METAL ZINE SCIONAV.COM
EARLY GRAVES Moshpit Tragedy
Scion Project Manager: Jeri Yoshizu, Sciontist Editor: Eric Ducker Creative Direction: Scion Art Direction: BON Contributing Editor: J. Bennett Graphic Designers: Cameron Charles, Matt Koulermos
Writers: Etan Rosenbloom, Adam Shore Photographers: Gregory Bojorquez, Jeremiah Cooper, Jordan Goldstein, Kimberly Johnson, Matt Miller, Phil Reyes, Niki Schindler
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Cover: Image from “No Funeral” video by Revocation. Directed by David Brodsky.
scion a/v schedule JANUARY A/V Presents: 10 Scion Nuclear Blast Label Showcase 14 Scion Label Showcase: Prosthetic Records
featuring: Holy Grail, Scale The Summit, Junius and The Greenery at The Roxy, Los Angeles
11 Scion Label Showcase: Relapse Records A/V Presents: 28 Scion The Melvins
featuring: Exhumed, Red Fang, Royal Thunder, Tombs and Revocation at The Roxy, Los Angeles
Scion A/V Presents: Municipal Waste
Scion A/V Presents: Prosthetic Records Label Showcase
NOW AVAILABLE Scion A/V Presents: Wormrot — Noise
Scion A/V Presents: Immolation — Providence
SCION A/V PRESENTS MUSIC VIDEOS All Shall Perish “Royalty Into Exile”
Pulling Teeth “Whispers”
Revocation “No Funeral”
This exclusive release and others are now available Plus interview and performance videos, event info, Scion Streaming Radio & much more
Ea rly Early G Graravveess Story: J. Bennett Photography: Jordan Goldstein
In the early hours of August 2, 2010, Bay Area metal band Early Graves was traveling from Oregon to Nevada, on tour in support of their recently released second album, Goner, when the van rolled. In an instant, the album title and band name became horribly prophetic: Vocalist Makh Daniels was killed, while guitarist Tyler Jensen and drummer Dan Sneddon were severely injured. Suddenly, Early Graves went from hungry up-and-comers to wondering whether they’d ever play another show. “We weren’t really sure if we were gonna be a band anymore after Makh died,” guitarist Chris Brock says. “For a while, we really mulled over what we wanted to do. We thought about changing the name. Makh was such a big part of our lives, both as a close friend and a band member.” The band decided to press on. It took months for Jensen and Sneddon to fully recover from their
injuries, but when they did the band enlisted their old friend John Strachan, of Orange County-based black/death metal outfit the Funeral Pyre, as Early Graves’ new vocalist. The choice had greater significance than a musical connection, since Strachan and Daniels had been close friends, and Strachan was actually in the van with Early Graves when the accident happened. “We knew we weren’t just gonna get some dude to sing for us,” Brock says. “It had to make sense. One of the huge parts of our decision to keep the band name was that we didn’t want the thing that meant the most to Makh—this band—to die, too. It was the one thing we could control about the accident.”
facebook.com/earlygraves Watch an interview with Early Graves and videos of their performance from the Scion Metal Matinee series at scionav.com/metal
PHOBIA Story: J. Bennett Photography: Gregory Bojorquez When vocalist Shane McLachlan started Phobia over two decades ago, he had no reason to think it would last. Back then, grindcore was a relatively new musical phenomenon, and not a particularly viable one. “I never thought my life would be designed around this band,” he says now. “When I was young, I just wanted to be like Napalm Death. This was in like 1990, and no one liked us. At the time, everyone was into Pantera and Slayer. We’d play backyard parties and everyone hated us. People wanted to beat me up. Then we did our first seven-inch on Relapse and it kind of took off, but I never thought I’d be 40 years old and still doing Phobia.” Which brings us to 2011. Phobia are a celebrated grindore band with a dizzying discography that includes five full-lengths alongside countless splits, 7-inches and EPs. In the process of creating that catalog, the band developed a reputation for injecting a sense of catchiness into a genre more known for untethered speed and brutality. “I grew
up on old punk rock, so my influences are a lot different than a lot of the grind bands out there today. And I project that into Phobia’s music,” McLachlan explains. “You can play grind all day long, but if people don’t remember it, what the hell? We all remember punk songs. But I think grindcore is punk, and that’s what lacks in a lot of grindcore bands today.” Meanwhile, McLachlan—currently a resident of Austin, Texas—is the sole remaining original member of the band he co-founded in Orange County 21 years ago. “I look at Phobia as a collective of people,” he says. “Everybody I’ve played with, I love. I’m the only original member left, but we’re a family. And people want us to play, so there’s no reason to stop.” facebook.com/phobiagrindcore Watch an interview with Phobia and videos of their performance from the Scion Metal Matinee series at scionav.com/metal
CRO-MAGS Interview: J. Bennett Photography: Gregory Bojorquez
As one of the greatest frontmen in the history of hardcore, John Joseph of Cro-Mags influenced a generation of mic-swingers with his inimitable stage presence, his clean-living philosophy and his performance on one of the genre’s most important records: The Age of Quarrel. Many Cro-Mags fans also drew inspiration from Joseph’s hardscrabble upbringing in the orphanages, foster homes and streets of New York, but most people didn’t know just how truly horrible that upbringing was until he published his autobiography, Evolution of a Cro-Magnon, in 2007. Joseph recently reflected on his life, just prior to a Cro-Mags performance at a Scion Metal Matinee in Los Angeles.
