We post up to date goings on nearly every damn day at NewNoiseMagazine.com, because the natural print cycle of a physical, tangible magazine doesn’t lend itself well to the mile a minute nature of Internet news. But, we’re going to try anyway. Here’s a rundown of some of the biggest stories from the past month or so:
Rest In Punk: We’ll Miss You…
It was a rough end to 2015, as the punk world unexpectedly lost a pair of its heroes. First, Teenage Bottlerocket drummer Brandon Carlisle passed away after several days in a coma. People from all over rallied together to share their memories of Brandon online. Plus, the amount of money a bunch of broke punks were able to raise for his family really proves how much his love and light shone on all of us. It shouldn’t take someone dying for us to get to that point, so perhaps there’s a lesson here: we should all try to be better and look out for each other. Second, Leatherface guitarist Dickie Hammond passed away at age 50, after what was reportedly a long bout with poor health. There was an outpouring of support from fans and friends, plus kind words and donations for Hammond’s funeral costs were abundant. Hammond— along with vocalist and guitarist Frankie Stubbs—was a progenitor of the guitar-driven melodic punk sound, not just in the U.K., but all over the world. Chances are, a lot of your favorite bands would not exist without them.
Doot Doola Doot Doo… Doot Doo!
Elsewhere in terrible news, legendary music journalist Nardwuar The Human Serviette suffered a stroke in Vancouver, B.C., on Dec. 5. He’s currently recovering in a hospital and, obviously, only time will tell what this will mean for his career. We all love his uncanny ability to quirkily dive deeper with his subjects than most interviewers could dream of, but his health is the most important thing and we wish him all the best! In the meantime, watch as many Nardwuar interviews as you can. They’re endlessly entertaining, funny, and often, moving.
A Not-So-Guaranteed Riot…
Elsewhere in gigantic music festival news, Riot Fest announced dates and locations for their Chicago event—Sept. 16–18 in Douglas Park— and Denver event—Sept. 2–4 at the National Western Complex. Organizers also released early bird tickets, so, if you’ve ever wanted to buy tickets to a festival without knowing who’s playing first, now’s your chance! Riot Fest lineups are generally pretty strong, but at this point, if they sell enough tickets, they could book anybody, you suckers. Stay tuned next month when it’s announced that a reuniting ABBA is headlining Riot Fest 2016.
Face To Face Back To Fat…
Face To Face’s return to Fat Wreck Chords after a quarter of a century now has a title and release date. The label will release Protection on March 4, the long-running band’s first album for Fat since the 1993 reissue of Don’t Turn Away. F2F recorded the album at The Blasting Room with Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore—the first time the band have ever used an outside producer—so at least you know that shit’s gonna sound good. 1993 was a long time ago; were any of you even alive then?
Speaking of Fat Wreck Chords—when are we not?!—NOFX are at work on a new LP. The news was brought to our attention through an Instagram post, of course, and one would have to assume—although, we know what happens when we ass-u-me—that we’ll be getting the new record from the guys in 2016. Maybe TMZ will cover it the same way they cover Fat Mike’s sex life and onstage antics. Time will tell.
They Speak Of My Drinking… A Guaranteed Turkey…
In bowling, that’s a good thing! Punk Rock Bowling is soon expanding east. The long-running Las Vegas based event—which began as a facetious bowling tournament for bands, and is now a huge music festival where only a few attendees even set foot inside a bowling alley—will host an event June 10–12 in Asbury Park, N.J., in addition to its annual festivities Memorial Day weekend in Vegas. Bands announced so far include Descendents, Cock Sparrer, Flogging Molly, and FLAG, but specific lineups for each festival are forthcoming.
The Menzingers—noted fans of beer—now have a beer to call their own. The Philly based band collaborated with local brewery Neshaminy Creek Brewing Co. on “Menzinger,” a hoppy imperial kolsch—which, if we’re being specific here, beer nerds, is not really a thing in the traditional sense. Neshaminy Creek’s head brewer is Jeremy Myers, who you might know as the guy who runs Jump Start Records. Beach Slang drummer JP Flexner does all of the artwork for their label, so it’s a pretty punk-friendly enterprise. Their beer is delicious too, but it’s only available in select areas of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Try some if you get the chance!
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NEW NOISE ISSUE 22
shines a light on the joys and heartaches that lie at the intersection of FqP the LGBTQIA+ community and the world of alternative music. While queer representation is often refracted through the prism of normative curiosities and concerns, FQP features queer voices saying whatever they want, however they want. Don’t fear the realness.
what I can or can’t do, and I am a relatively able-bodied person. It’s hard to come up with concrete solutions for making punk accessible. Like, if a prominent venue is in someone’s basement, […] it’s just the only thing they can afford to do.
FEATURING AUDREY ZEE WHITESIDES
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANA MEILI CARLING Audrey Zee Whitesides is a New Yorker by way of the South, an embodiment of DIY punk ethos with an academic background in poetry, and an artist with the ability to make slyly political statements in a deeply personal and compellingly relatable way. She is a multi-instrumentalist, lending her vocal, lyrical, and guitar prowess to the queercore/ transcore trio Little Waist; playing bass for momentous punk rock darlings, Worriers, and incisive singer-songwriter Mal Blum; and helming her own acoustic solo project as Audrey Otherway.
ON ABILITY: Talking about intersectional punk stuff, we always have to consider physical ability. Which, in some regards, is way harder than making punk queer inclusive, because it requires such an overhaul of physical spaces rather than just putting different people into those spaces. Not that [queer inclusivity] isn’t a huge challenge too, but it definitely is easier to think or talk about, I think.
I have scoliosis, which, as a condition, is far from the most debilitating thing. [It’s] something that isn’t fun to deal with as a musician, but also is mostly manageable. Mostly, it just means I am generally in a little bit of pain and, sometimes, in a lot of pain. [I] can’t do any heavy lifting or be at band practice for too long, and when I’m on tour, I have to bring a good air mattress and lie down in the van when I can. Fortunately, I have bandmates who understand this and make sure to help out and have someone else carry the amps. […] When I play, often, standing up for the 30 minutes my set lasts is about all I’ve got. So, I end up missing out on other bands while I lie down in the van [or] green room, and miss getting a chance to just be a part of the crowd. I feel like my experiences—which again, are manageable—highlight how DIY has a lot to do in terms of meeting physical needs. I can make things work only by advocating a lot for myself and apologizing a lot for
I guess all I know to ask is for people to try to think about what expectations they bring into spaces—do they assume everyone can handle equipment as easily? Do they assume people aren’t real fans if they are sitting in the back instead of dancing in the front?—and work from there. I really believe if people asked these questions, we could see some important change.
in DIY regardless of identity. I think the kinship I feel with people in DIY music in general is different, but definitely still there. Growing up in the South, I had ideas about hospitality and doing stuff econo around me, and it feels familiar and homey to have total strangers open up their homes across the country, just doing the best they can with what they’ve got and totally willing to share. I don’t know if I’ll ever really feel at home anywhere unless the South becomes a lot more welcoming, but maybe a lot of little pieces of home across the U.S. make up for the lack of one central home.
I have a really strong desire to find a sense of home through my communities. As a queer trans woman, I feel really distanced from the Southern small towns I grew up in in Kentucky, South Carolina, and Virginia, and, while I do enjoy living in Brooklyn, it doesn’t necessarily feel homey or open to me. Sometimes, I feel like exiling myself from the South means I’ll never really feel at home—either lonely, isolated, and scared where I’m from or longing for something I lost somewhere else.
I want to shout-out country music, which I love so much, from the classic stuff it’s cool to like—like Willie Nelson—to the bro-y guilty pleasure stuff—like Florida Georgia Line—to the straight up pop that’s as good and catchy as anything on Top 40—like Little Big Town. It’s a big part of my musical make-up.
I do really feel so much kinship and a sense of family with queers across the country. It’s always a little easier to choose someone as family if they don’t trust their birth family or place of origin either. Of course, lots of the people I think of as chosen family—like my roommates and bandmates and partner and best friends— are mostly both queer and DIY musicians, but I do feel connected to so many people
Special shout-outs to all the women who keep it so real and express emotion in direct, heartbreaking, and vulnerable ways—there aren’t many albums I like more this year in any genre than Ashley Monroe’s The Blade or songs more tearjerking than Cam’s “Burning House.” Also, [country is] a genre where women regularly make scene anthems out of feminist revenge songs about horrible men, which never happens in straight up pop and even rarely in punk. What more could you ask for?
PHOTOGRAPHY BY WALTER WLODARCZYK
ISSUE 22 NEW NOISE
full-length release and associated touring,” Matthews and Weller say. “We didn’t go into the studio planning to do that, but through discussions, we felt it best to not lose touch with those tracks, as they already had a great reception with the limited fans and audience they had reached.” Of the album’s overarching narrative, Matthews and Weller explain, “The initial vibe was to create a dream sequence where each song brought you to a new realm and feeling. However, it developed into a more ‘Phantom of the Opera’-esque theme, in which we just started building the theme around a masquerade and developed several ‘masks’ in the album artwork. We felt this represented the vibe of the songs very well. It was mystic, yet very formal at times.”
OPERATIC PROG- TOOTHGRINDER
INTERVIEW WITH JUSTIN MATTHEWS AND WILLS WELLER BY JAMES ALVAREZ
It looks like big things are in store for New Jersey’s Toothgrinder. Similiar to the barrage of lumbering, crazy technical prog riffs they’ve stacked on their debut fulllength album, Nocturnal Masquerade— out Jan. 29 via Spinefarm Records—the band are poised to make a big splash in the extreme metal scene from here on out. Having spent the past five years synthizing their influences—from the incalculable madness of Between The Buried And Me
to the experimental hooks of Faith No More—with a series of well received EPs, Toothgrinder are now determined to carve out their own mind-bending legacy for the next generation of metal fiends to study.
and drummer Wills Weller say. “This is the first full-length record for anyone in the band and we were psyched to be able to team up with Spinefarm Records for this opportunity.”
Toothgrinder have been active since 2010 and are stoked to finally drop their debut full-length. “I think it has always been a major goal of all of ours’ to release a fulllength record,” vocalist Justin Matthews
The band have brought several songs from their Schizophrenic Jubilee EP onto the album. “We wanted to keep those songs with us and expose them to the growing audience we are going to gain with the
The collective resume of the Brooklyn, N.Y., based four piece Warn The Duke includes stints in River City Rebels and Big D And The Kids Table, but just a couple of tracks into the band’s latest record and it’s clear they are channeling more classic punk. The band play a brand of stripped-down, pretention-free punk rock that seemed to go away around the time Hüsker Du called it quits, and their album closer, “Star,” sounds like a long-lost Replacements gem.
playing or writing music for many years. Once I got started last year, I couldn’t stop,” McCool says. “It helped that it was one of the worst winters ever in New York City, so I just stayed inside and recorded demos. Songs were just tumbling out of me the first couple months, and eventually, we had 10 and said, ‘Fuck it, let’s make an album.’”
The band’s formation was “a mixture of knowing each other from going to shows in Brooklyn, having mutual friends, and reaching out to people I knew had been in other bands I liked,” says vocalist and guitarist Dan McCool. Though less than two years old, Warn The Duke—comprised of McCool, vocalist and bassist Sara Press, guitarist George Miata, and drummer Derek Davis—have already turned in an EP and self-released their first full-length, Ghost Be Gone, in October. “I hadn’t been
NEW NOISE ISSUE 22
Warn The Duke sounds very different from their members’ previous bands, and McCool casually attributes this to his own eclectic tastes. “It’s been so long since I played in River City Rebels or [have] been the main songwriter for a band, and I’ve gone through a ton of music phases and obsessions since then,” he explains, “from ambient stuff to jazz to hipster-y indie stuff, and then, back to punk rock. So, I think— and hope?—our music is just a mixture of all that.” Though Ghost Be Gone was self-released, McCool says the band are “discussing
The album’s press release mentions achieving a sense of “timelessness” with Nocturnal Masquerade. Matthews and Weller say it was very important to “try to develop something that we felt was timeless. We had been jamming together for years, recording those EPs and working harder to make sure our music could reach more people with every release. So, when we finally got the opportunity to create our first full-length, we had a fountain of excitement and motivation to put towards developing all of the tracks for Nocturnal Masquerade.”
MUSICAL SMOOTHIE- WARN THE DUKE
INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST/GUITARIST DAN MCCOOL BY JOHN B. MOORE rereleasing it, both digitally and on vinyl, with a punk label in L.A. that just started and is putting out some great releases.” After that, he’s just “anxious to get to work on the next record. I wanna push it and try to do one record a year; it’s the only way to keep it flowing. In the meantime, we’re
putting together a tour of the eastern U.S. for January, and would like to get out to the Midwest in the spring. Something more extensive next summer. So, if anyone out there wants us to play your town, hit us up!”
Many bands make music to spread positive messages by telling their own personal life stories, but are afraid to get their hands dirty when it comes to the state of the world. Florida’s Culture Killer greet this opposition by tackling the problems that plague modern society head on. “We feel like people are now detached from one another, and it seems as if human beings as a whole are de-evolving,” states drummer Dylan Blow. “People are so desensitized to the most heinous acts mankind has to offer, and then, beg and plead for someone to help right these wrongs or save these people, all while scrolling through YouTube videos, fight compilations, and Internet trends. There is a lack of compassion and empathy in our world, during a time where it’s needed most.” Their debut album, Throes of Mankind— released Nov. 27 via Metal Blade Records— is one of the most furious releases of 2015, with generous amounts of buzzsaw
guitars, coherent and crazy bass lines, and moments that just make you want to mosh where you stand. “A few of the guys have a huge early punk [and] hardcore, and death metal background,” says Blow. “Some of us even pull from metalcore subgenres. It’s pretty cool to see what became of Culture Killer through these various influences. There is definitely a taste of all of that on this record.” The album has literally everything a metalhead could ask for. Of course, they learned from the best: “Currently, bands like Black Breath, Twitching Tongues, Cattle Decapitation, and Bloodbath are very influential to Culture Killer,” Blow explains. “Even on those bands’ albums, you can get a glimpse of the plethora of influences they take and mold into something unique for themselves. It’s refreshing, to say the least.” Of Throes of Mankind, Blow concludes,
AT LEAST A TWO-OFF- BASEMENT BENDERS
INTERVIEW WITH GUITARIST BUDDHA BY JOHN B. MOORE Chattanooga, Tenn., punks Basement Benders include members of This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb, Hidden Spots, Future Virgins, Black Rainbow, and numerous other bands, so it would be OK to assume this is just another one-off punk rock project, right? However, the group just turned in their debut full-length, Lydiad, through No Idea Records in November, are about to tour Japan, have a split record in the works, and are already set to record their next LP in January. So, no, this is clearly not just another one-off project.
“Basement Benders are not a one-off project by any means, but we are all very busy people,” guitarist Buddha explains. “[Vocalist and guitarist] Ashley [Krey] and [bassist] Terry [Johnson] own and operate a couple of restaurants. [Drummer] Morgan [Stickrod] and I are busy with school; both of us are trying to get graduate programs sorted out right now. I guess I would say that we plan on doing as much as we can when we can. Despite our busy schedules, including projects with our other bands, this band has been
Reading, U.K., based hardcore band High Hopes are new Victory Records signees, and more than meet the standard set by their name. Their label debut, Sights & Sounds, is likely to be the best melodic hardcore you’ll hear all year. The band play a cathartic yet melodic strain of hardcore that would fit on a live bill with Counterparts and Misery Signals, but High Hopes are even more concerned with melody. For an album nearly devoid of any clean vocals, Sights & Sounds is damn catchy, boasting tight, impressive musicianship in spades.
more melodic, mature High Hopes.”
Vocalist Nick Brooks says, “We really wanted to push ourselves getting our new sound for Sights & Sounds. We take influence from a wide range of bands, so it was only natural we progressed musically towards a
While so many other hardcore groups are concerned with hitting you over the head, High Hopes aim to do something more, and this goal fits in with their unusually heady lyrics. “Sights & Sounds is simply an album that offers a different way of seeing the world that we all live in,” Brooks expands. “It’s something I would hope could offer people the ability to think for themselves and choose their own path, while respecting the environment and the people around them. Humans have been given the greatest gift: to be at the top of the food chain. That is a title which holds a lot responsibility for the future of earth, and we should all be humbled by that fact.”
METAL FOR MODERN TIMES- CULTURE KILLER
INTERVIEW WITH DRUMMER DYLAN BLOW BY RIDGE BRIEL “You could say that the horrors that are happening on this planet fueled us to create an album that wasn’t comprised of 10 songs complaining about things that, in
all reality, don’t matter. We wanted to write lyrics that would serve us justice as human beings, and possibly have a positive effect in such negative of times.”
more active than almost any band I’ve ever been in.”
blast. I think I’m still hungover from it.”
The group quickly got to work on making a record not long after solidifying their lineup. The LP is called Lydiad, and Buddha explains its significance, noting, “‘The Iliad’ by Homer is an epic poem about Ilium, which is better known as the city of Troy. So, I guess the title just suggests that the record is an epic story about Lydia, who is the subject of the second song on the record. I don’t know if any of the other songs are about her, but some of them could be. A lot of the lyrics on the album seem to refer to the kind of learning or growing experiences you might deal with during some sort of epic journey, so the title just seemed fitting. Mostly, we just thought it sounded cool and kind of unique.” Basement Benders just played FEST, and have a handful of dates in Tennessee and Georgia coming up. After that? “We are about to leave for a Japan tour, which starts next week, and we couldn’t be more excited about it,” Buddha says. “As far as U.S. shows, we are hopefully doing a show in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area in January, and then, the West Coast in March. We just did our LP release party here in Chattanooga with Vacation from Ohio and awesome locals, Lacing, which was a total
Aside from touring, Buddha reveals, “We have five songs that we recorded with Patrick Jennings for a split 10” with the fantastic Impossible Vacation from Asheville. That one will be coming out sometime in early 2016 on Starcleaner Records, which is run by friends Shell and Jen from Shellshag. We will be recording our second LP in January with John [Hoffman] and Jerri [Queen] from Vacation at a place called The Loft somewhere in Kentucky outside of Cincinnati. Hopefully, No Idea will want to put that out, since they did such a great job with our first LP. The Loft is supposedly haunted, so maybe we’ll get some ghouls on the backups or something.” “After that, U.S. West Coast in March, and then, Europe in the summer,” he continues. “We’ve already toured the U.K. last December, so this time, we are going to try to cover some of mainland Europe. I think our friend Isaac from Stoke-onTrent, U.K., is going to drive us around. He’s only 8, so we have to convince his parents to let him be away from home for a few weeks, but it’s summer, and he’ll be out of school, so I think it will all work out.”
EMPHASIS ON MELODY- HIGH HOPES
INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST NICK BROOKS BY NICHOLAS SENIOR
ISSUE 22 NEW NOISE
Omaha, Neb.’s See Through Dresses are sparking up the punk scene with their latest EP, End of Days, released through Tiny Engines on Oct. 30. Co-frontperson Matthew Carroll—who shares his fronting duties with Sara Bertuldo—says, “For End of Days, we knew early on that this batch of songs called for a more raw feel, something more akin to hearing a band playing live and loud. The EP consists of simple melodic and rhythmic ideas executed in fairly traditional pop structures inspired by our favorite guitar records. It would have felt strange to dress such simple ideas in elaborate clothing.” The opening track, “Haircut,” showcases how simple and effective the songwriting is. The guitars trudge along in a melancholic mood accompanied by a bellowing bass line. Bertuldo’s vocals are delicate, mesmerizing, and emotional, and cut through the distorted guitar progressions. Carroll’s vocals have the same effect on “Big On Brains.” This approach represents how the band want to be seen. “This is something we’ve
always loved in records by The Breeders or My Bloody Valentine,” Carroll explains. “Sometimes, you can have a band shredding away behind very gentle vocals, and it’s exactly the tension between those two elements that gives the music its appeal. There’s always been something fascinating to me about music like that. It’s so fun to listen to bands and have a clear point of focus that sounds calm, welcoming, or even forgiving within an arrangement that is anything but.” Not every song features an abrasive structure. The title track possesses a beautiful acoustic guitar melody and soft string arrangements. “‘End of Days’ is a dorky sentimental friendship song,” Carroll admits. “The only real compass you can follow as a songwriter or band is whether or not you feel like you said something emotionally valid to the audience, and all the elements of craft serve that.” The best reward about listening to See Through Dresses’ latest EP is its diversity. From ‘90s indie to feel-good pop to
IN YOUR REARVIEW- SECND BEST
DORKY & SENTIMENTAL- SEE THROUGH DRESSES
INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST/GUITARIST MAT THEW CARROLL BY SEAN GONZALEZ atonal noise rock, End of Days has a lot of stylistically different sounds for listeners to explore. “We have collected here a group of songs that speak in different ways,” Carroll says, “but have some unity—by default—both because they are by See Through Dresses, and also because we have done our best not simply to say
what we mean or to pin down any truths. We just wrote some stuff that felt good to play, and that felt good to put together as a collection.”
their newest self-released full-length, Fact, which dropped in early November after a long battle with the DIY gods.
thority figure. Despite its mostly serious subject matter, the album’s title is also rooted in the band’s sense of whimsy. “Fact is a game we like to play,” explains Krieger. “[We] make ridiculous statements for the hell of it, and it’s always truth if you follow it with an emphatic ‘Fact.’”
“Drums were recorded in one weekend with Robert Rios at Irican [Productions] back in March of 2012,” explains drummer Brian Ward. “That’s really embarrassing,” Krieger admits. “Everything else took way too long.” “And we went way under budget,” adds Dodak. “But all the songs were written before we decided to record.”
