music&riots FREE | ISSUE 13 | SUMMER ISSUE
BULLY Feels Like Teen Spirit MYRKUR Adventurous and defiant
AND SO I WATCH YOULoud,FROM AFAR stellar and infectious
TEAM SLEEP Post-everything greatness
CHELSEA WOLFE Diving into the abyss of her dreamy and haunting world...
HO9909 Punk vs Hip-Hop GHOST A rock musical of the omen SENSES FAIL Buddy Nielsen speaks out COUNTERPARTS An emotional and heavy journey
WESTKUST GENGAHR FUTURE DEATH THE MENZINGERS MATES OF STATE AUGUST BURNS RED AUTHOR & PUNISHER WE CAME AS ROMANS THE ONGOING CONCEPT 1
ROUND UP 10 // KYLESA - The Savannah trio are back with their seventh album, Exhausting Fire, due to be released on October 2
11 // EDITORS - In Dream is the title of the upcoming new Editors album, here’s everything you need to know... 12 // DEFEATER - Boston hardcore act are still looking for answers... And there is a new story/album on the way 16 // DEAFHEAVEN - Deafheaven return with New Bermuda, their highly-anticipated new album, available on October 2 17 // CITY AND COLOUR - Dallas Green is back with his solo adventure, what should we expect? Here’s the answer...
INTRODUCING 08 // GENGAHR - Bassist Hugh Schulte was kind enough to spare some time to answer our questions 14 // THE ONGOING CONCEPT - We talked with Dawson Scholz, DIY is the law for them... 18 // WESTKUST - We spoke to singer Julia Bjornalind about their awesome debut album, their new label and much more... HOT NEW ARTISTS 25 // NUDITY 26 // BRIANA MARELA 27 // HIGH TENSION 28 // PALEHOUND
STRANGE MIX + GRAB & GO 20 // We are just sharing some of the things that we love, merch, brands, gifts or even silly and stupid things...
REVIEWS ALBUMS 100 // Refused, Between The Buried And Me, Chelsea Wolfe, Wilco, Myrkur, Northlane, Health, Counterparts, Locrian, Willis Earl Beal, Lamb Of God, Beach House, Tame Impala, Ghost, Destroyer, Ducktails, Young Guns, Yo Lo Tengo, Team Sleep, Titus Andronicus and much more...
LIVE REPORTS 120 // NOS Primavera Sound, Earth, Arch Enemy, All Pigs Must Die, Nothing But Thieves
CINEMA 126 // Trainwreck, Entourage, White God, Gemma Bovery, Terminator Genisys, Paper Towns, Ted 2, Ant Man, Dark Places 4
30 // AUGUST BURNS RED - Guitarist JB talked to us about the band’s career, label change and their latest album 32 // AUTHOR & PUNISHER - We caught up with Tristan Shone, the project’s sole visionary director and contributor 36 // FUTURE DEATH - We were lucky to get all the members in the room for an awesome and funny chat 38 // THE MENZINGERS - Rented World is out now and Tom May explains us why their are not assholes anymore... 42 // MATES OF STATE - We talked with Jason about a little bit of everything, from movies to their brand new EP 44 // BULLY - Why should I care about Bully? Well, they rule, sound great and they have Alice Bognanno... 48 // WE CAME AS ROMANS - Vocalist David Stephens walktrough guide to the band’s brand new sound 52 // COUNTERPARTS - We talked with Brandon Murphy about another well-crafted Counterparts’ album 58 // SENSES FAIL - We caught up with Buddy Nielsen to talk about the new album, life experiences and even why Buddhism changed his life 64 // MYRKUR - We caught up with Amelie Bruun to discuss the past, present and future of Myrkur 70 // HO99O9 - We talked with incendiary the duo theOGM and Eaddy. Have you met them? Punk vs Hip Hop all the way...
74 // CHELSEA WOLFE - We had an amazing chat with Chelsea about the new album, how sleep paralysis has affected her life, style, Broad City, and much more... 82 // TEAM SLEEP - They’re back! We talked with Todd Wilkinson about Team Sleeps’ comeback and much more... 86 // GHOST - We cornered one of the Nameless Ghouls... Something wicked this way comes, again and again... Hail to Pope Emeritus III 92 // AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR Drummer Christopher Wee provided us the big guide to ASIWYFA awesome sound
“... it’s like your own mind or issues that you care about or someone that you care about, so it’s just about diving really deep and that’s where ‘abyss’ comes from.” Chelsea Wolfe WORDS FROM THE EDITOR We’re changing, the world is changing, everything around us is changing and this new issue is the beginning of our bold, exciting natural next step. If you care enough, you might notice a few changes in our layout, smooth changes that somehow will indicate our improvement and our commitment to our future and our readers. So, after this issue, nothing will be the same again, till the end of the year you will find some changes, some layout changes and we will go wild into this wonderful world that is culture, so you might expect the unexpected and a wider range of issues, features and further more and beyond that... We evolved a lot in the last year, but we want to keep pushing ourselves forward and setting the bar high for the next and following years. The beauty of our project is that there are no limits or boundaries regarding our subjects, features and issues, that’s why we want to ensure that we keep growing, setting our own independence and setting our own agenda... Your Editor, Fausto Casais
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have come a long way since the release of their first single “Powder” last September, and unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you must have heard of their infectious, sunny sound. From opening stadium shows to spending time in the studio, it’s been a busy year for the London four-piece. Following the release of their debut A Dream Outside, bassist Hugh Schulte took some time to answer our questions about the band’s recording process, influences, and touring schedule. Words by Antigoni Pitta
INTRODUCING // GENGAHR
ongratulations on the release of A Dream Outside! What can you tell us about your recording process? Did you feel any pressure considering it’s your debut album? Thank you! We recorded the album over the whole of last year. Whenever we had a spare few days off touring we would go down to Middle Farm stuidos in Devon. We would get the songs ready in the rehearsal room and then try and capture what we had pretty much live in the studio. We didn’t overdub much so what you hear on record is what you hear live. Your music is a combination of multiple elements that seem to come together very organically. Are there any bands or musicians you draw inspiration from? Yes, we all have different musical specialities I guess. Me and Danny are really into our funk/ soul/hip hop and also some world music. John’s into his punk and indie rock, Felix the same, but perhaps more classic rock/pop. At the moment I’m listening to a lot of Shuggie Ottis, D'Angelo and Goat. Did you expect to be getting such a positive response from the press and public before even releasing your debut album? Has anything changed since its release? No, we didn’t expect the reaction to be quite so positive. Of course we believed in the record, but you can never be sure how other people are going to react to it. You guys have been busy this year, not to mention supporting Alt-J and Wolf Alice on their tours. How does it feel to finally be headlining your own tour? Amazing yeah. We were very lucky be able to do those tours, but now we feel like we’ve had enough experience doing that. It’s great to finally be in a position to do our own tour and play the record to people who really dig it. Are you excited to be playing festivals this summer, or do you prefer smaller events/venues? Is there anywhere in particular you’d like to play in the future? Very excited, I think I prefer the smaller ones, but we’re getting used to play the bigger stages now and it’s great when you start to feel comfortable on those ones too. What do you have in store for 2015? We’re going to Australia next month, so we’re all super excited about that! None of us have ever been that far from home. A DREAM OUTSIDE IS OUT NOW VIA TRANSGRESIVE
KYLESA REFINING THEIR TRADEMARK SOUND
ylesa are back with their seventh album, Exhausting Fire. For this new effort they found themselves culling inspirations before getting together in various permutations at various times to wade through the amassed collections of riffs and ideas stockpiled before, during and after the punishing Ultraviolet tour schedule. Captured at the familiar confines of the Jam Room in Columbia, South Carolina, Exhausting Fire
witnesses the trio immersing themselves deeper into themselves and their own process by refusing to hire an outside producer to assume Cope’s position. In fact, he reports having additional engineering duties dropped into his production seat, and spending more hours than ever working behind the board. Philip describes Exhausting Fire as “an album we really put our hearts on our sleeves for. We’ve always done that, but emotionally, it’s probably the most honest and raw album we’ve ever done.”
EL VY (pronounced like a plural of Elvis; rhymes with ‘hell pie’) is the musical collaboration between Matt Berninger, vocalist and lyricist of The National, and Brent Knopf, the Portland musician and producer best known for his work in Menomena and his more recent band, Ramona Falls. Their debut album Return To The Moon will be released on October 30th via 4AD. Ought have announced the release of their new album, Sun Coming Down, which will be out September 18th via Constellation
“No band sounds like us and we don’t sound like any other band”, concludes Laura. “After all these years of experimenting with different styles and sounds, we’ve really developed our own thing and I can faithfully say that we sound like us. With this album, we’ve successfully made a record that incorporates all the elements we’ve always played with into a record that works on its own.” EXHAUSTING FIRE IS AVAILABLE ON OCTOBER 2 VIA SEASON OF MIST
Records. Sun Coming Down is their second full-length and the follow-up to their 2014 debut album, More Than Any Other Day. The band spent the first few months of 2015 writing, playing the occasional local gig, and heading back to the Hotel2Tango recording studio in the spring to record the new tunes. Arthur Ashin, a.k.a. Autre Ne Veut, has announced Age of Transparency, the follow-up of his 2013’s critically acclaimed album, Anxiety, which will be out on October 2nd via Downtown Records. Age of
EDITORS IN DREAMS ON THEIR NEW ALBUM
ditors have announced the forthcoming release of their fifth studio album, In Dream. Recorded in Crear in the Western Highlands by the band, and mixed in London by Alan Moulder, In Dream is the second album to feature the “new” line-up of the band with Justin Lockey and Elliott Williams firmly in place alongside founding members Tom Smith, Russell Leetch and Ed Lay. The album was produced by all
Transparency marks the second step in a trilogy exploring the difficulty of making personal connections in an impersonal time. “The title comes from marketing jargon,” Ashin explains. “It’s a term for the place we’re in now, where truth and transparency are just ways to sell things and honesty is its own kind of performance.” Shining have disclosed that International Blackjazz Society will be the title of their upcoming fulllength album, due out on October
band members in an open studio environment, nowhere within Crear was cut off from the music being performed and recorded in the creative space. Downtime was soundtracked by a varied playlist, selected from all five members, that stretched from Todd Terje to ’80s Robert Palmer, John Grant to the Despacio three hour club mix. This is the first album from Editors to feature a duet, Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell shares vocal duties on “The Law” and adding backing vocals to “Ocean of Night” and “At All Cost” and is
16th. International Blackjazz Society is the band’s first release through Spinefarm Records, with whom they have signed a worldwide deal. This new effort has been mixed by Sean Beavan (Depeche Mode, A Perfect Circle, Slayer etc.), and mastered in Los Angeles by Tom Baker (Nine Inch Nails, Deftones, Beastie Boys etc.). It’s been seven years since the release of a proper full-length album from H2O (2008’s criticallyacclaimed Nothing To Prove). The band’s immensely anticipated new
an album focused on allowing artistic interpretations outside of the band to flourish; Alan Moulder was left to mix the tracks without any band involvement whilst visual collaborator Rahi Rezvani has been given carte blanche with the photography and videography that will accompany the album and its attendant singles. According to Tom Smith, the music can be “both pop and experimental.” IN DREAM IS AVAILABLE ON OCTOBER 2 VIA PLAY IT AGAIN SAM
album, Use Your Voice, will finally see the light of day on October 9th, 2015 from Bridge Nine Records. Regarding this new album, bassist Adam Blake commented, “Nothing to Prove was the record we really found our niche, where we were really like, ‘This is H2O. This is what H2O should be… this is the spirt of the thing.’ We felt like a brand new band. We felt excited.” He continued, “It’s nice, seven years after Nothing to Prove, that we can capture those feelings again with this new record.”
The San Francisco band
Kowloon Walled City will
release their long-awaited new full-length October 9th. Grievances, their third album and first for Neurot Recordings. “We dug into this expansive, less distorted vibe. The songs are mostly slow and bummed out but we still want them to push, to have energy,” said vocalist/guitarist Scott Evans. The band spent over two years working on the seven songs for Grievances. The intense editing process weeded out about two albums’ worth of
songs. “We’re not interested in doing something that’s good enough — we want to do something that we believe is good,” said Miller. “With Scott’s concept and sonics and Jon’s playing and our rhythm section, we feel like should be able to do something interesting. But it’s hard work.” Bring Me The Horizon just announced their new album, the follow-up to the amazing Sempiternal and arrives on September 11. The new album is called That’s the Spirit, was produced by Jordan Fish and it’s “a celebration of depression”
DEFEATER Still looking for answers... And a new story begins!
oston hardcore act Defeater will release their fourth studio album, Abandoned, on August 28 via Epitaph. Written and recorded in a welcome period of relief in Archambault’s life, after he’d finally received a life-changing surgery that repaired severe hip damage he suffered in an injury. About Archambault’s surgery, he said, “I was in so much pain I was clouded... It made me a miserable prick. And now that it’s gone, I feel better,” allowing him to redouble his connection with his own writing, leaving him clear to truly inhabit what he calls his own Glass family—after the famous J.D. Salinger characters. The new album chronicles the story of a lapsed Catholic priest, whose battles in Europe during the war drag him first toward faith and then his own poisonous faithlessness. It’s a lens to examine questions of religion and pain and the ultimate fragility of humanity, as well as the way to a starkly Biblical revelation that places this seemingly-incidental character at the very heart of this Defeater family’s turmoil: “I’m definitely stealing from my favorite authors, where the person you don’t expect changes the course of the whole storyline,” explains Archambault. “Like Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian—there are so many twists in how this core group of people are so affected by every person that enters or exits their path.”
ABANDONED ARRIVES ON AUGUST 28 VIA EPITAPH
according to Oli. Meanwhile, the Sheffield gang also unveiled a bunch of dates for their North American October tour, where they’ll be joined by Issues and Pvris. Indian Handcrafts new LP Creeps, is going to be released on October 2 via Sargent House. “The last one was our 70s album, this is our 80s album,” joked drummer/ vocalist Brandyn James Aikins. The electronic Glasgow-based CHVRCHES announced the release of their newest album,
entitled Every Open Eye, which is due to be release on September 25th via Universal. State Champs announced that they will release their sophomore LP Around the World and Back via Pure Noise Records on October 16. This new effort was engineered by Kyle Black (Paramore, New Found Glory, Strung Out) and produced by Black and State Champs vocalist Derek Discanio. Wavves is back to announce their fifth studio album which is appropriately titled V. Produced
by Woody Jackson, V is more of full-band effort with Stephen Pope and Alex Gates sharing writing duties with Wavves-frontman Nathan Williams. The record is due out October 2nd through Ghost Ramp / Warner Bros. The Wonder Years have announced the upcoming release of their fifth studio album, No Closer To Heaven, which will be released September 4th, 2015 via Hopeless Records. The 13-track album was recorded and produced by Steve Evetts and mixed by Phil Nicolo.
It's interesting to see how nowadays a band or an artist can reinvent themselves and take their art to a whole new level. That's the case with
THE ONGOING CONCEPT.
With their second album, they just decided to do something different and with their bare hands they built their owns instruments, recorded their own songs and made a remarkable record that Handmade is. We talked with Dawson Scholz about this intense and long process of making Handmade and much more... Words by Andreia Alves
ow is it like to make music and going on tours with your brothers? I’m including TJ as well, which he’s like a brother to you. Being in a band with your brothers is awesome and it’s also kind of difficult, because brothers a lot of times fight, argue... We’ve been living in the same house, in the same area for like 15 years now. We’re just kind of all picking on each other. It’s just typical and great, but being in a band with brothers is not all like funny games. I think having brothers in a band we don’t really put up with each other’s crap, so we just call each other out and don’t beat around the bush. A lot of bands have members that are just friends or even just acquaintances that they don’t really know super, super well. They tend to beat around the bush a lot when they have a problem with 14
each other and then those problems start to build up over time and then huge arguments tend to happen like on tour or at home. I I was telling to the Dayseeker guys that we have a lot of arguments, but we also have a lot of quick resolutions. After the release of your debut album Saloon, which had a great response, how was the transition to start working on the new album? Our first album was very influenced by crazier and heavier bands like The Chariot, Norma Jean, letlive... But when we started writing new material and coming up with ideas for Handmade, we kind of matured as individuals a lot more. We weren’t really listening to much heavy music anymore. We were just like getting older and we kind of wanted to write music that we enjoyed listening to, so I feel like with the whole Handmade perspective which is very organic and raw and not overproduced, we just started writing a lot more poppier... and it’s not even quieter music because a lot of our songs are actually even heavier than the
songs on Saloon. Handmade is a much more poppier record than Saloon was and there’s a lot more catchier choruses, there’s just a lot more ambient or even just quieter aspects to the album. I guess the transition was like we grew up a little bit and started wanting to write catchier music. Your new album Handmade was literally all handmade, which you guys made the instruments you used to record it by hand. What led you to do that? We just wanted to do something a little bit different than everybody else. I’ve always been intrigued by albums that have a cool concept to them, like I’ve always been intrigued by that Foo Fighters’ album that came out a few years ago where they did all in the garage and that was super cool. There’s been a lot of bands that kind of do different things to their albums that I’ve always found intriguing and when we were writing, we were thinking about a new concept for an album and we just slowly deep into building all of our instruments. We’ve been kind of building a lot of stuff by
INTRODUCING // THE ONGOING CONCEPT literally making a perfect circle out of a bunch of pieces of wood. You have to be very precise with your mathematics and your saw through cutting it, so if we messed up the cutting, then the drum head would not fit on the drum set, which was a hole inside of the shell that we built was not in the work with the drum head which hard process of trying all the wood out and cutting all the wood it would have been literally like useless. It was nerve-wracking cutting some of the pieces and we didn’t know if it was going to work, so that was the hardest part of the whole record. For this album, what did inspire you musically and non-musically? We just like to write about stuff that we’re emotionally attached to, so lyrically we wrote a lot of stuff about education and about a lot of personal things that happened in our lives over the years. The last song of the album, “Falling”, is a continuation of the last song of our previous album (“Goodbye, So Long My Love”). That was kind of a concept lyrical thing. We’re like into things that pisses us off a lot.
ourselves and we were just brainstorming. I was kind of looking up how to build guitars, drums and stuff already and then it just kind of hit me one day like “We could totally make our own instruments and record with the same instruments that we build and that would probably be a cool idea for an album.” It wasn’t like some dream or some crazy thing that happened all at once, it was just like a blow of ideas over time that kind of what we did. How long did it take to write the new songs, build your instruments and then record the album? We took like eight months off to do this whole album. People ask me all the time how long it took to build the instruments. It took about four months, but it wasn’t because it took so long, it was just because we took like a week off or even just days off all the time just focusing on demoing and writing music for the album. The whole album I don’t feel like it took three times longer than a regular album would take to be created just because we were constantly thinking about so many aspects of our album. Your head
space isn’t just only focus on writing material, your head space is like “How are we going to cut a tree down to create the drum set that we’re going to use to record?” I just felt that our minds were so muddy with so many different things that I just felt like everything took longer, because we didn’t have like a very focus mindset. The drums and the guitars and everything took like four months to build and on top of that we were recording and demoing at the same time. It took a few weeks to legitimately record everything. It was like six months to process from the very start up until we started thinking about the concept, starting to create the idea to actually we had the product. What was the hardest thing about the whole process of making this new album? It was definitely the drum set, because there’s a lot of measures, a lot of precise cuts we had to do with the wood that if we messed up even if just a tiny thing, it would literally destroy the whole drum set. There’s an exact measurement you have to do, because you’re
You guys take “DIY” ethic really seriously. You basically do everything by yourselves. You produce your own records, make your own videos, design your artwork and merchandise, and create your own instruments, so it’s hard to pick up what you can’t do. Is it more thrilling and challenging for you to keep that DIY approach within the band? It’s not strictly DIY... I wish we had a team of people to just do stuff for us, which we do. We have a booking agent, we have a label which they do a ton of stuff for us... The physical, raw and organic stuff we do like the album and stuff, all is done by us. That part is super challenging because it’s crazy and very stressful for us. I don’t really like to wish that sometimes, but it’s super fulfilling a few times like a step back and being like “Wow, our band legitimately wrote and recorded all of this by ourselves and we shot videos by ourselves.” It definitely feels good to do things yourself, but it’s extremely stressful. HANDMADE IS OUT NOW VIA SOLID STATE RECORDS
DEAFHEAVEN RETURNS WITH “NEW BERMUDA”
eafheaven have announced the release of their highly-anticipated new album, the follow-up to 2013’s Sunbather. It’s titled New Bermuda and is out October 2 via Anti-. “New Bermuda focuses on the idea of false promise, achieving something and wondering if it’s what you really wanted in the first place. Moving to LA, living with the person you love, meeting new people—you’re inexplicably let
down by the situation, or let down by your own perception of it because you thought it was everything you wanted, but yet you still feel displaced.” McCoy shares that sentiment: “Sunbather sounds like people who have nothing butare satisfied with life. There’s an uplifting quality to it. But New Bermuda is a very tense record.” The album was recorded live to tape in Oakland and Palo Alto with longtime producer Jack Shirley. Frontman George Clarke said in a statement that the
Seattle’s Black Breath have completed their third LP, Slaves Beyond Death, and are preparing the album for worldwide release this September through Southern Lord Recordings. Additionally, the band have been confirmed to rage the West Coast US alongside Goatsnake, Battalion of Saints and Obliterations in September as part of a West Coast Southern Lord package tour. Slaves Beyond Death arrives three years after Black Breath‘s 2012-released Sentenced To Life. The album was recorded in the Winter months of 2014 at
concept of New Bermuda is meant to describe “a new destination in life, a nebulous point of arrival, and an unknown future where things get swallowed up and dragged into darkness.” McCoy cites death metal demigods Dissection and Morbid Angel, the blackened death pioneers Behemoth, and Cliff Burton-era Metallica as influences on the new album. NEW BERMUDA IS AVAILABLE ON OCTOBER 2 VIA ANTI-
GodCity studio in Salem, Massachusetts with Kurt Ballou (Converge). Self Portrait is the name of the upcoming album from Loma Prieta; a ten-song piece recorded by Jack Shirley at The Atomic Garden Recording Studio (Deafheaven, Whirr, etc.). The album will be released on CD, cassette, and digital formats on October 2nd, and on vinyl on November 13, via Deathwish Inc. Mayday Parade have unveiled the details for their new album Black Lines, to release October 9th, with pre-orders set to launch July 30th.
CITY AND COLOUR ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM
ollowing the release of 2013’s The Hurry And The Harm, and last year’s You+Me with pop singer Pink, Dallas Green is back with a new record. If I Should Go Before You is set to drop on October 9 via Dine Alone Records and was recorded at Nashville, Tennessee’s Blackbird Studios, and produced by Dallas himself – with additional production and engineering by Karl ‘Horse’ Bareham.
Regarding to this new album and his touring mates/studio musicians, Green shared the following statement: “Anybody who has seen us play will understand that this is the best representation of what we do live that we have ever recorded. I was so excited about being able to make and record an album with these guys that it just flowed. I felt so confident about their abilities to make all of my ideas come true.” About the record Green also stated: “It’s a collection of 11 songs – the thoughts I had on
IF I SHOULD GO BEFORE YOU IS AVAILABLE ON OCTOBER 9 VIA DINE ALONE RECORDS
The band’s fifth full-length features a guest vocal spot from Real Friends’ frontman Dan Lambton. Bikini Kill originally self-released very first demo tape, titled Revolution Girl Style Now, in 1991. Now, in September 22, the band’s initial work will be available on vinyl, CD and digitally for the first time ever via Bikini Kill Records.
Stations was recorded live in June of 2014 and was produced by John Agnello at Seedy Underbelly North (formerly known as Pachyderm Studios) in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. The band loved Agnello’s prior work in producing and/or mixing albums by Dinosaur Jr., Jawbox, Sonic Youth and recently Kurt Vile and The Hold Steady. Panic Stations, was named after nautical structures that act as warning posts in the oceans. Many of the songs reference water and the ocean, and there is an overarching idea
of letting go and not being immobilized by your own thoughts. Nevermen is the new supergroup on the block, composed by Doseone (of Subtle, Themselves, Clouddead and more), TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe and Faith No More’s Mike Patton. The debut album of the trio has been announced with a release confirmed for October of this year via Ipecac Recordings. In the meantime a new track titled “Though Towns” has been already shared with the whole world.
Motion City Soundtrack
have announced details for their sixth studio album, Panic Stations, which is due to be released on September 18 via Epitaph. Panic
my mind: a last ditch effort to find something better and leave well enough alone. You can steal it, stream it or even buy it! Just try to enjoy it. I know I do.” Meanwhile, the album’s lead single and opening track, “Woman,” is an 9 minute long and good apetizer for what we should really expect. In November the band will hit the road for big North American tour.
Hailing from Sweden, with a sound that lingers somewhere between shoegaze and feel like dancing in a daydream. Originally comprised of an entirely different line-u signing with an American record label and breaking new ground with touring, it see to singer Julia Bjernalind about the band breaking in America,
Words by St
fits together well with the songs.
our debut is entitled Last Forever and the songs do carry a sort of youthful, timeless energy. How did the title come about? We wanted the record title to have a nice and simple pop feel to it, I guess. We didn’t really discuss the title that much, but I think it
The album is also released under an American label; Run for Cover Records with whom you singed. There has always been a pattern for European bands or artists to want to ‘break into America’. Did that play a part in your decision to sign with them and is it something you regard as a goal? Signing in america is not really anything I thought that Westkust would do in the beginning, it just happened. They were interested
and we said yes. I guess it’s thanks to Rasmus Hansén who’s been really great promoting the album. The band has certainly experienced a lot of change regarding its members. However, while that can often be a red flag for bands, Westkust seem to have retained its identity throughout. How does that affect the musical chemistry or does it affect it at all? Westkust was a complete different band in the beginning, I think they started in 2010 or something with the older members. Me, Hugo and
INTRODUCING // WESTKUST
d fuzz guitar pop, WESTKUST have released an album to make you up, the band has come a long way and, between releasing Last Forever, ems like Westkust are on a roll, and they are ones to watch. We spoke , writing songs for the album and the ‘indie’ brand.
Gustav joined in 2011. I think the identity has changed a lot and we’ve written new songs, so yes it has affected the band. You also share two members with Makthaverskan. How does the creative process differ in between the two groups? Since I don’t play in Makthaverskan I can’t really tell. We have been writing songs from an idea that either Hugo or Gustav has come up with, then the whole band makes up new stuff to the song. Then me and Gustav write the lyrics and
song melodies together. Your sound has been associated with shoegaze and you are considered to be within the ‘indie rock’ realm of sound. But do you think that the term ‘indie’ has become a bit too general and maybe somewhat damaging to artists with an original sound to be constantly put under that label? I think it’s quite hard to define ‘indie’ these days, it’s like anyonecould say they’re an indie band. I guess it’s like the term ‘punk’, you
can’t really say it’s a genre. It’s more how everything around the music is done. What are your ambitions regarding touring? Any festivals or venues that you really want to play? We really want to go touring some time soon! I would love to play in the U.S. and around Europe. I guess we’ll see what happens next! LAST FOREVER IS OUT NOW VIA RUN FOR COVER RECORDS
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NEU // VOL.13
NUDITY Where? Olympia (USA) Who? Dave Harvey, Stephie Crist, Rachel Carns, Abigail Ingram, Curtis James For fans of: Hawkwind, Captain Beyond, Angel Witch
t’s still fresh in our memory, the endless parade of hard ‘n’ heavy bands paying tribute to what was done and perfected decades ago in the 60s and 70s. Two years ago, there was an overflow of that going on and the problem with paying tribute to a certain era is that sometimes is just that... it doesn’t feel genuine. Fortunately, we still manage to find bands that are worth our time.
The Olympia-based quintet Nudity are one of those bands. Sure, it’s undeniable their deep connection with the hard ‘n’ heavy music of the past, but the output is undeniably genuine. The quintet – which contains members of a handful of other bands from their local scene, including Tight Bro’s From Way Back, Broken Water, Hysterics, The Need, Sex/Vid, etc. – released last April their debut full-length Astronomicon and managed to blow some fresh air to the scene with their mixture of hard rock, prog rock, psychedelic rock, krautrock and space rock. The band has been around for some time now, but finally things are taking off for them and Astronomicon is the perfect introduction of Nudity’s sound to the world.
BRIANA MARELA Where? Washington (USA) Who? Briana Marela For fans of: Lucy Rose, Shana Cleveland and the Sandcastles
orn and raised in Seattle but now living in Washington, Briana Marela is a singersongwriter that began writing music in early high school. “I started dreaming up melodies before I even picked up an instrument,” she said. But it wasn’t until Briana left home to attend college in Olympia that she turned her efforts toward music technology, audio production and composition and that was before
she started her music career. Briana combines everything she observes as a human being - from places, nature, the wilderness to the people around her. Her music is warm and lovely pop, and her lyrics are powerful and honest. Briana recently joined the roster at Jagjaguwar and she’s about to release her debut album, All Around Us, which was recorded in Iceland with Sigur Rós producer Alex Somers. Sigur Rós collaborators Amiina added strings to the album. The record is named after a children’s picture book and traces Briana’s transition between places, beginning just before she embarked on her first-ever tour in 2012. “My songs are my way to express feelings boldly that I could never speak aloud,” she explained.
NEU // VOL.13
HIGH TENSION Where? Melbourne (Australia) Who? Karina Utomo, Ash Pegram, Matt Weston, Damian Coward For fans of: Tragedy, His Hero His Gone, NoMeansNo
ustralia has been spitting awesome band after awesome band for quite a while now – Lo!, The Drones, Courtney Barnett, Ben Frost, Woods of Desolation, Portal, etc. One of the latest to come from down under (don’t be pretending to be too cool for Men At Work) are the hardcore quartet High Tension, which includes in its ranks ex-members of Young & Restless, The Nation Blue, Like Electrocution,
and Heirs (do yourself a favor and go listen to the masterpiece that’s Fowl). It all started with the huge debut single “High Risk Rewards” back in 2012. The success of the single was soon followed with an EP and their debut album. Three years later and they’re releasing their second album, Bully, and putting their name along with some of the best hardcore bands of today. It has everything that we could ask for: heavy doses of violence, solid song structures, a fair amount of melody, and a rawness that it’s too honest and real to be faked. Vocalist Karina Utomo is a fucking maniac and song after song we are drawn into a performance and presence out of this world. “Punk princess”? Sure, like Xena!
