Jake Duzsik Talks Touring and All of HEALTH’s Sonic Elements (3/16 at UT)

Last weekend electro-industrial trio HEALTH kicked off their RAT-BASED WARFARE TOUR in support of studio LP RAT WARS, which dropped digitally last December, amidst their European tour supporting Sleep...

Last weekend electro-industrial trio HEALTH kicked off their RAT-BASED WARFARE TOUR in support of studio LP RAT WARS, which dropped digitally last December, amidst their European tour supporting Sleep Token (earning spots on “Best Albums of 2023” in the likes of Revolver, Alternative Press, and New York Magazine/Vulture, with MXDWN giving it “#1 Album of 2023″), and which hit record store shelves last month on vinyl, cassette, and CD.  Next Saturday, March 16th, HEALTH will be returning to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection for the first time since September of 2022, when they double-headlined TLA with Perturbator (Nick Kent’s son!), when we chatted with bassist and producer John Famiglietti.  And this past Friday, amongst a bit of a travel SNAFU, vocalist and guitarist Jake Duzsik took some time to chat with me about their latest album, tour, and musical friends.

Izzy Cihak: You just kicked off the RAT-BASED WARFARE TOUR.  How have the first dates gone so far?

Jake Duzsik: The first shows have been great.  However, our bus broke down on the way to LA, so we have been scrambling our way to each venue in a big ass U-Haul and a 15-passenger van that looks like it’s in an episode of Hoarders.  So, hopefully that gets sorted shortly.

Izzy: What can be expected of the live show when you return to Union Transfer next week, in terms of setlist, production, and just the general energy of the night?  We’ve seen you a lot in Philadelphia and the shows have always proven to be quite memorable.

Jake: We have definitely scaled up production on this run.  We have a gnarly light show and everything is getting pretty dialed in.  The setlist is comprehensive of the whole discography but leans heavily on the latest album.

Izzy: You have a pretty big catalogue at this point.  How do you go about deciding which tracks from your back catalogue to bring out for any given tour?

Jake: At this stage, we have the ability to draw on a fairly diverse body of work, ranging from full on experimental noise to ballads.  So, for us it becomes about crafting a setlist that has a proper arc but that maintains driving energy.

Izzy: You always seem to tour with really great acts (I’m a really big fan of Youth Code and Perturbator.) and you’re playing these dates with Pixel Grip and King Yosef, who are also really cool (I really dig Rita Lukea’s work with Audiotree!)  How did you connect with these acts and what are your thoughts on them?

Jake: We really pay attention to every aspect of the show, which includes carefully choosing openers we think will allow the night to unfold in a memorable way.  We became fans of King Yosef after his split LP with our friends in Youth Code.

As far as Pixel Grip, Los Angeles has a very active goth/nu goth scene, the biggest in the country.  We have a lot of friends involved in that community.  So, we heard about them through those connections and became fans.  Luckily, everyone comes through LA.  So, we got to go check out both bands and they kill live.

Izzy: You recently released RAT WARS.  How do you feel like the album compares to previous releases?  I think you were already working on it the last time we spoke, when you were about to hit the road with Perturbator.

Jake: I think the album is the most comprehensive distillation of all the sonic elements that is our band.  I’m pleased with how it came out.

Izzy: I know that STINT produced the record, who you’ve worked with in the past, but who normally works with artists that are quite different from HEALTH.  How is your working relationship with him?  What do you feel like he brings to your sound, or even just the sessions?

Jake: He’s a pop producer, but his favorite bands are Converge, Deftones, and Nine Inch Nails.  That’s perfect for us, as we are essentially trying to make industrial music while using modern pop and electronic techniques.  So, it’s very easy for us to all be on the same page.

Izzy: Have you had any favorite reactions to the new music?

Jake: That people listen to it at all is astonishing in and of itself.  It’s important to never forget how lucky we are to do this.

Izzy: You’re playing a bunch of really amazing festivals later this year.  Do you approach playing huge, open-air settings any differently from your own headlining shows?  The last time we chatted you had just played Psycho Las Vegas, although I feel like that’s kind of its own style of festival…

Jake: We definitely take into account the context when we craft a live set.  At festivals we tend to keep things high energy, even a bit more aggressive.  It keeps everyone more engaged, including us…  I’m interested to see how we go over at a classic meat-and-potatoes metal festival like Download.  Could be good, or people might hate us.

Izzy: Finally, what are you hoping and planning for the second half of 2024, in addition to the Louder Than Life festival in September.  Is it just going to be more touring, or is there even more music in the works?  (It kind of feels like there’s always new music in the works…)

Jake: It’s a very heavy touring year.  We will have an EU festival run, an Australia tour, and EU headline dates.  But yeah… there is always new music.

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.