Friday, July 18, 2014

Interview with Trepaneringsritualen

Industrial music is interesting. At immediate appearance, there is a fascination with machinery, cold and faceless - entities that take human responsibilities and render them null. But there is often a fascination with that which is deeply human, and sometimes even spiritual. It doesn't take long to run across ritualistic practice or occult influences. Psychic TV's first video is basically an extended ritual (and David Tibet is in it!), not to mention Genesis Breyer P-Orridge's tour de force The Psychick Bible.

Trepaneringsritualen is an industrial project that takes much from magick, the occult, and ritual. The deeply rhythmic background provides a sort of sonic breeding ground for both introspective and outwardly curious lyricism. It combines both Death Industrial with this ritualistic mindset as well as a clear reverence for the unclean and visceral. I've never seen T x R x P, though I have watched videos and I have to say that it is an impressive set made more grand by Thomas Ekelund's wild-eyed stance and size.

T x R x P just put out a new record on Cold Spring in addition to a live album with Sutekh Hexen on Pesanta, both of which are fantastic. He includes where to follow the band later in the interview so read to the bottom to hear about where to find and follow his movements!

Jordan: There's a lot going on in the name Trepaneringsritualen. Where did the name come from and what does it mean to you?

Thomas: I snatched it out of the ether and used it, not by choice but because it was forced upon me. Trepanning is an pre-historic form of surgery, a means of opening the third eye to reclaim the ability to communicate directly with the divine plane of existence. I am beginning to realize that there are many hidden meanings in the name, and its sigillized form, but these remain obscure for the moment.

J: Obviously, you make industrial music, but in addition to staples like machine sounds and rhythm, there also seems to sometimes be ritual elements in your music like Zero Kama or LAShTAL. Do you consciously include ritual in your music?

T: T × R × P an ongoing ritual, every aspect of it is focused at attaining understanding and enlightenment. But I am assuming you’re thinking of more formalized ritual work, and no, I haven’t done much of that publicly. Last year I performed a ritual to awaken the head of Mimír, at the Norberg festival in Sweden. Parts of the music is the basis for Åkallan: Mimír that was released last year by Malignant on a split with Deathstench. I’ve done a handful of public rituals in the past, channelling an entity that called itself Teeth. But it hasn’t appeared to me in several years.

J: Are ritual and spirituality meaningful in your day to day life?

T: I believe that everything you do should contribute to your spiritual growth. It is of course very hard to approach the mundane with a spiritual mindset, but if one succeeds life becomes an endless ritual.

J: Where does Trepaneringritualen end and your day to day life begin? Are they mutually exclusive?

T: All of T × R × P is a part of me, but not all parts of me are part of T × R × P. Like everyone else I go to work, I cook my food, I relax and try to enjoy what little free time I have. But more and more of my time and energy goes into T × R × P.

J: Similarly, there's a level of the visceral in your music from the blood that sometimes adorns you to vocal delivery. Do you think that a more visceral experience makes for a more powerful impact? Why?

T: It is true that the music often comes out visceral and quite atavistic. I suppose I am channeling some sort of Ur-beast that manifest through me. I haven’t given much thought as to why, it’s just the way it is. Sweat, blood, smells — I hope it all comes together into an all-encompasing experience for the audience, as it does for me.

J: What importance do you think that the visual aspect of your music has?

T: There’s no separation. I view T × R × P as a gesamtkunstwerk of audio, visuals and rituals, and all parts are of equal importance.

J: You’ve been involved with music for a while in different bands and projects. What differentiates Trepaneringsritualen for you?

T: There are quite obvious aesthetic difference, apparent to anyone, but I would say the main difference is that T × R × P has a focus on far more positive currents than for example Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words. I often hear people saying T × R × P is so much darker and heavier than Dead Letters, but I disagree. Dead Letters was all about loss, resignation and the faceless demons that haunted me — and still haunt me at times. T × R × P is about facing the terrifying darkness of the abyss, and through it attaining full understanding of all aspects of reality, a journey towards a perfect unity with the godhead.

J: You recently released an LP on Cold Spring. What was the writing and recording process for that like?