There’s a story in your autobiography about how you first got into hardcore. It seems like that was a pivotal moment in your life.
Absolutely. It was 1980. I was in the Navy, and I was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia. I caught the Bad Brains at the Taj Mahal. It was a very turbulent time in my life, and those guys were like brothers from the start. I was already into the punk rock scene back in New York. I went onto the streets in 1977, so I was already going to see the punk bands at the clubs. But with the Bad Brains, there was more consciousness behind it. It was the next level. They were phenomenal musicians and great people. What drew you punk rock initially? I think I heard Iggy Pop back in 1974. I had just gotten out of a really messed-up foster home that I’d been in for seven years, and the aggressiveness and anger of Iggy, and later the [Sex] Pistols in 1977, appealed to me. I was also into rock. I went to see all the big bands, like [Led] Zeppelin, at the Garden, but with punk it was like you were part of the show. People were in your face. H.R. from the Bad Brains would jump off the stage and land on top of you. I was attracted to that.
S Was there a specific moment when you knew you had to get onstage and do it for yourself? I was always writing as a kid. That’s how I vented a lot of the stuff I was going through. In 1978, I wrote some lyrics—every other word was a curse— and I handed them to this guy at Max’s Kansas City called Von Lmo. He kinda liked them, but he was also like, “Keep trying!” But I have to say, I was really influenced by H.R. from the Bad Brains. He was responsible for really putting that mic in my hand and telling me to get out there. I originally wanted to be a drummer, but luckily for the world, I was terrible at it. H.R. told me to try singing. What was your first time onstage like? My first time onstage was with the other roadies of the Bad Brains, who formed a band called Bloodclot. The Bad Brains were Rastafarians, so every time something would go wrong, they would be like, “What the bloodclot? Fix the bloodclot!” So since the roadies were in charge of fixing everything, we formed a band called Bloodclot. We opened up for the Bad Brains on this southern tour that they did. We played this storefront shopping mall to like 100 people, but the feeling was amazing. That was 1981, so I was 19 years old.
Cro-Mags’ The Age of Quarrel is held up as a classic, iconic hardcore album. Do you feel like that record is something you have to live up to everytime you make new Cro-Mags material? Not really. I live my life a certain way—I’m drug-free, alcohol-free, vegan. I’m training for a triathalon. The message of the Cro-Mags is truth, and truth is never subject to time, so what I wrote back in the 1980s is still applicable today. And it’s from the heart. With The Age of Quarrel, if you look around at what’s happening on the planet today, [the album] was kind of prophetic. The Bad Brains were the same way with all the stuff they sang about. I feel like there’s never been a better time to be a punk rocker—a real punk rocker, not someone who just buys a T-shirt. Why is now the best time to be a punk rocker? Because punk rock is about revolution and higher consciousness, and the world is really changing these days. A lot of people are pessimistic, but the best way to counteract all that is music. Music has always been such a powerful force. You hear that term “poseur” thrown around a lot, but there’s a reason for that. It separates who’s for real from who’s not. There’s no money in music anymore, so you have to do it for the right reasons now. You can’t get rich, you can’t be a rock star. But that’s never why we did it. We did it because we were moved by the spirit of punk rock. facebook.com/pages/Cro-Mags/28749578197 Watch an interview with John Joseph of Cro-Mags and videos of their performance from the Scion Metal Matinee series at scionav.com/metal
KURT BALLOU Interview: Adam Shore Photography: Matt Miller
In the last few years, Kurt Ballou has been on a roll as a producer that is simply unparalleled.
While being the guitarist and producer for his own band Converge, his exemplary production work for others dates back to 2004, which you can hear
on much loved albums by Cave In, Disfear, Torche, Trap Them, Magrudergrind, Black Breath and Kvelertak. At the Scion Music(less) Music Conference he spoke at length about his history and process as a producer and engineer.
What was your entry into the metal community?
There weren’t a lot of kids in my hometown, Andover, Massachusetts, who were older than me who were into the stuff that I was into. There wasn’t a lot of organized journalism for underground music that was available at the local magazine shop. We had Thrasher, and that was our window to what was happening in punk. I would read it cover to cover, so I knew the histories of these bands before I even heard them. Bands like Suicidal Tendencies, Minor Threat, Bad Brains and Black Flag was the stuff that they talked about, so I had some foundation of hardcore there. Also, I’m from the first generation of children who were raised with MTV. Even though I didn’t have cable, I had friends who had it, so we’d get together and watch Headbangers Ball. I had Metallica and Vio-lence and Slayer through that. So I’m reading about and listening to punk on one side, and then I’ve got the Bay Area thrash stuff on my other side. I was getting into the new wave of British heavy metal from my neighbor’s brother, and the foundation of hip-hop was happening then, so I was getting into BDP and Run-DMC. And we started going to shows, so I started to learn about local bands. My live foundation of music was late-1980s Boston hardcore. I remember reading in Thrasher about Slapshot and Wrecking Crew. Everything I had been reading about was happening on the West Coast, so it seemed otherworldly to me, but then I’d hear about these bands from Boston who were playing shows 20 minutes from me, so I could get on the train and see these band and actually be connected with this thing that I’m reading about.
You didn’t produce the first Converge releases, but were you in charge of the early demos?
