Interview with Dave Muntean of Nucleus

Nucleus have teamed up with Macabra to bring us brand new music fresh off of their 2016 Full lengths Sentient (which came in at #6 on our Top 15 last year)  and …to the Bone. Both bands bring their own brand of twisted death metal on this split entitled Fragmented Self. These new tracks are almost definitely the best either band has put out to date. We dug them so much we hooked up with Nucleus guitarist/vocalist, Dave Muntean and conducted this interview in space while orbiting Ceres.

 

fragmented self

album art by Dan Seagrave

First and foremost, how are you doing? Now that Sentient has been out for over a year how do you feel about the success and feedback received on it?

Dave: Doing great! The response to Sentient was better than we ever expected. At that point we were still used to just selling copies to people in Chicago and maybe mailing a handful out of town, so it’s very cool to flip that and have out of town sales grow bigger than local.

Your full length was released through Unspeakable Axe Records, how did you get hooked up with them and do you plan to continue to work with them?

Dave: I believe it was Bill Hansen, who does a radio show (KFAI Roar of the Underground) up  in Minnesota, who heard or EP Hegemony and sent it along to Unspeakable Axe. Eric from Unspeakable Axe contacted us interested in doing a release. We are already working on the next full length for UAR. Really happy to be on the label, really solid set of bands on there.

How did you end up working with Macabra? Do you have any previous connection with that band?

Dave: Mark Riddick(Who does all the instrumentation for Macabra) sent us an email. He really dug Sentient and was interested in working with us. It was originally going to be something like 1 song each, maybe a cover too, and then sort of just expanded into a 3 song each thing. In that process I had the idea of the story that bridges the 3 songs together and made our side a little concept, which then turned into being a prequel that sets up our next album. That’s why the songs flow into each other, they’re meant to be one continuing story. So the next album is now going to be a concept album too.

 

On Sentient I know that some of the songs were influenced by books and movies, for example Cantos is based off of the book Hyperion by Dan Simmons. Are any of the songs on the split based off of anything or are the songs related in anyway? I was sorta getting that vibe from the lyrics.

Dave: The songs are one continuous story, but unlike a lot of the songs on Sentient its not based on any one book. I kind of scrapped together some ideas from multiple books and other media I like, which kind of expanded as it went. I already have the outline for the album that follows it done. I actually ended up writing all the working song titles and track order before I even started writing it. So when I go into writing each song I have an idea of what its about and a framework of how it sound based on the theme and its place in the track listing.

What is the current progress on the next full length and/or anymore new Nucleus music?

Dave: The album is mostly done writing. One full song left to write, and two half songs, the rest is all finished at least in a rough draft state. We always make small changes here and there once we actually learn it together at practice. We’ve finished learning the first track on the album together already, minus the lyrics. After hearing that I’m super excited to finish the rest of it and get to recording, but that’ll take a bit of time.

 

In the track “Fragment,” there are some almost black metal sounding vocals, as well as  doom metal like chanting in there as well. Then in “assimilation” there is once again a doom metal vibe going on. This is more prominent than what was heard on Sentient, is this something you think we will be hearing more out of Nucleus?

Dave: If you are talking about the high wails in Fragment, I actually did the same vocals for 2 lines in the song Starflyer on Sentient. That mostly came from me joking around at practice trying to do Burzum screams. I definitely plan on having the chanting type vocals continue to pop up occasionally. I think we’ve always had a bit of doom stuck in once in a while, with small sections on multiple songs on Sentient. Assimilation ended up how it was mostly because it felt right for the section of the story that progresses through the 3 songs. The layout of the lyrics was set out and going really slow for just felt right for what that was about. We might not have a full out song like that often, but definitely sections within songs could hit a similar style.

Once again there is another excellent album cover for you guys done Dan Seagrave, how involved in the creative process were you on this? Tell me anything interesting about it.

Dave: Macabra’s album art for To The Bone… was the artwork done immediately after ours by Seagrave. The split art was just a combination of the two ideas merged into one. Dan Seagrave actually posted a photo of all 3 side by side, with the split art in the center, which is a pretty cool image to look at. When we did Sentient, we gave him free reign, mostly just gave him the album name and the general theme. I tend to like to let artists do whatever feels right with as little input from me as possible, I feel like we’ve gotten some cool things that way.

 What is your favorite Seagrave album cover?

Dave: Trying to not put one over another based on how much I like the music, haha, but one of my favorites are Malevolent Creation – The Ten Commandments. Just the whole world just ripping itself apart in front of the figure at the center.  Although I have to say Sentient came out so good, its definitely one of my favorite pieces from him, which I’m super proud of.

 What are you currently digging as far as music goes (current favorite album of the year?) are there any books, shows, or movies you’ve been enjoying lately?

Dave: I’ve been really bad at keeping up with new stuff this year, but I have been jamming the new Undergang which just came out, the new Ascended Dead, and the killer demo from Mortiferum.