T: From start to finish the album took about a year to complete. Most of that time was spent on contemplating the themes as they appeared to me. I didn’t set out to record a concept album — all I knew was that I wanted to create a violent, revelatory ritual, which I believe I succeeded in — so it’s thematically quite broad. It explores themes typical to T × R × P, including betrayal, delusion, and the duality of divinity. 

J: You also put out a live album with Sutekh Hexen on Pesanta Urfolk. What was that performance like for you? I'm curious as someone who was not there.

T: The Stella Natura ritual was truly soul-quaking experience. Patricia Cram put it in words far more beautiful than anything I can come up with in the liner notes to the record:

T: “With descent came a fog insidious, coiling around the pillars of watchful trees, lying in wait upon forest floor. Footsteps disturbed the spirits, alerted them to new blood, and the fog rose hungry, wrapped with thick suspense. We cut into night, finally meeting the end of this path where blue rang hours into the witching. Candles held tight to blistering flame and knees hit dirt as convulsions began. This midnight light for summoning. These bodies splitting into growls. Hooded one retches; four crowns materialize. Black rapture came fast. Ribcages pulsed, fully heaved into nightmare. Skulls dropped and eyes rolled back. Wild sounds echoed deep into the shadows, pulled what could not slumber there, and soon there were no stars to be seen. Leaking wax built crude, malignant shrines. The sky grew perilous, knifed to its wet center. Then the guttural oil. Hallowed all in silver scabs. This haemorrhaged offering”

J: Do you plan on touring the US any time soon?

T: I will come back to the states during the first half of 2015, but details are still up in the air. Hopefully I can cover a lot of ground this time around, and not just do one-off shows.

J: What all is in the future for you as Trepaneringsritualen?

T: This spring has been hectic to say the least. Countless live rituals with great bands like Bölzer, Irkallian Oracle, Old Man Gloom, and Còagul to name but a few, and a slew of releases; aside from the above-mentioned titles: Berliner Ritual live cassette on Aufnahme+Wiedergabe and a 2 × 7” entitled Papist Pretender on La Esencia . Right now I am putting the finishing touches on the artwork for a picture disc LP that I share with Body Cargo, that will be released by Autarkeia.  I’ve slowly begun focusing my energies on the next album, but I also have a few compilation appearances and split 7-inches to complete before that.

J: Anything else you'd like to say?


T: Thank you for the opportunity to discuss my work. Anyone who’s interested in keeping up with T × R × P activities may sign up to the newsletters at de-za-kh-a-da-sh-ba-a-ha-v.se or  on Facebook.com/Trepaneringsritualen

Interview with Ronny Moorings of Clan of Xymox

I didn’t expect this to happen – a shot in the dark that hit the bull’s eye. I recently read the 4AD book Facing the Other Way, which details the rise of the Indie label mainstay in the early 80s with bands like the Birthday Party, Rema-Rema, This Mortal Coil, Cocteau Twins, and eventually Clan of Xymox in the mid 80s. Clan of Xymox put out Clan of Xymox and Medusa on 4AD before continuing to put out albums on Wing Records, Tess, and Metropoolis. Unlike many bands from the 80s, though, Clan of Xymox, in changing iterations, still puts out albums, including their recent Matters of Mind, Body & Soul on Metropolis, a mainstay postpunk label out of Philadelphia.

After finishing Facing the Other Way, I did a bunch of research on bands, but the band that stuck out most to me at the time was Clan of Xymox. So, I found a contact for the band and asked to do an e-mail interview, since Ronny Moorings and the band moves around Europe a lot promoting their latest album. As a band that has been around for over thirty years, there seemed to be a lot of ground to cover so I went with some fairly basic questions detailing the beginning of Ronny Moorings' career in writing and recording music.

For those unfamiliar or who just want to connect with the band, you can check out their Facebook Page and honestly, you can read up on their history through Wikipedia. I also recommend checking out the book Facing the Other Way if you have not already done so.

Jordan: When and how did you start the band Clan of Xymox? Had you guys played in bands before?

Ronny Moorings: Well, I was interested in music when I was 3 years old and that feeling never left. I played in local bands (and performed ) when I was 11 years old. I DJ'd at my school parties and later in my local club and later where I used to study. I never stopped making music, but my first attempt to do all instruments and record them accordingly I started that process when I was 22 and lived in Nijmegen, NL. I bought a 4-Track recorder and started my first EP recordings "Subsequent Pleasures".

