mardi 9 septembre 2014

The Vertigo index interview

two weeks ago I posted a review (HERE) of the first release of an excellent new grind band called Vertigo index. I'm now pleased to post the interview I did with them by mail. read it just below. and don't fail to check their Bandcamp as well.

-can you go back to the origin of the band and tell us how it happened? what was he project at the start and how have you evolved since the beginning of the band?

Jimmy: well in 2013 john had messaged me about recording drums for a project he had dreamed of that was basically playing some fast grind in the ways of discordance axis. He came to the right person. I have been a huge DA fan for a very long time and was more than happy to do it. It just started being a 1 time thing just to release but talking more and more about it we decided, "hey let's just be a band and play when we can. "John wrote 16 songs with programmed drums and told me it was just a place holder and just do what I wanted and to do the thing he feels I do best, play fast blasts! We recorded in 3 stages over a 2 week period. Got offered a show and then never did anything for a year. I was getting married and playing in another band full time and john and lance both had projects they were involved with. Fast forward to June of this year, i had quit my band and johns band was inactive so we decided now was the time to really take this to the next level. So we had lance put vocals to the 6 songs we chose and john mixed and mastered them and then here we are!

John: Well, the band started because my previous band had broken up (I think?) and I wanted to continue playing grindcore. So I sent Jim and lance a text message respectively and asked if he wanted to start another grindcore band. They were into it.. Then we set about writing songs which was actually me recording stuff, sending it to Jim with programmed drums where he thought about how he would like to play it. Then we got together for three days over a three week span and recorded sixteen songs (of which 6 were released). A year and a ton of learning about audio production and mixing later we finally got everything finished and released. To answer your other question,  because we've only recently started to practice regularly and write new material I don't know that we know how the band is evolving. We definitely play our songs faster than they were recorded a year ago. I think our only real goal is to play faster and write better songs.

Lance: I have to say it's ALL John, as I've told my friends when telling the VI story: he's a band in a box. He's written all the riffs, arranged all the songs (so far), done all the artwork, and engineered everything we've recorded. Not to discredit Jimmy or mine's input, but John's the fucking man and responsible for getting VI going. Spring '13 John mentioned a recording project to me that he'd like me to do vocals on. I said "sounds dope" and forgot about it, until that summer, he started emailing me vicious grind tracks with drums he had programmed, and told me he wanted to get Jimmy to play drums. Again, "dope." Within a week, he had emailed me 15 songs, I loved it and said "Hey how about one sludgy guy?", within a couple of days John sent me what ended up being "Head In The Mushroom Clouds." Then the opportunity to play with Enabler came up at the closing of a sweet record store, Dreadful Sounds (RIP), here in Columbus. We still had not practiced as a full band, but we got together the night before, picked out I think, 10-ish songs and had our first rehearsal. The next day we played the show (August '13) and haven't done anything since. No practice, no shows, nothing. We're finally making the time now, we got the first recording done and released it one year later to the day of our first show. We're all very busy, have other bands, and never forgot about VI, we just had to wait for the right time. We hope to start playing live again by October. No more slouching.

-do you play or have played in other bands?

John: We have played in lots of bands. We were all in the heartland together about eight or nine years ago. That would be where we met. I was in a goth project called Final Rites and other than that I was in Bastards up until last year.

Lance: We all served time in The Heartland (it's how we all know each other), John the most. I was also in CHRIST and am currently in Dark Twin as well.

Jimmy: I currently play with another group called Race Of Devils it's a huge step back from Grindcore. It's more in the styles of kyuss/fu manchu/karma to burn. Were recording sometime this winter. And I also play in another grind project called (Scum Guilt) which has a insect warfare/ old napalm death sound. And like lance stated we all know each other by serving time in The Heartland.

-you present the band as having Discordance axis as it's main influence, can you tell us what you like the most about Discordance axis?