INTERVIEW BY KELLEY O’DEATH As 13 year veterans of Portland, Ore.’s DIY punk scene, Secnd Best play “heavy duty fucking rock ‘n’ roll,” according to guitarist Matt Dodak. Or “Pseudo punk/grunge hindsight-core,” according to bassist and second vocalist Joni Krieger, who adds, “I don’t like subgenres.” Swedish stoner/doom trio Mammoth Storm’s debut full-length, Fornjot—out now via Napalm Records—is an immense, dangerous album, known to cause tremors when it’s played. “We are big fans of this scene, and we have had plans to play something together for a while before we started,” states bassist and vocalist Daniel Arvidsson. “I guess it was natural that it would be stoner/doom. Although, […] we wanted to do our own thing and try to create a unique sound for Mammoth Storm, and I think we have succeeded well with those ambitions.” The band just finished up a short European tour with doom/black metal titans Ahab, and the response was more than positive. “We’re a relatively new band and we had no idea how people would react to our music live,” Arvidsson says. “But, as we’ve set the first tune on stage, we see how fast people get into it and the wall of sound hitting
NEW NOISE ISSUE 22
Vocalist and guitarist Kyle Ikola merely says, “Keep an eye on your rearview mirror: it’s us…” Whether you interpret that as a veiled threat or a testament to the always-one-step-behind persona implied by the band’s name, you’ll probably be correct. A collection of eclectic personalities, the band’s inimitable weirdness shines through in their music, including them in their face, and it sure gives tons of adrenaline on stage. We enjoy every second of it.” Of Ahab’s offer to tour, he adds, “There was not a second of hesitation. I’ve been a huge fan of Ahab since their first album, so it was really to hang out with these guys and see them perform these massive tunes every day. And great guys to hang with and drink beer every day, which is hard to find.” Fornjot refers to a seldom-mentioned ancient giant in Norse mythology. Arvidsson explains, “I think, actually, the fact that there is so little information about Fornjot and that most people never heard of this giant was the reason we chose just him. It creates a more mystical feeling to it and makes it more interesting than if we would have named the album ‘Odin’ or something.” While it’s easy to take that sort of influence
“Being able to record yourself is nice, but it’s hard to work without parameters sometimes,” Krieger elaborates. “I was lazy with the post-production process, because I got burnt out on the album after playing with it for so long. I didn’t think it was any good. But, I like it now and am glad it’s finally fucking coming out!” Fact—and most notably, its first track, “450 Volts”—revolves around Dr. Stanley Milgram’s 1961 experiment that tested subjects’ willingness to inflict pain on strangers if ordered to by a perceived au-
Ikola continues, “When people ask us, ‘Why is your name Secnd Best?’ I say, ‘Because it goes Depeche Mode, then us.’” “Secnd Best. Fact,” Ward agrees. Secnd Best will hit the road in February for a West Coast tour, and afterward, dive into recording another record. “We already have 15 songs ready for a new album,” Ikola shares. “We got shit ready to go! We are a tsunami of change coming.” “Possibilities,” Krieger expands.
“Possibilities!” Ikola echoes, then concludes: “Sucked, got better, still together.”
OBSCURE SWEDISH GIANTS- MAMMOTH STORM
INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST/BASSIST DANIEL ARVIDSSON BY RIDGE BRIEL down a folk path, Mammoth Storm keep it heavy and slow. “The roots are, of course, in stoner/doom, but we also gather inspiration from all kinds of different genres, like post-rock, death and black metal, movie soundtracks, or whatever is in our minds while writing the music,”
Arvidsson relates. “One should [not] get stuck in a corner when writing music. You have to open your mind and not be scared to experiment some, otherwise it’s easier to not ever [find] your sound and you’ll be lost among thousands of other bands sounding exactly the same.”
After the dissolution of their former band, Calculator, vocalists and guitarists Christopher Adams and Nikolas Soelter started Never Young as a vessel for excavating the ear-bleeding sounds flooding their heads. But there’s another side to the Bay Area noise rock outfit that reaches for something more than hair-raising volume. “I got the new Justin Bieber album the other day, and it’s fucking awesome,” Adams says without a trace of irony. Adams and Soelter aren’t the songwriters you might assume they are, and they’re even less interested in living up to the expectations borne of their handful of EPs and singles. Now working with the support of a full band, Adams and Soelter want to write honest to goodness pop songs, albeit ones tinged with their innate desire to shred eardrums. “That’s always kind of been our inherent style choice,” Adams says of the shoegaze-y corner his band is often painted into. “But we want to try our hand at more of a pop-centric sort of project. We’re both really touched by a lot of pop music.” It’s a work in progress, but in just over a year and a half, Never Young are already taking meaningful steps in a more pop-oriented
direction. If Master Copy, the band’s debut EP, was a jumping off point, this year’s four song Never Young EP inched closer to a tighter, cleaner sound. That evolution continued with the release of NY Singles in October. With the addition of Happy Diving’s Samuelito Cruz on drums and Niko Escudero on bass, Never Young edged even closer to the middle in their pursuit of a delicate balance between pop and noise. While Adams and Soelter remain the principle songwriters, Never Young are now a band. With that comes more opinions and a group consensus that needs to be reached, but Adams isn’t feeling stifled by his band’s current creative arrangement. If anything, the new dynamic is a plus. Working as a full unit has helped the band harness their more experimental tendencies just enough to let the songs beneath the surface breathe. “We have these two new guys who we’re really good friends with, but we’re really open with one another,” he says. “They were sort of anchoring us. We’d try putting a jazz riff on a punk song and they’d step in and say, ‘Why would you want to do that? That doesn’t make any sense.’ Those singles were a lot more focused in terms of their structure, and more refined in the way we recorded them.”
VOTED BEST PUNK BAND IN SEATTLE- WIMPS
SOMETHING SINISTER- NEVER YOUNG
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID KELLING
I N T E R V I E W W I T H VO CA L I ST / G U I TA R I ST C H R I STO P H E R A DA M S BY RYA N B R AY With a busy 2015 behind them, Never Young are barely coming up for air in 2016. The band have their eyes set on completing a yet-to-be-titled full-length record in February, which they hope to release by summer. A testament to the band’s restless creative vision, Adams calls the new songs Never Young’s most sprawling and diverse yet, owing to everything from shoegaze
to hardcore to pop songs and ballads, all contorted and shaped to fit the band’s slightly left-of-center sound. “Everything we do just has this twisted grin to it,” Adams says. “It’s never just a pop song or a love song. There’s always something sinister to it.”
and less of a ‘fast punk song,’ we’re trying to do new things and see what we think sounds cool.”
weekly art and music magazine, so they have a people’s choice vote of bands, so we thought it was kinda funny and cool that they voted for us, ‘cause we play punk, but we don’t look like traditional punks. It was funny, so we played a show the next day and we got crowns from Burger King and wore those on stage.”
Wimps are looking to do some widespread touring this coming spring or summer. In the meantime, they were voted “Best Punk Band” by Seattle Weekly. “That was unexpected,” Ratner admits. “It’s the
INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST AND GUITARIST RACHEL RATNER BY JANELLE JONES Longtime members of the Seattle punk scene, vocalist and guitarist Rachel Ratner, bassist and vocalist Matt Nyce, and drummer Dave Ramm started Wimps about four years ago. They released their sophomore full-length, the charming Suitcase, via Kill Rock Stars on Nov. 13. So, how did Wimps get with KRS? “We’d been writing a bunch of songs and been looking to make a new album, and we recorded 18 songs in January,” Ratner explains. “Usually, we record a bunch of songs and pick, like, 10 and put them out, and then, the rest we’ll save for a 7” or compilations. So, we had all these songs and [just had] to figure out what to do with them. We were brainstorming about what labels to reach out to. That same week, before we sent any emails out, we received a random email from KRS like, ‘We heard your tape you put out. Would you guys wanna do something with us?’ We were like, ‘What a coincidence, we had you on our list and we’d love to work with you.’ It’s been great, because we’ve all been big fans of the label and liked all the music they put out in the past, so it was cool to be a part of it.”
According to Ratner, the band chose to have the songs “Suitcase” and “Couches” previewed before the album came out, because “‘Suitcase’ is the one the album’s named after, and it was interesting and fun and not as straight-forward as some of the other ones. Then, ‘Couches,’ people seem to like a lot when we play live, and that’s more of the louder, faster side of us.” Indeed, the album is titled Suitcase, and features songs called “Dump,” “Couches,” “Basement”… “We’re a bunch of homebodies, I guess,” Ratner laughs. “We just write songs about what we do and where we spend our time. That’s a lot of what we do.” “I think the general idea of us, just singing about everyday regular stuff is there,” she continues. “I think the first one was recorded in a weekend, and this one we did over a couple weekends and we spent more time mixing it, being more thoughtful about it. And I think we tried. As I’ve gotten better at playing guitar, more harmonies, more flourishes that maybe we didn’t do when we were first writing songs. And then, [with a song like] ‘Old Guy’ being slower and longer
The new record from French black metal warlords Hegemon, The Hierarch, came out in North America via Season Of Mist on Nov. 13, the same day as the terrorist attacks in Paris that claimed the lives of 130 people, including many who were at an Eagles Of Death Metal concert. N, the band’s lead singer—or, to use Hegemon’s chosen vernacular, “vokillist”—doesn’t want to comment on the coincidence, but he does allow, “Well, this is where all stupidity in mankind leads us. Chaos.”
levolent ambience to the proceedings. This stylistic choice makes sense in light of Hegemon’s overall mission to take the all-too-human affinity for violence and turn it into something else entirely. “We, as individuals in Hegemon, are filled with hatred and violence,” N admits, “but, and this is the point, we have always thought that we could use this to create something instead of just being assholes.”
The Hierarch is Hegemon’s fourth album, and this chaos borne of war and violence has been a frequent theme throughout the band’s career. “We have been questioning ourselves for many years about the origin of violence: are we born violent?” N asks. “Do we get violent through our lives? Is it a problem of education? Or is it nature? How can we be such war worshippers on this earth?”
This is no easy feat, as N explains, and you can literally hear their struggle in the music as they channel multiple disparate forces into one cohesive and powerful whole. “To channel this anger is far more difficult than to let our wrath get out freely, without control,” he elaborates. “And, when you look around you, through our planet, what happens everyday, you see how easy it is to feed your hatred and disgust. I really think that we are on the edge of destruction, but I don’t want to take part in it, so my way to struggle is to make music.”
Channeling violence is something the band is exceptionally good at, turning it into a ferocious blend of extreme, black, and death metal riffs. There’s more to the band’s sound than that, though, as they often veer into more subdued passages that make use of classical guitar, choirs, horns, strings, and cinematic soundscapes that add even more ma-
As heady as that may sound, Hegemon are getting even deeper with The Hierarch than they have in the past. N says the overall structure of the album is “like the arrow of time, from the primal spark that enlightened the universe—‘Hatred from the Core: Tempus Incognito’—to the complete end of everything after the last shining star in the cosmos is dead and
AMBER ASYLUM ALL PHOTOGRAPHY BY PONY GOLD
I N T E R V I E W W I T H V O C A L I S T N B Y M I K E G A W O R E C K I everything turns cold—‘Hierarch: The Empire of Zero.’”
takes off into an exploration of “new points further beyond what reality seems to be.”
Each of the songs on the first half of the album depicts a different step in the evolution of all things. This is, honestly, pretty familiar territory for Hegemon. The song “Interpreting signs for war: Aruspicine,” for instance, is about mankind’s bloodlust and how we justify acts of terror, while “Elysean expectations, Earthly Deceptions” is about mankind’s religions and what N calls “the fake hopes they gave us.”
It all leads up to “Hierarch: The Empire of Zero,” which is about the final conflict between religion and science, “brother against brother, reality and fantasy, raw power and intelligence.” N continues, “That will mark the beginning of the end, the reign of the last warlords, the last wolves. They will feast on themselves after having destroyed everything and everyone else, and the very last one will be the Hierarch, ruling alone on nothing, waiting for his own end.”
According to N, the second album then
pushes herself as a musician and as a producer with each new endeavor. “I feel like if you’re not trying new things, you may as well be dead,” she asserts. Perhaps, then, it should come as no surprise that change and growth is essentially what Sin Eater is all about. First and foremost, the sound of the band has evolved once again. Bitter River featured mostly piano and guitar accompanying the violin and cello that are Amber Asylum’s only mainstays, but Force went back to a full rhythm section for Sin Eater. “With this album, I wanted to return to that power, the driving bass and drums,” she explains.
I N T E R V I E W W I T H K R I S F O R C E B Y M I K E G A W O R E C K I After vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and composer Kris Force finished mixing and mastering Sin Eater— the excellent new album from her chamber doom ensemble Amber Asylum, out Dec. 4 via Prophecy Production—she undertook an even more ambitious project: remastering the band’s entire oeuvre, from 1996’s Frozen in Amber to 2009’s Bitter River. As you might imagine, that gave her a new perspective on the band she has dedicated nearly two decades of her life to. “I can see the whole body of work, I can see the whole range,” Force says. “There’s a range of expression, but it’s fairly consistent throughout. There’s the strings, the voice, this thread of continuity. I like how it’s matured, and I like the way it sounds now.
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I don’t think I’ve always felt that way.” Force started playing violin when she was 8 years old, and her classical background has shone through since she began her career by contributing strings to Neurosis and Swans. “I wanted that classical strain to be part of the voice of this project,” she says of the highly mutable Amber Asylum, which has been comprised of a rotating cast of musicians over the past 20 years, including members of Neurosis, Noothgrush, VHÖL, Giant Squid, Ludicra, Hammers Of Misfortune, and many others. “It’s definitely changed a lot, but I feel like there’s a thread of continuity from beginning to end,” Force adds. Constant change seems to be more or less what Force is always striving for. She
“I think about music and the power of music, it makes people feel emotions,” Force explains the central theme of the album. “As far as sin eating is concerned, I feel that what I’m getting at is a transmutation. When you listen to something, it can change your mood, it can change your feelings, from the moment you put it on to the moment you turn it off. It can turn your day around, right? Or it can
make you feel shitty and wish for it to stop.” You could call it “healing,” Force says, “but I decided to call it sin eating, because it’s basically just a transmutation of negative energy, or obscure emotions. We all have feelings we don’t understand. You might have an experience or witness something that makes you experience a memory, or feel like crying, and you can’t explain why. That’s what I’m getting at with this album; the lyrical content is all about a dispersion of this kind of pain that we all have.” In retrospect, “sin eating” is a pretty apt metaphor for just about all of Amber Asylum’s past output, which has been collected into one release, Anthology, also due out Dec. 4 from Prophecy Productions. But don’t mistake this collection as a sign of early retirement. To the contrary, Force attests that the process of putting the box set together has, naturally, inspired her to stretch her creativity even further. “In some ways, I feel much more liberated to explore other things,” she says. “More so than I ever have.”
INTERVIEW WITH LUKE PALASCAK AND JOEL MORGAN BY DOUG NUNNALLY While listening to Pretend’s latest record, Tapestry’d Life—out now on Topshelf Records—there’s a sense of connection between the songs and an overarching theme that’s on the tip of your tongue. It’s enough to make you yearn for an explanation, a feeling heightened by the fact that it’s the first Pretend record in over six years. But sadly, that connection? That overarching theme? According to Pretend, it’s almost non-existent. “A lot of these songs were written a long time ago, around our first album in 2009,” guitarist Luke Palascak reveals. “We were just compiling all these songs that all had multiple versions of themselves up until around 2013, and we just came together to make Tapestry’d. We weren’t ever writing to make a record. We were just writing songs over the course of all these years. The record is just a collection of songs with a title.” It seems like a scattered approach, but for a band who have been extensively exploring their post- and math-rock influences on the road for years, it makes perfect sense. “I think a lot of it comes from playing live and using improvisation as a big tool,” bassist Joel Morgan adds. “A lot of things that happen live are things that just sort of come out, so we wanted to flesh those out completely before ever locking them down.” With all of these different songs dating back to different places in time, where does the cohesion stem from? Where is the overarching theme? Morgan is quick to clarify that the band’s general approach to creating music set the tone for the record. “It’s all about establishing the mood and then building dynamics patiently off of that,” he says. “It’s overarching because we
want to be cohesive with the mood of the song, and they all just seem to flow into one and another.” For Pretend, it is crucially important to preserve the mood of each song before attempting any dynamic shifts or specific guitar melodies. It seems an obvious choice for a mostly instrumental band, but Pretend believe their contemporaries almost avoid this vital element. “Most math-rock out there is really sterile and just bad,” Palascak states. “I think a lot of it is because it lacks mood. We’ve always been drawn to bands that have moods and music that has purpose to everything going on, as opposed to just throwaway lines. I don’t even know if we consider ourselves math-rock, but if we are, we’re different from the rest in that regard, because most math-rock is just missing that consistent and stable mood in the songs.” They may have a point, but maybe mathrock isn’t the problem. Maybe it’s just that the moods Pretend are crafting are so sophisticated that they’ve transcended the post-rock and math-rock genres. For a band who have poured over these songs in various incarnations for years and years, is it so absurd to think that deep contemplation could push them into a new sonic terrain, far removed from these allegedly sterile contemporaries? That’s for you to answer yourself by checking out Tapestry’d Life. Still, one thing remains painfully obvious: there’s nothing else like this out on the market today.
INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST RUSTY KELLEY BY JANELLE JONES Sludgy hardcore punks Total Abuse are back and stronger than ever, having recently released their fourth full-length, Excluded, via Deranged Records. The Austin, Texas, group mark 10 years as a band in 2016, having overcome some rough patches along the way, including splitting up for a little while. “We recorded our third album, Prison Sweat, in December 2010 and I was totally addicted to heroin, which I never thought would happen, and the album reflects it,” vocalist Rusty Kelley explains. “I mean, I love the album, but it’s really bare-bones, definitely about my life falling apart and falling into this void, on one level at least. Some part of me knew there was no way we could keep going as a band.” “We played our last show in March 2011, and then, none of us talked,” he continues. “It wasn’t until I got off drugs in October 2012 when I started talking to Duncan, and we all wanted to do the band, because, to us, it was a really special thing. Matt and Duncan moved back to Austin, and we started playing shows and writing intensely in a way that was unlike we’d done previously. We went to a recording studio I thought was really good and we got someone to really produce it, David Williams.” Kelley says it feels really good to be back, and to be healthy, and Excluded reflects that. “I think this album is about deciding who you are without having romantic, self-destructive tendencies,” he says. “If you look at our albums, like Mutt—which is our second LP—and obviously, Prison Sweat, there’re a lot of elements that are romanticizing not just drug use, but destroying yourself. So much of my lyric content was confessional. Even then, I was asking, ‘What does it do if I’m confessing all this stuff and showcasing this element of myself, but nothing’s changing?’ With Excluded, for me, how could it not be about
elements of trying to change myself and deciding this is who you are? You have to really be OK with just existing. And using the word ‘excluded’—to me, there was an idea of separating myself from my old life and trying to redefine my identity and the things I love, and definitely playing music and making art was important in a huge way.” Both Total Abuse’s lyrical content and style sound very cathartic, like they’re getting stuff out. “I think that’s something I always wrestle with in all the albums,” Kelley agrees, “this issue of transgression and catharsis, and asking myself why I do these things. I have a compulsion to sing these songs and to write these things down. In the same sense, is it changing anything? Those are the ultimate human questions anyway. At least, for me, I wonder if it matters what the line is between selfindulgence and releasing things. But, I think I’m just always trying to work on myself; I’m not satisfied ever.” That perpetual dissatisfaction can easily extend to the process of putting a record together, especially since the final product has to last for eternity. “I had to learn this the hard way,” Kelley reveals. “I think it’s a learning process: focus on the songs and worry about getting to a place where you feel good with them, but also letting the music be there. I’m a perfectionist, but there’s a release in putting all the things down and letting them go. Especially with this album, we were trying [to capture] our live sound on record. The second LP we recorded three different times, and Prison Sweat, we recorded it two different times, because we’d listen to it and we’d say it’s not good enough. But, I think we’re all really happy with this album. We didn’t have to do that, because we had someone reeling us in, saying, ‘The songs are good. This is the work you need to do. Trust me.’”
ISSUE 22 NEW NOISE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEM MITCHELL
INTERVIEW WITH JAY MCALLISTER BY SAMANTHA SPOTO Playing under the moniker Beans On Toast, British folk singer Jay McAllister has made a name for himself on the underground circuit. His extensive discography features narratives about politics and love. His honesty radiates throughout his writing, as he dares to tackle topics that many other musicians tend to shy away from. Despite his outspokenness, McAllister has a modest way about him, singing with a sincerity and witticism that have come to define his character over the last 10 years. He has played to large audiences in the U.K., making rounds at festivals and arena shows, but he has mostly remained under the radar in the States. That is, until this past fall, when he embarked on a full U.S. tour in support of Frank Turner, taking the stage in sold-out venues across the country. “Touring America is ace. It feels like you could tour forever playing new and exciting towns every night,” says McAllister. In the midst of performing alongside his labelmate, he also found time to record his seventh studio album, Rolling Up the Hill. As seems to be tradition, he released the record on his birthday, the first of December, via Xtra Mile Recordings. Recorded in Kansas with the help of husband and wife duo Truckstop Honeymoon, McAllister’s latest record showcases a fuller sound compared to that on his previous acoustic releases. The couple brings double bass and mandolin to the tracklist, while McAllister’s long-term comrade, Bobby Banjo, accompanies the two on harp and banjo. He also enlisted Kansas percussionists to add horns and drums into the mix. “For each record I make, I work with different people and producers in a different studio,” he
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says. “I met Truckstop Honeymoon at a U.K. festival. We hit it off, became friends, and played some shows together. As soon as I found out they had a studio in their yard, I was excited and wanted to make a record with them.” Rolling Up the Hill remains true to McAllister’s opinionated yet honest temperament. The album’s themes run the gamut from friendship to travel to protesting. Never short on inspiration, he continued to write thoughtful quips while on tour, even after he recorded his newest full-length. He worked the new bits into his setlist each night, most notably sticking his oar in the upcoming presidential election and playing a left-leaning song entitled “Bernie v. Trumpy.” McAllister comes from the school of thought that all aspects of everyday life make for potential material. “I find songwriting very natural,” he says, “and if I’m alone with a guitar, I’ll generally write a few tunes. As far as subject matter, it just comes from passing thoughts, be that about the problems the world is facing to what I’m having for tea and everything in between.” As seems to be the natural trajectory of his inventiveness, fans can expect to see another release from him in 2016. In the meantime, he will set sail with Flogging Molly on their Salty Dog Cruise in March, and he plans to return to the States with Skinny Lister and Will Varley this coming spring. No matter where he plays—on a yacht, in a basement, or in a stadium—Beans On Toast turns any size space into an intimate soirée.
