Metal Zine Vol. 8
MESHUGGAH YOB FROM ASHES RISE TERROR WOLD WITCH MOUNTAIN
STAFF Scion Project Manager: Jeri Yoshizu, Sciontist Editor: Eric Ducker Creative Direction: Scion Art Direction: BON Contributing Editor: J. Bennett Graphic Designer: Jamie Story CONTRIBUTORS Writer: Fred Pessaro Photographers: Bliss, Gregory Bojorquez, Katie Egger, Nolan Wiley CONTACT For additional information on Scion, email, write or call. Scion Customer Experience 19001 S. Western Avenue Mail Stop WC12 Torrance, CA 90501 Phone: 866.70.SCION Fax: 310.381.5932 Email: Email us through the Contact page located on scion.com Hours: M-F, 6am-5pm PST Online Chat: M-F, 6am-6pm PST Scion Metal Zine is published by BON. For more information about BON, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Company references, advertisements and/ or websites listed in this publication are not affiliated with Scion, unless otherwise noted through disclosure. Scion does not warrant these companies and is not liable for their performances or the content on their advertisements and/or websites. ÂŠ 2012 Scion, a marque of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc. All rights reserved. Scion and the Scion logo are trademarks of Toyota Motor Corporation. 00430-ZIN08-MT
Cover: From Ashes Rise photographed by Gregory Bojorquez Background: Psychic TV at Scion Rock Fest photographed by Bliss
SCION A/V SCHEDULE
August 18 Scion Label Showcase: Bridge 9, featuring H2O, Verse, Soul Control, and Expire at the Glasshouse, Pomona, California August 28 Scion A/V Presents: Pallbearer (10-inch and digital release) SEPTEMBER September 11 Scion A/V Presents: Saint Vitus â€” Live from Scion Rock Fest (vinyl and digital release) September 13 Scion A/V Presents: Moshpit Tragedy Label Showcase (live recording) September 15 Scion Label Showcase: Metal Blade Records, featuring 6 Feet Under, Cattle Decapitation, Pilgrim, Gypsy Hawk, and Battlecross at the Glasshouse, Pomona, California September 25 Scion A/V Presents: Revocation EP (digital release) OCTOBER October 9 Scion A/V Presents: Bridge 9 Label Showcase (live recording) October 13 Scion Label Showcase: Season of Mist, featuring the Casualties, Saint Vitus, Cynic, and A Life Once Lost at the Glasshouse, Pomona, California NOVEMBER November 10 Scion Label Showcase, featured label and acts TBA, at the Glasshouse, Pomona, California November 13 Scion A/V Presents: Metal Blade Records Label Showcase (live recording)
Story: Fred Pessaro
Photography: Katie Egger
If it weren’t for some well-placed vulgarities, you might mistake Terror vocalist Scott Vogel for a preacher, leading the masses on a crusade towards positivity through a succession of vicious mosh-beatdowns, violent crowd surfers, and group singalongs. But Vogel is also a ringmaster, shepherding these “wild animals” through hardcore music and peppering his onstage banter with notes about unity, staying true to yourself, and, perhaps most shockingly, delivering it with a dose of humor. To say that Scott Vogel is charismatic is an understatement. Vogel has had some time to develop that stage presence. His roots lie in the fertile Buffalo, New York scene of the early 1990s that also birthed hardcore heavyweights Snapcase. Vogel’s rise with Slugfest led to stints fronting Despair and Buried Alive, and eventually matched him with drummer Nick Jett, his longtime Terror bandmate and the only other constant in their Los Angeles hardcore crew. A string of 7-inches with respected hardcore labels lead to the their breakthrough full length, One With the Underdogs. It was all uphill from there: cycles of relentless touring eventually resulted in another two full lengths before a move to the mostly metal-leaning label Century Media. The madness never stopped, though; more touring and recording persisted, giving way to 2008’s The Damned, The Shamed and 2010’s Keepers of the Faith. The band is planning its next release, Live By The Code, for Reaper Records later this year. You’d think that being as entrenched in the hardcore scene for as long as Terror has been might make bandmembers jaded. Not so for these lifers, according to drummer Nick Jett, who readily admits that the state of the music today is as crucial to their sound as the bands of yesteryear. “I definitely think that young hardcore bands influence us,” he says. “That’s what gives us motivation to play our style of hardcore music today—seeing young, fresh kids’ take on it.” It’s these constant changes and “knowing their roots” (as Scott Vogel’s tattoo says) that helps keep Terror relevant in a largely fast-paced and oversaturated genre like hardcore. Yet the most central component to the Terror sound is the message. The band’s unrelenting work ethic is strictly old school, and their songs teach a no-nonsense code of tolerance, freedom, and positivity while channeling those ideas through an outwardly negativity-fueled genre. It’s working, but more importantly, it gets the kids stage diving. terrorlahc.com Watch performances from Terror at Scion Rock Fest at scionav.com/rock
ROYAL THUNDER Story: J. Bennett
