Open Mind Saturated Brain

Open Mind Saturated Brain

ZEGEMA BEACH RECORDS

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

***DOG KNIGHTS PRODUCTIONS exclusive interview and ORCHID Tribute review***

This post's artist/album is from the June 2013 Mix. This is track #1. Voyage In Coma covered Orchid's "An Epilogue Of A Car Crash" on the 'Orchid Tribute' cd/12"LP.

The first part of this post will focus on the ORCHID tribute, 'Epilogue Of A Car Crash...A Tribute To Orchid', mainly because this was a fantastic idea - despite the naysayers. So, let's discuss this issue first, shall we? Compilations are, primarily, a medium through which listeners are introduced to new bands. Should I repeat that? Nah. So, 24 bands on a compilation record is pretty decent. If a listener stumbles across a new band that they enjoy on a compilation, the comp has fulfilled its purpose. I assume that because this compilation is related to Orchid, listeners may tend to feel that this should be a stellar album. It's a compilation, not an album. The covers are meant as a way for the bands to pay homage to a group that substantially influenced their music. For these 2 reasons, some of the negative arguments (and I've heard a few) about the release of this compilation have been made by negative judgemental assholes - for the most part. If you generally dislike the music, that is a valid argument. If you found one band that you would like to pursue because of hearing this, DOG KNIGHTS accomplished their mission. This compilation was great (for I do love Orchid) because I was introduced to the following great bands:
For Want Of
Voyage In Coma
Cassus
Lord Snow

Not to mention bands on the comp that I already loved, doing covers by a band that I adore:

Coma Regalia
Carrion Spring
Foxes
Republic of Dreams
Adobe Homes
Itto
Utarid
Todos Caeran
Innards
Sed Non Satiata


Now that I have my rant out of the way, let's quickly talk about the record. The songs range from what I consider good to what I consider not so good. I NEVER listen to a comp and expect to like even 25% of the tracks - because I expect variety, and with that will come styles of music that I just don't enjoy. On this release, I would say I enjoy about 80% of the record. For a compilation, that is relatively unheard of! Bands like Carrion Spring and Sed Non Satiata belt out versions far superior to the originals. Republic of Dreams and Adobe Homes offer up Orchid covers that stay true to the originals but have the individual band's distinctive style. Then you have Foxes, who completely changed their version of "...And The Cat Turned To Smoke" so it sounds almost indecipherable from the original. And for god's sake, naysayers, we already have a perfect version of the song - so a different take on it is a good thing! Plus, I really like the Foxes version. Then you have other versions that some people will like, but rubbed me the wrong way, such as the Silencio, Ahora, Silencio! cover which I cannot stand (especially considering "A Visit From Dr. Goodsex" is one of my favourite Orchid songs) and the Piano Bastards cover required a visit from Dr. Earache.

If you want to find a slew of new bands, check out this comp. If you love Orchid and could use a new spin on old songs to include in your listening repertoire, check out this comp. If you want to support a new kick-ass label run by an awesome guy, check out this comp.

STREAM the entire compilation on the DOG KNIGHTS youtube page! Start below with the title track by Voyage In Coma. It's amazing.

Contacting DOG KNIGHTS about this interview was one of the primary reasons that I started this blog. When decent and proper screamo began fading into relative obscurity by the late 2000s, I was ecstatic to see that a new record label had, in my mind, continued where Level Plane left off when Greg Drugy closed its doors shortly after his band, Hot Cross, parted ways.

Let's take a quick look through at my top 5 DOG KNIGHTS releases thus far, which were all released in the last 6 months!!!

1 - Epilogue Of A Car Crash. A Tribute to ORCHID
2 - CAPACITIES - There is No Neutral 10" and check out their interview here!
3 - TEL FYR / TODOS CAERAN - split 12"
4 - GLLIAN CARTER - Sinking Ships 10"
5 - OLD SOUL - Tidal Lock 12"


If you like DOG KNIGHTS Productions or want to know more about Darren, the brains behind the operation of the label, check out his exclusive interview below!

A big thanks to Darren for agreeing to do this. I started this blog in a vain attempt to promote Animal Faces and DOG KNIGHTS, so thank you for pulling through and helping me realize my goal! You are in inspiration, and one big-ass Converge fan.

Grab DOG KNIGHTS stuff in North America in the Zegema Beach Records store
Orchid Tribute cd
Orchid Tribute LP

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Can you reveal anything interesting about yourself and/or DOG KNIGHTS that the readers are not  aware of?
I wouldn’t say it’s interesting, but I definitely don’t "just like Screamo/Hardcore/Punk" etc. I'm a huge fan of post-rock, shoegaze, and black metal stuff. I have the biggest Converge collection in the world, I have a ridiculous videogame collection and I watch way too much (good) TV.


What was the catalyst for the foundation of DOG KNIGHTS Productions?
I’ve been buying/collecting records for over 10 years. After discovering Deadformat, I started spending all of my money on records. After a while I started selling/trading. I really enjoyed packing up records, offering a good service and making friends online with like-minded people. About a year later, I wanted to start my own label. I didn’t just jump into it, but worked out what I liked about other labels and what I think other people expect from a label. I try to make every release special and do something different. Y'know; be creative and stand out from everyone else!


