In Session: Christoph Paul of The Dionysus Effect
ALBANY – Determined to put their own stamp on the genre of rock, the band The Dionysus Effect is currently celebrating the release of their self-titled debut record. Featuring blistering lines, vocals that can’t be ignored, let alone the energy that speaks for itself, the band certainly wastes no time in making a statement. I recently had a chance to sit down with Christoph Paul, lead singer and bassist of the band. What follows is our conversation.
Lucas Garrett: Christoph, thank you for taking time out of your day to talk to us. How’re you doing?
Christoph Paul: I’m good! We’re a month into having our debut album out. We’ve had some pretty good reviews, which has been nice. We’re trying to get into the local music scene more. We’ve only played about twelve or fifteen shows. We started as more of a studio, songwriting band. We formed in the heart of COVID and focused on songwriting. We’ve been working on getting tighter, but it’s tough being a new band. It’s a fun challenge.
We played a Super Dark show; that was pretty fun. We’d like to play with them again. We’ve played El Dorado. We played Arlene’s Grocery in New York City; that was a really fun show. it’s weird to be a rock band in this decade.
LG: Why do you say that?
CP: Rock’s in a weird state right now. I think people want something that’s different, in a way. I think hip-hop is very popular, and I like hip-hop… indie and metal are where I see a lot of taste at… we unapologetically want to make rock songs. We’re not poppy, but we want to make songs that get stuck in your head. I haven’t seen many other bands with that kind of energy. People are trying to be different, which is good. I’m all for different.
LG: I listened to your record today. A lot of it is very “in your face,” going right ahead. I didn’t hear anything that was slow, at all, on the whole record.
LG: When you’re playing live, do you find it hard going that fast without any breaks?
CP: That’s a good question. I think it took us a little bit to catch up to the record. It took some shows to get our groove. Our first show was us figuring it out. We played at a farm show in Upstate New York. Our second show, we played a benefit for Saratoga Black Lives Matter. It was more of a hip-hop crowd, but we said, “Hey, let’s just f*cking rock it.” And, they were feeling it.
I get inspired by hip-hop because I like the swag of those guys. I was like, “Let’s bring a little of that to rock ‘n roll. Let’s be a little unapologetic, a little punk. Let’s play loud and just not give a shit.”
LG: You mention rock; you mention hip-hop; you mention punk. Who are some of your favorite influences of all time?
CP: Great question. If I had to put two bands that really have inspired us, it’d be Queens of the Stone Age and Motorhead. My guitar player, Sean Quinn Hanley, is really influenced by Van Halen and Guns ‘n’ Roses. I’m more alt-rock. I like the 90s and 2000s. Brett (Petersen), our drummer, is definitely a grunge guy. For us, it was a little bit of metal, a little bit of grunge, a little bit of alt-rock… The band is what happens when you have three different kind of rock fans get together to make rock music. That’s The Dionysus Effect, when we combine with the three of us.
LG: What does that name mean?
CP: My day job is editing and publishing, so I’m a big reader. I’m a rock nerd. Nietzsche had a book called The Birth of Tragedy, and he said there’s Dionysus energy and Apollo energy. Sean, I always say, has Apollo energy. He’s the true musician of the band. He knows theory; he’s doing it by the book. I’m Dionysus; I do it all by feel.
We like the idea of theatrics: chaos; magic. Conjuring the spirit of Dionysus to a rock show. I like to have fun with that. Make it a little otherworldly. Bring some mysticism and fun to it.
LG: How long does your band play on a given night?
CP: Ideally, I like a forty-minute set. We play fast… we’re really intense. Let’s play tight, fast, and give people their money’s worth.
LG: I talked to someone a while ago, and we were talking about playing out. I don’t think every genre out there is made for a very long show.
CP: Yeah. I agree.
LG: If you’re fast, and every song is like that for two hours – I don’t know about you – but that’s very exhausting on my ears.
CP: I agree. We’re loud. I’m dripping in sweat afterward. I look like I’m coming out of the pool. I want to go all in; Sean’s all-in, and Brett’s doing his thing behind the kit. I see us as entertainers. I want to give people an escape. It’s a crazy decade we’re in, and I want to give people a good time.
LG: I really appreciate how hard you play the bass; you’re hitting it really hard.
CP: Oh yeah, thank you. I have a style; I was a rhythm guitar player at first, and I approach the bass that way. I’m definitely in the Lemmy school and Nick Oliveri. I play with a pick on the song, “Heroin.” We look at the songs like a house. I’m coming up with the blueprint, Brett fills it in, and then Sean makes it pretty with the guitar and vocals. We like the idea of the vocals and guitar being the focus of the songs. Sean is an excellent guitar player. He’s definitely the prize musician of the band, and Brett and I want to show it off.
LG: Where do you get inspired for your lyrics?
CP: [Part] of it is my job. I edit a lot; I read a lot. Our song “Darryl” is inspired by a book I published. We’re lucky that it did well. I think musicians get inspired by their day job. I’m lucky and privileged to have a pretty cool day job when all is said and done. I get to work on books I love.
There’s this weird juxtaposition. We’re a party, drug, sex, and rock ‘n roll, but I’m also reading books all day. That’s my big inspiration.
LG: Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?
CP: We really want to reach people that want new rock music. There’s great old rock bands. I’m looking to reach people that don’t listen to rock music, but want something in that vein. I would like to see rock music get back into pop culture. We’d like to a part of that, where it’s more in the mainstream again. We love loud rock music… and we want to reach fan-by-fan that are looking for something a little fresh.
LG: I appreciate you taking time out of your evening to talk with us.
CP: Likewise. Thank you so much.