So, what I love about these guys is their seamless ability to fuse the ‘80s with the 2020s when it comes to their brand of metal. I don’t mean to suggest anthem rock vocals soaring over djenting guitars, but from an electronic standpoint, DTV could get away with djent/modern metalcore covers of basically the entire Stranger Things soundtrack. Jesse Isadore is easily my favorite harsh vocalist out of all the underground bands of our region. His voice employs a cast of characters (vocal range) unparalleled in this area in my opinion. From screeching highs, to gritty mids, to punishing lows, to unearthly squeals, to borderline angelic cleans, you’ll hear it all from Jesse. All of this of course is complimented by the band’s ethereal, atmospheric, electronic ambience, coiled around crushingly heavy guitars, intricately layered, polyrhythmic drums, and delicately, but equally intricate bass lines.
To be completely transparent, I normally don’t get in to ANY “modern metal”. Very few bands can cross that bridge with me. In fact, the only “modern metal” bands I’ve listened to so far this year are SPIRITBOX and DESIGN THE VOID. We chatted with the boys about how they djent so hard they’ve been splitting atoms. Let’s get into it.
1. Tell us everything! Tell us how the band was formed, how you arrived at the genre that Design the Void plays, and what your proudest accomplishments are with the band to date!
Jesse: It’s a sloppy story, we were actually originally going to be a side project called messages through lights. We were heavily focused on weird conceptual prog stuff, but Josh had some members leave DTV, so we decided to consolidate under one banner and just released the messages through lights EP under the DTV banner. I’m most proud of the stuff we haven’t released yet. There’s some bangers coming soon! I’m pretty proud of next sequence though, it’s catchy and Is a great precursor to what we have coming!
Josh: It all came together back in 2015 – Koden and I were talking about starting a band to try something new. We’ve played in bands before in high school, but nothing too serious. It was our first real attempt at making a band work, and along the way we picked up some great musicians (Jesse and Jeff) to join the crew!
We were very much influenced by the metalcore, djent , and deathcore scene to start, and it really started to evolve from there – adding in electronic elements, balancing between a heavy writing style and melodious one. Once Jesse and Jeff came on board, our sounds started to mesh, and we’ve been coming closer and closer to blending our sounds in a better balance.
I’m super proud of our latest release, and all of the songs we’ve written for this year. It’s our best work, and I couldn’t be happier with where we’re going!
2. How did you guys meet? I know Jesse isn’t the original singer, but maybe you could tell us the story of how you first met the other dudes in the band, then get into the transition of Jesse joining.
Jesse: We met through Narwhal Bloodbath. Josh was going to be the drummer, but there were too many shows and Josh lived too far away. So we eventually started a “studio project” which was messages through lights and then ultimately ended up as design the void.
Josh: Koden and I grew up together in Kane, PA, played in some bands, and would go out to shows together. Jesse and I knew of each other throughout our high school years, but never had the chance to get to know each other.
It’s funny, the only reason how I met Jesse and Jeff in the music scene is that Jesse made a FB post about needing someone to program drums for a project that him and Jeff were working on. I happened to be on FB that day, and decided to shoot him a message. From there, I started working with Jesse and Jeff, and later on they joined the ranks in DTV. It always amazes me how such a small decision can lead to a huge change down the road. if I never messaged Jesse, we would not be anywhere close to where we are now as a band.
3. Name your top bands/artists of all-time, regardless of style!
1. Old crow medicine show
2. The devil wears Prada
3. Eskimo callboy
4. Linkin Park
5. The Used
6. My chemical romance
8. System of a down
9. A day to remember
10. Johnny cash
Josh: I gotta give credit to Fallout Boy – they were the first band that got me into punk-rock from their album “From Under the Cork Tree”. That shaped my musical tastes, which led me to heavier music like The Devil Wears Prada. That’s where I began my exploration into heavier genres, and has been an integral part of my musical path. An artist that keeps me on inspired these days has to be Unprocessed – those guys are great musicians and writers to look up to!
Jeff: I really should just send you my library lol. Off the top of my head, Animals As Leaders, Between the Buried and Me, The Algorithm. This is only partially accurate, as I don’t think it’s fair to choose.
Koden: ERRA Periphery Born Of Osiris The Contortionist Underoath
4. Talk about any new music as much as you can, and tell people what they can expect from NEXT SEQUENCE!
Jesse: So we have a single coming every two months in 2022. We’re going to be playing with our sound this year and figuring out where exactly we belong in the scene, and where we want our sound to be. It’s gonna be fun to play with this year.
Josh: This year we’re taking a big step, and we’re releasing a new single every two months. So I can tell you, this year is already booked up for us and you’ll be seeing us grinding all the while!
We’re not so much concerned with what we write “fits” the code of the heavy music scene. We’re writing music that we thoroughly enjoy, because ultimately I think that’s what people want to hear – us writing how we would.
Next Sequence is a culmination of everything we have to offer in our future releases this year. We’re incorporating deathcore, djent, and electronica in a way that transitions well, and keeps your attention. There was a lot of work on the balance between screaming and singing, and it’s indicative of what’s to come this year!
5. What’s your recording process like? I’m assuming you do a lot in house, and that your audio engineering game is getting stronger every day.
