For those who are unaware of CARRION SPRING, their LP, 'A Short History Of Decay' or the contribution that the band made to the Epilogue Of A Car Crash: A Tribute To Orchid cd/12" that was released on Dog Knights Productions earlier this year - here is your chance to be blown away. CARRION SPRING plays passionate hardcore/screamo/skramz music in the vein of Birthday Boyz, Kodan Armada, Storm The Bastille, City of Caterpillar, Jowls, Orchid and of course, Kidcrash (with which the band shares members).
Adam Ciresi (sexy beast)
I recently had the pleasure of conversing with Adam Ciresi, CARRION SPRING's bassist and primary vocalist. Not only does he skateboard, paint and make killer music - he also proved to be a very intelligent and well-written individual. I have included some samples of his art in this post, which can be viewed here.
Check out one of his new video shorts here.
He will also be releasing some solo stuff in the near future which will be featured on this blog.
Considering promoting new bands is what this “Open Mind Saturated Brain” blog is all about, what unknown/obscure band(s) would you like to introduce people to?
“I am not too on top of the current music scene, but I do know what the Pacific northwest has got goin at the moment is pretty rad. A few local bands we know and love is: The Sky Above and The Earth Below, Duck! Little Brother Duck, Wild Guess, Hang The Old Year, Sloths, Your Rival, Oker, Dreamdecay, Like a Villain, Walter & Perry, Jason Clackley and The Exquisites, and Mercy Ties. I really like the band Helvetia who is also from Portland, but we ain’t really know them. There are some Californian bands that should probably be well known, like Calculator, Beau Navire, and No Tongue. Recently we played with Lord Snow from Chicago and it was incredible. Bands that I feel may not be as well known as they should, or in the least mean a lot to me are: Rockets and Blue Lights, Birthday Boyz, You and I, Shotmaker, Mare, and Gospel.”
*OMSB note - Birthday Boyz was the 2nd ever post on this blog. Check it here!
Please describe yourself and CARRION SPRING.
“Well, my name is Adam. I am the bassist and main vocalist for Carrion Spring. We formed roughly back in November of 2009. Our original guitarist Thomas and myself moved out here in Portland, Oregon from New York a year and half before, and that following September one of our longest friends, Phil, moved out here as well and into our house. Actually, the three of us have been tight friends since high school, and Phil and I go as far back to almost elementary school. And shit man, I just turned 30… that’s almost 2/3’s of my damned life I’ve spent knowing them cats. Anyway, we hadn’t many friends yet, though I had been playing in a band called Logs. In August 2008 we had Kidcrash play at our house, very first show we held in our new Portland home, and I befriended Alex at first. He asked me to play drums for his side project, Logs. I did, and the rest is history. Actually, this is funny enough… at the very moment of me writing this, Alex and John of Kidcrash are sitting with me at the living room table writing the final parts of the new Kidcrash stuff unplugged on their guitars. And John also plays guitar in Carrion Spring, taking the place of Thomas after he left to study abroad in Europe and Latin America almost 2 years ago.”
What interesting and perhaps lesser known things can you reveal about the other band members?“Phil, drummer of Carrion Spring, works full time as a HVAC technician. He is involved with a regional classic car club crew and owns a few of the prettiest late 60’s cars you’d ever seen. He’s got one that has hydraulics and hand done pinstripes. They do major car shows all the time, and sometimes plays drums in a soul cover band at those and other similar events. He also sings in a d-beat type hardcore band called Buck Williams. John, a student at Portland State University on a full Ford Family scholarship, also plays guitar in Kidcrash, and has been playing with Carrion Spring for over a year and a half now. Lee recently graduated from Concordia University for music composition, teaches music, and also has his 90’s-type pop punk band, Lee Corey Oswald, currently in full swing. Lee plays solo every so often as well and it’s always real emotional.”
How did you guys meet? How did you get involved in the band together?“Phil and I met in early middle school. We started skating together and listening to a lot of punk, especially east coast punk stuff during the mid 90’s. We met Tom in early high school. He was one of the only kids at our public school that we noticed at shows outside of town, and introduced me to so many bands it’s unreal. After my brother graduated college, he and a few friends moved out here from Scranton, PA where they all had gone to school together. Lee was one of those friends, and by the time he moved out here we knew we wanted a second guitarist and Lee is so unbelievably talented so it was a no brainer to make him do it. I met John through playing in Logs, being that Alex (both in Logs and Kidcrash) was one of my few early friends when I moved out here. John is one of the most solid dudes, and we been roommates ever since we met. That was another no brainer, asking John to play for us, once we lost Tom.”
