Saturday, October 14, 2023

Interview with Gene Olivarri of Dirigiri by Dave Wolff

Interview with Gene Olivarri of Dirigiri by Dave Wolff

Tell the readers about Dirigiri's history and how much of a stir the band has caused in underground metal.
Dirigiri is from San Antonio, Texas established in 2004 with a thirst for the EXTREME Lone Star State style. For many years we have done things our own way, mixing and matching brutal, extreme genres plus horrific reality into our brand of brutal, extreme Texas Death/Thrash. The stir has been caused by our work ethic and pushing our music in the extreme metal underground. Global consistency has been the key which is just working hard at what you do and love.

As a band playing death and thrash metal, how hard has it been to promote and find a listenership without label backing, building a reputation from the grassroots? How many pitfalls has the band experienced and what makes you continue through them?
The only one thing that keeps me at this is to make the metal masses of the world remember San Antonio, Texas, which will always historically be the heavy metal capital in America. We did our best to build our fence with the first release without label support, continuously and consistently pushing our music out to the world. A lot of mailing and a lot of money on our part was involved. That was the sacrifice to push our music out globally without any label. Talking to distributors, sending an already-made product, and praying hard they would stand behind it and help us push it out. We didn’t skip one day to tell everyone and anyone about Dirigiri and where we were from. It took a lot to build lots of time and pushing. We’ve had many pitfalls and bitten the bullet many times in various situations. Like AC/DC says, “Gettin' had gettin' took, I tell you folks it’s harder than it looks. It’s a long way to the top of you wanna rock n roll.”

What distinguishes the Texas style of metal from the sounds produced in other states such as Tennessee, New York, and California? In this era of underground metal, how important is it for bands to pursue their own paths?
Each of those mentioned paints with their own brush, but the Texas way is plugging straight through the amp head, tightening up the tone a bit, dialing it in, and jamming it out like ZZ Top. It’s very important to do your own thing even if someone doesn’t understand it as long it’s your own thing on your own path; that’s what makes you different.

Despite no updates in the Dirigiri camp for some time, you recently discussed everything to do with the band on Lady Red's “Path of Blood” show at Metal Devastation Radio. Was your upcoming release part of what you discussed regarding Dirigiri?
Her show “Path of Blood” on Metal Devastation Radio is always amazing and full of killer music and interviews. She is an amazing DJ and everyone should check her show out. We talked about the new release “Cursed Masters” and the title track was extremely well received by listeners. We were very happy that the listener count went up as Lady Red played the title track. Plus we conversed about things that have happened out on the road, like haunted venues I’ve been in and things of that nature. Just stories of the road and fun times. Plus about how our new label Dark United Media is putting out a limited edition Digipack and a mega rare release on cassette tape in early 2024, and where our first self-titled release was released with no label support and was well received around the world. It was released by me. I manufactured my own CD artwork, put it out, and sent it everywhere around the world from my little home in San Antonio. Dark United Media felt that it should be re-issued and re-released. Since it has become a cult CD in the metal underground, and a mega rare CD for any metalhead’s collection since only so many copies were manufactured by me. This was also revealed on “Path of Blood”.

Is the band seeking other podcasts to be interviewed? How many local podcast shows are based in Texas? Are you finding any shows outside your state or in other countries to seek more exposure?
There are so many and yes we seek anyone, anywhere, and every way possible for us to get Dirigiri’s music and know about us as much as humanly possible. It is a fun task for us to do this; we love it.

When did the material development for “Cursed Masters” begin? Tell the readers about the time and effort channeled into it?
Lots of song picking was put behind it, and we were thinking about how we could outdo the first self-titled release since it was written in about three years. A lot of stir in the underground happened because of that first CD. Not many people around the world have been hearing about death metal coming outta San Antonio for a long time. Member changes were made to possibly take Dirigiri to a different level. This is why the album is called “Cursed Masters”. Only I and vocalist James Kuhn were the only two members left standing, plus I got the title from an old 1970s samurai movie. The development was really bringing more groove mixed with brutal death grind with Dirigiri’s signature death/thrash style mixed into it. James Kuhn did a good job with his unique way of singing death metal and putting his ingredients into it as always.