BEANS ON TOAST
PHOTOGRAPHY BY RAYMOND AHNER
INTERVIEW WITH PETE HOLMES, ALEX CUNNINGHAM, AND DAVE PANKENIER BY NICHOLAS PENDERGAST Any band with a name like Oakland, Calif.’s Blackwülf should be really heavy, really groovy, and downright cool. “We named the group Blackwülf after initially jamming together for a month or so,” guitarist Pete Holmes explains. “We were feeling something dark and ancient and Teutonic, so the name’s Nordic spelling and the umlaut seemed to fit. Blackwolf was also the name of the villain character in ‘Wizards’ by artist Ralph Bakshi, and we just tweaked the spelling to make it our own and went with it.” Blackwülf ’s Dec. 11 Ripple Music release, Oblivion Cycle, carries on their heavy legacy. “We approached Oblivion Cycle as a much more deliberate album,” says vocalist Alex Cunningham. “[2014’s] Mind Traveler has songs on it that we wrote very early on, when we were still defining our sound and approach. We really approached Oblivion Cycle as a unified album.” “The concept of cycles in life that continue to repeat themselves endlessly, over and over, is a common theme in my lyrics,” Cunningham continues. “From failed relationships, to religious and political tyranny, to human arrogance on an environmental scale. As a species, we are sometimes our own worst enemy and can’t seem to stop these cycles of pain and fear. All this lyrical imagery came together with a musical approach that’s had some time to grow and mature. In essence, this new album really captures what we had been wanting to put out there. We are pleased with the result.” Blackwülf ’s motives when going into the songwriting and recording processes are
to “keep things as old school as possible,” according to Holmes. “It’s well known that we were all cryogenically frozen in blocks of ice in a freak accident in 1978 when our tour bus careened into Lake Michigan, and we’re simply now unfrozen in time, trying to finish that ill fated tour. Seriously though, […] we just kind of ‘go for it,’ only do what feels right and authentic for us, and are just that much more stoked if it connects with the audience.” The whole doom and stoner thing is a lot bigger than it was 10 years ago. So, where do Blackwülf see themselves among the waves of other bands playing this style of music? “Listen, Blackwülf was started literally in an abandoned meat locker in an old part of Oakland that, until just recently, had been pretty much forgotten,” drummer Dave Pankenier clarifies. “We just showed up and sweated it out, jamming tunes we liked enough to play more than once. We’re damn grateful to be making music on a great label like Ripple who supports us, and that we are able to get out there and stoke people on what we do.”
Craving more heaviness from Blackwülf? Head on over to NewNoiseMagazine.com to read the full interview!
ISSUE 22 NEW NOISE
TWO FISTED LAW
INTERVIEW WITH BAND DIRECTOR/VOCALIST ANTON BELOV BY RIDGE BRIEL Chelybinsk, Russia’s Kauan started out as a folk/black metal band in 2005, but quickly evolved into a complex brand that can be best described as ambient postdoom-folk. Their most recent album, Sorni Nai—released through Blood Music—is a magnificent and emotive concept album about the 1959 Dyatlov Pass Incident, in which an expedition of nine people perished under mysterious circumstances while trekking toward Otorten Mountain. What really happened is a subject of mystery even today. “In my own opinion,” states vocalist and band director Anton Belov, “they all were murdered. Who has done this and how? This is another question, and it’s not so important to answer now.” The incident has been the subject of many books, TV shows, and even a Polish video game called “Kholat.” Mysteries like this stay alive in the minds of those who seek to explain the unexplainable, but why the fascination? “Everyone feels something personal and private when hearing the story,” explains Belov. “Despite the fact that all of this happened in 1959, it feels like it happened yesterday. If feels like some of your friends were there, and they died with them. Our band made our own private investigation. We read autopsy reports, notes from the search team, and I’ve been in contact with the official Dyatlov fund and their founder, Yury Kuntsevich, who was Dyatlov’s friend and someone who could have been in the list of corpses.” In 2014, Kauan released a rerecorded “Best of ” compilation entitled Muistumia, a prime showcase of their evolution over the years. Of the comp’s previous unreleased track, “Unsoi,” Belov says, “[It] is a song written by myself and [former guitarist] Alex [Borovih]. I love listening to old sketches from the mid ‘00s, so I found this track and wiped off the dust
NEW NOISE ISSUE 22
INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST JYM PARRELLA BY MORGAN YWAIN EVANS
to resurrect it. As a result, we have a very strong song for live performances and some proof that we have mid-tempo black metal roots.”
Popular East Coast punk band Two Fisted
heaven. [He] gets cast out and spends
Law’s new Altercation Records slammer
eternity collecting souls for the devil.”
Sorni Nai is Kauan’s third entry in the Blood Music catalog. “I always wanted to be on a label that would focus the same level of attention to musical fidelity, pressing quality, and material printing as myself,” Belov says. “Maybe it will sound a bit old school, but I really need to hold every release in my hands. This is what is necessary to understand and appreciate Kauan’s albums. They’re journeys through our melodies with full-scale art accompaniment that you’re holding in your own hands. A digital file costs basically nothing. It’s an argument that Ethan Diamond had when he founded Bandcamp. Me and Blood Music have the same vision, same philosophy—that’s why all our releases are available with nameyour-own-price.”
one of the most fun bands around. The
All of Two Fisted Law’s songs have a
five song EP dropped in August, and a
working class feel that really makes the
lot has been happening since then for
stuff relatable in a meat and potatoes
vocalist Jym Parrella. “There are a lot of
way, but they are more than a street punk
new things going on for me, personally,”
band. “We are seriously influenced by
he says. “I had surgery to fix a back injury,
everything,” Parrella says. “From ‘80s pop
which sidelined me from wrestling for
and ‘80s metal [to] hardcore, all types of
about six months. I got engaged, and have
punk. Every band member brings [in]
a lot of good stuff happening to move into
what influences them. It’s really great.”
Typically, music so rich and unique takes years to write, but Kauan has released an impressive seven albums in 10 years. “Generally, I’m writing a few sketches; they can be quite short. I’m splitting, cutting and pasting together all the pieces like Legos,” Belov explains. “In the meantime, I begin envisioning concepts that unite all the parts into one opus with a single, direct feeling.” As for what influenced Sorni Nai, Belov adds, “I’ve been listening to Hammock a lot. I’m a huge fan of all their albums. There is Jon Hopkins with his masterpieces Insides and Immunity. A new discovery for me is the LateNightTales compilations with Trentemøller and Nils Frahm. Sorni Nai stands as a piece of closure for our metal origins.”
Brother’s Keeper continues their legacy as
the new year.” This vibe makes Altercation Records a The Brother’s Keeper EP can be counted
perfect fit for the band, and Parrella calls
amongst this good stuff. Parrella describes
them “truly a family style label. All the
the release as “a tribute to past members
bands support each as they move and
of the band, as we have had a few changes,
grow. We all stand by each other and that’s
and to all the fans for supporting our
phenomenal. […] We are just happy to be
punk rock adventures.” The energy of this
part of this amazing label.”
EP is undeniable and the format keeps the momentum going for fans. This short
When Parrella is not singing with Two
collection sounds live, but it just might
Fisted Law, he wrestles under the name
be Two Fisted Law’s most pro sounding
Big Jym Anderson, “cementing [his]
record yet! “We worked with Elliot Gellar
wrestling legacy one chokeslam at a time,”
for this recording and he really brought
according to his Instagram. After his
the best out in all of us,” Parrella agrees.
surgery in May to fix a herniation in his
“Kept our spirits high and pushed us.”
spine, and his resulting six-month hiatus, he switched wrestling schools. “I have
The EP’s fifth track shares a name with
been training at Paradise Alley Wrestling
Sam Raimi horror flick “Drag Me to Hell,”
in East Haven, Conn., with Paul Roma
but that’s where their similarities end.
and Mario Mancini,” he says. “It really has
Parrella explains, “’Drag Me to Hell’ is based off of a short story I wrote when I was in my 20s. To summarize it, it’s about a gunslinger who cheated his way into
changed my whole style of wrestling.”
INTERVIEW WITH GUITARIST TONY LAZZARA BY NICHOLAS SENIOR Bloodiest’s upcoming self-titled record— due out via Relapse Records on Jan. 15—is a great introduction to the band’s sound. The Chicago based band traffics in a very meticulous yet accessible form of experimental music. Bloodiest could easily double as a score; it feels very theatrical and carefully crafted. Guitarist Tony Lazzara considers that comparison to be “the greatest compliment that I can probably get, really. We’re very interested in musical scores. [Guitarist] Eric [Chaleff] and I have always been an instrumental band, so we’re super interested in that sort of stuff. We’re also big fans of Obituary, too,” he laughs. “I think people perceive us as a metal band, because our live show is aggressive and heavy. For this record, I wanted it to be pretty slick and very digestible. We worked really hard to get clean guitar and drum sounds and vocals higher in the mix that were intelligible. I wanted this record to be more finished and glossy. With the last record, we were a really tight live band at the time and went into the recording just wanting to bang it out. Bloodiest was a very produced process. We wrote, rewrote, and threw out a lot of stuff before we finished.” Bloodiest is definitely a more accessible record, in large part because the production is more streamlined and pleasing to the ears. It’s a dynamic and rewarding listen, dark and moody, but with an underlying beauty that the clean production allows to shine through. Rather than soaring above the mix, Bruce Lamont’s vocals feel like another instrument in the landscape of Bloodiest’s music. “That’s something we worked on really hard,” says Lazzara. “Bruce and I have been friends for forever,
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and I’ve always enjoyed everything he’s done, but I feel like he was leaning on his reeds a lot, because he’s a really talented reed player. Vocally, he uses his voice to pick up on certain nuances that Eric and I are writing guitar-wise. I really think the best things he’s done are with us. I know that sounds biased,” he laughs, “but I’ve been working with him and around his projects forever.” It’s the familiarity from growing up in the Chicago scene that’s helped Bloodiest become such a tight musical act. This isn’t your garden-variety group of scene vets who come together for a passion project; an album this incredibly tight and almost choreographed could only come from a group of longtime friends. The comfort these individuals have with each other has allowed Bloodiest to become one of the most interesting and forward-thinking heavy bands around. Though it sounds gruesome, Bloodiest’s name actually spawns from this history. “We’re all lifer musicians at this point,” Lazzara explains. “That’s really where the name came from. Even though I love horror movies and death metal, it’s really about taking a beating and continuing to keep going. How many bands can this guy fail before he gives up?” he laughs. If you live on the East Coast, plan to check out Bloodiest’s upcoming tour with Electric Hawk and Sweet Cobra. Based on their live prowess and the strength of this upcoming album, the shows are a must-see.
INTERVIEW WITH FRONTMAN ZAK KAPLAN BY DOUG NUNNALLY Smalltalk are extremely recognizable, even before you hear their new record, Plus!, out now on Chunksaah Records. On paper, the quintet reads as a Jersey supergroup, with each of the members coming from another respected band, most notably The Bouncing Souls. Even more recognizable than the members is the band’s sound, an almost perfect modern take on a classic ‘80s aesthetic that blends college rock, new-wave, and post-punk in a manner that could surely bring John Hughes back to life. Plus! serves not only as Smalltalk’s debut record, but also as a compilation of their four previous EPs. “It was probably around the time we started mixing the third EP that we started thinking about compiling the material into a single release,” reveals frontman Zak Kaplan. “It seemed apparent that, even with multiple lyricists and musical arrangers, we had developed a cohesive and consistent sound. It wasn’t until we started working on the fourth EP that we considered how those three songs would work with the other nine songs. I think we rounded the whole thing out pretty nicely, if I do say so myself.” Cohesive is exactly what Plus! became, with a classic sound that’s bolstered by the band’s somewhat meta approach to their identity. “We’re a retro-proto-Y2Krock band,” Kaplan describes, quickly adding that the album’s original name was “‘Plus!’ Greatest Hits (1987-1991) The Singles Collection, but we abridged it for the cover art.” Jokes aside, the album does contain an interesting dichotomy of ideals. As retro as the sound gets, there’s still a stylish, contemporary feel to the music. It’s a great coup for the band, even if Kaplan
himself isn’t too sold on the difficulty of modernizing the style. “Heartache and guitar effects are as modern as they are classic,” he says. Romanticism and heartache definitely dominate the record, something that’s apparent even through the instrumentation. Opening track “Fountains of You” instantly fills your mind with cliché romantic gestures. Smalltalk are more than willing to boast about the band’s innate passion. “This collection of songs is very sentimental in the way that they express lust, love, and loss,” Kaplan muses. “There is an intimacy within these songs. The songs are preoccupied with these emotions to an impractical and unrealistic degree, so they are very romantic in that way. […] The content of these songs are based on romantic ideals, but the notion that love can overcome all obstacles is just not realistic. If you get too wrapped up in this stuff, if you get too wrapped up in your head and make everything doom and gloom, then you’re going to miss the point. We’re not as mopey or sensitive as you might think from our music. We’re just out here selling the swindle.” Kaplan’s sardonic humor aside, Smalltalk’s Plus! is far from a swindle. Its songs are rooted in a timeless sound, but have an urgently modern twist that separate the debut from other records caught precariously between their inspirations and reiteration.
SEVEN SISTERS OF SLEEP
PHOTOGRAPHY BY FORREST LOCKE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAKOTA GORDON
INTERVIEW WITH DRUMMER BRIAN THOMAS BY MIKE GAWORECKI
I N T E R V I E W W I T H G U I TA R I ST C H R I S C O R RY BY H U TC H
The forthcoming album from SoCal melodic death metal band Seven Sisters Of Sleep—their third full-length, but their first for Relapse Records—almost wasn’t called Ezekiel’s Hags. “Originally, the album was to be entitled Ezekiel’s Witches,” drummer Brian Thomas explains, “which is a type of psychedelic mushroom.” The band decided to change it to “hags” after discussing how witchrelated themes have been done to death in the metal scene. “[Guitarist] Brock [Elmore] threw ‘Hags’ out, and we all instantly agreed that it was better and we went with it,” Thomas says. “Personally, it makes me think of the Sea Hag from ‘Popeye’ tripping, which is why I love it.” When the band went into the studio to record the album—which is still awaiting a concrete release date—they knew exactly what they wanted to accomplish. “Our main goal on this one was to really flesh out the songwriting more and try to focus on specific genre influences more than others,” Thomas says. “It’s a much more ‘metal’ sounding album than the previous stuff. It was also important to us to try to outdo [2013’s] Opium Morals in musicianship and heaviness, which I believe we achieved.” Seven Sisters Of Sleep spent more time in the studio recording Ezekiel’s Hags than they had for past albums, and it shows. The songwriting is more intricate, ranging over diverse metal terrain. The most obvious touchstone is melodic death metal, but there are blackened moments, some grindcore, and even some good old fashioned, stomping power metal riffs thrown in, which keeps the album flowing along nicely.
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It also helps that Seven Sisters Of Sleep know just the right moments to throw in a touch of menacing ambient noise. “Denounce”—one of the record’s longer songs—begins with a bowed upright bass, for instance, that makes the upcoming aural onslaught all the more ferocious. “For me, the track I think I’m most proud of is ‘Denounce,’” Thomas says, “because of how much shit goes on in that song.” Vocalist Tim McAlary writes all of the lyrics, which Thomas describes as “staunchly anti-religious and generally pretty nihilistic.” But on Ezekiel’s Hags, McAlary gets more personal. Opening track, “Jones,” for example, is about a kid who McAlary and Thomas went to high school with who later got hooked on meth—which is “extremely common for our hometown,” says Thomas—and was involved in a murder. “Do as the master, not requests but demands / Master leader murderous / Brother Jones and a breathless witness / Duct tape muffled cries, desert sun enters eyes / Do as the master, not requests but demands,” McAlary sings in a tortured howl. The band don’t have any tour plans in place just yet, but Thomas says they’re itching to get back out on the road after having played their first Maryland Death Fest last year. Plus, they want to bring the new material to the masses. “We just did a short California run with our friends Full Of Hell and played ‘Jones’ and ‘War Master’ at those shows,” Thomas says. “The response was great.”
In 2013, the Boston straight edge hardcore veterans in Magic Circle blew away a new legion of fans. With energy to spare, they unleashed a dominating, unrelenting doom metal self-titled on the Armageddon Shop label. A distinct progression in Magic Circle’s sound is apparent on their second full-length, Journey Blind, which was released in November via 20 Buck Spin. “Most of our favorite hard rock and heavy metal bands have long and varied careers,” says guitarist Chris Corry. “They find new ways to work within their own framework. I think, as a band, that’s kind of our outlook. The way we want to write music. For example, Black Sabbath. Everyone has this really simplified concept in their mind of what they were and what they sounded like. But, album to album, there are different detours and shades of their personality.” When discussing influences, Corry elaborates on and celebrates a myriad of classic rock ‘n’ rollers. “I doubt anything is going to blow anyone’s mind,” he says. “There’s stuff that’s really apparent like Witchfinder General, Pagan Altar, and Trouble, and, of course, Black Sabbath. […] There’s a lot of stuff that’s probably not really apparent in our sound that I know me or some of the other dudes were listening to while we were putting everything together. Some of the songs on the album stretch back almost three years now, so there was a long time for all sorts of influences to seep in.” Triumphant low-end rumbling and rhythmic gallops exemplify Corry’s songwriting, but he assures that “everyone has shaped [each song] in some way through the process.”
Again self-recording in Corry’s home studio, Magic Circle embraced the DIY punk ethic and did what had to be done. “The reason for recording ourselves is to save money and be able to work a little slower and more methodically,” Corry explains. “We can just roll in on the weekends or after work and chip away at the recording. [Vocalist] Brendan [Radigan] lives far from the city, and getting to Boston to record is kind of a process, so there were some long gaps between vocal sessions. Honestly, I think we’d all like to work in a ‘proper’ studio next time.” Magic Circle’s members continue to stay busy with their multiple musical endeavors, but 2016 promises to see the elusive band play more gigs, something for which fans have been asking. The band can feel this energy, and promise to make Magic Circle a priority. “For me, and I think everyone, it’s the top of the heap,” Corry assures. “We don’t do tons of stuff, but we try to do our best with everything we do. We have a lot of other musical and personal commitments, in addition to jobs. We move a little slower than some of the other bands out there, but it’s a slow and steady kind of thing.”
For more hardcore insight, check out Corry’s extended interview on NewNoiseMagazine. com!
FEBRUARY 05th, 2016
„Anvil Is Anvil“The New Album!
Canadian Metal at it`s best!
The new album - “X - NO ABSOLUTES” full of riff intensified crushers, furious barn burners, and fist pumping sing-a-longs ! Available as:
Digipak / 2 LP Gatefold / Download
PRONG live 2016 4/21: West Hollywood, CA @ The Whisky | 4/22: Ramona, CA @ Ramona Mainstage | 4/23: Las Vegas, NV @ LVCS 4/24: Tempe, AZ @ Club Red | 4/26: Lubbock, TX @ Jake‘s | 4/27: Dallas, TX @ Trees | 4/28: San Antonio, TX @ Korova | 4/29: McAllen, TX @ Cine El Rey | 4/30: Houston, TX @ Scout Bar | 5/2: Tampa, FL @ Orpheum | 5/3: Orlando, FL @ The Haven | 5/4: Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade | 5/5: Louisville, KY @ Diamond Pub and Billiards | 5/6: Baltimore, MD @ Soundstage | 5/7: Amityville, NY @ Revolution Bar & Music Hall | 5/8: Worcester, MA @ The Palladium | 5/9: Montreal, QC @ Foufones Electriques | 5/10: Toronto, ON @ The Garrison | 5/11: Rochester, NY @ Montage Music Hall | 5/12: Pittsburgh, PA @ Hard Rock Cafe | 5/13: Battle Creek, MI @ The Music Factory | 5/15: Indianapolis, IN @ The 5th Quarter Lounge 5/16: Cleveland, OH @ Agora Ballroom | 5/17: Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups | 5/18: Joliet, IL @ The Tree | 5/19: Spring Lake, MN @ POV‘s | 5/20: Racine, WI @ Rt 20 | 5/21: Ringle, WI @ Q and Z Expo Center | 5/22: Waterloo, IA @ Spicoli‘s Grill and the Reverb Rock | 5/23: St. Louis, MO @ Fubar | 5/24: Merriam, KS @ Aftershock | 5/25: Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater | 5/27: Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theater | 5/28: Seattle, WA @ El Corazon | 5/29: Vancouver, BC @ The Venue | 5/31: Chico, CA @ Lost on Main | 6/1: San Jose, CA @ Rockbar
FEBRUARY 26th, 2016
Digi / 2LP / Download
See ANVIL live: May 12-June 18! Infos under: facebook.com/anvilmetal
WILDHONEY INTERVIEW WITH GUITARIST JOE TRAINOR BY DOUG NUNNALLY
altimore’s Wildhoney made a big splash in January with Sleep Through It, a shimmering debut full of lush guitars and vocals. The bold quintet could have easily coasted for the rest of 2015 before approaching their next release, but instead, put out a follow-up EP entitled Your Face Sideways this past October on Topshelf Records. The EP rivals their debut LP in a way that brashly unveils their immense potential, and it does it in only half the time. Wildhoney are ambitious musicians, infusing the dream pop and shoegaze genres with a much needed bolt of energy. “We write the melodies before the effects. That’s one major distinction between us and other so-called shoegazing bands,” says guitarist Joe Trainor. “We also have a singer who can actually sing, whose vocals are audible both recorded and live. We write actual pop songs, not just washy plodding muddy overlyeffect-ed dirges. As far as genre is
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concerned, we would much rather be thought of as indie pop or noise pop—whatever Black Tambourine is.” “We think today’s derivative shoegaze and dream pop bands are mostly boring,” he continues. “It’s really easy to sound cool if you have lots of pedals and a whammy bar. What’s inspiring is when new bands come out with something original in pop music. We love bands like Flowers and Tony Molina for example.”
composition is approached on a basic level. “The ‘60s pop thing is more about the use of sonic space and writing short but effective songs,” he adds. This ideal serves as the foundation of Wildhoney’s coveted sound. “The vocals and guitars are always weaving in and out of each other. We try to balance things out with an emphasis on atmosphere,” Trainor elaborates. It’s not that the band has nothing in common with their contemporaries,
but while most get hung up on overindulgent long-form pieces that dominate their record, Wildhoney are a bit more methodical in their approach, as evidenced on the EP’s closing 12 minute epic, “FSA II.” Trainor says, “‘FSA II’ was an experimental delving into the realm of ambient music. We put it on the B side by itself, so if you don’t want to listen to it, you don’t have to. But, if you are tripping or having sex, it may be just the thing.”