 

I have a never ending list of books I want to read, a whole bookcase of just Sci-fi. I’m trying to push my way through the Culture series Ian M. Banks, while jumping off between books to try and read some random other ones, like The Library at Mount Char which I just finished recently.

 Any more big plans for Nucleus this year?

Dave: We have a few shows lined up yet to be announced, as well as playing the Full Terror Assault open air fest in Illinois in September. Other than that we are trying to lay low and work on the next album so we can record it as soon as possible. It’s very close to finished writing, and we’ve already started learning the songs at practice. Really excited about whats done so far!

band promo John Mourlas
Photograph by John Mourlas

 Did you ever hear the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the wise?

Dave: Hey, he tried to preserve himself from the inevitable death due to the Rule of 2 and the apprentices lust for power, tried to be all buddy buddy, go at it as two masters. Shoulda slept with one eye open.

-REH-

Stream the full split here

Nucleus bandcamp

Macabra merch

Interview with Dave Muntean of Nucleus

Figures emerge: Interview with Jeff Owens of Goya

We have talked about Goya on Abusement Park a few times, but this time we invited Jeff Owens vocalist/guitarist of Goya into the inner sanctum for a chat about the new full length Harvester of Bongloads.

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How is it going Jeff? Thanks for doing this. Why don’t you just go ahead and tell us a little bit about Goya and how this band got started, as well as why you play this kind of music.

Jeff: It’s going alright. Just trucking along, dealing with the ups and downs life throws my way. I like to refer to Goya as a 3-piece metal band, though we tend to get pigeonholed as stoner metal or doom metal, which is fair, since we fit into those genres for the most part. I started Goya back in 2011 after a revelation that I had been playing in other people’s bands my whole life, and had never really done what I wanted to do. I was in a punk band and an Iron Maiden/Thin Lizzy-esque Nintendo cover band at the time. I enjoyed both of them, but didn’t feel like I was able to fully express myself, so I started writing riffs and lyrics for what would become Goya. I found a couple of guys who were on the same page, and we went from there. As far as why this kind of music, I suppose it’s just what comes naturally to me.

Alright so tell us about this new full length Harvester of Bongloads. Is this the Metallica reference we all think it is? You had a fairly busy year last year with the ep’s, how long have these songs been in the works? I believe you mentioned before that this is a concept album. Do you care to go into any details on that?

Jeff: It is absolutely a Metallica reference. Credit where credit is due, a while back The Atlas Moth put out a record titled “Master Of Blunt Hits”. When I saw that, the title for this album just sort of popped into my head, and I knew it had to be the name of something. For a while, we were calling Omen by that name, but it soon became evident that it had to be the album title. These songs have been worked on in various stages for quite some time. I have early demos of Omen that date back to some time in 2012, and I believe the other tracks began to surface some time in 2015. Germination, Misanthropy, and Disease took concrete form much sooner than Omen. We have been performing the second half of the album for close to a year now. We were honestly still sort of writing Omen when we got into the studio. In fact, I recorded vocals for it, went home that night and rewrote the second verse, and then rerecorded some parts the next day. Harvester of Bongloads is, more or less, the second and third act of a story, with the first act being Rites of Hashage (From 777). The concept of the album may or may not be easily decipherable, but I do have a very clear story in mind that I feel is represented well once you know it. There is this dude who gets strange psychic powers when he smokes weed. He realizes that his powers can potentially have a positive effect on the earth. Coinciding with this revelation, Satanic aliens come down from outer space and give him the power to grow crops that can turn people into his followers. As planned before he had a weed cult, he tries to use these newfound powers to make the world a better place. Very quickly, he realizes that the powers that be and the majority of humankind in general not only make that difficult for him, but flat out don’t want the world to be a different or better place. As a result of this knowledge, he decides to use his army of weed demons to destroy the world, and that’s where the second half of the album comes in. The second half is mostly an expression of his hatred and the destruction caused as a result of it.

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I love it! So this is not your first attempt at a concept album?

Jeff: It’s not, no. 777 is not a concept album, despite the opening track tying in with Harvester, but Obelisk definitely is.

The story of Obelisk is not told in a linear fashion, as I felt that made sense with the material. It is a sort of twisted romance, and can be summed up relatively easily, though I’m a little more guarded about all of the details than I am with Harvester. A soul escapes from Hell, and three demons (one greater, two lesser) attempt to retrieve it by possessing the bodies of various murderers throughout history. Somewhere in there, the greater demon returns to Hell for an extended period and leaves the lesser demons to do the work, at which point they say fuck the job, and decide to do whatever they desire. When the greater demon returns, it sees what they have done, and absorbs them into it, ultimately finding the escaped soul and returning to Hell with it. There’s some more to the story, but I prefer to leave the rest to interpretation.

Okay so for Harvester, I have heard people say they think it’s a more stripped down approach, and I myself said it sounded like an extremely cohesive Goya album. What do you think about that and what was the approach to writing and recording this one?

