In The Meet The Band spotlight this week is the Iowa black metal band Dryad. After a couple of EPs and a split, they just released their full-length debut The Abyssal Plain. Claire “Claw” Nunez (vocals, guitar, synths) introduces us to her band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Dryad.
Claw: Dryad was formed in 2017 by Grimmtooth (guitar/vocals) and me, deep within the wild forests and hidden ice caves of Iowa’s wilderness – a snarling primal force summoned from the darkened depths of the earth to combat our frenzied modern world. Oliver (Weilein, drums) joined the sordid quest in mid 2018, and Joe (Milik, bass) followed shortly thereafter.
Describe the songwriting process for The Abyssal Plain.
For this album, the songs were outlined by me and Grimmtooth, who then traveled to an abandoned schoolhouse in the prairies of southeast Iowa with our bandmates to construct the songs in complete seclusion for three days’ time.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
The isolation of recording at the rural Flat Black Studios, wandering through the surrounding fields for miles alone in the dark.
How has your sound evolved from your EPs?
There are several new aspects to the Dryad sound for the first full-length album; the main evolution being that the layers of synthesizers are significantly more prevalent than in any previous recordings.
What lyrical topics do you cover?
Phenomena of the natural world in all forms and conservation of its’ natural resources, anti-hate in all forms, mysticism/occultism and the many corridors of the mind.
How was the video shoot for “Black Smoke”?
A massively successful ritual, enhanced purely by those in attendance. Endlessly grateful to the entirely localized crew involved. DIY forever.
Have you filmed any other videos for the album?
Not yet…but there are endless visions and schemes in the work for Dryad.
How did you come to sign with Prosthetic Records?
A long and twisted tale involving the local record store, a DIY house show in a kitchen, and the less-than-infallible directions of asking a punk, but suffice it to say Dryad have found a custom fit at Prosthetic Records.
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
The main goal of this album is to bring attention to the fact that water, our most precious resource on Earth, is in danger of being lost forever to greed and corruption. Beyond that – a hope that someone connects in some way with any of the sentiments behind these songs or shares the visions attempted to be conveyed.
How did you get started in music?
Dryad is a veritable Venn diagram of musicians with extensive early classical training and musicians heavily involved in the Iowa hardcore scene since our teenage years. Both influences can be found interwoven in the band’s sound.
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
Anything from UK crust like Sacrilege and Bolt Thrower to the aptly dubbed “Swedeath” bands like early Tiamat and Dismember, as well as some outlying stuff from My Bloody Valentine.
What was the first metal concert you attended?
Can’t remember the first or speak for the other two members, but Iron Maiden is the one that sticks out the most for both me and Grimmtooth.
How is the metal scene in Iowa City?
The local scene is thriving, and has gained several new and notable young metal bands in the past year. Grimmtooth is also involved in a metal zine and booking agency which has been bringing many of the underground’s most talked-about bands through the middle of the Midwest.
What are some of your non-musical interests and hobbies?
Adventuring through the wilderness, scouring for trinkets, watching cult horror movies with the cat named Mouse.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Mystic Cross, my side project, for all things synth. Grimmtooth’s Very Metal Things + Grimmnight Productions for distro goods and local booking in Iowa. Wild Culture Kombucha for Dryad’s Abyssal Spice Kombucha. Cobra Verde for all things caffeine. Jem’s Label for the new Dryad tape + all things cvlt. Prosthetic Records for The Abyssal Plain and all things vinyl.
(interview published January 21, 2023)
Watch Dryad – “Black Smoke” Video