Interview with Joe Cotela from Ded

By Stephanie Stevens

In case you haven’t heard, there is a new band in town and they are making massive waves in the heavy rock and metal community. DED has arrived and their debut album “MIS-AN-THROPE is a masterpiece:  It has received rave reviews from media outlets across the world, since coming out on July 21st. The band’s first single ANTI-EVERYTHING hit the Top 20 on the Active Rock charts and Top 10 for 16 weeks on Spotify’s “Rock Hard” playlist. The guys made a killer video for the single, with Fred Durst directing, that has over a million views and climbing. Currently, they just completed video number two for the band’s second single “REMEMBER THE ENEMY”, which will be released before the end of August.

The guys also are road dogs, and have hit most of the Big Rock  festivals so far this year – and still have a lot more to come, this fall. Along with being part of The Serenity Of Summer tour, (with Korn, Stone Sour, Skillet and Yelawolf)  Ded have been bringing the emotion, the heaviness, and their head-banging, sing-a-long choruses, to open air arenas throughout the U.S. I had a chance to meet the guys in Connecticut, when they played there, in July. Not only do they make amazing music, they are some of the coolest and most down to earth guys I have ever met.

So, it was my pleasure to get to chat with singer Joe Cotela again, over the phone, about the new happenings of the band, including the video shoot for “REMEMBER THE ENEMY”, their nomination for “Best New Artist” for the Loudwire awards; (which you can vote here ), his growth as a musician, and how he feels that people are moved by the music he and his bandmates have made.


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Yo Stephanie its Joe from DED

Hey you, how are you?

I’m good – a little hungover, but surviving.  ;o)

What did you do last night; did you DJ?

Yeah – I was DJ’ing at a club here in Phoenix.  I don’t know if they do them out your way – but here they do Emo Nights, etc. We did a Nu Metal night.

Is this one of your past times? Do you do this on the side?

LOL, Oh no no no. They started this emo night where people in bands usually play like music from Yellowcard and My Chemical Romance. So, I started doing those just for fun ‘cause I’m around the music scene. Like Mark Hoppus (Blink 182) does them and band guys all the way up the food chain do them.  The Rebel Lounge had Nu metal night and asked if I’d like to come by, so I said “Sure, that sounds like fun”! All it is, is you get there and play some music, get free drinks and have a really good time.

That’s what is it all about, the free drinks!!

LOL – oh yeah…   But it’s also fun because everyone comes out and towards the end of the night everyone is drunk and they do karaoke because a mic is up and it becomes a free for all.

Ok – so what did you karaoke last night?

I think everyone started grabbing the mic for Slipknot’s “Wait N’ Bleed”, and Limp Bizkit’s cover of “Faith”. Had a dude full on get up and sing Sevendust’s “Black”. It was a LOT of good fun!

Well thank you for taking the time to do this on a Sunday then

Yes, no problem.

I feel like so much has happened to you guys in the short time since we last spoke. So, I want to say congrats on the Loudwire “Best New Artist” nomination. Are you stoked about that?

Thank You and yes, I am.  Loudwire is one of those things that I have been following for many years. To have that type of recognition is super cool. I’m stoked to go to the awards show!

And I have been voting so you have my vote

Well, Thank You – we appreciate it!

Second thing – is the video for “Remember The Enemy”  all done?

It is shot but not quite done yet – it’s being edited as we speak.

It looked like the vibe was pretty kick ass – where did you shoot it?

It was awesome. We did it in Griffith Park in the middle of the old LA Zoo. It was open from 1912 to 1965, when they actually had animals there. It was really cool & very creepy because honestly some of it you can just imagine the conditions the animals lived in at that time. I’m sure they didn’t take the same precautions and things like they do today for them. So, I got to go inside of the cages and I was performing in there. We utilized a lot of different things in the park. Like I said it was really creepy and had a dark vibe – we were there until 4 a.m. I’ve been told by friends that it’s sketchy and you probably shouldn’t be there at 4 am, LOL – but we were. And I guess there is a mountain lion that lives around there that mauled a koala bear recently, at least that’s what I read. It was an awesome place to film, and we had a good time. I guess they shot the movie “Anchorman” there too, the scene where they fall into the bear pit. Anyway, it was cool being there at night and I think it’s going to be sick when it’s finished. I haven’t seen anything yet. I think Fred likes to do the big unveilings, and likes to surprise you with what he does. I’m waiting ‘till he hits me up so we can check it out.