Jesse: We do EVERYTHING in house, Jesse, Josh, and Jeff all have recording setups at home. We mostly bounce ideas back and forth remotely, then we meet up once a month to put the finishing touches on things. It’s a work in progress but we’re trying to get together regularly to make the process faster.
Josh: Most of the time, we’ll track all of our parts at home. We don’t have the luxury of getting together often because of distance, so we send files back and forth, get on Zoom, or whatever else is working for us at the time. Lately, we’ve been trying to get in the same room for all of us to record. It makes a big difference in the end for writing/production. The last song we worked on, we were all in the same room writing and recording, and I think it’s turned into one of best songs yet. Makes it even easier for me to mix to have that on the spot feedback. Super excited to see the response on that one!
Jeff: All recording is completed through Logic, and I normally put together all of the parts before showing anyone the completed product. This includes all the composed instruments, from drums to synths to guitars. Once completed, I then give the logic file to Josh, and we usually comb through it instrumentally to see what we can alter-structure, any rhythm/lead parts, any voicing that may need to be changed to help build or blend a section better.
Once a wav of the song is dropped in the drive, Jesse is able to quickly turn around and write Vox for the whole song in like, 5 minutes lol. We then schedule a weekend to get together and work everything as a group, before Josh edits it and puts together the final mix and master.
6. Now that you’ve been around the scene for awhile, talk about the most memorable shows you’ve played, along with your favorite venues!
Jesse: That’s a tough question, but basement transmissions in Erie, pa is very near and dear to me. There’s just so many shows, friends and memories there. Narwhal played a return snow in October, it felt like everyone I knew from Erie came out to support us. That was an awesome memory. We have a lot of awesome memories in Buffalo though too! Lots of shows at stamps, casa, and mohawk place. DTV and it’s current member lineup hasn’t had a chance to play out together yet. So there’s a lot of memories left to be made!
Josh: One that sticks out in my mind was playing at Reverb in Reading, PA. It was great place to watch and play a show, with lots of room. We opened for Whitechapel, Oceano, and Entheos, and it was the first time I got a black eye after being thrown in the pit!
Koden: I’d say for me my most memorable show was getting to open for Whitechapel, to share the stage with a band you’ve listened to since you were twelve was an incredible honor to say the least!
7. Tell us how you each started playing your respective instruments. Some people find gear talk annoying, but I want to hear about your first guitars, drum sets, and vocal setups too!
Jesse: My first microphone was a good ole sure sm58! They’re great, but I upgraded to a Sennheiser wireless ew 835 microphone. Worth every penny.
Josh: I started out playing drums when I was about 12 years old. My Dad bought me my first drum set, it was a Pulse drum set, all decked out in chrome. I played that set religiously for years! Super thankful for my Dad for that, and for putting up with all the excessive noise. I would practice by playing along to some of my favorite artists at the time – bands like As I Lay Dying, Miss May I, and Periphery. Just heavy hitting, fast songs that jump started my chops! Now I don’t usually try to play as fast as I can, but try to challenge myself through difficult prog rock and Latin grooves.
Jeff: I’m a lefty player, so this is a tough game for me sadly. When I started playing, I started out with a Hohner acoustic, and played this for a couple years before I eventually bought my first electric guitar-a Kramer Focus. I then also picked up a Stagg Les Paul knockoff, which
I played for years in my first band. Schecter came into my life around the age of 17 or 18, and I have been playing them since. Schecter has built some great guitars to spec. I currently own 3 7 string Schecters, and 1 8 string. As I progress as a musician, I find myself getting away from 6 stringed instruments, and strictly playing 7 and 8 string, with 8 being the dominant instrument of choice. Upon writing, I have been starting to switch off of Schecter, and have recently picked up an Agile 8 string, which is built extremely well and plays like butter for the price point. It sounds great for recording too. I own one 6 string ESP bass, 1 D’Angelico Jazz Guitar, and 1 D’Angelico acoustic guitar as well.
Koden: I started playing guitar when I was about 12 because a couple buddy’s of mine and myself wanted to start a band so I picked up a bass and started teaching myself.
8. Tell us who your favorite underground bands in the WNY scene are!
Jesse: I’m a giant fan of Amavasya from Erie, pa. Dishonored from Buffalo, I played a show with inertia a couple years back too. They blew me away!
Josh: Our singer’s other band, Narwhal Bloodbath! Just dudes having fun and really enjoying their craft. Hearing their music and seeing them play reminds me of why I do music in the first place.
9. Plug any relevant links to your online presence. (the simpler the URL, the better)
Josh: You can find me at insta (@joshuajohnson_audio), twitter (josh_dtv), tiktok (jj.audio), FB (@joshuajohnsonaudio), or my website at http://www.joshuajohnsonaudio.com !
10. Shows seem to be getting “back to normal”, whatever that means. Tell us about the first shows you worked or attended where you felt as though the pandemic was on the verge of becoming past tense in conversation.
Jesse: Back in October 2021 I did a short run of shows, that felt a lot like normal. I had a blast and everyone seemed so excited to be back out hanging with each other.
Josh: I’ve been hired for some live sound gigs recently. Working with the bands, seeing all these people out in the crowd enjoying themselves at these shows – it brings me back to pre-pandemic times where life had no limits. Things are looking bright!
*Taken from our April 2022 issue: “Lessons in Dissonance”
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