Can you describe any of your personal (or band) conflicts?“There aren’t really any conflicts within our band, other than our busy personal live sometimes getting in the way of things. I’d love to have Carrion Spring practice 3-4 times a week and take the world by storm, but the unfortunate reality is we find ourselves getting together at most once a week, and playing shows on average once a month. Maybe if we could all quit our jobs or drop out of school, we could make far better music.”
“The concept of ‘Carrion Spring’ came from the writing of Romanian philosopher E.M. Cioran. His writing and thinking is of a staunch pessimism, which sort of fuels scepticism, and we found that it gave a nice tone to the conceptual side of the band. The idea of ‘Carrion Spring’, without being too cheesy or pompous, comes from a passage about animals hibernating in the winter. Sadly, nature is ruthless, and not all animals survive the harsh season, and their bodies are buried under the snow. With spring the snow melts, and the carrion revealed. Here is probably the most hope you’ll probably ever find for Cioran, as we saw some glint of clarity, the shedding of negative layers of ones life to beget a newer growth of life. Also, we thought we’d kind of give reference to this influence on our first album, so we named the record ‘A Short History of Decay’, which is the name of the Cioran book Tom gave me.”
What can you divulge about your upcoming cassette/releases?“Our upcoming release is an EP called Indiscretions volume 1. It is being released on cassette tape through Protagonist Records. The current plan is to put out 3 volumes on cassette tapes back to back. Once they are all done, we will seamlessly compile them more aesthetically on vinyl.”
What would you like to say about your contribution to the Orchid tribute, the tribute compilation and Orchid?“Being on the Orchid tribute album honestly sounded a little silly to us at first, but as we began to jam on the song and hear other songs contributed by the other bands, some of which we really like, it felt more as a way for a bunch of rad bands to come together and celebrate a part of our music’s history. Darren and Dog Knights Productions rule for doing this, and doing such a good job at that.”
We got into Orchid back in high school, like 15 years ago. Unfortunately, none of us ever had seen Orchid, though I remember a few opportunities I didn’t seize, like a total dickhead.
What is your favourite Orchid song/album? Why?“I remember when I got my first car at 16, and one of the first bands I blasted on the stereo was Orchid. Back then my favourite song was ‘…And the Cat Turned To Smoke.’ When we were asked to be on the tribute, I immediately wanted to say that song, but then I thought about what song might pack a hard punch, one that reminds me of what the hardcore/screamo scene was like on the east coast in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. And ‘Lights Out’ was the silver tuna. It’s not necessarily my favourite song of theirs, but it certainly holds something dear for me. I think 'Gatefold' might be my favourite album, especially considering all the spatial treatment on it. There is definitely a bit of influence for us on that sort of conceptual approach to composing an album.”
Was “Lights Out” your first choice? (your cover is tied for my favourite song on the tribute, and I must say that you were one of few bands able to make the cover sound better than the original. A few others came pretty close, but goddamn, well played, good sirs.)“Thanks much brotha. It was our first choice, and I was stoked we were able to cover it. ‘None More Black’ coulda been fun too though, but we all know Sed Non killed that shit.”
Do you feel like your new/next material can be likened to something in regards to its significance – such as a thought, idea, feeling or specific purpose? Is this communicated lyrically, instrumentally or thematically?“Our music seems to always come from the same place. For me, what we write is meant to have some relevance to the hardcore and screamo scene, without trying to sound or be too nostalgic. But we enjoy writing shit that gives us a sense of uncertainty, and push ourselves to maybe accept it and see if it stands some test of time.
Our new material isn’t much different from our old stuff, save for the fact that we have a different guitarist from our last LP. We are still making music that’s loud, and still trying out new things. And hopefully we could give you that head nod shit that make you break yo neck, to quote the great Busta Rhymes.”
You told me that you recently started playing with a member of Kidcrash. Can you talk about that? (I love Kidcrash and like their 'Jokes' and 'Snacks' records best, but have everything)“I just shared that line with Alex and he said, “Thanks, those are our favourites too!” So John has played with us for over a year and a half. We were kind of slow moving at first, taking a few months to learn him our LP 'A Short History of Decay'. After that, we trudged on through this cautious period of trying not to change our sound too much, while figuring out what kind of direction to move in.
Tom was a very large part of the brains behind Carrion Spring, so it was fairly traumatic at first picking up where we left off with the loss. We are much more stoked now, and it seems we’ve gotten very focused again on what we are doing. Certain elements we’ve wanted to include are really beginning to come to fruition.”
Who will release your next record?“Protagonist Records, and maybe we’ll do something cool with our homies’ local label, Friends For Life Records.”
