EMQ’s With DISSONA
Hi everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with USA Cinematic Progressive Metal band, Dissona. Huge thanks to their guitarist, Craig Hamburger, for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
My name is Craig Hamburger and I play bass guitar for the band. Dissona “began” almost 20 years ago when Matt (guitar) and I met in a high school guitar class. He had a project of his own and was looking for a bassist to fill in on an upcoming gig. I agreed, of course, as Matt and I had become friends and I was looking for any gig I could get! The gig went well, and I decided to join him on bass permanently. I recruited David as our singer, having played with him in other projects for years as well as knowing his considerable talents. Us 3 went on for years with different drummers and other instrumentalists before we miraculously found Drew, a recent St. Louis transplant, via a CraigsList ad. He auditioned and we immediately knew: this was it. That was roughly 2009 and we consider that to be the formal beginning for what is now Dissona.
How did you come up with your band name?
Matt came up with the name. It is a portmanteau of the words “dissonant” and “persona”. All four of us come from somewhat unique musical backgrounds; if you asked each of us to list our top 5 favorite artists of all time the resulting 20 might leave you scratching your head. That is what makes Dissona what it is, our collective whole is made up of seemingly disparate but interconnected elements.
What Country / Region are you from and what is the Metal / Rock scene like there?
We are from the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, USA. The Chicago metal scene is great. There are countless venues to play, a myriad of excellent metal and rock bands to play with and admire and plenty of cold, miserable weather to keep everyone on their toes. We have been fortunate in that most major metal tours come through Chicago, and we are either able to attend amazing gigs or open for great bands if given the opportunity.
What is your latest release?
Our latest release is “The Prodigal Son,” the opening track from our newly announced EP “Dreadfully Distinct.” The entire EP focuses on characters from the Blade Runner universe with each track being unique in tone and atmosphere. “The Prodigal Son” was written about Roy Batty, the so-called antagonist from the original 1984 film. The track takes the listener through Roy’s inception to the events leading up to his return to earth and eventual confrontation with his maker.
Who have been your greatest influences?
While there are a few overlapping artists the entire band draws form, we each as individuals have unique influences as well! My biggest ones would be: Metallica, Blind Guardian, Opeth, and my bandmates.
What first got you into music?
My brother and his Metallica / Megadeth shirts. I knew I enjoyed music from an early age, I think everyone does, but the heavier side of music is what really, really drew me in. Once that rabbit hole was discovered the dive was precipitous and everlasting.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Blind Guardian is the dream collab. I would cut off my left arm to record a rhythm guitar track for them… Outside of metal, I would love to be involved with anything featuring Susanne Sundfør, Arooj Aftab or Billy Woods.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
The dream is Wacken Open Air, of course. Who wouldn’t want to play the biggest, baddest metal fest in history? The secondary dreams, stateside, are ProgPower in Atlanta and Fire in the Mountains (assuming that the festival resurfaces in a different form).
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Must be nice to receive gifts from fans 😂but no, the only gift has been seeing them at shows, reading their sincere feedback through comments and messages, and getting that email stating that someone was moved enough by our music to actually feel compelled to pay actual dollars to own it.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Thank you for discovering us and attuning your ear to our strange and particular sound; we love you. We know what we do does not conform to what might be expected based on current trends, but we put every ounce of our being into the music to create something real, human, and engaging. No gimmicks, no financial influence.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Peter Steele from Type O Negative. Thankfully, most if not all of my favorite musicians are Earthside, but the world could use at least another Type O Negative album full of Pete’s trademark wit and inimitable voice.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
The creative process. Going from the roots and raw materials of a song all the way through until the fully realized whole never fails to excite and inspire. I hate the fact that I and my compatriots worldwide, due to the nature of the modern music industry, cannot expect to make even a glorified pittance for our blood, sweat and tears.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Most likely the severe lack of compensation to the artists for their art. The business side of it all can’t be ignored, of course, but it does seem like the proportions just aren’t quite right. All the more reason to work even harder, I suppose?
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs or Downloads?
I’d have to go with vinyl. I love the physicality of it, the ritual involved in the whole process of getting the sound moving through the system. In addition, it’s meaningful to me that it’s a more direct support to the artist while also consuming their product.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
The gig in Chicago on the 2016 Leprous tour. It felt like the most glorious homecoming and truly like we belonged in the position we were in. The date was right in the middle of the entire tour and just the perfect middle point to keep the fires hot as we performed across the country.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
I’ve been a musician for so long that it’s difficult to imagine a life without it. Let’s say I would be everything I already am in my life, including an absolute music fanatic, just take away the playing aspect.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
They would have to be primarily people I already know so it’s not an absolute shitshow of awkwardness. I’d have to say: my other three bandmates, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim. Should make for an interesting and entertaining evening!
What’s next for the band?
The next video and single are due out the second week of October! So be sure to like / follow / subscribe (you already know) to ensure you’re hearing the necessary updates on that front. Two more videos will follow and after that, the full EP “Dreadfully Distinct” is coming November 10th, 2023 via Earache Distribution. From there, we’ll be booking performance dates for 2024 (one-off shows, festivals, tours, etc.). Stay tuned!
What Social Media / Website links do you use to get your music out to people? Please include any links
Time for a very British question now. As an alternative to the humble sandwich, is the correct name for a round piece of bread common in the UK either a Bap, a Barm (or Barm Cake), a Batch, a Bun, a Cob, a Muffin, a Roll, or a Tea Cake?
I’m going to say a bap because any time on the Great British Baking Show that they are tasked to make a burger or sandwich or whatever, they keep going on about making a proper bap for it, and I’m not going to argue with Paul Hollywood about baps, OK??
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Thank YOU for your time and interest in what we do and who we are. Please be sure to watch Dissona’s newest video “The Prodigal Son” on YouTube and stream the track wherever you get your music! Hopefully, we can get across the pond soon! Cheers!
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