DEAD LETTER CIRCUS Interview with Kim Benzie & Clint “Vinnie” Vincent

It’s been a while since we’ve talked with Dead Letter Circus. Five years to be exact. Back when we did our previous interview with the Australian band, they had just started touring in the States, and were trekking across the country with a bunch of metal bands. A few years doing that and they built up a pretty solid following in America. But as with everything in life, things change over time.

For Dead Letter Circus that meant lineup adjustments and back to the drawing board to recreate a new sound. Where did they find their inspiration? Well, frontman Kim Benzie found it in part by doing ayahuasca in the Amazon jungle, which fueled their 2013 album The Catalyst Fire and their latest record Aesthesis — something Benzie and guitarist Clint “Vinnie” Vincent say was made during the most creative time of their lives.

So we chatted with Kim and Vinnie to learn more. This was on the final date of their tour with 10 Years and P.O.D. in West Hollywood, literally on the sidewalk of Sunset Blvd.

Here goes.

We know you’re busy — you don’t have to watch the full thing. Here are the key takeaways:

00:03 – Kim did ayahuasca in the Amazon jungle. “It was a life-changing, monumental experience.” It’s not like doing acid, it’s more of a spiritual thing. “You do it when you feel it’s the right time.”
02:15 – Writing the album was the most creative time of their lives. There were many in-the-moment moments.
03:37 – It’s important to have a positive environment, all the way down to the right lighting. It allows you to be comfortable not just with yourself but with the people you’re creating with.
04:33 – It was amazing seeing incredible musicians every night, like playing with Animals As Leaders. They’re still big fans of metal, but they knew it wasn’t the album they wanted to make.
05:57 – Touring with radio friendly bands like P.O.D. works better for them, mainly because there is a singing component. People who haven’t heard them are able to absorb the music easier.
06:24 – I fucked up here. I meant to ask them about how Aesthesis was about expanding your perception, but I said perspective. Nonetheless, they’re pretty open-minded to trying new things. When they’re not on tour they’re always writing and making new stuff. There isn’t much time for anything else.
08:01 – In our previous interview they said they started the band for fun, and it took off. Does doing something for fun make it easier to achieve success? It makes it easier to not fit a mold. First and foremost they write music to please themselves.
09:27 – “When you know each other on a deeper level, you know what buttons not to push.” You’ve got to be able to receive criticism in an unemotional way. You have to in order to create the best music you can.
11:15 – They’ve become very successful over the years and had to ignore some bad advice. When they wrote “One Step” off This is the Warning, the label wanted them to smash our a few filler songs to accompany the single on an album. They told the label no, and that they needed a few more months to write more songs. Their motto: All killer no filler.