The405 recently kicked back with Dead Beat Army founder Joe Dirt (which probably isn't his government name) for an EXCLUSIVE interview. Check it out! For those of our readers at home who aren’t familiar with your work, tell us what Dead Beat Army is and does? Dead Beat Army isn't really anything, its just a cover name i guess. like Clark Kent. I got a degree in graphic design, and i always wanted to draw a definite line between what i was doing as a graphic designer and what i was doing for hardcore bands. When i studied graphics i was always taught that there had to be a point or meaning behind anything you created (which i do like the idea of) but it clashed with the stuff i was doing for bands where it was more of 'yeah that's sick man' and the meaning didn't have to go further than that. As for what Dead Beat Army does, its just basically provides bands a chance to get affordable artwork, and for me to work with some amazing bands. it has no other remit really. A lot of your design work consists of skulls, angels and various other devilish creatures. Is death something that is constantly on your mind and therefore showing through in your work? Not particularly, that's more to do with the kind of bands i work for. i mean as a kid id always be drawing that kind of stuff, not cos i had any morbid fascination. Skull are cool i guess. Especially now, i mean some of the artists out there designing bands for the minute just do it on a whole other level. Artists like Angryblue, Godmachine and Dan Mumford. Its come a long way from those generic life like painted skull you see on all those generic'Goth' tee shirts that little 13 year old kids used to wear into something completely amazing. What's been the craziest brief you’ve ever been given or have ever set yourself? To represent a famous artist using a bucket. When did you first realize that your ability to create art could actually become a possible career? Since i started at uni i figured i could maybe make a career from design if i applied myself. at the minute i have neither a career in music merch or graphics, i just work 2 jobs to pay the bills and do all this on the side. making either design or merch into a career is more like a pipe dream while there's bills to pay. How long have you been designing merch for bands and How did this all start out? Well i always wanted to do it for the longest time, but i don't think i'd ever really applied myself enough, i mean i'd do stuff in college for mates bands and that but only like once or twice. i think i felt like i wasn't really cut out for it or something. then i guess it all started properly when one of my friends from Last Chance To Dance approached me about doing some artwork for their e.p. Before that i'd been making little images and tooling around with them but for no-ones else's eyes but my own, and here was a chance to give things a proper go. unfortunately they split up before the e.p. was made. they ended up in other amazing bands though like All We Have and Veils. But from there on out i guess what happened was i became more 'pro-active' (i hate that word) and would ask bands and music labels for work, or even just doing it and sending it to them without being asked. In the last year i've been asking less and been asked more if that makes sense? Who or What influences you into creating a new piece? Does music influence your work at all? yeah man, i mean if a band approaches me about a tee or a logo or whatever i'll listen to their music and that usually gives you a rough idea of where your going, but a lot of the time i tend to find there's been things i've been wanting to try out and when a band come's to me that fits with that idea i go with that. Artists wise i love the work of Angryblue, Dan Mumford, Godmachine, Brian Morris, Usugrow, Monaux, Twoone and Nikk Scarlet to name a few. sometimes ill spend hours following links to other artists work. If you had to chose one piece of work you’ve done so far in your career as your favourite, what would it be? you said career again. i don't really know. I'm usually most excited about the projects i'm working on at that given time. I'm working on some E.P. work at the minute that i'm enjoying quite a lot and i guess i like the Coriolis Effect i did recently. What is the key to keeping your work and ideas fresh and not getting mentally or physically burnt out by what you do? Variety. i'll use pre-created vectors now and again. their ready to go and cheap and you can quickly work up an idea and move to something else. even though it takes me ages to hand draw an image, i'm no illustrator, i'll do that whenever i get chance. Then working with different typeface, patterns and image styles. usually i'll go through a phase, like at the minute i love using half-tones. so over like 3 or 4 designs i'll use those. even though, as you pointed out, i do a lot of artwork with skulls and things and in a similar style there's still an amazing amount of leg room within that. Just looking at another artists work is enough to make me go 'oh, i could do such and such a thing'. sometimes as little as using the right colour in a design stops a block. sometimes you have those days where nothings right. then you just get smashed. taking a break works. Have you ever considered doing your own comic book or working as a comic book illustrator? Nah not really, i'm not amazing at drawing, in that it take me hours to do, i could work a lifetime on a comic book and end up with one page i liked. And finally, what does the future hold for Dead Beat Army? In regards to your work, new projects and any other personal aspirations you have in life. Is there anyone you’d like to give a shout out to? I'm not entirely convinced. one things for sure, i'll always be doing this whether its as a career or not. Even if i have to do it for free. Er i guess i'd like to commend 'All We Have' an amazing Hardcore band from Manchester who i'm doing work for at the minute and are basically dead sound guys. And Farrell Tremblay from Pear tree Productions for always sending me the best bands to do posters for. Be sure to check out more from Dead Beat Army by visiting the Official MySpace here