Photography: Gregory Bojorquez
The name was a mistake. When guitarist Josh Weaver started a band with his brother Ryan and his best friend Jason Kelly, Kelly already had a moniker in mind. “Jason suggested that we call the band Royal Thunder, after a tour that Bob Dylan had done,” Weaver explains. “We found out not long afterwards that Dylan’s tour was actually called Rolling Thunder. But we were happy with the name, so we stuck with it.” The newly minted trio played a handful of shows as an instrumental outfit around their hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. Between gigs, they’d practice at Weaver’s house, where he lives with his wife, Mlny Parsonz. “When they’d practice, I’d hang out in the other room and wait ’til it was over,” she explains. “The whole time, I’d sing melodies out loud, and they thought it sounded pretty good.” Parsonz turned out to be Royal Thunder’s missing ingredient. She joined the band on bass and vocals in 2007 and they released a self-titled EP in 2009. A satisfying collusion of dark Sabbathian blues and distinct Southern overtones, Royal Thunder set the stage for the band’s 2012 masterpiece, CVI. By then, Kelly and Ryan Weaver had left the band and were replaced by drummer Lee Smith and guitarist Josh Coleman. “It’s the Roman numerals for 106,” Weaver says of the album’s title. “It’s a number we’ve seen so much in our lives. Like today, we took a shuttle from the airport, and it cost $106. Our original drummer was born on January 6, which is 1/06. The number has been following me since I was a teenager, when I found $106 on the ground at a stoplight. It isn’t good or bad, it’s just always there. So it felt right to call the album that.” As for having a husband and wife in the same band, Parsonz says she and Weaver always check their domestic life at the door. “What we have outside the band is sacred to us, but we don’t intertwine the two—ever,” she explains. “A lot of people actually think we’re brother and sister.” facebook.com/royalthundermusic Download live tracks from Royal Thunder’s performance at the Scion Label Showcase: Relapse Records at scionav.com/relapserecords
As told to Eric Ducker
With six years in the game and a new self-titled album on Metal Blade Records, Whitechapel is an established live draw in the metal community. In fact, when this deathcore crew first set foot in Southern California they were able to pull 300 people to their show just because of strong word of mouth and what people were writing about them on the internet. And though the band now regularly tours the entire country, we spoke with guitarist Alexander Wade about playing in the band’s hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. Knoxville, Tennessee is where we started out. It’s always cool to play hometown shows and have your friends come out and your family come out. They can see how we’ve progressed. They were the ones who were there when we were playing rec centers and gyms and benefit shows. Now we’ve grown into a career-level band. We’ve gone from using my Jeep Cherokee to pull the trailer to touring in tour buses. The venue in Knoxville we play is called the Valarium and it’s really awesome It’s one of my favorite places to play. The PA is killer and everything about it is really nice. Usually when we play there we plan for it to be on a headlining tour, so we’ll either start or end it there. There used to be more DIY things going on in Knoxville. There was a coffee shop, Old City Java, where some of my early bands played. They weren’t even supposed to have shows, it was like a 60-person capacity space, but they would pack 200 people in there and the cops would always show up. A lot of that kind of stuff doesn’t go on any more [in Knoxville]. When we were up-and-coming, there were a lot more people doing DIY shows, renting out VFW halls, but as we grew older, the younger generation didn’t really catch on to that. Nobody in Knoxville does anything else like that any more. Watch a video for “I, Dementia” by Whitechapel, part of the Scion A/V Video Series, at scionav.com/media
Story: Eric Ducker Photography: Nolan Wiley
Witch Mountain has been together since 1997, back when Portland’s metal scene was basically nonexistent. “Playing doom metal here in the 1990s was almost unheard of. Having a full stack, or playing leads, or being good at your instrument was really uncool in Portland back then,” says the group’s drummer, Nathan Carson. In the subsequent years, not only has the city become renowned for its multidimensional and metastasizing scene, but Witch Mountain has slowly evolved into the band they always knew they could be. While many groups take their best shot within the first five years of existence (if they’re lucky enough to last that long), Witch Mountain released its debut Come the Mountain in 2001, and though the band continued playing live, they did not release another album until 2011’s South of Salem. But just a year later, they’ve returned with Cauldron of the Wild on Profound Lore, a commanding and alluring collection that is their strongest work yet.