Can you explain where the name DOG KNIGHTS comes from? (my guess is that it’s what you call your dog(s), as you may or may not enjoy dressing it(them) up as a knight(s) – too many brackets)))))
Haha, I wish. Although, I’ve googled Dog Knights a few times and found ‘dogs dressed as knights’ and have been tempted to dress my dog Charlie up like that, too.

I got the name ‘Dog Knights’ from a couple of things. I originally thought it would be good to start putting on shows in Brighton to raise money for releases. Pretty much the next day, I realised this was a stupid idea. But I had the name ‘Dog Knights’ as it’s a (kinda lame) play on words for ‘Nights’.

I was also playing Okami for the second time and got to the part with the ‘legendary dog warriors’ and it worked for me. If you haven't played this, give it a go. It's one of my favourite video games. Such a beautiful game.

And obviously dogs are just awesome things. 


What has been the most difficult part of running a label?
I guess that it took a while for the label to get noticed by people. It was pretty hard to deal with when I was putting so much time/effort/money into releases that I thought were great, but having them go unnoticed. After a year, it got a lot easier though and stuff started to sell pretty well. Now I get a lot of support from people all over the world, and I appreciate it so much.

Now, its just hard to stay on top of everything! I still do everything myself, but Maddie takes care of all the Photoshop stuff for the website, record packages and general layouts. Also my friend Rodrigo is pretty much a member of the Dog Knights Familia, since he’s done so much artwork for me and DK bands over the past few years.
Space is also an issue. My warehouse (bedroom) is literally full of boxes. So many that I cant move around in it sometimes!


What has been the most rewarding part of running a label thus far? (I’m sure working with the bands is one answer, so can you provide a second one?)
Working with bands that I love/respect is definitely one of them, but I personally find it so rewarding when someone cherishes a Dog Knights release. There are currently around 10 Dog Knights Collectors (that I know of) who own every single release. Some even collect every variant. Its amazing when people get behind what you’re doing. That, and making so many new friends all around the world is pretty crazy.

 
Which band has inspired you the most that you have worked with?
Its pretty difficult to just name one, but I think it would have to be Grappler. They’re starting to get some attention, but they deserve so much more. I guess they’re a hardcore band, but there’s so much more to them than that tag. Pure emotion and drive. They’re going to be huge one day. They’re also some of the best people I know.

Same goes for We Came Out Like Tigers.


How do you decide on which bands you will release records for? Do you generally contact them, or do they send you demos?
There are a few different ways. For a lot of them, I’ve discovered them on FB/Bandcamp/etc. and sent them an email, but a few have contacted me. I've met some bands at shows, made friends with them, and then go on to work out a release together. I try to listen to every demo I receive and get back to everyone, but the email game is pretty hard to stay on top of these days. If any of these bands read this - sorry for not replying!


I’ve heard from people that running an independent label doesn’t always pay the bills - on its own, at least. So, if you don’t mind me asking, is this your full time job? If not, what is?
You heard right. I put all of my time into the label at the moment, but it isn't a full-time job. I started when I was at Uni about 3 years ago. Since then, I've moved back home as my very relaxed part-time jobs will never cover rent (part-time carer, part-time driver).


Who were your primary influences (bands or other labels) when you started DOG KNIGHTS?
Labels: Deathwish Inc. When I started collecting, I bought so many releases from them. They have influenced me greatly as a label. The only thing I hate about the label is that they almost never make it clear which side is A or B. And what speed it is. It's literally the worst thing in the world when you play a 7” at 33rpm on side B by mistake.

Bands: Converge, Orchid, PG 99. All because they have released so many good records; most of which have great packaging.


What was the motivation behind the idea of the Orchid tribute? What isolated hurdles did have moving forward with the creation of the Orchid tribute, as opposed to a standard release?
The band properly got me into collecting/buying records, which helped me discover loads of other great bands, which led to starting the label. So if it wasn’t for Orchid, Dog Knights wouldn’t exist.
I had to work out who I wanted on the release (DK bands and anyone else), email all of them and get a definite answer; all in secret. I announced the release a few months later and people went crazy (yeeeeah) for it. Then I had to come up with artwork that I liked, that all the bands liked, and that die-hard fans wouldn’t hate.

I gave deadlines for the bands. These deadlines got pushed back by about 6 months, as all the bands had to record and get the tracks mastered. Example: One band said yes, stopped replying for months, said yes again, changed their band name, then months later told me that parts of the song were recorded. That was the last email I got from them. Also, Full of Hell was the first band to say yes, but the last band to send their track. I love their cover though, so I can forgive them.
Basically, I had to chase up 24 bands for 1 year and deal with about 7 bands not knowing if they wanted to take part or not. Still worth it.


You mentioned to me that some people were against or just plain unhappy with the idea of an Orchid tribute compilation. Can you shed any light on that? How did you respond?
There were definitely a few naysayers. Some just thought that Orchid was too ‘sacred’ to cover…

Some thought I shouldn’t have asked screamo bands to cover Orchid, but how would that work? I would have had to literally email hundreds of random bands hoping that they liked Orchid. I'm pretty sure that email would have confused a lot of people.
Some said that they didn’t know any bands apart from Full of Hell and Sed Non Satiata, but if you are into ‘current screamo’ then you should really know all of them, or at least a few!

A couple of people were just dicks.  Comments like ‘they ruined that song’ and nothing else. That was about the Foxes cover, which is probably my favourite on the record. They completely changed it; some people wanted crazy covers, some people wanted clone-covers; proof that you can’t please everyone. I’m definitely happy with all of my choices though (including the artwork). It took about a year to put together, but its been worth it. It’s a shame that Raein ‘forgot’ to record their cover though, and that Comadre pulled out at the end.