Was the concept a surprise to you?  Or did you guys talk to Fred and come up with ideas first?

He did it. He kind of did that on the “ANTI-EVERYTHING” video and it worked out well. We left it to him as he has done so many good videos – we just trust him and have faith in him. He is awesome to work with and has become a good friend.  We just love him.

Was it easier going into the video shoot this time around, having worked with him before?

Exactly!  It was a lot more casual…  It was more like just hanging out and we knew how each other worked, so it was a lot more chill. The first time it was like “We look up to you and your awesome and everything”.  ;o)

And now this time we knew each other and all the weirdness was out of the way. We talked about the next video we are going to do potentially as well. We probably will do another one with him, pretty sure we will eventually.

So – we don’t have a release date yet on the RTE video?

No release date yet, but it will be before the end of August.

You guys are home for a bit now, and then back out to do more festivals, right?  Until the end of the year?

We are – I think we are playing almost every major festival that is for the rest of the year.  We’ve got more dates coming soon with KORN at the end of September and we’re hoping to pick up another good tour as well


Are you guys planning on doing anything around the New England area – Like a Headline club date, Pretty please??

LOL – I don’t know, but that would be awesome.  We are definitely booking some headliner club stuff to fill in around the festivals because they are all weekends.  So we are filling them in with us supporting some other bands and some headline club dates. We went up and played in Spokane, Washington at a headline date, it was great. It’s crazy to go to these states and there are like 300 people there, and we never played that city before. It was really awesome – we are getting such good reactions from people everywhere.

That’s because you’re amazing …HELLO!!!!

LOL! That must be why, LOL.

Was the Spokane show your first headlining gig?

As far as Washington state goes, it was –  but we have done headline stuff in California, and we always headline in Arizona.  It’s exciting when you can go to a new state and headline.

It must be since the album came out just a month ago?!

Yea – it’s only been a few weeks.

So, going back a little way, in our conversation – you talked about a 3rd single and video.  Are we looking at a slower track, perhaps?

We don’t know yet – I think it is going to depend on where we are at with “Remember the Enemy”.  We’re just getting started with that. RTE has started out really well, it’s already Top 30 @ Active Rock after only 4 weeks. So yeah – I’m not sure what the next track will be yet and I don’t want to sway anyone in the wrong direction; we’ll have to wait and see.

Well – my vote is for “Beautiful”, if my vote counts, LOL

Right on, it counts – it counts!

Speaking of a slower track – You guys have done acoustic versions of songs for Radio performances. Do you just strip it down, or do you try to change it, to make it a tad different for those?  Like if you did “Remember the Enemy” acoustically?

I think for that song, we would switch it up a little bit, because there is a lot of electronic stuff in the song. I think Dave would have to change up the guitar, to give it some rhythm in the verses, for sure. We did that with “Anti-Everything”; Dave refigured chords.

Is that something that you guys like doing?  It came out good.

Well – to be truthful – I don’t like doing it honestly; we want to be a heavy band. We want to be that band that comes out and just goes nuts. So, truth be told I don’t like doing it…  But when we end up doing it, I have fun so it’s not like the end of the world or anything. I don’t hate it – but I don’t prefer to do it.

 I saw the “Beautiful” acoustic and I loved it

“Beautiful” is unique unto itself, and lends itself to acoustic, so I don’t mind doing that song that way.  But when I’m doing the heavier stuff, it just wasn’t meant to be done that way. “Beautiful” makes sense because it was actually written on acoustic, so that one is meant to be “kick back” and let the lyrics shine through.

