Hailing from Tempe, Arizona, Ded loudly stormed onto the national scene in 2017, taking the stage at nearly every major rock festival, touring with Korn and Stone Sour, and garnering a fair amount radio airplay, especially on Sirius XM’s Octane. The band proudly wears its nu metal, metalcore, hardcore, punk and even pop influences on its debut album, “Mis•an•thrope,” released last July. The record spawned the hit singles “Anti-Everything” and “Remember the Enemy,” and as 2018 begins, the band is pushing its latest single and video, “Hate Me.” While on tour with In This Moment, P.O.D. and New Years Day, vocalist Joe Cotela called in to Live Metal’s Greg Maki to give us the latest on all things Ded.
LIVE METAL: It’s been quite a year for your band—getting lots of radio play, playing all the big festivals, touring with Korn and Stone Sour, all these various accolades that have come your way. Were you prepared in any way for this kind of success?
JOE COTELA: No, no way. But in another way, it’s like you don’t expect it to happen, but I think we’re seasoned enough—we’ve been in different situations and things that prepared us to be ready to do it. We had to jump through a lot of hoops and things to get here. It wasn’t handed over. It wasn’t like we just wandered into doing all this stuff.
It’s the result of a lot of hard work.
Exactly. We weren’t expecting to do it, but we were prepared to do it. I’ll just put it that way.
So the latest thing for the band right now is new single and video for “Hate Me.” The video has kind of a horror movie type of feel to it. What was the concept there?
We did it with our good friend, Shan Dan Horan, who is from Arizona and has been a longtime friend of ours. He knows our vibe really well, so we kind of let him dream up the video and give us the concept, and then we kind of chiseled away at it with him a little bit. And that’s where it came from. We wanted to do something really kind of grimy and dark. The last couple videos we did with Fred Durst. He has his own vibe, and we just kind of wanted to change it up and see what we would get with somebody else. We had a really good time doing it.
Are you a really big horror movie fan?
What are some of your favorites?
“Jaws” is my favorite movie of all time. I know it’s arguably a horror movie or not. I think it’s definitely a horror movie. Talking about old-school stuff, I would say “The Shining,” the original “Night of the Living Dead.” “The Strangers” is one of my favorite ones. I thought that was an amazing movie. There’s all kinds of stuff. “Feast” is sick. It’s hard to think of it off the top of my head, but there’s a lot of things that can go down.
What is the song, “Hate Me,” about?
That song’s really all about being resilient, perseverance—things like that. Trying to follow your gut and do what you want with your life. I’m speaking from the standpoint of a musician, I guess, but this could be applied to people following their dreams in any way. There’s a lot of people that are gonna tell you, “You can’t do that, play it safe, do this, blah blah blah.” I don’t know, man. It’s just never been for me. I’ve always been drawn to my calling, and I feel like a lot of people have that calling and they might silence that themselves, ‘cause if they’re worried about what other people think or whatever it is. This song’s all just about knowing who you are and what you’re about, and being it. I always say that it’s not about being an asshole, being like, “Hey, I’m an asshole. I don’t give a shit. Fuck you! You can hate me if you want. I’m an asshole.” It’s not about that. Fuck that. I hate assholes. They can fucking die. It’s about self-empowerment, doing something legit with your life.
A lot of different sounds and styles come together in your music, so what would be the big influences that make up the Ded sound?
To me, I would say it would be a couple things. There’s definitely the heavy nu metal influence that everybody jumps on right away. And there’s a very strong, underlining metalcore/hardcore/punk influence, as well, especially with me lyrically. That’s always been my favorite style of music for lyrics, and we’ve all been in bands that were in that scene a lot. And then we’re all big fans of just great pop music—whether it be Michael Jackson or whatever, John Mayer or whoever—Jack Johnson. So I think it’s combination of those three things.
At this point, there were technical difficulties while Joe talked about how he doesn’t mind the nu metal label; working with producer John Feldman; the current tour with In This Moment, P.O.D. and New Years Day; and how he and his bandmates watch all the bands they tour with intently to try to learn as much as they can from them.
You just did the ShipRocked cruise, which seems like a unique experience. How did that go?