What are your favourite Orchid songs?
"…And The Cat Turned To Smoke"
"Destination: Blood!"
"None More Black"
What is your favourite Orchid song that wasn't covered on the comp?
"Les Desorde Ces’t Moi"


I asked you about a 2nd tribute album before the Orchid tribute was released, and you mentioned PG 99 in passing as a possibility for another band worthy of a covers album, is that something that you're still toying with? What other bands would you like to see tribute albums from? (whether it be you releasing them, or someone else)

I don’t have any plans to do a second tribute record, but it could happen I guess. Releasing original music from new and exciting bands should definitely be priority #1. However, if any bands reading this thinks a PG 99 tribute would be a cool idea, get in touch…


Do you have any tips for people trying to start a label?
It's not essential, but I put all of my free time into the label. It's not my ‘full time job’, but if I have a couple of free hours, I will use it to find a way to improve the label in some way. So if you live a pretty hectic life with a full time job, have plans to start a family, in your final year of university, it might not be a great time to start. Making time to talk to your customers, making friends with bands you work with and posting out orders as soon as humanly possible is essential for me. If you are considering helping out with a release, listen to the full record a lot. A LOT. If you start to get bored of it after a few listens, you probably shouldn’t go for it.


How did you get into 'screamo'?
Converge. I got a free cd with MetalHammer magazine years and years ago. It had "The Broken Vow" on it. I became obsessed with the song and found their website, where they put up a track from every album/side project for download. I copied them onto a cd and listened to that on repeat for ages. A few weeks later I went looking for their records, so I went around Brighton trying to find some. There, I took a chance on an Orchid cd. Through them I discovered PG 99 and Majority Rule. This is another reason why Converge and Orchid mean so much to me.


Discuss your thoughts and opinions regarding the ‘screamo’ genre.
There are a lot of bands doing some interesting things right now.  A lot of them aren't pushing boundaries but can still be pretty fun to listen to. It would be nice to see some more experimenting though, and not just copy the classic bands…

 
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What is your:
favourite release of all time? (all time + Dog Knights)

All time: Converge – Jane Doe

DK: This is such a hard question, but I think it has to be We Came Out Like Tigers – Agelessness and Lack, because that’s the release I've listened to the most.

choice for best cover art/packaging? (all time + Dog Knights)

All time: The Mars Volta – Frances The Mute 4xLP set in a plastic red cover, with glow in the dark vinyl

DK: The We Came Out Like Tigers wooden boxset from last year. Those took a long time to sort out, but everyone who owns one loves it…or at least I hope they do.
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Regarding live shows:
best show you've ever been to?

Converge @ The Kingston Peel a few years ago was crazy, since it's such a tiny venue.

I also saw Mogwai about 6 years ago and that was something special. I really need to see them again.

The best band I saw recently was Killie from Japan. I never thought I would get the chance to see them. Possibly the best active screamo band right now.

 
band you would like to go back in a time machine to see?

It's gotta be Orchid. Or PG 99.
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Your recommendations for:
movies?

The Prestige, Sympathy for mr vengeance, and any film by Park-Chan-Wook

books?

I don’t read as much as I would like to, but I’ve read every book by Brett Easton Ellis a few times. Avoid ‘The Informers’ though…

anything else you would like to recommend?

Play the following videogames:
Okami, Dishonored, The Last Of Us, Silent Hill 2, all the Zeldas, Shadow of the Colossus
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Is there anything else that you would like to say?

It means a lot to be able to work with someone who is helping shape this community in a positive and downright kickass way.

Its been a pleasure, thank you so much for the interest!
 

TOP 10 (aka 12)

Converge – Jane Doe
Envy – All The Footprints You’ve Ever Left And The Fear Expecting Ahead (or A Dead Sinking Story)
Poison the Well – Opposite of December
Orchid – Gatefold
Fall of Efrafa – Elil
The Mars Volta – Frances the Mute
Majority Rule – Interviews with David Frost
PG 99 – Document #8
Dillinger Escape Plan – Calculating Infinity
Boris – At Last Feedbacker
Buried Inside - Chronoclast
Hopesfall – Satellite years
 

TOP CONVERGE FULL LENGTHS

Jane Doe
You Fail Me
When Forever Comes Crashing
Poacher Diaries
No Heroes
Petitioning the Empty Sky
All We Love We Leave Behind
Axe To Fall
Halo In A Haystack
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Additional links:

DOG KNIGHTS website
http://www.dogknightsproductions.com/DK/enter.html

DOG KNIGHTS store
http://dogknightsproductions.bigcartel.com/

DOG KNIGHTS bandcamp
http://dogknightsproductions.bandcamp.com/

DOG KNIGHTS facebook
https://www.facebook.com/dogknights

DOG KNIGHTS youtube
http://www.youtube.com/user/DogKnightsPromotions

DOG KNIGHTS tumbler
http://dogknightsproductions.tumblr.com/

DOG KNIGHTS twitter
https://twitter.com/DogKnights
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Tuesday, 30 July 2013

WITH HORSES IN HER EYES (aka HISTORIES)

This post's artist is from the June 2013 Mix. This is track #14.