NEU // VOL.13
PALEHOUND Where? Boston (USA) Who? Ellen Kempner, Thom Lombardi, Ben Scherer, Max Kupperberg For fans of: Frankie Cosmos, Angel Olsen, Pavement
t was back in 2013 that Palehound was formed and the young songwriter-singer Ellen Kempner is the mastermind behind this band. She started playing guitar in elementary school and by age ten she was composing and performing her own originals. Being friends with Sadie Dupuis, frontwoman of Speedy Ortiz, also helped her on this new music journey. Shortly after, Ellen released the
debut EP called Bent Nail on Exploding in Sound. It showed how her laid-back indie-pop songs with Ellen’s versatile and sweet voice could bring much more in this kind of genre. But what once began as a one-woman acoustic project and has since evolved into a four-piece comprised by Thom Lombardi as bassist and backing vocals, Ben Scherer as guitarist and backing vocals, and finally Max Kupperberg on the drums. The great dynamic between them lead to a lot of live shows , that was followed with the release of the Kitchen 7”, the first recorded output from the full band. They expanded their sound even more and now they’re about to release their debut LP, Dry Food, on August 14 via Exploding in Sound.
It's been a decade since AUGUST BURNS RED first released an album and these guys don't mess around with their music. Every record, a new exciting approach. With their sixth album, the group parted ways with their former label and are now part of the Fearless Records family. Found in Far Away Places is bold and unpredictable. Guitarist JB talked to us about the band's career, label change and their latest album. Words by Andreia Alves // Picture by Jeremy Saffer
ou guys are about to release your new album and it’s been a decade since you released your debut album Thrill Seeker. How do you feel about that looking back to that record? I think if you asked me this question 10 years ago, I would say “No way that we would be putting out our six full-length this year and that we probably wouldn’t still be a band.” I feel very proud that we’re still around, still writing albums and that people still want to hear what we’re doing... When I listen to Thrill Seeker, which I don’t do very often these days, I feel like it’s a fine starting place for a young band. I hear a young band when I hear it [Thrill Seeker] who didn’t necessarily know exactly what they wanted to do yet and it’s certainly not my favorite music that August Burns Red have ever written, but it’s nostalgic and I’m proud of it. I’m proud that we were able to do it at such a young age. It’s a nice memory at this point. [laughs] You guys have changed of record label. You were for a long time with Solid State but now you’re part of Fearless Records. Some people were concerned that you would change your sound, but that’s not even the case. What led you to work with Fearless? First of all, our contract had expired with Solid State and we certainly considered signing with them as they’re good friends of ours and have done a great job with our past albums, but the possibility of looking for a different
label was exciting for us considering we really hadn’t that opportunity in nearly a decade. After talking to a lot of different labels, we decided to go with Fearless Records for numerous reasons. We had a close friend who was working in A&R department at Fearless who we trusted and had a great meeting with him and with some other people there. We liked how Fearless have some really popular bands who are bigger than us and that was kind of cool, because on Solid State wewere kind of the “big fish” there. We didn’t want to be the biggest band on a label, we wanted to be on a label that has bigger bands, more resources, more manpower and all those things, which Fearless did. And we also have some close friends on Fearless, like the band Blessthefall are good friends of ours. We have done a lot of touring with them and they had nothing but good things to say about everyone at Fearless. Their management said that Fearless was really good to work with, which they’re super professional, they have a lot of great ideas to bring to the table and we’re very pleased with the decision to work with them. Found In Far Away Places is your sixth album and as far as your creativity goes, you always surpass everyone’s expectations. How do you guys challenge yourselves to always come up with new and exciting stuff? Well, like you said, it is our sixth album so we are not content to just rewrite old albums over and over the exact style, that would be really boring for us as musicians. On our last couple of albums, we tried some different things, some sort of outside of the box things that you wouldn’t necessarily hear in traditional metal bands. Those
parts went over really well with our fans, which gave us the confidence to continue to push the envelope on parts like that. On Found In Far Away Places we figured that we were just gonna go for it and there are a few sections on the album that are probably the weirdest things we’ve ever done as a band. [laughs] But there are also some of our favorite parts and they add this surprise element to the album, especially the first time you hear it. There are parts that you’re just not expecting to hear and I
INTERVIEW // AUGUST BURNS RED progression and that’s a pattern that I like playing and it sounded very western. I just sort of said “You know what? expand on this and develop listening to this weird part and it fit with “Majoring In The Minors”, because that song is very linear and progressive to begin with. I think with more progressive metal stuff you have more of an opportunity to do weird things like the western section and it works with that style of songwriting. There’s a band called Between The Buried And Me, who I like a lot, and they do this sort of stuff regularly and I definitely take inspiration from that approach into metal music. I’m hoping that more bands who respect August Burns Red as a band will also draw inspiration from that. I think it will make some more exciting songs coming out of the metal genre, which can be pretty repetitive.
“... we figured that we were just gonna go for it and there are a few sections on the album that are probably the weirdest things we’ve ever done as a band.” think that makes them really memorable songs and a more enjoyable listening experience. On every song of the new record, there’s always an instrumental break where you explore a completely different music style. I want to highlight the track “Majoring In The Minors” where there is this western-themed bridge. What did lead you to add that kind of sonority? The western part came to be simply from stumbling upon us for
Paul Waggoner of Between The Buried And Me played the guitar solo for the track “Everlasting Ending”. How did that come to be? I was working on a solo of my own. It was the last section that we needed to write on the album and that was actually the last song written. I was jamming and trying to write something cool and it was definitely at the point of the writing process where I was feeling a little bit burned out and just kind of drained creatively. I was thinking to myself “It would be so cool if Paul was able to play a solo here because then not only I wouldn’t have to write this, but we could get a way cooler guitar solo on the album than what I would be able to come up with.” I sent him a text message and he agreed to do it. What you hear on the album is what he came up with and it’s way harder than anything that I could play and I’m worried about what I’m gonna do if we play that song live, because I can’t play what we wrote. [laughs] Regarding the writing sessions, do you guys keep the same formula or do you try to experiment and try new ways to come up with a riff or a lyric? I can only speak on the music side because I don’t contribute very much lyrically, but my songwriting process has always been the same since Thrill Seeker honestly. I sit down by myself, I have to be alone because I’m terrible at writing while people are listening to what
I’m doing, because I don’t come up with cool stuff out of thin air. It takes a long time for me to develop myself into a place where I’m happy with them and to build a song around these parts. I’ll come up with an idea and I’ll tab it out, in this very old midi tab program but it works well for me at this point. I’ll just build off the part that I have and built around it until I feel like I have a complete song, I guess. I send basically a mini demo to the rest of the band to get their opinion and for them to learn the parts, and for us to just put our heads together and make sure that everything is cool and that people don’t hate it. [laughs] I have to make sure that everyone is happy because I’m sure that the songs become better in the long run, which is putting our heads together. The track “Ghosts” features Jeremy McKinnon of A Day To Remember and he gives his personal touch to the song. How did that come about and how was it like working with him for this track? Jeremy has been an old friend of the band. We first hit the road with A Day To Remember in 2008 and have done quite a few tours with them since. Him being a friend made a lot easier to have him participate. Our singer Jake reached out him and Jake thought that Jeremy was the only singer to actually lend clean vocals to the album, since we don’t really do much singing. He reached out Jeremy and he was into the idea of doing a guest spot, so we sent him the song and the section that we wanted him to write to as well the lyrics for the song. We basically asked him to write his own lyrics for his part based on what the song was about. Jeremy is a good songwriter in the writing for A Day To Remember and we knew he would be great to come up with his own section. We’re really happy how it came out, it’s cool to have a clean singing section that’s unlike anything else on the album from a good friend who’s a really talented musician.
FOUND IN FAR AWAY PLACES IS OUT NOW VIA FEARLESS RECORDS
THE MAN AND THE MACHINE One of the most intriguing figures in industrial and drone music today,
AUTHOR & PUNISHER
is a strange beast. Tristan Shone, the project’s sole director and contributor, has been making harsh, unsettling and hypnotically beautiful compositions using an ever-growing arsenal of home-built ‘machines’ for over a decade and as he launches Melk En Honing, his fifth album and first for Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Records label, he took some time to chat about engineering, hecklers and the toils of the trade. Words by Dave Bowes
he title of the new album is Dutch for ‘Milk and Honey’, which is quite specific. Where did that come from? A lot of it has to do with several trips I took to the Netherlands to visit friends there in the techno and art worlds. In 2007 I went on a three-week tour, completely on the train with all my cases strapped to each other and then some of it on my back. So I was taking the train around the country to all these little clubs and festivals and up and down stairs – it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I really feel like it established what Author & Punisher meant for me in terms of workload and physicality. I always remembered that trip and the purity of the hard work was what milk and honey meant to me. It’s the first album that you’ve written using the masks that you built last year. Did you tailor the new material you were writing to the added sounds that the masks opened up for you? Being honest, the masks do not play a big component on the album compared to what they play in a live show. There is one device that is attached to my throat, a trachea mike, and that is used all the time. It allows me to control bass tones, ambient noise, all kinds of stuff, and that is strapped to my throat at all times. Only now, I have these throat polyps and pain going on because of it. The masks are used on two songs on the album. One of them, the mute mask, is more rhythmic. Then there’s the drone mask and the other, the dither mask, is more ‘screamy’. They’re noisier-making machines that I can use for the drone-out stuff that I do live. On the album, with Phil, we decided that we were going to do less of a noise album and do more structured songs. That structuring plays such a huge part on this album – it’s a very layered record. Will this pose any problems when it comes to performing the material from it live? Other than the vocal harmonies, which were done on a separate track, everything was played live. I’ve been touring with it already, but there’s maybe one song on the album, where the harmonies are so prevalent, that I’ve been trying to figure out how to do. I may just bring another person along to sing them, or get a vocal harmoniser effect. I’ll work something out. Have you recorded any of your other albums live? No, this is the first time I’ve ever recorded in a studio, doing takes and trying each part. Usually, I do it with MIDI – record to a click track, then go through it and fix it. It’s still played live and I’ll keep things, tweak them, but this time I didn’t even touch the mixer the whole time. I played, they recorded. musicandriotsmagazine.com
Did the writing of these songs take longer to come together? Yeah - I didn’t even plan on doing this album. Last summer, I was planning on building whole new machines, but I didn’t have the money. It was going to cost me 15 grand to build new instruments and I really didn’t want to go into debt. I had a small window to go and work with Phil on a new album so I spent the whole summer writing. I didn’t really tour from May through October; I basically just sat in my studio with all the old machines I’d worked with and I added on the newer machines and the masks. There were two songs that were written entirely in the studio as we threw out a couple of the more mask-based noise tracks that I had, but they will probably be released later this year on a separate 10” or something. It’s a very strong album, melodically, which has been becoming steadily more apparent over the past few albums. Have you become more open in terms of influences or had you always intended to develop in this way? A lot of people haven’t heard the first two albums that I did – I think Drone Machines was the first one that really got out there – but The Painted Army and the Warcry EP are much more guitar-based, with sequenced drums and keyboards. They were very much like this album. I think, if anything, the lack of vocals and melodic structure was more of an experiment with the machines. Now that I’m learning to play the machines better I don’t have to make so much drone and experimental noise. What was it that you found so restrictive about the use of traditional instruments? We used to use bass and guitar, but now I have two synths – basically just MIDI controller keyboards on a custom rack so that I can play both together – but I mostly do piano. The guitar just doesn’t work with this current setup because I can’t just do it with one hand, so that’s not gonna happen. I think it’s also just a bit of stubbornness on my part not to include the guitar. I don’t have anything against it, but I just want to move on. How did you get involved with Phil and Housecore, and how are you enjoying your time on the label thus far? He spends his whole entire day 34
getting sent stuff from friends or on the internet looking at music and listening to all sorts of weird stuff. He has a stage manager who saw me at a show in Manchester and checked it out for Phil, and told me Phil would get in touch about maybe touring with The Illegals, and it just went from there. We clicked on tour – he’s very social and doesn’t like to separate himself, just wants to drink beer and hang out – and he said “Let’s do an album.” That was it, and they’ve been great. They had me come over to their house for three weeks to record, eat breakfast, dinner; it’s just like hanging out at your friend’s house. How did the crowds receive you on that tour? You can be an odd proposition for the unprepared. None of them had heard of me so I wouldn’t say it was great, especially when I was the opener. When I was direct support, I maybe had a few more people in the room. There were some hecklers, but you can kind of tell from merch sales how things are going. Even now, when I play to crowds that are there specifically to see me, if I play new material everyone just stands there staring at me the whole time. At the end there’s a good response, but I think a lot of the time, people are just trying to figure out what’s going on. The artwork for the album came from Russell McEwan (ex-Black Sun), who I know has been a big fan of yours for a long time. How did that collaboration end up happening? We got in touch online a long time ago, as he’s a fan of a lot of similar music that I am into. I saw a lot of the artwork that he’s posting over the past few years and he was originally going to do a t-shirt for me, but I was having some trouble doing the artwork for the new album. I had tried a number of different options and they just didn’t have the feel that I wanted so I wrote to Russell, we talked about a few things and it worked out. I hope that if we make it over there next year we can do a live crossover with one of his projects. You originally come from an engineering background, but then moved on to art and sculpture. Given that you come from both worlds, do you find any distinctions between the artistic mindset and an engineering mindset?
Absolutely. I have to say I think I have much more of an artist’s mindset. With engineers, things need to be made perfectly. It’s incredibly anal and it detracts from the creativity. You’re so obsessed with rules and that drove me crazy. I left engineering back in 2004 because I couldn’t deal with what it was doing to me as a person - the repetition, the fact that you had to be so on-point and could never stray away or do something irrational. That’s what I love about art and what I love about the application of it that I’ve been able to apply my skills to. There has to be something a little crazy or a little strange about art and they just don’t have that in engineering. You’re currently back doing engineering work alongside your work in Author & Punisher. What made you decide to head back in this direction rather than working solely on the music? I work for a research lab at the University of California, San Diego, working in a lab that looks at cancer – we have a bunch of electron microscopes and I do some engineering on the microscopes. I worked in industry after engineering school, back in 2000, but academia is a nice, happy medium. After getting out of art school, I had the chance to work on the sculpture that became my art practice and my music, but I couldn’t tour to the extent that I do now. I needed a job and I didn’t want to teach art, and that’s what most people end up doing; I couldn’t sell my art, so the engineering skills come in handy. How do you find the balance of touring and working? It’s difficult and I’m lucky that I work at the university because they give the freedom to work down to about 50% at my job and still keep the benefits of my job. I’m able to tour about 4 months out of the year. Most engineering jobs wouldn’t allow you to do that, so in some ways I’m stuck here because of the flexibility. I have a good relationship with the people I work with, they follow me and they like the music. Your live shows are very immersive, very physical. Is that something that takes its toll, physically? When I tour in Europe, it’s
INTERVIEW // AUTHOR & PUNISHER
“I have to say I think I have much more of an artist’s mindset. With engineers, things need to be made perfectly. It’s incredibly anal and it detracts from the creativity. You’re so obsessed with rules and that drove me crazy.”
basically Author & Punisher lite. I have the stuff that I can take affordably on the aeroplane, but that’s not my preferred setup. It is a lot easier except that I have a long way to go over there to get the fanbase to be the same as it is in the US, but the US is very difficult for touring. I used to do it myself, but now if I’m doing longer tours, I have to bring people with me because it’s too hard on my body. With this tour, in September, I’ll maybe have 2-3 people – video, lights, sound guy and someone to just carry stuff and drive.
Given the bulk of some of your machines, are you finding now that transportability is more of a concern when you are designing new ones? Absolutely. The first things that I made were very heavy and after a few trips I found that I definitely couldn’t go to Europe and I couldn’t get them up the stairs easily, so I designed the machines and the case to be under 75lb. It was interesting for me because I don’t like working in plastic, but if you set yourself some constraints, you can get pretty creative.
Has having a visual component always been a plan for the live shows? The video was something that I didn’t plan on. I always thought my gear and the performance was enough of a visual experience for people but, at the same time, I’ve had this gear for a while and I’m only one person on stage. I think having video adds to the mood. We have a guy who takes my entire setup, plugs all of the outputs into his own video setup, and everything is reactive to the pitch and the intensity. It’s not like we’re pressing play on a movie; he’s also performing live at the same time, which I think is important.
Your machines are almost entirely metal. Your background is in metalwork, but is there an aesthetic component to your choice of materials? I think it’s more the feel. The aesthetics are obviously industrial - I don’t paint them, I just leave them as metal. There are certain things, like when I’m designing something that moves I have to give it a chain to hold the wires, that give it an aesthetic, but I really try not to overdo that, like in a steampunk way. As for plastic... if you tap a screw into plastic, it eventually comes loose. If you tap it into aluminium and anodise it, it stays nice and tight. I like metal.
You’ve done some performances in the past in non-traditional venues in the past, such as art galleries. How do shows like that compare with a more traditional, ‘metal’ crowd? I don’t really do anything different with my performance. It’s maybe slightly more droney, but I don’t like the idea that rock music can’t work in the gallery. It works really well, and in many ways I prefer playing places like art schools or galleries because the sound isn’t as good. I think people expect that and sometimes playing through small, shitty speakers can sound so much more brutal than playing through a big, clean system, and the all-white walls can make the projections really cool. You can set up a few different projectors. I sometimes find those shows to be so much more aggressive. People are moshing, girls are taking their shirts off – it’s just way more punk rock.
MELK EN HONING IS OUT NOW VIA HOUSECORE RECORDS
FUTURE DEATH is Alton Jenkins (drums), Jeremy Humphries (bass), Angie Kang (vocals), and Bill Kenny (guitar), a frenetic, experimental, punk, weird, noisy, and pop band based in Austin, Texas. Last year they impressed a bunch of nice people with their debut album, Special Victim. The successor of the impressive debut full-length arrives with a brand new EP, entitled Cryptids. It was about this new EP that we talked with the band.
“... with time I ap more, but it’s one when you are i it’s hard to sepa it and think abou point a
Words by Tiago Moreira
s far I know you guys live in Austin, but you are not originally from Austin. How did you meet and how did Future Death come to be? Bill: The internet. Angie: Yeah, they put out a post online and I responded to it. Alton: Yeah, Angie found us on a post and Bill found me through YouTube. He founded a buddy of mine that had posted a video and then we got in contact. I already knew Jeremy. This new EP seems to experiment more with the sound of the band. 36
Was it a thought out intention before starting the writing process? Alton: There’s not a whole lot of thought. Bill and I just kind of go and just vibe of each other. We’ll put our phones out and press record and just kind of start jamming. We’ll find moments that feel good and then it will come together and we’ll end up demoing and bringing the demos to Angie and then she basically brings the songs to life with the vocals. So, we write the instruments and then she basically brings the blood and the heart to the music. I remember reading that Special Victim was recorded in only four days. How was it with this new EP? Alton: We decided now that we want to take more time. We were in a particular situation, we did the LP and we were on
a deadline and luckily we were ready to make it done, but now we want take out time and really refine the sound a little bit more in the studio. We’re still on the studio working on some more stuff and hopefully we will make some more announcements later in the year. Did you feel more comfortable working with more time on your hands? Alton: Definitely. I think so… I mean, it depends. When we were crushed with time it’s like you have to get it done and so you get it done but, at least from me, it has been pretty cool to have more time to experiment and work it out. We’re still creating a window time for ourselves because I’m sure we could spin forever if we want it to. But it’s definitely nice to spend more time mixing and that kind of stuff.
INTERVIEW // FUTURE DEATH instrumentals and stuff like that. That was the intention. I don’t know if that’s how it comes off. I saw recently the video for “Basements”. How involved were you on creating the concept for it? Angie: We actually weren’t very involved at all. We gave the concept to the guy who did the video, Eugene, and he kind just ran with it. He would throw at me an idea and I would be like, “Yeah, let’s do that.” I know that you’re already planning to make more videos. Is it something that you guys want to explore, as much as possible, in the future? Angie: Yeah, but it’s really time consuming so it’s just a matter of finding time to do them.
ppreciate our music e of those things that in the middle of it, arate yourself from ut it from a different a view...” Alton Jenkins
I would like to talk about “Creeper”… I can’t help thinking that it is one of the most important elements on Cryptids, a kind of centerpiece if that makes any sense. What’s your take on it? Bill: It’s kind of just like keyboards and little drum machines. I don’t know, I guess I was more excited by the fact that it kind of sounded kind of shitty, recording wise, which when we started to put this one together we talked about having those kind of elements. Some lower fidelity and obviously there’s a lot of samples and cut-up stuff that kind of ties tracks together. It’s kind of a point from the book of these powerviolence bands of when I was younger. The records would jump from this obviously really frenetic, crazy blastbeats and stuff. And then we kind of throw these almost kind of RZA (Wu-Tang Clan) inspired little
Ok, the cover of this new EP. Can you walk us through the concept behind it? Alton: The guy on the cover is a friend of mine named Matt. We were trying to decide on an album art and I just thought it was a really awesome looking picture, and being that the album is named Cryptids we kind of thought of these two heads with this thing connecting them in the middle kind of represented, in some sort of way, a really odd creature type thing. [laughs] But also for us, we feel a need to desensitize kind of like the visual of two men kissing or anything that kind of represents something like that, for that type of imagery. Angie: I always see it as a black tongue and not a piece of tappy. [laughs] Bill: It’s something about the image that’s obviously provocative. It’s kind of linking in this like mutated sense and it’s also kind of intimate. Angie: It’s like an innocent intimacy, which is what I like about it. But you know that people will be upset by it. [laughs] Does your perception about your music changes with time? Alton: Definitely with time I appreciate our music more, but it’s one of those things that when you are in the middle of it, it’s hard to separate yourself from it and think about it from a different point a view, I guess. But yeah, it evolves. My thoughts about it evolve, especially when it comes to play live shows. There are some songs that I get tired of playing it
live and later I want to play those songs again... It does definitely evolve, like the emotional connection to some of these songs. It does change, but I can always recall what emotion each song kind of derived from. Do you find yourself rediscovering old songs? I mean, finding elements that you haven’t noticed in the past? Alton: Definitely. Like I said, more so when we play songs. Just recently we started to play some of the songs of the songs from our first EP [self-titled], we decided to play those again live and I’m definitely noticing more things about it and I’m able to kind of be part of the song more when we play it live than before. Because it’s much easier to play them now. How’s the local scene in Austin like? Bill: The Austin scene is nice. It stays busy all the time, and I think right now there’s a lot more experimental, punk bands, and electronic bands coming out. I guess that scene has kind of been lacking over the past few years. I like it here, but I think we all prefer to spend more time on tour than in just one place. Angie: We get booked regularly, which is nice. I don’t feel that we go too long without playing a show in Austin. Our shows have been getting better too, I think. How did your music end up on the film Night of the Babysitter? Anton: A friend of mine is an actress and she actually put together this movie – the production, the funding, and everything for this movie with her buddy Louis [Edward Doerge, director and writer of the film]. She’s a friend of mine and she loves our music and she asked us to come up to Iowa and do a scene in the movie. So, we went up to Iowa and played a local show there and we also did like a party scene where we’re playing “Familiar Tremors” [off the new EP] during a particular scene on the movie.
CRYPTIDS EP IS OUT NOW VIA BLOODMOSS RECORDS
N U P T A H W G IN P A H S L IL ST
If you somehow managed to overlook the Philadelphia based punk rock band after their masterpiece On the Impossible Past, for sure you couldn’t do it after new record Rented World, and especially hilarous music video for "I Don’t Wanna Be an Asshole Anymore". The Menzingers have always been highly rated amongst punk rock fans with a little bit sofisticated taste, but now they finaly made their breakthrough to wider audiences. Maybe even in a way themselves didn’t expect. There were so many questions, so we couldn’t do anything else, but to catch up with singer/guitarist Tom May, and try to get a few answers. Words by Miljan Milekić // Pictures by Jessica Flynn
RSOULD SOUND NOWADAYS
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ey! We have to start somewhere, so... Have you been working on not being assholes anymore? How’s that going for you? Short answer: I think so. Long answer: We’ve grown up in a time of incredible and unprecedented change. Things move so incredibly fast technologically, socially and culturally that it’s nauseating. Our personal lives and world views have also been a whirlwind of mindchanging and eye-opening events and moods. One of the few true consistencies that has remained from the 14-year-old “man fuck the cops school is stupid UGH” to the 23-year-old “know what would be cool right about now? a job” to the 29-year-old “is humanity and my existence merely some kind of flash in the pan joke bound by the lowest dimensions and doomed to repeat over and over across infinite parallel universes?” has been that kindness and empathy seem to be the only real path to a calm, happy and sustainable mental and physical existence. So yeah. Rented World - I think it’s fair to say that this album has slightly different approach than your previous records. It feels a bit more positive and upbeat. Where did that change come from? I would not call the record more positive and upbeat than our previous records. I feel it’s slower and takes up more space. That’s one of the beautiful parts of music though. We all get to interpret it differently. We strive for each album to have a different approach than previous albums. The record sounds bigger and is a bit more produced than our previous records. This came from working in a new studio and actually having some nice guitars and such. Can you tell me more about the record? The process of making, and more importantly the inspiration for it? A lot of the inspiration of the record came from the positions of our lives. On our last record (OTIP), we were standing at the edge of our adolescence completely unsure of our futures and pasts. For
Rented World we had been touring non-stop since OTIP had come out and had experienced so much more of the world with all of its rewards and punishments. We were older and were inspired to explore our music and minds further. We stepped out of what we were used to.
while we were on a quick trip to Australia. We got back and saw the video and were so astounded by how cool and funny it is. My best friend’s old boss actually played Jason. Did you mean to finish this sentence? I really doubt they hit a doll with a truck for that scene. It was probably computer generated.
On the Impossible Past was, by many critics and fans, labeled as a masterpiece, and pretty much everyone agrees about that album being an amazing piece of music. Have you felt any pressure of expectations after that kind of reaction? We’ve been around long enough to see the ups and downs of older bands. We’ve seen bands go from bus to van to bus, bands go from van to bus in a few months, bands grow to hate each other, bands that stay together in an unbreakable bond for decades, and we’ve seen fans come and go. Only a fool wouldn’t acknowledge the fact that if people hate a record, you’re temporarily screwed. Just as in every avenue of life - worrying is like praying for something bad to happen. The big danger of fearing the reception of a record is that the fear can color and poison the song while it’s being written, leaving you with some lame contrived bullshit you merely think people will like. You just have to not give a fuck which is difficult when you’re in certain headspace, but pretty fucking easy most of the time.
So, who’s your favorite horror movie character? My favorite horror movie character has fluctuated over the years. At first it was Michael Myers because he was so clean and untouchable and his personality is just a lack of one. He is pure evil incarnate. Now, out of the traditional characters I would have to pick Freddy because he invades your mind and preys upon your deepest fears. My favorite horror movie of all time is Kill List. It’s a British film from a few years ago. If you plan on watching it stop reading - but basically it’s about a man who is forced to become the evil killer with the use of various circumstances and it’s so dark and incredible. So scary.
Was Rented World some kind of purposeful escape from your previous record? Have you tried to loosen the pressure by doing something different, or did you just want to try something new? No, that would be looking into it too hard. We wrote the record we wanted to for the reason we write records - it feels incredible and it’s the most rewarding experience around. “I Don’t Wanna Be an Asshole Anymore” has a video that raised a few eyebrows, and it gives us a few questions that just have to be asked. I guess it was really fun recording it. Who’s behind the idea? How far did the doll fly after being hit by a truck? That video is one of the coolest things that has ever been put out by our band and we had nothing to do with it. It was thought up, written and directed by Whitey McConnaughy in Portland, Oregon
By seeing your videos, artwork, and photos, it’s hard not to see that you guys are fans of vintage cars, vinyl and movies. Do you sometimes think you live in the wrong time, or you want to recall some other periods through your music? While Greg does sing about a friend’s muscle car, we aren’t actually into vintage cars. We do love movies and listening to a record on vinyl can really be a wonderful experience. I don’t think I live in the wrong time, but it’s certainly fun to fantasize about living in a previous time romanticized by the books we read and movies we see. Imagine waking up day-to-day, putting on a suit and drinking coffee on the corner just emitting suave and class. We have written about the WWII era and being a soldier. For me it was a fantasy I had as a younger man. It was so heavily romanticized in books and movies as well as songs and TV series. It would be an outlet to prove to yourself and the world that you’re a man. As a young man often times you’re full of misplaced and newfound aggression and anger. Who wouldn’t want to blow up a bunch of Nazis!? The pure embodiment of evil! Of course, at the time, joining the army to fight in the Middle East was absurd. Lies brought us there, that’s hardly just. An unidentifiable enemy? Too weird. I’ve since
INTERVIEW // THE MENZINGERS
“We’ve seen bands go from bus to van to bus, bands go from van to bus in a few months, bands grow to hate each other, bands that stay together in an unbreakable bond for decades, and we’ve seen fans come and go. Only a fool wouldn’t acknowledge the fact that if people hate a record, you’re temporarily screwed.”
come to realize that the thought of murdering some other guy my age whom I had never met because some old rich guy told us to do it to each other is ridiculous and absurd in any light you want to put it in. How much of an influence do the movies and books have on The Menzingers as a band, and you as a person? We are creating music, and the emotions we are trying to convey we also explore in movies and books and other music. We carry all of these things with us as we grow. Some we remember and some we forget and some find their way into our music. You come from Philadelphia, a city that is not so famous for punk rock bands, but yet, in a last few years we got you, The Holy Mess, Modern Baseball. Noisey even made an article about Phily and its punk scene. How would you explain that? Actually there have been a lot of punk rock bands from Philadelphia. There has been a huge punk and hardcore scene here for a very long time with a lot of incredible bands. I think the newer DIY scene, the one Noisey referred to in their
article, comes from the unique socio-economic and geographic position Philadelphia has found itself in for the past couple of years. After 2008 (and before, but especially after) living in New York became the pursuit of only the most ambitious or wealthy of transplants. Philadelphia is an affordable place to live and it’s only 1-3 hours from New York City, Baltimore, Washington DC, Richmond, a few more to Boston and Pittsburgh and Toronto and you can do Chicago in an ambitious weekend. You can play one-off shows everywhere. Philadelphia is also a city where the vast majority of the Punx (and the bands and DIY/ Non-DIY venues) are all clustered completely on top of each other in a few neighborhoods of the city close to downtown. Everyone hanging out together and the fact that cops and neighbors allow house shows has created a boom. It’s fantastic. The Menzingers fit into the category of “hard touring bands“. You have been touring a lot during the years, are there any places you especially love? I love everywhere we tour. We have friends all over the place. Right now I am excited to make
it back to Manchester to hang out with my friends. One of the tours I am interested in is the one with Taking Back Sunday and letlive. How was it to be on tour with those guys? Was it weird to play with two bands with a completely different style to yours? Nah, it wasn’t weird. I look at it like this: We are all a bunch of Americans in rock/punk bands playing loud music together on a tour in 2015. We have similar backgrounds and we all know the same people. We listen to each other’s music. It seems to me the pigeon-holing is left up to journalists, musicians and people that comment on Youtube videos! What will you be up to in the future? Can we expect any new material soon? Maybe an acoustic record? Always writing! You’ll be hearing from us before you know it. RENTED WORLD IS OUT NOW VIA EPITAPH. CATCH THE BAND ON TOUR, THEY’LL BE OVER THE UK AND EUROPE, WITH TWO ALREADY SOLD OUT SHOWS WITH OFFSPRING.