Yeah, I was always interested in the sonic side of the band. I’ve always been in charge of the songwriting and the production side of things, and the other guys care more about lyrics and art and booking shows. We each have aspects of the band that we take most interest in. I would say I produced the early Converge stuff, but I didn’t engineer them. There’s a lot of times when the terms “producer” and “engineer” get used interchangeably, but they’re
not the same thing. I’d say 60 to 70 percent of the records I’ve been credited as a producer on, I was not a producer, I was an engineer. There are very few records that I do where the band has the time and the budget to have me produce their record.
When you say engineer, you essentially mean recording the band?
Yeah, the technical parts of recording a band: setting up microphones, balancing the sounds of mics and preamps, EQs and compression and later mixing. The producer has more to do with the big picture stuff: making sure that the players are the right players in the band, that the songs are refined and they are recording at the right studio at the right time. The producer interfaces with the label. It’s almost more management-type stuff.
So what kind of role did producers like Steve Austin and Brian McTernan have in Converge in the early days?
They were sort of the forerunners to what I do. Those were the first people I recorded with that were inside the scene. I think a lot of people my age had similar experiences where there weren’t a lot of hardcore punk insiders in the recording game so you always had to work with somebody from the outside world who was tolerant of the racket you were going to make. That’s why I took an interest in producing in the first place. We were recording with these people who didn’t like our music but just needed a paycheck. I wanted to understand the recording process more and take charge of that stuff because I really believe that no one knows what your band is supposed to sound like better than you do. If you have the technical ability to record yourself, then you should. And if you don’t, you should work with someone who understands where you’re coming from, artistically and sonically. Going back to the original question, Brian and Steve were people who had roots in the hardcore scene and put together recording studios early in their lives, so they were the people who showed me I could do this.
Were you watching and studying those guys when they were recording Converge?
To a certain extent. When Steve worked with Converge, I had already been recording for a couple years and I wasn’t at the point yet where I felt comfortable taking full control of the recording of my own band. I hold my own band to higher standards than anyone else, because it’s my own band. As much as I care about all the bands I record, I care about my band more because it’s more of a reflection of me. When we had more of a budget, we brought in Steve for When Forever Comes Crashing, but three-quarters of that record had been tracked when he came along. He mostly just tracked the vocals and did the mixing. I was actually working a day job at the time, so I wasn’t there for a lot of that. I was hoping to learn a lot more from him, but I ended up missing a lot of that. With Brian, I certainly watched what he did and studied him, but there are recording engineers who are more technical and there are recording engineers who are more artistic, and he falls in line with the more artistic engineers. He’s more like a producer who’s engineering because he has to, not because he wants to. Engineering isn’t his passion, producing is his passion, so he tries to make the recording process very transparent to the band. He just cares what a record sounds like and wants to get it done, so he wasn’t explaining a lot about what he was doing.
Where do you stand on the technical and artistic engineer division?
I’m probably in between. I’m a nerd, so I like to talk tech. I try not to get bogged down in technical things because I want the artist to focus on playing, but if people take an interest then I’m willing to share stuff. Occasionally I work with someone who is a fledgling recording engineer, and those people can be awesome to work with, and they can also be incredibly annoying. When people are asking me questions nonstop, then it gets in the way of what I’m doing.
You have a limited amount of time. Yeah, and I don’t want to train my competition either.
Since working with those two guys, you’ve done 50 to 60 records. Have you watched other producers since then?
Very little, actually. In a certain sense I wish I had gone with a more traditional route in my recording education. It was never a career I intended on having. It was just a career that I fell in to. Had I intended on having this career, then I would have had an internship. I would have worked in a commercial studio that would have a really diverse clientele. I would have gotten a chance to assist a lot of different engineers on a lot of different types of music, and I never had that. I feel like the learning I have done has gone a lot slower than what a lot of engineers have gone through. I think there’s also a positive side effect of that: since I’ve mostly had to develop on my own, I’ve developed my own style. It’s the same with my guitar playing. It took me longer to get to the point where I am, but I think what I do is more unique than what some other people do.
When you became the central producer for Converge, is that when you built your own studio?
I started recording because I had an interest in demoing my own material and I wanted to start to understand the recording process so that when I went into someone else’s studio I wouldn’t feel so lost. I’ve always had a need to understand things. When I buy something new, I take it apart to see how it works. The signal flow of a recording studio is pretty complicated and I never understood how it works, so I wanted to have a better understanding of it. This was before digital recording was so prevalent, so I bought a half-inch four track and started recording my own demos in my parents’ garage. Then friends’ bands would ask me to record their 7-inch, so I would start doing that stuff. Then I started charging ten dollars an hour and I was able to buy a little bit of equipment. Then I finished college and began working as a biomedical engineer and had a decent salary, so I was able to start accumulating equipment at a faster rate. Friends would ask me to record them, I’d get a little money, buy better gear, get a bigger space. There wasn’t a moment where I was like, I want to record Converge, so I have to build a studio. It was more like, I have a studio, I can record Converge, let’s do this here instead taking X amount of dollars and giving it to some other person who doesn’t care as much about the band as I do. How about I take that money and buy some new equipment to be able to record the band better. Starting with the No Heroes record, that’s the first time I did everything—produced, engineered, mixed—on a Converge record. That’s when I thought I finally had an ability level that was on par with anybody else who we would have gotten to work on the record. Or at least my enthusiasm and focus on the band was enough to overcome my engineering shortcomings.
How did you make the decision to choose the music path over the non-music path?
