Stevie Boiser is an omnipresent figure in Denver metal. He fronts Vale of Pnath, and recently stepped down from Enemy Reign to focus on Dissonance in Design, a progressive death-metal quintet that features brothers Harrison and Zac Patuto on guitar and drums, respectively, as well as Vale of Pnath guitarist Vance Valenzuela and the newly added Nema Sobhani on bass. We spoke with Boiser recently about the band's new album, Sentient, which comes out November 5.
Westword: I've seen the cover art for Sentient. Are the members of Dissonance in Design fans of science fiction?
Stevie Boiser: I'm more into it than the others. I read H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King and Star Wars, but I really feel like those things come to life in the way I tell the story in Sentient. Originally, I just had scrap tracks of rough versions for the songs, but the music gave me a flashback to a dream I had a long time ago. I wanted to tell the story of what I was able to recollect from the dream and incorporate science fiction with the element of a moral or ethical dilemma.
Is there an overall theme or concept for this album?
Sentient is indeed a concept album. The best synopsis I can think of is this: Scientists who are experimenting with string theory are successful in opening a window into another dimension, one where they find a very mysterious and breathtaking new world inhabited by celestial beings. Unable to resist our curiosity, we decide to abduct one of them. The window is recalibrated into a doorway, and after abducting and killing a specimen, the creatures gather at the gateway and are able to break into our world.
As their world begins quickly spilling into ours, we find that their form of sustenance is devouring the souls of their prey, leaving behind a hollow vessel. You come to find that the alien race are not the monsters that the humans believe them to be. In fact, they are creatures who in their dimension are revered as gods, who feed off of the souls of wicked beings in order to purify them and send them back into the universe so that they may be reborn into new hosts who will allow them to transcend into the next form of consciousness.
In which ways do you think Sentient represents an advance in Dissonance in Design's sound?
I think that Sentient is the next step in the evolution of Dissonance in Design. We're experimenting with longer and more complicated song structures, phrasings and vocal melodies while keeping things very dynamic. I feel as though every time I hear it, I embark upon a new mental journey, and I sincerely hope that all who listen to it can really experience the same mystical feeling. We're all very proud of what we were able to create together and are really excited to unleash it upon the world. We hope that our listeners are able to share that same excitement.
How long did this take to write/record, and where did you record?
The writing process took about a year. Harry and Zac had begun writing the material last year. Once Vance joined, he was able to help them solidify the sound, and together, they wrote, rewrote and revamped the album's sound. After I joined, the lyrical concept quickly fell into place, though the final version of the lyrics took a few months and a little bit of tinkering before they were completely to my liking. Nema was the last piece of the puzzle and was able to hastily and tastefully add his own groove to the mix, which solidified our lineup and finished the writing process for Sentient.
As for recording, we tracked our album with Dave Otero at Flatline Audio studio. Drums and guitar were finished in March of this year. Bass and vocals were recorded in early August. Vance and I are also in a band called Vale of Pnath, which was on tour with Gorod during the month of May, [hence the delay of the recording process]. We're all extremely happy with what we were able to create together and very grateful to Dave for his hard work and dedication to our sound! If you're looking for a professional sound recording, Dave Otero is the man you want to work with!
How has the addition of Nema changed Dissonance in Design? Did he join in time to affect the writing process?
Nema joined after the guitar, drums and vocals/lyrics were completed. He's a very talented musician who in addition to bringing his unique grooves was able to help build up our sound and also add some symphonic orchestration to the mix.
Do you have plans to tour in support of Sentient?
As of now, we do not, but that's a prospect that we are very much interested in and definitely hope to get going in the future.
How did you get involved with Dissonance in Design?
I was jamming with Vale of Pnath, and we toured with Dissonance in Design. Shortly afterward, Vance asked if I would audition. So I went to Zac and Harry's, we jammed their set, and I was really into their direction and excited about it.
What's the difference between your stage presence in each band?
In Dissonance in Design, I utilize my full range of everything. We have atmospheric changes that allow me to experiment with different metal styles.
Do you intend on staying in both bands?
Trying to keep those two things separate is the most challenging part. I just try and get in the right mentality before a show. When I play with Dissonance, it really alters my presence and the sound of my voice.
Describe Dissonance in Design to someone who has only heard a little metal.
We're more on the progressive side. We don't follow typical metal song structure, and if I had to compare us to a band, I think we fit things along the lines of Scale the Summit or Between the Buried and Me.