J: How did you become involved with 4AD?

RM: I was befriended with one of the bands on the label, Dead Can Dance, and Brendan of DCD suggested to me to send a demo to the label, which I did.

J: What was the culture at 4AD like in the 80s when you first released your self-titled album?

RM: It was a mixed bunch of bands, indie oriented, and all wanted the same thing: releasing quality records. It was a real honor to be signed to a prestigious label like this.

J: You guys seem to have moved a bit from the Netherlands to England to eventually Germany. Why did you do that?

RM: It seemed the right thing to do. At the moment I still live in Germany and don't think I would go anywhere else anymore.

J: You have released a lot of music. Do you ever think about how it has changed over time? What would you say has changed in your music?

RM: The blueprint of combining guitars and keyboards/synths always remained. I guess attitude and stylistic changes go hand in hand with the sign of the times. One cannot stand still in life.

J: Are there any releases you have made that you are more proud of than others?

RM: I can say I have certain releases I am less proud of but still I think they were essential for me and the development of the band and its direction.

J: You seem to make as much music now as you ever did. What is the process like behind making new releases for you guys? Has that process changed?

RM: I still write and release roughly every 2 years an album, which is consistent within the time line of the band. I start off with a set of ideas, sounds etc. and get inspired by these to further songs. I do write in blocks so I get a bit of consistency in the writing process.

J: Do you ever think about your legacy? Does legacy mean anything in particular to you?

RM: Not really. For me the latest album is for me the most important one because it is the closest to the heart at that given moment. That is logical of course because you work on this constantly so it can only be the most important thing you are doing at that moment. Most of the time you are only judged on your latest work and not what you did before that.

J: Are there any current bands that you particularly like?

RM: Yes plenty. I always like to hear new talent and a great place to hear bands id at the festivals we are playing. There are always new unsigned or newly signed bands that can really knock your socks off. A good place to discover bands is WGT here in Leipzig, Germany.

J: What all is in the future for Clan of Xymox?

RM: Who knows?  At the moment I am slowly thinking about recording new works and in the meantime we are still touring the new album "Matters of Mind, Body and Soul".


J: Anything else you'd like to say?

RM: Thanks for asking me for an interview


Monday, July 7, 2014

Interview with Damon of Amen Dunes

Love is a gutsy name for an album. It's kind of like naming your album "religion" or "god" or "space." I personally struggle with the idea of love. It's all-encompassing idealization that may or may not be a myth. Does love exist? Can you wear it like a dusty jacket? Does it fly or slither? How old is it? It's personal and adaptable. Once you get to that malleable conclusion, it becomes a bit easier to walk in, stretched out like viscous lizard skin. Edible like cherry-flavored bouncy balls.

For reasons like this, it makes sense for the most recent Amen Dunes record to be called Love. Damon McMahon's new collection of eleven songs is something noticeably spiritual within the first few phrases and musical turns. It's like you shook the earth and saw all the dust rise. I'm waxing romantic, but for some reason, it's hard not to, and it boils down to the fact that Damon is out for big game. What does it mean to be a person and what part of that matters? Damon asks questions that beg misty ghost-colored answers. I find myself breathing into cold windows to watch the condensation - do the wet off-white speckles prove my existence?

Amen Dunes plays a mixture of folk, psychedelic something, and rock that seems to come and go with the wind. There is something natural within the words and feelings if you haven't gotten that yet. And let's be perfectly clear. This is special music. You can follow the band on their Facebook Page and you should buy the new album Love either at your local record shop or at the Sacred Bones website. Amen Dunes play Chicago on July 17 at The Constellation so be sure to check that out!
Jordan: Where are you guys playing in L.A.?

Damon: We’re playing at a place called Complex.

J: I don’t think I’ve ever been there.

D: I think it’s a new spot that people are playing after the Church on York closed.

J: Yeah, I was at that last Church on York show.

D: What was the last show?

J: Haxan Cloak and Pharmakon.

D: Oh Cool. Pharmakon is great live.

J: Yeah, she’s kind of intimidating to be honest.

D: Yeah, she’s super intense and great.