MATES OF STATE are Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel. It's been a long time since the husband-and-wife duo formed this band and it's damn impressive how they are still going strong - a life inspiration for everyone I might say. After releasing several EPs and albums, the duo has now the goal to release EPs with only the best of the best songs and the result is the EP You're Going To Make It. We talked with Jason about a little bit of everything. Words by Andreia Alves // Picture by Shervin Lainez
fter 7 albums, 3 EPs and a lot of live performances, you are still going strong and it must be a great thing to do what you love with the one you love right by your side. What’s the best and worst about making art together? Lately I’ve been really liking performing the new songs, because we’re kind of doing something differently. In the past, I only played the drums pretty much 99% of the time and Kori would play keyboards 99% of the time. With the new songs we’re kind of switching the instruments a little bit more, we’re focusing on the vocal performances sometimes and playing with some backing tracks and the sort of thing. We’re just kind of focusing more on the performance rather than just sitting behind the instruments and bashing up the songs as they were recorded. That’s been really fun. I guess just in general, I kind of like how the cycle of isolation of writing versus the fully social aspect of performing and it’s kind of two different sides of the coin and bounce between the two I think it covers all the basis. Sometimes you wanna be alone and just create; other times you wanna connect with people and get out there and show them what you’ve created. You guys are together for quite a while now. What do you think has evolved more since you’ve started the band? I think we just try to be better songwriters... I mean, that’s the goal. I think another thing is, the 42
longer you’ve been making art, the more you start to see how there are different chapters in your career and sort of put those chapters into perspective and seeing them as a whole body of work. I think when you’re young, you’re just like “Ok, this is cool and fun! Let’s just do this” and then after a while “If we don’t do that and that’s successful, now what’s the next thing we’ll gonna do? What is your special ingredient to keep going strong and make things refreshing within your band and your relationship? I think we’re just persistent, but most people give up like when you create something and it’s not received well and nobody cares about it, a lot of people are like “Well, I guess we’re done. Yeah, that was that... That was fun.” but for us we’re like “Oh that didn’t work, but let’s try something else and see if that works.” I think we’re just tenacious and persistent, but we’re not afraid to get our hands dirty too. We’re not afraid to work. You’re Going To Make It is your new EP and it’s been a while since you release an EP. These five new songs deal with youthful love tangled with nostalgia and you also talk about technology nowadays. What did inspire you to write these songs? To do a full-length album takes a lot of time, at least for us, because you write a batch of songs and then you take the best ones. Since Mountaintops came out, we wrote like 20 or 30 songs and also we wrote a soundtrack to a movie that we acted in and we did the score. So, we wrote a full-length
soundtrack and then we wrote a bunch of Mates of State songs. We started to realize that we’re kind of getting tired of the full-length format and realizing that nobody is even buying those. Nobody even cares about that. You put out 12 to 15 songs, people listen to them one time through to pick up the best two or three songs and those are the ones they listen to. The long album is kind of dead in a way. People don’t care about that format, they just want the best songs and so we started to think about it and we realized “Why don’t we just take the best songs out of the last songs we wrote and just release those?” We started to think about it “Every 2/3 years we release a full-length, why don’t we just every year and year and half release five of the best songs?” And we don’t have to think of it as a big concept or such task to fill out a cohesive full-length, plus you’re giving people what they really want - they just want to hear good songs. We decided to focus on doing five amazing hit-songs on the EP year and a year and a half rather than trying to make a full-length where people care about three or
INTERVIEW // MATES OF STATE
“... we’re just tenacious and persistent, but we’re not afraid to get our hands dirty too. We’re not afraid to work.” four songs and the rest they just skip right pass, you know? I think it’s more of a sign of time and sort of what we’re feeling about what we felt like doing too. When we’re recording full-lengths, we get really excited about half of the songs and the other ones we just get them down to fill up the full-length record. Over all these years, how is it your approach regarding the writing process? The writing process for us is different every time and that’s sort of a critical element to our band, you know? Otherwise, you get bored. For this new EP, it was a very different approach for us and it took us a little time to get comfortable with that approach and a lot of it we did was deconstructed the songs sometimes just talking them through like sitting and making a beat on a computer and then Kori playing the keyboard part to that beat for a while, and then discussing it. A lot more discussion into writing a song, which before we used to be like I would just sit behind the drums and Kori would sit behind the keyboard
and we would just jam out our parts until we came up with something that we liked and then we would come up with another part and sort of fit those two pieces together. But with this one, we sort of analyzed a little bit more and it took us a while to get comfortable with that, but once we did it was a great pleasure. Besides the new EP and touring, you were part of the movie The Rumperbutts, written and directed by Marc Brener, where you acted in it and composed the score for it. What can you tell us about that? We’ve always wanted to make a movie, we’ve always been interested in film and we’ve made dozen of music videos that have been kind of narrative in many forms. Marc Brener contacted us because we’d done some music for a short film that he made and he was interested in kind of doing a Mates of State story. We sort of talked about doing that, but that just wasn’t advancing and I think in a lot of ways it was just because the Mates of State story was only half way through. He kind of started to come up with some
other story of The Rumperbutts, which is this couple that plays music together - and that’s great because Kori and I play music together - and they’re doing pretty well with their original music and they get a lucrative offer to do children’s music. They take it and they kind of sellouts in a way. The kids characters are called rumperbutts and that’s the title of the movie. The opening scence is them in these ridiculous rumperbutts costumes and they’re about to go on stage, and behind the curtain they get in a huge fight and they decide to get a divorce. As the curtains open, all these kids are screaming “rumperbutts”. They realize they’re miserable and they got to get out of this thing. They soldout for the money, but it was the wrong thing to do. So, they meet this guy whose character is called Richie and it’s actor Josh Brener who’s in. He’s pretty famous in the US and he’s in the HBO show called Silicon Valley and he was in the movie The Internship. In the movie, we meet him and he kind of set us on the right path to getting back to making music that we really love, so the whole movie is them sort of reliving it and then fixing the situation to get back to doing the music that they really love and not just for the money. What about the soundtrack for this movie? There’s actually ten songs in the movie and those are all songs that we wrote for the movie, so they’re very fanned out for what’s happening in the movie and that’s the soundtrack too. We recorded and mixed them and that’s what will be on the soundtrack. I think there’s twelve songs on it. Those are kind of new Mates of State songs as well. Any new movies that you’ve seen recently? I liked Whiplash and Birdman. Actually, I thought that last year was a good year for films. I haven’t seen Ex Machina, but I’m really looking forward to see it. I love the director and I love everything that he has done.
YOU’RE GOING TO MAKE IT EP IS OUT NOW VIA FIERCE PANDA
N E E T E K I L S L E E F
T I R I P NS ALL OVER AGAIN...
In terms of heavy rock, especially the alternative heavy rock from the 90’s, Bully has been one of the most talked about acts, because of how vigorous, contagious, brutally honest, and energetic the Nashvillebased quartet sounds like. It was about their debut album, “Feels Like”, that we talked with guitarist/singer/ producer/engineer Alicia Bognanno, who had a chance of intern at producer/ engineer Steve Albini’s own studio, Electrical Audio. Words by Tiago Moreira // Pictures by Pooneh Ghana
Copeland was the main write for it and he’s a drummer now [for Bully] and I was writing him stuff and I said, “Hey, I want to do this and I want to play this.” He was like, “You should start your own band and I would play drums for it.” How was it to intern at Electrical Audio and learn from Steve Albini? It was great. Electrical Audio is a great studio, well equipped and put together, and everybody there is really smart and professional, so it’s a great place to learn.
ow was your relation with music growing up? Well, I didn’t really come from a musical family and I didn’t really play a lot of music growing up, but I wanted to sing for as long as I can remember. So, when I was growing up I would just write little melodies and stuff to work on, and that’s kind of what I did until I was introduced to the engineering side of it. When did you start singing for other people? Not until I was in college because that was just the first time I was around people that were in bands and that were playing instruments. It was kind of the first time I had the opportunity. Was the keyboard your first instrument? Not really. I played a little bit, but I wouldn’t even call myself a keyboard player. I was really bad at it. I guess I did a little tiny bit but... But it came first and then the guitar, right? When did you start playing guitar? Yeah, right. I had roommates and there was a band that would practice at my house and they would leave their instruments over there, when I was starting college, and that was kind of the first time that I started playing. Was that band King Arthur? Yes. So, you played in King Arthur. What made you quit the band? It just stopped as a band. Stewart 46
Are you still working as a recording engineer at Nashville studio Battle Tapes? Just for Bully stuff. Since we’ve been kind of on the road since September... I don’t have really time for it. What’s your relation with music as a listener and fan? I guess it must be a little bit different since you work with it on a regular basis, whether with Bully or working on other people’s records. Well, I try to keep up and listen to new bands. I really love the new METZ record, I like Protomartyr, I like Speedy Ortiz... But yeah, every once and a while I just need a break from making records, it’s just good to step back. But I still find myself listening to music in the van every day. [laughs] Does the title Feels Like work like the title for the opening song “I Remember”? I mean, in a sense that it can be a bunch of different things. I kind of picked the title just because overall the record is packed with a bunch of different emotions and about kind of different feelings going through it, and I just felt like it was a really appropriated title and it kind of suited the record. I just think it makes sense. Your lyrics tend to be quite brutally honest and direct. Was it always like that? No, I don’t think so. I think it was just something I did on this record. I’m trying to become a better writer in general and I think that was just something focusing on, being honest, because it was a way from me really understand what I was writing about and make sure I knew what I was writing about, and I wasn’t just drawing words on a page.
Does it make you look at life and its complexity in a more practical way? Yeah, I guess so. On “Reason” you say “I’m not that social anyway”, and I was wondering what it was like for you touring, an activity that involves much contact with other people. I think that in high school I was really social and I loved to be around people, but once I kind of started into college and really figuring out what I wanted, and became more passioned about engineering and writing music... Yeah, maybe it got a little bit harder to connect with people and when I’m home, after being on the road all the time, I kind of like to go to bed at 10pm and get up at 7am, and I’ll go out once in a while to kind of see everybody that I haven’t seen for a while, but in general I just have like a couple of close friends and that’s kind of it. I’ve got to ask, how did you break your sister’s arm? [laughs] Oh, she was riding a bike down in our driveway and there was a string attached which I stepped on it and the bike fell over... and she broke her arm. [laughs] I have three siblings so if you can imagine four little kids just playing and messing around in the yard... with strings attached to all these different toys. [laughs] Who are the jerks that you talk about on that song? Well, people in general who don’t really see kind people for who they are and can be judgmental and can treat people poorly without thinking even twice about it. It hurts my feelings just thinking that someone would ever treat... someone like my little sister, who was just like a saint, in any sort of way other than be nice and respectful. It really bumps me out. On that song you talk about something [the bike accident] that have happened 20 years ago. Writing about it... does it feel therapeutic? Yeah, it’s definitely therapeutic. That’s why I like to talk about situation that have actually happened in real life, and obviously I’m a pretty sensitive person because that’s why I haven’t been able to let that go
INTERVIEW // BULLY
“... if people want to judge then they can but... It’s true and I would rather write something that is honest than something that is fake.” after 20 years and still feel guilty about it. Weren’t you afraid of writing such honest and personal stories? I was at first, but then I just kind of realized that... I mean, everybody usually goes through the same stuff I wrote about. And if people want to judge then they can but... It’s true and I would rather write something that is honest than something that is fake. They can just take it how they want to take it. Bully’s name is frequently associated with the Seattle’s alternative rock scene. Would it be fair to say that some of those bands have indeed influenced you but more in terms of lyrics, that brutal honesty that we talked about? I don’t think that scene necessarily influenced me lyrically. I would say Liz Phair and Exile in Guyville (album) like that kind of honesty
has definitely influenced me. It takes a lot of guts for her to write songs like she did at the time that she wrote them, and I think that’s really admirable. I really respect that. Why did you decide to include four of the five songs on Bully’s debut EP on this new album? Because pretty much once the album is released that EP has to go away forever and kind of disappear and there were a lot of songs that I wasn’t ready to just be gone I felt they deserved to be on the fulllength. How both Chicago and Nashville did influenced writing these first batch of songs? I don’t know. Chicago definitely influenced me because I was alone and I think I work best when I’m alone. I wouldn’t say Nashville... I mean, I’ve only been in Nashville for about three years, I’m not
from there. I guess it probably influenced me with my work ethic because everybody works really hard there. Maybe influenced us to practice a lot because there are a lot of good musicians in Nashville and we don’t want to embarrass ourselves. Do you consider the possibility of working with a producer – not an engineer – in the future on a Bully’s album? No, not now. I don’t really feel the need to. I want to give myself a chance first and give the band the chance before I bring someone else in to kind of tell us what to do.
FEELS LIKE IS OUT NOW VIA COLUMBIA
Challenging themselves every time they write a record, We Came As Romans went through an intense and productive process with David Bendeth to come up with the best songs for their self-titled record. Vocalist David Stephens talked us through the whole writing process, inspirations and a lot more. Words by Andreia Alves // Pictures by Douglas Sonders
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THEIR NATURAL NEXT STEP...
t’s been a while since you released your previous album, Tracing Back Roots. What did you guys take from it to carry to the next record? We’ve noticed that the melody that we had on Tracing Back Roots went over so well with our fans and it was our most successful record to date. Whatever influence stuff to take other stuff into that direction and explore a little bit more creative. I think we really got a lot better at writing melodically as well on this record. What does challenge you the most while writing songs? On this record, we had to write about 35 songs in order to get to 10 [songs] that we thought were great enough. That was really challenging and learning how to write a song in the right way was really difficult too, and we tried to write songs in different ways to just to push ourselves. I think the biggest challenge was to make sure that this record was better than our last and showing that we became better musicians and songwriters, and showing people that we progressed as a band. I read that writing the new record with David [Bendeth] was a very intense process. So, what can you tell us about that? What was awesome was we actually had a long time off just to write the record. We never had time off writing. It has always been written in the studio as we were tracking them or on the road in the back of a bus. This record was awesome, because we actually took a lot of time off to write it. It was cool because while we were writing it, we were travelling to different cities and that was also really different. In every city was a different vibe and different songs came from each different city and that was really different as well. We wrote all the heavy songs in Detroit. We wrote a couple of alternative songs in New York. We wrote a couple of really epic kind of sounding big rock songs in Los Angeles. It was cool to just travel around, writing these different styles and just really pushing ourselves. 50
It seemed that David pushed yourselves to the limit and that turned into something quite positive and motivational for the band. Would you do this kind of process over again? Absolutely! We all came out of it being much better songwriters, much better musicians and even though it was really difficult and very challenging, I would definitely do it all over again. We play better live now and we are more unified as a band than we’ve ever had, because through the process, we were all there picking each other up and helping each other through some difficult days. There were days that David Bendeth was really coming at me and I left the studio feeling really sad. And there were days that Kyle [Pavone, vocals] felt like that, that Eric [Choi, drums] felt like that... But we were there to pick each other up and keep moving forward. This record really changed us in a good way. The track “The World I Used to Know” was the first single of this new album and it’s sort of an anthem to nowadays. What was the inspiration behind that song? When we were kids, we had this mutual spirit and we were really oblivious to this world that we’re living in and some of the bad things that are happening in it. We weren’t scared of change, we weren’t scared of anything and as we get older we knowledge a little more, we see more and we realize more like how upside down everything is. That song is an example of how we’re getting older and we notice a few things. We just see the world much differently than we used to, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t go back and do it that way and that there’s not any hope or anything... it just means that we have to search a little harder for it than we used to when we were kids. “Savior Of The Week” is probably the most pop song of the album. What can you tell us about the writing of this one? That was one of the last songs to be written for the record actually and we have written so many rock songs, so many metalcore songs... we certainly have written everything and so we said “Let’s just try something completely different. Let’s try that one out of the park. It either gets completely shot down and it’s going to crash and burn, or who knows? It can end up being a
single, we don’t know.” So, we just waited for it on this one. We didn’t really mean for it to come out the way it did. We actually started it with a song title, that’s it! We were like “We’re going to start writing off with a title.” We came up with the title, “Savior Of The Week”, and then starting words for it along with the a basic vocal melody and then we wrote the music to it. What’s funny is that the only things that stayed the same through the whole process of that song were the title, the lyrics and the melody. The music got completely overall from what originally was. Originally it sounded like an electronic song, it was so weird [laughs] and then it ended up sounding like a rock song and now to me it sounds like a Fall Out Boy entry kind of epic pop rock song. It was just crazy to see that song just continually evolving and what was cool about it is that we kept tracking the vocals in the studio, because the song’s vibe kept changing. The track “12:30” has this creepy sound feel mixed with electronic and hardcore. What about this one? That song is the “Frankenstein” of the record. [laughs] It got written in pieces in so many different sessions and it didn’t really come together until two days before we were supposed to actually track the song. We came into the studio, we had the nine songs picked and it came down between this song and a very like bad rock song. The rock song just wasn’t really doing it. It was a good song, but it just seemed like there were too many of those on the record, so we wanted something darker and heavier and we thought “12:30” had the potential to be that. We took a gamble not even knowing what the song was going to sound like. Basically off a riff, a breakdown that Lou [Cotton, guitar] wrote. We worked through that for a while, we tried to make that a chorus, we moved that to a verse... We were going over that for a long time until we finally found its place. We put it as a bridge and then Joshua [Moore, guitar] did a completely new chorus guitar part and we messed with the lyrics that I had and my lyrics weren’t working, so Josh ended up writing different lyrics off the idea that I had and then we finally got a chorus to it, which was pretty sweet. Then Kyle steps up big and did all the programming in the verses. We were kind of envisioning
INTERVIEW // WE CAME AS ROMANS
“I feel we just drew influences from all over the place, just different bands that we’ve listened to growing up and different bands that we still listen to and that we admire.” Radiohead kind of creepy vibe. Kyle just completely took the vision and ran with it and made this awe some verse, a great verse melody for singing it. The song just started to come to life. Lyrically, we just thought... it really affects us that there’s so many people in this world that are just following others blindly just for their acceptance. They get rid of any of the wrong ideas, any of the wrong feelings and even the own thoughts just for this person acceptance. We wrote some lyrics about that. We thought it would be an epic closing note and we kept the title of the song as “12:30” because that’s the time that the song first started being written and we decided it was such
a fitting title for such a creepy, angry song. You mentioned having Radiohead as an inspiration, were there any other bands that inspired you as well? Yeah, we definitely drew inspirations from a lot of different bands. The song “Tear It Down” was really influenced by Rage Against the Machine. We were watching their live videos and there were 10,000 people all jumping at once and we really wanted a song like that. A heavy, fast song that everyone just jumps to and so we wrote “Tear It Down” and I was really inspired by their vocalist style and so I modeled a lot of my vocals after that.
Like I said, Radiohead on “12:30” was a really big influence. There’s definitely some Linkin Park influence in a lot of the singing parts. There’s influences from My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy... I feel we just drew influences from all over the place, just different bands that we’ve listened to growing up and different bands that we still listen to and that we admire.
WE CAME AS ROMANS IS OUT NOW VIA SPINEFARM
S T R A P R E T N U C __O______________ have always been the kind of band where the lyrics can’t possibly be overlooked, mostly because of how much essential they are for understanding what the band is really about. In their new album, Tragedy Will Find Us, vocalist and lyricist Brandon Murphy writes about a moment in his life where he said to be his “rock bottom”. That was one of our multiple excuses to talk with Brandon about another well-crafted Counterparts’ album. Words by Tiago Moreira
g n i h t y r eve . . . t h g i r l a is www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
off of the new record, like the mosh part of that song. Yeah, it was the first tour that we get to start playing “Collapse” on, which is cool.
ou’ve just toured Europe and played a bunch of festivals and shows. How that went? It was great. The festivals were cool, we got to hang with Stray From The Path a lot, see much of our other friends like Defeater, Every Time I Die, and stuff like that, so... Yeah, it was cool. We had a good time, definitely. Did you have the opportunity of playing some of the new songs off of the new record? We did. We played “Burn” and it’s the first tour that we started to play “Collapse”. Since the last time we were in Europe, with Architects, we end our set with a little sample of the song “Choke” 54
How’s been people’s reaction to the new material? It’s been really good so far. Especially with “Burn”. We didn’t think that was going to be like as big of a deal as it was, but people really liked that song and “Collapse” is going really well too. And actually yesterday we put out a new single, a song called “Tragedy” and the response to that has been really, really good too. So far, and it may not be this way for a long, but I’ve only seen positive feedback in regards to the new record. I thought for sure people would be hating it by now but people are into it. [laughs] It’s good in my book. Counterparts are a band that has suffered a bunch of lineup
changes. How do you feel with this version of the band? Honestly, I think that it’s the best version of the band, just solely based on the fact that everybody is on the same page for once. With the other members I found often that, for example, there would be like two guys in the band that hated being on tour and don’t want to tour at all, and the other three love to go on tour. For the first time everybody is on the same page and there’s like common ground amongst everybody that’s in the band right now, and it just makes being in a band way easier. I’m completely happy with the lineup. I hope everybody else in the band is, and I’m hoping that nobody else leaves anytime soon. [laughs] When we started touring, we were just out of high school, like 19 or 20 years-old, and the thought was, “The tour is going to be awesome. It’s going to be sick.” But for some people, they just sort of outlive it and they just
INTERVIEW // COUNTERPARTS
“I do deal with a lot of negativity in my life, and a lot of pessimism, and all those sorts of things, but I think that when people talk to me and people see that I’m still here, that I’m still alive, that I’m still doing thing”
don’t want to do it anymore. You just do it, people just come and go and you have to adapt. You said, about the new album, “Lyrically, it represents me at rock bottom. But I feel like when you hit that low, you have nowhere to go but up.” Were you documenting that at the moment or it is a recollection of past moments? It’s like a recollection of past moments. Earlier on in the year I was just going through a whole bunch of bullshit and I was at my lowest point, at the time writing all these lyrics. So, I was experiencing all these things... You know, people go through changes, and people experience things every single day. Whether the severity is like huge or whether is not very severe at all, it is just something that you live with, but for like the first couple of months of this year I was just in a really, really dark spot. So this record is about those couple
of months in my life, whereas as right now I don’t necessarily feel the same way the same way as I did back when I wrote those lyrics, but they are still huge live events that I had to get over, and I had to overcome and make my way out for the better. The songs do mean a lot to me, a lot more to me that some of the older material, just because it will represent that exact period of my life. And it was really shitty. [laughs] Did you ever document while you were living those moments? I mean, it must be fairly different documenting while you’re living it, or afterwards. Yeah, there’s a significant change. And with this record it was definitely documenting during. Something would happen and I would write a song about it, like immediately. It wasn’t sort of like waiting for the dust to settle and then writing about it. It was just immediately, “This is what I feel
right now, and so this is what the song is about.” And I think that’s why this new record is fairly more emotional than our other releases. That statement that I quoted before shows some positivism, but the title Tragedy Will Find Us reflects the exact opposite. Would it be fair to assume that positivism versus negativism is an internal and ongoing fight and struggle of yours? Yeah, absolutely! You’ve nailed right there. I do deal with a lot of negativity in my life, and a lot of pessimism, and all those sorts of things, but I think that when people talk to me and people see that I’m still here, that I’m still alive, that I’m still doing things, people sort of get that impression, “Ok, no matter how bad things are... You’ll find a way to get over and be alive.” Yeah, that is an ongoing battle that’s been happening with me for years and I honestly don’t think that will ever go away, I don’t think I will ever decide one of the other. I think I will be just sort of on the fence and just finding a way to stay on fence, and don’t succumb to either side. Well, it wouldn’t be that bad to succumb to positivism. [laughs] Yeah, that would be... yeah. [laughs] That wouldn’t be necessarily bad but I think that having a life like that, clearly there’s something, maybe not wrong but the fact that nothing is wrong is like that in itself wrong, you know what I mean? It feels like you are living a lie. Exactly. If I meet someone and they’re like, “No, my life is perfect. Nothing bad ever happened”... Ok, give it a couple of years then and something will, and you will not know how to handle because you’re so used to this perfect lifestyle and when there’s a wrench in the gear, or something terrible happens, those are the first people that don’t know how to handle and they just go, “Oh fuck, my life is screwed up now. What do I do?” Whereas someone who deals with a lot of bullshit in their day-to-day life, they’re sort of better at coping and dealing the terrible things that eventually happen. How does it feel to relive all those moments that you’ve been writing about when you’re
performing live? I mean, your lyrics are known for their dark aesthetic and for documenting really dark moments of your own life. I sort of see it as a coping mechanism for me because I get to... It’s weird, but when all these terrible things are happening the ability of being able to take all the fuss in my head and sort of compiling them together, and lay them out as one final product that sort of explains how I’m feeling at the moment... That’s a huge relief of emotion and it’s definitely a very cool outlet for feeling like shitty a lot of the times. And when we play them live I often find myself thinking, “These are some of the darkest lyrics I’ve written. I don’t know if kids are going to be able to relate to this.” And then there are kids screaming along. It’s almost a weird dilemma because I’m happy that people are singing along and that people can relate to our music, but it’s also fucked up to see that many people being able to relate. Because I don’t want anybody to be able to relate. I want to be the one that feels that sad shit and everybody else is having a happy life, you know what I mean? I don’t want to inflict what I feel, at certain times in my life, on other people, but it’s cool to know that I’m not alone, and they’re not alone. There’s always this common denominator between all of us, which is really cool and at the same time really shitty. Going back to the record. Did you enter the studio with everything composed and rehearsed or did you finish it while recording it? Pretty much everything, at least the music side of it, is ready when we enter the studio. Like, we enter the studio with something like ten songs written, and then obviously we do pre-production and we work out all the details. Sometimes it’s just a slow night in the studio and Jesse [Doreen, guitarist] will write a new song and it’s like, “Ok, cool. Let’s just throw it on the record.” But for the lyrical aspect of it, I did a lot of the lyric writing while I was in the studio. I don’t know why, but with this last record I didn’t really feel anything until my life started to go to shit early on in the year, so then suddenly I was motivated to write like every song on the album. It just happens to be while we were in the studio. It worked out great 56
for me, because I went from having no material to having all material. In terms of the music aspect we’re pretty well prepared when we go into the studio. We go into the studio with enough material to record a full album, and then if Jesse happens to write more while we’re there, then so be it, and we deal with it then. The guys practice before going into the studio and everybody knows the parts just because that’s how we, growing up, thought all musicians did. We didn’t know that bands sometimes go into the studio and write a full record in the studio. We didn’t know that sometimes record producers will write the all fucking album and then the band just learns how to play it. We didn’t know that was a thing, so...
shit, is Counterparts, right?” Not that I think that this new record is that different from our older stuff, but it is a different record and at the same time you want to showcase that like, “Hey, we didn’t write The Difference Between Hell and Home Part. II.” But you also don’t want to be like, “Hey, we went to the fucking deep end and you might not like it.” So, “Burn” when we listen to all the songs back to back... This is a perfect example of a Counterparts’ song, like it has all of the things that we’re good and I guess know for in this song, so let’s do this one first. Obviously we made the right decision. You know, we all thought when “Collapse” came out that it was going to be people’s favorite song on the record, but I think that everybody is just into “Burn”.
It’s not a thing for punk rock bands. [laughs] Exactly. [laughs] And I sort of try not to hear about those kind of bands because then it just makes me hate them. [laughs]
Can you talk about the cover art? Who idea was to do it like that, with that cool ass lettering? When Jess and I were sort of talking about what we had in mind for the cover, we went through a lot of different examples. We went from the complete opposite end of the spectrum but eventually we decided on that because... The guy that did it is Nick [Steinhardt] from Touché Amoré and he’s known for...