I’ve always had a difficulty committing to decisions, so I’m on parallel paths a lot of the time in a lot of different aspects of my life. The decision was basically made for me. The project I was working on at my job as a biomedical engineer was cancelled and I was given the opportunity of either finding another job within the company or taking an eight-month, full-pay and fullbenefits severance package. The music scene that we played in was sort of blowing up at that point in time, so there was a lot more opportunity for my band. We also put out Jane Doe on September 4, 2001, and we knew when we put out that record that it was by far our best record. We knew we had finally come of age and were doing our own sound. It was no longer derivative of other things. We had the right lineup of musicians playing. I had just been laid off but I had the security blanket of getting paid, and my studio was doing pretty well at the time, so all these different things lined up for me. So I said, “Why don’t I try to do this music thing for a little while?” I never set out to have a career in it, but the stars were aligned in a certain way.
You have responsibilities in your own band (recording, touring, marketing, etc.) and then you record so many other bands. How do you work out the scheduling?
It’s tough, because I have to schedule time off for myself. It’s tough to schedule creativity, but I have to say, “In four months I’m free for these three days, so let’s schedule band practice and write songs.” I just try to spend time doing some upfront work so I’m somewhat prepared when that time comes and I don’t have to try to be creative on the spot. I schedule my life a few months in advance. I’m trying to back off of that and not overcommit myself. I’m in a more comfortable financial position than I have been in the past, so I don’t need to be working nonstop. I’m turning down a lot of the work that comes my way. I’m trying to make sure that when you see my name connected to something, it’s something that I back in some way, whether it’s music I love or friends I love whose music I want to get out there, even if I don’t love their band. My name connected to something should mean that thing reflects a certain quality. We live in a consumerist world and I try to be very conscious, not only as someone who is a consumer of things, but as someone who is also a creator of products that are consumed.
How do you say no to musicians who want to work with you?
It’s definitely hard. I don’t typically say no to my friends. There are definitely times when I’m “too busy,” but in reality a lot of the times I really am too busy. And the financial thing comes into it. Charging what I charge has the side benefit of pricing me out of some of the lower-end bands that I don’t really want to record. Most of my business now is repeat business. And in a lot of cases with new bands I haven’t worked with before, unless they blow me away I’m not going to take on the project.
What do you expect from a band before they walk into a session?
Depending on how long the session is and what the budget is, I love to hear demos of songs, even if it’s practice recordings. I think of myself as a documentarian, so if they’re doing an album in two weeks or four weeks, I want to get involved in the songwriting, I’ll get involved along the way and give them suggestions. From an equipment perspective, I want to know what they’re bringing in and that everything is in a good state of repair. We talk about making sure that there are new strings, that guitars are intonated, that there’s new drum heads, that there’s no broken cymbals. I try to talk to a band beforehand and figure out what their goals are on a record. I try to figure out not what they are saying their goals are, but what their goals actually are. A lot of times what a band says and what they actually mean are different. I try to get myself prepared for that, to get them to where they really want to be, not where they say they want to be. Then I want the songs to be done. My time is valuable, so if I’m sitting around waiting for somebody else to figure out their stuff, then I get bothered. When I’m in a creative mode I want to be creative and not sit around waiting for someone to figure something out. Or if there is some interpersonal problem with the band that I have to wait for, that takes the wind out of my sails. When I’m in the studio I just want to work, work, work until we’re done, then relax, relax, relax. I don’t want the constant feeling of where I’m kind of working but kind of social.
Do you have an overall recording philosophy that makes you appealing to bands?
My philosophy is mostly just to make the musicians as comfortable as I can. Being that I’m from the community that they’re typically from, there is a certain comfort level already. We’ve got a lot of the same inside jokes and we get a lot of the same references. There’s a lot of unspoken communication. Even just hearing a band I have a feel for where they’re coming from, so I can adapt my personal taste and my personal cheese filter. It’s mostly about making sure people are comfortable in their recording environment and trying not to have them make too many concessions in the recording process. I record bands all the time where we just set up live in my room like it’s band practice. There’s no headphones, there’s just a bunch of mics facing the drumset, and we’ll record a record that way. Other times, if people want to be more meticulous and spend time on each instrument, we do that too. Whatever they are accustomed to doing and whatever they are comfortable doing is what I want them to do, just so they can perform the best. Watch the full interview with Kurt Ballou from the Scion Music(less) Music Conference at scionav.com/mmc
Panopticon “Social Disservices” Aggressive anarchist black metal.
Reissue of the classic four way split featuring Loss, Otesanek, Mournful Congregation & Orthodox.
