Multimedia artist Joey Diabolic takes a sharp turn from his post-goth industrial metal sound with the upcoming album Just Drive. Just Drive is a soundtrack exploring the musical landscapes of alternative rock, Americana, blues, rockabilly, new wave, goth, and southern rock. Just Drive will be released on August 25, 2023.
During his cross-country drive from Newburgh, NY, to Los Angeles, CA, Diabolic was inspired by experiences during his travels and decided to shake things up—he wanted to divulge a musical side of himself usually kept private.
Joey said of the album, “I placed rules on myself on what sort of music it’d have to be based around and to exclude anything related to my more industrial metal sound. It had to be an album that still sounded like me…. just focused more on vibes, more of a stripped-down sound, and most importantly… evolve as a songwriter.
Lorraine set over this most interesting album, “Just Drive,” to Mark, and it was a really interesting listen—a fusion of styles and sounds from an artist that was clearly enjoying himself in the studio. It was a very creative listen, but we believe it is not a typical sound for Joey.
Although industrial metal may not fall under our umbrella, this new album, “Just Drive,” certainly does. It has so much light and shade, it moves through styles and hits this momentum that really does show a depth of songwriting and a big sound for 2023.
Joey- This is definitely new territory for me in sound. I always kind of dabbled with this style of music at home, or when I was a child, my dad would take me to the blues clubs, and I would listen to a few songs and enjoy some improvised blues from those guys who would make up material on the spot.
Of course, we do cover the blues in this magazine, and we do run with the idea from Shirley King (BB King’s daughter) that where you scratch a good song and find the emotion, you do find the blues.
Joey- The funny thing is, my first ever concert was BB King; I think I was maybe 10 or 11. In my music, I don’t really hear a blues influence in more recent rock and metal. There are still bits of it (in Motorhead and so forth), or in some songs you will get a more aggressive version of blues-oriented music, but it is not a conscious thing for me. Of course, it all depends on the type of composition I am working on.
Joey has a very bass-driven sound; he uses this very heavy bass sound. There are so many bass heroes for us here; John Deacon would be a leading one! Who does Joey connect with?
Joey- I would say my first bass influence would be Cliff Burton, because once I discovered Metallica, that totally changed my life. Fieldy from Korn has such a unique sound, and the way he was so bass heavy in the Korn music, the guitar can do all these creepy/freaky things and then return to the heavy bits. The bass sets up the backbone alongside the drums. When I was younger, I had a band that was nu-metal and post-hardcore, and for many years we had no bass player; we just tracked the bass on the recordings, but when we played live, we found we needed a player. It is an underappreciated instrument. I’m not really into flash when it comes to playing; I totally respect those musicians, but it needs to be done in a way that doesn’t go over the limit, or I get bored. My solos are short and sweet; I get in and I get out.
So many guitar heroes! We have been dipping into the Frank Zappa back catalogue here at the magazine recently.
Joey- He had so many different bands and sounds. He got into sequencing and programming computers, got more compositional, and is an interesting character.
There is a wonderful digital booklet that goes alongside “Just Drive” that we have been lucky enough to have a look at. It is very plush! We liked the way the lyrics were presented and the care taken with the images; it shows a sense of real attention to detail and provides something extra for the fans. All yours, or are you using the new AI technology?
Joey- I do all the songwriting, performance, graphics, website, typesetting, everything! There is nothing with AI in the Just Drive package. I have no problem with AI as a tool. But right now there is a strike in Hollywood, as the studios pretty much want AI records of background actors and then keep the rights to the AI digital version for anything they use in the future without having to repay. That is an issue right there, and a lot of it has to do with copyright and getting paid for your work. AI is bypassing the way artists can make money for their creations. As a tool, that is fine, but if you are using it, heavily reliant on it, and willing to screw people out of what they are due, then that is a big no.