Who were your primary influences when you started playing music and who are they now?“When Carrion Spring first began, interesting enough, we wanted to make some brutal hardcore, like Kiss It Goodbye or Buried Alive. We picked up our respective instruments (I actually played guitar at first and Tom tried bass, but for some reason we switched a few days later) and tried making some sick guttural hardcore. Turns out none of us really had much of an idea of how to write songs of that nature, so I just started jamming out riffs on the bass that reminded me of stuff like the Red Scare or Envy. I remember the very first riff that came out of me was the opening to “Of Course I’m Fucking Broken,” our first written song. It’s kind of funny that we put it at the end of our LP, maybe to hash together the humble beginnings with what we’re doing a few years later. And really, we were still fairly new to Portland in the beginning, so our weekend nights were basically the three of us jamming out some riffs over drinks well into the night. I remember us getting into bands like Birthday Boyz, Snoras, and Dominic. And then, a year later, when Lee joined the band, our musical scope had begun to form its own kind of idea. We all commonly loved a lot of stuff that came out of Boston/Mass., like Cave In, Isis, Converge, Orchid, American Nightmare, Ampere… or lots of Richmond/DC stuff, especially Pg. 99, Stop It!!, Malady, City of Caterpillar, Majority Rule, Neil Perry, etc. And really, all of those bands still influence us, but not so much in a direct way… more like a common ground than anything else for us. It was a godsend too when we started playing with John, because he knew all of these bands and loved most of them just as much as we do.”
Discuss your thoughts and opinions regarding the ‘screamo’ genre. I feel that it has morphed into a convoluted word that is attached to music when people are unaware of the context of the classification...and there's screaming.“It was interesting when I was younger and we first started hearing the term a lot. The obvious is that screamo is emo played loudly with screaming. But I also think it was a term being used to define something that was growing and changing so much, and still to this day is evolving. Hardcore was a term used to define artistically aggressive forms of punk rock, which somehow was co-opted by a lot of jocks and muscle heads a decade or so later. I feel like nowadays when the term hardcore is used, people think more of Hatebreed or Madball than they do Born Against, Black Flag, or Rites of Spring. And the same goes for emo. Somehow a term that defined a lot of our favourite bands and scene in our youth became a way for jocks to make fun of one another, like being emo means being sad, depressed, an outcast covered in Manic Panic or whatever other stupid conceptions there are. The usage of the word emo now has hardly any relevance to its musical inception. Screamo, on the other hand, seems to be a genre that hasn’t totally lost its sensibility or self-awareness. I think the term and genre never took itself too seriously, so using the label somehow makes you feel like you’re kind of making fun of yourself… but you don’t give a shit, because it’s much deeper than that. I like that screamo never got the same mainstream wrap that emo or punk did… it still keeps a feeling like it’s not dead.”
What kind of emotions and thoughts occur when people define your band, on purpose or by accident?“We aren’t really bothered by what people define our band as. Sometimes it can be quite entertaining, other times we’ll be very grateful, but we don’t find that we’re ever are trying to define ourselves under a certain type of sound or lifestyle, so it’s fine if there are actually different interpretations or comparisons from people.”
If you had to slap a genre label on CARRION SPRING so potential new listeners could get a good idea of your sound without hearing you, what would you label yourselves as?“Ah, that’s never easy to do. Well, I know that punk and hardcore are dead J. So there’s that. But I also think what we write and play are more in line with hardcore than what people see as ‘screamo’. For us, Carrion Spring takes into considerations those labels or genres, but we don’t attempt to just adhere to a label. But, if you’re forcing me to do it… I’d say post-hardcore/screamo.”
What things have happened in 2013 thus far that you would like the readers to know about?“We were on the Orchid tribute album. That ruled. We are also on a compilation of 30-second songs, but I haven’t heard much news from the dude who is putting the album out. Maybe it’ll be out eventually, either way we decided to put the song we wrote for that on our upcoming EP, Indiscretions v.1. We are going to tour western US the first half of August with Sed Non Satiata and Lee Corey Oswald.”
What are your future recording and touring plans?“After this summer tour, we are hoping to quickly solidify some sort of east coast tour. 3 of the 4 members of Carrion Spring are from the east coast, and yet we’ve never played over there. The time is upon is. We also want to tour Europe very much, and hope to make that happen within the next year. Maybe by that point we will finish all 3 EP volumes for our next LP vinyl release, which will be titled Indiscretions.”