I know in the studio, John (Feldmann) challenged you guys in a lot of ways.  When you are out on the road, do you have any personal challenges for yourselves?

Hmm.  Well, we usually have our key people sending us stuff we need to get done like interviews or radio IDs and stuff like that. We do the band Spotify play list, and all kinds of little things… I’m sure I’m missing a lot, but there is plenty of stuff to do all the time.   So, I don’t know if there is anything we try to accomplish other than trying to have a cooler of beer at each show, LOL! We are always busy and there is always something to do, and things we try to accomplish for sure.  If we have a little down time we get the football out and throw it around.

That’s right – you gotta keep the fitness on, even when you’re on the road!

Exactly, for sure!

Last time we spoke, I told you I loved your old band, Man Made Machine.  How do you feel you have grown, from when you were in that band, to where you are now?

I guess everything I did in that band, I learned a lot from.

Was that your first band to get national exposure?

Yes – it was it was the first time I was on the radio with a song. What’s interesting about that band is David Ludlow, the guitar player of Ded – recorded all of those songs with us. He was like the 6th member of that band. So, he was there the whole time. He learned a lot in a recording sense with that band.  We had a manager named Steve Kidd, and he is a legend in the industry. I think he tour manages Drake now – he was a dude I learned so much from. He managed Rage Against the Machine and Deftones. We toured with Godsmack and Staind and different bands like that, and we learned a lot from those guys, too. So, I learned a lot from everyone.  I think you always learn when you’re living your life, out there on the road, and writing songs with people, and listening to different styles of music that you wouldn’t normally listen to. Before that band I was way into hardcore with breakdowns and stuff and I kind of did that for so long in a band before Man Made Machine – that I kind of got sick of it.  I wanted to become a better writer, so I did Man Made Machine, and it was a bit more mellow and more for the radio. I learned a lot about songwriting and my voice and singing, so when that band slowed down, I wanted to combine refining my style even more and really just let loose, and that’s when we started Ded. So, I think it was just a process, in Ded we just wanted to be free because we weren’t planning on showing this to anyone. I think I say that a lot, but that was the point of it; let’s just have fun and go crazy and do whatever we want because in the other bands there was always this mindset of “Can I be successful with this or will someone like my song”? Looking back on that – it didn’t make me feel good when I was writing songs I did that I wasn’t really into and feeling. I felt empty and wasn’t fulfilling to me. So, all of those things together are what got me here.

I think the same thing applies with David, Matt and Kyle – they were in other bands – they learned a lot through touring and writing and meeting people and just listening to different music. It all goes into you and you digest it in a certain way. It makes you stronger and more well-rounded.

Do you feel that if no one ever caught on to what you were doing with Ded, that you could just be happy playing local shows in Arizona?

Yeah – that is the thing:   When we first started, we sounded like the first Slipknot album, probably heavier than that album – just balls to the wall. We were just going to play this dive/punk bar in Tempe Saturday nights and just play really heavy stuff and it would be for fun. No pressure – that was the whole goal for us. It wasn’t like “Let’s do this forever” – I just wanted to play a couple of shows as Ded and have fun. So, if no one ever liked it, we would have made the music we liked, and we would have played and it would be super fun and we would pat ourselves on the back and say that was awesome. It’s been 2 ½ -3 years since we started – so I have no idea the alternative of it, because I probably would of done other music as well. David and I have done other music like Queen of The Stone Age stuff. We will always be creative and try new things, because we love creating music. We want to write with other people, so to sum it up, we are just creative dudes… is what it all comes down to. If no one liked it, that would have been fine, because it was for us. We’re glad we made this music and it’s awesome that others dig it also!!

And look what’s happening!

Yeah, I know – life is just crazy sometimes…

With all the festivals you’ve played, and being out on the road – who is the one person you’ve met, that you would love to have on your next album if possible?

