Topon Das from Fuck The Facts talks about Grind.
Ross Gnarly: What do you think of grindcore bands making way today (Kill The Client, Misery Index, etc.) compared to the forerunners like Nasum, Napalm Death and Brutal Truth?
Topon Das: I think Kill The Client is a really awesome modern grindcore band. For me, Misery Index is more of a death metal band, but the grindcore influence is there. Kind of like my band, we might have started with a really strong grind influence, but I can’t really honestly say that we’re a grindcore band. Music is music and I don’t judge shit based on if it’s modern or old-school. If I like it I like it, and I like a lot of modern and old school grind bands.
RG: Grindcore, like all other genres of music, has spawned numerous sub-genres in itself (pornogrind, deathgrind, goregrind, etc.). What are your thoughts on these sub-genres?
TD: I understand the purpose of genres, but it’s something I find really frustrating. It’s all so mixed up and confusing that just cause something is labeled grind or death, that doesn’t mean it’s the grind or death that you’re thinking of. The only way to know if you really like something is to give it a legitimate listen and find out. It used to be a lot easier back in the day when only a handful of bands would ever make it to your ears, but nowadays we’re just trying to avoid listening to new shit, cause we’re all so overwhelmed.
RG: What was the first grind album or band you can recall being into?
TD: Brutal Truth ‘Extreme Conditions’ changed my life, especially the song ‘Walking Corpse’.
RG: Do you think grindcore has gotten better over the years or become same old shit, new bands?
TD: The grindcore template was created a long time ago and those bands that started it had the good chance of being there and giving it all the characteristics of what grindcore would be. Like Napalm Death and early Carcass are both very influential grindcore bands. Over the years there have been a lot of different bands that have added their own twist to the grindcore template and some of these bands have had great success, so much to the point that we have all these sub-genres and the term being used pretty wide spread to sell a lot of bands. I think now it’s gone back to the point where grindcore is used more it’s traditional sense. Most of the modern day grindcore bands now, are really a throw back to the early days. Some of it I think is great and some I can pass on. Like I said, I never judge a book by its cover.
Interview with Aaron Bridgewater, vocalist for As They Sleep.
Ross Gnarly: Tell me a little bit about the concept of “Dynasty” from your perspective.
Aaron Bridgewater: “Dynasty” focuses mainly the rise and fall of various kingdoms, empires and dynasties throughout history… Both factual and mythological. It ties in the reasons for collapse with power and battle-lust, and intertwines it all with modern problems and politics that we are dealing with today. It pretty much outlines popular stories in history regarding false gods, struggle, famine, dictatorship, etc. and why these things didn’t work. The album starts off with “Oracle of the Dead”- a balls to the wall look at Hades, the so called “God of the underworld”. It then ventures through history, examining ancient Egypt, the Mayan civilization, and even Attila the Hun (look him up kids) only to wrap it all up with “The Unseen”… A kingdom we can only dream of, and exists only through faith.
We chose “Dynasty” as it perfectly sums up the album, and even though it’s a succession of rulers all from the same family or line, it symbolizes our inheritance of this earth as brothers and sisters. Whether we believe it or not, we’re all worthy of inhabiting great things in the future, as long as we cleanse ourselves of the past.
RG: Why did you choose this topic for the album?
AB: Because I’ve always been obsessed with ancient civilizations, to me it made perfect sense.
RG: Can you tell me a bit about the song writing process?
AB: Well… It’s long and tedious, but that’s how it goes when you’re making something you want everybody to love as much as you do. Pretty frustrating at times.
RG: How do you feel about the “Very Metal Christmas Tour”?
AB: In one word, GEEKED.
RG: Was there anything in particular that serves as an influence for As They Sleep?
AB: Oh man, I can tell you this… If it weren’t for bands like Suffocation and Cannibal Corpse I literally wouldn’t be here.
RG: As They Sleep are relatively new to the Solid State label. How has your experience been with the label and the bands on the label?
AB: Honestly, they’ve treated us like family since the get. I have been a Solid State fan for a long time, and now I really know why. Plus, I’m a huge fan of the Agony Scene, hahaha.
Interview with Paul Allender of Cradle of Filth!
Ross Gnarly: Hows it going?
Paul Allender: Good. Good. [inaudible] …touring in December.
RG: It’s the Creatures of the Black Abyss Tour, right?
PA: Yeah. Well, actually, no. That one is the North American tour. [inaudible] ..but the one in the December, we’re doing, like, a week and a half tour in South America.
RG: That’s cool. Can you tell me a little bit about the new Cradle record, Darkly Darkly Venus Aversa. I think I said that right.
PA: Yeah, that’s it. Well basically, it’s a concept album about Lilith and how she associates with Adam and basically.. You know, to be honest, it’s like, it skips along. [inaudible] …That’s what Dan’s gone and done is actually mixed up. He’s got,kind of like, a nice story line, you know, to make it more of a concept story album. You know? I mean, I can send you, if you give me your e-mail address, I can send you a track-by-track listing of what each song represents. How it all ties together. So you can use that, as well. Because it would make a lot more sense if you read it. Yeah, it’s mostly about Lilith and it goes through.. Well, I could actually say it goes along with [inaudible] …but it doesn’t really because it’s a completely different story. [laughs] So you’ll just have to read it.
RG: The song writing process, how long did all of that take?
PA: Well, the actual song writing was, let’s see… about three, four months? Once we basically got into the swing of things it took about four months. So, yeah, and then, we threw in some studio and so all in all it took about seven months from start to finish.
RG: That’s not to bad.
PA: No, it’s not too bad. [inaudible]
RG: And what do you think about the overall record having heard it?
PA: I mean, it’s amazing. You know? [inaudible] We got some serious [inaudible]. Just some really great tracks. We just got back from Germany playing MTV, Germany. And they go nuts for us. Absolutely nuts. We had like, we played MTV Germany and had one and a half million people watching us.
PA: I know. [laughs] They go absolutely mental for us. They’re maniacs.
RG: Has there been any major musical changes or anything on the new record?
PA: Um, not really. To be honest, each album is quite a bit different. None of them is done exactly the same. I mean, this time, the orchestration is more, sort of undertone. It’s quite a bit under. It’s more like symphonic bass more than the guitar and drums. But, like, we’ve been playing a lot of melody lines and like top-line melodies. This album, really is an entirely different album. It’s really, really good. It’s got, like, seriously a lot of heavy stuff on it. I think over here in the states it comes out the ninth, I guess.
RG: I can’t wait to go pick it up.
PA: Oh yeah, it’s really really good. [inaudible] It comes out the ninth, I mean, in Germany, it came out on the thirtieth of last month. In England and the rest of Europe it was the first of November, and over here it’s the ninth.
RG: If you don’t care, I want to ask a couple of questions pertaining to you in general.
PA: Go ahead.
RG: What are some things that have influenced you over the… how many years have you been with Cradle now?
PA: From the beginning. [laughs] Twenty. [laughs] I took a little bit of a gap. Oh, about a three year gap to do some music stuff from ’96 to ’99. But, yeah. Now I’m in the band all the time.
RG: Anything that has influenced you, musically or… anything?
PA: Just freaking growing up did it to us, to be honest. It’s like, because I’m fucking forty this month now, so. Just [inaudible] …the shit I’ve been through. [laughs] But it’s like, I dunno, I can’t name stuff in particular to be honest, just music in general. I do a lot of artwork as well and just different atmospheres of, like, films and stuff. But it’s just general every day lifestyle, you know. [inaudible] …or I’ll be watching a film, and I’ll hear, like, a two-chord change, and I’ll get inspiration from it and I’ll write a whole song. I mean, that’s what happened on, what is it, Nymphetamine album. No, Thornography album. There was, like, one song on there, that I was watching this film and there was this two-chord, just two-chord progression is all it was. And the influence I got from that, I ended up writing a whole song, a whole track, just based on those two chords.