The album “Just Drive” comes from a nine-day, 4,000-mile road trip. We can tell this was in the US, as here in the UK, you can do John of Groats to Land’s End (837 miles) in under 24 hours.
Joey- I just got to the point where I realised I couldn’t get forward from where I was. I care for friends and family, of course, but I felt there was something missing. So I packed up, sold everything, gave everything away, and then headed off on an adventure. I didn’t go straight across; I started from Newburgh, New York, where I’d lived for eight years, headed down to Orlando, down at the Southern Coast, then over to Texas, and out to LA. It was about 20 states, and I didn’t even have an idea of writing an album when I was driving it; if anything, it was just to reset my mind on every level. By day three or four, I was digging through riffs on my voice memos and playing on my car system and thinking that maybe something was taking shape. Then I got a playlist of songs that I was listening to and looked to do my version. I do get tired of doing covers, even though it can be a fun exercise. But I wondered what my version of this song would be like; if I wanted that kind of vibe, then how would I go about it? Then it all came together. One song was written before I headed off; and it was sort of abandoned for a while, but it was put together later.
We liked “I want your sext” in the magazine; we felt that one jumped out at us.
Joey- That song started with the bass riff. When I initially came up with it, I thought how it wasn’t in 4/4, it was in 9/4, and so now it was like “Turn it on Again” by Genesis, so I needed to flip it, and it was an interesting exercise to get it to sound like 4/4 when it wasn’t. Then I was watching the film Atomic Blond, and George Michael, I think, has a song on there (he does, “Father Figure”), and it made me think of the version of “I want your sex” that I had often listened to a few years ago. So I wondered how that song would appear now in the technological world. I guess it is connected to the storytelling.
George Michael became very introspective, of course, around Older.” You have to love his material in Wham too; it is such great fun. We love “Young Guns” with that great line, “If You’re Happy With A Nappy, Then You’re In For Fun…
Joey- He had a great voice, too. But whenever I think of Wham, I think of Zoolander. When I was growing up, pre-Metallica, I had plenty of pop influences; I was into Madonna as a child. I’m less into her material now, but I loved Depeche Mode and Duran Duran. We have different layers, for sure. An earlier song I did, “Surreal Love,” is a tribute to all the eighties material I used to love. It is my interpretation of a New Kids on the Block vocal harmony, as I grew up on that too, especially with MTV and their song You Got It (The Rite Stuff); even the drum part of that song is so bad ass! It reminds me of Michael Jackson’s Bad,” where there was experimentation with the harder industrial drum sound. But “I Want Your Sext” certainly explores a more pop sound.
Lyrics of “I Want Your Sext” (lyrics Joey Diabolic)
And what is happening in 2023 for Joey Diabolic?
Joey- I will be promoting “Just Drive” probably until the middle of 2024, when I will look at playing some shows again, probably in the third quarter. There will be more video content as well!
And a quick last one for an artist closely connected with horror (we like our horror psychological here, with a distaste for slasher-style gore).
Joey: The Nightmare on Elm Street Series, I would say for me, part 4. I was on the Freddie train big time, and he was as funny as hell too! He had a great personality and was terrifying, too. But psychological horror, definitely. You are going about your day, and then something can trigger terror in your mind. I also like Vertigo, and Robert Downey. Junior is supposed to be doing a remake of that. I liked him as Iron Man (we liked him in Sherlock Holmes here at the magazine), and he is an actor I like to see on screen.
The Joey Diabolic website link is here
Just Drive Track Listing:
01. Calm The Mind (Silence)
02. Big Empty Home
03. A Gentle Wind
04. Go As You Are
05. Mellow Vibes
06. Day of Rest (Scarlett)
08. Breathless Mahoney
09. Sultry Eyes
10. Morphine Dreams
12. Lost In You
13. I Want Your Sext
14. Just Drive (Sunset Skies)
15. Ambience in the Stars
By Benny (the Ball) Benson
Mark C. Chambers
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