Bands evolve over time, it’s only natural. Some shifts are obvious—consider the Beatles’ famously epic journey from their Liverpudlian skiffle beginnings towards their psychedelic studio phase. The general passing of time offers subtler, though no less significant changes. Take the aging of vocal cords, or the physics of a set of guitar strings corroding through everyday wear and tear. Even if you slap a new set of Super Slinky’s on your six-string, they literally won’t resonate exactly the same way as when you first played that riff. Its properties change every time.
Dyatlove have a ways to go before reaching their final form, but the Vancouver quartet are confidently spreading their wings with the release of their latest single, “The Chrysalis.” The track follows the Codeine-laced doom-gaze (“Empty Lungs,” “Old Haunts”) and detuned alt-ballads (“Fragile Fixation”) of last year’s self-titled debut EP, and the reverb-crushed crust of their socially-charged “Die! Kill! Pig!” single.
With “The Chrysalis,” guitarists Rikki Jennings-Buford and Sam Caviglia ricochet gain-busted chord work off of drummer Rob Sheldrick’s weapons-grade drum fills, before the full band—which also features bassist Justin Lacey— gel into a lean, but yearning post-hardcore groove. As the song cascades into its finale, Rikki’s ethereal leads become a prismatic blur of copper blue and burnt sienna.
As Dyatlove’s latest single takes off in time for Bandcamp Friday, Rikki weighed in on taking the group’s new tune out of the pupal stage.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
“The Chrysalis” follows last year’s self-titled EP and the “Die! Kill! Pig!” single; you also mentioned in an Instagram post that it’s a song you’ve been hanging onto for a while. What can you say about releasing “The Chrysalis,” in terms of both the band and the single’s growth over the last year?
Rikki Jennings-Buford: The first EP and “Die! Kill! Pig!” were basically written by Sam and I—We had those five songs written before Rob had even joined the band. “The Chrysalis” was the first song that we all did together, with all of us writing. Justin’s post also mentioned that it’s more “our sound” as a four-piece than just the ideas that Sam and I brought in [at first].
With the transformative nature of a chrysalis in mind, had the song gone through any significant changes?
R: The structure is the same. What we were able to do [over the past year] was really dial into cool tones and effects, and modulating those effects; getting deep into turning knobs. The first EP was quickly slammed together, so we didn’t fine-tune the pieces. With “The Chrysalis,” it was more “why don’t we combine with this pedal, or that pedal.” We got to dial in all these wild ideas, just to make it sound richer. Everything was on the table.
You often post about your pedalboards through the band’s socials. What were your go-tos for this track, specifically?
R: I definitely used a lot of the Earthquaker Devices Afterneath on the lead parts. Really wet, almost to the point where it sounds like a synth. I also used my Boss DD-500 delay. We really wanted a haunting lead sound. The gains were my Peavey 6505, for sure. I go straight into Peavey for that, [with] the MXR Ten Band EQ just to bump it up, because I like to go mid-heavy. That was really the main sound for all of the gain parts.
Sam used his Boss Chorus pedal—the CE-2, I think. That’s his main riff at the beginning— a ‘76 Traynor and that chorus pedal, which sounded super cool.
How about the guitars?
R: On that song I used my Gibson RD Artist, the 2018 reissue. I like it because it’s got the Gibson active pickups, which I find aren’t as hot as the EMGs. It allowed me to get a better, washy clean tone for the leads, rather than have everything be too aggressive.
Sam used that Squire Baritone that everyone’s been talking about lately, the 30-inch scale; black on black. All stock. The thing is a beast! We always bring so many guitars with us to recordings, because that’s what I personally find the most fun: the experimenting. It always ends up being that Squire Baritone on the records, though. Even the newest ones we did at Rain City Recorders with Matt Roach.
What were you just recording with him?
R: We’re in the process of recording another six songs with Matt. One of the songs was written at the same time as “The Chrysalis,” and that’ll be a standalone single coming out next. The other five songs will be for a follow-up EP that we’ll probably release near the Holidays.
Getting back to the idea of the chrysalis, this transformative state, you’ve now entered your forties...
R: Yes [laughs].
For all intents and purposes, Dyatlove is the first band you’ve really given this strong of a push. What can you say about developing and honing your craft over the years, and coming out of your shell arguably later than most musicians?
R: I’m not the oldest [in the band]; a couple of the guys are younger, but not by much. It’s just the confidence that you get at 40— I’ve done all this shit; I’ve made all the mistakes; let’s just go and have fun. If a song gets past the four of us, regardless of genre, we’re writing something that we enjoy listening to. We just want to keep doing that. It’s cliché, but if we have fun, then everyone’s having fun.