Yeah, it was very unique. It was something like people tell you, “This is gonna be crazy.” “Alright, cool. I’ll see it for myself.” They were right. It was very cool, man. We got on the boat—a bunch of bands, a bunch of friends—shit like that. It was just really cool. There were a bunch of parties and things. They did a bunch of cool extracurricular activities and things like that. They get all the bands and the fans together. We got to run a beer pong tournament, which was really cool. We played up on the top deck on the last day. It was like MTV Spring Break, dude. It was great. It was just really cool. Everybody was cool. Nobody was weird to the bands or anything. Everyone was really nice and chill. I watched so many of my friends play. We all got on stage with each other and just had a lot of fun. So it was great. We’ll go back anytime they will have us.
As I was saying before, you played all the festivals last year and have been on some big tours. Is there something that stands out as being the best thing so far?
That’s hard to narrow it down. There were so many cool things. All of those festivals are so rad—the Danny Wimmer festivals, AEG festivals. It’s hard to narrow it down. Maybe the coolest one was Rock on the Range, ‘cause that was the first one that we played a solid time slot, and there were endless people. That was crazy. Louder Than Life was crazy; Aftershock was crazy. It’s hard to narrow that down. Going to the APMA Awards. There’s like a list of things that we did last year, and they’re all nuts. They were all things that were on bucket lists, that were just crazy for us to do. We’re just grateful that it all happened and stoked to do it all again this year.
The news just came out a few days ago that Best Buy is going to stop selling CDs in their stores. How do you feel about that? Is that the final nail in the coffin for CDs?
Possibly. We still sell CDs, you know? I see that happening. I don’t know. I think people still do want physical things. If you’re a fan of a band enough, you’ll still want physical things. Maybe that’ll transform into something else. I don’t know exactly what it’ll be. I’ve come to terms with the whole music industry thing and how it’s going to change, and I’m not really mad about it anymore. I was mad about it for a while. It was frustrating. You kind of grow up your whole life thinking, “Cool, this is what I can expect. When I put in all this hard work, this is what’ll happen. We’ll sell a lot of albums and blah blah blah.” The whole thing got flipped. I even wanted to own a record store when I was growing up. That’s fuckin’ over now. I can’t do that. I loved “High Fidelity.” I wanted to be John Cusack in “High Fidelity.” So anyway, yeah, it’s hard. It sucks, right? I’m not fuckin’ stoked on it, but I’m also not trying to fight it. It’s something that’s gonna happen.
What is your preferred method for buying and listening to music?
I’m Spotify, honestly, all the time. I digital download newer bands, that I’m like, they’re newer, I want to support, get their numbers going. But yeah, mostly just Spotify, and me personally, I haven’t bought a physical album in a little while. I started buying a little bit of vinyl here and there now, which is a fun thing to do.
Yeah, I just got into that recently. I bought your album on vinyl, actually.
Oh, dude, thank you. I got that one, too. (laughter) Yeah, it’s very cool, man. And that’s one of the things: Great, vinyl’s up now. That’s cool. That’s another medium, not fully replacing CDs but definitely filling the void a little bit in a certain way. We’re just gonna have to get creative and come up with things that people want. Online merch is something else that we didn’t have back in the day that we have now. That’s such a cool thing. You can make so much product and so many cool things for people to get. So people are buying T-shirts instead. That’s dope. I’m a big T-shirt junkie. I have like 300 T-shirts—all kinds of vintage stuff. If the music is just kind of a segue into your world, and then people want to get behind your art and your creativity in other ways, that’s cool. I don’t know, man. I’m not really that mad about it.
You’ve got this tour with In This Moment that’s going for a little while now. I saw there were more dates just added in April. Can you say what else you might have going on this year?
Yeah, well just a couple things. We’re finishing up this run here. We’ve got P.O.D. and Islander we’re going out with for a couple weeks at the end of this tour, getting us through to March. And then we go back out with In This Moment, and our buddies The Word Alive, who are from Arizona and that we’ve known for a long time, are coming out on that tour. So that’s gonna be so rad. That’s West Coast, so it’ll be nice and warm. We’re freezing our butts off (now). I’m in Detroit, and it’s snowing. We do the Las Rageous festival in the middle of that—Vegas, which is gonna be sick. Five Finger Death Punch, Judas Priest—it’s gonna be a rad show. And then we have Rock Fest in Wisconsin—big festival; Incubus, Godsmack and Disturbed are headlining. It’s one of those enormous festivals. And then we’re talking about trying to go overseas. We’re looking into that pretty heavily right now, as well as a couple other tours. I can’t announce the other stuff, though. But we’re staying busy.
Well, thank you very much for your time. Is there anything else you’d like to say right now?
No, just thanks for the support, and we’re gonna be grinding; we’ll be out here.