How is it to work with Will Putney (Northlane, Suicide Silence, FourYear Strong, Miss May I, etc.)? Working with Will is great. At this point, because we’re so happy with the past two records that we’ve done with him, I don’t think we could really go anywhere else, honestly. He pushes us to write the best album that we can. We recorded in other places where it’s like, “That take is ok. Whatever, it will be fine.” With Will it’s like, “No! This has to be perfect.” Sometimes we go fucking crazy, especially me with lyrics and stuff like that, but then a couple of months after of us being in the studio I go back and I listen to the songs, and I read again the lyrics, and I think to myself, “Goddammit, I’m so glad he push me to write… When I had just ok lines he told me that I had to come up with something better. That made the record better.” Was it hard to choose “Burn” as the lead single of the new album? Not really. We were all in agreement that it would be the lead single for the record, just because that’s the first song that Jesse wrote after [2013’s album] The Difference Between Hell and Home, so it’s for us familiar Counterparts song, but if people didn’t know anything but they know our band they could go, “Oh
He did the cover for Deafheaven’s last album, Sunbather. Exactly, and that was one of the biggest examples. We wanted something like not simplistic but...I guess simplistic but not in a bad way. Something simple, but still elegant. We, as a band, right now are aesthetically focusing more, and more in simplicity as supposed to long drown out art, I guess. A while back you could see bands going on tour and having like fifteen different shirt designs and it’s overwhelming. With us we sort of consciously made an effort to be like art. I think it’s confusing to people, and overwhelming, and we don’t want that anymore. We want the music to speak for itself and we just don’t want the album cover to make the record, you know what I mean? When we were looking up examples of like simplistic album artworks the first to come to mind was Deahfeaven’s Sunbather. That album artwork is beautiful and it’s fucking everywhere because it looks amazing,and when you see the album artwork you don’t think it’s a black metal/post-rock album. No one thinks that right off the bat and I think that’s really cool
INTERVIEW // COUNTERPARTS
“The songs do mean a lot to me, a lot more to me that some of the older material, just because it will represent that exact period of my life. And it was really shitty.” because it’s aesthetically pleasing to everybody in the world. They might not like the music, but the album cover is sick. Tragedy WIll Find Us is Counterparts’ debut on Pure Noise Records. How do you feel about this new home? I feel great. I think a label like Pure Noise, and New Damage for Canada... Those are the labels that we needed to be on since day one. Obviously when we were just starting out we didn’t have the authority to sort of pick and choose where we wanted to go, but... Pure Noise operates their label the same way we operate our band. I think that’s huge. It makes working together so, so easy, and there’s no bullshit, no lies, and no hiding anything from each other. Just complete straightforward. “Hey, can we do this? Nahh, you can’t do
it for this reason. Ok, cool.” Or, “Do you guys want to do this? Nahh, we’re not felling it. Alright.” There’s no pressure there where there was with our other labels. It’s a great home to have and we’ve been on the label for not even a year and... they have been unbelievable. It’s great. I would recommend it to anybody. [laughs] Why did you leave Victory? We left Victory because when it came time to renew the contract, just the way... Like, we had a different vision for our band, and I think Victory signed us to fill this void that they didn’t have. They kept putting us in with bands like... They wanted us to be like a Close Your Eyes kind of band, and that’s just not the kind of band we are. Then hearing that they were like, “That’s why we signed you for.” Not that was a conversation
that ever happened, but it was just like... They saw the band as one thing and we saw the band as another. That and we just got tired of fucking arguing about everything. Literally, we couldn’t do anything without existing an issue. There was always an issue, some reason as to why. What they wanted always came first, so there was a lot of tension with the label and when it came time for us to say, “Ok, we can leave and go wherever we want,” we didn’t even entertain the option of staying in Victory. We were just like, “Nope, we’re out. Sorry, we’re not interested.”
TRAGEDY WILL FIND US IS OUT NOW VIA PURE NOISE RECORDS
Senses Fail are a band that has always been in a constant progress, not because of their lineup changes, but because of lead singer Buddy Nielsen's steadiness and urge to make more than just another album. With a much heavier hardcore-influence direction and now signed to Pure Noise Records, Pull The Thorns From Your Heart is a cathartic and brave effort. We caught up with Buddy to talk about the new album, life experiences and even why Buddhism changed his life. Words by Andreia Alves // Pictures by Matthew Vincent
BUDDY NIELSEN SPEAKS OUT
THE SOUND OF
our names, so why change it? If you look at wrestlers in WWF or WWE, they change their character all the time, but they don’t change their name, because they’ve already had a name’s recognition. They make their name work with whatever version of their character and that’s how I feel about Senses Fail. It’s sort of like this is what we’re doing right now and the name Senses Fail means this and in the past meant something else. We grow and change and the name doesn’t really define us.
irst of all, how are things with you lately? Things are great! I’m very happy and excited about the future. I’m at a very good place. Last year, you did a 10-year anniversary tour for your debut album Let It Enfold You. Overall, how was that tour and how did the fans react to listen to the whole record live? Everybody seemed to love it. It went really well and it was successful. I think people were really pleased with how it went and hearing the songs played in their entirety. Playing those songs may have brought you some old memories and it seemed like a mix between the person you once were and the person you are now. Would you agree with that? Yeah! That was the weirdest thing, because I don’t necessarily relate to being that person anymore and going through that kind of stuff. It was interesting, but I’m a completely different person now and so it’s interesting to try to relate to those songs. I still can relate to them, but they’re not as current to me in my life and so they might not be as emotional and I might not feel them as deeply. I know you probably answered this question a million times, but how does it feel to be the only founding member of Senses Fail? I feel ok about it. I don’t really think about it too much because a lot of the guys that are in the band have been in the band for more than five years... I don’t really look at it as if I’m the only member, I just look at it like a different version of the band honestly. I could change the band’s name, but it doesn’t make sense to do that. It’s technically not even the same band [laughs] but everyone knows
Chris Hornbrook of Poison The Well is your new drummer and the band Poison The Well was a big influence for you. How did he get into the band and how is it like to play with him? We have a lot of mutual friends. He used to drum tech for A Day To Remember and he also used to drum tech for a band called Escape The Fate. Our bass player Gavin Caswell is also guitar tech for Escape The Fate and they were on a tour together and we were looking for a drummer. Gavin mentioned about Chris and I think it worked out well, I think he’s cool. We’ve been able to have a lot of members on Senses Fail that have actually influenced the band in the band, which is really cool. A lot of other bands I don’t know if they have the opportunity to actually have new people joining their band at once with their influences and I think that’s really interesting. With your last record Renacer, you guys moved towards a heavier hardcore-influenced direction writing your most hardcore songs to date. Was this new musical direction what you’ve wanted to achieve with Senses Fail music? Yeah! I’ve been trying to go that direction for years. I’ve always been influenced by hardcore and the heavier side of punk and also metal. That’s what I’ve always wanted the heaviness to be part of the band, so when a lot of the original members left I decided “I want to go this direction, this is what I like, this is what I listen to, this is what I’m passionate about.” I wanted to move the band more towards a hardcore direction. It was definitely on purpose and that’s where I want to go and that’s the kind of music that I like to make. I like to make really aggressive, emotional heavy music.
You are now signed with the great label Pure Noise Records. What led you to work with them? We were looking for a label and I think it’s really important to be on a label with current bands, because we’re changing our sound I wanted to be with some bands that represent that and I think Pure Noise is moving into that direction. They have Rotting Out and they’ve signed Counterparts, they have To The Wind... We’re not exactly a hardcore band, so be on a hardcore label would probably be too much. Something like Bridge Nine Records would be cool, but I still think that would look almost like we were maybe trying too hard to be a hardcore band and so I wanted to be on a label that had a lot of diverse stuff - some older stuff, some pop punk stuff, some hardcore stuff. I think Pure Noise is a really good spot to be part of what’s happening in the younger sort of music thing. You guys teamed up with Man Overboard for a split 7”/digital record that was your first split and also your first release via Pure Noise Records, which included two brand new songs from you and Man Overboard and also featured each of the bands covering a classic song from each other. How did the idea for this split come about? I wanted to do a versus split like Snapcase vs. Boysetsfire split, and in the early 90’s a lot of bands just did these versus splits where they would play each others music and put out an original song. I thought that was always fun and interesting to hear, another band cover one of their friends’ band songs. We knew we were going on tour together on the Bayside tour and so we figured it could be cool to release the split to help to promote the tour and plus some new music out. I thought it would be a really fun way to put together a little project that we could work together and to help to promote the Bayside tour as well. This split was kind of an appetizer of what was coming on Senses Fail’s new album. Pull The Thorns From Your Heart is undoubtedly an in-depth effort and a very personal one. You recently came out as a queer and you’re talking bravely about your sexuality, addictions and struggles that you’ve been
INTERVIEW // SENSES FAIL
“I always felt held back, I always felt like I couldn’t go there because I wasn’t willing to, so I always felt like that I wasn’t being 100% honest and I wanted this record to be and feel that way.” through, which was a huge influence on this record. When did you think it was time to come out as queer and expose these experiences of yours? Thank you very much, I appreciate that. I guess I kind of knew that it was time when I became ok with it. When I spoke with my family and friends, I just decided that I probably might be able to help people with my story and I figured that the next record was probably going to be about that, so I thought “Let me sort of let people know who I really am so I can continue and start to make music in a more honest way.” I always felt held back, I always felt like I couldn’t go there because I wasn’t willing to, so I always felt like that I wasn’t being 100% honest and I wanted this record to be and feel that way. When I felt comfortable and secure in knowing I had support and knowing that I was in a good place in my life, that’s when I decided to do it. You stated that this record is the
complete documentation of your transformative spiritual experience from the darkness to the light. How was the whole process of writing these new songs? It was really different, because I wrote a lot of the songs and I’d never written any songs for Senses Fail ever. I wrote a lot and that’s why a lot of this record sounds different, because the main songwriters weren’t in the band anymore and I sort of took over like “Well, I’m gonna try to write some songs.” It was amazing. I really enjoyed it and it was really fun. I just basically took all summer to write and then got together with the rest of the band. We put the songs together and then we figured out what the direction was. It was really easy, probably the easiest record that I’ve ever worked on with the band. I think mostly because I wasn’t trying to tell someone how I wanted it to be, I was just creating it myself like “This is the way I want it to be and now I’m gonna create it.” In the
past, I’ve always been like “Oh well, but if it sounds like this or we could do like this. We could try this or that” but this time I was like really free to do whatever I wanted and it made a much simpler process. [laughs] Coming out must have been a relief for you and also took courage from you to do that, but it’s also a great encouragement for people who deal with the same struggles. The song “The Courage Of An Open Heart” shows that feeling of live life embracing yourself completely. What can you tell me more about that song? I guess the idea was that I wished I could always live with an open heart. Most of us spend so much time judging others and judging ourselves and then we judge ourselves for judging others and what I really feel is that we can really truly low down our guard and sort of just be open to the experience without judgement and that’s
what that song is about. It’s about a willingness to be open to life without judgement and that means judgement towards yourself or to other people. And that’s what happened to me, I spent my whole life judging myself - and I still do. There’s still this condition in me, but I’m working on sort of letting go of that judgement and really being ok with time and that’s what that song is about. I read that you fully converted to Buddhism and now you meditate 25 minutes per day, which was also a big influence in the writing of the new album. How much of that did help you to get over your anxieties and get your own peace of mind? [laughs] Almost everything! It completely changed my life. It’s not a religion to me, it’s really a sort of way of retraining your mind. It’s really difficult for me to put into words what the process has been for me, but I guess I could say what has done for me is giving me the ability to see where I’m creating my own suffering. For instants just with judgement! I mean, I judged myself so harshly... We think - especially as Americans - there’s this urge and this need to be successful, to have an individuality and have this like standing on top of the mountain sort of moment in your life where you’re successful and you’re creative and you have this beautiful family... Everybody has said that from a young age and you judge everything you’re doing like “Is this good enough? Is this gonna get me there? Is this gonna be enough? Am I gonna have enough? Am I steady enough? Am I beautiful enough?” We create so much stress around if we are good enough to be loved by ourselves like “Am I good enough to be loved by myself? Can I look in the mirror and honestly say that I respect what’s looking back at me?” Most people can’t be that and what Buddhism has helped me to do is see that all of this shit that sort of happened in my life is really conditional. It stands from conditions outside of my control and my personality is made up of the varied conditions that I was raised and born into. Some of that has to do with my parents, some of that has to do with society, some of that has to do with the decisions that I made and when you can sort of step away from your past mistakes and look at them more in a way like I can’t believe I was 62
in a place that was that bad, but I needed to do that rather than “Oh I’m just an awful person, I can’t believe I did drugs. Oh, I’m an awful person, I can’t believe I cheated on my girlfriend.” We have something in American culture that wants to punish or anything redeem sort of wrong that needs to come with a very harsh punishment and I think that gets in the way of allowing people to really, truly heal from any bad experience that they had, because they’re all blaming themselves. They’re always taught to “If I did something wrong is because I made a mistake and I need to suffer for that” but in no instant this judgement ever, ever makes sense. Judgement doesn’t help change any situation. Judging or punishing yourself doesn’t
“We have something in American culture that wants to punish or anything redeem sort of wrong that needs to come with a very harsh punishment and I think that gets in the way of allowing people to really, truly heal from any bad experience that they had...” gonna change the actions that you did. You really have to let go and it has taught me to let go. Do you still feel that pressure? Yeah, it’s still there, but it just takes a long time to give that up. Pull The Thorns From Your Heart is broken up into 4 non sequential acts that are named after Buddhist concepts and teachings: I - Annica & Sacca (Impermanence & Truth), II Tisarana (The Three Jewels), III - Maransati (Mindfulness of Death) and IV - The Brahmaviharas (The Heavenly Abodes). Tell me a little bit more about those concepts and how they connect with the songs.
Yeah, it’s broken up into 4 parts. The first part stands for Impermanence & Truth. One of the three main teachings of Buddhism is that every single thing in the known universe is impermanent, everything is void of the impersonal - meaning that a lot of your emotions that you take in, you’ve been personal, you make them personal. If someone gets upset at you, you make that personal, but really that person is upset because of their own set of conditions and their own life. They’re upset at you because of their own thing, yet we internalize that and we make it personal. There’s an impersonal nature of all phenomenon, including our human interactions. So, there’s a freedom when you can really start to see the impersonal nature of your own mind - meaning when you have a thought, you immediately attach your own identity to it, so you assume that thought is who you are, but in reality that thought is the mind. The mind makes up thoughts, you can’t stop the mind from making up thoughts. Sometimes it will make up thoughts that you like, sometimes it will make up thoughts that you don’t like and sometimes it will make up things that you’re bored with and you’re not interested in, like you’re neutral. So there’s that. They’re called the three marks of existence which are impermanent, the impersonal nature of things and that there’s difficulty and suffering in life that just by the nature of being alive we have to deal with dying, you know, we have to die. We get sick, we get old... even if you live a beautiful, amazing life, you still get sick, old and die. There’s this idea that there’s an unsatisfactory nature to life, even when only good things happen to you, which nobody has only good things happened because everybody experiences some death, everybody experiences sickness, somebody that you love is sick or somebody that you love dies, so... That’s the first part, it’s really introducing the reality and when I came to realize those three things, it really gave me some freedom. The second part is The Three Jewels, which as a Buddhist you take refuge and the Buddha... Not as a man, not like Jesus Christ. I don’t worship Buddha as a human being. I look at it as the ability to become awake because
INTERVIEW // SENSES FAIL
Buddha means “awaken one”. I don’t look at it as “Oh, I worship the Buddha. He was able to accomplish this and so can I and so can you and so can anybody.” And then we take refuge in our community and we take refuge in the dharma, the teachings of the Buddha. The third section of the record is a meditation practice on death, where you sort of meditate on your own impermanence of your body and you sort of take steps through watching it decay and disappear. You are reflecting on your own impermanent nature of
your body, like what it means to know that there’s an end to this and not in a morbid way, not like unfascinated by death, but that it’s a reality, that you will die. When you know you’re gonna die, it changes the nature of what becomes important to you. The fourth section is about cultivating love and kindness, which is a wish for other people to be happy including yourself. Compassion, joy and equanimity, which is an ability to be with things as they are. That’s sort of what the record is if you sum it up into all of the parts.
What’s next for Senses Fail for the rest of the year? We’re gonna come over to Europe in September/October. We’re gonna be playing in Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, the Netherlands and the UK.
PULL THE THORNS FROM YOUR HEART IS OUT NOW VIA PURE NOISE RECORDS
If the anonymity of was enough to set tongues wagging when her debut EP dropped last year, her identity caused even more of a stirring. Amalie Bruun, the projectâ€™s progenitor and protagonist, may not be well-known for her work within the metal scene but one thing is for certain â€“ with M, she has created one of the most striking black metal releases of the year. With birdsong in the air, we caught up with Bruun at home to discuss the past, present and future of Myrkur.
“I made a record that has its roots in black metal, because of the songwriting and the people I worked with, but it’s going for a future sound. I’m not trying to make a throwback album. I really have no interest in that.”
nturous and defiant... Words by Dave Bowes // Pictures by Rasmus Malmstrøm
irst of all, congratulations on the release of the album. It sounds absolutely wonderful. How long have you been working on these songs? They go back many years and then some of them I wrote right before the recording. It’s very scattered. Why did you originally starting writing songs as Myrkur? It’s just the music that I love. I played violin in a classical orchestra when I was growing up and I used to dance ballet. I used to belong to certain groups where you could appreciate these interests but then that faded out but my love for it never died, especially not the Nordic folk music and metal. I guess writing and playing and learning different songs was
my own way of worshipping it by myself, but it was really just for myself. I feel like I’ve played every Nordic folk song there is and so I wanted to write new ones - I’ve listened to Ulver’s Bergtatt EP so many times that I’m almost sad when it ends because I know there’s no more so I wanted to continue that sound. You managed to work with Kristoffer Rygg (Ulver), who produced this album. Did he seek you out? I was told after the EP did so well that now is the time to do the full-length album and I really did not feel like doing that because I pretty much did the EP all alone. I just couldn’t see how I was going to make a whole album this way so I said I would do it with a producer, but only if it was with Kristoffer from Ulver and then he actually said yes to doing it. He liked the
EP and reached out via email, so then him and I started emailing, sending demos and stuff like this, and then I went to Oslo. You also worked with some great musicians on this album, including members of Mayhem and Dødheimsgard. How did it feel bringing in outsiders to work on material given that you had typically worked alone? It felt... good! It was something that Kris put together. He had a bigger vision of who would sound good on it and fortunately for me they all wanted to be involved. It’s the bands that I’ve been listening to so I knew that they would understand my vision; where I was coming from and where I would like to go with it. That was pretty easily, actually. You’ve taken lots of inspiration from Norse mythology and
“... being close to nature, but I feel that way about e sense of ‘home’ wherever you are and I really
INTERVIEW // MYRKUR folklore for Myrkur’s lyrics. Were there any sagas which you used for inspiration on M? There’s a song on there called “Vølvens Spådom”, which is just a choir piece, and that is one of the poems from the sagas. It’s about a truth-teller - I think all cultures have these stories, about women who predict the future. I took the poem and then wrote the melody for it, and made the choir arrangement. It’s a mix of different things, and different goddesses, but also stuff from real life - the stories that I would like to tell with this
music. I wasn’t trying to re-tell the sagas. What about your environment? Do you feel that having the nature you currently have around you is necessary for this kind of music? It certainly helps, being close to nature, but I feel that way about everything in life. I can be away from it for a certain time and it’s fine, but I really stop enjoying life when I don’t feel this nature that I love so much. It’s very specific. I think everyone searches for that sense of ‘home’ wherever you are and I really have found it in this nature that I grew up in, but I think you can write wherever you want to. The name Myrkur means ‘darkness’ in Icelandic. Do you have familial ties with Iceland or does your connection come from
the shared Norse culture? It’s more the last one. I love Iceland and I love Icelandic people. You have this country with 300,000 people but it’s the size of the UK. It’s very big and I think that makes the people a little ‘out there.’ They have so much space to be themselves and you can certainly feel that. Most of them speak Danish too because we used to own them up until 1973. I remember going there 10, 15 years ago and I got stuck because there was a snowstorm. My flight couldn’t get back to Denmark so I had to stay there for New Years Eve alone. I met these Icelandic women who were very drunk but they were still driving in this crazy storm. I loved it so much, and the day before we went swimming in those hot springs - you have this snowstorm whipping your face and your body is hot. It’s so dark and I felt this connection to this darkness. It’s like you can just disappear and you feel oddly safe in it, even in this chaos with drunk people driving you around. I feel connected to it for other reasons too.
everything in life... I think everyone searches for that have found it in this nature that I grew up in...”
Does that ‘northern darkness’ have any bearing on your work the extreme conditions of light, of weather? Yes, very much. Another thing about travelling to other places is you realise what it is that makes your country your country. At the risk of sounding a little clichéd, I always felt so happy in the darkness and what other people would describe as depressing weather. To me, that hot sunshine in the summer is very depressing. I think I have reversed winter depression, where I can’t even exist in these hot countries, so I think it’s very much inside of us up here. We connect with it and it’s reflected in culture and music a lot. What were your first experience of black metal? It was like a fist in the face experience. As a child, I liked the classics. I remember hearing Metallica and Slayer and really liking it, thinking it was very fun and exciting music. As a teenager, I was introduced to black metal and I could not believe that something could be so beautiful and ugly at the same time. It was really hard hitting and it just captures this Scandinavian musical universe, with these chord progressions and everything. Also, because I love classical music so much, it reminded me of playing the violin, the bow techniques and the tremolo picking on the guitar and the stabs you do on the bow. You can make these string instruments sound very ugly, but also beautiful and earthy. Musically, it had a very powerful impact on me and it still does. I’m one of those people who genuinely liked black metal for the music which is also why I don’t just like all black metal. If I don’t feel that thing that other bands had I can’t connect with it. It’s a tough one to put your finger on. So many try to replicate the sound from the second wave and not the spirit, but someone like Ulver could sound so very different but still capture the spirit. Yeah, it’s hard to explain why Bergtatt is so black metal, besides the fact that it was made in the few years where there was a black metal scene that was actually real. There was only about four years where it actually mattered. Kris was about 16 when he wrote those songs. Now, having gone there and worked with those people, rehearsing in Mayhem’s old space, I have a different look on all that now. Kristoffer was very 68
generous with all his friends and the stories, and he has all these first edition demos of everything. I was afraid when I went there he wouldn’t want to share so much because he’s notoriously anti-social and because he hasn’t done black metal for years but he has this huge bleeding heart for black metal still, and I think he enjoyed someone like me who is interested in it from a very pure point of view. Not because of the church burnings but because of the music that he loves so much. You’ve spoken of Edvard Grieg as being the godfather of black metal. Was this because he captured that same essence? I think it’s because he was an inspiration to Scandinavia in general and when he came out with Peer
“I’m one of those people who genuinely liked black metal for the music which is also why I don’t just like all black metal.” Gynt, he was very much criticised by the cultural elitists, saying “What is this troll romantic shit? This is so juvenile.” I agree that maybe the other European composers are more refined, but in a way there’s a naive sense with Grieg and there’s also a very pure expression; a capturing of the essence of Scandinavian nature and culture. I just love this combination of darkness and beauty and light that he has in his songs. It’s so melodic and melancholy – I love this melancholy sound. Black metal is renowned for being very focused on ‘purity’ within the genre. Do you feel that it is difficult for outsiders to
be accepted within the genre because of this? It depends on what you’re going for. I think some people are mad because they would like to question my realness in this but then I go on and work with Ulver and Mayhem and they wanted to work with me as well – it goes both ways. My motivation is not to be accepted by some person who cares about genre. A lot of people seem very busy on working out the definition of what black metal is. Again, I’d like to go back to the fact that there was a scene in the ‘90s and that was it - now, we’re just appreciating it. I made a record that has its roots in black metal, because of the songwriting and the people I worked with, but it’s going for a future sound. I’m not trying to make a throwback album. I really have no interest in that. Both the EP and the album are fantastic bodies of work but what do you feel was the biggest leap from one to the other? First of all, the EP sounds like shit but I’m okay with that. I recorded it myself and I mixed it myself, so it was what it was. I think it captured a moment I would not be able to re-record so I was happy with it. With this album, since I could get good studios and good musicians, I thought “Let’s do that, then. Let’s make a really big, symphonic, ambitious, cinematic, dark album.” Now I can do it, and we did. I can’t believe that we did it. I really did not think that all these combinations could work but I do now. It certainly is a cinematic work – it feels very ‘visual’, if that makes sense. Do you have any scenes or images in mind as you write and record? I think I do but I would not be able to tell you what it is. It’s not very specific, it’s a bigger thing. I think it’s quite relatable. You don’t have to have seen or read a certain thing to feel it and especially if you are interested in the kinds of things that I am, which is why I felt it was easy to record with these guys instead of difficult. I think they could sense it just by seeing what I had written. With your first live show coming up at Roskilde, do you feel that sharing your songs in this way will change how you feel about them?
INTERVIEW // MYRKUR Yeah, I do. It’s much more real now. It’s a very weird feeling but they’ve become much more individual pieces of work now. Was it ever a plan to make Myrkur a live act? No, none of this was a plan. I did not even want to send out the first EP and it certainly was not supposed to be heard by so many people. I certainly was not supposed to play live either but I’ve given up on trying to control where this is going. I guess this is what I’m doing now. The Onde Børn video is a very fitting, striking work. How did that shoot come about and how does it tie in with the song’s themes? That shoot came up because I was having lunch with my old friend from school – I met her in 6th grade. She’s credited as editor but she makes documentaries and just did a big piece on the queen of Denmark. She said, “Shouldn’t I do a music video for you? I like some of the songs on the EP.” And I said, “No! You should do a new song!” She got very excited and said, “Okay, we’re going to drive six hours from here and we’re going to shoot for four days, at 3am every day.” It was on this awful beach and it’s probably the wildest place in Denmark. It looks like the moon, it doesn’t look like anything else in Denmark. We talked for many hours about what we wanted to express with it and I thought I should have a child, who would be my evil child – Onde Børn means evil children – but she should also be a version of me. There should be a suicide and rebirth, and the location is just perfect for that. Everything is pure and undisturbed. You can’t do anything there – I don’t think we were even supposed to light that big thing on fire. We went for three days, shooting at 3am and 9pm, and I almost drowned in the ocean. I had so many bruises and cuts after lying in that crazy grass, which is very sharp and very painful. It was a very painful video to make and I really suffered, but I wanted that suffering to be shown in the video. I didn’t have make-up or hair done, I just wanted the suffering to come out and I think I did. You can’t really fake that. I was so exhausted and unhappy doing it, but it was good. Good suffering. On the subject of children, what
is your earliest memory and what memory stands out the most? What’s my earliest memory? I wish I could say being born. Wouldn’t that be cool? I don’t know which was first, it’s all a big mush, but I have a really bad one that I can think of, when I found this dead squirrel in the garden when I was walking around singing, probably scaring everyone because there’s this child alone, singing. I sort of adopted this dead squirrel and had it in my room but after a few days I found it had been completely eaten by maggots – I just hadn’t noticed because I hadn’t turned it around. Flipping it over and seeing all these worms coming out of it was really interesting and horrifying at the same time. Since then, I’ve stopped picking up dead
animals but I did once adopt a live seagull my friend and I found on the harbour. It was a baby and looked like it had a broken wing so I picked it up, put it in the basket of my bicycle and took it home. He lived in a cardboard box in my room and one day I found out that his wing wasn’t broken, he just hadn’t learned how to fly yet so we took him outside, threw him up in the air and he flew away. We thought we were heroes because we had fixed him.
M IS AVAILABLE ON AUGUST 21 VIA RELAPSE RECORDS
Mixing Hip Hop with Punk and Noise has proven to bear some considerable fruit - just look at Death Grips. In that sense HO99O9 will probably at least deserve your attention, but it would be rather important to add that they are not, by any stretch of imagination, just another weird band... Well, they’re weird as fuck but a different kind of weird. It was about that unique weirdness, and their latest EP entitled “Horrors of 1999”, that we talked with the duo theOGM and Eaddy. Words by Tiago Moreira
PUNK VS H 70
HIP HOP www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
k, first things first. What happened with the Vans Warped Tour? theOGM: [laughs] Shit got... All in a nutshell, to be honest with you, they just were not ready for our style, you know what I mean? Our style of performance, our energy. I personally thought that it was bad, like the show wasn’t put together correctly. With Warped Tour there are so many genres of music, so many styles of music there, and the kick off show that we played they didn’t showcase all those styles. They put like one hardcore band with like nine other soft ass bands. It’s like, if you came to see Taylor Swift and then you got fuckin’ Marilyn Manson and you would be just scared, you know what I mean? People was like, “Oh shit! I wasn’t expecting this. This is scary.” Kevin Lyman said that you had some scheduling conflicts… theOGM: ... which that is not true. [laughs] That’s totally untrue. He just made that shit up. Eaddy: Everybody is supposed to be political these days. How was it like to play the Vans Warped Tour kick off show? I saw some videos and people seemed to be a little confused about your performance and music in general. theOGM: They were very confused. It was weird... Eaddy: Because those are fans that usually don’t see the kind of style that we play. It’s like tunnel vision. They are used to see this one band or one thing that they normally like and we just brought something new to the table. We went out there and we did what we normally do every night. Did you have any idea what you wanted to do, sonically and lyrically, with Ho99o9 when you created the band? theOGM: No, actually we didn’t. I mean, we’ve always been influenced by rap. I was rapping before the band was happening and we were always into art, and my bandmate was really heavily into punk music and shit like that, so it 72
wasn’t even something that we set out to do, like “Oh, we’re going to make it rap and punk.” It literally just happened. We just started making music but we wanted to make music that we love and bring energy that we love. When we go to rap shows there isn’t much energy. I mean, we enjoy rap sonically, but we love the energy of punk music live. Those are things that we wanted to incorporate because those are the things that we love, that we’re fans of. We are really fans of going to a show and seeing a really dope show. That’s pretty much it.
honest. [pause] How can I explain it? There are so many parts of Jersey. Obviously when people watch TV they think of Jersey Shore, the beach, further like South, but where we come from is just people working, doing like the norm. Obviously there are scenes where people party, go out, and hang out – it’s no different from anywhere that you’ve gone. Eaddy: New Jersey is just a regular place. It has nice parts, it has bad parts, it has good people, and it has scumbags and bad people. We just happen to be the armpit of New York... We’re like second place.
When you start creating, does it starts with hip hop or with punk? Eaddy: It’s either. You know, half of the punk stuff you can rap on and half of the rap stuff you can do some punk on. It can really go either way. Even if we don’t feel like do rap or punk and we’re just doing some minimal voice sounds... It can go either, so there’s no main function or style of trying to do it. Hip hop doesn’t sound like it did back in 1988 and punk doesn’t sound like it did back in 1988 too. There are many different styles of expressing in both genres. Many people just have tunnel vision and has to be a certain way, but the truth is that you can do anyway you want to.
How do you approach the recording process? theOGM: We have like a small production team that we like to fuck with, just like in the house. Our friends and our drummer. We basically just... We come up with sounds, man. We work on music, we work on beats, and it’s just something that fits what we are doing, or our vibe at the moment, we catch vibes or we throw lyrics on it, some energy and make it happen.