J: So tell me how the tour has been going so far.

D: It’s been good – we’ve had some van trouble, but overall it’s been positive. Canada, Detroit, and Boston were particularly great.

J: Who have you guys played with?

D: Well, we’ve been doing this whole tour with Axxa/Abraxas.

J: Are they on Captured Tracks?

D: Yeah.

J: I haven’t heard their stuff yet, but I know you’re coming through Chicago so I’ll see you guys then.

D: They’re good – they sound like Dead Moon or something.

J: That’s like one of my favorite bands of all time.

D: Yeah, they’re like a southwest Dead Moon. I don’t know if they sound different on record, but that’s 
how they sound live.

J: So what have you guys been listening to in the van?

D: We only had the radio for a while, so we hadn’t been listening too much to anything for a bit. The past couple of days have had us listening to Mickey Newbury. He was an early 70s Nashville guy – very good for driving through America in dust storms.

J: Tell me a little bit about recording and writing Love?

D: In what aspect?

J: How did you start writing the collection of songs that eventually ended up on it?

D: Well, some of these songs I wrote a while ago like over the last two years. It was a long process over time where I would listen to demos and come up with arrangements. Me, Jordi, and Parker would work through the ideas. Then we went to Montreal to track the basics before heading to Brooklyn to do some overdubs and then we had a bunch of months of mixing. The whole process lasted about a year.

J: Where did you record and mix in Brooklyn?

D: This place called Trout Recording with his guy Bryce Goggin. They did the last Swans record there.

J: Had you used the guy before?

D: No, but Parker knew him so he made the necessary introductions for us.

J: What’s the song “Lonely Richard” about?

D: It’s hard to say what it’s about. I think that one in general is harder to say what it’s about. It’s a bit of a self-portrait in addition to self-exploration. It talks about a guy who is aware of himself and I’m trying to talk about what that awareness is. Being in contact with other things. There’s a difference between creatures of earth and others. It’s about faraway places and having a connection with that.

J: As a human being?

D: Yeah, as a human being, but connecting with non-human beings or your own non-human being. I told you it was hard to talk about (laughs).

J: I listen to it all the time. For some reason, it really hits home, so I was very curious about it.

D: Yeah, I don’t know if you saw the lyrics sheet, but it kind of lays it out in a way. It’s a sort of character portrait.

J: Of yourself?

D: I think it is, but it’s also anyone who identifies with it. Anyone who is a composite creature.

J: Do you find yourself to be a spiritual person?

D: In my own way, definitely.

J: What do you think in your own life reflects your spirituality?

D: Probably my songwriting – that’s the most clear outward manifestation I think – it’s also the easiest way to access it.

J: Do you think art is inherently spiritual?

D: No. I think it can be done like that, but it isn’t necessarily that way. There are a lot of people who make art for different reasons. Some people do it for money. Some people do it to be cool. Some people do it for attention or to find themselves.

J: It’s one of those things that’s both individual and…I don’t want to say composite but…group-oriented.

D: Definitely.

J: Do you think Amen Dunes is more of the individual or group aspect?

D: Individual.

J: What about the live rendering of Amen Dunes?

D: Well, we try and convey what’s on the record. Even though the record has overdubs and stuff, most of the songs really boil down to three instruments. Doing it live is not that difficult actually. I thought it would be harder, but we can bring out the core elements pretty easily.

J: You’ve been touring a lot lately. Even before Love came out, you were touring with Mac Demarco, right?

D: Yeah – I went out with him a couple times.

J: I was a little surprised by that lineup. How did you guys get connected?

D: He reached out to us to go on tour with him. I guess he was a fan. It was a little bit of an odd pairing just because his audience is very different from our typical audience. I think in the bigger cities it worked well, though. Oftentimes, I would be playing to people who wouldn’t really know what we were about.

J: You were with my friend Cory during that, weren’t you?

D: Totally. Cory did the Mac tour.

J: How did you guys get linked up? I was surprised by that too.

D: Yeah, he plays in Cult of Youth on Sacred Bones.

J: Yeah, Sean’s a buddy of mine too.

D: Oh cool. Yeah, we had to find someone to play drums pretty much last minute so Cory sort of miraculously appeared and was super down to do it in addition to being a great drummer so he just sort of came on board. It was awesome.

