Legendary Inglewood powerviolence band, Despise You, just dropped their first new release in over a decade this past Tuesday with East Coast grind veterans, Agoraphobic Nosebleed in the form of a devastating new split LP, And on and on… via Relapse Records. Blow The Scene reviewed the album in detail, which you can check out here. With one of the top grind/powerviolence releases of the 2000s, we are incredibly stoked to have caught up with vocalist Chris of Despise You and the infamous J. Randall of Agoraphobic Nosebleed for this exclusive interview. The two charismatic vocalists share the inside scoop on the new record, recording process, lyrical content, the grind scene, and much, much more!
Joshua BTS: Greetings! Thank you for taking time to answer a few questions for Blow The Scene readers around the world! Let’s begin by having you introduce yourselves and declare your onstage weapons of choice with Inglewood’s powerviolence practitioners Despise You and New England’s grind champs, Agoraphobic Nosebleed.
Chris (Despise You): This is Chris – screaming.
Randall (ANb): Randall – I have nothing to declare
Joshua BTS: We recently reviewed your forthcoming split And on and on…, set to hit streets April 26 via Relapse. This split is absolutely crushing, which we’ll get back to in a moment. First, how did you two come to link up for this release?
Chris (Despise You): Scott Hull hit us up at L.A. Murderfest to do something. We were all into it, so we started writing some songs for it.
Randall (ANb): Found out DY was back on from talking to Phil/CROM – to me that shit was a big deal, Despise You was like church to me, so I contacted Chris to find out what’s… Hahaha. He don’t remember, took so fuckin’ long to come out I ain’t surprised. Scott did make it official at Murderfest though.
Joshua BTS: With ten years past since your last release [Despise You], what did the writing process look like for this split? How long have you been compiling material for And on and on…?
Chris (Despise You): We weren’t compiling it at all. We started writing stuff after we were asked if we wanted to do it. It probably took 6 months to a year to get it all written.
Joshua BTS: ANb has had quite the prolific run of splits and one-off 7″s. Has the delineation from typical LP and EP releases been a conscious decision or just the natural progression of the band? How long had you been compiling material for And on and on?
Randall (ANb): Like I said, it took fuckin’ forever for this thing to come out.
I honestly hate FULL LENGTH records, just a waste of material for bands. People can only connect with so much material at a time and once you start servicing full lengths, it can spread your releases out a year, year and a half -I personally would rather do EP’s and hit a few times a year and stay fresh in people’s heads than risk having half a record’s worth on material not getting much play. Also at $10 bucks or so people are way more likely to STEAL a full length that will still BUY a EP for $4.
We do a lot of splits with other bands to sort of make up for not playing out with any. It’s more fun working on records with new people all the time also.
Chris (Despise You): We’d like to do some tours if we can get time off work, have the $, etc. all that shit seems so expensive to do.
Randall (ANb): Once again, ANB don’t play out, but if DY did go East Coast, I could pick up a mic up with them -I know their half of the split word for word, listened to their shit almost everyday since I got their tracks.
Joshua BTS: As we noted in our review of the Despise You portion of the split, “Everything you loved about powerviolence in the early
90s can be found here. Meaty bass distortion, stripped-down, blazing fast, dueling male and female vox, d-beat segments, distortion, quick-1-minute-or-less song lengths” Give us the skinny on where, when, and whom you recorded with for And on and on…? Was it your intention to recapture the immediacy and angst of 90s powerviolence? – B/c you really hit the nail on the head!
Chris (Despise You): Thanks for that. We recorded and mixed with Paul Fig. As far as “recapturing” anything, I think we just played what Despise You would play. The same style as the older stuff, just a few more “catchy” riffs and parts thrown in here and there on this new stuff.
Joshua BTS: As we noted in our review concerning the ANb portion of the split, “ANb’s seven tracks kick off with “Half Dead,” an aptly titled, sludgy, crusty offering from a band that buries expectations with each new release. Ambient and guttural vocals are trailed by dragging drums and riffs that carry on for several minutes before resolving into “As Bad As It Is,” where the band smashes the pedal to floor and makes a b-line through the hammer-lane tossing cars off the road as seen in Matrix Reloaded.” This is a vastly different feel from many of your past works, especially with the guitar tones. “Heavy of the crust” some might say. Drums certainty have that ANb punch and presence though. Please give us the skinny on the recording..Where, when, and whom did you record with?
