Chicago’s Weekend Nachos are making a b-line to the forefront of extreme music circles throughout the US and world. With a refreshing take on hardcore-influenced powerviolence, grindcore, and sludge, Weekend Nachos are crafting an amalgamation of aggressive music all their own, while simultaneously building a loyal underground following of fans from many different niches within the hardcore scene. Since 2004, this four-piece outfit has crafted a barrage of releases on several leading indie labels that has drawn the attention of some of the most prominent figures in the extreme music world. We recently caught up with founding member and vocalist John Hoffman for an exclusive interview where the charismatic singer discusses the band’s current releases, tour plans, lyrical themes, and desires to see some body-slams and coffee pot smashing going down during Weekend Nachos’ upcoming performances. Without further ado, lets hear from John.
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 yourself and declare your onstage weapon of choice with Chicago’s premiere grindcore practitioners, Weekend Nachos.
My name is John and I do vocals for Weekend Nachos. Onstage weapon of choice? Like what I would use to hurt people in the audience or what my instrument is? Cuz I just answered that. Ah well, as for what I originally thought you meant, I’d go for the good old baseball bat. It’s simple yet charming and I’ve always liked hitting people with baseball bats.
Joshua BTS: Weekend Nachos have had quite a prolific outpouring of material, especially recently, including the Worthless LP on Relapse Records which follows the 2010 release of the Bleed LP, and you even squeezed in the new Black Earth 7” this year. Is this prolific output of material one of driving factors for Weekend Nachos or just the organic progression of the band?
John (Weekend Nachos): I don’t know how the rest of the guys feel, but releasing records is my favorite part about being in a band. Playing shows is fun sometimes too but if all we ever did was write and release albums I could be just fine with that. I’ve always been into creating shit and sharing it with whoever is down. Thus, every time one of us has an idea we like to make something out of it as soon as possible. There’s just no reason to slow down. That being said, I don’t want to give off the impression that we release material just to release material. If something fuckin’ sucks or if we’re just not feeling creative in the first place, we hold off on it just like anybody should. And I think that’s why our records are always decent. No watered down or mediocre bullshit will ever make the cut.
Joshua BTS: I know the name Weekend Nachos holds no significance other than being a humorous title for the band.. Your LP and EP titles are far more poignant. We recently ran a review of Worthless, and are interested to know what the meaning behind the title is, and what are some of the lyrical motifs listeners will find throughout?
John (Weekend Nachos): Actually Drew came up with the album title…we kinda just didn’t have a title for the album. I don’t even remember where it came from, but I do know how I felt about it once he said it. It just sounded right. Like yet another negative word we could relate to. Unforgivable, as an album, was sort of a hopeless, depressing take on hatred and misanthropy. Worthless is more like a giant “FUCK YOU” to everything combined with a bitter sense of apathy about how things are, minus the “I hate myself, I’m feeling so hopeless” vibe that Unforgivable had. Worthless is like Unforgivable with balls.
Joshua BTS:What’s the story behind the cover art for Worthless? Any special meanings? And who crafted the artwork/design?
John (Weekend Nachos): Imagery is a tricky thing cuz even I myself wonder “does this really mean anything?” sometimes. Honestly, there are no songs about a mountain crumbling into an icy lake on Worthless. But is the image significant? I think so but I also would rather the viewer decide something like that. Whenever I choose an image for an album cover I simply go off of the vibe that the image portrays when I look at it. That’s when I know if it works or if it doesn’t. The picture of the decapitated child on the cover of Unforgivable…same concept. Once I’ve found the appropriate image, that’s what’s going on there. To Drew’s credit, he’s the one who found that image for the cover of Worthless, not me.
Joshua BTS: Weekend Nachos incorporate a wide-spectrum of hardcore punk niches that range from powerviolence to sludge. How does this correlate into the actual writing process? Do you have a general idea of what you want a song to sound like before you begin jamming or do you let the songs steer themselves?
John (Weekend Nachos): There’s definitely no formula to our songwriting. We just operate by riffs, tones and volume. Slow or fast doesn’t matter, all it has to do is hurt somebody. Our collective influences constantly allow us to keep writing whatever it is that we’re gonna write.
Joshua BTS: For those just tuning into Weekend Nachos, please share some history of the band. When, where, and what were the circumstances of your formation?
John (Weekend Nachos): Dekalb, IL is where it all started. Over an intense meal of handpicked ears of corn, Andy and I decided that instead of limiting ourselves to sexual experimentation, we’d also like to do a band together. At that point, we did the only thing two dudes living in an apartment together while still in college would do…we recruited two of the weirdest people we could possibly find and insisted that our band be called something very badass that our fellow college brothers would enjoy. Weekend Nachos was born! I had no idea it would end up being so heavy and brutal but we surprised ourselves.
Joshua BTS: Weekend Nachos have made a b-line to the forefront of the recent grindy insurgence in the US, even mainstays like our friend Randal of Agoraphobic Nosebleed commented with Chris of Despise You in our recent BTS interview, “.. it’s all about the Weekend Nachos -easily my favorite band right now and definitely the best band on Relapse at the moment.” Pretty strong compliment from one of the most well-known figures in grindcore. Did you expect the buzz around Weekend Nachos to grow to this level? What do you think separates Weekend Nachos from the rest of the pack that has been so effective in spreading the buzz?