J: It seems that people on Sacred Bones kind of fill in for each other pretty easily. A lot of people will record or overdub at Heaven Street. It seems like a more collaborative label.

D: It is, man. I would say that Sacred Bones is a great operation in that way. It is kind of family-oriented. I think most of the bands have mutual respect for one another. There’s more of a connection with that label between bands then with bands on other labels.

J: Have you worked with other labels? I know you put Spoilers out on your own.

D: Yeah, I’ve worked with lots of labels. I had a band when I was a kid and we were on like three different labels and then I did a solo record that was on another. The first Amen Dunes record was on another label and I’ve released seven-inches and singles on other labels too. In all my experience, I really do think that Sacred Bones is one of the best.

J: That’s cool to see that a label that’s so all across the board with releases from like Human Eye to Pharmakon.

D: It’s definitely diverse and I think that’s important.

J: I completely agree. I personally think that mixed bills are the best way to go for music. If you just get into one genre, it kind of defeats the purpose of music at all.

D: I totally agree. I love playing with bands that are different from us. Amen Dunes is cool because it can fit in with a lot of different styles of music. I think you have to be somewhat open-minded to see the connections, but it is somewhat malleable.

J: What’s the craziest pair that you guys have played with?

D: We played with Boyd Rice when he did NON again.

J: WHOA!

D: That was great, man. It was a great honor.

J: I body-guarded for him once.

D: You did? That’s funny.

J: Didn’t stop a smoke bomb from going off though. It was me and my friend Jeffrey – I think you met him at the Chicago show. We were body-guarding and neither one of us realized what had happened and sure enough, someone had used a smoke bomb.

D: Whoa. Was it friendly or not friendly?

J: I think it was supposed to be unfriendly but I actually thought it kind of added to the show.

D: Someone threw a smoke bomb when we played on the Fourth of July.

J: Why did they do that?

D: I don’t know (laughs). To add to the ambiance?

J: I guess that was…nice of them?

D: Yeah. It was cool – it added to the vibe for sure.

J: Do you guys have a visual element when you perform?

D: No – I would like to, and I wish we did have a visual element, but I haven’t gotten that together. I think it really helps when a band has that. I think it can also be a gimmick, though. There are bands that you’ll see that have a visual element where it’s their whole shtick, but it can also totally add to the performance too.

J: Totally. Like Mark McGuire – have you ever seen him?

D: I haven’t – does he do visuals.

J: Yeah, he’s got that new age vibe but not in a douchey way. There’s a backdrop and there are sometimes voiceovers about our world or self-actualization. One of my friends was like “Oh man, that was weird” and all I could think was “I just learned a shit ton from that.”

D: That’s cool. I’d like to do that and I like it when people go out on a limb with that.

J: If someone had a gun to your head and asked you what your backdrop would be, what would it be?

D: I’d like to play in front of the right kind of movie. I think the music is already kind of like that in a way. It’s somewhat cinematic. Playing in front of a good movie would rule.

J: Are you a fan of film?

D: Totally.

J: What are some of your go-to favorite movies and directors?

D: Probably my favorite director is John Cassavetes. As far as favorite movies, I would say the movie My Dinner with Andre is there. I like Diary of a Country Priest and a lot of Truffaut movies. A whole bunch of stuff.

J: I’ve never seen it.

D: It’s great. It’s about an actor and a director who haven’t seen each other for like ten years and they get dinner and just catch up. It’s really simple, but it’s also really great. My favorite Cassavetes movie is probably A Woman Under the Influence. Have you seen that?

J: No, I haven’t seen that either!

D: Oh, it’s the best. For a while, that is what I wanted Amen Dunes to be –I wanted it to be that movie. You have to see it – it’s incredible. Gena Rowlands is in it, who’s Cassavetes’ wife, is the lead in it.

J: Do you know the band Wrekmeister Harmonies?

D: Yeah

J: The first time I saw him/them, he had Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages on in the backdrop and it was a small screen, but it really worked, in addition to being just a great movie anyway.

D: I love to see bands do that.

J: Can you think of any good examples of bands who you’ve seen do that?