Randall (ANb): Hull wrote, tracked, mixed and mastered all the music in his studio in Maryland along w/ Kat and Rich‘s vocals. I tracked my vocals myself in a studio in Mass. As usual, we completely re-invented the sound, as we do with most every release, I know it irritates some who get really attached to a certain sound on a specific record they would want to hear maybe more of, but ultimately, we do this for us and that means indulging whatever “thing” we are on about at the moment.
Joshua BTS: Always like to throw one in for the gear-heads.. Any special pieces of equip whether it be mics, cabs, heads, drums, rooms, etc., that played a pivotal role in capturing your sounds for this split?
Chris (Despise You): We don’t have any high end metal shit going on (we never did). The guitar is a Fender Telecaster with a Lace pickup. Almost every cymbal has at least one crack in it, except the china cuz we borrowed it from our friend Diego. All the recording is done live, and then the vocals are done later in a Korea town bedroom. I think we all would have liked to do it analog style, but no one really does that anymore. Paul Fig, who recorded us, did a good job to make sure that even with all the “amazing” technological advances, it didn’t sound like it was recorded in some Hollywood hospital.
Randall (ANb): Yeah I don’t know? We are sponsored by Jackson and Toontrack other than that I got nothing. Question for Hull and I ain’t him.
Chris (Despise You): Someone in the pre-determined place at the right time if you look at all the socio-economic shit involved. It’s a photo from a book by photographer Joseph Rodriguez. It was taken a couple seconds after a drive-by shooting in East Los Angeles.
Randall (ANb): Yeah what Chris said. Clap! Clap! Clap!
Joshua BTS: Both Despise You and ANb have long histories as influential figures with the grind and powerviolence scenes. What are your thoughts on the current state on both niche genres and what bands are exciting you these days?
Chris (Despise You): Weekend Nachos is pretty fuckin’ dark. I’m into it. There’s tons of bands, you’re never going to duplicate the mid-90’s, and people shouldn’t want to anyways. There’s always good new bands coming out.
Randall (ANb): As far as new bands I’m w/ Chris on this, it’s all about the Weekend Nachos -easily my favorite band right now and definitely the best band on Relapse at the moment.
There is tons of great new shit out right now though. Inerds, Cloud Rat, Bestower, Self Deconstruction, Chulo are but a few unearthed by me of late on my net label www.grindcorekaraoke.com -all the releases are FREE to download if any one wants to check it out.
Joshua BTS: Can you touch on some the lyrical themes for the split record? I definitely noticed a “We Are the World, We are the Children” vibe on with quotes from Despise You’s track “Roll Call,” where the grindy, d-beat-infused anthem rants “Fuck you, fuck your friends, fuck the courts, fuck it all, fuck your job..fuck this song and on and on..” ANb come out with more top-40-styled hooks in “As Bad As It Is..” with lines, “As Bad As It Is.. Tomorrow, it will always be worse. A new tragedy on every page…Hopeless, Starving, and Scared. There’s nowhere to turn when no one seems to care.” These tracks seem to walk a thin line between the depraved sense of humor many of us grind and powerviolence fans share, to the more serious commentary on the current social-political issues facing the US today. Fair assessment?
Chris (Despise You): Yea, our shit covers the same sorta stuff we did before. Skate pools, get burned and mislead by people. Kill yourself, all the shit you think you have won’t be there forever, etc. not much political stuff at all, there;s a stab at the banking / presidential bullshit on “all the regimes you hold most dear”, but that’s it for the politics.
Randall (ANb): Normally I indulge some completely depraved weirdness w/ the lyrics but I went more urban hardcore on this one – where my head was at when i wrote ’em. There is still humor to some of it but “As Bad As it is” (mentioned above) is about there being no “political” solution to societies social ill’s /poverty and “Burlap Sack” is about how California marijuana initiatives/legislation/legalization is financially slitting the throats of both Mexicans and California citizens alike, who rely on making a little on the side to pay theirs bills, eat.
Joshua BTS: I’m going to switch gears a little bit into some light-hearted Q and A. Who amongst you is the most neurotic when recording new material? IE who is the most likely to have a nervous breakdown in the studio and who is guy/gal that holds it together for the band?