Some may see this as youthful arrogance, but Trainor’s concerns have been present in the scene for years now. Wildhoney’s musical roots in pop’s glorious history really push this narrative. “Have you ever listened to early Pasty Cline?” he asks. “The guitar is amazing and just as important as any other element of the recording.” This isn’t just about guitar tones; this is about the way
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOE CALIXTO
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOE CALIXTO
INTERVIEW BY SEAN GONZALES
oozy refer to themselves as an “experimental ‘rock band’” from the ever eclectic city of New Orleans. Kara Stafford and John St. Cyr share guitar and vocal duties, while Ian PaineJesam works magic on the drums. On their debut album Blistered—out since Oct. 16 via Community Records—the band weave different genres of music together, creating one of the most unique offerings of 2015. Opening track, the dynamic “Venom,” begins as a softer indie tune before vibrant guitar progressions take over, eventually making their way to a sludgy shoegaze groove. Woozy give some insight into how they approached the creation of their acclaimed debut: “We recorded the album in five days at the Living Room in Algiers, La., which may or may not be literal heaven on earth,” they say, adding that they were “aided by three pounds of coffee, a carton of cigarettes, a basketball hoop, and a healthy dose of [Electric Light Orchestra’s] greatest hits.” Even on the first
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listen, it’s apparent that ELO influenced some aspects of the album. “We also are in immense emotional debt to our producer Ross Farbe, who always knew when we could do better and wasn’t afraid to say so,” Woozy add. Farbe certainly had his hands full with busy songs like “Painted White,” a noisy punk track that comes to a halt halfway through, then extends the composition with dazzling guitar arpeggios during the final minute. However, even when Woozy is at their noisiest, nothing is muddy or overpowering. Instead, each instrument participates in creating a luscious soundscape, a deftness that’s especially apparent on standout track “The Christmas Club.” The lyrical and thematic content of the album are just as hard to decipher and open to interpretation as the music. “A lot of publications that have written about Blistered have noted a feeling of intense personal relationships within the band, which is a fairly perceptive view of the writing
process behind this record,” Woozy reveal. “The writing of the album followed a period of nearterminal interpersonal conflict within the band and damaging life events outside of it.” This emotional aspect of the record can be seen on songs like the slow-burning “Another Way Out,” the dreamy final track “Fade Like A Sigh,” and the gut-wrenching heartache duet “Gilding the Lilly.” Blistered shines in its ability to offer something new to listeners on every spin. While the record’s brilliance should be reason enough for Woozy to consider it a massive personal victory, it also serves as a representation of their ability to overcome interpersonal struggles and adversity. Woozy admit that Blistered came close to never existing at all, admitting that it “was our agreement to keep going, a sort of open group therapy strummed out.”
Listeners will be glad they worked it out.
SHIP THIEVES INTERVIEW WITH GUITARIST CHRIS WOLLARD BY DOUG NUNNALLY
ongtime Hot Water Music guitarist Chris Wollard started Ship Thieves in 2009, almost accidentally. At the time, they were just another in Hot Water’s members’ long list of side-projects that would most likely end up as one-offs, an assumption bolstered by Wollard’s own admission. “We literally didn’t know we were making that first record until we were just about done with it,” he says. “It was the most unprofessional thing in the world!” Despite that frivolous beginning, Wollard had something in Ship Thieves that people actually wanted to hear. While they captured the essence of Hot Water, they also offered enough novel approaches to punk rock and post-hardcore to stand on their own. From there, Ship Thieves took off, with Wollard cementing a stable lineup of worthy musicians who made their debut on the band’s second record in 2012. While it was just as well received as their debut, it was clear that this fledgling band still had a lot to prove when it came to their identity.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JESSE SCANLON
The world will get to find out just what that identity is on Jan. 29 when No Idea Records releases Ship Thieves’ third record, No Anchors. It’s a record Wollard was extremely excited about… Even though he admits the band have already moved past it. “I’m enjoying it, but right now, we’re about halfway done writing the next one,” he explains. “It seems fast, but it’s actually easy considering we all live in the same town, practice every Monday, and all take it really seriously. I’m finally in a position where I can do a lot of writing with different people, and I’m just pushing forward full steam.” To Wollard, this increased focus on Ship Thieves is great, but it doesn’t necessarily have any bearing on the future of Hot Water Music. “Hot Water is still writing and we have a few new tunes,” he assures. “There’s no priority over one or the other, though. After 21 years, it’s OK to do your own thing, because we know none of us are ever going to quit. We’re all family. We’re just super lucky to be able to write music for a living, so we should all
take it seriously and not blow our opportunities by limiting ourselves to just one thing.” Listening to No Anchors, no one would ever accuse Wollard of blowing his opportunity. There’s still the trademark Wollard sound on the record, but it’s reinforced this time around by a backing band fully cognizant of their identity and roles. “Addison [Burns] just kills it on guitar with this one, and the rhythms from [bassist] Chad [Darby] and [drummer] Bobby [Brown] are just super tight and locked in, they really open up a lot of these basic songs. It’s so exciting, because we’re finally wiping away the confusion over what Ship Thieves is. We’re just a fucking band like any other fucking normal band. We started differently than other bands, but we’re still just a fucking band with some of the best musicians around doing punk rock the way punk rock needs to be. This record shows just that, and the new stuff we’re working on now, I think, will get people even more excited about Ship Thieves.”
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stay at a steady medium pace, but are packed with enough ‘80s metal pizazz to fill an open-air festival. The hooks and subtle guitar intricacies on display warrant multiple listens—as well as some serious air guitar sessions— and showcase the band’s uncanny songwriting chops. “Sometimes, I’ll just write and demo a song all by myself, and then present it to the band,” Decay says of Cauldron’s writing process. “Other times, one of us will be jamming on a riff at practice and we’ll write a song that way. Ian brings a lot of riffs in also, not necessarily arranged, and I might take them and arrange them for him.”
ITH INTERVIEW W JASON DECAY T S I S S A B / T S VOCALI VAREZ BY JAMES AL
auldron have been at the forefront of the great, undying heavy metal crusade for close to a decade now. These Canadian hessians play an epic and infectious brand of old school, demons and dragons-tinged, mullet approved classic metal—with a capital “M.” Vocalist and bassist Jason Decay has guided the Cauldron ship since the beginning, along with his partner in crime, axeman Ian Chains. This riff-tastic duo have helped stoke the genre’s eternal flame by releasing three albums of unadulterated heavy metal goodness. The band are set to unleash their fourth sacrifice on the metal altar, In Ruin, Jan. 8 on The End Records. Prepare your stereos: the hooks and production on this record are razor sharp and will leave your speakers just like the album’s title suggests. “It just sort of made sense,” Decay says of record’s moniker. “After [2011’s] Burning
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Fortune and [2012’s] Tomorrow’s Lost, we thought, ‘Where do you go after tomorrow’s been lost?’ Well… In Ruin. It sounded cool and really fit Cauldron.” For album number four, the band decided to go for a refined, streamlined approach—from the album art down to the songs themselves—and wound up crafting a career defining record in the process. Even the bare but ominous covert art of a creepy hooded figure standing in a hazy doorway indicates that listeners are in for something special. “We wanted something really catchy,” Decay reveals, “something that grabs your eye. We wanted something simple and striking this time.” Walking the line between simple and boring can be a daunting task for lesser bands, but In Ruin finds Cauldron perfecting the “less is more” approach. The album’s glorious opening track, “No Return/In Ruin,” and centerpiece, “Hold Your Fire,” are perfect examples of this. These tunes
In Ruin is the recording debut of Cauldron’s drummer, Myles Deck, who has bashed the drums for the band since 2012, starting just after the release of their previous album. “Myles is actually our longest running drummer,” Decay explains. “We’ve had a lot of time to get familiar with each other’s styles and such; by the time we got around to recording the record, we were ready to go. Myles actually contributed to a few songs on the record as well. We heard him playing some guitar parts and liked them, and took them and made them into Cauldron songs. ‘Hold Your Fire,’ that’s the one Myles contributed to the most. That main hook is his, actually.” Produced by their pal, Chris Stringer, and mixed by Enforcer’s own Olof Wikstrand, In Ruin captures Cauldron firing on all cylinders. Deck’s toms are reminiscent of canons firing, Chains’ guitar tone sounds like a 21st Century, high definition upgrade of Dokken, and Decay’s foot-stomping low end and unique vocal rasp will echo in your head for days on end. It’s not the flashiest album you’ll hear in 2016, but the old school approach that Cauldron have perfected on In Ruin manages to be both retro and remarkably refreshing. Decay says frankly, “In a sea of drum triggers and direct guitar simulator pods, I think it is fresh.”
oneymoon Disease call back to 1970s American classic rock, transporting listeners to the days of feathered hair and luxurious bell-bottoms. Their debut full-length, The Transcendence, was released in November through Napalm Records. “When we recorded The Transcendence, we really tried to find the ‘70s rock feeling,” say vocalists and guitarists Jennifer Israelsson and Anna Skogö. “But, at the same time, we didn’t want to be afraid of putting in some modern touches. These days, all the bands with a retro sound just want to sound as analog and vintage as possible. We, instead, wanted to find a good mix.” A baby band, the group formed in 2014, without a proper drummer. Their original members—Israelsson, Skogö, and bassist Anders “Admiral” Bergstedt—recorded their debut single, “Fast Love,” then
INTERVIEW WITH VOCALISTS AND GUITARISTS JENNIFER ISRAELSSON AND ANNA SKOGÖ BY GABI CHEPURNY quickly recruited drummer Jimmy Karlsson to begin playing live shows. “After the second show, we got in touch with the producers Ola Ersfjord and Nicke Andersson,” Israelsson and Skogö say. “Things started to move really quickly from there, and we got a record deal with Napalm Records and started to work on our first full-length album, The Transcendence. So, a lot has happened in a very short time.” Soon after, Bergstedt left due to career choices, and Nicklas Hellqvist took over their bassist spot, one Israelsson and Skogö say he fits in perfectly. The quartet is based in Gothenburg, Sweden, and Israelsson and Skogö note, “The rock scene in Sweden is really amazing! There’re so many great bands out there right now, and especially in Gothenburg where we live. Bands like Graveyard, Horisont, Spiders, Hypnos, and Deadheads, who also are good
friends of ours. But the venues and audience are not really the best, if you would compare it to places south of Scandinavia. Sweden has all the great rock bands, but no audience.” Honeymoon Disease—a reference to urinary tract infections, which women often contract via sex— are already well on their way at Napalm Records. “We have got a lot of support and great contact with the management and label,” Israelsson and Skogö say. “As a debut band, we’re really grateful for the label’s back up! We’re excited about what they have in store for us! We’re big fans of the old school rock scene, such as MC5, Blue Öyster Cult, and KISS, so touring in the States is a given!”
ISSUE 22 NEW NOISE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAMES L HARPER
I N T E R V I E W W I T H TAY L O R E B Y B Y A N N E T T E H A N S E N
n recent years, the pop punk scene has made a glorious comeback with bands like The Wonder Years, The Story So Far, and Neck Deep. Maryland’s Handguns have put in a lot of time and effort to join these ranks. With the encouraging buzz surrounding their third fulllength album Disenchanted—recently released by Pure Noise Records—it seems the band is closer than ever. Handguns released Disenchanted on Nov. 13, just a little over a year after their last effort, Life Lessons. There was a lot of pressure to get the second album done and released, and it was met with a lot of mixed reviews. “I think with Life Lessons, it was rushed,” explains frontman Taylor Eby. Whatever was missing from Life Lessons, Disenchanted has made up for. “With Disenchanted, we got thrown
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into a studio for five weeks and we had grind this shit out,” Eby describes. “I think this record’s a lot more thought out and cohesive, as opposed to Life Lessons just being a collection of songs.” “Disenchanted” means to see the truth in things and to no longer be fooled by ideals. This is the theme the band interwove into their album via songs about growing up and seeing beyond what’s pretty in life. “In the last year, it’s kind of been a reality check for both me and the band,” says Eby. “It was kind of a realization or an epiphany of sorts. As a band, I think we all grew stronger. Going through that shit opens up your eyes to how the real world is and how to live with all that shit that’s going on in your life.” Handguns had more than the their own personal growing pains to inspire them to create a record they
would be proud of. For Disenchanted, the band teamed up with producer Kyle Black, who has worked with pop punk bands from State Champs to New Found Glory. The band felt that Black gave them the extra push to take things to the next level. “When we were writing these songs, Kyle Black had us really pick apart every single little detail of every single song to make them the best versions of the song possible,” Eby explains. “Kyle Black really, really dug into us and made us better musicians all around.” The band are one of many pop punk acts to release music this year, but Handguns have never been afraid to defy the pop punk formula. While it may make them outsiders, it also sets them apart. The band emit the energy one would expect from pop punk, but with more earnestness and urgency. “I personally think that, out of all the pop punk bands, like the newer age ones, we’re more of a throwback band,
and we kind of instill an element of actual punk rock,” Eby attests. Eby strived for something genuine with Disentchanted, and says, “Lyrically, I just tried to be as brutally honest as I possibly could.” It seems like he has succeeded. As fans get their hands on these songs for the first time, he hopes that they’ll cling to that realness. “I just hope that they can relate to it and bob their heads, piss their neighbors off by playing it as loudly as they possibly can, and just have a good time with the record,” he says. “I hope it’s something that lasts with them for a long time.”
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DAVE HAUSE Surfers! Reunions! SuperGroups!
Though The Falcon and The Loved Ones have been on the scene for quite some time, The All Brights only recently found a place among them. Out now via Red Scare Industries, their satirical debut EP, … Are Wild for the Night!, captures the essence of SoCal slacker surf punk. Hause—better known as Big Dave Wave—plays alongside drummer Shreddin’ Sean Sellers of Good Riddance, guitarist Mattsimum Waves, and bassist Pat L. Bored. This silly side-project doesn’t seem to be a oneand-done deal. The band posted online that they were piecing together a second EP.
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Aside from writing and recording with The All Brights, Hause lends his guitar prowess to The Falcon, a Chicago based supergroup fronted by The Lawrence Arms’ Brendan Kelly and Alkaline Trio’s Dan Andriano. Their upcoming release—expected out in the early part of next year— will be their first since their 2006 debut. Hause describes The Falcon’s sophomore effort as an uptempo punk record in the vein of Modest Mouse. For Hause, the chance to shred with The Falcon meant that, for the first time s i n c e
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALAN SNODGRASS
INTERVIEW BY SAMANTHA SPOTO Over the last year, Dave Hause may have almost caught up to Mikey Erg, making himself available to tour, write, and record for a number of bands. With multiple projects under his belt—including The All Brights, The Falcon, The Loved Ones, an electronic endeavor, and his solo work—Hause has yet to stop charging forward.
adolescence, he could take the backseat. “I had the freedom to go in on someone else’s songs and spice them up instead of having to invent the whole recipe,” he shares.
Speaking of inventing the whole recipe, Hause is also at work on his third solo record. With a string of tours and a severe case of writer’s block behind him, he finally has pages of lyrics to sift through. As involved as he is, he needs to determine which songs will make the cut for his upcoming release, due out in the new year. “At this point, there are so many creative endeavors that I’m fortunate to have,” says Hause. “It’s a little bit like, ‘Where do I put this painting and where do I put this piece of clay?’ It becomes a lot more selective as to what I want to save for myself and what I’d like to give up to a band.” Though primarily focused on his solo release, Hause is gearing up to hit the road with The Loved Ones to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their first record, Keep Your Heart. Aside from a three show “World Tour” earlier this year, the Philly punk band hasn’t played together since they supported AFI in 2010.
Without announcement, The Loved Ones faded; as Hause puts it, “there wasn’t any more gas in the tank.” At the one-off dates they did play, it became apparent that overwhelming support for The Loved Ones still existed. That interest gave the band the push they needed to book this tour. Tickets for their shows have gone rather quickly, with a handful of dates already sold out. When they take the stage in the 2016, they will play to twice as many people as when they were an active band. What will become of The Loved Ones after these anniversary shows is ambiguous. “It’s not something that I’m looking to linger with. I think it is what it is,” says Hause. “It’s kind of like a birthday party. You celebrate it and you might wake up with a little bit of a hangover, but then, you go back to your business as usual. I’m careful [not] to get lost in nostalgia. I’m okay to look back, I just don’t want to stare.” With that being said, The Loved Ones have talked about the possibility or recording new music. Collectively, Hause and his bandmates have two albums worth of songs set aside, but with other projects at the forefront, it would be difficult to find the time to record and support a new record. “I wouldn’t rule it out,” says Hause. “It would take a while to put something together that I’m excited about and confident in. I think, at this point, if you make people wait this long, you need to come back with material that’s better than before.”
For more on Dave Hause’s busy schedule, go to NewNoiseMagazine. com to read the full interview!
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INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST/GUITARIST CHARLIE PIPER BY MATTHEW SAUNDERS
narwolves, an up and coming punk rock trio hailing from Brighton, U.K., have made great strides since their signing with Berkeley based label Pure Noise Records. Their new Adolescence EP dropped on Nov. 13. They have toured with notable acts like The Wonder Years and The Story So Far over the past couple of years and took Such Gold, Great Cynics, Boxkite, and Spraynard with them on a European run in November and December. “It’s great to have bands that we really enjoy touring with us,” says vocalist and guitarist Charlie Piper. “Great Cynics and Boxkite are all close friends from back home, so it’s nice to have good company with people you’re comfortable with. As for Spraynard and Such Gold, we’ve played with Spraynard a fair few times and know those guys well, and recently met Such Gold, who are cool dudes. For us, it’s about nice dudes and nice tunes. None of this ‘pay onto tour’ or ‘what
NEW NOISE ISSUE 22
bands will make more people come to shows?’” The band recently took a new turn with their music by incorporating the sounds of the ‘80s D.C. hardcore movement. “We’ve always been influenced by [D.C. Hardcore], and have been listening to a lot of Fugazi and Dag Nasty in the van,” Piper explains. “We usually tend to write our records around what we’ve been listening to around the time.” Gnarwolves’ new four song EP includes a track entitled “Blondie” that references their classic “Hanging on the Telephone,” but don’t expect a straight cover. “It’s […] just more of an ode,” Piper says. “We like to make references in songs to bands that have influenced us a lot. If you listen to ‘Tongue Surfer’ [from 2013’s Funemployed], there are Bad Brains and Weezer references on it.”
few years, he’d want to see “more bands that are more about the music and the DIY, rather than their image and success. Too many bands these days are being hooked in by magazines and dropping their integrity for the ‘big shot.’” Gnarwolves have yet to announce a North American run for 2016, however, if Piper got to choose which bands he would like to share the road with, he would pick “bands like Pennywise or Suicidal Tendencies. Both are bands that really have influenced me a lot,” he says. So, in Piper’s opinion: is punk dead or is it thriving in this day and age? “Punk can’t die,” he says, “‘cause there are so many bad things going on in the world that we need it to keep going. Iggy Pop is still alive right?!” he laughs.
There’s a lot to love about the current punk scene, but if Piper could see one thing change in the next
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAMES ARCHIBALD
INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST STZA BY GABI CHEPURNY
NEW NOISE ISSUE 22
PHOTOGRAPHY BY SCOTT MURRY
ew York’s Leftöver Crack have remained quiet since their last release, 2004’s Fuck World Trade. Lead singer Stza says, “I was burned out with LöC for a while. I felt like my life was stagnating and I needed to work with some other folks for a while. So, I did three records with Star Fucking Hipsters, and, when that was done, I started writing for LöC again. The main delay was the result of my intention to release a new LöC record only when I felt that it was good all around and could stand up against our other two full-lengths.” It’s only a coincidence that the politically minded group put out Contsructs of the State, their first recording in 11 years, almost immediately after terrorist attacks in Paris killed more than 100 people. On both the U.S. and France’s reaction to the attacks, Stza says, “I think that when you have American politicians trying to subvert federal policy on refugees to deny entry to the very people who are fleeing the Islamic state terror in their origin countries, then you have the rare case where the ‘terrorists’ have literally
won. And it makes sense that the people who were culpable for training the soldiers overseas and creating these harsh regimes are the very same fuckers who want to deny people the asylum that they seek.” It’s no surprise that events like these heavily influence all of punk, and especially Leftöver Crack’s lyrical content. “They polarize people in a way that has a blinding effect on the media coverage of
the pain and horror affecting non-white people in affected countries and even whole continents like Africa, where plots have unfolded killing and injuring far more people than those in France,” Stza says. “It’s a mindset that affects world politics negatively and reinforces the stereotypes of American and Eurocentric selfishness. It results in folks like myself hitting the books harder to write lyrics and essays that might hopefully shed some light on the causes, and, in turn, help find solutions to really avoid more pain and suffering of innocent people in the future.”
a very special record release show that evening at 924 Gilman Street in Berkeley, Calif. […] See you soon and have a happy Buy Nothing Day!” Stza says he and the band had no control over the release day, and that Constructs… was originally slated to hit shelves in October, when the band was on tour. “There are reasons for delays and, in the end, it’s not so bad having the record come out when it is,” Stza adds. “I get to harp about Buy Nothing Day. If I don’t have anything to complain about, then why should I get out of bed in the morning?”