This development can be attributed to multiple factors. In 2009 the band added Uta Plotkin, then an intern at Carson’s concert booking agency, as lead singer. Witch Mountain had been looking for the right frontperson for years, and Plotkin not only wields a tremendous voice, but a different perspective than most metal singers. While Plotkin appears on South of Salem, the songs were all written before she joined the group; for Cauldron of the Wild she handled all the lyrics herself. Rob Wrong, who had been covering lead vocals by default, was now able to focus solely on his guitar playing. The group also added bassist Neal Munson of Billions and Billions. “It’s a much more cohesive piece, and it’s much more representative of where we are as a group today,” Carson says of Cauldron. Though some unexpected events had to happen to make Witch Mountain the force it is today, it also makes sense considering the importance that Portland metal puts on maturation. “The scene here is really community based. There’s not really much infrastructure or business attached to it. There aren’t many labels here, there aren’t any magazines, there’s not much radio, so really it’s just a group of musicians who never quit,” says Carson. “And most of the bands are not young bands. They’ve been doing this for a long time, and they have continued to get better and better. Heavy metal is not a young man’s game anymore. Most of the time, if you see a young band, you’re like, ‘Well, they’re really good for their age.’” witchmountain.com Watch performances from Witch Mountain at Scion Rock Fest at scionav.com/rock
As told to J. Bennett
Canadian duo Wold just might be responsible for some of the weirdest, creepiest music in the annals of extremity. Over the course of five full-lengths, reclusive vocalist/guitarist/ programmer Fortress Crookedjaw and guitarist Obey have channeled the wintry isolation of their native Saskatchewan into unnerving swaths of hypnotic horror. Here, Fortress Crookedjaw talks about the relationship between the band’s environment and output: Saskatchewan is mostly a rural area, and the industries are rural-based. There are two major cities, very spread apart. It’s isolated, and the cities are small as well. So it’s a good place to live in your head. Until recently, I lived in Regina, which is the capital. Canada is such a colonial country that Regina is actually Queen Victoria’s middle name. That’s why it’s also called “The Queen City.” [Obey] lives in Moosejaw, which is a neighboring, smaller city. It’s about 40 kilometers southwest of Regina. Regina is on the prairie. You drive out of Regina, past the buildings, and you’re on the prairie—the western grasslands. Growing up there, you’re truly a product of it. It’s bizarre flying into Regina, because it’s just massive flatlands. Slowly, as you circle down, you start to see a little civilization. It’s expansive and isolated. Isolation is a theme I’ve always been interested in, and it could be for environmental reasons. Being from the north, growing up there, I’ve always had a strong interest in concepts of the individual versus the collective and the need for the collective to discover individuality. Living in that sort of remoteness in Saskatchewan puts you in touch with that, both literally and metaphorically. It’s had a big impact, and it’s a definitely had an impact on the angst portion of the writing in Wold. It’s something I connect to on a figurative level and a symbolic one. I was born in Saskatchewan and lived there as a child before attending high school in northern Alberta, the neighboring province. I always felt like a foreigner in Alberta, for the most part. It was another isolating, alienating experience to some degree, because it was so different culturally. Canada is more of a mosaic than a melting pot. Where I grew up in Saskatchewan, it was mostly people of Northern Irish descent, Germanic people, and First Nations people. In northern Alberta, it was mostly people of Northern European and Ukrainian descent. So that was a bit of a clash: a Canadian of Northern Irish descent going to a place where the main tourist attraction is “The Biggest Pierogi in the World.” They were all great, hardworking folks, but there was a separation there, culturally speaking, even though we were all Canadian.