Jimmy: We (John & I) definitely started this for the love of DA. I love everything about them. Rob played riffs that came straight from outer space! Dave is a HUGE drumming inspiration to me. He can one foot blast better than anyone!! Other than Pete Sandoval of Morbid Angel of course ;). And lastly Jon's vocals just blow me away. His high scream range is so intense. So much passion and anger in his voice! Use the track "pattern blue" from the inalienable dreamless as a reference. It's my favorite track by them.

John: It is difficult to say what is actually my favorite aspect of Discordance axis. Personally, I like that Discordance Axis was the first grindcore band to really push the limits of what one could do in the genre sound-wise. Before them there was a pretty standard template (with the exception of naked city) that basically every grindcore band used. And, generally speaking, if a band were to branch out from that formula they would be considered death metal. Discordance axis was different, they sound dramatically different from their peers and they are still inextricably grindcore. They use chords that other bands didn't really use at the time. Lyrically they're a lot more thought provoking that the vast majority of other grindcore bands that came before them. Not that I don't love other grindcore bands as well, it's just that Discordance Axis really sets the bar for what I think of as quality grindcore. And they set the bar probably too high. I sincerely doubt there will ever be another grindcore band that pushes the boundaries of the genre in the way that they did without it being something different altogether.

Lance: I'm the oddball. I haven't listened to too much. I like what I've heard, but have avoided DA to an extent because I don't want it to influence my vocal approach in VI too much, if even just subconsciously.

-what are your other influences?

John: My favorite band of all time is Converge. They've always been a huge influence for me both musically and in how they approach the entire process of being in a band. Another band that I think helped me to develop in the way that I did was Rune. That band was incredible. Probably one of the more interesting extreme metal records ever recorded. Aside from that as far as grindcore goes I listen to a lot of Insect Warfare and Gridlink and then the obvious ones like Napalm Death, Brutal Truth, Phobia and the like.

Jimmy: Death, gorguts, carcass, morbid angel. At least in the metal realm haha!

Lance: Swans and Mogwai are tied for my two absolute favorite bands. I also really dig me some Pissed Jeans, Bolt Thrower, White Zombie, Bauhaus, Joy Division, shit like that. I grew up on punk and metal, so of course that's where my roots begin.

-are the songs on Posthuman the first songs of the band or a selection of the best ones? what can you say about this release?

John: Well, the songs from posthuman are the ones we finished. Basically, they're the ones that we had all of the components closest to done and we didn't want to wait any longer to release something. That said, I do think they're an alright cross section of what we hope to accomplish as a band. That said, the other ten songs are all of the faster variety.

Jimmy: they were the songs lance had lyrics to at that time.  The release has been great! We've got a lot of great buzz for being an unknown band.

Lance: I think it's a good selection to show what we have going on right now, and what we're about. Some of the best tracks are on there, but we've still got plenty of killer material we've held back. Right now we're rehearsing and honing the 16 songs we have and may shoot out another recording before the year's end or early 2015. When we do an album, it's safe to say all these songs will be on it, and it'll be about 30+ songs. I can tell you that Posthuman v1.1 is just the tip of the iceberg.

-do you think grindcore can be understood as a reaction against the recuperation and commodification of punk?

Jimmy: I'll let john answer this one ;)

John: I think grindcore came about for a lot of reasons. I don't know if it was a response to punk and what it became or an evolution of it. I mean, siege kind of started the whole thing and they were just a hardcore punk band. I think it can generally be said that the first bands to really make grindcore were just trying to be fast hardcore bands. The commodification of punk is sort of a moot argument I think. The sex pistols put out records on a major label and so did the ramones. They sold an image. That's what punk does. At least in the beginning. I think the birth of hardcore changed that a little bit. Grindcore is really an extension and evolution of that mindset more so than the early punk ideal.

-you told me the point of grind is making friend, can you elaborate on this?

Jimmy: it really is. We've (john lance and myself) all known each other for 10 years or more and people in this genre are friendly and supportive of everyone's bands.

