Dystorchestra Logo


Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Louisville, Kentucky based Progressive Rock/Metal band, Dystorchestra. Huge thanks to guitarist, David Kisselbaugh, for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

My name is David Kisselbaugh, and I am the guitarist for the Progressive Metal band Dystorchestra. I’m joined in Dystorchestra by Shawn Dugdale (Keyboards and Guitar), Shawn Matty (Guitar), Tim Owens (Drums), Joe Easley (Bass) and Steve Yocum (Vocals). We formed out of a passion for progressive music and combined that with our love of story-telling to produce narrative driven music that reflects the times we live in.

How did you come up with your band name?

Dystorchestra is a portmanteau of the words Dystopia and Orchestra. We felt like it was a perfect description of the subject matter of most of our songs and the density of the music.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We are from Louisville, KY in the United States. We have a vibrant metal and original music scene here. It’s generally more on the metalcore side of the genre historically but we’re starting to see more progressive and technical bands show up.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Our latest release is our debut album “Deus Ex Machina Pt. 1” as well as a companion novella to bring the story of the music to life. “Deus Ex Machina, Pt. 1” tells the story of Thomas, an infantry soldier who is conscripted to fight on the front lines of an endless domestic war that has torn the United States apart. He is forced to choose, first, between family and country, and second, between the family he is born into and the family he has made with the fate of the world resting on his decisions.

‘Burn It Down’ (Lyric Video)

‘Anarcadia’ (Audio)

Who have been your greatest influences?

That’s one of the best things about being in Dystorchestra. We all have vast and varied influences, and they all coalesce in our sound. There are the obvious progressive influences like Coheed and Cambria, Queensrÿche, and Dream Theater. But you can also find some death metal, funk, and jazz/fusion aspects in our sound.

What first got you into music?

For me it was the 90’s rock bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, etc. I quickly moved on to the shred stuff that came in the 80’s on the Shrapnel label and heavier metal like death and thrash metal.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician, who would it be?

I would say having Steven Wilson produce the next Dystorchestra album would be an incredible collaboration. I think he would bring out some truly magical stuff in this context. But, isn’t everything he does magical?!

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

I’d love to be on our hometown festival Louder Than Life. There’s nothing like playing a huge hometown crowd.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

I can’t think of an answer for this. But, in a previous band, we were opening for a big regional band that had a member who went by the name Goat. To thank them for giving us a shot we gave them a taxidermized goat’s head. They mounted it on the inside of their van.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Thank you. We put this music together for our own gratification. To make something we believed in completely. The fact that so many others have responded to it is truly touching.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Frank Zappa. Hands down. I would love to talk to him about what he truly felt was important in music and ask him about how he went from hearing such crazy music in his head, to putting it on stage.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

I love performing most. Nothing like playing for others. I hate the load out at the end of the night.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Streaming royalties. It remains the most broken part of the industry. I don’t have all of the answers to this issue, but an artist who has thousands of streams a month should be able to sustain themselves financially on that usage. If the business models of the streaming companies who provide the service cannot support that, they either need to get a new business model or find a way to support it.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

King Crimson – “Thrak”. It was my gateway to progressive music and stays in rotation today. Doesn’t have a lot to do with how Dystorchestra sounds but it led me to a lot of things that formed my approach to music today.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Honestly, I think CD’s were the apex of fidelity. I still like to buy them and listen to the full lossless tracks at least a few times before succumbing to the convenience of downloads/streaming. That is, of course, getting harder and harder to do.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

A sweaty club gig at Third St. Dive in Louisville, KY. The crowd was amped and a mosh pit developed that spilled out of the front door into the middle of Third St. downtown. The Bar owner was blowing fireballs with Bacardi 151. Truly epic night!

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

If we’re talking artistically, I’ve always wanted to work in sketch comedy.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

I’d like to be a fly on the wall for the conversation if Steven Wilson, Claudio Sanchez, Jake Willson, Mikael Akerfeldt and Guthrie Govan were all having dinner together. I don’t think I would have a thing to say. I would just want to absorb that vibe.

What’s next for the band?

As the Covid restrictions ease up we’re going to be mounting a stage show for “Deus Ex Machina Pt. 1” and start writing songs for Pt. 2.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

Everything can be found at www.dystorchestra.com. That has links to everything we do.

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Being an American, I’ve never had them. But, Wikipedia tells me they are biscuit sized cakes, so, we’ll go with that!

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you for having us!

Dystorchestra Promo Pic

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