Every city you go to is going to have a music scene, but the fact that it’s so microscopic in Saskatchewan means that you can escape a lot of the B.S. of having to be part of a community. In Regina, you can work as an artist with a very individualistic stance. Wold doesn’t really feel any connection to any other music projects in the area. There really wasn’t a scene of bands, like there is where I live now, in New England, and out on the Eastern seaboard. Here, they have their little circle of local bands that will support acts coming through. They all feed off each other, and it’s all reciprocal and, I think, vampiric. One attribute of being isolated in Saskatchewan is being able to bypass that. It forces you to focus on writing and recording. And you’re forced indoors during the winter, anyway. It’s more conducive to creating, I think. In Saskatchewan, six months of the year is winter. On [Wold’s 2008 album] Stratification, that was when we really reached the apex of exploring winter themes. On that album, I was able to achieve some of the sounds and words that I thought would aptly convey the feelings of winter. It came to me years and years before the album, when I was a teenager and just feeling the winter and starting to understand the myths that come out of the season itself. It took me many years before I could feel satisfied in expressing that, and it happened with Stratification. I think that’s also why, as a composer, I didn’t have much to say after that, which is why we did [2010’s] Working Together For Our Privacy. I basically took an oath of silence on that album, before we did [2011’s] Freermasonry. I married an American and moved to Rhode Island last September. I still have strong connections in Saskatchewan and the other member of Wold still lives there, but I’ve relocated myself. It’s a little bit of a different perspective. Saskatchewan will always be a strong signifier of my creative beginnings, so I might have a more sentimental or nostalgic view of the place than the reality of being in the doldrums there. Perhaps the longer I stay away, the more I’ll embrace a sense of false romanticism about it. At the end of the day, people are the same everywhere. But I’ll always feel strong connections there. It becomes symbolic of family, of past loved ones, of long-lost friends. It starts to morph into a psychological phenomenon. Because I live in my head so much even here—I’m not involved in any scene here; I choose to keep myself separated—and the nature of the way the other member and I work, I think we could do a new Wold album without much of a problem. Even when we lived just 40 kilometers from each other, we never got together to jam. We would work through the post, sending tapes. I haven’t started writing any new Wold material since I’ve lived in the States, but ultimately I’d probably like to finish any new Wold album off by going back to the prairie, just for psychological significance. But Wold really comes out of myself, and I’m going to have the reality of being from the prairie no matter where I am. So I think Wold transcends geography, ultimately. wold-klan.blogspot.com Watch performances from Wold at Scion Rock Fest at scionav.com/rock
Interview: J. Bennett Photography: Anthony Dubois
For over two decades, Meshuggah has been decimating the minds and faces of extreme music fans with their hyper-mechanized brand of technical metal. Once relegated to the confines of Europe’s nebulous subunderground, the Swedish band has slowly chipped and smashed its way into something very much like the mainstream. Meshuggah’s seventh and latest album, Koloss, debuted at number 17 on the Billboard chart. We sat down with drummer/lyricist Tomas Haake to discuss the band’s growth. Meshuggah is a band that tends to attract musicians as much as non-musicians. Is it important to you to appeal to people who actually play music? No, not really. We can all appreciate and understand why it’s come to that because of the nature of our music: some of it is kind of complex and to fully understand every part of it, maybe you have to be a musician yourself. But it’s not important if you understand our music—it’s only important how you respond to it. If you go to a show and you like the energy, that’s all that matters. It doesn’t matter if you understand what we’re doing or thinking or the musical theory behind it. That’s really secondary to the energy that we want to transmit. Every member of Meshuggah is known for being very proficient on his instrument. Do you ever find yourself asking, “Am I playing this part because I can, or because it’s good?” If there were ever things like that, —where it’s not for the good of the song, where it feels like showing off, —it would definitely be further back in our catalog. These days we put a lot of effort into making sure the parts are right for the song. We consider that way more than whether you get to shine or not, so to speak. Seeing Meshuggah live can be an overwhelming experience because it’s just this huge wall of sound hitting you in the chest. When you go onstage, is your intent to just steamroll the audience? Yeah, definitely. That’s definitely what we aim for. We want to be as powerful as possible. We want the crowd to feel run over when we’re done. There’re a lot of good things in that kind of energy. We have some calmer parts, but that’s really just to take it down a notch before you put the steamroller in gear again. So it’s