John: If there was one extreme music genre that existed in which you stood exactly zero chance of ever actually making a living playing with a band it is grindcore. Even the bands that actually tour a significant amount and are considered at the top of the proverbial food chain still probably have jobs outside of playing in a band. They probably aren't playing music in order to support themselves and the ones that are able to make a living are certainly not rich and work disproportionately hard to make ends meet. However, the point of grindcore is not to get rich or famous. The point is to make friends who you actually have something in common with in a world full of people that don't understand one another, let alone you. Grindcore, thus far, has given me the opportunity to make friends with a lot of people who I otherwise would never have met. That is why I play grindcore. That and because it's a lot of fun. We don't have delusions about being famous or even a majority of people giving a shit about what we do. I have a full time job to support myself. I don't need to play silly mosh metal so I don't have to have a real job. We do, however, get an opportunity to play with like minded people and make new friends as well as see old friends. And that, my friend, is what its about.

Lance: I'm guessing John said this... All I can say is, it's great to be hanging with him and Jimmy again more lately than I have in years, and I'm having a blast playing this shit with them. Life tends to just pull people apart, I'd say this band is definitely bringing the three of us back together. Zero-ego band rehearsals are always amazing.

-what do you want to express through your lyrics?

Lance: The idea when we got going was "Dystopian Sci-fi Grind", so all the songs are pieces of a larger Sci-Fi story. I don't want to give too much away yet. I'm a huge Star Trek and comic geek. So I make a lot of little nods to some of my favorite things. A Mother Box is a Jack (the King) Kirby creation, but in the VI universe it's an iphone, galaxy666, or whatever thing everyone carries around everywhere and can't stop staring at. Twenty years ago, no one had one. Lol. Themes range from anti-war, pro-secularism, to obsession with social media.

John: Generally speaking the lyrics, as far as I can tell, are about science fiction. But that's really Lance's domain. I think we're trying to sort of draw a narrative for the the songs so that there is cohesion thematically.

-which bands from your area would you recommend?

Jimmy: dismemberment, artillery breath, arterial mist, northern widows.

John: Northern Widows are super rad and they are the best imaginable dudes. I cannot possibly recommend listening to them enough. They sound like III era cursed without ripping off cursed. Hookers made out of cocaine are awesome. Fever Nest rules. Earthburner is incredible. Their newest record is really good. Putrid Cause rules. Arterial Mist is a great death metal band from around here. Also, Slavehouse is awesome.

Lance: Earthburner, Carved Out, Northern Widows, Struck By Lightning, Brujas Del Sol, Domestic Terror, Putrid Cause, The Black Antler, Fever Nest, Artillery Breath.

-Which evolution would you like to see for underground music in the future?

Jimmy: keep grown and exploring new avenues of experiential tastes.

John: It's tough to say. I think right now bands like full of hell are really doing interesting things. There are already kids pushing the envelope and evolving the underground in an interesting way. I honestly feel like kids that are ten years younger than I am are doing a better job than my group of friends were at their age. So I guess more of that? I don't know that I have a preconceived notion of the direction I'd like to see the underground move.

Lance: More cross-over and unity really. I mean, that's what I'd like to see for humanity, but I'll settle for the underground scene for now... I love going to a show where every fucking band is different and you can tell every person there is having a great fucking time. Keep up the quality, originality, and keep out the rules.

-what is planned for Vertigo index in the coming months? what about the songs you are recording for coming releases?

Jimmy: practicing/ writing/ shows and recording.  The full length is going to be intense. Get ready!

John: Currently we're working on a full length and maybe a split or two. The full length will be significantly longer than the demo. We're shooting for a lot of songs.

Lance: Rehearse, shows, record... And just keep doing it. I think the most immediate goal is to get a substantial amount of material "show worthy."

-something to add?

Lance: Two things: We PROMISE to ALWAYS play faster live, and a huge thank you to everyone who has downloaded the EP, and to anyone that has expressed interest or support in any of our musical endeavors!

Jimmy: Thanks for the interview! It was my first one! Thanks for checking us out!

John: Thanks for taking an interest in our band Dennis!

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