Oh man – I don’t want to single out just one person or not include people. I would love to have so many people on it. I would love to have Jon from Korn or Corey from Stone Sour. Spending the time with those guys was awesome. Just having them come side stage to watch us and coming up to tell me good show and hanging out with them talking music and just being buds while we were out there. Either of them I would love to work with and would be my top choices. I also always say this too: Either LP or Trent Reznor.  I would love one of them to produce a track, and get them with Feldmann… That would be incredible. Yelawolf would be sick too, he was a good dude

I know the album just came out and is still new – but any thought on record two?

Not yet, but we do have a lot of songs we have written.  We write stuff here and there as time allows – but this is still so fresh and new. We aren’t looking to a second one right now, although David and I joke about it and we say it’s going to suck to replicate this again, LOL! We are just kidding, we are just pessimistic about everything in a joking way. But we really haven’t talked about it much. We are going full charge with this. We can talk about what we would like it to be, but by the time we do it, who knows what it would sound like….  So, I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

Do you write on the road?

We probably will eventually, but for right now we are focused on getting our bearings, and once we get a little more comfortable on the road with our set up we will probably write a lot more. We are just busy with everything else going on right now.

You guys are just trying to stay awake and make it to the next town!!!

Ha ha, yea honestly – we always say “if your too tired wake one of us up and we will take over”. We are just still doing it punk rock style; we love it.

OK – so how has it felt knowing, this little Ded Nation has grown so quickly, and what do you want to say to the fans?

It feels great that people like the music. I’ve never had a CD or any music I’ve done received this well – to the point where so many people are saying its record of the year, and just have people like it so much. It makes it even more exciting, because we made it for ourselves – so to have other people like it so much, it’s even more gratifying. Like I said before – in the past writing something, half written for someone else to like or the intention of that, was so not gratifying. This is the coolest thing, but we also can’t believe it in a lot of ways because, we just wanted to make something we would like, but it feels great, and I feel like we know what we are doing. We don’t pat ourselves on the back, but we also say we know we don’t suck. (haha!)  We will always look at our idols, and think we will never be as good as them, just like they look at their idols and say the same thing about themselves. We don’t pat ourselves on the back too much.  But it feels great and we are so appreciative that its resonating with people. That is what music is supposed to do – it’s the universal language.  To have it affect people and have them get so amped on it is amazing. I love when a band does that for me, so I am really happy I can be a part of that for other people. I’m a music lover so it’s awesome to be a part of that.

Well – I have to say you guys are the most humble and down to earth guys I have met in a long time.  It makes us Journalists feel good and happy to work with you.  And it makes your fans feel good knowing you guys are like that.

Thank you and I appreciate that!

Seriously – You guys are for real – being on Social Media interacting with fans means a lot to people, because it’s really you. Keep doing that – it’s where the fans will gravitate to you.

I feel you because I remember being younger and hitting up my favorite bands and if I got a reply from them I would be super stoked. So, I try to do that for sure. The guys go on too, and we try to reply or like most everything because that used to make my day. It makes you like the band more. I know I have met some bands, and they aren’t cool, and it messes up their music a little bit, because maybe they are preaching something that they are not living. Actions speak louder than words, so it’s important to be who you are supposed to be, and who you want to be. But Thank You for acknowledging that – we appreciate it. We try to be conscious of everything and do the best we can in all those situations.

I appreciate it and hope you can come to New England sooner rather than later and do a club tour – that would be stellar.

Yeah –  I have a ton of people saying that the amphitheaters are too wide open and the stage is far away. We miss that closeness too, we grew up playing in clubs.  We started Ded in the clubs so going back to that would be awesome. I know we are going to tour a lot and we will be back there for sure by the end of the year, hopefully.

If not, then Rock Allegiance in New Jersey it is.

That’s looking like it’s going to be Killer, for sure.


Then we will have Sushi and Beer, if that is a good combo.  Not sure but we can try.

That sounds killer to me and yes – that is the best combo!!!!

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