BandWITH HORSES IN HER EYES aka (Histories)
GenresScreamo / Post-Hardcore / Skramz / Rock
Related artistsI dunno.
Country: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Years Active: I'm assuming 2005-2006
Song: "Page 1"
Album: "Prologue"
Year: 2006
For fans of: Funeral Diner, Kodan Armada, Hopesfall, Frameworks, , aka Proper SCREAMO.

I've spent quite some time trying to research this band. A friend introduced me to WITH HORSES IN HER EYES over the internet about 3 months ago and I was very impressed with the band's only recorded output, 'Prologue', so I attempted to track everything else down - but to no avail. I do know that the band changed their name to HISTORIES right before breaking up, but that seems rather inconsequential considering they never released anything under that moniker.

"Page 1" (as the tracks are labeled as pages) gives some hasty nods to bands like Kodan Armada and Funeral Diner. This track is able to mesh heavy riffs and screaming with softer, spacey tangents. "Page 2" takes a much more straight-forward approach - with a lead-in that plods along for over a minute until nestling nicely into a slow jam at the 2 minute mark - which is one of the highlights of the album. I would assume Old Gray fans will lose their shit when hearing this - especially considering it came out in 2006. I'm immersing myself in this song right now and dear god it kills - as the subtle build continues for the rest of the song without ever exploding - but it lingers on the cusp at the 3:30 mark. "Page 3" is a mid-tempo song that starts strong but recedes for a little too long during the second half of the song. "Page 4" has a very early Hopesfall feel to it - which I wholeheartedly appreciate by giving a nonchalant high-five to ET and Drew Barrymore's lovechild. It ain't no thang. The 5th and final Page is 3 minutes of screamed vocals over an acoustic guitar and seems to be the most popular song among the kids - but for the life of me, I don't know why. It's definitely the low point of the record, in my opinion. Regardless of "Page 5", this ep is fantastic - so give "Page 1" a listen below and then download my link. If you dig Frameworks, I'm sure you can get behind this old and very obscure release.

Grab this, and someone get more info on this band so I can post more about them.

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DISCOGRAPHY
Click )==>here<==( to download  WITH HORSES IN HER EYES' complete discography in mp3 form.

2006 - Prologue cd (download here)

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youtube )))))embedded audio((((( link

(2006) WITH HORSES IN HER EYES - "Page 1" (from 'Prologue' cd)
 
 
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Monday, 29 July 2013

(-) KEN MODE releases new video, which is fantastic, says I

Here's the official music video for "Secret Vasectomy". I think there are much better songs on the album, but this song is still great and the video is excellent! I love juxtaposition!


TENTACLES

TENTACLES were interviewed by OMSB in October, check that post here.

This post's artist is from the June 2013 Mix. This is track #16.

BandTENTACLES
GenresHardcore / Punk / Crust / Grind / Metal / Power-Violence / Screamo / Other Stuff
Related artists: formerly Tentacle's A Flower.
Country: San Antonio, Texas, USA
Years Active: 2006-present
Song: "Natul Tortuosa"
Album: "Isolation Is A Gift"
Year: 2010
For fans of: Orchid, Usurp Synapse, Clancy 6, Mara'akate, Phoenix Bodies, Creeper, Old Soul, Deafheaven, June Paik, Titan, Oktober Skyline, Neil Perry, Discordance Axis, and Owen Hart.

I first heard TENTACLES last year, and I want to quickly explain my first encounter with their 'Isolation Is A Gift' record. Initially, it was way too hard and I was ready to dismiss the band. Too much, too fast - it was an aural overload. Then my ears picked up on the melodies and underlying structure of the songs right before I deleted their albums. Huge move on my part - as with many of my other favourite bands, I just didn't quite get it at first, but once I was able to make sense of the craziness, all of it became musical bliss. If I had to describe their general sound by dropping some great band names - TENTACLES play a mixture of Orchid, Neil Perry and Discordance Axis but sound much thicker and heavier than those bands.

The band's first record has hints of atmospheric screamo, grind and black metal. The songs are rather long and the band seems to jump all over the place. Their are great parts, but no standout songs. The second record focuses on pure insanity. Seriously, this thing is ridiculously fast and screamy to the point where it sounds like demonic women dying by firing squad - in a good way. The third and newest record shows the band straddling the 2 styles very effectively - which can be summed up by the closer "Mystic Furnace" that incorporates some great/awkward riffing at the end much akin to bands like Mara'akate, Usurp Synapse, June Paik, Neil Perry and Envy, who managed to create beautiful and atmospheric soft passages within a whirlwind of aggressive music.

Let me talk more about the band's new record, 'Cogita Mori', as it is most certainly the band's crowning achievement to date, although I feel like I could make a good case as to why "Natul Tortuasa" and "What Matters Will Matter" are 2 of the best songs recorded by the band, but not here, not now. The "Intro/Cogita Mori" opener lets you know right away that this record will have some super-heavy riffs and combine them with lulls of melodic, atmospheric gloom. The next standout track is "Throes of Light", which showcases some insane double-bass and doesn't really focus as much on breakdowns as it does on pure speed. The vocals continue in the Usurp Synapse, (old) Mara'akate and Discordance Axis fashion, which basically means that the vocalist screams like a fucking banshee. By the time we get to the awesomely heavy and trudging breakdown one minute into "Life Is Absurd", listeners will know for sure if this band is for them or not - as the song eventually overturns, and what I can only describe as a death-cry, leaks out. This recording is mixed beautifully - as the previous ep suffered from what I call "extreme-cymbal syndrome".