RG: That’s awesome.
PA: Yeah, which is pretty cool, you know? I love when that happens it makes life a lot easier. [laughs]
RG: You mentioned your artwork. You have a project, Vomitorium. Can you tell me a little about it?
PA: Basically, what I was doing before.. I was doing, uhh.. It’s basically a dark art project with Cindy Frey, a photographer from [inaudible] …and she had loads of stock photos and she’d give them to me and I’d basically fuck them up. And just turn them into, like… It’s still quite classy, still not quite… Well, I don’t really see them as like, horrible or like, all over scary. But, I’ve has a lot of people tell me they’re scary. But, I’m just superstitious to be honest. So then it’s like, yeah, so basically I just take them and make the sickest, darkest and most controversial artwork I can out of the photos I’ve been given, you know? Some of it’s pretty grim, which is great. But, it got put on hold because I want to get this album under wraps and there’s a whole [inaudible] …moving country to country and stuff, you know? But, like now, I’m kind of getting settled in and so I started working on some more stuff. I was doing like, people and stuff like that but I’m starting to do like, buildings and things. I’ve done like this whole Cthulhu image of just… Actually I went out to Belguim. I took some photographs of the town center and the town hall and stuff in Brussels and I’ve turned the whole thing into one big, massive, green, like Cthulhu monument. [laughs] Which worked out quite well.
RG: I read somewhere that you grew up learning Martial Arts, right?
RG: What was it like growing up with that?
PA: It was good. I know my dad… See it all started off, my whole family, my grandparents and their parents and all that stuff, they were all boxers. You know? And, to be honest, I wasn’t really interested in boxing. I don’t know why, I just never really grasped or had any interest in doing it. So, like, my dad, when I was six years old, took me to a Karate dojo. And, yeah, I was just hooked. Yeah, hooked, you know. I done it off and on for a little while and then from about eight, nine, onwards I got really hooked to it. And I just kept training and training, you know? And then, eventually, that was [inaudible] …start, I was doing then. Then I went on it [inaudible] …and I did competitions all the time. I mean, and then, after I started doing that for a few years, I realized competitions were a complete and utter waste of time. It doesn’t help me strict-wise, it doesn’t help me at all. So, like, what I decided to do was to take it one step further and start learning the real, propper, traditional Japanese stuff which was designed for, basically hurting people. So I started really getting into like pressure points and all that stuff, you know? So I learned that. And from there, I got to a certain level and was like, well, where am I going to go with this. So I decided, I went down the Chinese route. I started to learn Wing Chun and, like, Praying Mantis. And the only reason I wanted to learn the Chinese side of things was so I could learn like, the power generation, the chi movement in the body. So, I’ve got some of that and I mixed the two together, I mixed the hostile and the power generation and then I went into a style called Yodokan and from there, I mean I used to teach privately but stopped. Then I used to teach with three other instructors, I use to teach the local police Yodokan. Yeah, and that’s pretty much got into that. To be honest, I haven’t done it in about two years because I went through all that divorce and all that crap and that kind of put a hold on it. I’m living in the states now, [inaudible] …I’m just trying to find somewhere around here to start training again. I mean, I’m hitting the gym hard. Really hard actually. Just to get back into shape again and then get back into the martial arts again.
RG: That’s crazy. Let’s see, last August at Bloodstock, you had you back hurt, right?
PA: [laughs] Yeah. A big, fucking great big sweet. It was kids, some kids in the audience. For some reason some wanker decided to sell, like, you know what a Gobstopper is, yeah? Yeah, these Gobstoppers were the size of Cricket balls. And just as hard as Cricket balls as well. For some reason, there was a bunch of kids, and it wasn’t just us, but all the bands that played that day, they were throwing these massive, like, Cricket ball sized Gobstoppers everywhere. On stage trying to hit people. And of course like [inaudible] said, there is a point in our set when we turn around and our backs to the crowd [inaudible] …When there’s just keyboards or drums or vocals tracks or just [inaudible] …but the rest of the band just walks to the back turns around, faces away from the crowed so our back’s to the crowd. Of course, when I had done that, literally a few seconds later, this fucking Gobstopper comes and hits me square on the spin. Now, had it hit me in the side, on the muscle, it would have been fine. But this time, it caught me straight center of my back, right on one of my vertebraes. Yeah, and that hurt. A lot. So the next thing I know there’s blue flashing lights and God knows what, they said I hurt my spinal cord and was off the the hospital.
RG: How long before you were up and playing again?
PA: Oh, it was like literally, when it hit, I felt it sting and got pains up my back. I got inside, I said to the guys, “It’s not serious. I’m completely fine.” And they actually had to go and do it, make me get on the side board and everything. For pure health and safety reasons, just in case something slipped and it wasn’t exactly hurt at the time and it could have happened later on. You know what I mean? So, they did that. I was in the hospital in full stage gear and make-up, everything, in the middle of the E.R., you know. And everybody’s staring at me. I felt like a freakshow. But, yeah, literally, I was straight out and went home. This happened the last song, halfway through the last song, just before the encore.
RG: Has any other crazy shit like that ever happened while y’all were playing?
PA: Bad stuff in the audience. Just odd balls, nutcases, just people being… There’s one particular place in the states, there was like, someone got stabbed or something stupid like that. Which is like, completely stupid and completely wrong. Don’t know what that was all about. But, no, not really. Not much happened really while we were playing. There’s no real bad stuff that goes on, you know?
RG: When you’re not playing with Cradle, do you get to see bands, like while you’re not on tour?
PA: No. [inaudible] …I do everything. If I’m not playing… If we’re not touring, I’m [inaudible] …or I’m doing my artwork, or merch, or I’m doing the new website or just anything, you know? Or I’m editing videos or writing new material. It’s just the whole thing is based on Cradle.
RG: Atleast you’re really dedicated to Cradle and have been for years.
PA: You have to be, you know? You can end up being [inaudible] …have been all day, every day. We have been for the duration that the band’s been going. You’ve got to be that dedicated. If you want to do it as a career, you’ve got to do it, that’s just the way it is.
RG: I think that’s about all the questions I have. Is there any questions you have for me or anything you want to say?
PA: [laughs] No, mate.. [inaudible] ..Actually, do you know anything about the special editions and stuff?
RG: No I don’t.
PA: Well, there’s the main album, which has eleven songs on it and a normal book and stuff. Then there’s a special edition, which comes out the same time as the main album, it’s got more pages in the book, if you turn it to the back, it’s got an alternate album cover. And it’s got extra tracks on it, as well, which is a double CD. And also, coming out, soon, it’s just been delayed or something in printing or something, I can’t remember what, there’s a limited edition coming out. And what that is, it’s a box set, but it’s a book, and there’s sixty-two pages in there which completely goes in depth. We’ve got the whole Lilith story, how she ties to the band. How she’s in this album. Why the songs are relevant to her. And real, completely in depth, you know? Like, it’s three CDs, one of them’s a DVD, which has got the new video on it. What else… There’s post cards, a t-shirt in there. Also, there’s this really cool thing. We’ve got like, a 3D, hologram version of the album cover. Yeah, and that looks wicked. I remember when I first saw it, I was like “Fucking holy shit, that’s amazing.” And yeah, that’s all that. That’s the limited edition. And that should come out soon, actually.