D: Yeah, there was this band Launau who performed by herself and it was mesmerizing. She played an old Finnish movie behind her and it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen.

J: I love asking interview about stuff like this – I’m always looking to broaden my horizons. Do you read a lot too?

D: Yeah, I like to read a lot. I’m probably more interested in that world than music actually. I just feel like there’s more to learn in writing. Music, especially rock, is a little bit limited. At a certain point in time, it becomes harder to find something new. Over time, if you’re really curious, it becomes hard to find something new that you haven’t heard before, but with writers there is always just so much stuff that I haven’t read.

J: Do you write as well?

D: I do. That’s my other passion. I’d like to do more of it.

J: Have you ever written a novel?

D: I’m about halfway through one – it’s not really a novel. I used to live in China. I’ve been writing this thing since 2007 about my time in China. I’ve yet to finish it, but I’ve been working on it for a long time.

J: How was China?

D: It was incredible. It was the best. I think about it all the time.

J: I’ve never been to Asia. I would love to travel there – I’m a bit of a Japanophile.

D: Japan’s amazing.

J: You’ve been there too?

D: Yeah, I haven’t spent extended periods of time there, but when you go to China, there’s often a layover in Tokyo. I always take advantage of that and I have friends who live there so I get to hang around.

J: So what were you doing in China?

D: I was trying to get out of New York and take a break from music actually. I can speak Chinese, though, and I had studied Chinese for a while before I left, so I was already somewhat connected. I found a job there and I was already trying to get away from music.

J: How did you get to the point of wanting to get away from music?

D: New York is just intense. I had been in bands for like five years at a full capacity and it just burned me out. I just got kind of sick of it. It was time to take a break.

J: Does playing music take a toll on you?

D: Touring does. Playing music itself is regenerative.

J: Do you think it’s more the driving then the playing?

D: It’s a whole bunch of stuff. The cool thing about touring is that there are amazing highs and lows. Some of the best moments are on tour when you have great shows and meet interesting people so it evens itself out. It’s not like a penance.

J: A lot of people think there’s a divide or a mutual exclusivity between playing live and recording, but what do you think of that relationship?

D: I think they’re pretty different. Recording is a whole different beast. I’ve never been able to do live what I can do on record.

J: Do you think recording is regenerative or does it take a toll?


D: It can wear you down too. Making music, if you do it sincerely, takes a lot of energy. You have a lot invested and care about. It’s not a 9-5 vibe. You take it with you all the time. It is you.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Interview with Glow God

I've gone to the last two Not Normal Tapes showcases and have been blown away each time. To be honest, I go in knowing probably about one quarter of the bands, but being already sold on their music. That said, it's an all killer no filler event. I'm always blown away by bands I hadn't seen before. This year, the bands Bad Blood, Tensions, Ivy, Anomaly and (well) everyone else filled that curiosity. I'm not including Glow God because I already had their record and knew that they would slay - I was correct. In the basement of Dee Dee Ramone's Funky X-Lab, Glow God showed off their finely-honed mix of hardcore sensibility with 90s grunge and alternative rock.

House of Distractions was one of those records that I heard playing in Permanent Records and knew I had come across something special. I actually thought it was a Whatever Brains record at first because for some reason Tim Buchanan's voice had sounded to me like Rich Ivey's. Not a bad thing. I didn't actually pick up the record that day, though I found it on Spotify and listened to it on repeat for several days after. I'm glad, though, because I bought the LP directly from the band, which can often make the buying experience a little more special, if you ask me (though you should always support your local record shop!) In all honesty, it's a record that will make my year-end list. I love the damn thing and it stands up with any other great record that has come out this year.

Members of Glow God are also in the hardcore band American Hate, which are going to be touring for a bit more, including a return date through Chicago in July. I highly recommend checking out that band too, which is great on record and maybe even greater live. I guess hardcore is always better as a witness than a listener, though.

I ended up getting into a really nuanced discussion with Taylor at Prosper Skate Shopabout spirituality, psychedelics, and mind expansion. Tony and I talked horror flicks and Protomartyr. It goes without saying that the guys in the band are really rad dudes. Naturally, I had to ask them for an interview.

Jordan: So tell me a little bit about Oklahoma, the scene that you guys came from.