Would it be fair to say that frustration is one of the biggest starting points for Ho99o9’s music? theOGM: Yeah man, definitely. We’re putting together shows and we were doing things like in our hoods that people are just now recognizing. We lost money... It’s so many things that we’ve done or that we’ve tried to do that people didn’t give us passes on. Eaddy: And you got to remember, we don’t come from a clean cut cloth kind of background, we’re both from urban communities. We didn’t grow up in the suburbs, our parents weren’t rich, and we didn’t eat from a silver spoon. Shit was hard. Especially when you are trying to work a hard ass nine to five job back home and other bullshit going around... We didn’t grow up nice, and cute, with flowers everywhere. We come from the hood. How was it like to grow up in New Jersey? theOGM: Jersey is awesome, to be
Is it usually a fast process or do you like to take your time and experiment? theOGM: It depends. It can be a song that you can finish in a second, and it might sound cool and is minimal, and we can throw some lyrics on it, but sometimes is like a track that we build on. Everything that you hear that’s like the punk songs, everything is played live, with live instruments – guitar, bass, and drums. Things like that take time to perfect it and make sure that sonically we’re achieving our goals. It can go either way. You’ve recently released a brand new video that’s both for “Savage Heads” and “Gates of Torment”. First, why the decision of including two songs in the same video? theOGM: I don’t know, it was just an idea that popped into our heads, like to make it like a mini-movie series where we incorporate all the songs of the project like into a mini-movie, something that connects, that’s cohesive, and that’s just weird. There’s definitely an interesting contrast between the songs, even if they sonically are different they go together very well. What’s dope is that on the EP the way that
INTERVIEW // HO99O9
“When we go to rap shows there isn’t much energy. I mean, we enjoy rap sonically, but we love the energy of punk music live.”
we put out the videos and songs there are not ordered in the same way on the EP. Like when you listen to it on the EP they are in a different order. That way you can have a different story, a different vibe, and a different experience to it. How many hours of footage have been incorporated in that video? theOGM: I don’t even know, man. We’ve shot a bunch of stuff, dude. Literally we spent a couple of days just shooting some weird ass shit. [laughs]
at AFROPUNK Fest was quite unofficial. What happened? theOGM: Yeah, you’re right. Eaddy: Well, we had a booth to sell our merchandising, not as Ho99o9 but as Jersey Clan. We just brought mics, PA system, and pretty much set it up in our tent, and we waited for somebody that was actually performing finish their sets, so in between sets we would play and stop when somebody started another set. It was just gorilla style, just starting to perform outside in front of everybody.
Did you take total control of the creative side of the video like you did with “Bone Collector”? theOGM: We’re like that with every video. Any video that you see out is because we’ve approved and it has to do with our creative ideas to begin with. So yes, with that video we basically came up with some... most of the inspiration for the project it was just the director put it in the right perspective.
What was people’s reaction to that? That doesn’t normally happen. theOGM: It was shocking a little bit, I guess. But that’s what supposed to be like AFROPUNK festival. I feel that you have to push the bar on shit because shit becomes so repetitive. People were just shocked. We just had like a circle of people just going with high energy.
I read that Ho99o9’s first show
I’m curious to know what’s your
state of mind before a show. I mean, everyone talks about how unpredictable a Ho99o9’s show is. Eaddy: We don’t even know. We just go out there and function of the crowd. I have no idea how is it going to happen when the music starts. It’s just action that takes place in the moment. We don’t really have a mindset on what we are going to try to achieve. We just go out there and perform, and whatever happens from there... happens. But do you need a certain isolation from other people before a show? theOGM: Yeah, before we go out on stage I don’t want nobody in my face, except from him. I don’t want nobody in the room around me. Mentally I just want to get in my zone. That’s it.
HORRORS OF 1999 EP IS OUT NOW
Words by Andreia Alves Pictures by Nick Fancher Hair by Adrian Arredondo Makeup by Kali Kennedy 74
DIVING INTO THE ABYSS OF CHELSEA WOLFE DREAMY AND HAUNTING WORLD...
How much can an artist go with its art? Can it become something ordinary or ultimately another outstanding artistry? Well, that depends from artist to artist, but one thing is for sure, Chelsea Wolfe as an artist and as a person has revealed an ability to reinvent herself over and over, which the result is always something unique and remarkable. Abyss is the follow-up of the 2013's superb album Pain Is Beauty and with this new album she exposes how sleep and dream issues can be frightening and influential in the real life. We had an amazing chat with Chelsea about the new album, how sleep paralysis has affected her life, style, Broad City, and much more. musicandriotsmagazine.com
y first time seeing you live was in Amplifest 2013, in Portugal. I was amazed by everything you brought into your performance. Do you remember that show? Oh, yeah, of course! What did you like the most about playing that show? That show did feel really good... I think it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why a show is good, but I think it’s probably just a mixture of really good energy from the audience, the sound and a bunch of different things and maybe even some unseen spiritual things that we didn’t even know about, you know what I mean? It all kind of comes together and just creates the show where everyone is enjoying it and feels good about it. I don’t remember the specific things, but I really enjoyed the show. I think the venue is really cool and there were also so many great bands. I think it’s always more inspiring when you’re playing amongst bands that you really like. We got to play right after Kim Gordon’s project Body/ Head and also Russian Circles. That was a really good night and everyone was really nice. It was also my first time there and so it was really special.
Pain Is Beauty was a remarkable record and it was another important mark in your career. Every record you release, you approach new ways to write your songs, but you always maintain your distinct and artistic sound. How does it feel for you to look back at all those transitions to what you have now? For Pain Is Beauty, there was a lot of these electronic songs that we’ve been playing live for a year or two and we kind of started to adding it more and more, and experimenting with it and that was kind of new for this band because typically it was either just rock or experimental folk music. But for that album, it was the first time that we really did a lot of programming - program beats and sounds - and then mixed live instruments with it to make it a little more human. I think that was a good experience for us as a band because that made us realize that we don’t need to put limitations or rules on ourselves and we kind of experiment with the genre, which is something that I’ve always done, but again that was the first time that we input those kind of songs on a record. Last year, you released the impressive 50-minute film titled Lone directed by Mark Pellington, which featured songs from Pain Is Beauty - such as “Lone”, “Feral Love” and “The Waves Have Come.” How did the idea for this film come up and how was it like to shoot it? The film started with the idea of doing a music video with the director Mark Pellington for the song “The Waves Have Come” and then as we started meeting together to talk about ideas and plans, he basically was listening to the album and just felt inspired to make it into a film and do five songs instead of one song, which for me was really an experimental thing because I’ve never done many music videos... So doing a whole film, five music videos included with a big endeavour... As much it has a lot of input in it, I also kind of wanted to give the director a free rein, because for him I think it was a cathartic kind of healing experience and he was really going through a lot of his own memories and reflections back on certain things and family members and I could relate to that, so I didn’t feel like it was too far from my own life or just from
life in general... His experiences are vast like he has always done a lot, he has a family... It’s a reflection back and a process of creating this surreal landscape where you can’t tell if it’s a dream or memories or if it’s really happening. That’s more like what I relate to, because I like that feeling of dreaming and kind of being unsure if you’re dreaming or awake. And that’s what you focus on the new record, Abyss. Yeah, I focus a lot on that. You explore the struggles with sleep paralysis - a disorder in which reality and dreaming are indistinguishable. It’s a very curious and enigmatic theme to write about. What led you to approach this theme on your new record? Sleep issues have kind of haunted me my whole life. When I was a kid, I would always burst out in my sleep or I would have insomnias, so my parents took me to a sleep center at one point. Then just growing up I would have issues off and on like anyone would, but for some reason that sort of day dreaming really started affecting the way that I wrote about reality and about things in the world and it became sort of a slightly surreal version of everything. For this album, I just wanted to go deep into things. I mean, the whole album is about sleep/dream issues and the approach from that point, but anything on the album is kind of going deep into something, whether it’s like your own mind or issues that you care about or someone that you care about, so it’s just about diving really deep and that’s where “abyss” comes from. How much of dreaming mixed with reality affects your mood towards your music? Probably... I don’t think I really realized it until my friend Brian [Cook] from Russian Circles wrote the bio for the new album. When we were discussing what the album is about and I told him about my issues with something called sleep paralysis and strange sleep habits over the years, he kind of made me realize how much that has influence on my music and I guess I’ve never thought about that before, which it’s kind of funny because I write about that stuff a lot. I mean,
INTERVIEW // CHELSEA WOLFE
“Sleep issues have kind of haunted me my whole life...”
the title “Halfsleeper” from my first album comes from a place of... I used to wake up every hour and have a strange anxiety at that time of my life. It has always been there and it has definitely affected the way I write. Do you often get this feeling that your subconscious influences your actions and feelings? I have a version of sleep paralysis where I wake up and I can see figures of a person in my room... For a lot of years, it was kind of almost dangerous because I would lash out at it or I would grab a knife thinking someone was actually in my room. Eventually I had to pinch myself to know that wasn’t real, just breathe and go back to sleep, but it has happened to me for a few years and it gets really bad from times to times and get really stressed out about something or someone and then I find that if I kind of try to keep my life more calm and quiet when I’m at home it doesn’t happen very often, so that’s nice. [laughs] What does the “Abyss” represent to you? First, I just really love that word. I love words like that. That has a real visual meaning, thinking about things that are really deep and vast visually like a deep reef in the ocean or ocean floor or the universe itself and then compared from that it’s like an abyss inside of ourselves. I just like that contrast that it can be something that’s sort of cerebral and it can also be something that’s really huge and really beyond us as human beings. “Iron Moon” was the first single revealed and it was co-written with Karlos Ayala. How was the process of writing that song? A lot of my songs are really collaborative... It has been that way always I guess because I just have so many great musicians in my life and I’m able to write with a lot of different people. Karlos wrote the song “Boyfriend” which I covered on the album Unknown Rooms a few years ago and I’ve always loved his style. He’s a writer, mostly. Around the time I was covering that song, “Boyfriend”, he sent us a few recorded guitar riffs and it was kind of like “You can have these... Make something out of it if you want”, which I think it was really cool because he just wanted to give 78
“... it’s like your own mind or issues that you care about or someone that you care about, so it’s just about diving really deep and that’s where ‘abyss’ comes from.”
INTERVIEW // CHELSEA WOLFE a piece of himself to another artist. It just sat in my iTunes for a few years and then when we were about to go into the studio to record Abyss I found the riff again and started to soldering off a bit and made “Iron Moon”. The lyrics and everything came really fast. I think sometimes the last song that you write for an album ends up being your favorite, because it’s just a nice surprise to have it as a part of the album. Overall, it feels that the track “After the Fall” is the centerpiece of this record. It also seems to have a special connection with the cover art, where you are falling into what we may call abysm and the words “Chasing the sun, I can’t wake up” kind of resonate in that image. What can you tell me about this song? Yeah. I mean, that’s another thing that Brian kind of pointed out [laughs] that “After the Fall” was probably the most literal translation of the theme of the album and the title of the album. I kind of feel like that song is maybe the most simple and straightforward song on the album, so maybe that’s why it’s very literal... That’s obviously like a really unique song on the album that is pretty different sound wise, but I think it still fits and that’s why I’ve put it on there. About the cover art, my first inspiration was that classic painting “The Nightmare” [by Henry Fuseli, 1781], where the woman is asleep in bed and there’s a demon sitting on her chest and that’s basically the visual description of those sleep paralysis issues that I was telling you about. That was my first inspiration, but I didn’t want my translation of that to be very literal, so I was just kind of trying to think of a way to translate it and that reminded me of this artist called Henrik Uldalen, who had reached out to me maybe a year before about doing works for me or a cover art, and when I looked up to his work again it was such a perfect fit. A lot of his paintings look like people are sort of degrading or floating in a negative space, and I really related to that for this album. I took some photos and sent them to him and he painted that for the cover. I really love the cover. When I first saw it I really thought it was a photo of you, but it’s a painting. It’s really impressive how realistic it is. It really is, he’s just amazing. A lot of people think it’s a photo which is pretty wild. [laughs] For the recording sessions, you had quite a great team: multi-instrumentalist and co-writer Ben Chisholm, drummer Dylan Fujioka, Ezra Buchla
playing viola and Mike Sullivan (Russian Circles) playing guitar. It was all recorded in Dallas, TX, with the amazing John Congleton. How was the experience to record with him? I think working with a producer for a band like us who really demo every song out to the point of almost being finished before we go into the studio, like we’re not a band that writes in the studio, we’re not a band that goes into the studio with just a skeleton of a song... Every song already has a bunch of layers, harmonies and parts and then on top of that we’ll add new parts in the studio. In that way working with a producer or any producer, it always ends up a little challenging because there’s kind of a war of who’s gonna get their way with what direction the song is going. But I think that sometimes that can be a positive thing if it is the right force. The way that John approached the album was kind of like cold and technical and the way I’ve reached it was warmer, ease and spiritual and I think that we really met in the middle and in that way I think that it was a really good fit. At times there were conflicts and we would be frustrated with each other or whatever [laughs] but in the end, we’re friends and he did a great job on the record. Everything was good and it was a really interesting experience. It was also really nice to be in a totally new location because his studio is in Texas and we got to stay there for a month, which was really interesting and nice. After a few listenings, Abyss feels like your darkest, heaviest and most personal album yet, would you agree with that? I don’t know if it’s my most personal album to date... I think every album, every song really has a little piece of my own life and my life experiences, but most of the things that I write about are outside forces and things outside of myself, stories that I hear on the news, stories that I read, stories that people tell me and then I kind of inject my own personal experiences into that, I kind of become a storyteller in that way. I didn’t think of it as the darkest record that I’ve ever written nor anything like that, but when my record label heard it for the first time that was the first thing that they said. [laughs] I know it’s actually a surprise, but I guess I understand. I think it’s a really emotional album, it is for me at least, so I guess in that way a lot of the subjects are really dark stuff, like people who commit suicide or people who have died because of injustices
have to think about the audience until you’re done with it. [laughs]
in the world. It’s kind of strange, but I think about this stuff and for some reason I’m drawn to think about the contrast in the world, not just the good parts but also the bad parts that are there and they exist, you know? I think sometimes it’s cathartic to knowledge those things. You are part of Sargent House family and it’s just amazing how much they give and and how well they treat the artists and viceversa. It’s just really an inspiring and admirable community. How does it feel to be part of their family? I feel very lucky! I’ve been really feeling the family vibe at first, because I’ve never really experienced that before. I had really negative experiences in the music industry at first and everything was just always so hard and such a trial. With Sargent House it was like they’re just great people and they want everyone else to feel good, happy and be friends and family. It’s just a really positive place, which is such a big change and it was so refreshing. Of course, being on a real record label that can press vinyl and that can send us on tour around the world. It’s been so amazing and it totally saved my ass, you know? [laughs] This fall you’re going to be on the road with Wovenhand for a North American tour. Any plans for a European tour afterwards? Yeah, we’ll be coming for a full tour probably in October and November. I’m not sure exactly which countries we’re going to do. I think we’ll a month and then next year we’ll come back and come to the places that we don’t go on this first tour. We’re kind of splitting it up, so we’re not there for like three months and so that we can go for a month and a half and then go home for a while and then come back to do more cities and more countries. We’ll definitely be beginning some tours over there, but it probably won’t be until October. Music aside, you have such stunning and unique style. It’s really impressive and artistic the outfits you put together for your live shows and photoshoots. How do you come up with the ideas for your outfits? It kind of depends on where I am and who I am working with. Growing up as a musician, I mean, during the former years of my 80
music I had a lot of really good friends who were photographers and I was kind of their test subject. In that way, we just started experimenting... If I had some sort of character or idea that I wanted to try to explore, we would just pull it together and do it. Every so often I’m lucky enough to do a shoot with a great makeup artist, a stylist... I worked with a stylist called Jenni Hensler. Those kinds of experiences always teach me a lot and I’m able to take away from that and try to apply it to the next shoot where I’m doing my own makeup and styling myself. It’s really back and forth. If I’m at home, I don’t really go shopping or go looking for clothes or anything, but when I’m on tour, there’s always certain spots that I kind of have knocked out. [laughs] For example, there’s a store called Weekday based in Sweden, but there’s no stores of that company in the USA, so I usually just save up my spending money and I’ll just buy a bunch of clothes when I’m over there. [laughs] I like to find pieces that mean something to me or have like a memory attached to them and then I just combined them in weird ways. I think sometimes I totally miss the mark and look like an idiot [laughs] but sometimes it works out. I just think that style and fashion are really fun. I kind of have anxiety about being on stage and being in front of people, and with a photoshoot or a video you have more control and you don’t really
I’ve noticed on your Instagram that you are a fan of one of the best TV shows out there, which is Broad City. What other TV shows or films have caught your attention lately? I love going to the movies, I’ll see probably almost everything. [laughs] I just saw Mad Max: Fury Road. I was surprised actually how it was done. I’ve never seen the original, but it was much more like stylized and I really liked it. Charlize Theron was really cool on it. I’ve been watching Game of Thrones, of course. That show is so fucked up, but it is so good too. [laughs] You get addicted to things like that. I’ve been really busy lately, so late at night I put on Broad City. It’s just the best and it’s really nice to feel like you can relate to them and they’re just being themselves and not caring about looks or boys or whatever. They’re just living their lives and being strong women and I think it’s really cool. They are just totally hilarious, which it’s nice to feel like a lightness sometimes. Speaking of Game of Thrones, another awesome thing that happened last year was your song “Feral Love” being featured on trailers for it. I think it was a long process, because that song when it was just a demo we recorded it a year prior to being on the album. Someone from our label had a contact with someone of Game of Thrones and just kind of sent it over like “I think this is a good fit.” It didn’t end up being used for that season, but obviously did a year later. Somehow, someone still had it and they used for the next season. Honestly, for me it was a big thrill to see my music set in such nice cinematographic and all these crazy themes... It’s really great! We don’t really get played on the radio, so for me being on Game of Thrones is my version of being on the radio. [laughs] It was exciting to see that.
ABYSS IS OUT NOW VIA SARGENT HOUSE
INTERVIEW // CHELSEA WOLFE
â€œ... most of the things that I write about are outside forces and things outside of myself, stories that I hear on the news, stories that I read, stories that people tell me and then I kind of inject my own personal experiences into that, I kind of become a storyteller in that way.â€?
POST-EVERYTHI Words by Tiago Moreira // Pictures by Chad Kamenshine
ING GREATNESS Chino Moreno (Deftones), Chuck Doom (Crosses), CrookOne, Rick Verret, Todd Wilkinson, and more recently Gil Sharone (of Marilyn Manson/The Dillinger Escape Plan fame). These guys offer their heart to a band that hopefully people haven’t forgotten about: TEAM SLEEP. Their first and only album – an amazing collection of all these different styles and sounds that amazed a bunch of people - was released ten years ago and now they’re finally back with a fantastic brand new live album, entitled Woodstock Session, Vol. 4, and have already announced a series of EPs. We had the pleasure of talking with founding member Todd Wilkinson about this new live album and what’s to come.
and being in the same room with each other, and spend a few days together rehearsing and actually playing... I mean, just to see each other. It was really a great experience.
ow did the Woodstock Session come to be? You were invited to do it, right? The way that it came to be was: our friend Chuck [Doom], who is in Team Sleep, is friend with the guys from Woodstock, the studio, and they have done this kind of thing a few times with other bands [Alan Evans Trio, Medeski Martin & Woods + Nels Cline, and Rich Robinson]. It just seemed a cool idea, so last summer Chuck and I went out there, and like we had some songs we were working on for our studio EP. So, we worked on some stuff in the studio, to kind of get the feel from the place and the people, and everything was just really cool, man. Good people, good studio, beautiful place, good town, and it was a lot of fun. How was the experience of sharing these moments with the fans? I mean, they were there while you guys were recording, right? Right. It was a great experience. I’m not... I think that the world that we live in, the music world, is so weird. It’s so theatrical. I don’t know, it’s just seems weird to me. What I like to do is hang out with my friends, and cook, and eat, and play music. That’s why this seemed such a cool idea to me, because there wasn’t any real pretense. It was like, “We’re coming out here. We’re going to play music. We’re going to hang out with everybody, and just see what happens.” It was really a lot of fun. Things right now are just so focused on people making moves and being strategic. I just like to be in a room with people and hang out, and I think that’s the magical part of it. Just connecting with people, whether are my friends or whether is just people that want to hear the music. The band hasn’t really done anything together, as a whole, for a long time. You know, I talk with these guys all the time, but it was really cool for us to come together 84
It was everything recorded in only two days, right? No, it was just one day. So, we recorded all the songs in one day and it was kind of cool because we had been working on some new songs and this was kind of way to come together, replay some of the old stuff and work on some of the new stuff. Is it important to be connected with the old material while writing new material? They’re really different, but yeah. I think that what we are doing now, musically, is kind of different. This was kind of a big rock show, we were playing live and loud, really focusing on loud guitars, and drums. It’s so much fun, on a social level, to be in a room with everybody... that energy, you know what I mean? I don’t know if it was really reconnecting with the old songs as much as each other, as people. I also think there’s something really special playing music together. This is a band that has a really, really, really good rhythmic section. Gil Sharone (drummer) and Chuck are complete badass. It felt so good, man... I think we’re fucking hot. We’re a hot live band. [laughs] Was the process of choosing which songs would be record the same as the process of choosing the setlist for playing live? Yeah, I guess it was. We wanted to do a lot of new songs but we also weren’t really ready for it. So, we did a couple of new things and... Chuck, Gil, and I have been playing together for a while, a couple of years, so we were able to do a couple of new songs that will be on the live album and that haven’t been out before. It felt good to do a little bit of new stuff but it was just like the songs that we like to play. You guys launched a PledgeMusic campaign for this live album. How that went? It’s good, man. Everyone has been really positive. [pause] It’s like a business element of it that I’m kind of detached from. It’s a cool way for us to reach out to people without having to deal with a lot of formalities with record companies.
When we released the first Team Sleep record, with Warner Brothers, the people there were actually really cool, but I think that now there’s so much possibilities because we already have a small group of people who like us. I really wanted to do as much as we can to get rid of people in the middle, and just be able to put out a lot of music. Because we have a ton of music that we haven’t released. Like, in my mind Team Sleep never really went away because I talk to these guys all the time and we write stuff, we send stuff to each other. That’s my perception of it but I forget that we haven’t got anything out for a long time. [laughs] It’s been kind of cool to do it this away and I’m really looking forward to the next couple of years and putting out a lot of music. You said “we don’t really think of it as being in a band together.” Do you think that will always be the case with Team Sleep or the future with the EP series can change that? I don’t know what I meant when I said that. [laughs] But I think what I meant was that these are my friends and I don’t hang out with my friends to play volleyball at the beach or watch sports, when I hang out with my friends we make music together. I don’t feel that I’m in a band in the sense of me trying to make a living off of it, and having like a marketing plan, and a business strategy, and all that shit. It’s not like a work thing and I kind want to protect it. I want to be naive about everything that we’re doing. I don’t want to be good at the music business. I want to say “fuck you” to the music business, but like in a nice way because I don’t want to be angry about it. Basically I just want to protect this part of my life and be able to do music with my friends, share it with people, and just have fun. The world that we live in... it’s really easy to be cynical and angry all the time and for me music is a way to make life better. I want to be stupid, I want to be naive, and I want to make bad decisions just to allow myself to be a kid. [laughs] You said “the creative process has become increasingly fragmented and dehumanized.” What did you mean by that? It’s about not being really around people when making music.
INTERVIEW // TEAM SLEEP
“This was kind of a big rock show, we were playing live and loud, really focusing on loud guitars, and drums. It’s so much fun, on a social level, to be in a room with everybody...”
I think it can be like both ways. You can make music alone in your house, when you’re writing something, and it can be really personal, which is a cool thing. Because of technology, I can write and record something in my house all by myself, but I think because of that you lose that feeling of being in a room with people and playing together, and that’s what kind of alienates people. Before you had to go to a record studio to make a record whereas now it seems that everybody just records at home so people don’t really play together and... I think it’s weird. Music should be a social thing even if it’s one to one. How it has been creating, once again, new music for Team Sleep? I guess things must be a little bit different since 2003, 2004. It’s a little bit different, but not that much. There’s so much convenience in the world now that it kind of makes it harder, in a weird way... I don’t know, it seems so much focused on like what gear you’re using, or whatever. For me, when I had a four-track and I would just plug it and play music. I think I was playing more music back then, but I’m more of an adult now. For all of us, in the band, our lives
have changed. When the band first started I lived with Chino and we were kids who would spend all day just learning how to play guitar, for example. After the record came out I went to graduate school, I lived in China for a while, I was doing this, I was doing that, and it was like... In terms of making music it’s easier for us to send music to each other. You announced the release of a series of studio EPs. What can you tell us about that? I think there’s kind of two different things. It’s going to be a bunch of studio material. There’s stuff really focused on drum machine, melodies, and with vocals on it – that will be more like the first Team Sleep’s record. We got like five or six songs that we’re trying to figure it out each ones we will use, and then... But the vibe is still kind of the same. Then we’ve got about another fifteen or twenty songs that are kind of up in the air. So, we have the first EP kind of figured it out and then we’re thinking what’s going to be on the second one. I’m actually going to Chino’s house next week to work on some more stuff out there. We’re kind of trying to build a bakery. Instead of saying that we’re going to release three EPs we are trying to say that
we’re going to release a new EP every six months, or something like that. You guys share a love for the Bad Brains and they were, last month, participating in a Woodstock Sessions in-studio recording experience. Did you have the opportunity of witnessing that? No, unfortunately I had to work so I couldn’t be there. But Darryl [Jenifer] from the Bad Brains, the bass player, came to ours. Oh man, I was nervous. Darryl and Dr. Know [guitarist for the Bad Brains], they both live in Woodstock so in the day of the session Chino and I, we both went to Doc’s work and we got to hang out with them. That was really cool. [pause] That was the band Chino and I used to listen to when we were kids, you know what I mean? Hanging out with those dudes and have Darryl come to the show... It was so cool.
WOODSTOCK SESSIONS VOL.4 IS OUT NOW
One of the
most unlikely success stories, the enigmatic ghouls of
have risen to become one of the most recognised bands in the world.
Like a rock musical of The Omen,
their albums have charted the birth and rise of the devil and, with third album on the way to continue his ascent, we cornered one of the elusive writers to discuss greed and attempt to figure out the identity of the shadowy .
papa Emeritus III Words by Dave Bowes
H T E M SO WICK W S I H T E M O C
HING KED WAY ES...
ongratulations on the release of Meliora. How are things with the band now that it's been recorded and on its way?
Right now it’s quite slow, especially considering how things are usually. For the past five years we’ve been touring heavily every summer so this summer we’re not touring very much. We’re doing just a few carefully picked out festivals and stuff in Scandinavia so it’s not touring at all – just go away over the day and night and just play. Some of us are obviously more involved with the promotion and the setup of the album so for me, it’s not really time off but I’m still homebound, which is nice. But some of the other guys are definitely off they have nothing to do all summer.
You've already played some of the new material at shows in Sweden. How was the reaction to them?
I think that the reaction overall was very good. It’s always odd playing songs that people haven’t heard, especially as we are a band that have fortunately grown accustomed to having a very supportive crowd. We’ve played in front of a lot of people who aren’t that supportive too so we know how it works, but it’s a little bit different when you are headlining a show and all of a sudden you play a new song and everyone freezes. It is odd because you’re so used to having the crowd working with the material. Six months after the album is out, everybody comes to our show knowing the songs and they sing along. It’s a very give and take scenario whereas now you have to fill in the gaps and pretend that everybody knows the song already. It’s not optimal, but we felt that we really needed to deliver something this summer. It’s a hit you have to take – a little bit problematic but worth it in the end.
What was the selection process for Papa Emeritus III, or is just Pope Benedict in disguise?
Well, it is, actually. No, usually that process is taken care of by the clergy so I can’t really answer. The only thing we’re asking is for them to appoint someone who is in time and in tune and somewhat clad.
What is the meaning of the title Meliora, and does it continue the themes that were explored of the first two albums?
It’s definitely part of the previous albums’ themes in that the first one was about the classic, so-called ‘occult rock’ thing, that normally tends towards a slightly more gothic, medieval theme. All the lyrics were telling about a foreboding, impending arrival of something evil – very classic, church-like – if you don’t behave, the devil is gonna bite your ass. With Infestissumam we moved the clock a little to a Baroque, 1700s kind of environment; still upper class but still very basement – the secret chamber in the castle where they practiced Satanic rituals. Lyrically, that album was all about the presence of the devil, which usually comes in different forms. Many times it’s the appearance of women – very symbolic of the 87
"... we are not politicians and we are not trying to turn ourselves into a little demonic Bono..."
devilish presence; women make us turn into beasts. This third album, rather than Infestissumam’s presence of the devil, this is the absence of God. I had the idea for years that I wanted to take the whole Ghost concept into a futuristic setting - as opposed to the medieval gothic, which is a little more wooden and it’s a little more earthy – where in the futuristic version it’s very metropolitan and super-urban; very clean and sterile. We chose to do the futuristic version from some kind of 1920s version because it’s more aesthetically pleasing but it’s still a symbol of modern society where we’re building the tower of Babel over and over again. The idea is for us to be peaking right now and continuously building that peak higher and higher. We all know so many creative people, where everybody has to have a beard and a really cool job and live in a cool apartment and they know all the right people, and for some fucking reason all them need medicines notto have anxiety attacks. Obviously there is something wrong with our peak. We are striving for better but it seems to be going backwards. The title is ironic – the 88
front cover and the ten pictures inside the record show that this modern world is very dystopic. Even though it’s grandiose and large, it’s definitely something disturbing. That’s the overall theme of the record and then Ghost take the details from there.
When you talk about dystopias, especially from your standpoint, the obvious comparisons are with 1984 and Metropolis. Were these influences on Meliora and did you draw upon anything else?
I think that a few of those films clearly show a picture of a skewed future, and Brazil is one of them. They are in a way influences but it wasn’t like we just sat on the bus one day, watched one of those films and figured the whole concept out. Those films are symbolic
milestones in terms of explaining the phenomenon but the phenomenon itself is very much influenced by just living it. It’s actually very self-portraying in a way. Throughout all our records there has been hints about judging down upon ambition and to some degree there’s a bit of self-loathing in there. We too are very ambitious people. We are like everybody else. We are aware of the problem and we know we are going in the wrong direction but as with everybody else we refuse to understand that we also have a responsibility to be part of the collective that needs to work in a different direction. That’s pretty much the problem. We don’t have a solution. We’re just reflecting on the current state of our civilization in a way. A lament to the world.
There are recurring themes of greed and avarice on the record, which typically isn't explored in this way within rock music. Do you feel that it's a
INTERVIEW // GHOST
notion that cuts a little close to the bone for many?
