Despised Icon have become one of the biggest names in heavy music in their eight years in existence, a reflection of their tireless work ethic and instrumental role in the development of the deathcore genre. Having destroyed stereos and stages the world over, sadly their time as a brutal six-piece has come to an end. On the eve of their first and final Australian tour, we caught up with DI’s guitarist Eric Jarrin to talk all things music from Kataklysm to French pop.
Hello kind sir, please start by stating your name, what your role in Despised Icon is and your favourite zoo animal.
Eric Jarrin, guitar player and founding member, Lions.
Considering you have six members and have experienced a few line-up changes over the course of your history, can you tell us a bit about how the band came together?
Alex and I were playing in different bands in 2001. We decided to team up with our friend Greg to put on this side project that would pretty much consist of slam riffs and blast beats. Marie, a friend of mine, was singing in a band and she knew this guy who was playing bass, Sebastien. Greg left the band the next year to be replaced by Yannick and Steve came as second vocalist to intensify the brutality of the vocals. About 2 years later, Marie quit the band and Alex took over on vocals, leaving the spot for Alexgrind on drums. About 3 years after that, Yannick and Sebastien left the band to be replaced by Max and Ben.
Having two vocalists is fairly unique for a metal or hardcore band, what made you guys opts for two front men?
We thought that one vocal was cool but none of us would do backup vocals, and since Marie had a hard time doing low growls, we thought it’d be great to have a second vocalist to add up and make it sound more brutal.
What are the band’s primary musical (or other) influences?
Suffocation, Dying Fetus and Internal Bleeding were pretty much the first influences we got along the old school death metal scene of the 90’s. At the same time, we were a lot listening to hardcore bands like Madball, Hatebreed, Terror.
For most people living in the US or Australia it’s probably difficult to imagine a non-English speaking metal or hardcore scene. Can you tell us a bit about the heavy music scene in your hometown of Montreal?
It’s very prolific. There is a strong metal scene and there are a lot of musicians back home. Most people do speak English though. It’s just not our primary language. Many bands made it worldwide in the past few years, Kataklysm, Cryptopsy, Gorguts, Voivod.
You’ve shared the stage worldwide with some of metal and hardcore’s biggest names, what’s been your favourite show or tour experience thus far?
Touring the U.S. with Hatebreed and Black Dahlia was pretty sick. But the best for me were those festivals we played each year in Europe around summertime. That’s where we got to share the stage with bands like Sepultura, Manowar, Mastodon, Slayer, etc.
What artist or band would you most like to play a show with, living or dead?
Pantera would have been the band I would have loved to tour or play with. That’s for sure.
Does Despised Icon have any tour rituals to keep you sane?
Not really, we just try to stay away from each other when we don’t feel like hanging out and a good dose of partying always makes it better hahaha. We are all different in the band and the key to the success of staying together is by accepting everyone’s differences.
What does the band tend to listen to whilst on the road?
Anything but metal. Some of us will listen to French pop music, Hip Hop, classic rock and relaxed ambient stuff. Rarely we will put on a metal album but it’s mostly old stuff like Megadeth, Metallica or Pantera.
Needless to say heavy music fans worldwide were devastated to learn of your split, are there any future bands or musical projects in the works that we should look out for?
As of right now, no real projects are in the works. We’re still really busy finishing all those lined up tours we have until the end. Then, a lot of us will take a break before starting anything serious. Some of us are about to have kids so that will keep us busy.
What’s your favourite record of all time?
Master of Puppets by Metallica.
Any last comments for your adoring Aussie fans?
Can’t wait to finally go down under to visit you guys. I know we have a lot of fans over there and we never made it before this time. It’s going to be killer!!!
Thanks for your time dude, we’ll see you in November!
For sure man, take care.