RG: I think I know which one I want to get.
PA: Yeah, I mean, the people that bought it, since it got delayed, they got sent a digital download of the whole album. I mean, we’re on Peacevile now, and Peaceville have done such a good job for us. I mean, like I said, we played on MTV and that sold out. And I’ve been super busy. I haven’t been this busy in a long time and it’s because of Peaceville. We’re getting so much help now, and so much publicity and press and stuff, it’s just amazing.
RG: That’s great.
PA: Yeah, I know. That’s what you get for being on a decent label. And they’re independent. So, that goes to show you, they’re hungry for it and they believe in the music, they’re not being tarnished by using bands to get loads of money.
RG: I think that’s about it.
PA: Awesome man, take care.
RG: You too.
Interview with J. of Glorior Belli!
Ross Gnarly: Is it easier or more stressful having only two band members?
J: Well, a bit of both actually! The two of us are sharing the same ambition and dedication. We are the very essence of Glorior Belli. But the other members that gravitate around the core aren’t just “session” people, they are really committed as well and on some levels we all complete each other. For now their identities are kept secret but there will be some revelations soon. Anyway, it’s just a matter of organization really since we put together a very solid lineup now.
RG: Can you tell me a little about 11 As In Adversaries?
J: ’11 As In Adversaries’ is a Metal / Rock / Psyche project that aims to offer an alternative to a swamp of occasionnally limited artists. Brought into existence in early 2010 by a vehement duo comprises of J. (Guitar/Bass/Vocals) and G. (Drums), the ADVERSARIES are messing around with the codes, mixing extreme metal and surprising indie tunes together in a massively demented debut album called ‘The Full Intrepid Experience Of Light’ – To be released next month by A.T.M.F.
The meaning of our name lies within a numerological context where ’11′ stands for what is beyond ten (numbers from 1 to 10 being the representation of the law/order and cosmic completion), ’11″ is a manifestation of freedom and rebellion for its magick can bring one to defy the limitations imposed by the Demiurge. There are actually eleven letters in the word ‘adversaries’, so: 11 ‘as in’ A D V E R S A R I E S.
Be fearful of what lies beyond Ten!
RG: Do you agree or have any comments about the arsons and murders that involved members of the Norwegian Black Metal scene?
J: I never really cared about that and in fact there’s not much to say. It’s nothing new really, murders are committed every day since the dawn of times, from combative bacteria to resentful rappers. The only crime I’m interested in is the one of the Demiurge for we shall bring down the cosmic scheme!
RG: What serves as a major musical influence for Glorior Belli?
J: It’s kinda hard to tell because we all listen to many different things. For Glorior Belli I guess Dissection, Alice In Chains, Integrity, Immolation, Pantera would be important. Doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to hear all that in our records and the major source of influence for me remains the Gnosis of Lucifer.
RG: You are known for your unusual blend of indie-rock guitar tones with Black Metal. What brought on this mixture?
J: I have never been interested in playing by the rules and the same goes when it comes to the respect of the genre’s restrictions. Glorior Belli offer a disparate and challenging form of art, something genuine that can only be achieved with a strong desire to hunt beyond the limitations imposed.
RG: Do you see an evolution in your music from “Manifesting The Raging Beast” to “Meet Us At The Southern Sign?
J: Yes indeed, While “Manifesting…” could be qualified as Dark/Rock, “Meet Us…” definitely has some intense Blues/Southern vibes. So far the upcoming record sounds a bit like a mix between those two aforementioned records, which is probably the most representative of Glorior Belli.
RG: Do you have any upcoming tours planned?
J: Glorior Belli will be headlining a European tour starting next February alongside Horned Almighty, The One and Absentia Lunae. Dates to be confirmed soon so stay tuned!
Interview with Rob “Rawrb!” Kersey of Psychostick!
Ross Gnarly: How did Psychostick begin?
Rob Kersey: Josh (Guitarist) and myself started a different version of Psychostick called “Asinine” in high school. Once we moved to Phoenix we decided to change the name since “Asinine” was taken by roughly 9,364 other bands.
We found Alex in the New Times in Phoenix and our first bassist through Alex. Yes, ads in the old newspaper still work! Although this was WAY in the “before times” when Craigslist and Facebook weren’t even a thought.
RG: Did you ever think it would take you anywhere?
RK: Absolutely not. I saw the potential in it once we started releasing decent recordings, but I knew the odds of us actually making it on any level above “local band” was near nothing.
RG: What are some influences of yours, musical or otherwise?
RK: In a comedic sense I’d go with Weird Al, Mystery Science Theater 3000/Rifftrax, Steve Odekirk, The Simpsons, and most Adult Swim exclusives. Musically I’d have to go with Machine Head, Sevendust, and Hatebreed. I suppose the best answer would be anything I find inspiration at the time I’m doing stuff. Does that make sense? Heh.
RG: Why did you choose to write humorous songs as compared to typical metal songs?
RK: Being bitter, angry, or depressed just didn’t fit us. We’re always laughing and coming up with funny ideas, so making a comedic band fits us better. It’s just embedded into our personalities.
RG: Psychostick have played shows with bands all over the rock spectrum, what has been the best band you’ve played with?
RK: I really can’t narrow that down to one band; I don’t really categorize bands by what is best. Plus we’re approaching 700ish shows played… which is crazy. I don’t view music as a competition or to compare musical skill. I know that seems like a crappy answer, but it’s the truth.
However, the most fun I’ve had playing a show would definitely be the Mayhemfest 2010 show we did in St Louis. THAT was incredible.
RG: You gotta tell me about the tour with Green Jelly. I’ve heard those dudes are insane.
RK: Green Jelly is an amorphous crazy blob of pure insanity and awesomeness. Calling them “dudes” is an understatement; they’ve had something like 140+ members over the past 30 years or so. I was even in the band; I played bass during “Toucan: Son of Sam.” The only consistent member in Green Jelly is Bill Manspeaker, and he inspired me to create a new dumb hat for my stage personna for Psychostick. Thanks Bill! He truly is an artist with his duct tape arsenal.
I really, REALLY hope we can tour with them again.
RG: Has writing begun for a new Psychostick album yet?
RK: Oh yes. We’re working on that after this next run.
RG: Are there any tours planned in the near future?
RK: Yes. After this two week run in October, we’ll probably be hitting the road again early in 2011.
RG: How much beer does Psychostick go through in a week?
RK: Not that much, haha! I don’t drink much at all. Disappointed? Probably. That’s alright; keeps beer cheap for me. We usually only drink when we’re touring and the beer is supplied by fans and/or the club. Works out great for all of us.
Interview with Mike McGinnis of Fight Amp!
Ross Gnarly: How did the name “Fight Amputation” come to be?
Mike McGinnis: It originally came from a line in a Velvet Underground song; “Despite All the Amputations, You Could Dance to the Rock and Roll Station”
RG: Why was it shortened to Amp?
MM: It wasn’t really too much of a calculated decision. We always called it Fight Amp for short and so did most of our friends, there was just a point where we started shortening it on our t-shirts and records. That point just so happened to be when our first full length came out, which was after we had released a bunch of ep’s and splits, so a lot of people thought it was a name change that meant more than it actually does.
RG: What would you describe the band’s sound as?
MM: Music gets more and more divided into genres and subgenres as time goes by. I know it’s a cop-out answer, but we have never really fit in one of those specific genres. I tell most people it’s heavy metal punk rock.
RG: What serves as influence for Fight Amp?