Jeff: One big difference between this album and our first two is the length. When we were making this album, I was adamant that each side be right around 20 minutes. I looked at all of the albums I love from the seventies, and they were very much made for vinyl (particularly Sabbath records), so we followed that model. I really like that approach, and I think it’s the one we will be taking from here on out, though anything can happen, of course. Another difference is that we recorded our first two LPs in our rehearsal space, which was a medium-sized warehouse at the time. This album was recorded in the studio at Switchblade Sound, so things sound a little bit tighter, I think. Other than that, the recording approach was very similar. Joe has been working with us from day one whether it be as a member of the band, or recording us, so he knows what we’re going for. We tracked bass, drums, and one guitar live, then I doubled the guitar and added vocals. I will say that we didn’t add quite as much on top as we did on Obelisk. There are only one or two separate lead tracks on this album, I believe, and the weird noise stuff at the beginning and end of Omen. For the most part, we tried to be pretty faithful to how we play the songs live, which is what we have done in the past. I think the fact that it is a 40-minute album makes things a little more precise and refined, despite the fact that it is only 4 tracks. We were very conscious of how many times we repeated certain riffs, and even the speed at which we played them.

Speaking of recording I noticed you have credit as producer. Do you have a lot of experience with that type of thing? Also I thought your solos on this were outstanding especially the ones in Omen. What’s your approach to soloing?

Jeff: I only really have experience with producing when it comes to Goya records. Again, Joe knows what we’re after, so he and I tend to spend a lot of time working together and figuring out all of the little details of the album.

When I started Goya, a lot of my solos were just sort of by the seat of my pants type stuff. As it’s gone on, I prefer to specifically write out solos. What that process usually looks like is me recording a small section I solo over, and just playing that section on loop for hours, getting parts of the solo down here and there, until it finally all comes together. That gives me a foundation to work on from that time until we hit the studio. Sometimes, I still don’t have things hammered out when I hit the studio. I also will usually pick a single album I love to listen to a ton in the weeks before recording. With this session, it was Black Sabbath s/t, which is I feel is fairly evident in the solos on Omen.

Also speaking of vinyl I believe you’re releasing this one yourself through your label Opoponax Records. What made you start that? You also released the debut Toke album. Are you planning on putting out any other releases from bands that are not Goya?

Jeff: Opoponax was initially started out of necessity. I wanted 777 to be out on vinyl and I didn’t have any connections, so I looked into pressing records and that was that. At the beginning of 2016, I decided to take it a little more seriously and took out a loan and started an LLC. I always wanted to run a record label as a kid, so it’s been great bringing that dream to life. No regrets, so far!  I do have another non-Goya release coming out. Gray Gallows‘ “Underlord” will be out by the summer. Other than that, no current plans for any non-Goya releases. I get a lot of bands messaging and emailing me, of course, but the only bands I put out aside from my own are my friends’ bands, bands I’ve seen live and thought were amazing, or both. Maybe next year I’ll have more money to throw at releases, but at the moment, 2017 is pretty much booked for Opoponax.

One thing I have to ask about is the album art for Harvester of Bongloads. Especially since there is such an obvious tie to art with the band name which I assume is a reference to Francisco Goya and not the food company. I think it looks amazing. How did you end up having Hunter Hancock do it and how close did you work with him on it?

Jeff:  Hunter worked with us back on 777, and he did a killer job on that, so it only made sense to have him do another album cover for us. I’ve been friends with Hunter for a years, and he’s always been a really gifted artist. With this release, I honestly didn’t give him much direction. I just gave him demos and lyrics as they became available, told him the concept, and asked him to do whatever he thought made sense. I’m a huge fan of Aubrey Beardsley, and I think Hunter really channeled some of his style with this artwork, so I couldn’t be happier.

You guys covered Nirvana and Marilyn Manson. How big is 90’s music an influence for you guys?

Jeff: I don’t know whether or not it comes across in the music, but the answer is: huge. Kurt Cobain is the sole reason I was interested in playing guitar. I turned 12 in 1990, so my teenage years were mostly filled with 90s music. Nirvana, Soundgarden, NIN, Alice In Chains, Marilyn Manson, and Pearl Jam were found in my Discman throughout the majority of my high school years, and I still like all of those bands. My tastes have continued to grow and evolve over the couple of decades since high school, but that stuff still resonates very strongly with me.

And for the final question: Goya stars in a sitcom where you live next to grumpy old man who is played by Willem Dafoe. What do you do to drive him crazy? Bonus points if you come up with a title for the show.

Jeff: Plot twist! The grumpy old man Dafoe plays is HIMSELF! We taunt him by acting like various characters he has played, dressing up like Green Goblin or Nosferatu (the deadliest foe!), throwing pumpkin bombs at him and sucking his daughters’ blood. He has catchphrases such as, “You blasted scalawags,” and, “How many times do I have to tell you lousy scamps? Stop eating all of my mayonnaise!” In the last episode, we all take scissors to our genitals and he has to clean up the blood we get all over his carpet. It ends like every episode does: the four of us have a good smile and laugh about our antics together.

