Meshiaak's Jon Dette: The Alliance of Thrash

"The record label is really happy - they’re returning e-mails and phone calls now"

Things are insane in Australia right now with the recent release of the debut album from Meshiaak; Alliance of Thieves and Metal As Fuck caught up with drummer Jon Dette “I am eagerly awaiting the release in the United States; we’re less than 24 hours away. It’s dropped in Australia already, so lucky you”. The future looks bright Jon, rest assured....

Firstly, what brought you into the project - how did you get involved with the formation of Meshiaak? “Well, I was down in Australia back in 2013, I was performing with Slayer and Anthrax together on the Soundwave Festival and so I met a gentlemen by the name of Chris Maric. Chris was one of the publicists for the festival and he is also a friend of Danny Camilleri’s. After Chris and I met he contacted me about 6 months later about this project that Danny had been working on, that he was in a band called 4Arm and he had left that band to start something new, so ultimately Danny and I got in contact with one another and that is how it all started”.

The debut album out just last week already has critics commenting to the likes of ‘Meshiaak could very well be the saviour to modern Thrash metal’ this is a truly big comment – did any of you have any idea as to how mecca this album would be? “I don’t think any of us really had any expectations going into the record, it’s certainly an amazing compliment, the comments and reviews so far have far exceeded what we could have ever expected or hoped for. The record label is really happy [Laughs] they’re returning e-mails and phone calls now. [Laughs] Originally what got me into the band was the music and a lot of the heavy lifting was already done prior to me coming in, these are songs that really Danny and Dean [Wells] really poured their hearts into and it’s just a reflection of what was going on in their lives at the time. I think this was the focus of the record – I don’t think the main focus was writing a record that everyone would like, I mean of course we want this but first and foremost we have to write a record that we like. And from the feedback so far it seems to touch a lot of people as well”.

What do you hold as the albums strengths, where could it not falter? “First and foremost there has to be an integrity to the songs, whatever the style of music and ultimately a musicianship. I feel so privileged to be part of a band that has such great musicians in it; the guitar work, the vocals, everything is great. At the end of the day it’s a Heavy Metal band, it’s not progressive; we’re not trying to do something completely different – we set out as fans of classic heavy metal – these are our roots and we are going to create songs that reflect that as it's ultimately an extension of us so the solid part is that to me it feels it has a strong element of being a classic metal album, not sounding like a nu-metal album or the bands that are around today and nothing against those bands, it’s just that we wanted to strip back all the ‘now’ and capture where it all started with us; the Slayer, Anthrax, the Big 4 style bands and be an extension of that without cluttering it all with the newer elements that bands use today and I feel that the record reflects that”.

“I personally enjoy the fact how Danny’s vocals have really come to life on this album too. The first demo that I listened to, there really wasn’t a lot of singing going on but there was one particular song called Alliance of Thieves which ultimately is the title track to the album. On the demo, it was only very rough ideas at this point but Danny was singing at the end of the song and truly, it’s really when my interest hit with this band – when I heard the vocals, it immediately told me that this project could go some place greater than just being a Thrash Metal band and wow, Danny has just outdone himself on this album”.

It has all come together nicely utlising each members strengths; all seasoned musicians in their own right; Danny Tomb, 4Arm, Dean Wells – Teramaze and of course yourself Jon. Having such hardened, tested and experienced musicians what advantages were evident for the album and its potential? “There were several. For the album itself we had an additional advantage with Dean as Dean is a producer. His ear coming into this was definitely an advantage – he was wearing two hats, a guitarist and a producer and really for me personally working on the drum parts he brought a lot out of me so it was really great working with him. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great producers in the business over the years yet working with Dean; the team work between us was really beneficial. For me, obviously I’ve got some contacts [Laughs] it’s nice we’ve been able to use these contacts and get a decent record label onboard, get an amazing manager and basically do what we need to do to get this record where it needs to be. These advantages will separate Meshiaak from say a debut band just starting out”.

All the perks and advantages aside, the music is definitely speaking for itself, it has raised the bar for modern Thrash metal that’s for damn sure and has restored a lot of confidence with the genre. Having contributed to some prolific bands in your time Jon what can you say Meshiaak restores in you? “I am almost embarrassed to admit this but this is the first band in my professional career that I am a complete and full member of; that I am almost at the helm of this as a partner – you know I’ve been a member of Slayer, Testament – yeah I was a member but I was for all intensive purposes an employee – with Meshiaak I am a member, I am involved with all the decisions within this band so it feels fresh and good to actually kind of contribute to something we started from scratch, it’s almost like giving birth to a child [Laughs] and watching this baby grow and mature – yes, we’re still in the early stages of this but as you said, the response has been great on the record and I am just looking forward to getting out there for phase two which is playing live. And I have been working with our manager to get some packages together for the end of this year or the beginning of 2017".

"At the end of the day we’re four guys who want to make great music, we’re very compatible with each other – not just as musicians but on a personal level which is so important and it has inspired me to have fun with this, not get caught up on the business side of things – let’s just go out and play, I am 100% focused on getting on that stage and kicking ass and its going to be a great ride for sure”.