MM: This sort of goes in the same direction as describing our sound. Besides the day-to-day influences in our lives that inspire us to write music and lyrics, we have a broad range of musical influences. At any point in the van we might be listening to The Pixies, Metallica, CCR, or Karp. Add those to the list of countless others. Maybe someone can look through our record collections one day to get a straight answer on this one.
RG: What are your feelings on “Manners and Praise”?
MM: It describes the songs on the record pretty damn close to how they might feel live if you turn your stereo way up. The writing of that record was so scattered as far as personal circumstances, band happenings, where we lived, jobs we worked, etc etc, that the record sort of captures the urgency of the way we wrote it and how our lives felt at the time. It’s also our most “album” like of any record we’ve done so far, as opposed to just being a grouping of songs. We definitely had themes flowing through it both musically and lyrically. Other than that, I’ll continue to be a big fan of Phillip Cope’s production style and the way the record ended up sounding.
RG: What are some good bands or albums you’ve heard this year?
MM: Burning Love is doing some awesome shit right now. Saw Sweet Cobra for the first time this year too and they ripped it up. Newest Mammoth Grinder and Iron Age records went into heavy rotation in the van too.
RG: Are there any gnarly tour plans coming any time soon?
MM: We’re putting together plans to tour the country again this upcoming spring, and we should finally be hitting the great northwest this time.
Interview with Topon Das of Fuck The Facts! (part two)
Ross Gnarly: So mullet-core is pretty much a joke gone bad that gets brought up way to much?
Topon Das: It’s not a big deal. I just don’t remember ever saying that, but most likely I did. Over the last 10 years I’m sure I’ve said tons of things that I would think are stupid now.
RG: What are some things that influenced you in the beginnings of FTF?
TD: Grindcore was probably the biggest influence at the time. Not even just the music, but I really liked everything that seemed to surround it, like the look, the zines and compilations, 7”’s, etc… It’s pretty much what made me not scared of making my own music, record it on my own and release it however I could. I didn’t have the internet back then, so everything that was influencing me was just other bands that I was trading with and some friends that would lend me records to check out.
RG: Is there anything new to be expected on the upcoming album?
TD: I guess it’s new in the way that it’s new music, but we never really put tremendous amounts of thought about heading a certain direction or trying something new, we’re just all really open minded and really try everything that comes to the table. Vil & Marc have been writing a lot more and the music on this new album is pretty much split evenly between the three of us. Also the addition of Marc doing a good amount of vocals will be noticed, similar to the Unnamed EP. If anything we’ve used way more different instruments than we ever had in the past, but I don’t even know if it’s something that will be insanely noticeable. We recorded the whole thing ourselves, so it really gave us more time to try out things we weren’t able to on past albums.
RG: Any good albums you’ve heard this year?
TD: I like the new Abominable Iron Sloth & the new Year Of No Light.
RG: Where is the gnarliest place you’ve been on tour so far?
TD: Las Vegas is probably one of the craziest places I’ve ever been to. Norway looks just like Canada, and the Czech Republic is nice as well. I love travelling and I can usually find something cool in every place we go.
RG: Anywhere you’d like to go?
TD: Everywhere I haven’t been yet, so a lot of places. Japan, South America, UK, Australia, Finland and Russia are a few I can think of.
RG: Who would win in a fight, Lemmy or God?
TD: God. Lemmy is just a normal guy that hangs out in bars in LA and when you ask to buy him a shot he’s polite, but if you ask to take a picture with him, he ignores you.
Interview with Topon Das of Fuck The Facts! (part one)
Ross Gnarly: Is there a story behind the name “Fuck The Facts” or is it just a random, gnarly name?
Topon Das: I got it from John Zorn’s Naked City. It’s a title of one of the songs on the album. I was really into that stuff at the time, and that name just jumped out at me. It really summed well what I wanted to do with this project.
RG: FTF started as a solo project of yours. What were those days like?
TD: Really just a shit load of trial and error; I had shitty gear, I never actually really played guitar before or did vocals and I was just trying to make it all work. Definitely the first few recordings are rough around the edges to say the least but these are the steps I needed to make to learn. It was probably around 1999/2000, that I actually was doing something that I think was good. But then the band version of Fuck The Facts started, and it was back to square one.
RG: Can you explain to me what “mullet-core” is?
TD: Jesus Christ, I seriously don’t ever remember saying FTF was ‘mullet-core’. Someone wrote that on a Wikipedia page about us, so it comes up every second interview now. In 2001 we put an album called ‘Mullet Fever”, so it’s possible that around then at some point I said “mullet-core” in an interview or something. But seriously that’s just fucking dumb.
RG: Describe FTF in four words.
TD: Jaded Sarcastic Miserable Jerks
RG: What are some of the recurring lyrical themes present in FTF’s work.
TD: Mel does a really great job of researching many different topics for her lyrics, so she pretty much is always covering something new. It’s cool to see her put some much work into it, cause if it was me it would be all ‘work sucks’, ‘the government sucks’, etc… She covers many different topics regarding her personal experiences and things that she sees in the world, past and present. But we don’t really do fictional shit like songs about dragons or gore stuff, maybe in a few years once we’re really desperate for ideas.
RG: You have no manager or booking agent, do you prefer the DIY ethic?
TD: It’s more based on necessity. I definitely see the need for booking agents and even managers to some extent for certain bands, but for a band like us it just doesn’t really make sense. We are able to handle all of our affairs on our own, so why would we get outside help from someone that doesn’t care as much as us and just wants to get paid. We have worked with different booking agents, but we’re not signed with anyone. I guess we’ve always been DIY so that’s how we’re most comfortable. I really need to have my hands on everything that’s happening with the band.
RG: Do you like life on the road?
TD: Ya, I love it. I think one of the best things about being in a band is getting to travel all over the world, visit new places and make friends everywhere. That doesn’t mean I don’t get tired and home sick at some points, but then it’s usually not too long before I want to head out again.
RG: When you started FTF, did you expect the band to get where it is now?
TD: When I very first started my ideas to not have a zillion bands and basically do FTF for my entire life, just playing all the music that I love. That’s all that really mattered. I never really had dreams of signing to Relapse or touring Europe, so the fact that these things happened definitely are a pleasant surprise. I’m constantly surprised how many awesome things happen to us, because really we’re just doing what we love and what feels right to us.
RG: You have seen alot of line-up changes since the bands inception. Do you think the band is at it’s strongest now?
TD: Obviously, but I doubt many bands think that their current line-up is shit. We’ve actually been playing with the exact same line-up now for 3 years, so it hasn’t really been that bad on the line-up changes recently. It was more in the beginning when things were much harder and perhaps we weren’t on the same page with some members that things were tough. I would love to think that this line-up will go on until the end, but realistically at some point something will probably change. That’s just the way life works.
RG: You released the Unnamed EP earlier this year, when can we expect the next LP?
TD: The next full length has been in the works for quite awhile now, but we are now really knee deep in this shit. We’ll probably have a completed album by the end of the year, but with the way things work with labels and releases, it’ll most likely be out in the spring of 2011.
Inteview with Matt Martinez of Landmine Marathon!
Ross Gnarly: What do you describe Landmine Marathon’s music as?
Matt Martinez: Very raw and guttural death metal would be the easiest description I could come up with. We take on many influences in our music, specifically old school European death metal, thrash and hardcore.
RG: From the band’s beginning to now, do you see the band’s musicianship growing stronger?
MM: The band’s musicianship has definitely evolved since the band’s beginning. This has been affected by membership changes and band members being on the same page musically. We know what we are and what we do musically. We are never trying to reinvent ourselves, in turn the music becomes stronger and tighter.