The show is called “Dafoe and Dafriends”.

Upcoming Tour dates with Aneurysm

goya-tour

 

 Harvester of Bongloads drops March 3rd. Pre-order the digital album and Stream new Track “Disease” here

 Pick up some rad merch at Opoponax as well.

 

Figures emerge: Interview with Jeff Owens of Goya

The New American Standards

With us today we have something a little different than usual. We have Brandon Kellum the vocalist of American Standards a chaos driven noise punk band. I certainly welcome his company at Abusement Park. American Standards have been hard at work on new music so continue reading to find out a bit more…

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American Standards have been hard at work on a full length for a little while now, what details can you give us about that?

Ya, I’m actually responding to this email while on the road back home from the studio in California. At this point, tracking and mixing is done and we’ll be sending the album to get mastered with Brad Boatright at Audiosiege here in the next week or so. We did 8 tracks at Kingsize Soundlabs (Mars Volta, OFF, Bad Religion) then mixed with Andy Marshall of The Residency. Hoping to have the first single out in December 2016.

The last we heard from you was the 3 song EP Hungry Hands, how does the new material compare to that?

It feels like the new stuff is a bigger jump in the progression of the band then past releases. We’ve never been a band to compete with others to be the heaviest or most technical, rather just really focused on writing solid songs that resonate with us and that push our own dynamics. With these songs we explored a lot more of what I think makes us American Standards who we are as a band like the complex drum rhythms, prominent bass lines and attention to both Corey and my vocal hand offs. We also had the opportunity to put some time into the recording whereas in the past we were running up against recording hours and other deadlines. 

 

It seems like you have influences from all over, what major musical influences can be heard on the new material?

Ah, that’s always a tough question. I feel like some of the common comparisons we get are bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Chariot, Refused and Every Time I Die. I’d like to think with the new material we took those but also blended in a more varied mix ranging from bands like Rage Against The Machine and System Of A Down to Cancer Bats and Deftones.

We talked about the inspirations to the sound of the album but what about lyrically? Are there any overall themes to this? 

It’s always interesting to me to hear about how other vocalists approach lyrics. For some, I think the first word isn’t written until the instruments are at close to 100%. For me, I’m constantly jotting down ideas daily as they come. By the time it comes to record, I’ll typically have a few notepads full of lines then I just get a feel for what song has a mood that correlates to what I’m trying to express. Makes it easier for me in a lot of ways but also sometimes paints me into a hole where I need to make what I’m trying to say fit the constraints of the song.

For this record we had a lot of time between Hungry Hands and now. Not to get too political but we’ve had one of the most insane presidential elections I think the US has ever seen. Adjacent to it; movements, protests, riots…. you name it. All of this magnified by this new world of social media that we live in. A world where simultaneously everyone has a voice but are lost in the noise. A world where algorithms dictate what the mass public accepts as fact and headlines are the only ideas that are shared. If there’s a theme of the record, it’s that the same things that bring us together, the same categories we create and tribes that we build- those also divide us. Make it easier to point the blame at someone with opposing views or paint a group of people with a broad stroke based on an arbitrary title we’ve assigned to them. So with the new record we really dive into that across multiple songs. 

There are also songs a little more personal to me. For example one about the loss of my father to cancer last year. He worked till the day of his diagnosis. Stage 4 and was given weeks to live but still wanted to go on with his life exactly as he was living it. He passed within the month. 

Another about our late guitarist who took his life earlier in the year. Someone we spent several years with writing, recording and touring. Depression got the best of him and everyone he’s touched has been forever changed.

It’s great to see you guys continue on and must be seriously awesome to have an outlet like this band to get past the darker sides of life.

Does any of this translate to future cover art?

Good question. We’re just about at the point. We’ve been lucky to have someone like Corey in our band with a real knack for stuff like that. He’s design all our past albums and merch. I’m excited to see what he’ll come up with for this.

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This new one was recorded in California, why go out of state? 

Yeah, we really bit off a little more then I think we realized at the time by choosing to do a full length out of town. It’s been a great experience and there are definitely some benefits to it outside of the obvious caliber of the studio itself. One being it forces the entire band to be present and interact in the entire process from beginning to end. When you record in town, it’s too easy for the guys to show up for their parts and leave for the others. Downside of it all though is the timeline. Every time we have a new idea that we want to track, it’s a 6 hour drive back to Los Angeles. In total, I believe we’ve done 5 trips over the course of 3 months. 

 

Tell us about the recording process. It sounds like you tried some new things with Hungry Hands is there any more of that?

We definitely kept the experimentation going on this one. It’s always been important for us to have a more natural recording though, so a lot of the production tricks people maybe use to from other bands in our genre just isn’t our thing. No triggered drums, all real equipment going through mic’d cabs. Nothing that we can’t recreate live for the most part. The only exception to that are the very minor things we did to add texture to the songs. Some grand piano, harmonica, minimal strings and strangely enough- crunching of potato chips into a mic. That’s the fun stuff that I think listeners may not catch all of on the first few listens but it’ll keep it interesting to discover.  