I guess so. There seems to be a divide between those who fully lyrically and thematically engage in that idea in rock and there’re the other ones who openly criticise it. The easiest examples are Pearl Jam, who are criticising it, and Kiss is not. Let me be clear, at the end of the day we are an entertainment act and what we are trying to do is entertain everyone and for once try to forget a lot of these things, but it comes with the territory for me and the band that once you have the opportunity to say something it’s hard to avoid it, especially as the themes we’ve always embraced are from this darker side of life. Once you’ve uncovered all the spider webs and sung about the cemeteries it’s very hard not to go into the broader spectrum of the mental cemeteries. Still, we are not politicians and we are not trying to turn ourselves into a little demonic Bono. We don’t have an answer, we’re just asking for anyone who’s willing to go one inch deeper into our concept to maybe have a slightly more open
mind and accept that there are things that you don’t know and we don’t know. Maybe we should be a little humble to that fact. There are smoke signals coming out of mother earth and we should acknowledge that, and maybe we could possibly do something about it one day. Or you guys can do something – I want to do something else.
One of the things that's very striking on this album is the use of odd time signatures, particularly 5/4. When did you decide that this would be a motif in the album?
I naturally gravitate towards having odd signatures. I’ve always been very, for lack of a betterword, hit-driven. Even back in the day, when I was doing much more extreme metal that obviously wasn’t very commercial at all, it always had a steady verse, and a steady chorus and pre-chorus; something that you could wave your hands to and sing along to. Some of the earliest influences I had when I was a kid and started playing guitar was Pink Floyd and The Doors, which sort of skewed my head a little, so
for me it’s absolutely natural to do a count in on three, which is odd, but not if you listen to Possessed. As much as I like Genesis and prog music, sometimes you have to stop fucking with the listener because it’s so tricky sometimes, and I naturally fall into that. I want the music to be smart but sometimes, because you’re trying to show off a little, it breaks the balance and you start to lose focus. However, one thing I really wanted on some of these songs, was that 5 bar chorus. It’s a little bit weird and I remember very clearly when Klas (Åhlund, producer) heard that first. He’s very much a Kinks guy – he likes everything to be four, or eight, very straight – and he was immediately, “It’s fucked up. It sounds right but there’s something wrong with it. Now I see what you’re doing. That’s screwed up. Why are you doing that?” I really wanted it to be a signature for the album because I felt we 89
could do it; if we just had that extended period, as long as the vocal line makes sense, it should be fine. But then you have to make sure that everything that’s going on in those choruses is very clear because if you start fucking with peoples’ metronomes, that’s the prog death. It’s cool if you’re wanting to play in a jazz club but if you’re intending to be a bigger band it’s not something that we recommend.
There seems to be a change in dynamic between this and Infestissumam - it's a little harder, more aggressive. Was this tone necessary to fit in with the album's themes?
I think that this album sounds very much like how we wanted the previous albums to sound too. I feel Infestissumam is getting a lot of step-motherly treatment because everyone is assuming that we wanted to make a soft record, which is not the case. The reason why it came off softer, and thus Meliora sounding harder, is because of a few last-minute, very on-deadline decisions in the 90
mixing and mastering process that made the record sound a little bit too retro-leaning. We have always tried to use old techniques and try to harness that into some contemporary sound for tomorrow rather than just nostalgically looking back and trying to be part of the scene that we sort of missed out on. I know it sounds vague and it a little bit high-horsed but from that aspect I think we failed a little, or the end result failed us, with Infestissumam because it sounded too much like the band who tried to just recreate something. It was a very painful thing once you’ve gone past the deadline and then you
hear it and think “Crap!” and it’s already on the way. The album was very well-received so it wasn’t a failure but it was never intended to sound that way, so we definitely took that into consideration with this recording. “What did we do wrong last time? This and this and this. Okay, let’s not fucking do that again.” On this album we do come off as rougher sounding; yes, we do put a little more emphasis on some things but this is more in line with how we intended it to sound even back then - we just didn’t know how to do it.
So how did the writing and recording differ, in that respect?
It was a little bit different. Again, without giving anyone any stick, it wasn’t his fault anyway but by the time that Nick Raskulinecz came in of Infestissumam we had already done the whole
INTERVIEW // GHOST
"I know it sounds vague and it a little bit high-horsed but from that aspect I think we failed a little, or the end result failed us, with Infestissumam because it sounded too much like the band who tried to just recreate something."
pre-production. We had already recorded the whole album once, or the demos that we felt that we could turn into the real record, in 2011. We had this whole ordeal where we were going from one label to another and the first thing that popped up was “When are you recording the record?” Well, we’ve already recorded the record. “No you haven’t.” Just for formality and to be cool we agreed to re-record the album so when Nick came in it wasn’t too meticulous, production-wise. It was more adding fills or extending parts – there was very little surgery done to the songs. By the time we had entered the studio the record was one year old in our minds; maybe had also taken a little toll on the recording because it wasn’t fresh for us. When we worked with Klas, he had never really done a rock record before, so the first thing he asked was “I really want to work with the band, but I have to know – how
far are you into the production?” I said that I have songs for two albums and I know where we’re going. I have the embryos for each song but still right now it’s quite open. That’s when he said, “I really want to do the album then.” He was adamant about being part of the pre-production. As a producer, you don’t want to come in when all the decisions have been made because there are so many decisions there. Is it a fast song? Is it a powerful song? Is it a slow song? What is the dramaturgy of it all? What’s the BPM? We spent three months – not the entire band but me, another guy in the band and Klas - in one studio and we basically recorded and re-recorded all the songs until we got to the point where we felt we were really ready to record. That’s where the band came in and we recorded the album. It was a different thing
because usually we had done that part ourselves. We were a little bit more challenged and he was very adamant about questioning everything. “What do you mean with this? Why is that there?” And you have to have an answer! Eventually you come to a point where it’s, “Why is this there?” I don’t know. It’s not important. If you don’t have that person there, you might just leave it in for shits and giggles. We definitely found a producer who got us into shape; unfortunately not physically but mentally and aesthetically. The mojo got a little bit more erect – the mental penis.
MELIORA ARRIVES ON AUGUST 21 VIA SPINEFARM
We caught up with Irish post-rock band And So I Watch You From Afar to discuss the release of their new album, Heirs. They’ve been making waves in the post-rock world with this delightful insistence in rewriting the rules of the genre by each album they release. So, three years after the acclaimed All Hail Bright Futures, the four Belfast natives are now back again with full force and to talk about all things related to album nº4, here is drummer Christopher Wee: Words by Luís Alves // Pictures by Ciara McMullan
LOUD, STELLAR & INFECTIOUS
ou guys have been on tour recently. How’s it been and how was the reception to the new material so far? It was really, really great! In hindsight now, since we had a week away from the tour, I can look back on it and review the whole thing. It was great to see people singing along to parts of the new songs already with the album being out only one month or so! That’s always a good sign! People are obviously pre-ordering and getting a really good listen at the songs even before we even played them, so that’s always a really nice thing to see! We always go out to the merchandise after the show to talk
to people, and it was great to get feedback directly from the fans of the band, actually talking to them face to face, and there was lots of really good feedback about the album. A lot of people are really liking the direction it took! Talking now about Heirs and its new direction. While in All Hail you guys experimented with a different array of styles and sounds, you’re now employing a more cohesive, echoey-atmospheric type of sound with a few complex time changes. How do you guys view this new record among all of your previous releases? I guess I can talk about that in context with the last album. When we did All Hail Bright Futures, at that point we really wanted to try and push the boundaries of what we’ve done before and I think we definitely did that. We probably scared a lot of people, but then we also turned a lot of people on to the band that may have not
have listened to us because it wasn’t so much [based] on dark and aggressive riffs. There was more to it, and when we came to this album, there was a lot of talking before we even started writing the music. We were talking about what we wanted to say and how we wanted to say it with the new record, so there were words and things punched around between us even before we started jamming. Right around then we were talking about really vast sort of signs, the feeling of inner space and quiet grounding, just feeling the direction of the album, and that was where we wanted to take it. I think we achieved that to a certain extent and it was really cool because it was also the first time we’ve written an album with Niall [Kennedy] on guitar, so he definitely added a fresh dimension to our songwriting. The main theme of the record is based on exploring the way we take other peoples’ passion as an inspirational basis for creation. How and when have you thought about making this the concept of your record? I guess we’ve always taken inspiration from people we’ve met along the way and places that we’ve been to, I think that’s inescapable. You’re always going to do that, no matter if you’re conscious of it or not, things will always influence you and rub off. There’s also the fact that we had nephews and nieces and Johnny [Adger] had his child recently, and all that stuff happened at the time of the writing. There was this sense that we’ve always been the youngest generation and then suddenly there were these new lives around us. We can see the new generation actually appearing before us and that was a big inspiration, the idea of passing on your experiences and things onto the next generation. With your home life changing, that
definitely affects how you write music, and it was a very positive time for all of us. I’ve read that you guys worked pretty much in isolation during the six-month creative and recording process for Heirs. How did the songwriting sessions went and what’s your method to develop your songs? We planned to take that time way before that. Six months before we were like “Ok, from January, that’s when we’re going to write. We’re just gonna write until we feel that we have a record and then go into the studio”. That was a first for us in terms of being as disciplined, as in taking that exact time to do the writing and then recording, whereas before there may have been times when we were sort of unfinished in parts of songs and we finished them as we were recording in the studio. The last album All Hail came to life during the recording. With Heirs, we’ve put the songs together and began demoing and honing the tracks, taking bits out, chiseling away and fine tuning all the songs, so by the time we’ve hit the tracking stage everything was quick. I think my drums were done in two and a half days, start to finish, which is crazy for me, but all that work was already done in the preparation. In terms of composition, most of the ideas come from Rory [Friers]. A lot of the initial ideas and melodies come from him and Niall also had riffs and melodies coming in as well. Technically a lot of the ideas began on guitar just as “this is the riff”, then the four of us thrashed it out and worked out the best structure, and then we chopped and changed some things. Lyrics tend to come right at the end, and a lot of that is Rory again, so that would be like the typical framework for our songwriting. You’ve worked again with producer Rocky O’Reilly. How influential is Rocky in terms of how the final recorded versions of your songs take shape? That’s a good question. With this one, the songs were pretty much finished. Rocky definitely had a hand in a few of the creative decisions in terms of guitar tones and structure. During All Hail Bright Futures he had a lot of input, but this time he played less of a production role. At the same time, I also feel bad for saying that his role lessened on this record 94
because for us, Rocky is really an integral part of our recording process. We’ve done it with him every time. From the very first session we headed off so quickly and so well, that it’s quite a nice feeling to know that you can come back to him as a producer. We know each other’s boundaries and he’s very good at testing us. He’s not afraid to speak up and say “I think this should be this way!” so that’s why we continue to go back to him, because we have a great relationship and he communicates with us well. In the recording side he’s very hands on, he goes above and beyond and stays out at crazy hours during the day to get the best out of us.
intensity I play my drums at. When I started off it was like “hit on everything as hard as you can” all the time. [laughs] I started out like a real typical drummer with this lack of finesse, but over the years I’ve really started to see the value in having a lot of dynamics, a lot of light and shade with my drums, so in certain songs I’ve been really simplifying beats without going crazy all over the crash cymbals. I’m more conscious of the song in a whole now, rather than just wanting to play everything I want to do. I just want to play for the good of the song and I’m into that a lot more.
We were talking about the influence of Niall, the new guitarist with whom you’ve just recorded Heirs. What did he specifically brought to the songwriting process and how do you think he combines with Rory in terms of musical interplay between guitars? It’s a really good mixture between those two. We’ve been friends for years, we grew up in the same area in Northern Ireland and he [Niall] was in various bands throughout the years as well. Niall has a strong identity as songwriter. He’s been in some Indie, Pop-driven sort of bands, so him coming in makes this a really interesting mix, compared to Rory who had done the bulk of the songwriting on the previous albums. He sort of strengthened and broadened our palette I suppose, because you have that diversity. They [Rory & Niall] end up meeting in the middle with a mix of their ideas and that creates a totally new approach. Also, Niall started out as drummer so he has some interesting ideas about drum beats and patterns, and actually had input on the drums on this record as well. There would be a bit where he would be like “Oh, how about you try something like this?”, and I would have been thinking of something totally different you know? So, he has mixed up the songwriting, kept it really fresh and really broadened the ideas, definitely!
ASIWYFA’s musical approach is mainly instrumental using some vocals here and there. In the last record you guys recorded choirs while on Heirs you have some tracks with individual vocals. Do you always strive to experiment differently with vocals in each album? Vocals have always been the last sugar coating of instrumentation on the tracks that we do because everything is still predominantly written as instrumentals to the point where the song is almost finished. So, whenever a song is approaching that end stage, when it’s like “this sounds really good, ok...it just needs a little vocal element” that’s when the idea of what sort of vocal would fit comes in, right at that end stage. For instance, on the track “Fucking Lifer”, there’s a vocal line in there and it’s very heavily effected. You can barely make out that it’s a voice, and it’s a great example of that. We thought that this song would be great with a big, soaring vocal. It’s almost inaudible, but it’s there on the top and it sounds really vast and lovely. That’s where the idea for that sort of style came from and that was unique. We didn’t use that vocal effect throughout the album, it was just for that track, so I think it’s very much on a song by song basis that we work with the vocals. Maybe in the future we’ll do an album with a vocal theme throughout but, that remains to be seen, I suppose.
Talking about your own evolution as a drummer. How did you approach the drumming this time in comparison to your work in other albums? From the previous album I’ve been gradually toning down the
The title track finisher “Heirs” stretched up to the seventh minute mark, making it the l ongest composition on your record, while the others circle around the four minute mark. It also feels like it’s one of its most
INTERVIEW // ASIWYFA
“I guess we’ve always taken inspiration from people we’ve met along the way and places that we’ve been to, I think that’s inescapable. You’re always going to do that, no matter if you’re conscious of it or not, things will always influence you and rub off.” musically expansive tracks. When you’re writing, do you guys make a conscious choice to try and keep songs generally shorter and more concise? I guess we kind of know early on with a riff. It might be quite frantic, and with things like that, with high energy, it’s always going to be a bit shorter than normal because it’s very immediate and you want to get in and out with it and have the impact. With some melody or guitar line, we sometimes think “wow, that sounds really quite deep and meaningful”, and there could be a lot of emotion and a lot of things changing throughout. Then we kind of write towards it being a longer track. So with “Heirs”, as soon as Rory came out with that guitar line, it felt it was going to be a song with a journey to it rather than just “bang, bang, bang” and finish. It depends on the mood the initialideas are creating and we pick up on that very quickly.
Other than “Heirs”, which other songs do you think are the strongest or your favorites in this new record? I think it’s hard to say which ones were the strongest, because we fine tuned everything and cut away so much at the demos. By the time we got to ten tracks, we had to get rid of other twelve tracks we also liked so, it’s really the cream of the crop in the album. I could definitely say there were some that took the longest and were the most challenging to record, “Heirs” would be one of them. When we did it, I felt really proud in terms of my performance. I was quite worried about the end product. I wanted it to sound like a really great performance, and I was afraid I wasn’t going to get that. Because we rehearsed and demoed the songs so much, by the time we got to the tracking stage, there was this expectation about really being able to nail the performances, to recreate the feel of the demos
and to do them really precise, so that track was the big one that we left up to the end to record. I kind of flew through everything else and that was the last track to lay down and maybe that’s why it added to the expectation of the performance as well. But I was really pleased. The other track “Fucking Lifer” [is one of the favorites] as well, just because it was so different from what we’ve done before. We all felt really pleased with taking such a step and achieve a song like that. It’s always a lot of fun, writing and recording, but especially with that added excitement whenever you’re pushing the boundaries of where you’ve gone before. Do you think that the longest song in the record Heirs could be a hint at what And So I Watch You From Afar will be doing more in the future? It could be, but at the same time we’re constantly evolving in different ways. I don’t think I
could have predicted that Heirs would be the way it is at the time we did All Hail Bright Futures because that album was so different for us. We were like “What will we do next?” So I’m not sure what we’ll do. The thing is... we still have so many tracks that didn’t make the album so, there’s still a lot of room to revisit those and possibly do something smaller, like an EP somewhere down the line, but at the same time we’ll continue writing new stuff for the rest of this year as well. Let’s talk a little bit about the past. It’s been ten years since you guys started. What were the main lessons you’ve learned throughout this time that were important in keeping your guys together up to this point? Yeah! Ten years! This December will be the anniversary. I think there’s a lot of give and take that you have to be prepared to do. Being in a band is like a marriage essentially. You have to put up with people, bite your tongue about certain things and be able to resolve conflicts. I guess we’re lucky compared to some bands. We got through ten years, we only had one member leave and we’ve been able to keep the van on the road for most of the time. I guess it’s just about maintaining the friendships and respect for one another, and that’s very important when you’re doing so much touring and spending time in a van together the whole year. You need to maintain a good relationship, otherwise by the time you get back, you’re not going to want to get into the writing room and write new stuff. I guess that’s the one thing that’s the secret to it all, it’s maintaining that. If you can maintain good vibes between everybody then you can always write, record and tour the music. Take a band like Iron Maiden for instance. They’re all the best of mates you know? They all grew up together as well and that’s what leads to longevity. They’re obviously very respectful to each other. How do you personally view yourself comparing who you are now to who you were ten years ago when you were starting the band? Did you manage accomplish everything you wanted to so far? Hmmm, that’s a deep question. [laughs] I’ve been thinking about this recently because we’re on the verge of having been in the band for ten years. When we first 96
started, I still didn’t have a very wide view of the music industry or what it was like to be in a proper band so I thought, at the start, “Right, I’ll know within one of year of doing the band if its worthwhile, and if it’s not, then I’ll go back to my old job.” By the time that year came up, we hadn’t done much. No band starting out jumps to stardom or does anything within a year. So, at that point we were just starting to do some local shows around the Belfast area and starting to put together a bit of a body of work, and my parents were like “Ok, you’ve had your year, nothing much has happened, so you’re gonna go back to your job, right?” I was working as a manager in a club over England and I had planned to go back, but then after that year I was like, well, I know the band hasn’t taken off or anything, but there’s definitely a feeling that we’re building upon something very slowly and we all had the enthusiasm to keep going, even with such little progression. Then in year two, three and four we began touring. Sometimes we would play to five people, it was crazy, having to sleep on people’s floors, but it was also an adventure. Even with vans breaking down and having no money, there was always that sense of adventure for us, we always had the enthusiasm to keep going and I think the more we toured and had to endure that sort of stuff, the harder we became against all that. Nowadays, if a van breaks down, people barely bat an eyelid, because we’ve seen it all so much. [laughs] We’ve built up this tolerance and resilience to everything that the world throws at us in terms of the touring lifestyle or the music industry so I think I’m really glad that’s the way we’ve gone with it, because that’s a big part of why we’re all still together and love doing it so much. All along we’ve been making the music that we love and it hasn’t always gone well, but we’ve been building these skills and learning to adapt to situations, taking it on the chin when bad things happen. Looking back,when you tell people some stories, they go “I can’t believe you went through that!”, and we’re like “Well, we survived” and it’s all good. Also, we toured so many different parts of the world, and being a mostly instrumental band from Ireland it’s quite an achievement the fact that we’re still building a fan base, ten years in. It’s incredible for us and we’re fortunate and grateful that we can keep doing that.
You were talking about all those countries you played in. You’ve been recently through China, Russia, India and Africa as well. How was the experience of playing for all these different audiences and what stories would you like to share from playing in these places? The great thing about playing in so many different places and going into new countries and cities, is that you pretty much have no idea how the shows will go. You almost have no expectations, so when you play and do a great show it’s like “Wow, that was incredible!” and then you kind of have that realization that you’re so many time zones away from your home and you’re playing to people you can’t converse with, because they’re speaking a different language, but everyone is having a great time because somehow they’ve downloaded the music or they’ve been fans for a while and suddenly you’re in their city. It’s very strange, but it’s so rewarding to be able to do that. For instance, the first time we went to Russia, we had absolutely no idea if there were any fans at all! We got there and we played maybe ten shows in that tour, and it was just crazy. People were turning up and made their own t-shirts! They’ve printed photographs of us from the Internet, wanting us to sign them and interact with the band and we were so blown away because we had no prior knowledge of any sort of enthusiasm for the band there. It was like “How could anybody know us in Russia?”, But then they did. [laughs] I can complain about illegal downloading damaging band’s revenues and things like that since it all took off, but at the same time we have a whole fan base in Russia that probably grew mostly upon illegal downloads. If there was no downloading maybe we would never have got there in the first place or have a fan base ever. It’s give and take I guess. Making the type of music that we do, it could have been very different for us before the Internet came along, because it has given us a lot of chances to go out and see these places. Is the band the main activity and creative outlet for everyone in ASIWYFA or do you guys have other kinds of separate professional and artistic projects? Well, ASIWYFA is definitely the main focus for the four of us.
INTERVIEW // ASIWYFA Each year, the most amount of time is put into this band, but we all do have different projects. Niall has a band called A Bad Cavalier that’s more towards the music he made in the past, really interesting indie music. Johnny is actually into a really heavy, sludge metal band and Rory also plays guitar sometimes in that band. They’re called 7.5 Tonnes of Beard! They’re crazy good, and then also myself, Johnny and Rory play in a sort of punky folk band and with Rory’s father and his little brother as well in a balkan-eastern european sounding, really fast paced band. We play some shows and people sort of go crazy, dancing around, so we try to keep things interesting aside from ASIWYFA. Also, Rory does his own bits of producing and electronic music as well under the name Thrash Hat. We all like to be as busy as we can, especially when it comes to music. What are your shared musical influences as a band, and talking about you specifically, what influenced you as a drummer? We’re all roughly the same age, just about in our thirties, so we all grew up around the Nirvana era, the Grunge era, that’s very much where we were and I’m sure we all grew up on our parents music. Rory listened to a lot of Led Zeppelin, Cream and Jimi Hendrix back when he was younger. I listened to a lot of stuff my dad played, a lot of The Beatles and Queen, going back to that era before I was born. We’re all listening to all different types of stuff and there’s always so many different types of music to listen to. As a drummer, my earliest influences were seeing Dave Grohl drumming with Nirvana and Jimmy Chamberlain with The Smashing Pumpkins. They were my two main inspirations when I started to play drums, because Dave Growl is such a visual character, he’s just smashing the kit all the time and as a kid like, 13, 14 years old, it was just incredible to see! I just wanted to do that, just wanted to be that guy. [laughs] A few years ago we supported Them Crooked Vultures and I actually got to meet him and talk to him all about that so, I was able to be the fanboy for the day! But I suppose it’s a mixture of his performance with Jimmy Chamberlain. He was like the perfect fusion [drummer]. He started out with Jazz, but then ended up in this colossal rock band and he had that finesse of Jazz, but then he
“All along we’ve been making the music that we love and it hasn’t always gone well, but we’ve been building these skills and learning to adapt to situations, taking it on the chin when bad things happen.” ramped up and he became this huge, dynamic character. Those drummers inspired me to start to play at early ages and I liked to put my headphones and try to play along with the songs. That’s how I’ve started drumming. How I’ve learned. Those sort of beats and grooves were the basis from where I learned from and I’ve carried that all through the years.
November and then we’re going to have a short run in Portugal and Spain, and that’s basically us for the rest of the year. Once we’ll get back from that, we’ll have maybe a month before Christmas and I think we’ll get straight back into the writing and try to see whether there’s another album or EPs worth of songs that we can maybe get out next year.
So, back to the start, but looking forward. Where is ASYWYFA going to be touring now? In August we have the Reading and Leeds festivals and then, from early September, October, we’re going to the US and do a tour there. That will take us up next to www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
HEIRS IS OUT NOW VIA SARGENT HOUSE
1 REPULSIVE | 2 Pure shit | 3 terrible | 4 must avoid | 5 average | 6 good effort | 7 good | 8 very good | 9 EXCelLent | 10 pure c
REFUSED Freedom Epitaph (2015) 100
8 Summer Issue
wo decades ago, Refused weren’t just a great punk band. They were important, dammit, and even if Marxist polemics weren’t your thing, they were so magnificently anarchic that they had to grab you from some angle. Freedom is not that band. The message remains intact, with their
diatribes against government and capitalism run rampant returning, albeit in a more Eurocentric and sloganeering vein, but where The Shape Of Punk To Come revelled in its uncompromising delivery, the poetic turns of phrase and acerbic humour as key to its impact as the actual music, Freedom plays it straight. “Praise the Lord, God is dead” shrieks Denis Lyxzen on “Dawkins Christ” to a chipped and fractured razor of a riff, but when “Wage war on the palaces” is soundtracked by a ribald horn-backed boogie, it loses its
incendiary urgency. Such a heavily funkified streak is a recurring motif, its unabashed smatterings of brass and pop-inflected guitarwork often threatening to drag Freedom down to the level of parody, but to dwell on this would be unfair because, in all honesty, it’s still an exciting album. There’s a feeling that the band are deliberately playing with what was expected of them, from their bringing in producer Shellback, better known for work with Taylor Swift and Maroon 5 than counterculture icons like Refused,
to co-pen and produce “Elektra” and “366”, two of the album’s most cutting tracks, to the way the album flip-flops between complexity and scything precision on one hand and earworming funk rock on the other, and it’s this playfulness that is Freedom’s salvation. There are times when it taps back into that youthful conviction, the burning desire to right the world’s injustices, but there are even more where it just urges you to chant along, to dance, to simply revel in the absurdity of looking to musicians for guidance rather than
exerting any meaningful change yourself. It might be a cliché to tout the old ‘they’ve matured’ card, but it’s a useful one to throw out. They have found a new way to spread their message, one that deals as much in hooks burrowing under the skin than in violent stabs in the dark, and it’s an effective one. The fact that it wasn’t the one we may have been looking for probably says more about us than them.
7 BEACH HOUSE Depression Cherry Sub Pop (2015)
It’s been a while since Beach House delivered the wonderful Bloom, in 2012. Three years later, after a lot of touring, it’s time to rediscover their music in another album. According to them, Depression Cherry is a return to the simpler style of dream pop from their first two albums - Beach House (2006) and Devotion (2008). In fact, the new album feels more natural and simpler. They make their dreamy pop lullabies effortless and organic, it’s like they could make a good song out of the same formula over and over again. The electronic organs are a bit darker and the guitar riffs more dreamy with Victoria Legrand’s sweet voice. Sometimes it can feel repetitive, but even so, Beach House have created their own unmistakable sound. FOR FANS OF:
Melody’s Echo Chamber, Deerhunter
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BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME Coma Ecliptic
Metal Blade (2015)
With the rise in popularity of melodic hardcore in recent years, the door has opened for many bands who have been passing unnoticed in the past. Also, it opened the door for many new bands to find their place and their own crowd. One of those bands are Being As An Ocean. The California based five-piece have released three records so far, the third being just put in front of us. They are not amongst the biggest bands of the genre, so the release went somehow quiet, but despite that, this is very good stuff. With the ten songs, the band delivered a great amount of energy, some great melodies and vocal mixtures. Everything just feels right, and on its place. Definitely worth a listen.
It took them seven albums, but Between The Buried And Me have finally broken through the barrier that separates prog-influenced bands from true prog acts. Standing on the shoulders of giants like Yes, King Crimson and (amazingly) Queen, BTBAM created a Prog-Opera for the ages. Coma Ecliptic is a conceptual album about a man in a coma, journeying through his past, each song a chapter in his life, only to wake up and see that beauty is in reality. After 13 years, BTBAM realized that they could intertwine their aggressive demeanor with their desire to write grandiose pieces. As such, they were able to create complex structures that not only feature their metal influences, but also have playful jazz-rock passages and astonishing ethereal moments. Coma Ecliptic is a rediscovering of BTBAM for all their fans, a glimpse into the prog-metal giants that they are becoming. If this record is any indication, from now on we demand great things from them.
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7 BEING AS AN OCEAN Being As An Ocean Impericon/In Vogue (2015)
Counterparts, Letlive, La Dispute
KIng Crimson, Pink Floyd
THE CLASSICAL Dyptych
Time Released Sound (2015)
Like a Bond theme tune orchestrated by Hermann Nitsch, the San Franciscan duo of Juliet E. Gordon and Brett Ciampa have constructed a confrontational and somewhat uncomfortable work that masks a pained heart beneath a veneer of timeless elegance. Attention is torn between the skittering, jazz-inflected percussion of Ciampa and Gordon’s Bassey-by-way-of-Beth-Gibbons vocals, a salt-and-pepper contrast if ever there was one, but the eclecticism of these songs allow both to function on an even footing, a mishmash of big band pomp, subdued classicism and art rock that somehow manages to always remain understated. If anything, it’s the intimacy here that sells it. A bare, disquieting and sonically adventurous collection of musical vignettes, Diptych will take time to absorb but every listen will take you closer to something timeless. FOR FANS OF:
Beth Gibbons, Portishead, Scott Walker
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COUNTERPARTS Tragedy Will Find Us
Pure Noise Records (2015)
Tragedy Will Find Us, the new beast of an album from Ontario-based Counterparts was described by them as being about hitting “rock bottom.” Dudes, thank you so much for letting us know about that, because we’re so happy to be together with you guys in the same boat. Sometimes being at “rock bottom” is a good thing, things get emotional, angry enough to kill some ghosts and everything goes messy, massive and no such thing as an expiration date regarding the music. So, Counterparts once again show us what’s like when strong and emotional lyrical angst clashes with crushing heavy riffs, Tragedy Will Find Us is an emotional rollercoaster of an album and Brendan Murphy’s desperate screams can really make goosebumps. This is their perfect and logical next step, with the right amount of heaviness and melody, evolving their own signature sound into this so damn prolific genre. FOR FANS OF:
Capsize, The Ghost Inside, Touché Amoré
CREEPOID Cemetery Highrise Slum Collect (2015)
MODERN LIFE IS WAR Fever Hunting (Deathwish Inc.)
TOUCHÉ AMORÉ Is Survived By (Deathwish Inc.)