RG: Personally, what are some good newer bands you have come to enjoy?
MM: In touring we get to share the stage with many amazing bands and there are quite a few bands out there who are making excellent music.Some of the standouts that instantly come to mind are Salome, Voetsek, Saviours, Coffinworm, Trap Them, Deadsea, and Kill the Client.
RG: What are some things that have influenced you?
MM: We draw influence from life and direct experience as well as the world around us, both the positive and the negative.
RG: Sovereign Descent was your first album on Prosthetic Records. How do you feel about the label thus far?
MM: Prosthetic has been excellent to us. They have been working hard to help get our music out to the world, it is also great to share the roster with some amazing bands!
RG: Grace is an amazing vocalist. The first time I heard Landmine Marathon, I was blown away. What was your first impression of Grace’s vocals?
MM: Grace also blew me away when I first heard her scream. I immediately wanted to form a band with her centered around her voice.
RG: After the Skeletonwitch and Withered tour, what is next in store for the band?
MM: The plan after the Skullsplitter Tour is to continue touring and visit many places that we have not yet played.
Landmine Marathon. What can I say, they’re brutal and heavy as hell. I appreciate Matt for doing this. Be sure to catch them on tour with Withered and Skeletonwitch! Their new album, Soverign Descent is out now on Prosthetic Records!
Interview With Scott Hedrick of Skeletonwitch.
Ross Gnarly: You are noted as one of the bands responsible for the “Thrash Revival.” Your thoughts?
Scott Hedrick: Sorry about that! Hahaha! Just kidding…….. We really don’t consider ourselves a part of any “Thrash Revival,” if such a thing even exists. We just play music. A lot of the bands that get mentioned as part of the “thrash revival” are intentionally 1-dimensional. I get bored with that very quickly. Why pretend it’s the 80s and try to make a record sounds like it could be a long lost Nuclear Assault record? You’re not going to do it better than they did. Why not learn from what the classic bands did create your own thing rather than attempting to BE them?
RG: What would you say is your best tour memory?
SH: Touring with Danzig is going to be hard to top. It was pretty fucking incredible
RG: I loved all of your albums. Has there been a favorite for you?
SH: Not really. I’m proud of all of them.
RG: Who are some of the bands who have had an influence on SkeletonWitch’s sound?
SH: Overkill, Death, Immortal, Motorhead, Deicide, Kampfar, Danzig, Amon Amarth, Demolition Hammer, Judas Priest, Dolly Parton, etc..
RG: What were you doing before SkeletonWitch?
SH: Nate and I were in college. Evan was working for an environmental non-profit group, Chance was working in Columbus, Ohio, and Mullet Chad was 10 years old.
RG: Is it hard having brothers in the band? Do they get on each others nerves often?
SH: Nate and Chance are brothers so they’d have to answer that one……but I think they get along great. It’s a positive thing. Mullet Chad and I probably argue like brothers more than Chance and Nate do. Hahaha!
RG: Your songs have been on video game soundtracks as of late. Do you think you are reaching a more commercial audience?
SH: Possibly. Depends what a “more commercial audience” is. I know some pretty weird black metal fuckers that play video games. But I certainly wouldn’t call them “commercial”. But maybe our songs will reach some more casual metal fans who appreciate this style of music but don’t dig as deep in the record bin as a metal fanatic. That would be cool
RG: Any plans for an upcoming tour?
SH: We’re doing a headlining tour with support from Withered and Landmine Marathon in November then we’re supporting on a tour in December. After that making the next record is our top priority
It was great interviewing Scott. Skeletonwitch is one of my all time favorite bands, so this was kind of a big thing for me. Hope to catch these guys on tour! (See home page for dates.)
PRE-ALBUM INTERVIEW with Mike Thompson of Withered.
Ross Gnarly: How do you feel about Dualitas?
Mike Thompson: We feel very confident about this album. As always, we have pushed our boundaries as writers and musicians to accomplish what we set out to achieve with this album. Conceptually, it’s much deeper and more focused than ever before.
RG: Do you see this to be Withered’s best album yet?
MT: Of course. The day our new music does not surpass our previous albums in the quality of song writing (at least in our minds) is the day we move on to a new project.
RG: The name “Dualitas,” can you shed some light on the name and it’s meaning to the band?
MT: Dualitas is a neo-latin term coined by St. Jerome when he was translating biblical scripts to ecclesiastic latin for the church. He used to specifically describe spiritual duality. I wanted to use this because it is the general concept behind the album. Dualitas is a call to exploring the depths of one’s being in attempt to familiarize oneself with all conceptual, moral, and emotional possibilities throughout and beyond rational approach. It’s an exercise in which you discover what particular sets of circumstances will justify a particular position or perspective and justify that perspective as a potential reality for you no matter how obsurd or ridiculous it may seem initially. I think that too many people are too far removed from who they really are in attempt to conform to society’s general guidelines. It’s about KNOWING who you are and embracing everything that you are capable of. Then rebuilding your approach and outlook on life from the ground up.
RG: Are there any new elements present on this album than the previous?
MT: Well, first off, we have a new guitarist/vocalist on this album. Dylan has a notably different vocal styling than Chris did so that will be the most evident I think. Beyond that, we constantly strive to introduce new, maybe subtle, musical stylings to keep things interesting for ourselves. Some may notice a slight touch of progressive black metal approaches within the longer songs and some slight black n roll elements. Our approach to blending extreme metal stylings is a direct parallel to the album’s concept.
RG: What are your thoughts on the upcoming tour with SkeletonWitch and Landmine Marathon?
MT: Well, we can’t wait of course. Both bands are great and we’ve done a number of shows with both. So, if anything, we’re going to have a great time with our friends!
Be sure to catch Withered’s new album when it hits stores 10/26!
Interview with Brian Werner of Infernaeon!
Ross Gnarly: Florida has been called home to some of Death Metal’s legends. Do you ever feel that it will be hard to live up to the hype?
Brian Werner: Ohh definitely!! We could NEVER compare ourselves to the other Tampa legends they laid the ground work for the rest of the world to follow. It’s more of a badge of honor to say that we came from the same scene rather than to compare us to them because in my opinion as a fan we could never live up to the standard that bands like Cannibal, Morbid Angel or Death have set. Those bands developed everything that death metal is and has constantly re-invented themselves time and time again, Death is a perfect example of this no 2 Death albums sound alike at all. All we as a band can do is add to Florida’s already LEGENDARY history and it’s a dream come true to even be lumped into the same category as those other bands that we as fans grew up listening to!!
RG: The band started in 2004 and has already gone through numerous line-up changes, especially guitar. Has it just been disagreements or something else?
BW: It’s been different with every member. Sam Molina who was in Monstrosity with me, in his words his heart just wasnt in it anymore and he didn’t want to hold us back because he felt he could give 100% that the band deserved. Brian Magley flaked out and joined an emo band then we tried to bring him back and it wasnt the same especially when it came to his work ethic. Erick Leider just started causing internal and unnecessary band drama plus all the material he wrote was bland and generic and given everything else it was best to let him go. Scott Tomacelli was just a touring guitarist in Brian Magley’s absence same with Chris Defoe. Our old drummer Nick Augusto as many people know joined Trivium so we dont fault him for getting paid, same thing with Fabian ended up joining Malevolent Creation and we wished both of those guys the best of luck in their careers with no hard feelings at all. It’s like any other young band you have to keep trying until ALL of the peices come together which it has now, and the line-up we have now is the hands down the strongest, most solid and dedicated line-up Infernaeon has ever seen and I wouldnt be surprised if you see every current member still in the band 10 years from. Looking back on everything I’m glad shit happened the way it did if it didnt we never would have got the amazing members in this band that we have now like Steven, Dave and Taylor!!