So yeah, TENTACLES are killer and you've never heard of them. Until now.

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DISCOGRAPHY
 
2008 - This Is Where We Are. We Started Where We Fell (stream/download/donate here)

2010 - Isolation Is A Gift cd (stream/download/donate here)

2013 - Cogita Mori (stream/purchase here)

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TENTACLES additional links
 

Friday, 26 July 2013

EVIL DEAD: The Musical

This post's artist is from the June 2013 Mix. This is track #7.

Band: EVIL DEAD: The Musical
Genres: Musical / Comedy
Related artists: N/A.
Country: Toronto, CANADA
Years Active: 2003-present
Song: "What The Fuck Was That"
Album: "Evil Dead:The Musical"
Year: 2007
For fans of: Graf Orlock, Great movies and hilarious songs. The Opposite of "RENT".

This amazing post was written by my wife - hence that fantastic grammar, lack of errors and general understability. Crap, that's apparently not even a word.
 


“It has been a number of years since I began excavating the ruins of Candar with a group of my colleagues...

I believe I have made a significant find in the Candarian Ruins. A volume of Ancient Sumarian burial practices and funerary incantations.

It is entitled, ‘Morturom Demonto’ – roughly translated, ‘Book of the Dead’.

The book is bound in human flesh and inked in human blood. It deals with demons and demon resurrection and those forces which roam the forest and dark bowers of man’s domain.

The first few pages warn that these enduring creatures may lie dormant but are never truly dead. They may be recalled to active life through the incantations presented in this book. It is through recitation of these passages that the demons are given license to possess the living.” 
~Professor Knowby


'Evil Dead', 'Evil Dead 2' and 'The Army of Darkness' are all modern B-movie masterpieces. They combine the comedic brilliance of Bruce Campbell, buckets of blood, demonic possession, chainsaws and the odd time portal. These movies have spawned dozens of fan sites, remakes and blogs, plus one of the greatest musicals ever created. That’s right, I said musical. As in, ‘Phantom of the Opera’ and ‘Les Miserables’, but with the singing undead.


This promo ad pretty much sums it up:


A group of Toronto writers staged the first production of EVIL DEAD: The Musical back in 2003. It moved to the Montreal Just for Laughs festival in 2004 then off-Broadway from 2006 to 2007. From there (luckily for us) it came back to the Great White North and set up camp for a Toronto run that was extended five times its original length.

Dave and I first went to the show in 2007. It played at the Diesel Playhouse, a small theater with cabaret seating for maybe 100 people. I bought tickets online, and the first two rows were called the ‘splatter zone’...I wasn’t sure what they’d be throwing at us so I decided to sit a row or two behind it just in case.

There was a merch booth at the building entrance featuring the soundtrack and t-shirts with 'WHAT THE F*CK WAS THAT?' in giant white letters across the front. I have such a vivid memory of these two things.  I remember thinking “That shirt is ridiculous”, and “Who would buy the soundtrack to this musical?” If only I had known...

Well, the show began and my mind was blown before the first song finished. It was campy, hilarious, and completely over-the-top. Those in the ‘splatter zone’ were treated to blood spurting from various characters’ hacked limbs and Candarian demon mouths. Cartoonish, demonic stuffed animals serenaded us from the walls of the set. The play’s director came out dressed as a headless torso and chased the chainsaw-wielding Ash around the stage, all the while spewing blood from his stump of a neck.

Oh, and they were singing the whole time. Let’s not forget that. The songs were amazing and catchy as hell. I revisit the soundtrack every once in a while and am always reminded of how fantastic every song is.  A few of my favourites are:

'What the F*ck Was That?' (yes, I ate my words BIG TIME on that one)
'Good Old Reliable Jake'
'I’m Not a Killer'
'All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons'
'It’s Time'

Have a listen:



Dave and I have become a little obsessed with Evil Dead: The Musical since that first show. We saw it three additional times, including a very special 300th show on June 26, 2008. We’ve collected promotional posters, foam chainsaws and axes, playbills and promo materials. You name it, we have it. Everything imaginable, except that damn 'What the F*ck Was That?' t-shirt. I look at it as a little dig from the universe for doubting the awesomeness of a musical based on Evil Dead.





Evil Dead: The Musical continues to tour around the U.S. If it’s playing in your city and you are even remotely interested in the original Evil Dead movies, Bruce Campbell, gratuitous violence and/or screwball comedy musicals, get thee to the theater! 

I would pay *a lot* of money to see this show again, and am currently plotting ways to coordinate a road-trip down to Detroit when it opens in October 2013.

"By the saw or the gun..."

Thursday, 25 July 2013

***CAPACITIES exclusive interview***

This post's artist is from the June 2013 Mix. This is track #6.
Band: CAPACITIES
Genres: Hardcore / Punk / Screamo / Skramz / Rock
Related artists: The Saddest Landscape, You & I, The Assistant, This Ship Will Sink,
                        In First Person, Black KitesLess Life and Birth Screams.
Country: New Jersey, USA
Years Active: 2012-present
Song: "I Am Better On Pills"
Album: "The Unexamined Life"
Year: 2012
For fans of: Ampere, Orchid, Bucket Full Of Teeth, Back When and Neil Perry, aka Proper SCREAMO.