Payton: I just moved there so it can’t be that bad.

Tim: It changes a lot.

Tony: Now that Payton’s there, everything’s different.

Taylor: The show spots rotate a lot like most scenes. There’s not really a punk scene though there is a DIY scene.

Payton: There are a couple bars that are good to play at and there was a house too, but there isn’t now.

Taylor: It was a great house - the Capital House.

Tony: Basically slim pickin’s.

Jordan: How about in terms of bands? Still slim?

Tony: There are some cool bands actually.

Taylor: There’s Power Pyramid, Sex Snobs, Dust House and the associated bands. Dust House has their own studio, and that’s where we recorded our record and a lot of our tapes. It’s two people who converted a garage apartment into an almost fully analog studio. And they do everything free. You just buy the tape and then they’ll record you.

Jordan: What was the tape you guys were selling today along with the 12”?

Taylor: That’s an old tape - that was our split with Missionary Haircut, but they’re not around anymore. They had members of Power Pyramid.

Tim: That was when the band was me, Tmac [Taylor] and one other guy.

Jordan: Do you guys have stuff other than the 12” and the tape?

Payton: There is another tape, there’s a demo.

Tony: There’s a demo, there’s a three song cassette…

Taylor: That’s the Russian Candy tape, and we had a tour demo that had five songs from our LP before we had recorded it.

Tim: We also have a cassette coming out on Not Normal, which is two songs and should be out soon.

Jordan: How’s the tour so far?

Payton: It’s great so far. We’re six days in out of six weeks. Two months for everyone but me.

Jordan: You’re not part of the two months?

Payton: Well, it’s Glow God/American Hate for ten days, Glow God for a few weeks, and then American Hate for a few weeks. Being that I’m not in American Hate, I’m not going to be with them. I’m gonna go home and try to make money again.

Jordan: What’s the last day that Glow God plays?

Taylor: July 9th.

Jordan: So you guys are doing through the East Coast with Glow God and then out West with American Hate?

Taylor: Exactly. And we’re doing like six dates with this band Skin Color from Calgary as American Hate.

Jordan: Are there any bands you guys are excited to play with?

Taylor: Oh yeah!

Payton: I’m really excited to play with Liquor Store in New York.

Taylor: Rotten Milk in New Orleans. There are so many more.

Tony: We play with Bad Sports and Radioactivity a couple times. They’re our boys. I’m excited about that.

Jordan: It’s a lot of good names. Have you guys been listening to any good jams lately?

Tim: Nah.

Tony: I brought a Beach Boys - Surf’s Up copy.

Jordan: Is that like their second album or something?

Tony: No it’s a ways down - I think it came out in like 71.

Taylor: We’ve been listening to Alan Vega.

Jordan: He’s awesome.

Taylor: (laughs) Yeah, party with Alan Vega.

Jordan: That’s a super downer record.

(band laughs)

Payton: We listen to Kate Bush in the van.

Taylor: That’s pretty constant.

Payton: Also some jazz, some Hawkwind.

Tony: I showed Ross the new Protomartyr album. Do you listen to them?

Jordan: (Joe Casey “Scum Rise” Impersonation)

Tony: That’s right we talked about that.

Taylor: We’ve also been listening to Marc Maron’s WTF lately - it’s just a cool podcast.

Jordan: Cool. Anything else?

Taylor: Let’s see what’s a question for you…

Tony: Is it hard to wear cowboy boots in Chicago?

Jordan: Yes.

Taylor: You do it well.

Jordan: Yeah, they’re caked in like yesterday’s cesspool, but other than that. I think it adds character though.

Payton: You don’t want clean boots though.


Jordan: No, clean boots can suck it.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Interview with Rusty of Total Abuse

My friend Jeffrey and I were in Los Angeles in the middle of May for the Posh Isolation event 13 Torches for a Burn, which included sets from bands like Sexdrome, Iceage, Croation Amor, Puce Mary, and more. Neither of us had driven around Los Angeles much before, but we soon discovered that it is very spread out - long distances sometimes are traversed to get from one place to another. Throughout our trips to spots like Mount Analog, Vacation Vinyl, the Church on York, many vegetarian restaurants, and Los Globos, we needed to listen to good tunes. One of the bands that was played frequently was Total Abuse.