RG: If you could describe Infernaeon in four words, what would they be?
BW: Violent, unadulterated fucking hatred
RG: Do you feel “Genesis to Nemesis” is a step up from “A Symphony of Suffering”?
BW: Ohh 100% no doubt. we really put a lot of time and effort into this probably more than what was needed but we wanted to make sure that everything here was perfect and to also make sure that the started to mature as a whole which is obviously difficult with new members. But these guys came in know everything that we had in front of us and once they got we just clicked so well both personally and musically we all knew that this release needed to be stronger than the last with out changing the core of the band. Religion has always been a reoccurring theme with us but we dont want to be defined by that because we all come from different religious backgrounds but this is metal and metal is meant to be pissed off violent, evil music and thats what we’re here to do to but that evil essence back into metal which bands have left out of the genre for far to long with the obvious exception of bands like Goatwhore, Dimmu or Behemoth. There is a darkness in this music that must be acknowledged and in my opinion needs to be more prevalent in metal today.
RG: Tell me your thoughts on your tour with Gwar.
BW: In one sentence “A dream come true” never would I have imagined when I was 10 years old listening to The Road Behind would I ever have thought my career would have come this far to get the opportunity to share the stage with them every night for 3 months straight. And it never would have happened without the huge amount of support from Dave Brockie, we owe him a debt of gratitude like none other. This is a dream tour for us and the Casualties and Mobile Deathcamp too, it’s such a diverse tour everyone brings something different to the bill and I cant recall anytime in recent history ANY tour with this diverse of a tour package this is going to be really fucking fun!!!
RG: What are some things/bands that have influenced you as a musician.
BW: King Diamond nothing else needs to be fucking said!!!!!!
RG: How did Infernaeon come to be?
BW: Thats a tough question, I used to play for another band and at the very very early stages we shared a warehouse with these guys and both bands ended up swapping members and I ended up coming into this band at a King Diamond show of all places. At the time it was Kevin Gibbons who contrary to other reviews and other press releases is and always has been our bass player. Mike Poggione was a session bass player that we hired due to Kevin having to temporarily deal with some personal demons so we hired Mike to sit in for him. As soon as the album was done Kevin was straight and ready to come back the timing just couldnt have been more unfortunate. He did in fact play bass on the Creeping Death cover though. So back to the point the band as a working unit was Kevin, myself, Brian Magley Zach Brown and Nick Augusto filled in on drums to help us out when we needed him for shows or recording. I took a breif stint in Monstrosity for a while then came back to Infernaeon full time and brought Sam Molina back from Monstrosity with me. Nick’s other grind band Maruta before he joined Trivium was busy touring so we grabbed Fabian to fill in on drums till he was called up to Malevolent Creation. Sam as I said split and we fired Zach Brown because SHE was a talentless loser and a whinning little baby who always had sand in HER vagina, and that was a group desicion not my personal one. Brian then cut his hair and started playing some bullshit pop screamo shit and left to pursue that, hey whatever makes you happy I’ll support him but you’ll never catch me or Kevin playing that gay shit. Chris Defoe who was one of the guys that we swapped members with back in the first days we brought back but after that Vital Remains tour he got a huge promotion at Guitar Center and couldnt jeopordize his job for touring. Then at which point we got Jeramie Kling formerly of The Absence and 90 min Reflex to play drums for the last 2 years but the man has kids and a family and he cant go out on the road and not make money which I totally understand, family first. We’re still the best of friends and see each other all the time and as a matter of fact we knew this was going to be the scenario and we still wanted him on the new album because in our opinion he paid his dues with us for the last 2 years on the road and he earned his spot on the album even if he was going to leave after it was recorded. Eric and Scott were brought in to help the band tour Erick was considered as a permanent member unfortunately it didn’t work. This entire time myself and Kevin refused to let any of this distract us from what we wanted to keep as the integrity of the band and what we want it to sound like. Thats why we only surround ourselves with people that understand musically what we are trying to do and thus far everyone we’ve had has also thought the same as us so it’s always worked very well. Keep the violent pissed, fuck you, eat shit and die american attitude and sound then just try and make it as dark and evil as fucking possible, and thats what Infernaeon is and WILL ALWAYS FUCKING BE!!!
RG: What do you see in the future for the band?
BW: Hopefully a shit load of touring our goal right now is to do 250 show sin the next 12 months!!! other than whatever happens, happens. It’s been great so far and if it all falls apart tomorrow we have no regrets, but we’d obviously like to see the back reach its full potential.
Awesome interview with an awesome guy. I really hope I get to see them in November!
Interview with Ryan McKenney of Trap Them!
Ross Gnarly: Are all of your albums inevitably leading up to something, since every song on every album starts off with a day number?
Ryan McKenney: The albums are simply leading up to better albums. There is a certain lyrical approach I’m using throughout this band’s existence, which explains the numbered days, etc., but it’s not something I feel I need to explain to readers/viewers/listeners. There is a linear subject matter throughout every song and album we make, and I take the liberty of expanding it to a point where I feel the lyrics are more than just a quickly executed idea.
RG: Trap Them started as a side project. What led it to become a main priority?
RM: It became a priority when everyone around us couldn’t get their shit together. Instead of bathing in self pity and boredom, we said, “Well, fuck all of you, then…..we’re doing this.”
RG: What are some influences of your music?
RM: It’s literally spread across the board. As this band has progressed, all of us have realized that we’re pulling influences much varied from each other. We’re all music lovers, but I think our attempt is to love others’ music and, at the same time, try to distance it from what we create ourselves. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. We’re just trying to keep it rolling in places seldom visited.
RG: How is the metal scene where you are from?
RM: I live in Seattle, so this week it’s pretty good. Wait about a month and it’ll be considered shitty again. Who knows? Scenes are scenes….I’m just concentrating on the music I make and the music I like to listen to. I will say, however, in Seattle there is never a dry week of loud music….there’s always something going on.
RG: What are some recurring lyrical themes present in Trap Them songs?
RM: Depression, desperation, unhinged violence and a very small glimmer of hope.
RG: You took your band name from a 1977 film. Any particular reason?
RM: Any reason?!!! Have you SEEN that film? How could a band not name themselves after such a perfect vision of exploitation? It’s everything right and wrong in the world wrapped up in a film under two hours.
RG: Who is the best band you have seen live?
RM: Top 3 current:
1- From Ashes Rise
2- Young Widows
3- Rotten Sound
Top 5 of All Time
2- Die My Will
4- The Hellacopters
RG: When can we expect the next full length album?
RM: Early 2011.
RG: How about a tour coming down around the Arkansas way?
RM: Dude, I don’t care if you live on fucking Antarctica….in 2011 we’re going anywhere and everywhere. You’ll definitely see us.
Well, I never have seen that movie (Trap Them And Kill Them), but you can bet your tighty-whities I will be looking into it. Ryan is an awesome dude. I can’t wait ’til I get to interview him again.
Interview with TJ Cowgill of Book of Black Earth
Ross Gnarly: Where did the name Book of Black Earth come from?
TJ Cowgill: It’s another name for the Necronomicon. After a bunch of really bad names that we had at first, that was the only one everyone agreed upon.
RG: Seattle used to be known as the grunge capital of the world. Was there much of an extreme metal scene there while you were growing up?
TC: Well there was Queensryche… I listened to a lot of punk and hardcore growing up and really didn’t pay too much attention to local metal bands.
RG: Who designed the band’s logo?