The second CAPACITIES released 'Preliminary Recordings' online last year, I was all over that shit. I pretty much lost my mind as soon as I saw the "members from" section. Thomas Schlatter, one of my 5 musical heroes, was the bass player and co-vocalist. Not only that, but Eric Mauro of The Saddest Landscape fame was also in the band. I had also stumbled across Less Life and dug their sound, as well.

Let's quickly focus on Tom Schlatter for a second ("second", ha!), if you don't mind. Tom has been in a slew of hardcore/screamo bands since You & I in the late 1990s. All 5 of his former bands have resonated deeply with my own musical taste, attitude and political views (for the most part). Tom was gracious beyond all expectations, and granted me the opportunity to ask him some questions about his former bands. All 5 of them.

So, over the next 5 months, OPEN mind SATURATED brain will be releasing excerpts of the interview related to each of Thomas Schlatter's 6 previous bands with discography reviews - culminating with the inclusion of the final and complete interview in December 2013. Now, back to CAPACITIES.

CAPACITIES play a very fast and aggressive style of hardcore/screamo that can be likened to the stylings of Ampere and Bucket Full Of Teeth, mixed Thomas Schlatter's distinctive scream. The band began as an attempt to record and play 5 songs in under 4 minutes - but thankfully for us, and the band, they continued on and have since made extremely aggressive and punishing music that is woven togethe with spastic melodies and 3 guys screamng, which generally reminds me of seminal screamo acts Neil Perry and Orchid. FYI, Neil Perry was the home to another one of my top 5 musical heroes. With their most recent release on Dog Knights Productions, 'There Is No Neutral', CAPACITIES have expanded that violent and condensed style and incorporated more experimentation and longer song lengths. Eric described it as having more peaks and valleys - and I couldn't agree more, especially on the final 7-minute epic "Sons Of A Silent Age".

The band recently announced a split 12"LP with Itto, Calculator and Innards - for a total of 4 phenomenal bands that I already listened to repeatedly before hearing about the project. The record will be released jointly by Melotov Records and Flannel Gurl Records. It is slated for a fall release - so I'll assume September.

The band answered a whack o' my questions prior to their California tour with Itto in early July. Check out the answers below. We talked about genre classifications and screamo, touring,- the current state of the world and the band members listed their top 10 records of all time. Holy shit!!! I love doing this fucking blog, because nothing beats talking to your heroes!!!

Bam.

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THE INTERVIEW

Describe yourself, quickly.
TOM: I play bass for Capacities.  Rob often gets mad at me for shaving on tour.
ERIC: I play guitar and eat a lot of tofu
CHRIS: I make fun of Eric and play the drums.
ROB: I play guitar and usually argue with Chris in the middle of our sets.


Can you reveal anything interesting (and perhaps not well-known) about yourself or the other
TOM: I dye my hair because I’m not mentally prepared to be grey yet.  I’m coming to terms with it.


How did you become involved in CAPACITIES together?
TOM: I met Eric and Rob from going to shows in NJ. I met Chris the day of the first Capacities practice.  After practice I watched him eat a peanut butter and jelly burrito.  He regretted it.

ERIC: Rob and I wanted to start a new band so I wrote five songs and then we asked Tom and Chris if they were interested playing with us. Originally the idea was to just play those five songs and have a four minute long set.

CHRIS: I’ve known Eric for quite some time and through playing shows and working a job together, he asked me to try out for this new project. I didn’t know Tom or Rob previously. I haven’t had a peanut butter and jelly burrito since then.
ROB: Tom and I have known each other for a long time now and have played in a few bands together previously. I met Eric years ago as well through playing in bands and mutual friends and I thankfully met Chris for the first time when we all started playing together.


Can you describe any of conflicts within the band?
TOM: Surprisingly, we do well not to get on each other’s nerves.
ERIC: Except when Tom and Chris shave on tour.
ROB: Typically there are very few conflicts, unless Tom is trying to sleep while we’re playing UNO.


What would you like to say about your new material?
TOM: These days music is very spontaneous for me.  I am affected by something so I sit down and write a song.  So it’s all sort of “in the moment” for me.

ERIC: I feel like we take steps to be a little more dynamic with each release. The LP is fairly straight forward as where the 10" has some more peaks and valleys.


Discuss your thoughts and opinions regarding the ‘screamo’ genre.
TOM: In the mid to late 90’s we just called everything “hardcore”.  I didn’t hear “screamo” really thrown around until the 2000’s.  It’s been interesting watching mainstream music grab the title and try to recreate it with a ton of those “eye-liner” bands in magazines like Alternative Press.

ERIC: It's really like any other genre of music out there. Some bands are amazing and consistently put out awesome material and other bands are just simply not good.
 

If you had to slap a genre label on CAPACITIES - so potential new listeners could get a good idea of your sound without hearing you, what would you label yourselves as?
TOM: The kids are calling it “skramz” these days I’ve heard.  At the end of the day we’re a DIY hardcore band.

ERIC: If someone asks me I just say we're a screamy punk band. I usually get an odd look after that.
 

What kind of emotions and thoughts occur when people define your band, on purpose or by accident?
TOM: I have no control over someone’s interpretation of my music, nor could I ever try to employ any control like that.

ERIC: People tend to just want relate one band to another, or if one detail sticks out to them about a band they'll tend to latch onto that. We've heard us compared to bands who (in my opinion) we sound nothing like, but we tend to take those things with a grain of salt and are usually just happy if people like our music and are listening.

