Interview: Ded's Joe Cotela talks mental health, 'Misanthrope'
Rustyn Rose

Arizona-based rockers, Ded are at the forefront of what might be called a nu-metal resurgence. The band’s sound builds off influences the likes of Korn, Linkin Park and Slipknot, but also with a heavy dose of Pantera beneath the surface. The quartet is fronted by vocalist Joe Cotela and guitarist David Ludlow and anchored by the rhythmic battery of bassist Kyle Koelsch and drummer Matt Reinhard. The buzz generated by Ded has garnered them coveted spots on major festivals this year, and the band is currently wrapping up a string of dates with Korn and Stone Sour. The band recently released its debut album Mis•An•thrope and AXS caught up with Cotela to discuss all things Ded.

Mis•An•thrope represents the culmination of two years of hard work. The energy and enthusiasm surrounding the band has made them one of genre’s most heralded newcomers.

“It’s 100% surreal,” Cotela shares. “I think the album debuted at #2 on the rock charts behind In This Moment. It’s been crazy, just the reaction. It’s so fulfilling knowing we made music we wanted to make for ourselves as a band that we wanted to hear. It shows you that there is kind of a collective consciousness of people that if it resonates with one of you, it’s going to resonate with another person. To have this just take off the way it has and to have everyone just responding to the honesty and the fun involved in the music, it’s just great. We’re not freaking out or anything, we’re just enjoying it. We have our eye on the prize, and it’s all about working and growing, and doing this thing.”

Over the course of 2017, Ded has teased fans with singles from the debut album including “FMFY,” “Anti-Everything,” and “Dead to Me.” Waiting patiently for the album’s release date has not been easy for the band.

“We’re such pessimists," Joe confesses."We’re like something’s going to go wrong and the album’s never going to come out. To have it actually come out and have such great response from everybody… All the reviews I’ve seen from all the press have been generally positive and honest it feels like. It feels nice to have it out because everybody pegs you based off the two or three songs they’ve heard, but now they can hear the whole spectrum of sounds, all of the influences, get a nice well-rounded idea of what the band actually sounds like and represents.”

Almost two years have passed since the band met John Feldmann (Disturbed, 311, All Time Low) who produced Mis•An•thrope. Feldmann was also busy recording other albums during the same time frame which extended the process of recording the record.

“It’s been a long ride. John was doing other albums at the time. He was doing the Blink 182 album, and Black Veil Brides, and his own album—the Goldfinger album, at the same time we were doing ours. It was a nice way for us to grow over that time, and prepare and get ready for everything that was going to come. There was a lot of growing, and playing shows, and a lot of back and forth between L.A. and Arizona working in our studio at home and John’s studio in Calabasas. There were notes and phone calls and so much working. We’re all meticulous and anal about a lot of stuff, so we try to make it as perfect as we can. It was a great experience doing an album with John Feldmann. My first concert was a Goldfinger concert. So to have that come 360, it’s awesome.”

Ded recently performed at the fifth annual Rise Above Fest, a charity suicide awareness event put on by Seether. The show was only days after the tragic death of Chester Bennington who took his own life. The band was listening to Linkin Park’s Meteora album just before the news was announced, and Joe admits they were all shocked and devastated by the tragedy.

“It was really heavy. It feels so surreal. He’s from Arizona. That’s where we’re from and a lot of people knew him from early bands. My cousin went to high school with him, so it was a very close thing. Being in such an enormous band, he was so influential. The lyrics in a lot of those songs were huge for us growing up. It’s really sad, and the mental health issue going on--I struggle with it myself. My anxiety is crazy. I have days where I am completely in the gutter for no reason sometimes. It’s just in your make-up. But there are a lot of things you can do with your diet, and going to therapy. I feel like everybody should go to therapy when you hit a certain age or a certain moment in time. Therapy is huge. Stay in the moment. Be cognizant. Don’t let your mind run away from you and control you. Be in charge of your brain, cause it will get the best of you if you don’t control it and you don’t stay on top of it. It’s something I’m learning about with myself the last couple of years. Seeing some of the things Chester was talking about in his interviews were things that were really close to me. We’ve all had those dark moments, so it’s really about staying on top of your mental health. And we don’t look at it that way. You break your hand you go to the hospital, you fix it. If your mind’s broken why don’t you fix that? How important is your brain? It’s very close to me and something that has affected my family through suicide and things like that, so I take it very seriously.”

After the band’s current dates with Korn, Ded will work on its next video, “Remember the Enemy” with Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst. Grab tickets to upcoming Ded events right here on AXS.

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