definitely intentional. Your new album is the highest-charting album in the US for both Meshuggah and your label, Nuclear Blast. Do you see yourself opening up to a wider audience in this country? I don’t know if it’s that so much as the audience is more accepting to all sorts of styles. It seems like a lot of people are digging it, but overall I think the interest and acceptance to styles like ours, which is a more niche style of music, gets better and better. Obviously, you want people to buy your albums and come to your shows because that’s how you make a living. At the same time, you want to maintain your artistic freedom. How do you walk the line between art and commerce? It’s hard to say. We’d like to think of ourselves as people who are not affected by what people want or expect, and you try to stay in that frame of mind, but I’m not sure it’s completely possible to shut out expectations, and I don’t know if that’s infused in the music. We do what we want to do and hope for the best. Do you read reviews of your albums or shows? Sometimes, but we try to not to put too much weight on that stuff. We’ve been fortunate to have mainly good reviews over the last few albums and not so many bad ones. It’s more fun sometimes just to read the eloquence of the writer. Sometimes they just go over the top with the language they use. But it’s not really important at the same time. How does Koloss fit into the overall trajectory of Meshuggah? The new album is just kind of a continuation of what we’ve been doing. We’ve always tried to do something different with each album, but we don’t actually sit down and talk about it. It’s just a natural thing; it comes from our frame of mind at the time when we’re writing. Looking at it now, it feels like a natural next step. But I think some people might find it a little easier to get into. It’s a little more straightforward than some of the previous albums. That’s probably why to some extent we’ve seen better sales figures for this one, at least initially. In what ways do you think it’s more straightforward than previous Meshuggah albums? Of course it’s impossible for us to stand outside of the band and try to listen to our own music from another perspective. But the songs and the riffs, as far as the patterns and permutations we usually use, are a little less out there. It’s still not radio-friendly. It’s still not easy listening. But it’s a little less demanding. One of the things that people find appealing about Meshuggah is that you constantly seem to be progressing and pushing the boundaries of what can be done with guitars, drums, bass, and vocals. Is that something that’s important to you?
Yeah. We attempt to write music that you can still perform as a five-piece band—that’s kind of the confinement we have—but we play eight-string guitars, so there’s some variation there. On the new album, there were some songs that were written and recorded on regular six-string guitars, but we play them live on the eight-strings. So that adds another dimension to it. We try to avoid using a lot of backing tracks, too. We want to perform as a band, and not have too many add-ons that the five members can’t do. How did you decide on the album title? We were kind of talking about using the English version, Colossus, at first. That was mostly because of how the album was turning out. We felt that it had this heavier sense to it, and overall I think it’s the heaviest album we’ve done. Visually, it just gave us the idea of being immense, this monolithic piece of music. But it took us a long time to decide to go with the Swedish version of the word, Koloss. We decided not to use the English version because probably two thousand releases have had that word in it somehow. It felt right to do it in our native tongue. You released the song “I Am Colossus” as a 7-inch single with a remix on the B-side. Why did you pick that track for a single? We were just kind of intrigued with what remix people could do with that song, because it’s got a different rhythmic idea to it than a lot of the other songs. There were a few different people working on the remix—I don’t know exactly all the different names, but there’s a group of remixers called Foreign Beggars that did a really cool mix. I think they’re from the U.K. They’re mostly in the dubstep scene, and we’ve never had any affiliation with that scene in the past, but dubstep is a really metallic kind of rave music, so it’s not a very weird collaboration. We also haven’t done a lot of singles or 7-inches, so we wanted to try that as well. Maybe one day in the future it will be a collector’s item or something. How has your musical approach changed over the years? Our music has become more linear, in a sense. We try to keep each song with its own vibe; we see them as rooms. Early on [in our career], the songs were really scattered. We tried to push so much into every song. Some of them would have like 27 different riffs with a lot of breaks and different directions. Nowadays, we try to have each track be more focused on the main idea of the song. We try to keep it in that room, so to speak. That would be the main difference. We care more about what’s best for the song. When you’re a young kid, you wanna show the world everything you’ve got in every song. Now we’re more controlled in that sense, and I think it makes for better music. Meshuggah have been making music since 1988. What do you do to keep it interesting for yourselves? That ties into what we were talking about earlier. Rather than forcing ourselves to do a certain thing, we just do whatever we feel at the time when it’s time to write a new album. That automatically makes it more interesting and intriguing, because you don’t know what the outcome is going to be. meshuggah.net Hear Scion A/V Presents: Meshuggah - I Am Colossus, their recently released EP at scionav.com/meshuggah