CHRIS: I’ve never concerned myself with how people define the music I play. I love and believe in our music so that’s pretty much all that really matters to me.


Please describe the people, in general, that are associated with the music that you create – whether it be during the process, talking to people at shows, etc.
TOM: It’s just the four of us.  When it’s time to put it to tape we go to Steve Roche and he records the whole thing.

ERIC: We all get along and that creates a really positive environment for us to make music in, which, is probably why we wrote 30 songs in the span of a year. Recording with Steve is always fun, and everyone from the labels we've worked with have all been really great and supportive as well.
 

What things have happened in 2013 thus far, that you would like the readers to know about?
TOM: We released a new record called “There Is No Neutral” on Meletov/Dog Knight Records.  We did a 9 day tour with Coma Regalia up to Canada and through the upper Mid Western United States.

ERIC: We also recorded a song for a 12" comp that's coming out on The Blue Sky Writings that will benefit the Hopi Education Endowment Fund along with four songs for an upcoming release.
 

What are your future recording and touring plans?
TOM: We leave on Friday to do four shows with Itto and Calculator in California.  We have another release already recorded and it will be out this Fall.  I can’t talk about it much but involves the two bands I just mentioned.

ERIC: We spent all of 2012 writing and recording. We might've gotten a little too ambitious so we're taking a break from writing right now to play more shows, but we'll probably start writing for something again in the fall.

 
Can you reveal any interesting stories, ongoing jokes or routine things that happen to CAPACITIES on the road?
TOM: Chris and Rob love Black Metal.  Rob does the voice of Samuel L. Jackson very well.

ERIC: There's too many inside jokes to list that aren't really funny out of context, although, Chris and I tend to start doing little skits and characters when we've been in the car for too long.

CHRIS: Tom doesn’t like Taxi Driver or Forrest Gump.

ROB: Chris and I usually have an absurd amount of jokes going at all times.  Some catch on with everyone and some fall flat but by that point we’ve already moved on to something else.


What are the band members’ favourite CAPACITIES songs to play and why?
TOM: I never thought about it, because we usually play our sets in “blocks” of 5 or 6 songs at a time.  I’ve come to know the songs in that manner rather than as individual pieces.

ERIC: I like playing songs on the 10" and the newer songs that aren't out yet, but that's probably just because they're a little more fresh. But the real answer is any song where there's a part for a jump.

CHRIS: “A Damn Fine Cup of Coffee” because it’s so brutal and of course the Twin Peaks nod.


What have you given up to play in CAPACITIES, especially while touring?

TOM: My life at home is pretty great.  I have a great relationship with my girlfriend, two cats, an easy job, and I like where I live.  I wouldn’t change it.  To play in a band you have to juggle a lot of things, especially when you’re older.  It’s all about balance.
ERIC: I was in a band called The Saddest Landscape when Capacities started up. I also started a business with my best friend this year. Being in two bands while working another job and starting our own business was a lot of work for me so I left The Saddest Landscape. I'm still good friends with all of them.


CHRIS: I haven’t given up anything that I can think of but then again there’s not much I wouldn’t give up to continue to play with these fine gentlemen




How do you like touring?
TOM: We’ve done one tour so far and it was a blast.  Meeting great people, walking around new cities, playing to new people; it can be a great experience when everything goes smoothly.

ERIC: The last tour was a lot of fun. The first time we played in Canada was great along with one of the last We Were Skeletons shows at The Secret Art Space in Bethlehem, PA.

CHRIS: Our tours consist of eating at awesome places, going to comic book and record stores and playing with our friend’s pets and children. They have all been the best.


Which band has been nicest/coolest/grooviest/craziest/best/adjective that you have had the pleasure of meeting?
TOM: There’ s a band from New Jersey called Off Camber.  We mesh pretty well with them musically, personally, politically, etc.  They are great people.

ERIC: Also We Were Skeletons, Fox Moulder, Coma Regalia, Beau Navire, and the labels we've have the privilege of releasing records through were already or have become good friends.

CHRIS: It’s a tie between Off Camber and Coma Regalia.


Do you find it hard to balance objectivity with emotion when listening to/playing/talking about music?
TOM: Sometimes an open chord is just as fulfilling as playing 26 notes per measure.  Emotion and dynamics play a huge part in listening and writing music to me.

 
Why the name Capacities?
TOM: I always viewed it as the potential we have as people, the band is a reflection of that, for us to display our capacity for creating something.

ERIC: It's more of a positive than a negative, which, is something that may be hard to swallow for kids who listen to screamo, haha.

CHRIS: It’s a very Zen thing to me. The idea to be constantly pushing oneself to reach and maintain this inner-strength at all times. To accept the daily struggles and push through them to reach tomorrow.


As lyricists who have generally written about personal/political lyrical content, do you have any thoughts or opinions on lyrical content ‘nowadays’?
TOM: Greg Graffin of Bad Religion does a great job, but you can’t expect much less from a biology professor.

ERIC: I think there's a lot of kids out there who are really influenced by Saetia and bands that really went out on a limb to express their feelings through this medium, but I feel those kids now miss the mark more often than not. Not that we're the best lyricists or put ourselves above other people who write music, it's just an observation on some bands I've heard over the past year.


What are your thoughts on the young generation? Your generation? The older generation?
TOM: It’s strange to me that punk and skateboarding are so popular and accepted now.  When I was young I was getting made fun of all the time for being into those things.

