Sometime between 29 and 19 million years ago, Daeodon - from the Greek words daios (hostile, dreadful) and odon (teeth) - roamed across North America, using his elongated, tooth-filled skull and imposing physicality to fend off attackers, steal prey, and fight when challenged.
He wasn't pretty, and he meant business - and the same could be said about the four-piece, post-grunge/doom-rock outfit from Louisville, Kentucky, known as DAEODON. Their music is difficult to classify or categorize, as it spans across multiple genres and follows no traditional music conventions or formulas. As evidenced by the band's latest five-song EP, Media Mask, the music is rife with hard-driving, precision riffs, spacious, ethereal moments, extreme highs and lows and passages that range from blaringly loud to calmingly soft. One thing is for sure, however - Daeodon's music has teeth.
DAEODON - pronounced day-o-don - got its start in November 2016 when Louisville natives John Torstrick (guitars) and Sam LeMay (vocals) decided to form a band and began collaborating on material. The lineup didn't coalesce until six or seven months later with the additions of drummer Rob Edwards and bassist Greg Livingston, and that initial process of searching for the right rhythm section almost proved fatal for the young band.
"In all honesty, I didn't know if we were going to make it through that," says Torstrick.
"It was pretty shaky in the beginning," adds LeMay, "and it required a lot of perseverance on our part."
With a stable lineup (which also included lead guitarist Joshua Jacob) in place, DAEODON was off and running. By November 2017, the group - which draws influence from everything from Zeppelin and Sabbath to Soundgarden, Deftones, A Perfect Circle, Mastodon and Faith No More - found itself recording its four-song debut EP, No Time to Die, at Electrical Audio in Chicago, a facility owned by legendary musician and producer Steve Albini. Recorded mostly live in only two days, No Time to Die has a raw quality indicative of a young band still in the process of finding its sound. In contrast, the five songs on the new Media Mask EP - recorded over the course of a week in the band's hometown of Louisville - is a stronger representation of what DAEODON sound like when they perform live. The songwriting is tighter this time around, and the production is considerably cleaner and more precise - clear signs of a group that's continuing to evolve and mature as time progresses.
"We were definitely harder on ourselves this time around when it came to the songwriting," says Torstrick. "We were really trying to find our voice."
DAEODON have come a long way in two short years, and while they are certainly a stronger, more cohesive unit than they were in their early days, by no means is it always smooth sailing for this group of strong-willed individuals.
"There's a bit of a destructive energy in DAEODON, and part of our success is being able to cope with that," says Torstrick. "I think part of the reason that our sound is a little crazy and all over the place is because everybody has their own issues they're trying to deal with."
When asked about this undercurrent of tension that regularly flows between band members, LeMay adds, "When we were recording the first EP in Chicago, there was almost a fistfight on take one. I thought somebody was gonna die, or that we were going to end up owing Steve Albini like 50 or 100 grand from ruined equipment. But we got through it and everybody calmed down, and got a killer take out of it."
"We've been walking a tightrope for a while," says Torstrick. "Like, can we get over this hurdle, or is this going to be the end of the band? But I think that's kind of the crux of the project, that we've been able to deal with some very tough situations and capitalize on it. Sometimes when you have a fight with someone close to you, it strengthens the relationship.In the long run, it's made all four of us a stronger unit - it's made us trust each other more."
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