P.O. BOX 31117 SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94131 USA
Interview: Etan Rosenbloom Photography: Kimberly Johnson Dead. Abuse. Dirge. Noise. The titles of Wormrot’s releases are as to-the-point as the explosive grindcore songs they write. Just two years after releasing their debut LP, these three Singaporean blastmasters have perfected the art of abbreviated aural terror. They’ve also devastated stages and poorly lit basements around the world and joined the hallowed Earache Records roster. Wormrot guitarist Rasyid told us all about the band’s foundations and life in Singapore. Singapore definitely isn’t known for its extreme music scene. How did you first find out about grindcore? My first exposure to fast music would simply be Slayer. I didn’t know anything about grindcore, I didn’t have many friends, let alone ones that were in the punk or metal scenes. I searched and found Pig Destroyer and there was no turning back. Even now, you can still hear their influence in our music. The term “grindcore” didn’t mean anything to me at that point. I thought PxDx was just a metal band playing fast, and I liked that. Did it take awhile to develop your sound, or was it pretty immediate? When Wormrot first started, we wanted to play deathgrind. But I wasn’t that good on guitar, I kept playing punk and thrash riffs. So I just started writing songs with those riffs, [vocalist] Arif caught on, and we’ve been playing that ever since. Your bandmates worked together during their mandatory National Service stints. How does army life contrast with being in a band? All of us served in the National Service. I was a Transport Supervisor 3rd Sergeant. Obviously, life in the army is rigid and strict, so whatever’s thrown at
the band is nothing compared to what we got in the army. But there are valuable skills we learned in the army that come in handy without us even realizing it. Is there anything quintessentially Singaporean about Wormrot? Musically, no, but how the band works, maybe. We run a tight ship, do things responsibly and are as efficient as possible. It’s not because we have to, but because we want to. We don’t drink excessively before the show so we won’t screw up the set, because we believe in giving our paying audiences the sharpest performance every night. Sure, there’ll be one or two nights where one of us (usually me) will forget that responsibility and drink a little too much and ruin the set, but everything goes back to normal the next day.
What are some of the misconceptions about Singapore that you’ve encountered on the road? That Singapore consists of only Chinese people, or that Singapore is in China. These two are the common ones. Sometimes people will even correct us and say, “You’re Indonesians!” No, we’re not. What do you do for day jobs? Currently, none of us has a job. We just came back from our European tour. Every time we tour, some of us have to quit our jobs and find new ones after the tour. I was lucky enough to retain my job for the first few tours, but not this time. It’s an endless and unavoidable cycle.
How do you progress from each release to the next when your songs are typically between 30 and 100 seconds long? We just write songs that we would want to listen to. We only know how much we’ve progressed months after the album is released and we listen to it ourselves, comparing it to the album before it. The songs are short, but that does not mean we spent less time and put in less effort. It isn’t easy to make a short song sound complete. Grindcore might sound mindless to some who call it a cheap metal rip-off, but to us it’s an art in itself. If you had to write a ten-minute song, what do you think it would sound like? It would sound like a waste of time. facebook.com/wormrot Hear Scion A/V Presents: Wormrot — Noise, a collection of five new songs, at scionav.com/wormrot
REPULSION Interview: J. Bennett Photogrpahy: Phil Reyes & Niki Schindler
If Slayer’s Reign In Blood is considered the ultimate thrash album—and it is—then Repulsion’s Horrified is the Reign In Blood of grindcore. Like Reign, it was recorded in 1986, but it wasn’t released until five years later, long after Repulsion had broken up. The proof of its legacy lies in the fact that Repulsion never recorded a second album and yet they still play to crowds of thousands at metal festivals all over the globe. We sat down with Repulsion bassist/vocalist Scott Carlson, guitarist Matt Olivo and new second guitarist Marissa Martinez a few hours before Martinez performed her first full show with the band at the Scion Metal Matinee in Los Angeles. Does Repulsion have a specific musical philosophy? Scott Carlson: I think the philosophy behind the band to begin with was to outdo all of our heroes in every way possible. Maybe not in terms of musical virtuosity, but extremity. If there was a band we liked that had gory lyrics, I wanted our lyrics to be gorier. I wanted the guitar riffs and the drumming to be faster and heavier. We wanted our music to be faster and heavier than everything that came before us. So it was competitive? Carlson: No, I don’t think we were competitive with other bands, because we were huge fans of everyone around us. It was more because we were fans of extreme music. We wanted to come up with the most extreme music, something we could be fans of. And it worked for us. For a very brief period of time we were really focused on what we were doing. People still hold the Horrified album in high regard because of its extremity, so I think we achieved our goal. In the context of 1986, it’s still a pretty extreme and heavy record. But it wasn’t a competitive thing at all. It was more out of our love of extremity. Marissa, you were a Repulsion fan before you joined the band. What about their music attracted you? Marissa Martinez: When I heard Horrified, it just spoke to me. When I pick up a guitar and start noodling, I play just like these guys do. So that really resonated with me, plain and simple. And that’s why my own band, Cretin, is kind of like the second coming of Repulsion. But I’m totally honored to be a part of this band right now. Now that you’re a member of the band, do you have a different perspective on Repulsion than you did when you were a spectator? Martinez: Honestly, the music is more complicated than I thought it was. That really surprised me. A lot of the stuff I wrote for my own band is really dumbed down from what these guys did initially. Scott told me
that when they originally wrote this stuff, they played it slower, so there were more complicated things in there to spice it up. But now we’re playing it full on. When Repulsion first started out, you were trading tapes with other underground metal bands from all over the world. Did you get the sense that you were doing something different? Matt Olivo: Definitely. When you looked around at underground metal in those days, people were emulating the cutting edge bands—Possessed and Slayer and bands like that. There was nobody doing what we were doing. In fact, that’s part of the reason that Repulsion exists in the strange state that it does today. I hate to say it, but we were ahead of our time. I know it sounds arrogant, but we really were. We couldn’t get signed, nobody would take us seriously, so we broke up after about a year. Everybody moved on. I was in the Army when our album was finally released, five years after we recorded it. By then, journalists and other key people in the underground started gushing over it. Over time, it became known as a paradigm or an evolutionary linchpin for extreme music and grindcore. When you talk to people about who started grindcore, the usual names that come up are Napalm Death, Carcass and Terrorizer. But if you talk to the guys in those bands, they say it was Repulsion, which is a great honor. We just didn’t have enough momentum to get our career started back then. But we’re not complaining. It worked out in the long run. Repulsion recorded one album 25 years ago and fans consistently flock to your shows. Meanwhile, most active bands put out an album every two or three years in order to keep an audience. Do you feel like you’ve defied the industry standard? Carlson: When we recorded Horrified, we were on a mission of extremity. Once we finished it, we felt like we said all we had to say on the subject. We’ve written other grindcore songs since then, but they just don’t have that same youthful energy. There’s something aside from the riffs, there’s an intangible element to music made by young people that you can’t put your finger on. It’s an inspirational magic that happens when people are all on the same page. It stands alone, and if we tried to add to it now, it wouldn’t be Repulsion. We can still play those old songs with the same type of energy, but I think writing new songs with that kind of energy just isn’t possible for us anymore. We’ve all sort of moved on from it. And it’s not like that happened a few years later. It happened almost immediately after we recorded Horrified. So many extreme metal bands from that era have reformed and made new albums that aren’t that great. Does your reluctance to write new Repulsion songs also have to do with not wanting to tarnish the band’s legacy? Carlson: We could write a new Repulsion record, and any number of record labels would give us the money to make it. But it would probably do more harm than good to the overall Repulsion legacy because it just wouldn’t be the same. It would be older guys trying to recapture something, and it would disappoint too many people.
