Greg Puciato doesn’t give anything less than 100 percent when it comes to his art. Whether it be with mathcore legends The Dillinger Escape Plan, metal supergroup Killer Be Killed or dream pop wonders The Black Queen, Puciato is unafraid to just be himself and do things his way.
“I'm very me all the time," he says. "I don't like to do things that don't make sense to me and that I don't enjoy. It doesn't matter to me whether that's the way that other people do things. If I am looking at something , I'm like, 'Well, this would be what I would want to do, and this is the way the thing makes sense to me.'"
This ethos is very clear when looking at The Black Queen and their releases. Both their debut album Fever Daydream and latest release Infinite Games were self-produced and released independently. Rather than printing thousands of copies in the hopes of moving as many units as possible, the band chose to release limited run, hand numbered vinyl records and a very small run of CDs. Ensuring that the releases were special, rather than just another addition to the pile. Puciato talks about the motivation behind this move.
“I started to get really sick of the obsession in the industry with fucking numbers and trying to become like, "We're gonna do the most numbers possible. How much was your first week? It took the personal connection away for me. I don't feel any personal connection with an item when there's infinite quantity of that item. There’s different approaches to everything, man. There's some people that are of the mind you should sell the most things that people want. If someone wants to buy 10,000 things, you should make 10,000 things. I personally just don't enjoy that. I feel like it makes it more special to me and I feel more closely invested in it.”
Infinite Games features some of the most vulnerable and emotional performances in Puciato’s career, but it hasn’t always been so easy to open up on record. It’s been a long journey, tracing back as far as The Dillinger Escape Plan’s third LP Ire Works.
“The goal for me once you sit down to write is to be as transparent as possible and leave as much of yourself as you can in the song," says Puciato. "That's horrifying. It's a matter of whether you're fucking crying for help or whether you're screaming and you’re mad, whether you're fucking in love or whether you had your heart broken. Being completely transparent and vulnerable is horrifying. I will say that Ire Works was the first kind of inkling of me understanding. I was starting to crack the vulnerability thing a little bit. As the records go on and on, I'm getting there. The Black Queen is a result of me starting to be able to get there.”
December of 2017 saw the final performances of The Dillinger Escape Plan after decades of almost non-stop touring. The return to the stage with The Black Queen was a daunting and heavy task for Puciato, especially given that the second show of the Infinite Games touring cycle was in New York City, the same city that they had closed out Dillinger’s career months before.
“It was overwhelming. I felt overwhelmed. Last time I was on stage was in New York and it was the final Dillinger show, so it was a really loaded environment for me. I was a fucking mess of nerves, man. I'm a perfectionist anyway, so I was very, very aware. I build things up in my head to be a bigger deal than they're gonna be. I put a little bit too much weight on that show, so I'm just glad that it's over with. And now the more shows that we can do, the better now.”
The Black Queen’s will play their debut Australian shows this week. Infinite Games is available now via Carbon Sunset.