 

You were said to be too DIY for your own good, what does that mean to you?

When we decided to leave the label back in 2012, we were already doing the bulk of the work that any independent band would be doing. We were planning and funding our own recording, merch, touring and being 100% present on any social media or press outlet that we could find. Over the years as the band has continued to grow, so has the time invested into maintaining all that. Becomes almost another full time job responding to everything, making trips to the post office to mail out merch, promoting and just doing what’s needed to be as engaged as we need and want to be.

 

You mentioned that you guys straddle the line of being hardcore/metal so you get put on a weird mix of shows. Who are your favorite bands to have played with? 

It seems that way. We’ve been asked to do shows with bands ranging from GWAR and Danzig to Atreyu and Emery. Some of our favorite that come to mind from this year were definitely Every Time I Die, Norma Jean and Stray From The Path. All bands that we’ve done multiple shows with in the past but are always stand up dudes that bring a great crowd.

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Also how was the album release show for the Ned Flanders inspired band Okilly Dokilly?

It was awesome. Okilly Dokilly are truly some of the nicest guys and really talented musicians. I think they know what they’re doing when it comes to the gimmick and they pull it off well. Above everything, they have this cool opportunity to play for a unique crowd of people both in and out of the punk or metal community. That warrants an environment where the crowd is in on the joke and even though it’s heavy music, everyone’s there to have fun. Kind of strips out the attitudes and tough guy mentalities when you’re watching a band screaming Ned Flanders quotes.

 

I also saw you played with Glitterbomb recently. I loved their split with Woundvac, who are your current favorite bands from Arizona?

Yeah, Glitterbomb are definitely the homies and Woundvac are gnarly. Brennen from Glitterbomb was actually our original guitarist and their drummer (Mike Cook), recorded drums for our Hungry Hands EP. Outside of them, highly recommend the AZ locals; Coma Prevail, Prize Fight, Spoiled, Strelitza and Lifelink. So many good things coming out of Arizona.

I love Spoiled!

How would you describe American Standards in the live setting? The pictures you sent me look like it gets pretty intense!

The live show is everything for us. If it were up to me, that’d be the first way that someone discovers American Standards because it really is something we put a lot of passion into. When you come to our show, we know your spending your time and money and we want to make it worth it.

What formats are you guys planning to release this on?

For formats, we did CD, vinyl, cassette and digital on the Hungry Hands EP. For the new one, it’s still up in the air but we’re hoping to do something similar. 

 

If American Standards were offered a chance to have an extravagant WWE entrance before a show, how crazy would it get, what all would go down, and what would the entrance music be?

Ah man, that’s tough. I’ve personally always been a fan of guys like The Undertaker, Mankind and Sting. I’m not sure a band of 4 dudes coming down from the rafters makes sense though. It may be more fun to go the route of DX. Get Rage Against The Machine to write a theme song for us and just be belligerent and cause havoc.

 

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Catch American Standards live at these upcoming shows:

Nov. 19th – Frogees – Apple Valley, CA

Nov. 20th – The Aging Room – Long Beach, CA

Dec. 3rd – Metro Bar – Salt Lake City, UT

Dec. 4th – TBA – Henderson, NV

Dec. 9th – The Rebel Lounge – Phoenix, AZ

Treat yourself to some pay what you want music at the American Standards bandcamp!

To keep up with the progress of the new LP and future shows like them on Facebook

 

The New American Standards

Take Over And Destroy at the Park

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I would like to welcome Alex Bank Rollins and Andrew Leemont of Take Over And Destroy to Abusement Park. In 2014 they released our personal album of the year Vacant Face. They are currently on the cusp of the release of their self-titled full length album. Which is due out on Prosthetic Records October 7th. Let’s get this thing started!

 

The first thing I want to ask about is the history of Take Over And Destroy. I have been listening to you guys for a while and do not know a whole lot about how you started. How did it go from Drone Throne to TOAD? 

 Alex – They were two separate projects that started around the same time. In 2006 Andy and I were playing in a band together. I started playing drums in Drone Throne as a side project. Andy wanted to branch out from the band we were currently doing, and started recording his own material in his bedroom under the moniker TOAD. It started out as a gloomy punk band. Once he recruited members for live performances, the sound changed and morphed into something different.

 What are your major influences musically or even non-musically? 

Alex – We are influenced by people who create their own sound. We want to be a band that when you hear us, you immediately know it’s us. Bands that have their own identity are inspiring to us. From Queen, to Queens of the Stone Age. From The Ramones to Rocket from the Crypt. From Nirvana to Nick Cave. From Danzig to Devo. 

It’s inevitable that we’re always inspired by the films that we watch.

Not too long ago you guys announced the new LP was going to be self-titled, what made you guys decide that this one was going to be self-titled?

Andy – The concept of the album is that it’s a collection of singles. We thought it would be appropriate to play the self-titled card at this point in our discography.