While many political bands seem to have lost steam, Leftöver Crack seem to reign among a select few who have maintained the same fury that they had during the Bush Administration of the early 2000s. That being said, with police brutality and gender and racial inequality running rampant, it’s easy to ask, where’s all the angry anthems at? “Well, having a right wing conservative president and administration always invokes a resurgence in political protest music,” Stza muses. “From Nixon and Vietnam, with the popularity of folks like Bob Dylan, to the original late ‘70s U.K. punk in response Non-political events affect the band as to Margaret Thatcher, to its American well, as Constructs of the State was re- counterpart in response to Reagan.” leased on Black Friday, or, as it’s known to some, “Buy Nothing Day.” In a The vocalist continues, “Normally, sedstance against big business and corpo- entary and apathetic music fans seem rate America, the band posted on their to become invigorated by obvious and Facebook page asking fans not to buy staggering injustice committed by folks the album the day it came out, in a time like W. Bush, and in the wake of a rigged when album sales are already hard to election, and in the face of these wars come by. “Our new record Constructs that just engulf and destroy a generation of the State will be officially released on of youth, people start paying attention to Fat Wreck Nov. 27, aka ‘Black Friday,’ aka the policies and politicians that landed ‘Buy Nothing Day,’” Stza explains. “So, them in such a twisted mess. Believe me we urge anybody who does not preorder when I tell you that if Trump or any of the record from Fat, Interpunk, or one of the other ridiculous GOP candidates are the various other Internet shopping out- elected president, there will be another lets to please not buy the record the day political movement amongst musicians. it comes out, but to please wait until the Punks and pop singers alike.” next day, Sat. Nov. 28. We will be playing
ISSUE 22 NEW NOISE
lenn Danzig is easily one of the most polarizing figures in the world of heavy music. Love him or hate him, no one can deny that he has one of the most powerful and recognizable voices in the genre. As the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility, so it’s only right that Danzig’s iconic voice would eventually dominate songs from the likes of Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, and—obviously—Elvis Presley.
Same thing with ‘N.I.B.’ It’s tough to do a Sabbath song and make it your own, so you really have to rip it apart, and stay true to the original [but] put your own stamp on it.” The one thing separating fun cover songs from cheesy cover songs is an artist’s ability to put a unique spin on them. For Danzig, he accomplished this feat by bathing each track in his trademark demonic howl. “I won’t do a song unless I know I can Danzig-ize it, “ he explains. “Because otherwise, if it’s just a copy of the original, the original is gonna be better. Everyone has heard it a million times and they’re more familiar with it, and if you’re just kind of copying it, it’s like, ‘It’s no big deal, you’re just a cover band.’ That’s my approach to covering songs. Unless I think I can do something [different] and give it a new life and make it my own, I’m probably not interested in covering it.”
Though many were surprised when it was announced earlier this year that Danzig would be releasing his covers album, Skeletons—as well as the forthcoming Danzig Sings Elvis—the idea had been kicking around for quite some time. “I’ve wanted to do a covers record forever,” Danzig confirms. “The arrangement for ‘Devil’s Angels’—[the eponymous theme from Daniel Haller’s 1967 biker film]—I did in ‘79, it’s the exact same arrangement. I was just planning on doing a cov- Though covers by Danzig were fairers EP. Then, I decided later on, I’m ly rare before Skeletons, covers of gonna do a covers album, but I just never got around to doing it. Then finally, right after the last Danzig record, I just said, ‘If I never make time for this, I’m never gonna do it.’ So, I just made the time to do it and I did it, so I could get it out of my system and move on.” The tracklisting for Skeletons boasts a surprisingly obscure song selection, but these tracks are the result of creative and personal decisions, rather than conceit. “I’ve covered Elvis stuff before and I just knew I could do something really cool with ‘Let Yourself Go.’ It’s obviously not a track a lot of people would expect you to do,” Danzig admits. “They expect you to do a big hit, but a lot of times, the stuff I like is the overlooked songs. I just knew I could do something cool with ‘Let Yourself Go’ and make it my own, so I did.
Danzig—and his previous band, The Misfits—have been recorded by everyone from Cradle Of Filth, Deadguy, and Metallica to Ryan Adams, My Morning Jacket, and—in a way—Johnny Cash. “It’s definitely weird having Johnny Cash sing your song, but it’s very, very cool,” he says of the track he wrote specifically for Cash, “Thirteen.” “I went down and taught it to him, and we both played it together. So, it’s more surreal sitting there with somebody who’s, like, a larger than life person. ‘Wow, I’m sitting here playing with Johnny Cash and he’s doing my song.’ It’s great, it’s cool.” With such a wide variety of artists covering his music, picking a favorite can be quite difficult. However, Metallica’s seminal $5.98 EP: Garage Days Re-Revisited is not only preferred by Danzig himself, it also marks the first time many metalheads—myself included—were ever exposed to The Misfits. “The Garage Days record was cool. I remember Cliff [Burton] called me and asked me to send the lyrics,” Danzig recalls. “I had known those guys, and they were gonna cover ‘Last Caress’ and ‘Green Hell,’ and they wanted the lyrics. I think the Garage Days record, those are probably some of the best covers.” For those who aren’t completely sold on the concept of a covers album, they are in luck. Danzig fans who are craving new solo material will be happy to hear that in addition to the release of Danzig Sings Elvis in 2016, he is also currently putting the finishing touches on a new Danzig album, due out in the not-too-distant future. He assures, “I’m working on the new Danzig record right now— like, the all-original Danzig material—so, that’s 80 percent done.” We can’t fucking wait.
ISSUE 22 NEW NOISE
ALL PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHELSEA CLOUGH
OTHING QUITE SUMS UP THE EXPERIENCE OF BEING A WOMAN IN CHARGE BETTER THAN THE TELLINGLY INCONGRUOUS DEFINITIONS OF “VIRAGO,” THE FEMINIZED VERSION OF “VIRILE.” WAR ON WOMEN VOCALIST SHAWNA POTTER EMBRACES BOTH OF THESE DEFINITIONS, COURAGEOUSLY AND LOUDLY BEATING YOU OVER THE HEAD WITH HER MESSAGE UNTIL YOU SUBMIT.
otter sits down for this interview a few days after the latest mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., which was close on the heels of numerous overseas terror attacks, Black Friday’s unprecedented spike in gun sales, a Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado, and yet another attempt by the U.S. Senate to defund Planned Parenthood. My notes contain every question I want to ask the songwriter who has turned hardcore music on its ear with blunt songs about abortion, harassment, safety, and the other “F word,” feminism, but within five minutes, it becomes clear that the sum of these parts is mostly a shared feeling of utter exhaustion. Part of this exhaustion comes from sussing out whether or not the modern echo chamber of opinions is productive. “It’s really hard to say when we’re in the middle of our excruciatingly long election cycle,” Potter admits. “Overwhelming opinions. It’s hard to see through the time that we’re in right now, when people are just being gunned down and murdered. I feel like I’m carrying around a lot more trauma and sadness and feelings of hopelessness surrounding all of these mass shootings than I’m willing to acknowledge.”
NEW NOISE ISSUE 22
War On Women have always been concerned with women’s unique relationship with the concept of safety, but Potter says the mass shootings complicate it even further. “As a woman, I’ve lived with the idea my whole life that somebody will probably be rape me or attack me at some point,” she says. “It’s there all the time and you do your safety planning, take a different route or put on something different, even though none of that changes anything, because it’s not about you. You do these things to feel normal about life until you’re attacked. It’s always there, like a dull headache, and you live with it. But now, I’m almost starting to feel like there’s a target on my back with all of these shootings. It’s real and visceral. Maybe because it’s a newer fear? It’s not a new fear [that] me and my friends will be
raped. We’ve learned to accept and deal with that idea. But, the idea that I could be going in for my yearly exam and be shot? That’s a new thing. And it’s turning into a reality for people; that masculinity has gotten so toxic that [those events are] just fucking normal now. I feel like I’ve been processing the news for the past few months, and I’m not given an opportunity to finish processing before the next awful thing happens.” War On Women have been prominent figures in the recent shift in aggressive music. While many typically aggressive musicians and labels are digging into the reflective and emotional styles, the aggression is diverting to marginalized musicians. “People need to hear these voices that are being silent, that are missing,” Potter argues. “And that definitely doesn’t just mean my white woman voice. We need more people of color, more queer and trans people to be heard. Not that we need more of them to speak up, because they are; we’re just not fucking listening. We need people to pay attention.” “We need white hetero cisgender dudes to take a step back,” she adds. “Music is not something anyone should own; it’s a form of expression, [but] there’s something really odd about going to a punk show and seeing a bunch of white dudes yelling in the front, ‘Hey, hey, hey, We don’t got no rights!’ It’s like, ‘Yeah, you do! Yeah, you fucking do!’ As a group, can they get past all of the same topics and move into talking about classism, socialism…? Can we move forward from what was really making you guys mad before? Can you start recognizing that it involves other people who don’t look like you too?” Bringing powerful, direct messages in front of an audience is important work, but it’s also a fun opportunity for the former guitarist to step outside of her comfort zone. “At some point, I was like, ‘I’ve gotta be a frontperson and I’m not playing guitar. I’ve been playing guitar since I was 12. I have put my instrument down; this is weird. Well, let’s try it, we’ve got the songs…’” Potter explains. “I consciously decided at a certain point, ‘Ya know what? I should just do whatever the fuck I want. Even if I look like a fucking weirdo and I’m not necessarily moving on the beat, or none of it makes any sense.’ I am putting myself completely 100 percent out there and making the show we put on an experience for me. If it translates to people and they wanna watch it, that’s cool too. If it encourages them to dance, oh my God! I wish! I wish more people
would just decide to dance and stop caring if people are looking at them. I’m trying to set an example.” “If I can’t let go and truly not give a shit what people think about me when I’m on stage with a mic and talking about the stuff that’s really important to a lot of people, then what good am I?” Potter asserts. “What’s the point? I have to live what I’m preaching, for lack of a better word. Honestly, it’s been really empowering and inspiring for me to do it.” This newfound power also translates from Potter’s role on stage to her role as an audience member. “I recently-ish was at a show, and these dudes [in the band] were saying these weird, inappropriate things between songs,” she recalls. “It’s never overt, someone could easily say, ‘Oh, lighten up. It’s just a joke,’ as they do—but, in my head, I was like, ‘I’m in War On Women! I’m allowed to walk out of this show and complain to the first friend I see that those dudes are fucking assholes.’ I can do that! Maybe five years ago, I might’ve stayed in the club and listened. If someone made an excuse for that band, I might say, ‘Well, yeah, I guess so. Oh, are they nice guys in real life? Oh, that’s cool…’ I don’t have to fucking do that, and I shouldn’t. When I see other women stand up for themselves and each other, it inspires me, and I would love for that to be reciprocated and put back out into the world. Because we just have each other, a lot of the time.” “A lot of it comes with age, and just comes down to being exhausted with dealing with sexism,” she concludes. “[You’re] tired and you just can’t anymore, and it just adds up and adds up, and it doesn’t go away unless you actually do something.” War On Women’s anti-harassment track “Broken Record” is as much a performance piece
NEW NOISE ISSUE 22
as a song. It drills into the listener without a chorus to break in and release the tension. “There’re some shows where, if there’re a lot more women and queer folks, I can see that wave of recognition, of like, ‘Hell yeah!’” Potter says. “It’s nice to get that nod of approval. […] I often will single out someone in the audience who just looks like an average dude, or friends even, and I’ll sing just to them for the first half of the song. That would be uncomfortable no matter what the song was about, but that’s sort of the point. I normally get the, ‘Oh, she’s looking at me! Why is she still looking
“If I can’t let go and truly not give a shit what people think about me when I’m on stage with a mic and talking about the stuff that’s really important to a lot of people, then what good am I?”
day. I mean, I don’t want to torture people at our shows— that’s not the intent—just bring awareness. […] Later on, he asked, ‘Why’d she pick me?’ and was concerned that I was mad at him. He was like, ‘Why would someone yell at me if there wasn’t something wrong?’ It’s beautiful, because that’s the point. Why don’t people get that? You shouldn’t just yell at people. It represents the male experience of not having to deal with that. And when a man is confronted with something that’s so normal for us to experience, it just seems so abnormal to them right away.”
Though these problems seem to build faster than solutions, Potter says the band won’t bow to pressure to address every societal ill. “It’s no wonder people burn out on this work. Right now, on our Twitter, our description says, ‘We’re a punk band, not an NPO [Non-profit Organization],’” she notes. “Something was really irking me about getting messages about not covering certain things, or not doing enough. […] And it’s my point of view. I’m not claiming to represent all of womankind. Let us come up with another record, maybe [your topic] will be on the next record. I don’t know, but calm the fuck down, we’re a punk band. Can we not just be excited that there are punk bands talking about this shit? I’m sure G.L.O.S.S. gets it too, but can we not just be excited that G.L.O.S.S. exists? How can you demand perfection from a punk band that’s singing about the gender wage gap? Have you ever heard a punk band singing about the gender wage gap? Because we at me? Oh, I’m feeling uncom- have one [song], OK? Give us fortable. Oh, what’s happen- a virtual high five and be on ing, I wish she would stop. Oh your way.” OK… I get it. I guess women are harassed and I’m not.’” Beyond the message, Potter feels it’s also important for “We stayed with our bass play- the music to entertain. “That’s er Sue [Werner]’s brother and why, in between our songs, I’m he came to the show,” she con- not preaching,” she explains. tinues. “So, I sang that song to “I love entertaining, dancing, him, because I met him that and sweating and yelling. I
love it. Our songs are serious enough, and can be triggering if you’re not in the right frame of mind. The last thing you want to do is make the message harder for the people who are dealing with it, like I am. The people who have no idea about feminist issues, they’re pick something up, it will permeate. But for everyone else, we need a release. We need some fun. I need to dance my ass off while talking about some transphobic piece of shit. I don’t need to cry about it. I need to let it out and let it go.” Ultimately, War On Women help fill a void deeply felt by many more marginalized members of the punk scene. “The band that we created and write music for is a band we wish we could have listened to that didn’t exist, and so, we had to do it ourselves,” Potter says, citing that “women and trans and queer voices are missing more often than they should be [in the realm of ] heavy, catchy music.” In 2014, the band found a home on Bridge Nine Records, who, according to Potter, “really do know how to push bands and how to promote, and we needed help with that, because we’re a hard sell, which blows my mind. […] Chris Wrenn contacted me. Basically, I think he told me his sister really liked the demo and said, ‘You should talk to them and sign them.’ And he was like, ‘OK!’” she laughs. “And that was it. I asked him, ‘Wait a sec, do you even like our band or is this your sister telling you what to do?’ And he was like, ‘No, no, no, I like your band, but I might not have given enough attention without her suggestion.’ So, I think they like us. But that’s a cool analogy: listen to women. Listen to the women in your life who you trust.”
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IGNITE AFTER A DECADE OF SILENCE GET READY FOR A WAR AGAINST YOU
INTERVIEW WITH BASSIST BRETT RASMUSSEN BY HUTCH
ver the last 20 years, Orange County hardcore band Ignite have screamed about specifically targeted political issues that rally tens of thousands of their fans to festivals. Bassist Brett Rasmussen and vocalist Zoli Téglás have traveled the world together since their second LP, Call On My Brothers, in 1995. Ignite’s 1996 EP on Revelation Records, Past Our Means, swept the hardcore scene with its anger and perspective, and catapulted then onto major indie labels, TVT Records and Century Media.
Their last album, the powerhouse Our Darkest Days, came out in 2006. “It’s obviously been a little while since we released an album,” reports Rasmussen. “[But] the best part for me is playing these songs when people know the words.” After 10 years, the band put out a new full-length, A War Against You, on Jan. 8 via Century Media.
Since 2000, producer Cameron Webb has extracted Ignite’s big sound from their members and molded it. “We’re pretty picky, making sure the song is catchy Their sound is unique. Never all the way through,” Rasmussen afraid to write a fast song, and says. “Cameron is a big part of never aiming for the radio, they that. He cracks the whip to make remain steeped in street cred. sure each part is interesting and
good enough to be on the album. Each song is looked at with a microscope by the band and producer to make sure they are each inspiring and catchy.”
indie punk, metal, and hardcore world came in August 2015 when the label sold to Sony, but Rasmussen sees it as a positive. “The new Sony deal allows us to reach more people,” he explains. Recorded over 10 months, 45 “It is brand new. We are going songs were demoed for A War to find out what it means. We Against You. “We don’t have the will see how much buggier the luxury to spend time and write distribution reach is.” in the studio. Cameron makes sure we are prepared,” Rasmussen Ignite will be touring more in shares. “We sat down and figured 2016. They are elated to get to out what songs were good as is and share this passionate, fevered what had to be Frankensteined new album with audiences of all together by playing live in a room. sizes in Europe, the U.S., Canada, It became easy to tell which songs and hopefully more of the globe. would work well live, get crowds People of all different walks of life to sing along. Our fans expect fast will be screaming in unison to songs.” Rasmussen embraces the these charged, dissident themes. Ignite formula. “We don’t want to “If you liked us at 24, you are in have a completely new sound,” he your mid 40s now. A lot of those says. “You have to be smart with people do not get out to shows,” satisfying old fans, but bringing in Rasmussen offers. “But, we are the new ones. New, fresh material getting new kids checking us out, needs to impress old fans and find young kids. It is a wide spectrum. new ones.” Our mindset is not for the radio. We’ve never had a song on the A War Against You is Ignite’s radio. Our songwriting is figuring third release with Century Media. out [both] how a song will go “We’ve known Melanie at Century over to 10,000 people in a festival Media for the duration of the crowd in Europe, and how it is band,” Rasmussen says. “Century going to be experienced at a small, Media has been with us for 10 dirty club with kids hanging from years. They get the band. They the ceiling.” know us.” A huge ripple in the
ISSUE 22 NEW NOISE
Beyond Immortal… WHAT CAN’T BE KILLED HAS RISEN ANEW
ABBATH I N T E R V I E W W I T H VO CA L I ST / G U I TA R I ST A B BAT H D O O M O C C U LTA BY JA M E S A LVA R E Z
orn Olve Eikemo, the man who would become one of the most spellbinding frontmen of all time is a heavy metal lifer. Seduced by the dark side of rock ‘n’ roll via Fats Domino back in kindergarten, he spent his life in service of the rock and metal gods, and inadvertently became one himself. His unmistakable, raspy croak has been the soundtrack to countless frostbitten nights for more than two decades. His iconic corpsepaint
adorned face is perhaps the defining image of Scandinavian black metal. He is Abbath Doom Occulta: the firebrand—and often fire breathing—former frontman of Immortal.
The grim news of Immortal’s nasty legal woes and eventual courtroom demise last year sent a collective groan throughout the metal community. Of course, no one was more surprised or disappointed by the news than Abbath himself. “I never thought for a minute about
going solo with Abbath,” he says candidly. “I was kind of forced, forced into making other decisions about things.” Naturally, Abbath had no choice but to regroup, and will drop his first official solo album with his earthshattering new band Jan. 22 on Season Of Mist. Abbath’s self-titled debut is a thrill ride of an album, which feels both familiar in its icy Norwegian tone and exhilaratingly bold and new. The frontman recruited some of the tightest players in the game, including bassist King Ov Hell—formerly
of Gorgoroth and God Seed—and the mysterious drum slayer dubbed Creature—aka Kevin Foley of Benighted and Disavowed. “I thought, OK, if I’m going solo or whatever the fuck, I’d need the right guys to play with,” Abbath reveals. “I don’t see Abbath as a band. That’s my name. It’s no Sabbath or ABBA, you know? I said, ‘If someone could come up with a logo, then I’d consider it.’ Suddenly, it was there and I said, ‘Yes, let’s proceed!’” he laughs. Judging by the performances captured on Abbath, one might think the band had been playing together for decades instead of less than a year. Rounded out by their live guitarist Valla, Abbath the band is a true force to be reckoned with, as demonstrated by their live rendition of Abbath’s first single, “Fenrir Hunts,” that’s been lighting up YouTube since its release last fall. “It’s a very nice four piece when we get together to play,” Abbath says fondly. The songs on Abbath’s solo record feel as finely tuned as the lethal squad playing them largely because Abbath spent years stockpiling the material for a ninth Immortal album that would never be. “I thought it was about fucking time, you know?” Abbath says wearily. “I had all my ideas, the pre-production was all there, but they… They didn’t have the time. At one point, we split. We didn’t socialize. […] There was this, ‘Should I go on with this new album or will no one hear it, because it was supposed to be Immortal?’ No! It’s my music! They’re my ideas. Immortal, it’s in my heart, but when I can be Abbath, I feel immortal.” “For me, it’s the beginning of something new,” he says of Abbath the band. “Not something bigger, I don’t need to be bigger. I need to be fit, fit for a fight. I want to be a survivor in this scene, I want to be up there doing my shit when I’m 72. We’re on a fucking campaign now.” When asked about his North American spring tour with High On Fire and Skeletonwitch, Abbath gets serious for a moment, saying, “It’s all about the path toward enlightenment. To confront and become the demons of our unconscious self. It’s about the journey into the darkness of the soul, to battle ego, the shame of the warrior’s journey…” He bursts into maniacal laughter. “No,” he pauses, “it’s rock ‘n’ roll!”
For more corpsepaint, spikes, and insight, head to NewNoiseMagazine.com to read the full interview with Abbath!