Do you feel differently about the songs on Horrified now than you did when you wrote them? Olivo: When we’re onstage, I sink right back into it. I relive the dream and desire I had when we were young. There’s nothing different. Carlson: The beauty of playing these songs now is that the crowds are bigger and we get to travel to more exotic places than when we were playing on a stage made out of milk crates back in Flint, Michigan. But when we start to play, that old feeling comes back instantly. It’s not hard to conjure up the energy or motivation to play those songs at all. Repulsion has influenced countless extreme metal bands. Many prominent metal musicians even have Repulsion tattoos. Is there a certain weight of responsibility that goes along with that? Olivo: I’ve always felt a little uncomfortable when people come up to me and expect me to be so me kind of underground metal legend. I mean, I was just a kid who worked really hard on my band, just like so many other teenagers did. I won’t let my ego claim any stake over what happened.
Carlson: It always blows my mind when I see that crappy little zombie from the Horrified album cover tattooed on some guy’s entire back. I sketched that at my kitchen table when I was just a kid, you know? I’ve met people from all kinds of bands with Repulsion tattoos on their bodies, and it’s really strange to see that after all these years. It’s amazing. facebook.com/repulsion Watch an interview with Repulsion and videos of their performance from the Scion Metal Matinee series at scionav.com/metal
John Baizley is a founding member of the band Baroness and also an illustrator who exclusively uses traditional media. He has created distinctive artwork for album covers, posters and merchandise for Baroness, as well as for other acts, including Kylesa, Torche, Kvelertak and Pig Destroyer. I’ve never really chosen favorites between music and art. To me, it is imperative that you have a full on artistic vision for your band. There are a handful of bands that have done that in the past and have shown what the power of that can be. I’m talking about a band like Pink Floyd, where press photos aren’t the image that you relate to the band. Or Tool, where you’re very unaware of what the human beings in the band look like. You’re more aware of the overall aesthetic. That was the impetus to even start making music and art again when I did. It wasn’t a case where the music comes first, and then the artwork. I decided to do both, because I can. I said, “Why don’t I make the music an art project, and the art sort of a musical project?” There’s a certain textural quality to the art I’m creating that seems to mirror, reflect back or drive the music that I make. I don’t think there are very many musicians, and I don’t think there are very many artists, who have tried to develop both aspects of their creativity in tandem. But for me, it just seemed obvious. After years and years of making visual art that had no music related to it, and making music that had no visual art related to it, I thought that this just makes sense. There is always a direct tie between one and the other. As far as my approach is concerned, it might not look like it, but I’m much more process-oriented than result-oriented. That means that once it’s done, it’s done. There’s no end point to the art that I make, it’s just, “Stop and start something new.” The pleasure I derive from creation is the process of creating, it’s not looking at something that is finished. In many ways,
my approach is just a reflection of my personality: anxiety-driven manic obssesiveness with very little attention paid to cleanliness or structure. Very often, when it’s working, I’m just exorcising all this energy. And the way that presents itself in my art is what seems to be a meticulous attention to detail, but really is my constant battle to create simple images and relatable icons. The stuff I make can be really obtuse and really angular, but I always start my projects thinking in terms of streamlined compositions and very focused color palates. I think it’s sort of a therapeutic thing where the more I can just work at a piece—whether it’s with a pen or a paintbrush or my finger or a pencil or a knife—the more I’m just working things out of my system. As told to Eric Ducker aperfectmonster.com Watch a panel about Visual Art’s Role in Music featuring John Baizley from the Scion Music(less) Music Conference at scionav.com/mmc
LANDMINE MARATHON Photography: Jeremiah Cooper You wouldn’t guess it when you hear her screaming her face off with Phoenix-based deathgrind outfit Landmine Marathon, but vocalist Grace Perry wasn’t always into metal. Unlike most headbanging diehards, Perry spent her teenage years rocking a pink mohawk, listening to pop punk. Landmine Marathon’s latest album, Gallows, on Prosthetic, has exactly nothing in common with Perry’s youthful listening habits. Instead, the band churns out a merciless blast-barrage that invokes the chaotic spirit of early Earache Records masters Bolt Thrower, Carcass and Napalm Death. Here, Perry talks about her late-stage transition from punk to metal. I definitely did not aspire to be a death metal vocalist. If you had talked to me when I was a kid, this is not what I would’ve said I wanted to do. When I was growing up, I was listening to punk rock—bands like Face to Face and Propagandhi. I had the pink mohawk and loved punk rock through and through. When I was 15, I started my first band, which was an all-girl punk rock band. When I was about 18, I started another band with a few of my friends from high school. We called ourselves Osama Bin SARS. It wasn’t a screamo band, but we screamed because we didn’t know how to sing. We would also dress in offensive costumes just to piss people off. It was a lot of fun. The guy who became the bass player in Landmine Marathon was at one of our shows and later approached me on MySpace to ask if I was interested in starting a metal band. I didn’t really listen to metal at that time. I mean, everybody knows about Slayer and bands like that, but I just didn’t listen to that stuff. But I figured, sure, I’ll go for it. And I’ve been in love with metal ever since.