Interview: J. Bennett
Photography: Gregory Bojorquez
Formed in Nashville in 1997, crust punk outfit From Ashes Rise came to underground prominence in the pre-download, pre-Facebook days by doing things the old-fashioned way: releasing 7-inches through tiny labels, touring their faces off, and building a reputation based upon word of mouth. After moving to Portland, Oregon, in the early aughts, they landed on indie giant Jade Tree Records, who released the band’s last full-length, Nightmares, in 2003. Two years later, the members of From Ashes Rise—guitarist/ vocalist Brad Boatright, drummer Dave Atchison, guitarist John Wilkerson and bassist Derek Willman— went their separate ways and didn’t play another show until 2010. In July of 2012, they released a 7-inch on Southern Lord containing their first new material in nearly a decade. We caught up with Boatright to examine the band’s past and check in on the state of the (re)union. In the last Scion A/V interview you did, you referred to the kind of music From Ashes Rise plays as “scrap metal.” Can you elaborate? If I was a better musician, I’d probably play more technical stuff, and I think it’d probably get away from me a little bit. There are a lot of metal musicians who have skills beyond their talents as songwriters. [From Ashes Rise] come from an era where you had crossover bands like Corrosion of Conformity and DRI—bands that took the aggressive elements of punk and blended them with metal. I kind of saw that continuing through the years, but the term “crossover” kinda stayed stuck in the late 1980s. These days, we’ve got genres that are a melting pot of influences, and we’ve got decades of influences behind us—as opposed to ten years of punk rock back in 1986. So it seemed like “scrap metal” makes sense for us. We’re not good enough to be metal musicians, but we’re scrappy. We’re not really structurally sound, but we’re still metal, just a clump of it. You started the band in Nashville. Is that where you grew up? Dave grew up in Nashville, John and I both grew up in Mississippi. John and I both moved to Murfreesboro, a small town outside of Nashville, in the mid-1990s to go to recording school at Middle Tennessee State University. That’s how I met Dave and we started the band. Eventually we made the move to Portland. It seems like living in Mississippi or the Nashville suburbs and being into underground music in the ’90s would be a lot of work in the pre-internet days.
It was a lot of work, absolutely. For one, it was a lot of work doing what we were doing, but it was also a lot of work finding other bands that had done what we were doing or wanted to do. I was lucky in Mississippi because a good friend of mine had moved to Minneapolis and written for Profane Existence and then moved back to Mississippi. He turned me onto a lot of stuff that I probably wouldn’t have discovered on my own. A lot of stuff you just came across by chance because the local music store may have bought a big batch of cassettes that happened to include a Black Flag tape or something. There was also a lot more relying on printed media—not only to discover things, but to connect with other people doing the same thing. There was no texting somebody in L.A. to get a show. There was no emailing somebody in New York about local bands. It was a lot of work. The cards were stacked against us. I don’t want to be one of those preachy, “Oh, we had to climb uphill barefoot” kind of guys, but it was a different world. That experience must make you appreciate the way things work now. The difference between being a touring band in 1997 and today is immense. Yeah, it really is. And it does make me appreciate how things are now. But I love what things were like back then, and at times I wish they were still like that. Just today I was thinking about album credits, and how you’d read them over and over again while listening to the album. There’s not as much of that these days as there is just putting the iPod on shuffle. But the secret to not getting lost in thinking things were better back then is just knowing that you’re a little freer now: You’ve got more tools at your disposal, and you’ve got much easier means of communication that you can take advantage of. It’s pretty exciting these days. What were the bands that initially made you think you could do this? Definitely Black Flag, because of how much they toured. But they were from L.A., so it wasn’t like they came from the middle of nowhere like we did. If I were to pick a band that inspired me as far as being from the South? Definitely Corrosion Of Conformity. Those were the two big ones, as far as American bands. And then there were U.K. bands like Discharge, GBH, Subhumans, Amebix. But that’s more musically. As far as the spirit and the energy, it was Black Flag and COC. Why did you move the band from Nashville to Portland in the early 2000s? Well, the short answer is that all our friends moved there. Our bass player at the time, Billy, moved there first. He actually followed his close