TC: I did!
RG: Is the musical writing a group or individual process?
TC: I write 95% of the music and the rest of the band then throws in there other 5%. Everyone has equal say in what they play and for the most part people write their own parts. But as far as song structuring goes that’s pretty much my job.
We were at an awkward stage when we started writing the new record as a band, Ricky and Rob were pretty new. I bet on the next record after this they’ll contribute a lot more to song writing.
RG: What are some things/bands that serve as influence for Book of Black Earth?
TC: I’m influenced by a lot of different things, from the occult science to religious history, and tend to write the lyrics about that stuff. As far as bands, I love a good swedish punk band and these days anything with a d-beat.
RG: When can we expect a new album?
TC: January I think? Sometime next year. It’s done we just have to wait for the artwork and label stuff…
RG: Out of all of the bands you have played with, who has been the best to perform live?
TC: For me it was seeing Repulsion at Murderfest a few years back. That made me want to keep playing as long as they have!
RG: What was life like before Book of Black Earth?
TC: I was really bored!
RG: If you could create a roster to take on tour, who would you take?
TC: The Devil’s Blood, Ives, and Fukpig.
Thanks to Mark from Prosthetic for hooking me up with this interview. TJ is an amazing musician of a phenomenal band. If you haven’t heard these guys yet, don’t wait any longer!
My interview with Ol Drake, Guitarist of Evile.
Ross Gnarly: What do you expect on your upcoming U.S. Tour?
Ol Drake: Lots of people going insane, after our last run of the states/canada. I think people are getting used to us in a live capacity over there. I know on the second lap of the states, the same people who were stood looking skeptical, were a lot more into it the second time. I think there’s been enough time for people to check our stuff out and learnt a few lyrics, like “the” and “shark”.
RG: With so many amazing bands that have come from England, do you sometimes feel overwhelmed? Like you have to live up to the hype of, say, Venom, Carcass or Motorhead?
OD: Not really. We don’t really approach it like that. They did what they do and were amazing at it, we aim for the same to be thought about us one day. I think I’d only feel pressure if I saw Kirk Hammett in the crowd just before I played a solo.
RG: I heard Evile started off playing Metallica covers. What are some other bands that have influenced your sound?
OD: For me personally, other bands that influenced me were Testament, Annihilator and Sepultura, and Obituary to an extent. They all really got me into the “Metal mind frame”.
RG: What is it like for you to tour in another country?
OD: It’s always a surprise. There’s always something that makes you step back and think “whoa”. The people, customs and way of life are so different in different places, so to see them all is quite unique. That’s one of the highlights of this job, if we aren’t getting any food or money, at least we get to see the world hahaha.
RG: Do you have families? If so, does that make it hard to tour?
OD: We all have families and close friends who we miss seeing. It is hard, but it’s what we want to do, and all the people we live and socialise with understand it’s what makes us happy, so they’re very understanding. That makes it easier for us.
RG: In the beginnings of Evile, did you think your band would make it this far?
OD: Not for a second. We started writing our own material in the most “high school” mindset you can imagine. We just thought “Fuck it, let’s write some Thrash, no one’s doing it around here anymore”. That was our only goal; to write the music we loved. We’d sell demos at gigs and on our website and everytime someone took a genuine interest in Evile our natural reaction was “hahaha….really?”. It’s all brilliant and we still feel honoured to be in this situation.
RG: What was life like before Evile? Jobs? School?
OD: We all had 9-5 jobs. I used to work in video game stores in and around Huddersfield, which I personally loved as I’m a huge gaming fan, and have been since the mid 80s. I was in school and went to College but to be honest I kind of gave up halfway through. My music teacher opened me up (oo er) to Jazz and Classical, and I took all that on board and dedicated myself to music at home. School became not important to me. That’s not to say School isn’t important, because without it I wouldn’t know what I know today.
RG: In 2008, you closed out Exodus’ set after they handed you their instruments. What was that like?
OD: It was hilarious. Gary asked us to get on stage and sing “Toxic Waltz” and it was the last song of their set. Megadeth asked us to do that before on “Peace Sells” so we just expected to get up, shout a few things, then run away. As soon as the song reached it’s “big rock ending,” Gary threw his guitar at me and told me to widdle, then the rest of the band threw their instruments at us. I could tell Mike was like a big kid, they were one of his favourite bands. And I’ll never forget Exodus’ crew guy, Pete, literally throwing Mike off the stage into the crowd.
RG: If you could jam with one musician, living or deceased, who would it be?
OD: Way too many to choose from, but it would have to be James Hetfield or Kirk Hammett. Cliche, I know, but I’ve looked up to them for so many
Be sure to catch Evile on their US tour! The complete tour is listed on the home page.
Q&A with Jacob Bannon of Converge.
Ross Gnarly: You’ve been with Converge for two decades. How did you do it?
Jacob Bannon: We just do what we do on our own terms. We don’t play by the rules of what a music community or the larger music industry as a whole play by, it just doesn’t interest us. Create music on your own terms, that’s the key to artistic survival.
RG: When did the idea for Deathwish Inc. come to you?
JB: I released our first 7″EP and 12″LP back in the early/mid nineties, so Deathwish for me is just an extension of that original idea. Tre, who co-owns Deathwish, also released music in the mid nineties on his own label.
RG: Did starting Deathwish stressful or did it all kinda fall into place?
JB: It’s very stressful, but it is a labor of love.
RG: Touring with Converge, you must have played with some great bands. Any that are really memorable?
JB: We’ve played with everyone from Prince to Marduk. It continues to be a wild and eclectic ride that we are forever appreciative of.
RG: Converge was called the “new Black Flag.” How does that make you feel?
JB: I don’t pay attention to what outsider opinions are of our band, we just do our thing.
RG: My personal favorite Converge album is Jane Doe, do you have a favorite album you’ve done?
JB: Usually the most recent album for me is the most emotionally relevant.
RG: What made you get into metal in the first place?
JB: My older brother introduced me to heavy music when we were kids, and I just ran with it from there.
RG: You have some sick tattoos, do any of them stick out and mean something special to you?
JB: They are all about a time and place, for better or worse. No favorites of anything.
RG: My dream is to start a metal label. Do you have any pointers or hints for people like me?
JB: Do what you love, it’s that simple.
RG: What do you see Converge doing in another 20 years?
JB: We simply take everything day by day. As long as we feel motivated to write aggressive music, we will continue to do so.
It was amazing getting to interview Jacob. He is an awesome guy and an inspiring musician. He is a huge influence for me and one of my favorite vocalists of all time. I couldn’t thank him enough for doing this Q&A with me and I hope we get to talk again.
This is my Q&A with MikeD from the Rhode Island band, Hate For 1.
Ross Gnarly: Tell me a bit about your band.
MikeD: Hate For 1 evolved from separate bands, Eroc, Mad Mike and Bell were in a old band called Educated Hate. When there singer became useless, they decided it was time to move on. I was friends with the guys and singing in a more Slayer-style band called Gahana. When I left, because of certain writing issues, they asked if i would come sing to some stuff they had. Instantly we worked well and it was hard pace metal, very aggressive and up my alley.
The drummer was weak, my good friend Ricky was also in Gahana with us, leaving at the same time it made it simple to replace the old drummer in what is now Hate For 1. We have worked hard the last few months, only doing this less then 8 months we are making a name for ourselves in the Rhode Island scene.
RG: How did you get into music?
MD: I personally, started playing as a bass player back in freshman year in High School, 1993, soon singing for a local rock, reggae, hip/hop band.