THE GHOST INSIDE Dear Youth (Epitaph)
If you find yourself listening to Cemetery Highrise Slum while driving on a deserted road at 3 AM don’t change the station, because there is a chance you might like it. Creepoid are one of those bands that walk the fine line between shoegaze and the non-aggressive lo-fi grunge that is so beloved nowadays. This record is gritty, somewhat dark and always kind of depressive. However, it lacks the dirty influences of their previous works (Sonic Youth and the likes), so it ends up with no discernable emotional power. This makes tracks like “Fingernails” and “Shaking” sound interesting at first, but also forgettable after the third time. Creepoid need to rethink what they’re trying to do, because right now they’re just shouting random emotional shoegaze clichés. FOR FANS OF:
Sonic Youth, No Joy, Restorations
7 DESTROYER Poison Season
Merge Records (2015)
Destroyer’s music is not intended to take the pop form by the will of Dan Bejar. The truth is that in Kaputt, album released in 2011, its idiosyncratic character, unexpectedly, had combined with a musical scene fervor. Hence it was born an improbable recognition of his work, but deserved. An intelligent humor or a depressing mood? This question looms for the new album Poison Season. There is a balance of emotions that comes close to the language built in Kaputt, but his city voyeurism, gets enriched with more cared compositions when it includes orchestrations, which in certain moments as in “Dream Lover”, the highlight of the album, recalls the celebratory Springsteen’s Rock of the 70s. Maximum irony from someone who makes pop music by accident. RUI CORREIA
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Lower Dens, Swan Lake, Moonface
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6 DUCKTAILS St. Catherine Domino (2015)
St. Catherine is an effort of Matt Mondanile, which keeps the quality to which he has accustomed us since previous works in Ducktails format, as in his other project Real Estate. That also arises a flaw: unfortunately, the songs sound inconsequential in the repertoire of (great) songs done in the past (mainly with Real Estate). Matt is certainly someone who can not disappoint in his melodies, and it’s also undeniable its insatiable desire to express himself artistically, but, at some point the record gets lost in banality, because it doesn’t offer a new point of interest, so it becomes boring. It’s strange how the album was recorded in several cities, but Matt does not seem entirely out of his comfort zone. FOR FANS OF:
Real Estate, DIIV, Beach Fossils
8 EVAN CAMINITI Meridian
Thrill Jockey (2015)
Thrill Jockey (2015)
Here is electronica in a more organic nature. It seethes and bubbles with little in the way of respite, always moving in unstoppable queasy fashion. Where previously Caminiti focused on the drone-like properties possible within guitar instrumentation, on Meridian the music is primarily produced using what sounds like quite an arsenal of damp, dank synthesisers. Opener “Overtaken” ruptures and disrupts like malware spreading contagion within a living vessel and from then on the listener is dragged through crevasses of bilious sound while klaxons buzz and turbulence buffets. It’s a bit like finding yourself entombed inside a malfunctioning digestive system. The soundtrack to Skin Jobs driving dementedly through glittering nights before swift obliteration into shards and pixels, the sound of being alive in machinery. FOR FANS OF:
Petrels, Barn Owl, Lee Noble
FOX MILLIONS DUO Lost Time
The drums, the drums, the never-ending drums. Greg Fox and Kid Millions have joined forces in a percussive duo set on pummelling the bejesus out of time itself across two extended 20-minute pieces on this LP release. Side one’s cacophonous barrage is “Telegy/Time Lapse” on which polyrhythmic patterns weave throughout electronic squawking at a ferocious intensity before a swift disintegration and filthy distortion bleeds through cracks in the sound like malevolent tar leaking out of an open wound. It brings to mind what might have happened had the duo Kieran Hebden maintained with much-missed Steve Reid been suddenly joined by Rashied Ali for a full-on free skronk onslaught. Side two’s “Post-Encounter Effect” is a slightly more straightforward alt-rock piece resembling Sunburned Hand of the Man jamming through The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows”. Well worth blasting your summer sinuses with. FOR FANS OF:
Kid Millions, Guardian Alien
REVIEWS Ben Chisholm
CHELSEA WOLFE Abyss
Sargent House (2015)
here’s always something intriguing and fascinating about Chelsea Wolfe. Maybe it’s because of her haunting and beautiful music that goes deep into our soul, maybe it’s because of her delicacy and honesty, or even maybe because of her unique and distinguished style. Many are the reasons to be intrigued and completely in love with this artist. In 2013, Chelsea released the stunning Pain Is Beauty, which she
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Marriages, King Dude, True Widow
approached more electronic elements and sounds on her songs, and the result was something quite remarkable. Unsurprisingly, her new album is another impressive effort. This time around, she went deep into her issues with sleeping, which is called sleep paralysis. This album, Abyss, represents the intersection of the conscious and the unconscious and how that tend to affect Chelsea in her own life and music. It’s really sublime how she touches a theme so profound to her and convey it into intense and dreamy songs. Having John Congleton as producer, and
as her band multi-instrumentalist and co-writer Ben Chisholm and drummer Dylan Fujioka, with Ezra Buchla brought on board to play viola and Mike Sullivan (Russian Circles), all songs are bound to each other with a loud-quiet-loud approach. Abyss is probably Chelsea Wolfe’s heaviest, darkest and even the most personal record. Her songwriting skills and organic way to express the beauty and ugliness of life gets better every time she releases something new. It’s definitely a memorable and superb record.
Iron Moon, After The Fall, Color of Blood
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7 FRANKIE & THE HEARTSTRINGS Decency Pop Sex Ltd (2015)
Between opening up their own record store and starting their own record label, Frankie and the Heartstrings were clearly on a roll. Now the Sunderland band known for their snappy pop hooks and lively sound are back with Decency, the follow-up from 2013’s The Days Run Away. However, this third studio creation doesn’t have quite the same drive, despite the band retaining the musical formula that works so well for them. Indeed, the tracks beam with exuberance and energy, particularly “Someday Anna” and “Money”, while the optimistic chorus of “Think Yourself Lucky” gives the album a fresh, summer-flavoured sound. However, the overall result feels somewhat incomplete and occasionally, the songs edge towards repetition. That being said, Decency’s melodic jubilation will not be a miss with fans of the band, but its lack of diversity might hinder it from reaching new heights. FOR FANS OF:
Howler, Tribes, The Heartbreaks
7 FUTURE DEATH Cryptids EP
Bloodmoss Records (2015)
Cryptids is bloody exciting, not only for what it actually is, but also for what represents. It’s a big step forward in the artistic and music endeavors of this Austin-based band. Last year’s Special Victim, the Future Death’s debut album, was special, with their space punk that welcomes noise as well as a great pop sensibility, but with this new EP they have taken the time to delve into the studio and craft something more sophisticated, more developed, and more cohesive. This is definitely the work of a band that is committed 100% to studio work – easily attested by the way all the pieces intertwine. Cryptids is an impressive lean forward and after hearing it is hard to not be excited with Future Death’s future. FOR FANS OF:
Perfect Pussy, Joanna Gruesome
8 GHOST Meliora
There’s a damn good reason for Ghost’s hype. Their songwriting skills are undeniably great. That’s what made almost everyone go berserk over their debut Opus Eponymous. Unfortunately, that level of songwriting suffered with the follow-up Infestissumam. With Meliora – which could easily go either way – they not only return to the right path, but more importantly show a clear step-up of their game. Throughout the ten tracks that compose the new album, there’s not even one track that could be called a filler, or even an inferior link of the chain – even something as cheesy as “He Is” finds a way to be as fulfilling as the other tracks. This is Ghost going at it with everything that they have. Infectious melodies, a never ending parade of great riffs, an awesome production, and super addictive songs. They’re back and better than ever. FOR FANS OF:
Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, In Solitude
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6 GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH Darling... It’s Too Late Suicide Squeeze (2015)
Welcome to the 20’s for another day of fun and good waves. This time, sponsoring are the Guantanamo Baywatch in their latest album, Darling It’s Too Late, and we cannot say that the journey is itself a new thing. The Portland trio presents us with a revivalist and light work, the foundations of which are nearly 100 years in the past, the iconic movement of rock generation, specifically in your shed associated with the surf and the Californian style. Filled with vibrant sounds and clichés, it is with some humor that the issues are well versed with both repetitive as captivating. Overall, it’s a good day, but takes too intricate style to please everyone, although it has everything to be the traveling companion of a summer love. FOR FANS OF:
Hunx, The Ramones, Wax Idols
GULFER What Gives?
Texas Is Funny (2015)
Maybe you’ve heard of Gulfer, maybe you’re a fan or you’ve only just tuned in. Either way, What Gives? will make for an intriguing listen. The Montreal band typically associated with math rock and emo sounds, have whipped out a seven song LP that is a multitude of contradictions and left turns. The frequent changes in tempo and unusual time signatures make the songs sound defiantly long for the album’s length, each track changing from soft stokes to thrashing riffs and vocals that are delivered with uninhibited poignancy, as in closing track “Almost Sterling”. The boisterous energy of “Getting Hit by Parked Cars” alongside the skilfully placed hypnotic instrumentals “PostMolly” and “Altalalaval” make for an idiosyncratic blend of sound that does not disappoint. What Gives? is a perfect example of how Gulfer have mastered their sound and how they deliver it with density and deliberation. FOR FANS OF:
Nai Harvest, Prawn, I Kill Giants
HEALTH Death Magic
Loma Vista (2015)
It’s been a while since LA’s noise rockers HEALTH’s last album. In those six years they’ve kept working, releasing their second remix album and what’s probably one the biggest projects in their ten-year career – composing the music for the Rockstar game Max Payne 3. Here’s a good example where maturity and increase value of craftsmanship actually exist. Death Magic is not just a crazy-ass noise record – although that still exists. This a great pop record. Death Magic is an amazingly crafted pop album that can’t be possibility treated as a guilty pleasure since it has one foot on the experimental realm and isn’t at all detached from the band’s singularity. Full of anthems – “Life” could probably represent this generation – and with a fucking stellar production. Almost too good to be true. FOR FANS OF:
Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode
LAMB OF GOD VII: Sturm Und Drang Nuclear Blast (2015)
HO9909 Horrors of 1999 EP
Ho99o9 are a fuckin’ crazy ass band. But what kind of craziness? Opener “No Regrets” is as dirty and deranged as punk allows them to; “Day of Vengance” is slow-burning and the beat makes the track a hell of a drug induced trip; “Private Parts (Skit)” is street knowledge while “P.O.W. (Prisoners of War)” takes the queue to go hardcore, rapping; “Gates of Torment” is highly experimental and noisy; and it closes with dirty punk again with “Savage Heads”. This is just ten minutes of music. With Ho99o9, there are no rules. It’s hip hop, rock, punk, experimental, and more importantly... it’s everything in between with a fucking raw attitude clearly coming from a very honest state of frustration. Violence! A hell of a debut.
Hundreth are back with their first full length after four years, but listening to this record, it feels like it hasn’t been a day. Since their beginnings, the band have found their own sound, and just keep getting better at it. Free is another evidence. Anger, frustrations, aggression, desperation spread across the ten tracks give insights to mind, heart and soul of the band. The sound is heavy, but also hard to swallow for anyone who isn’t ready to give their full attention. The lyrics are maybe even heavier than before, making this record even darker than some of the previous work. Hundredth are a band who know their direction, and what they want to say with each and every of their words and tones. This record is no different.
Sturm Und Drang is an overcome of a band who went through a terrible storm, who’s now back with full ambition and with one of the most distinct and stylistic metal album of this year. Lyrically, Sturm Und Drag explores the capacity that our spirit has under strong pressure, something that Randy felt in the last couple years, given his experiences in Prague’s Pankrác Prison. After Sacrament and Resolution, the expectations were high, not only because their previous efforts were monstrous classics, but to see if they were capable at least to match their previous performances. Well, these guys achieved all of that and raised the bar, not only for them, but for all the new generation of bands. This is their most extreme, diverse and refined album of their entire catalogue, even surprise features of both Chino Moreno and Greg Puciato gave this album an whole new level of tension and dynamics. This is their legacy, their masterpiece!
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Hopeless Records (2015)
Death Grips, clipping., B L A C K I E
Counterparts, More Than Life, Capsize
Ashes Of The Wake, Sacrament & Resolution
7 CASEY BOLLES Freshman EP
Pure Noise Records (2015)
Casey Bolles is an emotional guy, that’s for sure. If you guys are into La Dispute’s or Hotel Books’ spoken word thing and love that Say Anything meets Bright Eyes brutally honest lyrics, you will for sure love this effort. Freshman is a good surprise, and has some great moments, the way Casey portrays his emotions through lyrics with the most simplistic acoustic set and some ocasional screams are quite something. There’s a lot introspection here, this is a very decent effort.
7 DEAF AUTUMN What Was To Be Known This Is Core (2015)
While so many bands emphasizing style over substance these days, Deaf Autumn are a sort of enigma in today’s stupid genre-label musical scene. These guys aren’t afraid to rip-off typical post-hardcore esque, but it’s strange to label them like a post-hardcore band, because they go from screamo to metalcore, but always with rock and melody in the center of his music identity. What Was To Be Known is good, causes addiction and is full of ambition.
7 DOCTOR DOOM This Seed We Have Sown Ripple Music (2015)
Together through a shared interest in 60s and 70s music, in particular some of the legendary rock bands. Doctor Doom music is firmly rooted in rock culture, blends vintage sound and heavy riffs while using song structures more typical of progressive rock. Almost inevitably to think of bands like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Graveyard combined in only one piece. Strong rhythms and stunning songwritings elevate them into an interesting new coming on stoner rock.
8 LIBEREZ All Tense Now Lax
8 LOCRIAN Infinite Dissolution
Relapse Records (2015)
Night School Records (2015)
This record encloses a challenging experience, one that induces the listener to lose track of its surroundings. Played under the right circumstances, the beholder might feel like he or she is merging into a weird Lynch or Cronenberg-like scenario, he’s becoming a machine, or maybe the entire factory. Imagine listening to this in your room and all of a sudden you feel like you are watching yourself from up above, as if your consciousness had left the body. Suddenly you feel like your body is not just that person sitting there, but also the entire house and everything that is in it. Yes, basically this sounds like doing drugs, without all the bad trips, hangover and anxiety. A tense – but just enough atmosphere, made of almost ritualistic percussion and a variety of textures and distorted sounds in a blurred industrial setting where a trash bin is as legit as a violin.
Themes of human extinction often bring to mind ravaged, post-apocalyptic destruction – Infinite Dissolution feels more like the Singularity, the philosophical end point where technological intelligence surpasses biological and everything beyond is left to fate to decide. The flux between organic and synthetic is fundamental here, with bursts of blastbeaten fury and rushing, ascendant melodies bringing cold and warmth to beds of static and white-hot noise, and gradually the two coalesce as KXL II swirls crackling static and neoclassical strains while The Great Dying’s swathes of cinematic synthwork use atmosphere in lieu of vocals to progress its mournful narrative. Stirring and complex, yet sublimely hook-laden at points, this is the perfect entry point for those intimidated by Locrian’s extensive back catalogue, an infinitely-layered and thought-provoking work that rivals even their best.
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Throbbing Gristle, GYBE, Trent Reznor
Deafheaven, Horseback, Ulver
Relapse Records (2015)
lver’s debut may have been one of the most overlooked landmarks in black metal, yet it’s still easy to spot those who were shaped by it to this day. Myrkur, the solo project of Dane Amalie Bruun, may have shown some of those melancholy progressions and Wagnerian flourishes on her debut EP, but they have now been repurposed into something more of her own making. While it excels in capturing that spirit of the early 90s, a humanistic sound as ugly and corrosive at it is moving, M stresses the extremes, Bruuns’ screams ragged and raw as she pulls in sweeping choral arrangements and buzzing riffs to create a disquieting contrast. The gentle piano-andvocal harmonising of Nordlys is a truly angelic moment and quite possibly one of the most beautiful things to have come out all year, but as it’s followed up by the resolutely old-school thrash of Mordet, it becomes more than itself. It’s a symptom of Myrkur’s mastery of light and shadow, of melody, chaos and void coalescing in a ballet that prompts bewilderment and excitement as each song ends and another begins. Adventurous and defiant, it might not always sound like black metal, but it captures its spirit in a way that has eluded many of the ‘trve’ for decades.
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Alcest, Ulver, Agalloch
8 GRUSOM Grusom
Kozmik Artifactz (2015)
With dark and gloomy lyrics, Grusom creates an honest and a unpolished universe that questions life and death authentic stories and malicious tales. A killer fusion of blues, driven on the 70s and building on psychedelic and gothic surrounds. With swinging guitar and keyboard rhythms, it reminds The Doors, but in an even darker and doom version. The keyboard really gives a great sound and the singer’s voice is just an incredible fit for this kind of music vibe.
8 HOPE DRONE Cloak of Ash Relapse (2015)
Dense, angular and devastating are some of the adjectives that can help to describe what these Australians sludge/ black metal outfit are doing here. Cloak of Ash is textured and dynamic, full of details in a nihilist cocktail of atmospheric black metal with the vile and dirty sludge. Some bands are able to shake the classic foundations of heaviness, some achieve that to create noisy storms, but these dudes are able to do that and make the earth shake. Massive and storming! FAUSTO CASAIS
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6 MAN OVERBOARD Heavy Love
7 MARVIN-H Hica EP
This Is Core (2015)
What is today’s modern rock? Well... that has several mixed interpretations and answers for it. Marvin-H are a rock band, a modern rock band that sounds like the bastard son of a Foo Fighters threesome with Incubus and Panic! At The Disco. Hica is catchy, has hooks and heavy riffs, and these dudes were smart enough to bring huge pop-friendly melodies, that can easily be stuck in your head for days. This a very promising debut, let’s wait and see what will be their next step.
MISS MAY I Deathless
Rise Records (2015)
The self-proclamed “defenders of pop punk” are back with a new release. With their fourth album, the band sticks to their own sound and keeps doing what they do best – playing pop punk music. Man Overboard were never revolutionary by any means, but they managed to find their own place in the narrow space that pop punk as a genre is, making themselves have fanbase and somewhat recognizable style. Heavy Love is no different. Led by poppy melodies, soft vocals and easy, sometimes even cheesy lyrics, they offered another record made for festivals like Warped Tour, and mainly young crowd. Unfortunately, I can’t see anything deeper in their music, and I can’t see this record being relevant for a longer time. Unless you’re a diehard fan.
Well, there’s the national league of metalcore bands and then there is the champions league of metalcore... Yeap, you figure it out, Miss May I belong to the very special and limited champions league of bands that still keep waving the genre’s flag and setting new rules and boundaries to all those national league bands. Deathless is heavy, sometimes remind us a bit of earlier Miss May I days and records, full of dynamics and with the power to make metalcore grittier and extreme, all over again. Crushing riffs and that classic catchy metalcore esque, nothing new, only a bit heavier, unique and brutal than their peers, but the thing is, Miss May I are doing this thing of leveling up the game for a few years, now they just level up the whole genre. Levi Benton and his mates raise the bar, will the metalcore world accept this challenge?
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Rise Records (2015) OUT NOW
Senses Fail, The Story So Far, Neck Deep
Killswitch Engage,The Devil Wears Prada
ydney-based band Northlane had a markable moment in their career when they released 2013’s Singularity, a record that was well-acclaimed worldwide. That was a great thing for them, as they toured the world twice over 18 months before coming home. But during their time off to rest and write again, frontman Adrian Fitipaldes left the band due to mental and physical exhaustion. Without a frontman and with the will to move on, the guys
looked up for a new frontman on a public audition process. The chosen one was the 23-year-old singer Marcus Bridge, also from Sydney, which brought an exciting and new approach to the band. Despite his age, Marcus took over the place as frontman of Northlane with great confidence and showed a lot of maturity with his attitudes and performances behind the mic. Node is the name of their new album and a lot of meanings come across with that name. The whole concept of it is fascinating as it is their sound progression. Don’t expect just heavy and loud songs, the Northlane guys wanted to do something a little more out of the
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Karnivool, Architects, Bring Me The Horizon
Obelisk, Node, Rot
box and they succeed at it. They blend atmospheric sounds with heavy riffs, and with producer Will Putney, it couldn’t be a better fit. Marcus goes from singing melodically to shout out the words, which is a different way to listen to Northlane’s music. Lyric wise, they express their standpoint of the world and people in general. The power of human connection is something really important and Northlane definitely show with their new album how we all are connected with everything that surrounds us and why we need to take care of our home, the planet Earth. Node is for sure a hymn record of nowadays. ANDREIA ALVES
OH, ROSE Seven
Born from the ashes of the band Tyler Jon Tyler, Negative Scanner are a quartet from Chicago with Rebecca Valeriano-Flores singing and raging on the guitar as well Matt Revers, and the duo drum-bass Tom Cassling and Nick Beaudoin follow those huge riffs with endless energy. Together they make a fierce post-punk that remind us a more noisy side of Savages with a touch of Sleater-Kinney and Ramones in between. Passionante and powerful, that’s what their self-titled debut album is all about. Valeriano-Flores delivers honest lyrics with super energetic music. It’s good to see bands approach this kind of genre with such dynamic and boldness, and for their debut full-length, Negative Scanner know what they want.
Oh, Rose is one of those bands that you find out about by pure chance and it’s instant love at first listen. They are from the iconic music city, Olympia and as a new band they are conquering bit by bit the hearts of those who listen to their music. In 2014 they released their debut EP, That Do Now See, and now they self-released their debut album. It’s called Seven and it’s composed with seven songs. It’s simply an astonishing record, every song has a certain intensity to it and all lyrics are passionate. Musically, they go further on mixing folk-rock with a much more fuzzy rock. Olivia Rose’s voice is what gives the depth to the songs, singing her heart out, especially on the track “Seven”, which is by far the heaviest song on the record. It just hits you hard when she sings with such power the lines “It’s just a lot of standing up / Hey I’ve been down before”. Seven is simply a gem in nowadays music.
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NEGATIVE SCANNER Negative Scanner
Trouble In Mind Records (2015)
Savages, Sleater-Kinney, Ramones
Angel Olsen, Joanna Gruesome
PUBLICIST UK Forgive Yourself
Relapse Records (2015)
Much like Meethook Seed before it so this band baffles fans because what can you expect when you have members and ex-members of Revocation, Municipal Waste in the same band? A Death / Thrash metal hybrid? Nothing could be farther from the truth because what you have here is a tribute to the late seventies and early eighties British New Wave and Post Punk bands. This coming from an American band makes the sound of this record even more unusual, but still believe it or not these guys pull it off. And they do it with the style, flair and panache missing from most of their British counterparts. This is not a record for the regular metal fan, if you are expecting speed and technical wizardry you must look elsewhere. But if you at least are intrigued with me premise you should give this record a spin or two. FOR FANS OF:
Joy Division, Grave Pleasures, Nothing
TAME IMPALA Currents
istening to Currents for the first time you slowly come to a realisation that the droning guitars of 2010’s Innerspeak and 2012’s Lonerism are long gone. Some things still remain, however. The wall of sound and the aching falsetto that has echoes of Brian Wilson are still here. Though, the pretence that Tame Impala’s sound was that of a band indebted to
rock heroes from the 60’s is lone gone. Currents is a step in a new direction and it completely succeeds. While Kevin Parker, again playing nearly everything on this album has himself played down the fact that Currents is a break-up album, you can’t shake the feeling that it is. Every track oozes heartbreak. More than that, it’s a break up with whatever convention Tame Impala had and that wasn’t very much convention to begin with.
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The Beatles, Brian Wilson, Pink Floyd
Let It Happen, Disciples, Reality In Motion
The driving bass lines and indie guitars have been replaced with dreamy synthesisers and R’N’B drum beats. Proving that Tame Impala’s sound can encompass anything. From rock to dance, to distorted sounds that don’t even sound like music. This is the new sound of psychedelic music. While things may have gone missing, Currents is a heartbreaking album that and shows a completely new side to Tame Impala. Where do they go next? ROD MCCANCE
8 OHHMS Cold EP
Holy Roar Records (2015)
Here’s a band that’s hard to pin down, OHHMS are brutal heavy and for 35 minutes we get exactly that. Cold has only two songs, both go from their atmospheric prog rock to their postsludge apocalyptic madness, but it’s their interludes inside the tracks, especially the first track, “The Anchor,” that really lift us around and makes us feel uncomfortable and out of our comfort zone. This is an ambitious effort, they’re raising the bar and bring some fresh elements to the genre.
8 SWEAT LODGE Talismana
Ripple Music (2015)
Sweat Lodge write about the concept of a man finding his place in the universe and the many physical and spiritual hurdles one faces in the process. Using the concept of the talisman as protection against evil as well as a catalyst for change in the self and society as a whole. The group antagonises the modern heavy music, combining epic, technical songwriting with enough heaviness, best served in a dark, smoke filled room, catching the most explosive psychedelic feeling of the environment. SÉRGIO KILMORE
RADKEY Dark Black Makeup
ROSETTA Quitessential Ephemera
Dark Black Makeup marks the debut of Radkey, a band composed by three young siblings from St. Joseph, Missouri, and it comes after five years since the band’s inception and some important moments – like opening for Fishbone in their first ever show. Although much has been said about their age, the thirteen tracks that fill the album are nothing but mature. Using garage rock and punk, they’ve created something that can be traced back to what Danzing has been doing for many years now (solo and with the Misfits), especially the way lead vocalist and guitarist Dee Radke sounds on the mic. An extremely solid rock/ punk album and an awesome debut. The future seems to hold great things for them.
Following the tracks of acts like ISIS and Cult of Luna, Rosetta surfaced back when post-metal was the big thing. Years passed and so did most bands, but not Rosetta. They may not be as groundbreaking as those they seem to look up to, but I guess they’ve found their own territory. Up until now Rosetta’s sound had grown more and more mature without ever suffering major changes. With this new record they finally took some risks: the sound is cleaner, often more progressive and melodic than sludgy, and there is a moderate amount of clean singing (processed in a way that may not please everyone). With a new guitar player, Rosetta did a little feng shuy and released yet another solid record.
Littleman Records (2015)
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Golden Antenna Records (2015)
7 VOICE COILS Heaven’s Sense EP
Shatter Your Leaves (2015)
Heaven’s Sense is the debut EP by Brooklyn’s group Voice Coils. This EP is musically a continuation of the band’s debut 7”. It’s a complex experimental pop approach in every song. They clearly know what they want their music to sound like, but it’s hard for us as listeners to define precisely their sound. With Mitski on board as vocalist, Voice Coils wrote four songs where every little detail matters, even when it’s hard to digest the whole EP. ANDREIA ALVES
Cult of Luna, Isis, Neurosis
Danzig, Misfits, Death
SEA OF BEES Built A Boat To The Sun
TEAM SLEEP Woodstock Sessions Vol.4
Julie Ann Baenziger is the soul of Sea Of Bees project and the album that we are presenting is the third of the California singer’s career. Like the first two albums, this is a cohesive work in a very interesting indie pop language, with a kind of dreamy aura that surrounds the composer. Build a Boat To The Sun is a melodious, harmonious album and with a positive tune that sits in the ear either by clear lyrics either by running pace and a very pleasant sound. Although in certain songs the new album seems too intimate, the humble way it is interpreted captivate almost all 10 songs. Despite the quality in terms of sound is not a revolution nor a great innovation both for Julie Ann either to gender in general.
In 2005, the debut album from Team Sleep was released, the obvious thing that caught all the attention was that this is the side project of Deftones’ frontman Chino Moreno. Ten years later they’re back with the Woodstock Sessions, the dudes are almost the same, Chino Moreno, Chuck Doom, CrookOne, Rick Verret, Todd Wilkinson and the new guy, Gil Sharone. Woodstock Sessions is a powerful rework of the band’s classic material with some demos at the mixture, the good thing here is that this kind of rework is really a rework, showing new levels of intensity and a slight refresh approach. This is not new, but the way “Death By Plane”, “BLVD. Nights” and “Live From The Stage” ended up really adds something to this sort of rework.
3 Loop Music (2015) OUT NOW
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FOR FANS OF:
Woodstock Sessions (2015)
Peggy Sue, Smoke Fairies, Lia Ices
FOR FANS OF:
Deftones, Crosses and reworks...
OUT NOW OUT NOW
9 TITUS ANDRONICUS The Most Lamentable Tragedy Merge Records (2015)
8 TOUGH AGE I Get The Feeling Central Two years after the release of their debut, Tough Age have returned with I Get The Feeling Central, a self-reflexive journey through genres that retains the band’s fuzzy, lo-fi sound. The formula for the quintessential punk song dictates a three-minute limit for songs, but while the record is decidedly nostalgic of punk and surf rock (with all but two of its songs barely clocking at longer than three minutes), it never settles on a particular genre. This fluidity allows the band to jump from the sweeter sounds of the likes of Snakes and Ladders and Flamenco Wiccan to the choppy aggression of The Gutter Lemon and New Orleans Square. If you can get past the odd order of the songs, the record is a solid listen.
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FOR FANS OF:
The Who, Fucked Up, Hüsker Dü
VATTNET VISKAR Settler
Century Media (2015)
For Titus Andronicus’ fourth studio album The Most Lamentable Tragedy being successful is almost a direct translation to call it really good, bloody impressive even. A rock opera in five acts – the story of a character that goes on a path of self-discovery starting with deep despair – with a running time, surpassing the ninetyminute mark, and... believe it or not, it doesn’t get boring nor doesn’t it feel too ambitious in the face of its true value and content. We can feel Hüsker Dü’s Zen, Bruce Springsteen, and most importantly The Who’s Quadrophenia. Well, to be fair, there’s so much rock and punk ground covered that it’s fuckin’ overwhelming. This is Titus Andronicus’ magnum opus and an essential rock album in this 21st century – proving the great value of the band. A magical and utterly amazing piece of art.
Energy Slime, Mounties, Dead Soft
Black Metal will always be one of the most polarizing genres in Heavy Metal, albeit for the controversy surrounding some bands, the forward thinking and general dissatisfaction with the confines of the style itself that many bands try to avoid of the nihilist and misanthropic misconceptions of some of its affiliates that confuse music with other aspects of their lives. With that said, the genre is definitely for every metal freak out there, but for the more adventurous of fans it most certainly has its rewards. In recent years, many interesting projects have sprung in the United States, bands like Deafheaven and Wolves in the Throne room have risen to international acclaim. This is still a young band that still has much to give and a lot to prove, but if they keep progressing and experimenting like they do on this record I foresee a very promising future for them. FOR FANS OF:
Altar of Plagues, Deafheaven, Woe
HOW TO BUY WILCO...