friends out there and ended up starting a band. I followed Billy out, and then Dave came out, and finally John moved out here. So we didn’t all come at the same time. It was slow motion. But the longer answer is that we all wanted a change. We wanted to try something new. We grew up in the South and wanted to move west. San Francisco was too overwhelming. L.A., back then, nobody wanted to move there. So it was between Seattle and Portland. All our friends were in Portland, so we made it home. In other interviews you’ve done, you never seem to have an answer for why the band broke up. Is that because you don’t really know? Yeah, pretty much. I think it was just touring, being locked in a van with four other people—the three other guys in the band plus our merch person. That’ll do weird things to your head. Everybody needs their space, you know? By 2005, we were just feeling burnt out. Things weren’t flowing like they had in the past. Up to that point, everything seemed to come really naturally to us, and sometime in 2005 that seemed to stop. So we decided to take a break. It was never intended to be a permanent breakup, but I’m glad we took the time off. I think we’re a better band now because we did. From Ashes Rise played its first show in nearly five years back in 2010. What was that like? It was the best show we’ve ever played. Best set, best show, best crowd response—everything. I was nervous, but it was like riding a bike. It was cathartic. It felt like where we were supposed to be. Do you have any plans for a new From Ashes Rise album? Sure do. We’ve got maybe three songs that are semi-complete, and we’re shooting for about eight to ten altogether. It probably won’t happen until this time next year or later, but we’re excited about it. audiosiegepdx.com/fromashesrise Watch a video for “Rejoice the End” by From Ashes Rise, part of the Scion A/V Video series, at scionav.com/media
Interview: J. Bennett
Photography: Gregory Bojorquez
Unlike the vast majority of doom bands, Yob doesn’t revel in darkness or morbidity. Founded by guitarist/ vocalist Mike Scheidt in the mid1990s, the Oregonian trio delivers all the mandatory crushing heaviness of their musical forefathers without the woe-is-me lyrics. After going on a brief hiatus from 2006 to 2008, Yob returned to doom’s vanguard with the 2009 album The Great Cessation and its 2011 follow-up, Atma, which landed on year-end best-of lists from Decibel to Pitchfork. Scheidt spoke to us about Yob’s distinct sound: How would you characterize Yob’s musical philosophy? We have a stylistic philosophy that comes from our roots of metal and punk and definitely doom. We’re generally into more extreme and expansive sounds, basically, whether it’s Pink Floyd or Amebix or Neurosis or Sleep or King Crimson. That list could go on and on. Lyrically, we’ve always been more based on the kinder side of things as opposed to the more brutal side of things. I like plenty of bands that are into the brutal, so it’s not a question of better than or worse than, it’s just what feels good to me as a writer at the end of the day. Is that lyrical direction just a reflection of your personality, or is it a way to stand out from the darker, morose doom bands? It’s not calculated. What’s interesting to me is not how tough it is to live in the world—because it is tough and living in a tough world takes up a lot of our collective attention. What’s interesting to me is: How do we come together and make our collective experience easier on each other? I think we have the ability to do that. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t a lot of scary things going on, I’m just more intrigued with how we could be
doing better, and what we can do better within ourselves. How do we find inner peace and be helpful, instead of being part of the confusion, part of the maelstrom? One of the things I like about Yob is that the music has a very hypnotic, meditative quality to it. Is that intentional on your part, or is that just the way it comes out? It’s absolutely intentional. I think the best art takes us out of ourselves while at the same time bringing us closer to ourselves. It does both things at the same time. It’s not like going to see some action movie that takes us out of ourselves but doesn’t necessarily make us better people. I don’t know, I’m not here to judge anyone’s experience of the summer blockbuster, but I do think when you climb into certain music, like Dead Can Dance’s Toward the Within video, you can have that experience. When I watch that, I’m amazed. I’m inspired. I’m blown away. I’m hit on so many different levels—as a listener, as a viewer, as an artist. I think the best art makes us want to reflect those feelings that we get back into our own world, our own lives. While I don’t think Yob consciously tries to do that, I do think the space that kind of music thrives in is universal, and I think each individual has the ability to tap into that themselves. How do you think living in Oregon affects or informs what you do in Yob? I’ve always lived in Oregon, which is very well known for its hippie aspects. Ken Kesey lived there, the [Grateful] Dead spent a lot of time there. I grew up listening to 1960s and 1970s music, crawling around on an avocado-colored carpet in the early ’70s, so some of that stuff is kind of in my bones. But there is something to the Northwest sound. It’s spawned a lot of vital, lasting acts from every single walk. Obviously, Wolves in the Throne Room have a certain kind of pagan edge to them, but then you have bands like Drawn and Quartered or Poison Idea, who are anything but pagan. I think a lot of people are surprised that we’re from Oregon, so we might be somewhat of an anomaly in that regard. But I love Oregon. It’s a great place to come home to. What can you tell us about your most recent album, Atma, that might not be obvious to the listener? Before Atma, I’d spent a lot of time listening to Cathedral, Sleep, the Obsessed, and Neurosis. I was thinking that my favorite records by some of those bands aren’t necessarily their most produced records. So I wanted to do something that was very punk rock in a way, where we all record [our parts together]