The album that really converted me was Slaughter of the Soul by At the Gates. The first time I heard it, I was enthralled. I probably listened to that album about 40 times the first week I had it. I didn’t know that this kind of music could be that amazing. That was definitely a style I wanted to emulate, along with all the other old Earache bands. I kinda feel like a poseur because I didn’t get into metal until I was 19, but I love it just as much as the next person. There’s no other genre that’s this extreme or this outlandish. I think it’s the purest form of expression. I know I don’t look or sound like it onstage, but I’m actually pretty girly. I’m not always wearing combat boots and band T-shirts. The clothes I wear at home are a lot different from the clothes I wear on tour, and that’s because I don’t want the clothes I wear at home to get trashed. On our first tour, I brought girl clothes. I didn’t really understand what it meant to be a metal singer. You have to be aggressive up there and I’m not a super aggressive person. I would never harm a fly, but when I’m onstage I transform into a person I never knew I had inside of me. Being onstage that first time, I realized the kind of power this music has. And as the singer in a metal band, you can do whatever you want. You don’t have that in other genres of music. I feel like I can go into a trance, hit myself with the mic, get in people’s faces, whatever. And it’s not like I’m trying to impress people when I do things like that, that’s just what the music does to me. I can’t help it. And that’s why I love it. As told to J. Bennett facebook.com/landmine.marathon Watch an interview with Landmine Marathon and videos of their performance from the Scion Rock Fest at scionav.com/rockfest
In the late 1990s, Rayny Forster was playing in punk and metal bands and booking shows in Windsor, Ontario. At one gig, he engaged in a little too much audience participation and landed himself in the emergency room. The doctor who saw Forster that night called him a “moshpit tragedy.” Forster remembered those words in 2006, when he decided to start his own record label. “I didn’t have much aspiration at first,” he says. “I mainly just wanted to put out releases for a few bands I knew or had been part of. After a year and a half, I decided that I didn’t want to spend all my time packing boxes and dealing with distributors. That stuff is no fun, and I wasn’t much good at it anyway.” In late 2007, Forster stopped producing physical releases and switched to an all-digital download model. But his real innovation was allowing customers to name their own price for all the albums, including releases from Oakland stonerrock soldiers Devil’s Son-In-Law, Finnish grind dealers Hangover Overdose and even English crust punk legends Amebix. “As an artist, it’s the artistic side of things that’s important to me,” Forster says. “Now I don’t have to worry if a CD will sell enough units for me to break even. If I like something that a band submits, I release it, plain and simple. I still have a lot of work to do, but it’s a whole different path now—one that hasn’t been tread before, and that’s exciting.”
