DESPYRE formed in 2015, so active for a short while, but have been hard at work upon their debut efforts an EP titled "Irritation". Since word about this release came a foot, DESPYRE have also had the chance in performing numerous showcases here and there. There are no plans on stopping in that aspect, let alone creating music as a whole. Bassist Kevin Cassidy talks all about the EP as well as other matters within the band.
1. What role do you play in the band?
In addition to being the bass player and one of the song writers, I as do all the members have varied tasks that we all fulfill that keep the Despyre train rolling…. but my main responsibilities deal with the artistic direction and general image of the band. Logos, adverts, web postings, artwork, etc.
2. Where does the name DESPYRE originate?
Actually, the name has a pretty significant meaning to us. DESPYRE is a blend or portmanteau of 2 words….” despair” & “inspire”, and we define the meaning as a combination of those 2 pretty intense emotions as “To have once given up all hope.... which in turn motivates or compels the passion to do something profound, prolific, and exceptional.” In other words, we think people sometimes are have their most potential for greatness or expression if they can use their darkest moments as motivation to pull themselves to new heights….and we try to express that drive through music.
3. What has influenced your sound and style?
Despyre hails from Long Island which has produced some of the greatest musicians the world has ever known…and were quite proud of that fact. We give a ton of credence to NY’s own metal forefathers like Anthrax, LOA, Suffocation, Dream Theatre, Type O Negative, Manowar and the like, who have established the genuine, true New York metal sound... We see Despyre as a natural extension of that tradition. That being said, Despyre’s sound has been simply described as Pure NY Metal, with a blue-collar aggression, power and intensity. Personally, my style is a bit more in the non-traditional Steve Harris type of finger picking with a bit of clank and a lot of tone and note definition. I like to cut through the mix without abandoning my role as the backbone of the rhythmic and harmonic foundation.
4. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
The themes behind most, if not all of Despyre’s songs are based on some version of real life circumstances. Be it life or loss, love, trauma, desperation, dreams, frustration, anger, rage or sorrow.... all are on the table and these themes seem to develop and take a life all their own as the songs progress.
5. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)
The writing style of the band is a pretty varied process, with all the members having influence, but most songs typically originate from the string section. Often times Brad, Dennis (guitars) or I (bass) will come in with just a simple riff and the song will emerge from that foundation with Rob (vocals) laying his interpretation of lyrics over the band’s groundwork. Other times someone will come in with a more developed concept with lyrics and melodies, then the band will work as a unit to develop it. So essentially the finished product is wholly a group effort
6. How do you describe your music to people?
We don’t really like the division that multiple genres create, but as I said earlier, we like to think of the bands overall sound, both live and in the studio, as simply pure metal. We have a classic approach to our overall live sound and recording style and the mission of Despyre is driven by our shared aspiration to fulfill the band’s definition, which is simply to motivate passion and expression creatively, in whatever avenue the world has put you on, despite your circumstances. We want to entertain and inspire.
7. What image do you think your music conveys?
We like to think of our music as an escape or outlet from the everyday pressures and stresses of life. We try to encourage, through driving, melodic, and hard-hitting music those who have struggled or lost hope and have reached a point where life has lost its spark. We want to re-ignite their fire.
8. What's your take on the EP "Irritation" as a whole?
“Irritation” was a really organic creation and came together for us pretty quickly and I think it’s a great introduction to the style and sound of the band. It’s a low frills pretty raw expression of what the band strives to express. Head banging power and driving melodies that sound best when played at 11!
9. What is the concept behind "Irritation" and how did the idea come about?
Irritation isn’t really a concept album as all the songs portray a bit of a variation as far as “story” behind each…. but the overall thread that binds is the fact that all the themes are based on real life situations and emotions. The title track itself is an expression of the frustrations that people in relationships go through, and we like to think of it as an outlet for those annoying things that people do that irritate the shit out of you. It came about at a rehearsal after Rob had just had an argument with his significant other….so the emotion was really raw and authentic and it comes through in the lyrics for sure.
10. What is your favorite track off "Irritation" and why?
Tough choice but I have to lean toward VooDoo Fix. As a bass player, the structure and bass driven voyage is really appealing to me…and overall the aggressive aspects and groove of the riffs makes it a pretty cool track for sure.
11. What can fans expect from the new EP?
I think fans of real, true metal will love this EP as we really tried to capture the essence of how we sound live. We didn’t use any real over production techniques and sampling that it seems a lot of metal bands have been employing lately. It’s really just us in the studio. That’s not to say we have boundaries or limits of any kind or were not open to anything going forward that gets the message of a specific song across, it’s just that for IRRITATION specifically, the evolution was very clean and we tried to emphasize that in the recording.
12. What was the writing and recording process like for "Irritation"?
We are blessed to have had one of metals greatest legendary guitarists and song writers as our engineer and co-producer …Mr. Joey Z of Life of Agony. Save for the drum tracks the entire recording was done at his own Nest Studio on Long Island. Joe really emphasized and captured the raw growl of the bands depth…and it was a real honor to work and take direction from such a musical mastermind.
13. Why do you think people should check out "Irritation"?
I would love for people to check it out as a real tool for getting through the day. Personally, metal music has been the soundtrack of my life, and its power to energize, encourage, or even to rage is something we hoped to express on this recording.
14. How would you say you differ from other bands and artists on the scene?
It seems to be a pretty common opinion that Despyre has a really unique sound that a lot of industry people have a hard time allocating to a specific genre…. hence the “pure metal” description. We’ve been called somewhat progressive, thrash, goth hardcore, industrial death, metalcore and a bunch of never even heard of….and frankly I love that about this band. We seem to strike a chord with lots of different fans and our fan base is growing quickly as a result!
15. What do you want to achieve as a band?
On a purely material level, the bands goal is to be totally self-sustaining, with the ability to focus all our attention on the simple artistic output. On a philosophical level, as artists are goal is basically to be appreciated, not in an ego-centric sense, but in the sense that we are making a connection with someone through music. It’s really quite an achievement to make an impression or influence an emotion in someone you’ve never met and could be a world away, and this is something that we never take for granted, which in turn pushes us to produce meaningful material worthy of that opportunity.