John (Weekend Nachos): Ahh my answer to this question could be taken as egotistical but that’s the way of the world sometimes. Anyways, did I expect Weekend Nachos to be appreciated to this extent? Definitely not. Does it make sense to me? Honestly, yes. We’re a good band. I feel we draw our influences more diversely than a lot of bands of our genre if you can even say we fit right into any specific genre. We are described as sounding like something different everywhere I look, which makes me feel good because none of us are close-minded people. I feel like all we’ve ever been is 100% real. I know a lot of bands say that about themselves but usually that’s all they’re doing is saying it. I feel we back it up with both our personalities and our music. I definitely did not expect a single person to give a shit about Weekend Nachos, let alone thousands of people, but now that they do I can honestly say I feel we deserve it. We express ourselves proudly and we respect others in the process.
Joshua BTS: You have some pretty amazing fest appearances lined up with the mighty Dude Fest right around the corner! What can fans expect from these upcoming shows?
John (Weekend Nachos): They can expect us to play! We will totally play. Anything else is up to the crowd cuz all we’re gonna do is play. Last time someone got body slammed right through Vaccine’s merch table and that was awesome. I hope that happens again but honestly one thing that has never happened before but I wish it had would be if someone got a full pot of coffee smashed across their face, as long as it isn’t me. Unrealistic goals but I’m a dreamer. I’m not the only one.
Joshua BTS: One of the defining elements of Weekend Nachos is the monstrous sound you are able to capture on both your recorded efforts and live performances. Do you utilize any special recording techniques? And do you find there are any choice pieces of equipment you that you truly couldn’t live without? Any new fun toys, whether it be pedals, drums, heads, etc., that you are incorporating into WN’s sound?
John (Weekend Nachos): Ah fuck, I’m the wrong person to ask about such specifics. We do play out of loud gear and we have an extremely talented sound engineer playing in our band who also owns the studio we record all of our records at. So…in true DIY fashion, we have a lot of useful resources at our fingertips in terms of sound. Since day one we’ve always kept that shit within the family, aside from our mastering guy who is a professional in Milwaukee, WI by the name of Trevor Sadler. I don’t wanna give away the ancient Chinese secret or anything but just come up to one of us at a show and ask Andy or Drew what we’re playing out of, I’m sure they’d be more than happy to chat.
John (Weekend Nachos): We’re not doing a whole lot this summer, playing a show or two and that’s it. Then in October we’re going to Europe again for about 2 1/2 weeks. Pretty excited about that. That’ll probably be it for 2011.
Joshua BTS: Any side projects in the works?
John (Weekend Nachos): Drew and I do a powerviolence band with our friend Investment called CYBORG that we’re pretty stoked on. Things are going slowly but surely and we will continue to rage hard whenever possible. Andy also plays bass in a band called LIKE RATS and they sorta sound like Celtic Frost and Four Walls Falling. Brian has a girlfriend named Christie and we like to upset her by constantly putting naked pictures of Brian in our record inserts.
Joshua BTS: Your albums are now streaming for free at bandcamp. Fans have got to be pretty stoked on this. Has this worked out well for the band?
John (Weekend Nachos): We actually didn’t make that page…someone at Relapse did. We just found it online one day. If people are stoked about that, then so are we! If anyone isn’t stoked on that, well, then we don’t really care cuz that doesn’t make any sense.
Joshua BTS: Any plans of waking Tooth Decay Records from its slumber?
John (Weekend Nachos): I would really like to do another label someday but I doubt I’ll use that name. It was more of a time and place kinda thing and it was also a joint project with my good friend Nick Lovro who now does his own label, Cowabunga Records. I think we’ll probably keep the Tooth Decay name lying six feet under and continue to move on with fond memories of the good times.
Joshua BTS: Apart from your musical endeavors, what does the day-to-day look like for Weekend Nachos? Any plans of hanging up the day jobs and doing Weekend Nachos full time?
John (Weekend Nachos): Weekend Nachos will never be a full time band, because then we would probably only last another few months if we tried to make it into that serious of a thing. The way we have it is perfect and we want to keep things going as is. 2-3 months of touring out of the year and trying to keep the good records coming whenever it feels right. As for our day-to-day lives…well, we all work for Greenpeace but I think that’s pretty obvious by now.
Joshua BTS: With so much time on the road, have any amongst you developed any odd touring habits? We’ve heard some good ones, from ice-t bottle collections of urine to roadies who shat out moving van windows- How does Weekend Nachos rank in the oddity department?
John (Weekend Nachos): We are very strange men, yet our touring habits are pretty tame. You’d think we were just a bunch of nice boys. I’m sorry but I have nothing interesting to report.
Joshua BTS: Best place for fans to keep up with Weekend Nachos online?
John (Weekend Nachos): Always check our Facebook profile, that’s where everybody seems to be these days. I wouldn’t know because I don’t run it. We also have a blog and Twitter though, which I do post on.
Joshua BTS: Thank you for talking with Blow The Scene readers as we look forward to keeping up with your future endeavors. Any final thoughts?
Yeah…never eat green snow. Thanks a lot, Josh.
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Official Weekend Nachos Blog for more info
top photo courtesy of oldhcdude