How well-known is Dark United Media, and how did you come to be signed with them?
Dark United Media is an independent label from Jacksonville, Florida releasing and distributing lots of great underground music. Label owner Ed Perez had been hearing about Dirigiri for quite some time now through all kinds of media outlets, and he had been waiting for the proper moment to approach us. It was the right time as the new album had been finished. Then he approached us at the same time with the re-issue of the self-titled album; since there was a stir it had become cult. The first release sold out six times and I had manufactured it myself six times. It was a shocker for us because we had no label. Ed believed in it so much he wanted to reissue it through Dark United Media.

Is Ed planning to include additional features in the re-release of your debut album that were not included in the original pressing? Can you tell me how many copies of the reissue will be printed and how much advertising will be done for it?
No additional features we wanna keep it raw and real like when it was first released. At the moment we don’t know how many copies will be made lots of advertising will surely be made to get it to everyone’s hands we can reach.

In addition to Dirigiri, what other bands does Ed support through Dark United Media? Does the label have an official website that can be accessed by interested parties?
You can find all that info a

In what ways did adding groove and brutal death/grind to “Cursed Masters” add to your death-thrash formula while retaining the heaviness of your debut album?
Our thing was to outdo the first self-titled release, which I feel good about with this CD. We changed our members for a different ingredient for this album to push Dirigiri in a different direction. Plus we wanted to showcase our rhythmic sections more on this album and to somehow try to accomplish making it a bit heavier than the first album.

If your newer members have experience in other bands, how will that help steer Dirigiri in a new direction?
The great thing is about the musicians in my band and musicians in general you learn different grooves and timings from different minds and hands like being a carpenter of sorts. It’s a great thing to have those different views to see what works to accomplish a good song.

How long did it take you to collect enough material to begin working on "Cursed Masters"? At this time, what is the band's lineup, and what is the extent of each member's participation in songwriting?
It didn’t take long we’re always writing thinking of ideas. James Kuhn is such a great writer he loves just writing songs short stories anything and everything he brings a huge ingredient to the table with our writing process. Everyone brings everything they got to the table it makes writing music together great.

Which songs from the new album are the most representative of the new direction Dirigiri is taking with their music?
I would say the songs “Cursed Masters” and “Holy Perversion”. We still want that edge but with tons of power in the back of it. “The Swing Of The Axe” and “Bury Your Dead” represent our new direction; they have so much catchy groove.

What was the inspiration behind your new lyrics? Is your lyrical ability improving at the same rate as your musical ability?
It all has to do with horror; true horror; and horrific things that have happened. “Holy Perversion” deals with possibly Pontius Pilate’s feelings on the crucifixion of Jesus, and also about the trial the rabbis had against Jesus. We are always trying to improve on many things as much as we can. We take a step back and really look at the music, trying things in a different way always.

How is the band progressing with the recording of the new album? In terms of your equipment, has there been an improvement?
Better recording tools and higher-quality amps were the same as always. It’s all in the hands and what you make outta it is my belief.

In what formats will “Cursed Masters” be available when it comes out? How does the band plan to cover the cost of pressing copies and how does Dark United Media plan to promote it?
It will come out on a limited edition Digipack and a mega rare cassette tape release this has never been done with our music. How many copies I’m unsure of at the moment; things are still being worked out. I’m sure they have a huge plan and campaign behind this album we hope it is very well received by the metal community.

Do you think Dirigiri is ready to perform at bigger shows at this point? At the rate the band is progressing, how soon would you be able to share a stage with bigger bands and play local metal fests?
At this point, touring is hard for anyone and everyone no matter at what size of platform any band is sitting on at this point in time for music. If we were to go out and do this it would have to really be made worth it.

-Dave Wolff

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