 

Before the new material was even recorded you guys hit the road with Lament Cityscape to get the songs ready, did the songs change at all from road to studio? 

Alex – Not really. We just got tighter as a band playing these songs. The structure of the songs never changed.

Andy – It’s a perfect thing for a band to tour right before recording. Especially since we recorded it live.

 

Are there any songs on the album that were not played on the road? 

Alex – No, we played every song on tour at least once before we returned home and entered the studio.

Andy – We always switch the sets up live from night to night. We’ve always done that, but we made sure to integrate every song from the new album.

 

When I saw you guys, y’all played a cover of “Tired of Being Alive” by Danzig, which was awesome. At any point did you think about recording a version of that?

Alex – Thanks! It’s always fun to play, and having CT from Rwake join us on stage for the cover in Little Rock was a real pleasure.

Andy – We planned on recording it for a 7″, but those plans fell through.

Check out the cover

 

Once again you guys recorded with Bob Hoag, how would you describe y’alls relationship?

Alex – Andy and I have known Bob since 2006. We’ve been working with him ever since. We all have similar interests, so we’re always talking about current and past pop culture stuff. While working in the studio together, we can easily get distracted and go down the rabbit hole, but we try and stay on schedule. There’s been plenty of overnight shifts where we’re making up for time and finish up while the sun is rising.

 

Andy – He’s like an older brother, and another member. He’s very generous with his creativity. We love Bob.

 

On Vacant Face he wrote and performed “The Fly Is Awake” did he contribute in any similar ways for the new LP?

Alex – He played virtually all of the organ and keyboard on the new album. Aside from myself playing the keys on Out of Frame, Bob played the rest. Andy wrote keyboard parts for the album and presented them to Bob, who then enhanced, altered, and executed them. Getting the right sound and tone for each keyboard part was a joint effort.

Andy – We hope to take him on tour with us one day.

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This is the third time you have worked with Branca Studios, first being a t-shirt and then the cover for the split with Gatecreeper. What is it like working with him? How did the album cover for this one come about, especially the reversible cover? I think it’s a very cool idea and looks freaking sweet.  

Alex – Thanks Eli! It’s great working with him. We speak the same language (well, not really… he’s from Barcelona and English is his second language.) But he gets where we’re coming from. Working with him is easy because we can reference something and he immediately gets it. We’re happy to see him getting the recognition he deserves.

While discussing ideas and concepts for imagery to represent the new album, we were in our practice space. I have a framed poster of The Shining hanging up, and it hit me; we need an album cover that when flipped upside down, new images emerge. Much like the album you see certain things at first glance, then when looking closer more is revealed. While discussing it with him we referenced the collage style of The Beatles “Revolver” and Roky Erickson “The Evil One.”  The back side of the album is another reversible collage.

Andy – We gave him the pitch that this album is a collection of singles. We wanted it to look like a collage with the color scheme of the Misfits “Earth AD”

take over self title

 

Did you guys try anything crazy new on this one? The last album Vacant Face was insane. It had the gothic vibe as well as a song featuring a literal axe.

Also specifically for Andy, did you do anything different vocally? Because the “cleans” in “By Knife” sound gnarly.

Alex – We still have the same mindset that we’ve always had. We still believe that song structure is the most important thing. When we write it’s crucial for us that everything is fluid and flows as one. If it sounds good, and feels good to us, we hope that it will translate to the listener.

 

Andy – I did more crooning, weirdo clean vocals. I was more comfortable doing that on this album. It’s easy for me to scream and growl, I feel like our listeners deserve more than that. We implemented more rock and roll vocal harmonies on this album. Our producer Bob, and guitarist Nate [Garrett] did some layered harmonies on a few of the singing parts I wrote.

There’s a part in our song “Love Among the Ruins” where we did group vocals and we all shouted in key. That was a new thing for us, and is definitely a favorite moment on the album for everyone. Looking back, we wish we did more of that.

 

I remember hearing some pretty sweet guitar work in the new songs live. I also love the final result in the solo for “By Knife”. Are there any solos that you’re extra proud of, and what was your approach to them?

 

Alex -Thank you very much. The solo in By Knife is a double header. I play the first half, and Nate plays the second half. I tend to play more bluesy, melodic solos. At a really early age my Dad showed me Black Sabbath, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Moody Blues, Iron Butterfly, and the list goes on. For me it was never about how many notes you can cram into a solo, it’s more about the feel and emotion of it. In my opinion playing less notes, and the spaces in between notes can be more effective than shredding scales up and down the neck.

It’s not exactly a solo, but my favorite moment of guitar playing comes at the finale of the album. We close everything out with our song “Night Work Begins.” There’s an instrumental section at the end that has a real magic to it. I remember playing it in the studio and having chills sent down my spine. All the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up, and afterwards it was hard for me to talk. I was just kind of silent, shaking my head.

 

I have to say these boys know how to close an album.

 

So as mentioned above you guys toured before the album was recorded, what are the plans for after the album releases?