at once. We wanted the album to have hair on it. The thing that was so rad that maybe some people don’t know is that when Scott Kelly from Neurosis came down to contribute to it, we initially were just going to have him play some drums, like the Tribes of Neurot drums that he does—which he laid down magnificently. We were talking about him maybe doing some vocals, and he wasn’t sure. Finally he agreed, and he wrote out his own parts and recorded them in less than an hour. Right before he went in there, we just had this moment. We got real quiet and reverent of this millionyear-old soul in there singing. I’ve listened to his music for over 20 years, so to hear that voice in there over my riffs and our music was just very, very special. Yob split up for a couple of years. Since returning, the band has been better received than ever by both fans and critics. Why do you think that is? I don’t know. I think we’re making similar but different music than we did before the hiatus. Maybe going through some of the stuff we went through during that time made The Great Cessation harder, heavier, darker, or different than our other records. We’ve always strived to make each record recognizable as Yob but vibrationally different, so each record has its own flavor. For whatever reason, you create art, you send it out there into the world, and it has a life of its own. Sometimes you never hear about it until 20 years later, sometimes you never hear about it at all. Sometimes you hear it all of a sudden in a Burger King commercial or something. Music has a funny way of doing what it does. So as far as us having a certain amount of what seems like potential popularity, I don’t know. I do know that we have opportunities to play a lot of fun shows that are very satisfying to us, sometimes with our heroes or bands we really love. As an artist, you can’t ask for more than that. We’ve never had any delusions of grandeur. We don’t have goals or hope for a better future with our band. We do what’s in front of us, and that’s it. yobrock.com Download live tracks from Yob’s performance at the Scion Label Showcase: Profound Lore at scionav.com/profoundlorerecords
In just over a year, CVLT Nation has become one of the preeminent websites focusing on what founders Sean Reveron and Meghan MacRae describe as “the darker side” of music, fashion, and film. The husband-and-wife duo started CVLT Nation in Los Angeles in 2010 while working on their labor-intensive clothing line. “Meghan found out she was pregnant with our daughter Sinead, and we knew we couldn’t keep up with what we were doing with a baby in tow,” Reveron explains. “So we decided to turn our passion for music and art and clothes into a job, but one that we could do from home while we watched our baby. And somehow, it worked.” CVLT Nation went live on in the beginning of March 2011 with a post about the band Weedeater’s Jason…The Dragon tour. A year later, the site became the official media sponsor for Weedeater’s tour with ASG and Cough. In short time CVLT Nation has become the only online magazine where you’re likely to find a free downloadable mixtape curated by the Body, an extensive (and exquisitely shot) two-part photo essay on the Chaos In Tejas festival, and purchasable tank tops designed by renowned underground illustrator Alexander Brown. “The site was actually a supplement to the clothing line, and by a fluke it turned into our main gig because so many people we reached out to wanted to be a part of it,” says MacRae. “The clothing line is also a way that we can feature artists who do work for bands, and bring their work to a wider audience, or in a different format.” Next up for CVLT Nation is amplifying their real-world presence. “We want to expand into releasing music, putting on live shows and art exhibitions, maybe even doing a big CVLT Nation Festival,” says Reveron. “We work really hard to make our own content, we never want to be one of those word-for-word press release sites. We’re growing as a site and a clothing company, but we’re doing it with integrity, and we want to bring everybody who has supported us with us.” cvltnation.com
Sick of it All at Scion Rock Fest.
Down at Scion Rock Fest.
Black Breath at Scion Label Showcase: Southern Lord.
Ringworm at Scion Label Showcase: A389 Records.
Oxbow at Scion Rock Fest.
Young and in the Way at Scion Label Showcase: A389 Records.
Psychic TV as Scion Rock Fest.
ABOUT TOWN Guests at Scion Label Showcase: A389 Records.
Phobia at Scion Rock Fest.
Burning Love at Scion Label Showcase: Southern Lord.
Integrity at Scion Label Showcase: A389 Records.
Enabler at Scion Label Showcase: Southern Lord.
Seven Sisters of Sleep at Scion Label Showcase: A389 Records.