Chris (Despise You): Everyone just does their thing. I don’t remember anything being neurotic about the recording process.
I don’t know about having a nervous breakdown about shit but I’m certainly the most critical of things coming off correctly. Most of it’s from past experiences w/ the delivery of the lyrics not coming off as planned etc. It sucks wanting to divorce yourself from certain aspects of your own efforts because of things getting away from what your initial intentions might of been for them.
Joshua BTS: Guilty pleasures of 2011 time.
Guiltiest radio-friendly song of 2011 that you downloaded on the sly?
Chris (Despise You): I’ve never downloaded a song, but if I did, it would be all the Zapp stuff, or some of the Toker’s oldies cd’s I’m missing.
Randall (ANb): I seriously got nothing, sorry. I don’t know if this counts but I did finally break down and downloaded Magurdergrind “Crusher” EP Scion released -I like it a lot.
Joshua BTS:Guiltiest movie pick of 2011?
Chris (Despise You): Didn’t go to the movies in 2010 or 2011. Haha.
Randall (ANb): again i got nothing, just over watching movies, can’t bring myself to watch anything except skate videos and basketball once in a while.
Joshua BTS:A little ‘East Vs West’ on these next few.
Best place to grab a bite on East Coast?
Randall (ANb): Woodman’s in Essex MA and Nick’s Roast Beef in Beverly MA -whenever I travel home to my parents, I eat at both.
Joshua BTS: Best Place to grab a bite on the West Coast?
Chris (Despise You): The Veggie Grill is good, and Pepsi/Microsoft doesn’t own it so it makes it even better.
Joshua BTS: Favorite place to perform on the East Coast?
Randall (ANb): IDK? Anywhere w/ girls hanging out, a bar, and place to go and smoke.
Joshua BTS: Favorite Place to Perform on the West Coast?
Chris (Despise You): Los Angeles, anywhere east of La Cienega Blvd,.. Low stage/no security/$5 to get in.
Randall (ANb): this might just be a coastal Massachusetts thing but…
Worst -Not really knowing anything about anyone other than how sarcastic they are.
Best- Not really knowing anything about anyone other than how sarcastic they are.
Joshua BTS: Worst and best aspects of growing up on the West Coast?
Chris (Despise You): The weather is good, you just have to pay 100$ and wait in line for everything.
Joshua BTS: Biggie or 2pac? Just kiddin! Haha. But seriously- s there a discernible difference in the approach to extreme
music on the East Coast compared to the West Coast? Or are we grinders and powervioence fans on the same page throughout the US and Globe?
Chris (Despise You): I don’t follow rap at all, but I never really notice a difference between this type of music no matter what side it’s from. The fast shit is universal.
Randall (ANb): There are a lot of great bands and supporters from everywhere, I have friends from all over the Globe now from doing this shit, but there is also a lot of nerds, phonies, corny metal heads, and dick-riders that are out there flying flags that can make you question what your doing with your life. To me, grindcore and shit is just hardcore music and “power violence” is just a ’90’s California hardcore thing that people think is a sound they can scam and rep. I personally have always liked West Coast hardcore because it’s stayed urban where most (not all) of the East Coast bands lean toward this pretentious “art-metal/metalcore” bullshit and do a lot of posturing for mass approval.
Joshua BTS: What does the rest of 2011 look like for you?
Chris (Despise You): Hopefully get out to the east coast and do some shows out there. try to stay out of the soup kitchens.
Randall (ANb): Just trying to be as awesome a person as humanly possible.
Joshua BTS: Thank you for taking time with us at BTS today! Super rad. We look forward to keeping up with the future endeavors of both
bands. Any final thoughts or shout-outs?
Chris (Despise You): Thanks for the support. Despise you Wouldn’t be possible without the guiding light of Los Angeles County.
Randall (ANb): Love and respect to Despise You for putting us up on the most important hardcore record in a decade!
Sample at ANb’s Facebook
Order And on and on… at Relapse Records
More info: Despise You Facebook
B&W Photos Courtesy of Monica F.
DESPISE YOU (pt. 1) 924 Gilman St. Short Fast & Loud 2011
[youtube width=”560″ height=”349″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nb0uvboGlw[/youtube]