Along with that I have to ask, will there be a new guitarist to replace Nate Garrett who has quietly departed the band?

Alex – We are doing a few out of town dates in November. A double feature showcase in California. We’re playing in Los Angeles on November 19th, and San Diego November 20th. There will be more to come.

This is a transitional phase, and we will be playing with a new guitarist.

 

Take Over And Destroy are recent signees to Prosthetic Records. I have to know how that came about because you’ve been basically DIY for so long.

 Alex – We were approached by Steve Joh who is currently working A&R for Prosthetic Records. Steve is well respected in the music industry and we hit it off with him right away. We were in talks with him for some time and decided it was the right move.

 

Fellow Arizona heavy hitters Gatecreeper are also releasing an album on October 7th but through Relapse Records, the same day the new Take Over album drops, was that planned?

 Seriously though the Arizona heavy scene has to be one of my favorites. Who are some other bands you guys think needed to be signed pronto?

 

Alex- It was not planned. Complete coincidence. After we announced the release date for our new album we received a text from one of the Gatecreeper guys saying theirs was coming out the same day.

Woundvac is a great band playing in Arizona right now. They play heavy and tight grind that has brutally catchy riffs.

Our friends in Spoiled play some wild tunes that are punk in nature. It’s fast, short, and to the point. They have the attitude of the 90’s. Arizona is a better place with Spoiled.

Warhead are a bunch of speed punks that will punch you in the face with their fast riffing. They’re young guys that are tight and determined. They rehearse at our space a few units down from us in Tempe and we like hanging out and headbanging with them in between jams

 

And finally you guys have been described as “An American rock & roll band from the 1970’s trapped inside of a Scandinavian metal band from the early 1990’s, scoring a John Carpenter film.” If you were going to be cast in a John Carpenter movie what role would you want in which movie?

 

Alex – I’ve always had an affinity for Kurt Russell’s character R.J. MacReady in The Thing. Cold, isolated, self sufficient, and lacking trust with an unsure fate.

Andy – I’d want to be Arnie Cunningham in Christine. Harry Dean Stanton breathing down my neck about a car that I love more than anything in my life. Love has a veracious appetite.  …or Jeff Bridges in Starman. Being an alien in a dead man’s body, and ultimately ending up in Arizona.

I would definitely be Nada in They Live. I am always in need of bubblegum.

Once again the new Take Over And Destroy LP arrives on October 7th out on Prosthetic Records. It’s going to be one groovy album for fans of catchy riffs and interesting songs. Do not sleep on it!

-REH

Pre-order CD and Vinyl here on Prosthetic Records!

Give the new songs a listen here! The nightwork officially begins October 7th!

Brought to you by Take Over And Destroy and Abusement Park

Take Over And Destroy at the Park

IT’S USUALLY JUST LOUD

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Today exclusively at Abusement Park we will have Papa Anvil AKA Mr. Stoney Bass the main man of Denton, Texas based record label Anvileater Records. A man of riffs, beer, and hot dogs. Let’s do this!

 One time I ate a bowl of anvils for breakfast without any milk, but anyway, what made you start Anvileater Records and what was the original goal?

AER: Well, I grew up in the punk and hardcore scene booking shows, (trying) to play in bands, and just doing things that go with having a bunch of friends running a venue and it just slowly led into me promoting releases and eventually just putting them out. It kind of happened without me planning for it to, which is kind of the whole mantra of the label. I moved away from scene I grew up with but wanted to help from afar, so I put a few of their demos out. It helped transition the label into a DFW thing. I’ve never had a real goal besides helping my friend’s music get heard and then finding ways to get music I like out to other folks.

 What inspired the name Anvileater? I personally love the name.

 AER: Sadly, there’s not even a cool story about it. I was playing with the idea of actually doing a release instead of just booking DIY tours while signing up for a fantasy football league. I tried to think of a clever name for the team, chose The Anvileaters, and it stuck with me. I didn’t have a name when I went to make a Facebook so I just wrote Anvileater, and it just stuck. 

The name Abusement Park has a similar story. 

Who were the first bands you worked with, as well as first release?

 AER: Well, two releases actually happened at the same time. I was doing a tape release of Cannonball’s 7” for their last show. They were some of my best friends, so it made the most sense. While doing that I became friends with this awesome powerviolence band in Denton called Meaner Demeanor. I got them on the last show and we spent all night trying to dub tapes for both bands. It was the most DIY shit you could imagine, but it was awesome. We drove back and sold a ton of tapes at their show. A lot of them were super janky and we redid the J-Cards for all we had. I’m really sorry if someone has one of those, but thank you.

What’s the hardest part about running the label?

AER: It’s really an everyday struggle to stay relevant, and make people care about what you’re doing. There’s a lot more waiting times in tapes and vinyl than when we started so you’ve got to have constant content in between to keep people engaged. I love it, it gives me a reason to show off my ever waning design talents.

 What keeps you releasing physical media in this digital age? (Please continue to release physical media).