NEW NOISE ISSUE 22
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ESTER SEGERRA
INTERVIEW WITH CLEAN VOCALIST/GUITARIST JASON CAMERON BY RIDGE BRIEL
nown for their high-energy shows and down to earth attitude, Bury Tomorrow are releasing a new album titled Earthbound on Jan. 29 through Nuclear Blast, following their critically acclaimed album Runes. The cover art is striking, and was contributed by the band’s friend, Paul Jackson. “He’s an artist we previously worked with before on a few occasions,” Cameron says. “We spoke about the use of animals and the fact that the majority of the record has a loose theme of death, and he sent us some ideas. We simplified a few things and bang! Earthbound had a cover.” One thing that makes Bury Tomorrow so relatable is their emotive lyrics. When the band plays live, people are moved to shout along. Cameron says, “We write about experiences that affect us all: death, hope, and love. Everyone has their own
interpretation. I personally love that one message musically can be portrayed in multiple different ways. We promote people to have their own unique connection with our songs.” Musically, their biggest inspirations are bands like As I Lay Dying, Still Remains, Parkway Drive, and Unearth. “No one has come close to their versions of metalcore, and we’re still striving to replicate their success in songwriting,” Cameron says. Earthbound is unique in that it features the band’s first ever guest vocalist, Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed and Kingdom Of Sorrow, who sings on the track “301.” “Our frontman, Dan [Winter-Bates], was recently featured on a podcast of his,” Cameron explains. “The two struck up a friendship and it all led from there, really. We’ve never done guest vocals before, but we’re all big Hatebreed fans and
knew our fans would appreciate this as much as us!” One of the biggest difficulties of being an internationally known band is touring overseas. Being based in the U.K., it’s been a while since Bury Tomorrow have made it to North America. “We know we have a lot of fans there who get frustrated due to our activity in U.K. Europe not matching up in America,” Cameron says. “But the honest truth is that, since our second record, we’ve not been offered a show there, let alone a tour. We’re hoping with Earthbound, we get the opportunity.” Those in the U.K. are in luck, though, as the band have a series of festival appearances scheduled, seven of which are for the Impericon Fest by Monster Energy Drink around late April, early May.
ISSUE 22 NEW NOISE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY NATHAN KATSIAFICAS
INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST AND GUITARIST TOMMY VICTOR BY NICHOLAS PENDERGAST
NEW NOISE ISSUE 22
ommy Victor is a celebrated wingman of metal and has been pummeling eardrums with scathing riffs and great songs for many years. Since Prong’s debut in the late ‘80s, they’ve released tons of killer records. Their new release, Prong X – No Absolutes, will drop Feb. 5 via Steamhammer/SPV. Of the record’s title, frontman Tommy Victor explains, “It’s our 10th full-length studio record of original songs. So, X stands for 10. ‘No Absolutes’ is one of the song titles. It reflects insecurity in our personal identities and the current worldwide situation.” What motivates Prong to keep the awesome heavy metal going and not just break up or do something different? “It’s still a challenge,” Victor admits. “I don’t feel as if Prong has arrived yet. It just keeps getting better. Personally, I feel as though I’m maturing as a vocalist and guitar player. I have
the benefit of working with some really talented guys, which makes things exciting. There aren’t any technical limitations. So, the sky’s the limit. I like making smart, modern records as well: quickly, efficiently, and economically.” Prong’s last album, 2014’s Ruining Lives, had a profound impact on the new record. “Ruining Lives was a major accomplishment on a few levels,” Victor says. “I’ve never been involved in a record that was written and recorded so quickly with such satisfying results. We began Prong X – No Absolutes with a new confidence based on that. There’s even less hesitation in these new songs. We just knew it would be good and we could finish it on time. [Engineer] Chris Collier and I have developed this wonderful trust between the two of us. This makes things run so smoothly. We just get it done and have a good time. I can say this record
is stronger on all fronts. It sounds which one may find on the new better, it’s more sure of itself, and Prong.” the songs are better.” Victor also serves as the lead Victor spent time “getting deep guitarist for Glenn Danzig’s into the songs and styles” of a eponymous band, who may lot of very seasoned artists while soon be retiring from touring, recording Prong’s cover album potentially allowing Prong more Songs From the Black Hole, an chances to head out on the road. experience that influenced his “Over the last seven years, there approach on the new album. has been a good amount of “Trying to respectfully give scheduling conflicts,” he says. “I tribute to the vocal and guitar do wish, in any case, Prong could style of Neil Young on ‘Cortez The be continually on the road. That Killer,’ for instance, was a huge would be awesome.” challenge. I learned a bit about my vocals. That transmuted into Speculation aside, Prong has the vocal style on ‘Do Nothing’ three future tours already on the new Prong record. I also booked. “We do a quick Euro took some of the aggression of run in March into April, then Henry Rollins from ‘The Bars’ come back and do a long North and put that into a lot on X. From American tour,” Victor outlines. a guitar standpoint, recreating “Then, back to Europe for some and trying to improve upon the festivals, then another long Euro styles of guys like [Bad Brains’] tour. Then, America again.” Dr. Know and [Black Flag’s] more from Victor, read the full interview Greg Ginn reminded me to have For at NewNoiseMagazine.com, or for the band’s a more spontaneous approach, upcoming tour dates, check out ProngMusic.com
VARG INTERVIEW WITH GUITARIST TIMO “MANAGARM” SCHWÄMMLEIN BY NICHOLAS PENDERGAST
arg have been shredding their way through Germany and the world for a decade. The release of their upcoming record Das Ende aller Lügen—translated as The End of All Lies, and out Jan. 15 via Napalm Records—puts them on a warpath against the socio-political injustices of modern times. It’s been a while since the war drums of Gaul beat for war, but if history has taught us anything, when Germans want to start shit, shit gets wrecked. They are some of Europe’s best warriors and poets, and have some of the greatest metal bands in the world, so it’s like a triple threat of Teutonic awesome. Varg call their style of music “wolf metal.” Is it only because “varg” often translates to “wolf ”? “[It is] simply because we play a mixture of a lot of different genres, and I’d hate calling it ‘blackened modern Viking metal with Neue Deutsche Härte [aka ‘New German Hardness’] influences,’” says guitarist and principal songwriter Timo “Managarm” Schwämmlein. “It’s ridiculous. But I’m not a fan of genres anyways. Wolves play an important role in Varg, so why not call our music ‘wolf metal’ as well?”
more and more ways to take away our freedom and watch our every step. We do all that under the pretext of individualism and so-called safety. But, ultimately, we’re all the same: blind sheep feasting on every shit we get served. It’s frustrating. And people are frustrated! But they address their hatred in the wrong direction: minorities, foreigners, you name it.”
character or figure of state, but Varg are not afraid that End of All Lies might appear to promote violent political revolution. “I think our listeners are able to differentiate between provocative art and dumb violence,” Managarm says. “The imagery is very drastic indeed, I agree. But, we want to wake people up! Sometimes you just need to be loud to be heard.” Beyond the political content, there’s a whole lot of metal in this album, though it springs from many different sources of inspiration. “It’s mostly music that inspires me to write music,” Managarm says. “On a more subconscious level, I just process everything that happens to me. Life bears so many experiences that create emotions that again transfer into beautiful art. You just need to walk the world with your eyes open, I guess.”
“We want to encourage people to start using their strongest given weapon: their brain,” he continues. “Be smart! Be brave! Always try to differentiate. There are always at least two sides to every question. Just a simple example: who’s the evil one? The foreigner who ‘steals’ your job, because he’s doing it for less money? Or the boss who actually is exploiting both of you, so he can buy another fucking Mercedes?”
Varg are in a convenient position with their new album dropping at the very beginning of 2016, giving them an entire year to steamroll over everything and get a lot of cool shit done. Managarm agrees, “We have the ‘Wolfsfest’ coming in early 2016, which is gonna be the first enrollment of our very own annual festival tour in Europe. And we’re working very hard on coming back to North America, too. We’ve been touring with our last album, Guten Tag, for about four years now! It certainly is time to bring some new stuff to the world!”
The album’s cover is gnarly, with vocalist Phillip “Freki” Seiler cutting open the neck of a kingly
For more from Managarm and his wolf pack, go to NewNoiseMagazine.com for the extended interview!
The first three songs on The End of All Lies are “The Great Dictator,” “The End of All Lies,” and “Revolution.” It doesn’t take the smartest person to see Varg are trying to say something here. Managarm laughs, “You’re right. […] Corporations tell us what to eat and wear, and politicians find
NEW NOISE ISSUE 22
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALAN SNODGRASS
BORKNAGAR I N T E R V I E W W I T H G U I TA R I ST A N D S O N GW R I T E R ØYST E I N G A R N S B R U N BY R I D G E B R I E L
orwegian black metal pioneers and inscrutable metal-font masters, Borknagar, release their 10th studio album, Winter Thrice, on Jan. 22 via Century Media Records. The upcoming record will also mark 20 years since the release of the band’s self-titled first album.
“I really wanted to make a special album this time around,” says guitarist and songwriter Øystein Garns Brun. “To me, as a musician, that is by far the best way to mark the fact that we are now crossing the line of 20 years in existence. We have also booked some major festivals in Europe for the next festival season, so we have talked about doing something special in regards to that. But, no definite plans yet. There are also some talks about doing a deluxe rerelease of our debut album, pimped up with some good, old goodies that haven’t really seen the light before.” Brun says these festivals include Wacken Open Air, With Full Force, and Graspop Metal Meeting, but as of yet, no touring plans are set in stone. “It seems like we’ll do a small European tour in March,” he says. “For the autumn, […] hopefully, something will happen also in the U.S. and maybe even South America.” Recently, Borknagar vocalist Vintersorg fell and suffered a severe injury. Fans will be relieved to know that “he is a fighter and has recovered very well since then. He has also gone through surgery to try to regain his hearing, [which] is improving slowly, but steady,” Brun assures. The album art for Winter Thrice appears to be Yggdrasill, the giant tree from Norse mythology. Brun remains vague, saying, “The tree with the woodcarvings might very well be regarded as Yggdrasill; that’s both wrong and right. To me, the tree first and foremost represents life in a dead and ravished place, and the fire is some sort of human trace or footprint. Point is that I really want my/ our art—in terms of music, lyrics, and visual expression—to be a place of wonder and open for subjective interpretations.” In regard to the album’s lyrics, Brun says, “Sometimes, they are very spontaneous. Others are more ‘planned’ or conceptual. For instance, the opener, ‘The Rhymes of the Mountain,’ is almost like the opposite, as it is a full-blown hymn to the mountains. I basically grew up there with my knife on my hip, building cottages, climbing trees, and so forth. These childish but golden memories of awe I recall from that time were something I wanted to project in the song. Also, this song has a very personal side. I have been wandering the mountains together with my father as long as I can remember. Lately, he has been very ill, been through huge surgeries and so forth. So, he has been walking the biggest mountain of his life, indeed, a very different mountain this time. Therefore, this song has a very special meaning for me.” While it has been three winters since the release of Borknagar’s last album, Urd, Brun says this is coincidental. “According to northern mythology, there will occur three continuous winters before the very end, [Ragnarök],” he explains. “So yeah, the title holds a pretty dark perspective on things. Secondarily, the title also points back to some of our old material. We have a good old song called ‘The Dawn of the End’ from the album The Olden Domain where the lyric goes something like, ‘Autumn twice, winter thrice.’ I love that stuff, to have some lyrical references to our previous songs and/or albums. For me, that is a very nice way to release a new album in context with our musical history. It’s not about copying old ideas, but rather, a way to keep our musical heritage alive.”
ISSUE 22 NEW NOISE
INTERVIEW WITH GUITARIST PETE ADAMS BY BRANDON RINGO
NEW NOISE ISSUE 22
h rou g h out their career, riff ‘n’ roll titans Baroness have been an ever-evolving entity. Beginning with 2007’s A Grey Sigh in a Flower Husk split with Unpersons, each consecutive album has seen at least one member come or go. Much like their perennially changing lineup and their colorful album titles, the transmutation of the band’s sound has added tone and texture to their fascination progression. These changes have not only made Baroness a bigger, stronger, and more powerful force for all things wonderful about rock ‘n’ roll in the modern age, it has also made them damn near unstoppable! Even a disastrous bus wreck in England in 2012 was unable to break their resolve or impede them for very long. Vocalist and guitarist John Baizley suffered a broken arm and leg among other injuries, and set out down a long and difficult path to recovery. Rather than being hindered by the horrific accident, the band have been fueled to push harder than ever, and their new album, Purple—out Dec. 18 via their newly minted label Abraxan Hymns—is a monument to the sort of diamond that can come from such devastating pressure.
the accident, they weren’t done swinging at curveballs just yet. A mere seven months later, the band had just begun scheduling live appearances when drummer Allen Blickle and bassist Matt Maggioni announced their departure, forcing Baizley and Adams to recruit two new members. After acquiring bassist Nick Jost and drummer Sebastian Thomson, Baroness resumed touring, which was a huge benchmark on their road to recovery. Toward the end of 2013, they began work on their next record, but uncertainty still loomed. Adams recalls, “[It] was no surprise that we would start writing a new record, [but] the underlying thing was, ‘What is this [lineup change] going to do to the sound of Baroness? How are we going to incorporate two new full members into the band without the sound or style of what we do changing?’” Thankfully, the streak of good fortune the band had experienced with Baizley’s recovery continued to manifest itself. “We got really lucky again and again, because Baroness is just this lucky ass fucking band,” Adams enthuses. “It’s all Baroness has become: just this super lucky band in almost every way, shape, and form, from day one to now. So, we got lucky again, found these two new dudes [who] wanted to do their best to fill [past members’] shoes. I didn’t want two new dudes coming into the band and changing the sound or feel of the band. I think that was a big issue that I had initially, but these guys actually joined the band with the intent to carry on what we did. They really assumed the roles.”
Lead guitarist Pete Adams asserts that, following the accident, his commitment to Baizley and Baroness never waned: “Everybody reacts different, right? Everybody’s got a different way of dealing with accidents and trauma and all kinds of stuff. You gotta respect that the best you can, ‘cause it is what it is. My whole thing here was, ‘Look, we just had a really bad bus crash, right? I’m gonna be there for the dudes and everybody in the band [who] need me to be there for em’ and John needed people there for him big time, because he was in bad shape. All this being said and done, as long as John wanted to continue to play, I wanted to continue to play. I figured the band was done anyways, but it wasn’t. So, you just roll along with it.”
With the release of 2011’s sprawling, epic dual-disc Yellow & Green, the band’s sound deviated massively from the powerful riffing on previous records Red and Blue. Though exploration is always welcome and even necessary in the realms of heavy music, for Adams, there was only one thing he had in mind for the sound of Purple: “I am always pushing for a heavier record. I like heavy music, man. Baroness is a heavy band, to me. [It was] a heavy band to begin with and Baroness should—as long as I’m in the band, the band is staying fucking heavy. When it comes down to the writing, I push for heavy and I don’t stop pushing for heavy until I get it. At the end of the day, I don’t want to play soft, relaxed, mellow, overly melodic slow-burners. I don’t want to play some dark, depressing muAs the old saying goes, the night is darkest be- sic. I’m not interested in that. Life’s too short fore the dawn, and though Baroness survived to get all somber.”
ISSUE 22 NEW NOISE
H E A V Y
M E D I T A T I O N
A N D
M E R C Y
INTERVIEW WITH GUITARIST STEPHEN O’MALLEY BY MIKE GAWORECKI
ALL PHOTOGRAPHY BY KOEN JACOBS
NEW NOISE ISSUE 22
he new Southern Lord release from doom drone masterminds Sunn O))) is called Kannon, a reference to a Buddhist goddess of mercy who is sometimes rendered with eleven heads to better perceive the cries of the suffering. This is strangely fitting for the music made by Sunn O)))— comprised of duo of guitarist Stephen O’Malley and bassist Greg Anderson, plus vocalist Attila “Void” Csihar of Mayhem fame—which has always been ponderously heavy, but so strangely beautiful that it’s almost cathartic. On Kannon, the band’s sound is as large and sensory-overloading as anything they’ve ever put to tape—perhaps slyly denoted by the fact that the album’s title is a homonym for an instrument of war that makes quite the sonic boom itself?—while also being more contemplative and meditative than ever. There are just three songs on the album, which nonetheless clocks in at over 33 minutes. The tracks are named “Kannon 1,” “Kannon 2,” and “Kannon 3,” almost as if they’re the different movements of some auditory catechism. As ever, intertwined guitar and bass lines driven to the sonic limit and pushed through massive stacks of amplifiers provide the main themes to the music. Those musical themes are worked over and over by O’Malley and Anderson, with Csihar either whispering in a thoroughly sinister black metal croak (“Kannon 1”) or chanting (“Kannon 2” and “Kannon 3”). The music feels like a mantra, a focal point that allows the mind to open up and accept the universe as it is with no
preconceptions. O’Malley agrees, “I think the music on this record—that aspect of it, the mantra—is a bit easier to access than on some of our other albums; it emerges earlier, somehow. I think your memory is triggered sooner for some reason with this set of music than with some of our other work we’ve done in the past.”
music actually means or how it’s informed.” For Kannon, Sunn O))) also strived to represent their live sound as faithfully as possible, meaning not only that the massive guitar and bass tones were captured properly, but also that Csihar’s vocals were more prominent and interacted more with the instruments. “This cohesion happens a lot with the live version of the band, which is the real version of the band, O’Malley mentions that terms like “aggres- as far as I’m concerned,” O’Malley clarifies. sive,” “overpowering,” and “supplicating” have been used to describe Sunn O)))’s mu- After spending the past two years collaboratsic, but that’s not how he and Anderson view ing with avant-garde composer Scott Walker it. “We have a lot of discussions about what and Norwegian black metal experimentalists, this music means to us, and the kind of vo- Ulver, Sunn O))) once again hit the studio cabulary we use is a lot different,” he says. with Randall Dunn, who produced 2009’s This led the band to choose Kannon as an Monoliths & Dimensions. Just as O’Malley overarching theme in order to encourage new and Anderson felt they grew as musicians ways of thinking about their work. “It’s pow- through their collaborative work, they found erful, it’s enriching, it’s very positive and ex- Dunn had progressed quite a bit as a prohilarating, meditative, these types of things,” ducer. “His ability has just gone through the he adds. “With a figurative topic like [Kan- roof,” O’Malley says. “It’s insane what he can non], maybe the listener will take a moment pull out of the mixing desk.” to consider some other ways of listening.” Dunn’s heightened abilities helped capture In other words, O’Malley sees theme as Sunn O)))’s massive live sound on Kannon. a new frame through which listeners can “I think on this record, it comes closer to the grapple with what the band is trying to reality of the group,” O’Malley says. “It’s been achieve. “The album’s not a religious music a huge challenge to translate this stuff to realbum or a Buddhist statement or anything cord. Just the amount of headroom we use on like that, by any means,” he adds. “It’s just the backline is way more than 99.9 percent of kind of another way of putting another lens stereos out there. It’s hard to get that across, on our music, to suggest a different type of but I think this record was pretty successful possibility for listening to it, and what the with that.”
ISSUE 22 NEW NOISE
INTERVIEW WITH DRUMMER JAMIE MAY BY JOE SMITH-ENGELHARDT
hree piece sludge metal band Black Tusk from Savannah, Ga., formed in 2005, and have spent the last decade releasing some of the grittiest lowdown sludge metal to come out of the American South. Despite tragically losing bassist Jonathan Athon in a motorcycle accident last November, Black Tusk are back with their
new album Pillars of Ash, out Jan. 29 via Relapse Records. “The album was recorded in October of last year,” drummer Jamie May explains. “We had just got home and we were in high spirits and just real happy because the album was done. We had just heard the mixes and mastering for it. We were at home waiting on that Black Label Society tour to happen in a few months. Then the thing with Athon happened in November and stuff just kinda shut down for a little while. That’s why it’s been a while between when the album actually came out. I’m glad it’s finally coming out now.”
ALL PHOTOGRAPHY BY REBECCA REED
“On the album, [Athon] is on the whole thing.” May adds. “There was nothing done with fill in musicians or anything. He had finished the whole thing, so at least we have that.” After news of Athon’s death spread, the Savannah scene rallied around Black Tusk. “Of course, everybody got together and there were a lot of phone calls, a lot of emails and everything,” May recalls. “Everybody was really concerned. Savannah’s like a big family, so it didn’t just take a hit on the band, it took a hit on a lot of people. Kylesa has been through this before. Halfway through their first album, their bass player died. So, I mean, we talked to them, since they had been through that same situation. They knew where we were coming from and they knew how we felt about it.” May attests that Kylesa’s support was invaluable for the band, “especially when you see that things happen to a band and they keep going,” he says. “It kinda helps you be like, ‘That’s the thing that I should do too.’”