WILCO Star Wars
8 WAVVES X CLOUD NOTHINGS No Life For me
YANKEE HOTEL FOXTROT (2002)
Ghost Ramp (2015)
A collaboration between Wavves and Cloud Nothings may have come as a surprise to many, but it’s exactly what you’d expect it to be: a short and sweet album full of emotionally charged lyrics sung over music you’d play in your car if you were the star of a hip indie movie. No Life for Me remains emo at heart, drawing from Husker Du’s rawness and American Football’s vulnerability while keeping true to Nathan Williams and Dylan Baldi’s DIY ethic. The two feed off each other’s energy to bring out their musical strengths in a mere 21 minutes, resulting in a beautiful, effortless record that is musically and lyrically complete despite its shortness. FOR FANS OF:
Wavves, Cloud Nothings
THE WHOLE LOVE (2011)
Surprise records are always nice, like when we receive some present, gift or whatever that we’re not expecting, especially when in this case is a fucking new Wilco album... By the way, it’s a surprise and free on their website for a limited time, nevermind it’s free... It’s a fucking new Wilco album!!! Jeff Tweedy is one of the most prolific artists in the world, and is also an adventurous musician, with no fear of experimenting and this time we might dare to say that he and his comrades go timeless and classy, because Star Wars is a visionary trip into their own alternative-country-rock-meetsdistortion-meets-groovy rock-fuzzy guitars-Beatles+Lennon/emotionalesque. It’s an unusual work and path, might say some fans, but it’s bold, sounds fresh and unique, we dare to say that’s a vintage tale of Wilco’s best shot in years, if not of this decade. FOR FANS OF:
The Beatles, Mercury Rev, Tweedy
WE CAME AS ROMANS We Came As Romans
WESTKUST Last Forever
WHITE REAPER White Reaper Does It Again
When a band names their album with their own name, it usually means something. Sometimes, they want to redefine themselves, sometimes they are showing a new beginning, and in some cases they just want to prove a point and make that record some kind of their manifesto. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’d rather believe in any of those reasons than assume a band was just too lazy for an album name. I’m not sure what exactly WCAR wanted to do with their new, self-titled album, but I know they made an album their fans will love. They managed to keep everything that made them recognizable, and even offer a few upgrades. They play a genre that is full of stereotypes, and still walk on a thin line, constantly risking to become just another generic metalcore band.
Gothenburg has some quite exciting new bands rising and catching the attention from everyone in the music business. Westkust is probably one of the many bands that have spread their music outside of Sweden to make their music to be heard. What’s interesting is seeing the founder members Gustav Andersson and Hugo Randulv also in another great Swedish band, called Makthaverskan. After the release of a EP and some singles, the group has now released the debut album Last Forever all over the world and it’s a dreamy and breathtaking effort. They mix dreamy pop with shoegaze with beautiful melodies and in-depth lyrics. Vocalists Gustav Andersson and Julia Bjernelind are perfect singing together and everything seems so nostalgic.
Sometimes good and old classic rock n’ roll is the perfect answer to everything, well... that’s not necessarily correct, but regarding White Reaper sound this might be their motto. White Reaper Does It Again is their debut album, and this is their rock lobotomy, mixing chaos into their classic Ramones esque makes them go deep into other classic rock universes, like MC5 or even New York Dolls for example. True rock nostalgia is here to give and sell, but it’s their energy that really passes to the listener, making us wonder what should have been rocking in the 70’s and growing up with this kind of culture. White Reaper wants you to have fun and remember what rock n’ roll radio times really meant to us all.
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ADA Global (2015)
Run For Cover Records (2015)
Linkin Park, Memphis May Fire, I See Stars
The Cure, Best Coast, My Bloody Valentine
The Ramones, MC5, New York Dolls
YEAR OF THE GOAT The Uspeakable
YO LO TENGO Stuff Like That There
YOUNG GUNS Ones And Zeros
This may anger a lot of people, but Year Of The Goat are what Ghost are trying to be: bluesy occult rock & roll with a bewitching voice and a personality that does not require a pope in silly clothing. While one band gets all the magazine covers because of face painting, the other releases “The Unspeakable”, a collection of rock & roll anthems that have more Beelzebub in the 12 minute opener “All He Has Read” than all the new pseudo-occult bands in their entire collection. This record is filled with great guitar hooks, enticing vocals and a lyrical ingenuity that would shame most satanic metal bands in existence. “The Unspeakable” doesn’t smack you in the face with devil horns, it whispers in your ear just like Lucifer would.
Time passes quickly in the universe Yo La Tengo. There are now almost 30 years since their first album Ride The Tiger (1986), enough years to want to revisit past work. More than taking advantage of decades of work and going back on their history to make more money, Yo La Tengo gives new strokes in their history (as is the case for songs “The Ballad of Red Buckets” from Electr-o-pura album and “All Your Secrets” from Popular Songs album) and reignites passions with special attention to the well suited cover of “Friday I’m in Love” by The Cure. A healthy nostalgia, which allows Yo La Tengo to reaffirm the aesthetic of the band, traveling to the past of his influences, rewriting it in the present.
To be honest, I have never listened to Youg Guns. I stumbled on the name here and there, but never actually gave them a chance, until this record. And I was so wrong. The band managed to deliver an amazing record, full of big, anthemic songs, with great hit potential. Almost every single track could be released as a single. With their alternative rock sound, rooted in punk rock influences and electronic influences, the band offers something new and fresh, ready for the big stages. Songs like “Daylight”, “Speaking in Tongues”, “I Want Out” or “Rising Up” give the perfect combination of melody and energy, showing that aggression and pace are not always necessary for a high voltage tracks. And yeah, they made my own anthem – “Color Blind”.
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FOR FANS OF:
FOR FANS OF:
Napalm Records (2015)
Ancient Wisdom, Purson, Lucifer
Silver Jews, Pavement, Spoon
Virgin Emi (2015)
Lower Than Atlantis, Mallory Knox
REVIEWED IN OUR NEXT ISSUE
OUGHT Sun Coming Down
LE BUTCHERETTES A Raw Youth
THE DEAR HUNTER Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise
WINDHAND Grief’s Infernal Flower
ATREYU Long Live
THE WONDER YEARS No Closer To Heaven
BRING ME THE HORIZON That’s The Spirit
KURT VILE b’lieve i’m goin down…
CASPIAN Dust & Disquiet
WILLIS EARL BEAL Noctunes Tender Loving Empire (2015)
"People had all these ideas about what I was supposed to be. I had only ever wanted to make lullabies." These are the words of a man that went through a lot during the many different phases of his life – passing through Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, and Washington. Not being familiar with Willis Earl Beal’s story might not decrease the possibility of one fall in love, and be in awe with his music, but it is clearly an important step skipped. With this crooner it’s not only about the place where it is supposed to go, but also the place where it all started. Throughout Noctunes, Willis shows a great capability of delivering his voice in a very impressive diversity without never making the mistake of guiding himself to a spectrum that doesn’t belong in the album and therefore breaking a perfect chain, which has twelve haunting and demanding links. They’re demanding. The record is demanding overall. It doesn’t have the upbeat single, and it isn’t concerned with the use of shortcuts, being, therefore, one of those albums that calls for maximum attention. It’s fuckin’ emotional! Willis’ voice can be the most noticeable element, but the backbone of the album is the slow-burning instrumentals that progress slowly, always gathering new elements throughout that progression. Noctunes reveals a truly and undeniable singular artist and remind us that even in 2015 patience and dedication make all the sense in the world.
FOR FANS OF:
Tim Buckley, Jeff Buckley, Nick Drake
NOS PRIMAVERA SOUND Porto, Day 1
This was, by far, the best edition of Porto’s NOS Primavera Sound. In this small country where Summer Festivals grow like mushrooms, we must say without any kind of doubts that this is the best and unique Summer festival in Portugal. Basically, this year’s edition began with the one and only Patti Smith. For those who were there, words can’t explain the whole feeling of watching this strength of nature performing live. But well, I’m going to try to explain that for those who might have missed the shows. Patti Smith and her band hit the Pitchfork stage for an acoustic/spoken show and there were a lot of chairs for people to sit and watch it. But, those chairs were not needed (maybe for the ones that were already tired) and the show was more than an acoustic/spoken, where Patti sang some of her classics making people sing and cry along with her. This show felt so good... After that, we ran to see Fka twigs, the British performer just performed a dull, monotone and simplistic show. Time for Interpol, they engaged the auto-pilot and another show is done and out of their agenda. Not that their concert was bad, but it’s Interpol, we can’t expect too much of them. They were good enough to please the fans, they played their hits and their mission was accomplished. Next! 120
RUN THE JEWELS
NOS PRIMAVERA SOUND Porto, Day 2
Unfortunately Viet Cong was at the same hour of Patti Smith, sorry guys but it’s Patti Smith. So our day number 2 was probably one of the best from the entire festival. With a massive audience waiting for her and with a breezy wind sun over us, watching Patti Smith and her band playing Horses was just surreal. Her presence on stage was so strong and captivating, and she shouted, she danced, she did almost everything with an endless energy. Songs like “Banga”, “Because The Night” and “People Have The Power” made everyone sing-along out loud and that was pretty amazing. It was quite hard not to shed a tear while witnessing this show... Yeah, it was really great! Next were The Replacements energetic performance, their last show ever brought a bit of nostalgia to our shores, they will be missed. Belle And Sebastian afterwards were catchy and sweet, they can’t surprise us anymore, a good concert although. Pallbearer were heavy and strong, this was the right amount of heaviness this day needed. Then it was time for the hip hop duo Run the Jewels that are conquering the world, so it was no surprise to witness all the madness that happened during their set. Killer Mike and El-P just tear the place apart, song after song – either from RTJ or RTJ 2. It’s no wonder, after watching the show, why people love them so much. Hip hop quality!
NOS PRIMAVERA SOUND Porto, Day 3
Final day, and we had an amazing blast with Sonic Youth, oops... The Thurstoon Moore Band, Moore and company sounded like a b-side of Sonic Youth and sounded so damn good. After that, one of the most awaited bands of this last day were the return of Babes in Toyland. Even if the audience wasn’t that much, the people that were there knew the songs by heart and sang along with vocalist/guitarist Kat Bjelland, which is in a good shape to scream from the top of her lungs. In spite of they’re being older, that didn’t take away their energy and enthusiasm to play the songs that marked one generation and themselves. Next, Einstürzende Neubauten... there are no words that can describe such tremendous and cathartic performance. Slap in the face? Check! They still rule? Check! After that, we went to see Ex-Hex rocking the Pitchfork Stage, where an hour later in the same stage Steve Albini’s Shellac performed. Might be by now a constant in every edition of the festival, but honestly is the kind of band that you don’t mind seeing every year solely based on the fact that their shows are super energetic, raw as fuck, and a rock and roll lesson all-around. This year was no different. The festival ended with the performance of Pharmakon. Margaret Chardiet scary and disturbing performance, the perfect ending for this unique and over the top festival. Words: Fausto Casais, Andreia Alves and Tiago Moreira // Pictures: Hugo Lima and Hugo Sousa
BABES IN TOYLAND
EARTH + ERMO
Hard Club, Porto
Words: Tiago Moreira // Pictures: Andreia Alves
With Amplifest 2015 festival on the horizon, Hard Club was the stage of an Amplifest session to kind of open the appetite for what’s to come. And what a fucking appetizer it was... the mighty Earth who just last year released the magnificent Primitive and Deadly and are well-known by the drone and doom public in general by the classic that is “Earth 2” came ready to deliver a fucking show. The band led by Dylan Carlson was on crush mode and it only needed something like eight songs to devastate the whole place. Opening with “There Is A Serpent Coming”, from their last studio effort, the momentum was only increased with the short parade of songs displayed. Long fucking ass songs that easily induced the public into a tripped-like mind. This might be, accordingly to Dylan himself, the rock ‘n’ roll phase of the band, but they surely proved that they haven’t forgot how to crush an audience with their doom. “The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull”, “Torn by the Fox of the Crescent Moon”, or even the old “High Command”, from 1996’s album Pentastar: In the Style of Demons, were some of the tracks that solidified this brutal, fuckin’ heavy, and awesome show. To open, the Portuguese electronic/folk duo Ermo that had recently released a new EP entitled Amor Vezes Quatro. Far from captivating the crowd, the duo did a decent job entertaining the people who decided to show up on time. www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
ARCH ENEMY + UNEARTH + DRONE Hard Club, Porto
Words: Luís Alves // Pictures: Carlos Miranda After a thunderous gig at Lisbon’s Paradise Garage, it was time for Oporto’s Hard Club to welcome Sweden’s Arch Enemy once again, who brought Unearth and Drone along for this chapter of the 2015 “War Eternal” tour. Those who saw opening act Drone might have been surprised, as it seemed like they were witnessing a headlining act. The Germans delivered a massive discharge of fist-banging proto-thrash tunes such as “Deepest Red”, “Welcome to the Pit”, “Hammered, Fucked and Boozed” and “Theopractical” with the tightest precision and ended up being a massive surprise that earned the “you-gotta-seethese-dudes-live” stamp of approval for an opening act. They paved the way for America’s Metalcore veterans Unearth who came next, launching into proceedings with furious opener “Giles”, which was followed by “My Will Be Done” and the twin guitar attack frenzy of “Swarm”. Trevor Phipps has shown a natural talent to command the audience to raucous reactions and it promptly responded to his calls with powerful chants during “This Lying World” and “Last Wish”. The Boston-native quintet ended then their set with “The Great Dividers”, with Phipps engaging in crowd surfing activities with a totally surrendered audience. However, for many the best was still to come, the mighty Arch Enemy. Expectations were high given that those present were about to witness how the Swedes would sound with Alyssa White-Gluz and Jeff Loomis for the first time. Their concert kicked-off with “Yesterday is Dead and Gone”, “Burning Angel”, “War Eternal” and a far-off trip to the past in the already iconic “Ravenous”, and at this point two things were already evident: Alyssa’s delivered every tune as tightly as her predecessor, displaying an innate talent to guide her audience, while on the other hand Jeff Loomis apparently seemed to fit along with his new band on stage. The following setlist mixed up several cuts up from War Eternal such as “Stolen Life”, “You Will Know My Name”, “As The Pages Burn”, and “No More Regrets", with older live favorites like “My Apocalypse”, “Dead Eyes See No Future”, crowd favorite “No Gods, No Masters” and a ground shaking deliverance of the band’s anthem “We Will Rise”. The encore featured the brutal “Never Forgive, Never Forget” followed by a short exotic solo spot for Loomis, after which he as joined by Amott and later by the whole band to play “Snow Bound”, preceding the show’s anticipated final combo of “Nemesis” and “Fields of Desolation”. This trio of Drone, Unearth and headliners Arch Enemy made it a night to remember, and Arch Enemy’s concert ended up being a powerful testament to the incredible possibilities that the Swedes’ new all star line-up holds up for the future. Catch them on tour while you can! 124
NOTHING BUT THIEVES
NOTHING BUT THIEVES + TWIN WILD + BLACK FOXXESS The Dome, London
Words and picture by Ibrahima Brito Black Foxess kicked off the show pretty early and they were the highlight of the night. Their more aggressive rock sound resembled the likes of bands such as Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins and it did wanders to get the crowd in a happy mood. The band’s lack of movement was compensated with their musicality and the emotion that they projected to the crowd. For a young band, this was a pretty big gig that will definitely get people talking for the right reason. The concert was an all-around audience pleaser whether you like faster and edgier music or not. No one can really point their finger at it. Overall, a pretty solid performance. However, what came next was a bit of a disappointment. Twin Wild couldn’t really live up to the expectation that its predecessor left. Despite the over the top display of enthusiasm during the entire performance by a small group of female fans who were probably somehow related to the band. However, those cheers and shrieks couldn’t surpass the dominant feeling of boredom that filled the venue. To be honest, the problem was that they were playing for the wrong crowd. After being given such a feast from the first band edgy rock music, Twin Wild felt like the remaining bit that no one wants to hear due to their more pop rock music. Watching them was like seeing a boy’s band getting happy with some rock and roll merchandising, which is not a pleasant sight. Their light sets were pretty cool and the musicians were definitely talented, however the performance didn't live up to its expectations. The last act was awesome, plain simple. Then again, that’s why they were the headline act of the night. Nothing But Thieves treated the audience with a roller-coaster of emotions. From heartfelt rock ballads to pure rock songs, the vocalist showcased his inhuman vocal range like no other vocalist could throughout his performance. From sky high falsettos, to lowest notes all musical scales were his oyster. He interacted with the audience quite frequently, which is something that an audience always loves. He and the guitarists owned the stage throughout the concert hardly ever resting in one spot for too long, keeping their audience on their toes. The concert included good music and good stage presence in a really well balanced way. What else could be asked for?
ALL PIGS MUST DIE + THROATS + KROKODIL + QUIET MAN
The Underworld Camden, London Words and picture by Ibrahima Brito
The evening started with Quiet Man tearing the house down with their performance. The intensity and energy that came from that act hits you like a sucker punch that makes you fly off your feet and feel dazed. The destructive enthusiasm and outstanding stage presence make up for the band’s more melodic musical roots. They got on the stage like they owned it. Performed their music to the maximum of their ability trying to work and please the crowd and left the stage with a smile on their faces and a satisfied crowd. What else could we have asked for? Throats got onto the stage ready to pound their feelings of rage and destruction into the hearts of the audience in front of them. “Certain people want to see the world burn” and this group of musicians is definitely one of them. With their more aggressive and gritty hardcore sound, their only aim that night was to allow people to let out all their frustration in a massive mosh pit. Again, this group of London lads showed why they still wear the crown of the hardcore scene in England after years of clawing and scratching their ways to the top of the underground mountain. They were the perfect warm up and tease for the All Pigs Must Die show. Performance wise all it can be said is that they kick ass. But I mean they truly kick ass. The amount of stage dives that happened during that show are uncountable. Kevin Baker unleashed hell in that contained space and people embraced it passively without objection. His influence on the people in the show was so absolute that it was almost scary, dozens of people were in a trance state repeating every word he said and every gesture he done. They put the E in EXTREME, concluding on of the most violent and chaotic nights in the Camden’s Underworld. musicandriotsmagazine.com
DIRECTOR: Judd Apatow STARRING: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Colin
Quinn, Josh Segarra, John Cena, Dave Attell, Vanessa Bayer, Tilda Swinton, Randall Park, Jon Glaser, Ezra Miller, Evan Brinkman, Mike Birbiglia, Norman Lloyd, Bill Hader, LeBron James, Daniel Radcliffe, Marisa Tomei USA 2015
Trainwreck is a Judd Apatow film, and is another slap in the face for everyone who thinks that comedies have to be stupid, full of easy laughs and without a shred of cleverness. Apatow trademark is always there, even if the movie is sometimes hard to understand, he achieves a certain shade of freshness and intelligence, bringing those common and funny elements of life itself to the movie. Well, this is a traditional romantic comedy about life, with the great Amy Shumer on the leading role as a strong, smart and modern woman, full of issues about commitment and love, but ready to bring down this everyday sexism and double standards society. As a matter of fact, Amy is the Trainwreck. It’s powerful, yet troubled, characters like Amy that show us a bit how hard real life really is. Do you guys remember 40 Year Old Virgin? Knocked Up? This is 40? 126
Funny People? Freaks and Geeks? Ok, Trainwreck might be the opposite of all that, but they all share the same elements, they’re all comedies about growing up, bringing perspective into life, relationships and commitment. Trainwreck brings also an exciting choice of cast, where we have the neurotic and amazing weird Tilda Swinton, the always also weird Ezra Miller, the great Jonh Hader as the A-list sensible doctor, Brie Larson as the positive sister and all sorts of cameos, from LeBron James, Amar’e Stoudmire, John Cena to Marisa Tomei, Daniel Radcliffe, Matthew Broderick and even Marv Albert. This is classic New York noisy and chaotic comedy, Amy erratic and funny character is perhaps the Annie Hall of nowadays, but Judd Apatow is still Judd Apatow, once again showing that game changing for him is very easy to achieve. FAUSTO CASAIS
IF YOU LIKE THIS, WATCH THIS:
Knocked Up by Judd Apatow
This Is 40 by Judd Apatow
DIRECTOR: Doug Ellin STARRING: Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Jerry Ferrara,
Kevin Dillon, Jeremy Piven, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Perrey Reeves, Rex Lee, Debi Mazar, Rhys Coiro, Constance Zimmer, Haley Joel Osment, Ronda Rousey, Scott Mescudi, Alan Dale, Emily Ratajkowski, Billy Bob Thornton, Nina Agdal USA 2015
We all know that the end of Entourage, the HBO series, ended with no ambition and full of clichés, there was no such thing as memorable finale, everything seemed pushed and rushed... The big-screen version was something quite expected, giving the viewer the sense that there is nothing here that can really surprise us. Entourage retains many elements of the HBO series, full of well studied cameos, but fails big time if the purpose is to somehow compensate the bad ending of the serie. The show’s original cast is there, led by Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara and Jeremy Piven, but Vincent Chase, together with his boys, Eric, Turtle and his brother Johnny are back in the business, but only to
assure that the male fantasy still lives around them, providing a shallow extended post-last episode. Well, in the other hand, if you are a fan, you have the same characters, even if now they’re driven to other purposes, the gang-brotherhood are still there, the way they bound together is still intact... And there is still the memorable Ari Gold, portrayed by the unique Jeremy Piven. Entourage is a bad movie, lacks ambition and is full of that superficiality of the Hollywood lifestyle, full of stupid homophobic macho things and women exposed like objects. This could have been an extended HBO special last episode, but they went directly to do something like the Sex and the City franchise, and they both suck!
WHY SHOULD I WATCH THIS?
If you are fan, don’t miss this...
And Jeremy Piven still rules...
WHITE GOD DIRECTOR: Kornél Mundruczó STARRING: Zsófia Psotta, Sándor Zsótér, Lili Horváth, Szabolcs Thuróczy, Lili Monori, Gergely Bánki, Tamás Polgár, Károly Ascher, Erika Bodnár HUNGARY/GERMANY/SWEDEN 2014
hite God tells the story of Lili (Zsófia Psotta) and her faithful mixed breed companion, Hagen. Lily and Hagen come to live with their father, Daniel (Sándor Zsótér) and he casts Hagen into the street because he doesn’t want to pay taxes setting up Hagen’s painful journey to get back to Lili. White God is a cinematic marvel, perhaps its allegories are obvious, however it feels truthful. The real story is the dogs. Hagen is played two siblings Luke and Bodie and watching Hagen is particularly captivating. Especially when the camera is brought down to ground 128
level with the dogs it builds up a relationship with the audience. However, towards the end, White God struggles at times knowing what it wants to be tonally it shifts quite frequently and maybe that’s the intention, but as a viewer it is hard to keep up with. Director and co-writer Kornél Mundruczó blends many genres within White God and it’s a struggle to keep up with the shifting tone. That shouldn’t put you off watching this mesmerising tale, part parable, part revenge tale, part melodrama and part love story. White God is a powerful film about the way we treat animals, but also the way we treat each other. ROD MCCANCE
DID YOU KNOW?
274 dogs were used in the making of this movie, which is the world record for the most dogs used in a feature film.
+ All of the dogs who appear on film are mixed breeds adopted from animal shelters, except two dogs.
DIRECTOR: Anne Fontaine STARRING: Fabrice Luchini, Gemma Arterton, Jason Flemyng, Isabelle Candelier, Isabelle Candelier, Niels Schneider, Mel Raido, Elsa Zylberstein, Pip Torrens, Edith Scob UK/FRANCE 2015 Do you guys remember Tamara Drew? Gemma Bovery seems like a European version of the great Stephen Frears’ movie, but more classy, a smart adaptation of the classic novel, Gemma Bovery. Director Anne Fontaine brings a clever look of that classic and funny way Chabrol had of making the viewer laugh, providing all the elements in a way that this cheeky literary mash-up brings a feminist approach together with some of the most classic elements of French provincial life. Gemma Arteton is Gemma, a British and beautiful wife of restorer Charles Bovery, portrayed by Jason Fleming, both move to a Norman village, where they met their neighbors and the local baker, a Flaubert fan Martin Joubert - once again Fabrice Luchini shows why he is one of the funniest actors in the business right now. Gemma Bovery is a sensual and satirical yet entertaining movie, where literature is widely consumed, portraying Gemma as a heroine, a muse and a complicated woman, bringing romance and a bit of eroticism, lost and new found love.
DIRECTOR: Jake Schreier STARRING: Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne, Austin Abrams, Justice Smith, Halston Sage, Jaz Sinclair, Cara Buono, Josiah Cerio, Hannah Alligood, Meg Crosbie USA 2015
After the sweet, heartbreaking adaptation of the bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars by author John Green, here we have another film based on another of his books. Paper Towns is about two particular teenagers, Quentin (Nat Wolff) and Margo (Cara Delevingne), and the story starts as they first met moving fast to nowadays when they’re finishing highschool. Their relationship isn’t the best one, but after she takes him on an all-night adventure through their hometown, things look different until she suddenly disappears. As it appears to be a love story, it becomes more than that. Quentin and his best friends find cryptic clues that will lead them to Margo, but the point here is how unite and awesome those kids are together and how the adventure to find Margo is something remarkable to them - the meaning of true friendship. It’s moving at times and funny as well, but it’s a simple and organic story. Paper Towns is really much more than a love story, it’s aimed at teenagers that are lost, but are kind of finding themselves through life experiences. ANDREIA ALVES
3 REBOOTS/SEQUELS OR REMAKES THAT ALSO SUCK...
DIRECTOR: Alan Taylor STARRING: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia
Clarke, Jai Courtney, J.K. Simmons, Dayo Okeniyi, Matt Smith, Courtney B. Vance, Byung-hun Lee, Michael Gladis, Sandrine Holt, Wayne Bastrup, Gregory Alan Williams, Otto Sanchez, Matty Ferraro, Griff Furst, Ian Etheridge USA 2015
In short, this movie shouldn’t exist. The first two Terminator movies were A+ pictures. The third was disappointing and pointless, but entertaining. Salvation buried the series in mediocrity and now the oddly spelt “Genisys” buries the series once again, but this time in confusion, plot holes and weak attempts to play off the nostalgia of the previous movies to make a convincing sequel. While Genisys is more entertaining than Salvation, the movie feels forced. This is probably due to the filmmakers using the time travel plot to erase the first two movies to make room for a new trilogy, in order to bring in more money basically. This whole movie is just one big cash grab from old school Terminator fans like myself, but now we are disappointed as the only true good movies in the series have now been erased by this mess. 130
Positives about Terminator Genisys is that Emilia Clarke plays a decent Sarah Connor and Arnold Schwarzenegger is always welcome in his scenes and his presence is the best aspect of the movie. However, Jason Clarke is the worst John Connor yet, the action scenes suffer from the usual terrible editing of today’s action movies like Taken 3 for example, and the CGI elements are laughably bad. Plus, the plot is just all over the place. I can’t go into detail because even I’m still confused. I do not feel Terminator Genisys will please Terminator fans and it’s too confusing and muddled for casual action fans. Terminator 2 should have closed the franchise for good all the way back in 1991. JOE DOYLE
Matrix: Reloaded & Revolutions
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
The Godfather: Part III
DIRECTOR: Seth MacFarlane STARRING: Mark Wahlberg, Seth
MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried, Jessica Barth, Giovanni Ribisi, Morgan Freeman, Sam J. Jones, Patrick Warburton, Michael Dorn, Bill Smitrovich, John Slattery USA 2015
ANT-MAN DIRECTOR: Peyton Reed STARRING: Paul Rudd, Michael
Douglas, Corey Stoll, Evangeline Lilly, Bobby Cannavale, Anthony Mackie, Judy Greer, Abby Ryder Fortson, Michael Peña, David Dastmalchian, Hayley Atwell USA 2015
Ted 2 reunites Mark Wahlberg and Seth MacFarlane for another round of pure stupidity among a teddy bear and grown-ups. The story is simplistic and stupid, and is something like this: Newlywed couple Ted and Tami-Lynn - is this for real? - want to have a baby, but in order to qualify to be a parent, Ted will have to prove he’s a person in a court of law. We love Seth MacFarlane, but this is too much, there are funny parts, especially if this writer is drunk enough to laugh, but this type of comedy should never happen. The first Ted was great, but that’s the problem with sequels, they get sloppy and suck big time. Ted 2 is not funny, it confirms that Seth MacFarlane is nowhere near as funny as he thinks he is.
It’s fair enough to say that Marvel Cinematic Universe is building by every movie released an empire of blockbusters that are really good and very entertaining. No need for examples, but of course that some stand out more than others. Ant-Man is probably one the Marvel films that doesn’t get that much ambition, but it doesn’t mean it is a bad film, is a good one though. As any other Marvel film, Ant-Man shows the beginnings of this small (at least in size) hero, his struggles and ambitions, performed by the always charming and funny Paul Rudd. He has the ability to shrink in scale, but increase in strength and on a lot of the scenes that’s something really impressive and enjoyable.
5 TO 7
DIRECTOR: Victor Levin STARRING: Anton Yelchin, Bérénice
Marlohe, Olivia Thirlby, Glenn Close, Eric Stoltz, Frank Langella, Lambert Wilson, Jocelyn DeBoer, Joe D’Onofrio, Dov Tiefenbach, Amina Robinson, Heather Warren USA 2015
DIRECTOR: Gilles Paquet-Brenner STARRING: Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Christina Hendricks, Corey Stoll, Chloë Grace Moretz, Sterling Jerins, Tye Sheridan, Andrea Roth, Sean Bridgers, J. LaRose UK/FRANCE/USA 2015
Imagine you are a 20-something aspiring writer with no inspiration at all, living in Manhattan, and one day you have a chance encounter with a glamorous French woman. Both of you start a love affair. She’s married and can only meet you for hotel room trysts between the hours of 5 and 7. Well, and that’s what this movie is about. Having Anton Yelchin as the young writer Brian and Bérénice Marlohe as the french woman, together they show the fragilities and lessons that we can take from a love affair or love in general. 5 To 7 could be that charming, impossible love story that makes you cry and feel melancholy, but it lacks some passion and chemistry between the cast and story.
Based on the novel by Gillian Flynn, the same writer of the terrific Gone Girl, Dark Places is another mysterious and intriguing story. 25 years after testifying against her brother as the person responsible for massacring her entire family, Libby Day (Charlize Theron) is haunted by her past and one day she is approached by a secret society that is specialized in unsolved cases. Every single scene of the film leads to another clue and eventually to understand what really happened that night. Dark Places isn’t that fascinating as Gone Girl was - movie wise of course, - but it captures the entire mystery and creepy vibe of the story, thanks also to the great cast.
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