We did okay at parties and what not, but the more and more I played, the harder and more aggressive I got, still holding my roots of the reggae and hip hop, but way more aggressive and more melodic at times. I guess just the fact that I came from a community of friends who enjoyed live music, my parents, always drunk, played Rock’n'Roll all nite while I was sleeping its embedded into my head ’til this day.
RG: Do you have a boring day job?
MD: I dont have a boring job, in fact, too many jobs. I’m a Special Ed teacher at a local High School, as well as a High School Head Running Coach. I also run a painting company for the last four years, help out with landscaping with some friends for the last 15 years, I also run professionally as well a run Rock Karma Promotions booking, promotions and sound tech. I balance a mass amount of weight on my shoulders every day.
RG: Have you participated in other musical projects?
MD: I answered this a slight bit already, but I have been in several project largest was a band called Kill the Past. We toured for 40 weeks around the whole country circuit being pushed by Roadrunner Records. I have been in metalcore, melodic, punk and hip hop/reggae acts. I dont really have one style of music I play. Versatile is good I believe… I’m like a jack of all trades, master to none. [Laughs]
RG: How is the Rhode Island metal scene?
MD: The Rhode Island music scene is leveled with way to many cover bands. RI was a great rock and metal scene in the mid ’90s but has really be depleated with club closures from the Station Nightclub fire, which took the lives of over 100 people. It makes it very difficult to open clubs with only a hand full around. The scene in Massachusettes is growing, which makes RI push as well. I say the scene is alive but needs a lot more steriods before its full again.
RG: What are some bands that influenced your music?
MD: There are tons and tons of bands that influence me and my music path. Its hard to name a band, since I believe I bring a whole mix. Some of my top singers who I find myself sounding like and influence me are Jamey Jasta, Chris Volz, Zach De La Rocha, Anthony Martini, Chuck D, Evan Seinfeld and so many others.
RG: Anything crazy ever happen to you or your bandmates at a show?
MD: Not crazy. Lots of stuff happens: drunkeness, bloody knuckles. Just the silly stuff. With this act, we are too new. Ask us when we go on tour.
RG: Where do you see Hate For 1 in 5 years?
MD: Lets get through year one. We are all a bit rowdy and we get under eachother’s skin fast. I honstly dont know where we will be in a few years. Hopefully still ripping up stages across the country!
RG: When can we expect a debut record?
MD: We hope to go into recording this winter and make a full CD. Not sure of details at the moment, but we should have something by early Spring 2011.
Please support us and keep it rocking bro!
I want to thank Mike for doing this Q&A with me. He’s an awesome guy. Unfortunately, I have not seen Hate For 1 yet. Mostly because of my Rural Placement (about 3000 miles from Rhode Island). But hopefully I will some day. Way to keep the underground alive, Mike!
This is my interview with Ron “Roncore” Harris, the guitarist of Captain Overboard–Radio Earth!
Ross Gnarly: First off. The name. I have to ask where it came from.
Ron Harris: We were going though a shit load of names, nobody could come up with anything. That is always one of the hardest things for me to do in a band. I think we kicked around Enigma #9 for a bit, and a few other ridiculous ones, but in the end I used the oh so valuable tool called the internet. I found an anagram generator and put in the word CORE. Corey and I had worked on a project years ago called Roncore, and I eventually just adopted that name for myself. Since we were both in the band I chose a randomly generated anagram for it. Captain Overboard–Radio Earth! It worked out great because we were going for a spacey feel anyways, way before the concept of the album was created.
RG: Have you worked with the other musicians previously?
RH: We have all been in different bands around the Jonesboro area. I’ve been in tons since I was 12 years old, but the most notable being the last 6 years when I played guitar for Project: Fight The Sky and Midget Cum Mustache. Cole was also in those two bands. Corey and Alex were both in Clementia and after they broke up I forced Corey into playing bass for Midget Cum Mustache. We have tons of side projects and all of us have worked together for years in one way or another.
RG: I understand you recorded your own Sampler and LP, how did that go?
RH: It went great, I recorded and mixed the album here in my home studio, Core Studios. It’s really relaxing and easy to record in a place you are familiar with, where rules are pretty much thrown out the window. We used everything from drills, 70′s organs to broken drum machines run through a pedal board. Lots of neat sounds on the album, a lot of people will mistake them for synth, but the majority are just neat little things we came up with by experimenting. We recorded the album in 3 months or so, maybe a few days a week. It went by really quickly and came out great.
RG: Are you currently looking into a recording contract?
RH: Only if we can get a million in advance and Taco Bell for free, for life. Kidding, kinda. It really depends, I think the record industry is pretty much dead these days. We are working on different ways to distribute and such without having to deal with all the drama that comes with being signed. That being said, if the right label and the right deal came along, then fuck yes. The label industry needs an enema.
RG: Who are some of the bands that influenced the sound of Captain Overboard?
RH: I definitely can’t speak for everybody on this, but we all have different tastes in music. I think for me, Acid Bath, Sepultura, and Black Sabbath were huge influences. Most of us in the band love Nirvana as well, and there are a lot of synth and punk influcences too. It’s way too varied to name it all. Cole loves a lot of the underground punk stuff, Corey and Alex are big progressive metal fans. Me and Scott love us some Nirvana. The shit just everywhere on the charts.
RG: Where do you see the band in five years?
RH: Hopefully still together. I’ve found that every time I start working on a dvd for my band, they break up soon after. I have no idea what the correlation is with that, but it may postpone any dvd releases for the near future, haha. We already have a lot of material in demos that will probably get used on the second album, so that is for sure a go as of now. Not sure if it is going to be a continuation on the first album’s concept or not. We have discussed it lightly, but who knows at this point.
RG: Who is the main lyrics writer, if any?
RH: Scott definitely writes the majority of the lyrics. He has these HUGE stacks of notebooks, I shit you not, maybe 100 or more full of lyrics (I have pics). I think he wrote mostly new stuff for the album, but he pulls from them every now and then. There are a few songs that we collaborated on as a band. I think Beyond the stars and March were two songs that most everybody around at the time had a part in writing on.
RG: Who did the artwork for the Sampler and the Album?
RH: Our good friend Matt Smith, who is an art major. Corey and Matt grew up together, and I’ve known him since he was tiny. Amazing person with amazing vision. He had mentioned to Alex after the word of the concept album came out that he would be down for illustrating some of it. We jumped at the chance and have been uber excited about everything he has done.
RG: Are there any other plans for the band after the album is released? Touring, more recording or just keeping it local?
RH: Hrm. Well we most definitely will be playing shows. Our first show will be a warm up show for friends on Oct 30th at Core Studios. After that, we are going to work on playing all the songs more, and then probably after the new year, start booking shows like crazy playing the entire album front to back. That is the goal right now. We have some videos we are planning on shooting very soon. Maybe after playing shows for a while, record an EP and release it, then play some more, then go back in to write the second album.
RG: What’s the best thing about being involved with Captain Overboard?
RH: Freedom. Hands down. We did what we wanted, how we wanted. It’s the album I have been wanting to make for 5+ years now. We just used so many different things to make it interesting, weird sounds and samples and things that people probably will never understand what they are 5 years from now. Playing it out like a book/movie turned out really neat, and gave us a whole new vision with the songs that we already had written before that came into play. I think people will love it.
It was great doing this interview with Roncore because he is such an awesome guitarist and guy. He had an awesome attitude throughout the interview. I can’t wait until I get a chance to interview these guys again.
Also, if you haven’t heard Captain Overboard–Radio Earth! yet, be sure to check out their MySpace page. Their debut LP is due out next month.