

Jesper: I'm pretty sure that we would have found a way today as well. And I'm pretty sure that we have the guts to do something different, if it was now, as well. But of course many things have changed. I mean, we are a generation band and every art becomes part of a generation. Few songs, few paintings become… forever.

Most of us are forgotten now, so of course we are children of our time and of course we have this '80s thing, when rock, or hard rock, was young, kind of. That's what we are and I don't think we should be anything else and we just need to show people our side of it.

Tobbe: Do you think it was good for your whole career that it took a couple of years until you wrote a real hit song and didn't get recognized immediately?

Jesper: I'm pretty sure that a big hit too early would have made of junkies, in many ways, because, I see it now, you know, when you look at it, just to be a medium band in Scandinavia we paid a price anyway. Travel a lot, away a lot and, you know, you're very good at what you keep on doing, but you become worse and worse and worse at what you're not doing and suddenly you find out all the stuff that you didn't do. If we had ended up, like, with 5 times 18 months tour in America we would have been finished by now.

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