Label Society as they had planned, but with bassist Corey Barhorst—formerly of Kylesa—in tow instead. “That was kind of a trial period,” May says of the tour. “He had to learn songs real quick and adjust to how we were as a band. We pretty much figured, when we got back from that tour, if we didn’t want to kill each other and he wanted to be part of the band, [he’d join permanently]. The shows went so good and he handled the situation so well. He said he wanted to be full time in the band, so we were like, ‘Sure! We don’t need to look any further.’”
of January, early February,” May says. “Then, February and March, we’ll be doing about six weeks for a full U.S. tour. Be home for a few months, and then, go over to Europe to hit up the festivals for the summer lineup.” In the meantime, the band are regrouping and focusing on the future. May concludes, “We figured, since we were at home for a little while, why not start writing some more new stuff? You know, getting some stuff together that Corey is collaborating on with us. So, that’s what we’ve been doing with our free time at home. Starting next month, we’ll switch back over to learning Soon, Black Tusk will begin touring in the songs that we’re going to be using for For Black Tusk, keeping going looked support of Pillars of Ash. “We’ve got a our set and start touring.” like heading out on the road with Black Southeastern run we’re doing in the end
ISSUE 22 NEW NOISE
IN THE STUDIO WITH
DARKNESS DIVIDED INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST GERARD MORA BY NICHOLAS SENIOR Following last year’s promising Victory Records debut, Darkness Divided’s upcoming sophomore record looks to be the one that will break the San Antonio, Texas, band out of the metalcore pack and establish them as major players. The band have spent countless hours writing and recording, and now, vocalist Gerard Mora steps away from recording vocals to share his excitement: “We’ve been in the studio for about five weeks now. We’re self-producing this record. It’s been great to not have to rush or have someone else limit our creativity.” The as-yet-untitled album is being recorded with former guitarist Chris Mora in the band’s own home studio. The second album will feature a totally new sound, one that Mora says came along very naturally. “There was a song we wrote about four months ago that sparked the change in sound, and it’s actually the first song on the record,” he explains. “It’s definitely really different from our debut, which definitely had a very ‘metalcore’ sound. We just wanted to write a metal record; that’s what we grew up listening to. With this record, we’re trying to
NEW NOISE ISSUE 22
break away from being a ‘core-ish’ band. We wanted big riffs all over the record.” “We really wanted to focus on song structure and songwriting,” Mora continues. “You’ll hear a lot of bigger choruses, more guitar solos. We were really big on this record on not sticking to the traditional choruses that slow down the song or feel out of place. We wrote them as something we would want to listen to, so there are a lot of moving parts and harmonies. We wanted the songs to have a better flow.” The sonic shift means more room for impressive and technically challenging musicianship. “This record has pushed everyone to a new extent; you’ll even hear some bass solos!” he promises. “If you were a fan of our band because of the great guitar playing, it’s got a big place in this record.” Of the album’s thematic content, Mora says, “I wanted to take a step back and emphasize what it means to believe in something, whether it’s Christianity or whatever gets you by. It’s about the process of what you go through to continue
believing in something. The songs are split up into three themes: innocence, contradiction, and reaffirmation. It’s around the idea of this house. When you start building it, when you’re innocent, you have the foundation. You believe the things that people from your youth—your mentors—tell you, and you start building this house on top of this foundation. Once you get into the real world, not everything you’ve learned is what is correct or is practiced out in the world, so you see things that contradict all that.” Mora is eager to get the message out, and he hopes the album is relatable and inspires people, regardless of their belief systems. “There are a couple songs about seeing things for what they’re worth and realizing this isn’t the way you’re supposed to be living, or maybe it is and people are living incorrectly,” he expounds. “This contradiction brings down your house. But, in the end, you’re reaffirming these beliefs because, through experiences, learning, and educating yourself, you reaffirm the truth. You’ve built it up; it gets torn down only to be rebuilt with a stronger foundation.” Soon, Will Putney will begin mastering the album, and the band are hoping for a spring 2016 release. After that, according to Mora, Darkness Divided plan to tour from February “until forever.”
the definitive NO USE FOR A NAME retrospective. CD out now | LP out 2/5/16
ISSUE 22 NEW NOISE
INTERVIEW BY JUSTIN KREITZER
enowned Seattle music producer, engineer, and mixer Matt Bayles has solidified his place in the metal and indie rock scenes by producing notable albums for artists such as Mastodon, Isis, Cursive, and his former band, Minus The Bear. Bayles began his decades-long career assisting on Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Deftones records and has since developed a sought after sound that is highlighted by a growling bottom end and contrasting airy atmospherics. His most recent projects include producing and mixing the latest albums from post-rockers Caspian and emo-punk revivalists Foxing.
enced by “producer and mixer Brendan O’Brien. [He’s] polished and raw, energetic and the total package.” When asked what one piece of recording equipment he feels is essential, he replies, “My ears. I go to studios around the world and can make a good record in almost any circumstance because of my ears.” And if he could record any band from the past? “The Smiths,” Bayles states, matter-of-factly.
Though he does not to have a specific method when producing, Bayles says, “I try to be as faithful to what the band is while trying to improve whatever I can. It’s a lot of small decisions that create the final product. I am pretty detail oriented, whether that be arrangement, tone, performance quality, etc., so all of those things combine to In 2006, Bayles quit play- make the end result.” ing synth and keyboard for Minus The Bear to focus on Being tasked with caressing producing. “[I don’t miss] the chaos of bands like The the touring or playing live,” Blood Brothers and Botch he admits. “While I wouldn’t along with setting free the trade my time with Minus atmospherics of Minus The The Bear for anything, I nev- Bear and Caspian records er yearned to be on stage. has helped to shape Bayles’ However, writing songs and recording style. “I think it being a part of the creative has helped me avoid being process is always something I pigeonholed more than anywill miss. Fortunately, I have thing else, which has always worked with them since and been a goal of mine,” he says. call them close friends.” “The interesting thing that all of those bands have, even Bayles says his production if you wouldn’t assume so, style has been most influ- is dynamics. Working with
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bands that aren’t trying to be loud all of the time allows for more melody and other creative ideas [and] textures to be incorporated. Digging into those extra bits is one of my favorite parts of my job.” Many of the bands Bayles mixes and produces for are on the heavier side of the musical spectrum. So, has he ever yearned to do something entirely different? “When I first gained notoriety, I may have been known for Botch, Mastodon, and Isis, but the fact is I have always had a fair amount of variety in my discography,” he says. “From Pearl Jam to Rocky Votolato, and Foxing to Screaming Females. I guess [what] I’m saying, I am pretty happy with how diverse the range of genres has been thus far.”
Bayles’ selectivity when choosing bands to work with varies based on the role he will be filling. “As it pertains to producing, I am more picky,” he explains. “However, I do quite a bit of for-hire mixing, and that is a chance to hear other people’s productions and try new ideas. For that reason, I will mix just about anything.” What advice does Bayles have for young producers wanting to enter the music business? “Where to start…” he muses. “It’s a tough business to get ahead in and you must be prepared to sacrifice a lot of your life to get it going.”
BOOK NOOK NEW NOISE
years ago, I started taking very detailed notes on tour. The idea of putting it into a story that didn’t go in a linear pattern—that kind of alternated between chapters, that kind of tied two stories together—just kind of came to me out of nowhere. I was pretty thankful for that one. Once I had that idea, I was able to start plotting what went where. A lot of those stories are composites. I had to take a bunch of things that happened on tour and put them into different timeslots and condense them into different characters.
Were you already thinking, “I’m going to turn these ideas into a book”? Not at all. The one thing I definitely didn’t want to do was write a tour diary. I didn’t just want to make it a story about stuff that happened on the road. I really needed a plotline and some interesting characters. I knew that I couldn’t just draw specifically from my life, because, to be honest, my life isn’t all INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR KEITH BUCKLEY BY BRITTANY MOSELEY that interesting. So, I refter more than 15 years of fronting Ev- ally had to think of some things that would make ery Time I Die, Keith Buckley is trying a good story. Once I really started understanding on a new role: published author. Buck- the form that it would fall into, it was cool to see ley’s debut novel, “Scale,” comes out in these characters emerge from themselves. December through the independent publisher Rare Bird Books. The story centers on Ray Gold- When people read this, they’re going to think, man, an indie musician with a rising career and “Is Ray supposed to be Keith?” Are there simia sinking will to exist. Buckley—who studied larities between you and Ray? Shakespeare in college—serves as Every Time I The background is kind of similar in that it’s just Die’s principal lyricist, but wanted a new outlet. very average. There’s no big trauma that made “It got to the point where if the band isn’t writing him do anything. It was just a natural progresmusic, then I’m not writing lyrics,” he explains. sion of very slow-moving events that conspired “I found that [writing] was really something I together and formed into this pattern of his life. loved doing, and I couldn’t wait for other people I’m not trying to mask the fact that there is a to do something to facilitate my writing. I had to lot drawn from my life, but there are probably take the reins and do it.” just as many differences. He’s very humorless; he takes himself very, very seriously as an artist— When did the idea first come to you to write which I definitely do not. [Laughs] That’s the this book? most glaring dissimilarity. Anybody who knows I’ve always known that I wanted to. I just never me might be able to pick certain things out, but really had an idea. I think about three or four luckily, a lot of people don’t know me very well.
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So, they’ll just assume all kinds of crazy things? [Laughs] Yeah. I mean, I’ve been a victim of assumption my whole life, so keep it coming. Ray has a lot of critical opinions about the music industry, yet he’s also guilty of falling into the traps he’s supposedly rallying against. Have you felt that way in your music career? I don’t think I’ve necessarily fallen into that, particularly because my personal experience has never really been to sell out. I’ve never really been called upon to do that. I use that term loosely: the idea that I have to do something I don’t like doing because someone’s making me. Luckily, Every Time I Die has never had to do that. But I have spent time around people who have had to do that and have come clean, like, “I fucking hate this. This isn’t me.” Do you look at Ray as a sellout? Yeah, a little bit. I definitely think he’s very lost and he’s just sick of being broke and unhappy, so I think he’s just jumping at any opportunity. I don’t know that he necessarily agrees with it in himself. I think that selling out means you are completely enlisted in this faux army, and I don’t think he ever really gets there. I think he’s sort of pushed to, and I guess he’s sort of asked to by his circumstances, but I don’t think he ever really gets the nerve to. And that’s the thing, the noncommittal thing he’s very much guilty of is just really never being able to give himself entirely to anything, even the bad stuff. Did you approach writing this book differently than you approach songwriting? It’s a lot harder than I thought it was gonna be, and in different ways than I thought it was going to be hard. It’s very difficult for the obvious reason that when an instrument stops playing, you don’t have to write lyrics anymore. But in this, there was no parameter set by drums or guitars, so you just have to really hone in on “Does this feel finished?” You really gotta sharpen that intuition. I’m not in any way saying I’ve mastered that, but this is the first book of I hope many, and I’m just getting started and getting my feet wet.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ADAM ELMAKIAS
LABEL SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW WITH LABEL MANAGER RICHARD FERNANDES BY JOE SMITH-ENGELHARDT New Damage Records is making a huge impact in the hardcore and metal scenes. With releases this year from the likes of Northlane, Cancer Bats, and Dead Tired, among others, New Damage has been picking up some big names ever since their inception nearly three years ago. “This year’s been pretty big for a lot of metalcore stuff we’ve been doing, like Silverstein and Cardinals Pride; Architects was a big one last year,” says label manager Richard Fernandes. “Another big thing we’re doing is things in the 90s grunge revival and pop punk world— stuff like Safe To Say, Like Pacific, and Seaway. Those are a lot of bands we’re building up right now.”
The label takes a rigorous do it yourself approach to promoting their bands. The New Damage team often goes out to local shows alongside their fan-based street team to promote upcoming releases, and sends boxes filled with stickers, pins, and other promotional items along with their bands when they go on tour. “We just do a lot of peer to peer marketing rather than spreading ourselves across a bunch of digital and print ads,” says Fernandes. “For us, I think it works better based on our genre and our world. I find that our fans are a little more into that kind of advertising. Our world is a lot more word of mouth.”
New Damage began when Fernandes left his job at Distort Entertainment for a chance to better represent the heavy bands signed to Bedlam Music Management’s Dine Alone Records. Fernandes worked with Dine Alone founder Joel Carriere to develop a Toronto based label that could showcase their punk, hardcore, and metal roster.
New Damage represents mostly Canadian artists and has done a tremendous job of exposing these bands to the rest of the world. Fernandes believes that Canada is a hotspot for new hit music in any genre. “I think Canadian artists are having a really good year,” he says. “Outside of the world that I work in, you have artists like Drake, The
Weeknd, and Justin Bieber who all dropped new records this year and are doing amazing. There’re also tons of Canadian bands that are getting signed to American labels right now. I think America is looking to Canada for new music right now.” To cap off a great year, New Damage put on Stay Warm Fest on Dec. 20 at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, which featured a seven band lineup including headliner, Silverstein, as well as Beartooth, Cancer Bats, and Cardinals Pride. “The label is
working with Silverstein to help promote the label and local music as much as possible,” Fernandes says. “All the bands that are playing it— with the exception of Beartooth and Capsize—are all bands that are based out of Ontario or Quebec (Cardinals Pride). The whole idea is to try to build that kind of vibe that you’re just going out to a local show.”
ISSUE 22 NEW NOISE
he needed his own store. As soon as he graduated, he began to map out plans for Audioccult. Less than a year later, he opened its doors for the first time.
INTERVIEW WITH OWNER SEAN CONGDON BY SAMANTHA SPOTO
“Not your Dad’s record store. Not your Grandma’s antique shop.” That’s the motto of Audioccult, a record and oddities hub located in the heart of the Hudson Valley. In April, just before Record Store Day, Sean Congdon opened shop in the bustling art community of Beacon, N.Y. In a matter of months, he has managed to create a definitive and unique space, attracting customers whose first trip isn’t their last. Congdon’s enthusiasm for music dates back to his childhood. Growing up, he joined several bands and worked jobs that he quit at a moment’s notice to attend shows or play gigs. He eventually stumbled upon a “Now Hiring” sign in the storefront
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of a record shop, where he worked for 10 years. After all that time, Congdon felt he needed to carve out a more permanent lifestyle, and so, he returned to school for a masters program. For him, working at a record store didn’t seem like a realistic future. “There was one night during the middle of my last semester,” Congdon recalls, “I was alone, sitting on my floor at home with a portable record player and a pile of 78s that I had just taken out of storage. I suddenly realized that I was happier in that moment than I’d been since I had stopped working at that record store.” Over the course of the next several weeks, Congdon reconsidered his direction and ultimately decided that
Audioccult’s inventory began with wax from Congdon’s personal collection of nearly 10,000 records, many of which found their way into his Main Street shop. “I stocked the store out of my collection to start, and sacrificed records I only had one copy of in the process,” he says. “A couple thousand were doubles, and another couple thousand were records I decided to part with. I’m trying to see the store like a bit of a living collection, if that makes sense.” Not everything in Audioccult is alive, though. Bones and animals in brinefilled jars line the display cases. (Ask him about the cyclops pig, he hides it behind the counter.) “I had this sort of dream shop brewing in the back of my mind. My store is basically a reflection of everything I’m really passionate about,” says Congdon. “From a business standpoint, I think it makes sense to have more than just records to appeal to a wider demographic. I wanted a store that felt inclusive, where people felt welcome and comfortable.” He has certainly
achieved that. Congdon puts every ounce of himself into Audioccult. He works on his off days and lingers long after the shop closes. Some evenings, he ruefully tapes modified hours to the front window: “Audioccult will close at 5 p.m. I apologize for the inconvenience, but I’m going to see Refused and Faith No More.” His days of cutting out of work early for the sake of a show may not be completely behind him, but it seems natural to make time for the bands you love when you own a record store. You won’t walk into Audioccult and find Congdon quietly flipping his records in the corner behind the register. He willingly engages with his customers, learns their tastes, and sets aside records he thinks they might like. In the short time he has been open for business, Congdon has created relationships that stretch far beyond owner and patron. Whether you pursue his collection for a few minutes or a few hours, Congdon makes everyone feel appreciated in his shop, even if they leave empty-handed. “I give this store 100 percent of what I’ve got and I hope people can see that,” he says. “I’ve got dozens of regular customers, and I’m genuinely grateful for each and every one of them.” These elements bring people back again and again. Despite the macabre trinkets sprawled across its shelves, Audioccult feels warm and inviting. Congdon had a vision, and it’s being realized between four walls. He is dedicated to ensuring that his dream continues to be his reality. The fervor that ignited this idea nearly a year ago will keep it alive long after he lifts the needle. “This is all I want to do for the rest of my life,” he says. “I know I’ll never get rich doing this, but I’m happy, and I like sharing that energy with other people. This store is a dream come true, and I just want to ride this wave as long as I possibly can.”
KUMBIA QUEERS INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST JUANA CHANG
tened since we were young rockers— then, we learned a lot about cumbia, traveling, listening, and playing.
umbia Queers first came to my attention on my friend Stoo Odom’s podcast, “Odom’s Bottomless Pit,” formerly airing on KUSF. He interviewed the band and played some tracks from their record, and the connection for me was instantaneous! So much positive energy! Such total rebellion! In your face! But with humor and panache. I searched for them on YouTube and was gratified to find them as fun and exciting as they seemed on the podcast. The five piece—who formed in 2007—features members from Argentina and Mexico, and released their fourth album, Canta y No Llores, this summer. They have toured throughout Latin America, the U.S., Canada, and all over Europe. These women rock! Black Sabbath and Die Antwoord are on far ends of the musical spectrum, but your “tropical punk” sound bridges these two worlds somehow. How does the band transform songs rather than just cover them? We, as a band, try to be this bridge between different worlds, to celebrate diversity. We do the music we love. We have our own distinctive sound that has a lot to do with the music we lis-
Canta y No Llores comes from the traditional Spanish-Mexican song, but what does it mean to the band? “Sing and don’t cry” sounds like “celebrate life.” It is putting a positive spin on a possibly difficult situation? What has been easy for the band career-wise and what has been hard? We are playing together since 2007, traveling a lot, without money, carrying our instruments from a bus terminal to the gig, meeting awesome people, amazing places, and making unforgettable parties everywhere. We [are] a very lucky band, and we have a lot a fun. The easiest part was that we were all a 1000 percent compromised with the project; that we love the music we were doing. And the hardest part is that we are 1000 percent compromised with what we are doing. In this eight years, we sang and cried a lot. Canta y No Llores is our fourth record and the first one without Ali Gua Gua. The title is a tribute to her—she is from Mexico—and also a view of life. Spanglish is socially taboo in many places in the U.S. The band name feels Spanglish, because it combines a Spanish word and an English word. How does the band feel about Spanglish?
It’s funny, because in U.S., Canada, and Europe, they mostly don’t know what is “cumbia,” and in Latin America, we mostly don’t know what queer is. There are lots a different ways of speaking in Spanish—we speak very different in Argentina or in Mexico or Spain or Chile or Colombia—this makes Spanish rich and the same happens with cumbia. Cumbia started in Colombia and it spread all across America with little changes, so there’s no one cumbia and there’s no one Spanish. The important part of speaking is communication. We play a lot in countries—Sweden, Denmark, Czech Republic—where most of the people who come to the show can’t understand a word of what we are saying, and they have a lot of fun, they dance. The nicest part is the mix, to get to know other cultures, other ways of living, and making yours more fun and colorful. Does touring the world make it feel like the world is getting smaller? Planes, trains, automobiles… Which do you like most when you are on the road? In Latin America, we mostly travel by bus; in Europe, by van; the first time we came to U.S., we made a 27 hour bus to go from Chicago to New York; last time, fortunately, we did it by plane. If we can choose, in America
distances are long, we choose a van. It becomes your home for a lot of weeks. You go from one place to another without having to wait hours at stations or airports, and you can stop if you see a beautiful lake. How would the world be different if women were in charge? I can’t figure out a woman saying, “Let’s go to Mars and find out if there’s water there.” But, apart from that, I think it would be pretty much the same. There are and have been some women in charge, like Margaret Thatcher or Angela Merkel, here in Argentina, Cristina Fernández, Dilma [Rousseff] in Brazil, [Michelle] Bachelet in Chile. I like the idea of women leading countries, but I also think that who is in charge is not the boss; you can make some decisions, but you can’t change a lot of things, whether you are a man or a woman.
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ALL PHOTOGRAPHY BY JENS HANSEN
TURBOJUGEND IS PRONOUNCED “TURBO-YOUGEND” for those who aren’t familiar with Deutsche pronunciation. If you know this word, you’re familiar with the sight of a person you may have seen at a bar or at a show donning a blue denim jacket—or “kutte” as we call them—with a shiny black cap on the back and the words “Turbojugend” and the name of a city—or something similar—embroidered above and below the cap, respectively. This is the uniform and identity of a global underground tribe of rock ‘n’ roll sailors who get together, party hard, and celebrate one of Scandinavia’s greatest artistic exports: TURBONEGRO.
THE PURPOSE OF THIS PIECE IS TO PROVIDE INSIGHT INTO THE TURBOJUGEND WORLD FROM A PERSON WHO’S A PART OF IT.
’ll start with this: it’s not for everyone! Anyone who knows Turbonegro knows about the pseudo gay concepts in their lyrics and imagery, as well as their complete disdain for PC crusaders worldwide. The Jugend embraces that philosophy as well. Of course, with that in mind, we’ve been asked our fair share of questions about our antics. The classic ones include: “ARE YOU A MOTORCYCLE CLUB OR AFFILIATED WITH MOTORCYCLE CLUBS?”
“Imagine stepping off the plane somewhere in the world, and meeting people for the first time and they take you into their homes. There is this instant connection, and you know that if you had grown up in the same town, you would have been friends since you were toddlers. This is Turbojugend.” –El Comandante (Turbojugend Melbourne) Turbojugend is a community that’s heavy on traveling and offers extra incentives for doing so. Chapters around the world put on events and it’s very common for visiting chapters to cross countries
and oceans to attend them. The three biggest Turbojugend events in the world occur in Hamburg, Germany—Weltturbojugendtage, translated as “World Turbojugend Days”—Oslo, Norway—Oslo Bloodbath—and Las Vegas—Punk Rock Bowling. People from the North American, South American, Asian, Australian, and European continents—no chapters in the African and Antarctica territories, yet—travel to these events to socialize, drink, exchange hugs, and celebrate music together. We leave knowing that a lasting friendship has been formed, which gives an incentive for future travel to their home countries. It’s taken me to visit friends in Norway, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Finland, Georgia, Oklahoma, Colorado, and many other locations. I depart with great experiences and stories and wouldn’t trade it for anything.
“Most rock ‘n’ roll bands start as a riot, but end up as a parody. We started up as a parody, but ended up as a revolution.” –Happy Tom (Turbonegro) The two oldest chapters are Turbojugend Oslo and Turbojugend St. Pauli. In 1995, the idea for Turbojugend started as an inside joke between the band’s members. It didn’t gain much traction initially, aside from some who paid a small fee to receive a diploma from the band solidifying your membership. Since Olso is the band’s hometown, the first chapter established was Turbojugend Oslo, and their logo is featured on all album reissues and
“ARE YOU A GAY PRIDE CLUB?” “ARE YOU GAY?” The first question is a definite no. We’re not a motorcycle club. The second question is a tossup. The third question depends on whom you ask, and it will not be a straight—no pun intended—answer most of the time, so ask at your own risk. One of the most popular phrases echoed by Jugend members is, “Turbojugend saved my life.” People have joined Turbojugend for different reasons, but it’s common for someone to join a chapter when going through a rough time in their life, only to be given a surge of positive energy from how open and receptive it can be. From what I’ve experienced and observed, the social connections and relationships that are born from being a part of this family have a positive effect on a person’s well being and serve as an incredible outlet for their creativity. The friendships and relationships that develop often lead to romance, marriage, children, business partnerships, advice and support, and have even been a tool for finding the services of professionals such as accountants, doctors, lawyers, tattoo artists… I’m not kidding.
