-Can you go back to the origin of the band and tell us how it happened? what was the project at the start and how have you evolved since the beginning of the band?
Well first I'd like to say thank you for offering up the interview. This stuff is always fun and we've only gotten a couple chances to do something like this. God Harvest started in 2009 with a couple friends as a protest band. At that point in time I lived in Clearwater, FL, the home of the Church of Scientology. I wanted to put together a project that was centered around dissent of the church. After some heavy thought, and watching people's lives get ruined by the their "Gestapo", I decided it wouldn't be prudent. A huge focus is put on them in songs like "Suppressive" and "Flagship" to make sure we bum out some people, but the band has come a long way since then. I think my writing has become more refined, but the goals of each song haven't. I try to write the heaviest stuff my little brain can come up with that the rest of the guys won't hate. Ha.
-What about the name of the band?
It was just the best of the other options. I actually went and asked a bunch of people where I worked which one sucked the least. God Harvest stuck.
-Can you tell us a few words about the other bands you play in?
Well, all of us have had a bunch of bands before this. I played drums in Big Rats (hardcore) and guitar in Now Soldiers (hardcore), Chris, the lead guitar player played in Shed For You (grind) and most recently Devout (hardcore). Our drummer Kyle played in Endurance (hardcore), and Can't Stand It (hardcore) with some of our good friends and some of the old members from Now Soldiers. Tyler, our singer, played bass and sang in Five Suns (sludge), No Control (crust), and Now Soldiers.
-How would you describe your music? I'd say it's based in grind / punk with also some old school death metal influence, does that fit?
This is always the hardest question in the fuckin' world. Honestly, we try to stay within the confines of hardcore, power violence, and grind-core. We all listen to a fuckload of death metal. Those are the genres that influence our playing, writing, and style. Napalm Death being my biggest influence probably shows through the most. I listen to a lot of different stuff to write the best version of those 3 genres that I can. The heavier, more hard hitting stuff is brought out by my love of Negative Approach and Crossed Out. The grind stuff we write is more like a modern take on grind, bands like Nasum, Unholy Grave, and Napalm absolutely crush their own versions of the genre. Bands like Framtid, Isterismo, and Totalitar show through in our faster stuff. We've been compared to a lot of different stuff, but any one of those 3 are applicable I think.
-What about your new album, Insulated?
This LP.....holy fuck, what a ride. It took a couple years to get this damn thing out and recorded. We originally recorded it live and weren't blown away by the sound, and then went through a member change with our bassist, Nick. We found Brent and continued trying to get more songs written while teaching him the music. We wrote more of this record in the last 3 months before recording it than the entire year before that. A lot of life got in the way of this motherfucker coming out and we are really excited to finally see it out to press and things moving forward. The LP's 11 songs were recorded here in St. Petersburg, FL with Dan Byers at Rock Garden Studios, but we really wanted to make it special by sending it to one of my favorite producers, Greg Wilkinson at Earhammer Studios in Oakland, CA. Both of them made this sound really awesome. Not too clean, big and nasty, but audible and smashy. I tried really hard to keep the sound of the old to follow us through our music. I listen to awful sounding shit, and we don't necessarily sound like a lot of it, so it's very hard knowing where we stand. I usually try to emulate our live sound as much as possible.
-What do you want to express through your lyrics? can you tell us a few words about the lyrics of a specific song on the album?
Tyler, our singer, comes from a long history of crust bands so his influences come through from bands like Nine Shocks Terror, Doom, Destroy, Infest, Dropdead, and Modern Life Is War. A lot of our lyrics are socio-political with an emphasis on religion, and introspective topics of depression and drug use.
The title track "Insulated" stands out to us as one of our lyrical favorites. The song is mainly about how the "PC topics" that are being talked about in circles of friends we share. Those friendships are being broken apart by cheap talking points, and everyone's so offended by everything that it's getting in the way of getting along.
- Do you think grindcore (or grind related hardcore music) can be undestood as a reaction against the recuperation and commodification of punk? (this a question about the origin of grindcore, it could be seen as a reaction against the fact that punk became coopted by the mainstream and became just another commodity. Grindcore could be seen as an effort from bands to go back to the radical / antagonist roots of punk and push it to the extreme in a way it could hardly fit with the music / entertainment industry).
I personally write the majority of God Harvest's music, but I would say I have the least amount of musical ability in the band. When I started God Harvest, my intention was to write and arrange memorable and we'll structured songs, kind of defying the logic of contemporary and classic grind. The bands that I grew up listening to and influencing me were bands that were just doing what THEY wanted and weren't trying to break down the confines of typical music writing. They wrote the things they wanted to hear. The words, the actions, the shows....those were the things that made this music important and terrible to the masses. Anyone can turn up some amps, and play fast and jump around, but the best could do it to "not give a shit". No goals, no gain, no stardom. They weren't concerned about being liked, in fact, quite the opposite. We try to write good songs, but our live shows are why we do this. Angry music for angry people made by angry mother fuckers. I do agree that it was an answer to keep people out, but the message never changed. That's what keeps me going. I started this band to bum people out. I hope it's working.
-Do you think that the DIY way of action could be a global alternative or do you see it more as a practical way of growing for an underground band?
DIY is a lifestyle. If you're not running every part of your band, you're just doing it wrong. I'm glad that we're inside this bracket of "try-hards". If you're planning on retiring on grind and hardcore, you're playing the wrong music. We don't tour. We have careers and families and can't risk all of it for the "fun" of looking like a professional band on the road. We release records, we like to play live around Florida, and we enjoy each others company. Unless you're killing yourself on the road for a label that put out your record, no one wants to help you when you can help yourself. So do it the right way. Work hard, write shit you want, do you what you want, and don't give a fuck.
-I already know Maruta and Sacridose, which other bands from your area would you recommend?
Maruta are some good friends of ours. We love those dudes. They enjoy the same debauchery that we do. Sacridose is a bunch of our friends and neighbors, but we never get to play with them anymore. Kinda sucks. Some friends of ours Weltesser (Tampa), I Am An Intestine (Tampa), Devalued (Miami), Ad Nauseum (Orlando), Nisroch (Jacksonville) all come to mind. All of them are currently killing it.
-Which evolutions would you like to see happening in the underground scene?
Less seatbelts and safety. We're really tired of people being offended by everything. This used to be the place uncomfortable people went to be less comfortable. It needs to stay that way. Unfriendly, haphazard, and unbiased.
-What is planned for God harvest in the coming months?
We are playing the Grind Against Corruption Fest in St Petersburg at the end of November. That's it for 2015 until we get our release shows lined up for January. Once we get the records in, we're starting to play next years release shows around Florida. One per weekend in all of our favorite places. We'll be announcing those later.
-Something to add?
Dennis, thanks for the interview and the attention. We appreciate it. Anyone interested in getting information, visit our blog ( http://godharvest.blogspot.com).