Since converting to the all-download format, Moshpit Tragedy’s roster has expanded to include high-profile crust punk and grind bands like Extreme Noise Terror, Phobia and Total F*****g Destruction. Unsurprisingly, Forster’s generous pay-whatever policy hasn’t exactly made him—or the bands—rich. When Moshpit Tragedy released Amebix’s Monolith for 18 months starting in March 2008, it was downloaded over 4,000 times but pulled in only a few hundred dollars. But Forster believes making money isn’t actually the point. “Many of the older titles have been downloaded eight or nine thousand times now, but are only paid for on rare occasions,” he explains. “Even if it just helps bands on a promotional level, I think they are happy doing something positive for their fans. And since my goals are not purely financial, I consider the label itself to be a success.” moshpittragedy.com
NEW YORK Photographer and writer Fred Pessaro is the metal/ punk editor at the website Brooklyn Vegan. As a live event promoter, he independently books over 80 shows per year. We asked him to share his current favorites in the New York metal community. Precious Metal My friend Curran Reynolds, who is the current drummer for Wetnurse and Today Is The Day, puts together a weekly thing called Precious Metal. He has it at Lit Lounge in Manhattan. It’s basically an avenue for local and some touring bands to play. He always has at least three bands. I’m hesitant to say it’s 100% great bands, but more often than not, it’s a good night. Gang Signs The other day I did this show with this band Gang Signs. They are a two-piece, but will be becoming a three-piece. It’s like death metal meets Black Cobra. It’s pretty brutal. I’m way into them. Hospital Productions There’s a place that’s great for noise and black metal releases called Hospital Productions. It’s run by Dominick Fernow, who is known as Prurient. He’s also part of Cold Cave right now. Hospital is a very specific spot. They have great black metal, crazy noise and a lot of weird/interesting stuff there. The Acheron & The Anchored Inn Both the Acheron and the Anchored Inn are in Bushwick, right next to each other. Acheron is kind of a DIY/punk spot, but there are a lot of metal shows that go on there. And there are a lot of metal people who hang out at the Anchored Inn in
general. You can get a drink at the Anchored Inn next door and then check out a show. There’s usually something interesting going on in at the Acheron. Youth of Today recently played a secret show there. Psychic Limb I put out a record with this band Psychic Limb. They’re a four-piece hard grind crew. They have one LP called Queens on Clairvoyant Recordings. It’s 14 songs in 12 minutes and it was probably one of my favorite records of 2011. I’m not just saying that because I was involved, everyone who touches it really enjoys it. Saint Vitus Saint Vitus in Greenpoint is kind of the new kid on the block. It’s run by some of the guys in this band called Primitive Weapons. They have shows there that vary from hardcore to new goth-y bands that would fit in on Pendu Sound Recordings or Sacred Bones. Duff’s Duff’s is a New York institution when it comes to metal. It’s in Williamsburg, but it used to be in a different place. They don’t really have shows there, it’s more of an after party spot. Back in the day, if Slayer played in town, they might come to Duff’s afterwards to have a drink. It’s kind of ingrained in the New York scene. fotonegatif.tumblr.com
Watch panels, interviews and workshops to dev elop a ca r eer in music
FEATURING: Jazzy Jeff, Juan Atkins, Prince Paul, Wino, Joey Santiago, Dwid Hellion, Moodymann, Kid Congo, Tony Foresta of Municipal Waste, Rob Swift, Teki Latex, Steve McDoNald, Hunx, John Baizley, Lance Bangs, Mike Simonetti, Goner Records, Third Man Records, Pomp&Clout, Henry Chalafant AND many more
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A true staple of the extreme music landscape, Scott Kelly founded the band Neurosis more than 25 years ago. He also is a member of Shrinebuilder’s megaheavy dream lineup. On his KMBT Radio show for Scion Streaming Radio, Kelly plays both metal and some decidedly non-metal artists. Here, he discusses what he’s been listening to. Amebix, Sonic Mass (Easy Action) The best thing I’ve heard in a long time, years really, is that new Amebix record, Sonic Mass. It’s as a record should be. It takes you on a trip, it tells a story. The dynamics within the record are so varied that it constantly keeps your attention. I think that the music speaks for itself, but the words those guys bring have some sort of empowerment to them. I think they are guys who write from a deeper place. The message has an otherworldly feel to it. It makes you feel good about doing something different. Amebix has been my favorite band since I was 18 years old, but this is the first record they’ve done in 20 years. There’s still the same guitarist and bassist, but they have a new drummer. I think he helped facilitate them moving forward, but it’s amazing to take that much time off and come back with something that is so deep. They were a very primary influence on Neurosis for all the reasons I spoke of before. They can be political without actually talking about politics, but they’re mainly like a spiritual band. George Jones I’ve been spending a lot of time going back and listening to old George Jones lately. I’ve always listened to a lot of old country music and he’s been the one I’ve been focused on because of his voice and his storytelling. He has this sprawl about his songs that appeals to me. Waylon Jennings is definitely my guy, and I guess Hank Williams is everybody’s guy, but George Jones is one of those guys where I’ve had a lot of his music over the years, and I listen to
it, but most recently I’ve been delving into it deeper
and appreciating it more. Some of his stuff is more uptempo, which typically isn’t my thing, but I like the way he does it. I’m always attracted to the voice, and he’s got one of those voices where once you start listening to it, you crave it.
Rwake, Rest (Relapse) Those guys have really stepped into their own. They’ve been working very hard for a number of years and I think it’s really showing in their songwriting and in the depth of emotion that they’re able to reach in their music now. Swans The last record they did, My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky, was fantastic. They’re another band that went away and came back and did an amazing record. And apparently they have another one that’s being finished right now. I had the opportunity to see them in April in Holland and it was amazing, as usual. They’re basically back in business. It’s some of the same people, some different, but they’re still a band that lives on their own plane, unparalleled. Adrian Sherwood I was able to see him for the first time last summer and that was fantastic. He was out of this world. I’m not really a DJ sort of guy, it’s not really my thing, but when you can see what someone like him can really do with it, it changes your perspective completely. It’s just so aggressive, so intense, and it’s all coming from his brain in there somewhere. Listen to KMBT Radio on Scion Streaming Radio at scionav.com/radio/channel5
Early Graves at the Scion Metal Matinee in Los Angeles
Exodus at Scion Label Showcase: Nuclear Blast
The Solitary Arts at the A Product of Design opening at SCION Installation LA
JB Lab at the A Product of Design opening at SCION Installation LA
Scott Miller of Sutekh Hexen at the Scion Music(less) Music Conference
TOWN Guests at the Scion Metal Matinee in Los Angeles
All Shall Perish at Scion Label Showcase: Nuclear Blast
CEREBRAL BALLZY at the Scion Metal Matinee in Los Angeles
Ben Venom at the Use Me opening at SCION Installation LA
Ben Blanc at the A Product of Design opening at SCION Installation LA
Early Graves at the Scion Metal Matinee in Los Angeles