Do you find it hard to balance objectivity and emotion when listening to, playing, and talking about music?“I find it impossible… everything I hear reminds me of something else, whether it was a band or a time period or a place or a creature or a friend or another song. Because of being somewhat of a music engineer, I also can’t help but listen to music and think about all the production and stuff that went into it. Or the lyrical content, or the level of shredding a musician is performing. Every once in a while I get fully immersed in an album, and it’ll take me somewhere else, far beyond words and the objective world. I remember a teacher of mine told me that Schopenhauer once said listening to music was the closest thing possible to quieting the mind. Playing music is similar, and even far more cathartic. Sometimes I will lose my shit so hard at a show that I will actually see stars and pass out. It almost feels like an overdose. So, maybe in that case I guess you could say I’ve got a heavy heart when it comes to music, eh?”
“For Phil, Tom and I, we grew up in the NY hardcore scene of the mid to late 90’s and early 2000’s. It was a very “tough” scene, especially in Orange County, NY, where we were grew up. We went to shows and danced like hapless mongrels and would come home all beaten and battered, and go do it all again a few days later. Comparatively, a lot of the Boston/Mass. scene, New Jersey, and Richmond/DC, had a lot of interesting post-hardcore and screamo happening. And of course, I’m generalizing a bit, because Boston had the whole SFU crew who beat the shit out of kids all the time, or that Orange County helped produce bands like Off Minor or Hiretsukan, who, in a way, have been influential on us. But all of that tough shit really bums me out sometimes now. Oh, and I remember we used to love this emo/screamo band called Keepsake… ha, we tried listening to them a couple of years back and it was a gargantuan face palm.”
Besides music, what do you spend your time doing? What are your hobbies?“I just graduated in June, 2013 from Portland State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. I work at a popular metal punk pizzeria called Sizzle Pie, where my boss is also the owner of Relapse records. I make stuff and sometimes I try to call it art. Most of the time, though, it’s just a waste of paint…amirite? I skateboard frequently, I go hiking and camping, take photos, and enjoy attending/being involved with local shows. I also play a lot of my own solo music, sometimes electric, sometimes acoustic, and hope to do more of it in the future. I play acoustic guitar more than anything else, and usually bother my girlfriend with playing folkish and indie type stuff all the time. I have a goal to record a full solo record within the year.”
What is your:((o))most cherished physical record?
I don’t really collect records… I’ve been waiting for the day that I actually make enough money to afford me a collector’s lifestyle. But one of the first records I did acquire is a Shai Hulud/Indeicision split, and I still love that fucking album.
((o))top 10: records? Including favourite release of all time.
Godspeed! You Black Emperor- Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To The Sky
Red Scare-Capillary Lockdown
Born Against- Battle Hymns of the Race War
Pinback- Blue Screen Life
Stop It!!- Self Made Maps
Fugazi- The Argument
Songs: Ohia- Ghost Tropic
Nirvana- In Utero
Elliott Smith- Self-Titled
Rachels- Music For Egon Scheile
((o))choice for best cover art/packaging?
Godspeed! You Black Emperor- F# A# Infinite
Regarding live shows:((o))the best show you've ever been to?
Krazyfest 2001. One of the most epic weekends of my life… Converge, Botch, Dillinger Escape Plan with Sean Ingram (of Coalesce) on vocals, Boy Sets Fire (back in their heyday), Small Brown Bike, Hey Mercedes, Alkaline Trio, Further Seems Forever, American Nightmare, White Octave, Hot Water Music, Elliott, Saves The Day, Bane, and others I can’t remember off hand. The “Krazyfest hotel” was one enormous party for 3 days straight, so much that security and the police couldn’t really handle it at all. So siiick.
((o))the band you would like to go back in a time machine and see?
Born Against for sure. Or maybe Songs: Ohia… very sad that will never be a possibility now.
Waking Life, Solaris (original), the trilogy of Red, White, and Blue, Holy Motors, They Live!, Old Boy, Koyaanisqatsi, Kids, Pump Up The Volume, Man On Wire, Instrument, The Birdcage, The Cruise, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Children of Men, O Brother Where Art Thou?, The Radiant Child, Dazed and Confused, American Hardcore, and Tambien La Lluvia.
((o))books?‘Short History of Decay’ by E. M. Cioran, ‘Revolution of Everyday Life’ by Raoul Vaneigem, anything by Henry Miller, both ‘The Plague’ and ‘The Stranger’ by Albert Camus, ‘Blood Meridian’ by Cormac McCarthy, anything by Scott McClanahan, ‘Penal Colony’ by Franz Kafka, ‘Hunger’ by Knut Hamsen, ‘Heart of Darkness’ by Joseph Conrad, ‘1984’ by George Orwell, ‘Siddhartha’ by Herman Hesse, almost anything by Bukowski, and ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell.
((o))Is there anything else that you would like to recommend or say?Thanks for the opportunity and keep the scene alive.
Get CARRION SPRING's debut LP
'The Short History Of Decay' plus
bonus tracks for a measly $5USD
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