Total Abuse is a sometimes unsettling 5-piece band from Austin, TX that unabashedly incorporates hardcore with disturbing lyrics that sometimes ask as many questions as provide answers. They have released three full-length albums as well as a handful of 7"s and EPs on labels such as Deranged and Post Present Medium. They are currently about to put out another 7" titled Looking for Love and working on another full-length, which will be their first record in a couple years. They had been on a hiatus until this recent flurry of activity and set of dates with Chicago noise rockers Rectal Hygienics (one of my favorite bands from the area).

The members of Total Abuse are Rusty Kelley, Duncan Knappen, Ryan Foster, Dustin Pilkington, and Matt Lyons. I have never seen them live before, but am excited to see them on their tour through the U.S., which includes stops in most major cities. For tour dates and more info, check out their Website. You can also give them a "like" on their Facebook Page to keep up with their movements and see what they're working on.

I asked Rusty a few questions on the reunited Total Abuse

Jordan: Why did Total Abuse reunite now?

Rusty: We came back together because it was the right time. We had taken a break because I (Rusty Kelley) was having a hard time mentally and beyond. The last LP Prison Sweat was recorded under hellish circumstances. It is a dark record because it was written when we were all going insane and falling apart. Bad things.

R: Two years later we all started talking again. We are all healing and healthy. It made perfect sense to create together again. Total Abuse is ready to fight.

J: You guys are releasing a new 3-song 7" called "Looking for Love." Can you tell me a little bit about the recording process? Also, the artwork is incredible on it.

R: After playing our first show in two years we started writing new songs. We recorded with our good friend Dustin Coffey and the process was perfect. The songs deal with the desire to start over. To fully accept one's evil deeds and hoping someone forgives you. To search for new love and the process of licking the boots of those you have done wrong. Start anew dirty and screaming.

R: The cover art was done by an artist named Jamie Fletcher who also did the cover for the Prison Sweat LP. The back cover and insert fanzine was done by the artist Matthew Bellosi.

J: How did you get to know the guys from Rectal Hygienics and decide to tour with them?

R: I heard their LP and related solo projects. They seemed to be on the same path as Total Abuse in the spiritual sense. Reveling in the things that we obsess over, revealing the things inside our heads without shame or thought of the consequences. Rectal Hygienics has no secrets to tell. 

J: Is there anything in particular that you guys are looking forward to on this upcoming tour?

R: Playing gigs and driving through the great county in the world. America is our home, the place we love to be.

J: You guys have played a lot of shows. Are there any particularly memorable stories from any of your shows?

R: We once played at a venue in Brooklyn NY called 538 Johnson. The moment we got there, we could tell everyone hated our guts. They did not want us playing there (the band we were touring with was welcome so they had to allow us to play). We were hellishly drunk and angry and confused from a gig we had just played hours earlier. The moment the first note was struck our guitarist smashed into a group of kids and started sloppily punching them (if you can call it that) and kids started kicking and punching our guitar player as we finished the song. Our guitar player ran out of the venue and the show was over. Total fucking trash. A total failure. Ugliness to it's core. No faking. No wrestling moves. No bleeding foreheads. Just a bad reputation. 

J: I’ve always loved your lyrics. How do you write them?

R: I write about what I am ashamed of. I write about what I am afraid of. I write about the things I can't stop thinking about. I want people to see I am true in what I sing. What I sing is what comes from the heart. No gimmicks. No tricks. I promise. 

J: Looking back on your releases, are there any Total Abuse songs or releases that you like more than others?

R: They are all perfect

J: What have you guys been up to since you last played?

R: We have been writing tracks for a new LP on deranged records and preparing for our tour with Rectal Hygienics 

J: Rusty, I know you've been in a few horror movies. Are you guys big horror fans? Are there any favorites from you guys?

R: Reflections Of Evil by Damon Packard. The entire film is on youtube for free or available on DVD through amazon - It is a true horror film .

J: What’s in the future for Total Abuse and your other projects?

R: A new Total Abuse LP and more performances, Captive - black leather glove LP, Breathing Problem - the keyhole LP

J: Anything else you'd like to say?


R: Thank you so much.