 AER: Man, people are always going to want to hold something. It’s awesome to hold a tangible piece of music and be able to look at it and see people care about details as much as you do. Digital music definitely has its conveniences but I’m a man of ritual. It feels good to just sit down and listen to a record. Spotify is a great marketing tool, and I don’t expect to make any money off of it but I know there are plenty of people like us that get hooked and have to find a physical format. Long winded, but there’s people like me that love that feel. I’m constantly defending putting out analog formats, even if they’re getting bigger.

 I absolutely agree! There is nothing more satisfying than a pile of music to flip through and play after a long day.

Is it just you running it or do you have any help?

AER: Anvileater has always been somewhat of a co-op. I’m always the one running everything but I’ve always had a small crew that I could bribe with a case of beer to help fold, mail, or stuff records. Lately, my girlfriend Lacey has really stepped in and helped with the organizational side of things. Shipping and getting orders out is way easier with someone on top of it. I get super ADD and get ahead of myself, she helps get it functional and it shows.

Fist bump to Lacey!

How do you find most of your bands and ultimately what makes them good enough to work with?  

AE: I don’t really have one way. I’ve released bands from submissions, seeing them play at a show, or just getting drunk and agreeing. I really like bands that are playing shows and working at it. Show that you really care about what you’re doing. I hate music business shit, I’m more about passion and doing what you love.

 What’s a sure fire way to not get put out by Anvileater? 

AER: Add me on Facebook, make small talk, and then just hint about your band. Send messages over and over. Send me and email with 60 other labels in the same email. Use too many descriptors, MELODIC METALLIC BLACKENED CRUST DOOM DBEAT PUNK USBM OSDM PUNK RIFFS. Please just send me a regular email, a few bands in the vein and a nice bandcamp or some tracks.

 One of my favorite things about your label, is that you have a variety of music on it. Was this originally the goal or did it just happen that way? 

AER: I think it’s really just indicative of the music I like. I just like heavy music. The next few months are going to be even more varied.

What release are you most proud of?

AER: It’s always the last one I put out, I try hard to always be improving. Right now, it’s the Athamé release. It’s just so pretty, and those girls are great to work with. They were more involved than any band has been before, and it showed. Kelly stained and carved the boxes, and Megan carved the stones.

The Athamé boxset was excellent and worth every penny.

athame boxset(A glimpse of the Athamé altar kit edition that they did for High Priestess which quickly sold out)

Texas is pretty far from Sweden, how’d you get hooked up with Haoma?

AER: Robyn sent me an email with a soundcloud link, and honestly that kind of throws me off because I hate Soundcloud, but I finally did and was just blown away. I emailed them back and we just got started right away.

You recently worked with Mind Ripper Collective on the Pavel Chekov split with Endless Swarm, how did that come about? Also is that something that might happen again with Mind Ripper or a different label?

AER: Well, we put out the Pavel Chekov/Criminal Slang tape last year and I try to jump on anything those dudes are on. Seriously the best dudes and the most prepared band I’ve ever worked with. They hit me up about Graham (Endless Swarm, Mind Ripper) wanting to put out that split so I emailed him about doing the US distro and helping release it.

Yeah I love working with other labels, we co-released the Panzerbastard/Rawhide split 7” with Unholy Anarchy Records outta Baltimore last year too. I like working with other labels and seeing how they do things, and records are expensive so it’s cool to have other people pitching in.

How would you describe Anvileater records? 

AER: We release music that’s made by people that give a shit about what they do. It’s just a showcase of people doing things we enjoy, and helping people get their music out there. It’s usually Loud, Heavy, and Hazy. I grew up looking at the back of tapes and then researching the name on the back to find new bands, I wanna help people find music they normally wouldn’t listen to.

What does the rest of 2016 have in store for Anvileater? 

AER: Man, it’s gonna be weird. I have several tapes, a record or two, A book/zine, and helping release a Horror movie coming out before 2017, so I’ve been really busy trying to make sure that all happens. There will also be some interesting pieces of merch thrown in there. I’m always overloading myself so just keep watching.

 I cannot wait to find out what all those are especially the horror movie!

Thanks again for agreeing to do this! My final question is: 

If Anvileater Records was going to be stocked in a grocery store, what products would it be located by?

 AER: I would cross merchandise Anvileater Records with a side-stack by the Lone Star beer and one by the hot dog vendor out front. 

Coming Soon from Anvileater Records-

Canyon- S/T CS

Marla Stone CS

Haoma- Endless Stash CS

Blight (FL) Discography CS

Possessor- Dead by Dawn CS/CD (this will be the first cd ever put out by Anvileater!)

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Be sure to check out the FREE Summer Sampler for a taste of everything Anvileater puts out minus the hot dogs.

-REH

Bandcamp: https://anvileaterrecords.bandcamp.com/

Store: http://anvilleaterrecords.myshopify.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anvileaterrecords/?fref=ts&ref=br_tf&qsefr=1

IT’S USUALLY JUST LOUD