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current releases. Turbojugend St. Pauli was responsible for the kutte concept and the execution and management of the operation for a long time. The former president of St. Pauli, El Presidente, and his Holy Ghost Pauli ran Bitzcore Records, which was the home label for Turbonegro for many years. When the band broke up abruptly in 1998, they
gained a cult status around the world and the mystique of the band and Turbojugend grew as a result. At that time, only Oslo and St. Pauli kuttes were manufactured thanks to a partnership between Turbonegro, Bitzcore, and Levi’s. When the band reformed at the turn of the century and released Scandinavian Leather, global membership and de-
mand for custom city kuttes exploded which is the reason kuttes with thousands of different chapter names and cities exist globally. Bitzcore ceased operations in 2012 and the kutte operation was handed to an international partnership between members of the Low Places and Satanika chapters, known as Moonshine, with kuttes being shipped worldwide from Colorado. Turbojugend grows every year around the world and continues to do so, whether Turbonegro is active or not. It’s an organic entity that has transcended its fan club roots and become a lifestyle.
Oh, and why denim and not leather? ‘Cause denim is sexier and easier to slip out of! If you’re interested in learning more, check out the map at turbojugend.org/map to find out if there’s a chapter local to you. If you’d like to start your own, drop a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW NOISE ISSUE 22
THE SHORT LIST
ER YOUR RADAR!
SSUES SLIP UND DON’T LET THESE EPS, SPLITS, AND HREI UTCH BY
X__X ALBERT AYLER’S GHOSTS LIVE AT THE YELLOW GHETTO
PLATTERS DU CUYAHOGA, SERIES 1 SMOG VEIL RECORDS
X__X’s “Tool Jazz” literally features power tools vying for your aural attention. While that approach may seem extreme, not much changes when X__X use conventional instruments. “Ghosts” is a track featuring bass, drums and guitar, but they’re not all necessarily playing the same song. Founded in 1978 by Cleveland artist John D Morton of Electric Eels, and relocated to New York City by 1980, X__X have always delivered an open-minded interpretation of music. Tracks like “Transmography” hit like a tsunami of unique noise and confrontational beliefs. Somewhere between garage fuzz and punk cacophony, these tunes are a grand sardonic statement on music, art, and rebellion.
BL’AST! “FOR THOSE WHO’VE GRACED THE FIRE” EP RISE! RECORDS
The lords of melding Sabbath and hardcore are continuing their resurrection. After an intimidating return to form with their re-recordings on Southern Lord, Bl’ast! are writing new material. Emo champs Rise! Records welcome the mid ‘80s skate riff masters to their roster with this 7”, which
features Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl on drums and Black Flag’s Chuck Dokowski on bass. The title track is backed with “The Pulse,” a straight, minute long track that’s fast and pissed.
or go all digital on Drudkh’s Bandcamp, and true collectors can purchase the releases on vinyl.
INTEGRITY HUMANITY IS THE DEVIL EP REISSUE/REMASTER MAGIC BULLET RECORDS
White Jazz/Lies Split EP Deathwish Inc.
White Jazz is a new band from three quarters of Rise And Fall. On “Bliss,” they cultivate aggression into sweeping waves of exhaustion and release. With “Gutter Rainbows,” noise and chaos copulate while filtered through MC5, Rollins Band, and Dicks. These are not so much songs as they are four dudes beating their instruments to vent the frenetic swarm in their heads. Lo-fi, DIY recording adds to the dangerous aesthetic. Boasting members from Skin Like Iron and The Hope Conspiracy, Lies play the hardcore of Infest, Haymaker, and Extortion until it bursts into rocky noise. “Cycle of Abuse” is dirty and gritty. “Deny Me” is a blitzkrieg of offtiming drums and furious barking powerviolence.
DRUDKH CATALOG REISSUE SEASON OF MIST
For over a decade, Ukrainian black metal pioneers Drudkh have amassed a brutal library of hatred and vengeance. Season Of Mist now enables fans to play catch-up on their mostly out of print library. Blood in Our Wells, Estrangement, Microcosmos, Autumn Aurora, Forgotten Legends, and The Swan Road are available once again, each in an edition of 1000 copies. Fans can pick up a digipack CD
Humanity is the Devil had a direct impact on every hardcore record that followed it. Toxic Holocaust mastermind, producer Joel Grind, remixed the record under guidance from guitarist Aaron Melnick and vocalist Dwid Hellion, then the tracks were off to Brad Boadright at Audiosiege for mastering. Supplemental material includes an “updated treatment of Pushead’s iconic album cover, a new painting from visual artist Josh Bayer, complete lyrics from Hellion, an updated narration from Hellion himself on the album’s final track, and much more.”
VANILLA MUFFINS THE DRUG IS FOOTBALL REISSUE REBEL SOUND
The sweet sounds of Vanilla Muffins are dubbed “Sugar Oi,” and the catchy terrace anthems of this Swiss band are undeniable. The Vanilla Muffins still crunch and have a two-step feel on the backbeat, while embracing gang chants and easy singalong choruses. Rebel Sound will press 500 copies of this limited edition double 7” version of the band’s classic The Drug is Football record, originally released in 2003 on Knockout Records. These tracks boast the best of this 25 year old band, packaged in a deluxe photo-filled gatefold sleeve with lyrics. Hooligans, rejoice!
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Noisem aren’t exactly new to most fans of extreme metal, but the band’s sophomore album, Blossoming Decay, is a breakout hit in every way. It’s clear that, though less than half of the band members are even of legal drinking age, all of their touring in recent years has matured their sound from its initial hoppy IPA bitterness into a finely aged, belly-burning thrash metal monstrosity. Noisem are a breakout band in 2015—despite touring with Carcass in 2014—simply because people outside of underground thrash metal and hardcore kids are finally taking notice. Bringing people in by opening for cool bands like Carcass, Iron Reagan, and Pig Destroyer is nice, but when the record you’re promoting is the thrash metal equivalent of having fire ants march up your urethra, people better pay attention. –Brandon Ringo
CULT LEADER The Oath made a big splash in 2014 with their NWOBHM inspired debut, All Must Die. The band’s sudden implosion left many heavy metal purists hearts broken. Those same sad hessians probably jumped out of their seats when Lucifer—former Oath frontwoman Johanna Sadonis’ new band—unleashed their stellar debut, Lucifer I, in the summer of 2015 on Rise Above Records. Teaming with former Cathedral guitarist Garry Jennings, Sadonis’ and company have crafted a haunting proto-metal album, packed with epic tunes that rest comfortably alongside any classic Deep Purple or Sabbath jams. And who could forget their uber-cinematic music video for “Izrael”? After touring alongside the riff masters in High On Fire, it’s safe to say that Lucifer have officially been embraced by American metal fans. Time to hurry back with that headlining run, yeah? –James Alvarez
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Jack Dalrymple began 2015 as the guy from One Man Army and Dead To Me, and ended it as the frontman for toyGuitar, one of the most satisfying pure rock bands to come off the Fat Wreck roster in years. The new year was just weeks old when they turned in their debut full-length, the critically and fan lauded In This Mess. In November, playing before tens of thousands in Tokyo as part of the Fat Wreck 25th anniversary tour, which they’ve been on since the end of summer. Along the way, they converted people across the globe and managed to steal the spotlight from many of the veterans they shared stages with, and even found time to put out a four way split on a German label. Though Dalrymple will likely always be associated with One Man Army and Dead To Me—not too shabby!— after 2015, toyGuitar will likely be the band that get namechecked first. –John B. Moore
These Salt Lake City noise mongers first emerged from the ashes of their previous incarnation—the once mighty Gaza—in early 2014, but it wasn’t until 2015 that Cult Leader began to form a true throat-shredding legacy of their own. The band dropped two killer releases on Deathwish Inc., their Useless Animal EP and their staggering debut full-length, Lightless Walk, which found the band exploring even deeper levels of sonic vitriol than previously imaginable. Cult Leader gigged their way across the States on their way to record Lightless Walk at Kurt Ballou’s famed God City Studios in Salem, Mass., partaking in Modern Life Is War’s monstrous Witness 10th anniversary tour, and making memorable appearances at Southwest Terror Fest, Fun Fun Fun Fest, and FEST 14. Despite Cult Leader’s vicious music and dismal aesthetic, it appears that the future looks bright for these SLC misanthropes. –James Alvarez
hardcore scenes ablaze. Their devastating set at This Is Hardcore Fest over the summer sounded the alarm: Twitching Tongues were back with some mind boggling new material in tow. Recorded at Twitching Tongues guitarist Taylor Young’s own The Pit Studios in Southern California, Disharmony sounds like a colossal mash-up of every wicked metal subgenre you’d want to bludgeon someone with, presented in gloriously pristine THX surround sound. The band’s two contrasting music videos currently corrupting YouTube—the dark live performance/murder ritual clip for “Disharmony” and the intentionally hilarious low-budget slasher that is “Insincerely Yours”—showcase the band’s If you went to a show in 2015—that’s probamastery of both somber and lighthearted bly most of you—and got there early enough, metal theatrics. –James Alvarez chances are you saw Rozwell Kid. You probably saw them a few times, in fact, and every time, you probably thought to yourself or exclaimed very loudly to a friend, “This is, quite literally, the most fun band I have ever seen live. I smiled like a dumb idiot through their entire set. Why aren’t they huge?” Well, 2016 is looking more and more like Rozwell Kid’s year. The West Virginia based band signed to SideOneDummy, who will release the group’s follow-up to the otherworldly Too Shabby LP on Broken World Media. The new album will likely be huge on catchy riffs and lyrical idiosyncrasies that will propel Rozwell Kid into the stratosphere, or at least from opener to direct support. The hummus is probably way tastier at the top! –Bryne Yancey
Much how a literal meat wave might feel, the Chicago band’s music is thick, pulverizing, and full of chunks… of personality! They rode a pretty good EP, Brother, into a deal with SideOneDummy for their debut LP, Delusion Moon, which is basically Brother on steroids. Delusion Moon channels Meat Wave’s penchant for unconventional song structures, oblique subject matter, and dark punk energy Although Twitching Tongues have been rais- into a bigger, better package. The band toured ing hell since 2009, it wasn’t until 2015 when heavily on the record and likely will continue the band released their third full-length and to win over new fans in 2016 simply by being Metal Blade Records debut, Disharmony, as loud as possible. That’s how fandom works, that they truly set the underworld metal and right? –Bryne Yancey
When the mysterious Myrkur dropped her self-titled EP in 2014, it seemed like people cared more about deciphering her secret identity than her actual music. By 2015, the cat was out of the bag and Myrkur was revealed to be Danish musician Amalie Bruun, a noted pop and indie rock singer who had a surreptitious lifelong love affair with grim and frostbitten Scandinavian black metal. Bruun’s private metal demo tapes turned into her solo alias, then a full-blown metal phenomenon in their own right. Myrkur made her live debut in July, with her first ever concert performance at Denmark’s famed Roskilde Festival. Her debut full-length record, M, dropped in August via Relapse Records and saw Bruun collaborating with some of black metal’s biggest names—including members of Mayhem and Ulver—while perfecting her distinctive tortured-howl-meets-angelic-siren vocals. Hopefully, North America will be graced with some concert dates in the near future. – James Alvarez
ISSUE 22 NEW NOISE
BEACH SLANG PEARS
2015 took PEARS by the balls, tugged ‘em a bit, and let ‘em loose in a fury that has left the world in shock. After releasing Go to Prison on Anxious & Angry in 2014, the band toured nonstop, hitting every market in the entire continental U.S. They landed a sweet deal with Fat Wreck Chords and recorded an album in the middle of all of the chaos, also managing to squeeze in a 7” entitled Letters to Memaw, a tribute to grandmothers everywhere and a preview of the aforementioned upcoming release. Hell, they even hung out with my grandma and she loved each and every one of them. In fact, if you ask around, you will find nothing but love for these five guys. (Dante is very much a member of the band, and he shares some insight into the life of a PEARS tour manager on the following page!) PEARS are a breath of fresh punk rock that the world sorely needed. Their live show is energetic and downright abrasive;
NEW NOISE ISSUE 22
frontman Zach Quinn’s personality and demeanor onstage grabs you by the throat and screams, “Pay fucking attention.” 2016 will be another huge year for the band, as they are set to release their sophomore full-length for
Few bands have had a better year than Philly indie rockers, Beach Slang. They started 2015 with two solid EPs to their name, both of which kept selling out, leading to numerous pressings and some pretty nutty eBay bidding wars. They quickly got to work on their first full-length and managed to ink a deal with indie powerhouse, Polyvinyl, who put out their official debut The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel like Us. The record did not disappoint, resulting in near-rapturous praise and drawing comparisons to bands like The Replacements and Jawbreaker. Although the record didn’t come out until October, the band spent the bulk of the year earning the respect of everyone from dyed in the wool punk rockers to jaded hipsters, thanks to their constant touring and a well-received NPR “Tiny Desk Concert.” Even their contribution to a seven-band split that came out on a tiny indie label received a ton of coverage. You couldn’t read a decent rock outlet this year without running across a Beach Slang write up—they even graced the cover of New Noise Magazine. You might be able to find a band who had a better year, but chances are, even they wish they were Beach Slang. –John B. Moore
Fat Wreck in the spring, tour their asses off, and continue to burn the rock ‘n’ roll candle at both ends. It’s safe to say that no other band had a greater impact in 2015 than PEARS. Not by a long shot. -Tyler Gibson
One day, [guitarist] Brian [Pretus] was searching Craigslist—as he does often—and came across the red, white, and blue monstrosity of a van we know as Old Glory. The previous owner was a military vet who paid way too much money for a patriotic vinyl wrap to celebrate freedom and such. Turns out, he barely used it. When Brian met with the guy to buy it, his terms were that we never remove the wrap. Since then, our life on the road has been filled with frat boys honking and cheering, stoked as fuck rednecks outside of gas stations, and ironic hipsters taking pictures in front of it. It’s always so much fun to explain, and even more fun crossing the border into Canada with it.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAY BOSTWICK
I guess the only positive thing about it is that no one would dare steal from such a van. It’s almost like an act of terrorism. As cool as it looks from the outside, trust me, it’s a piece of shit. One time, the rear axel caught on fire. Regardless, people love it, and I get that, so I am now officially putting Old Glory on the market for $10,000. Please contact us at pearstheband@ gmail.com. If that doesn’t work, I’m going to create a Kickstarter where the goal is to run it off the side of Mount Rushmore.
Don’t you hate it when you mix up your water jug with your pee jug? Never happened to you? Uh, yeah, me neither. As you might have guessed, the inside of Old Glory is gross. The biggest problem facing our cleanliness: piss bottles. Every time you stop on tour, it’s going to take a minimum of 30 to 40 minutes. It’s like herding kittens: one of them is always missing and one of them is always taking a shit. Sometimes, to save time, you have to pee in a bottle. Sometimes, the pee bottles pile up. Way of the road, bud.
If you don’t know who this is, consider yourself lucky. She’s a Japanese pop star who Zach has a very unhealthy obsession with. He refers to her as “my Queen.” If Zach is driving, there’s a very good chance the van will turn into a Japanese pop club party of one. It’s funny how we know all the words now, but none of us speak Japanese. He also refuses to look up the English translations, because it would “ruin it for him.” When I’m driving and I put on some really shitty hip-hop, he’ll go on about how the songs don’t have any meaning. I mean really, how can Fetty Wap compete with lyrics like these: “Ring Ring Ring a Bell / Ring a Bell Ring a Ring a Bell / Ring Ring Ring a Bell / Ring a Bell Ring a Ring a Bell / Ring Ring Ring a Bell / Ring a Bell Ring a Ring a Bell / Ring Ring Ring a Bell / Ring a Bell Ring a Ring a Bell / Let’s go to the studio / Let’s go to the studio / Let’s go to the music studio / Let’s go to the studio / Let’s go to the studio / Where is my microphone?”
hen New Noise asked me to write this article, I immediately had a flashback of this one time when [vocalist] Zach [Quinn] told me, “Don’t worry, Dante, you’ll get your interview with Who Gives A Shit Magazine one day.” As cruel and funny as this is, it has some truth to it. You probably don’t know who I am, but if you’ve bought PEARS merch—online or at a show—I was that guy. (Sorry if your merch order was late; I blew it.) About two years ago, I dropped out of fancy bullshit Music Industry school to travel the world with four of my best friends making sure they don’t die. Honestly, it’s been great, but when you spend close to nine months on the road, the little things become big things. Imagine if you had four roommates, but, like, actually living in one room. Now, imagine they’re also coworkers, but your work makes no money. Also, everyone is fucked up all the time, and that room that you have is actually a 1995 American-as-fuck death trap. Which brings me to my first topic:
I have an obnoxious name: Dante Graziani—Don-tay Grat-zi-ani. My whole life, and even more since I started tour managing PEARS, my name has had many changes to it. Here is a short list of the things I am called on tour: Dant Grazant (funny); Donny Gronnyanny (super Italian version); Dibbly Grazibly (pretty dumb); Dibbilis Grazibilis (dumber); Dump Grazump (degrading); Dammit (pretty fucked up); Dante Greasyanus (personal attack on my whole family’s name); Delaundry (one time I almost forgot the laundry); Tron-tay (a robot tour manager that I will be replaced with… Tron-tay is also an espresso machine); Garbage (thanks, Zach).
PTSD is a serious thing for me with this gig, and by PTSD, I mean Post Tour Sudden Depression. When the last show is over and we drive home into the sunrise over the New Orleans skyline, I go from a loser tour manager who cleans up all the messes to a loser bar-back who cleans up actual messes… of puke… Believe it or not, I get tired and bored of counting all the money I make on the road, so to keep myself occupied, I picked up a side gig at one of New Orlean’s premiere Electronic Dance Music Clubs. That’s right, when I’m not slinging merch to sweaty punx, I’m slinging drinks to rave kids with glowsticks or whatever. The good news is that I’m never home for long. It’s just a matter of time before I jump back into that broken-as-fuck, piss bottle infested, J-pop blasting American flag tour van with all those assholes who will call me some ridiculous bullshit, and hit the road. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
ISSUE 22 NEW NOISE
the Monsieur. They stood up before their drinks even came and were both palming their girls’ asses as they exited the club. “Hey man, wait for us. We don’t know how to get back to the hotel. We’ll be back in 45 minutes,” they said. pencil mustache on his upper lip that matched perfectly with his slickedback jet-black hair. In a peculiar Thai/ British accent, the Monsieur spoke. “Good evening, gentlemans. Looking for some lady tonight?”
“Dad, I’m going to Bangkok!” “Again?” “Yes. This time to take photos.” “I don’t understand why you have to take photos in these weird countries. Just don’t walk down any dark alleys.” I arrived in Bangkok around 2 a.m. By 2:30, I found accommodations at a nice hotel in central Bangkok. While checking in at the lobby, I met two other Americans who wanted to hit the town. I had been to Bangkok previously on tour, playing guitar with First Blood, so I had a little understanding of the city. The guys were tech types in town on a conference and wanted to cut loose. They were chatting up the resident “Night Lady” who worked the lobby for johns. As we got into the car, I told them they were handsome and foreigners; I explained that, if we played it cool, we could probably just meet girls at the bar. They wouldn’t have to pay for sex. “But dude, that’s the thing—we want to pay for sex.” “OK, then. Driver, take us to Patpong!” I said. We made it to South East Asia’s premier Red Light district at 3:30 am to find it a ghost town. Everything was closed. I don’t remember how, but one way or the other, we got to talking with this young kid hanging outside a store. He was the street-smart looking type. He told us he knew a club that was open that had “every kind of girl you want.” I was a bit suspicious, but I figured he weighed 110 pounds
soaking wet and there were three of us, so fuck it—we gave it a shot. We hooked a left off the main drag and started down a small locals street. Eventually, the small street narrowed into an alleyway where we had to walk in a single line between two tall and narrow walls. There were no streetlights above and it was pitch black. My dad’s last words were echoing in my head. Somehow, I had walked down the absolute darkest alleyway in all of Bangkok, Thailand. “Guys, where the fuck is this kid taking us?” I said. “Do you hear that?!” one of them whispered. It was a low thumping sound. We stopped to listen… A subwoofer. We walked to an all black door and the kid knocked three times. A security guard opened the door and the trashy European house music spilled out into the alleyway. The security guard paid the kid some cash and sent him on his way. As we entered the club, I was overwhelmed by the disco balls and laser light show that was flashing. We walked down a narrow hallway toward the official entrance and, from the music and the lights, we were all anticipating some really crazy afterhours party, but were met with disappointment. It was dead inside. We were directed toward a host booth where we met “The Monsieur of the house.” He was a tiny yet dapper man standing no higher than 4’11”. He wore a deep red tuxedo with gold trim that resembled a bellboy uniform from the 1950s. A black bowtie loosely hung around his neck and he brandished a very poor
“My two friends are. I’m just here for a drink,” I replied. He turned around and gestured for us to follow him to the runway area. The Monsieur stopped, snapped his fingers, and started yelling very aggressively in Thai. He startled me, but then, I noticed on the far left corner of the runway, a mirrored wall swung open revealing a secret door. Three dozen sex workers walked out in a single file line and stood on the runway facing us. Our Monsieur came to our table and laid down the rules for us. The house took a fee if you wanted to leave the club with the girls, and you could only go to the hotel around the block with them. There, you had to pay for an hourly hotel room and the girls’ services. The boys whipped out their cash like two kids in a candy store and threw it at
“I’ll be right here drinking. See you guys soon,” I replied. The two Americans left. I finished my gin and tonic, then, I finished everyone else’s drinks. After 30 minutes, I took off, leaving those guys for dead. I was thinking, “This is all so sketchy, for all I know there was someone waiting in their hotel room to club them over the head mid fuck and take their wallets” or even worse. Whatever the outcome was with those two gentlemen, I guess I’ll never know. In their clouded judgment and desperation to fuck hookers, they had forgotten to write down the address of where they were staying. I didn’t see them around the hotel the next couple days, and when I was checking out, I asked the clerk working the front desk if he had seen my American friends. In broken English, he explained he hadn’t seen them since the night we got into a cab together. Oops!
THANKS FOR THE LOVE! SEE YOU NEXT YEAR. -NEW NOISE MAGAZINE
TIM ARMSTRONG OF RANCID | PHOTO BY JACKI VITETTA
Published on Dec 21, 2015
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