ERIC: I've noticed a lot of kids right now tend to romanticize bands they were never around for and I feel that might distract from some really great bands that are around right now and are playing awesome music.
CHRIS: It seems that each generation is getting more lost and unsure what to do with their lives. There’s a lot of this attitude of giving-in to what’s supposed to be done or giving-up and accepting this failure and not doing anything about it. The idea of dreaming is so profound, at least to me, right now. Everyone has a list of what he/she wants to do in their lives and what they wish they could do and there’s never any action, I am also in this state. The lack of motivation, the fear of failure, the reoccurring thought of “oh, someone else will do it/has done it better”, all of these reasons that keep you planted. Luckily, there are still some who get their dreams to become reality but I feel in generations to come the dream will start to slowly phase into just being what it is, a dream. 


What scares you?
TOM: The doctor’s office.  I have no idea why.
ERIC: Just general uncertainty of the future, and going to family events or seeing friends I
haven't seen in a really long time. I get anxiety from those things.
ROB: Snakes.


I personally feel that as of late there has been shift in the world. It seems more apparent than ever that corporations have governments by the balls, the rich are attempting to monopolize ownership of the world at any cost and that a large portion of people are blindly bringing about their own imminent destruction, which is exponentially increasing in likelihood with each passing day. Any thoughts?
TOM: Debt-based economies are doomed, we saw this with the housing crash.  When a debt based economy no longer works, I think the next big thing is the privatization of utilities and resources (water, air, etc).


Leaning a little further on my previous rant, I also jotted this down the other day:

I'm always talking shit about human beings relying on the economic model to sustain our way of life - as, for the most part, it simply cannot continue this excessive cycle without destroying the world and most of the people in it. But if money was taken out of the equation all-together, I wonder what percentage of the population would continue to be active, helpful members in their communities and at their work. I mean, addiction to excess + the introduction of no moral/community responsibilities = implosion. Maybe I'm writing too many people off.
TOM: The first thing people outside of the hardcore scene ask me when they find out that I play in a band is “How much do you get paid?”.  When I tell them that we play for gas money they are usually appalled.  I typically say “Don’t you have something in your life that would do just because your passionate about it?”.

 
What gives you hope?
TOM: Seeing how much things have changed.  I went vegan in 1995 and you had to go to a speciality shop to get soy milk.  Now, you can get it anywhere.  People seem to be generally more aware in this regard. 
ERIC: When any battles are won for civil rights.
CHRIS: That there is still a need for creativity and passion.


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Recommendations:

Top 10 records

TOM:
Mineral – The Power of Failing
Endeavor – Of Equality
Converge – Petition the Empty Sky
Bad Religion – Against the Grain
Ida – I Know About You
Groundwork – We Will Not Be Invisible or Silent
The Subhumans – The Day The Country Died
Have Heart – The Things We Carry
Introspect – S/T 2x7”
108 – Threefold Misery

ERIC:
Tristeza - Spine & Sensory
Ampere - All Our Tomorrows End Today
Refused - Songs To Fan The Flames of Discontent
Majority Rule - Interviews With David Frost
City of Caterpillar - S/T LP
Envy - All The Footprints…
Modern Life Is War - Witness
Fugazi - Repeater
Khantra - The Red Album
Dillinger Four - Midwestern Songs of the Americas
*This was tough I'm not good at these top 10 things. There's too many records I like.

CHRIS:
Fugazi – 13 Songs
Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention – Roxy and Elsewhere
Swans – Love of Life
Ween – Chocolate and Cheese
The Jesus Lizard – Goat
Tom Waits – Closing Time
Black Flag – My War
The Jesus and Mary Chain – Darklands
The Melvins – Houdini
Earth – Pentastar : In the Style of Demons

ROB:
Lifetime – Hello Bastards
Neurosis – Through Silver In Blood
Reversal Of Man – Revolution Summer
Dillinger Four – Midwestern Songs Of The Americas
Unbroken – Life. Love. Regret.
Deadguy – Fixation On A Co-Worker
Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine
Modern Life Is War – Witness
Thou – Summit
Mineral – The Power Of Failing


Unknown/Obscure bands that need more recognition

TOM: Seven Days Of Samsara, There Were Wires, Zeogta, Dawn Treader, Off Camber

ERIC: Khantra, Van Johnson, My America Is Watching Tigers Die, The New & Very Welcome, Emphasis, Tiny Hawks
CHRIS: Sex Cups


Books
TOM: Anything by Pete Hamill.  Fatale by Ed Brubacker is blowing me away right now too.

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As stated in the interview, CAPACITIES have released a prodigious amount of material in a very short span of time. Here is their DISCOGRAPHY:

2012 - Preliminary Recordings digital release (download here)
2012 - The Unexamined Life 12"LP  (stream/download/purchase here)
2012 - Coma Regalia split 7" (stream/download/purchase here)

2013 - There Is No Neutral 10"ep (stream/purchase here) (PURCHASE HERE)
2013 - Itto/Calculator/Innards split 12"LP
2013 - Benefit Compilation for the Hopi Education Endowment Fund compilation (contributed
           "Leadership Roles") (stream here)

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youtube )))))embedded official video / audio((((( links

(2012) CAPACITIES - "All That One Can Do" (from 'The Unexamined Life' cd)

(2013) CAPACITIES - "God To The Flatlanders" (from 'There Is No Neutral' cd)
 
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CAPACITIES 'Preliminary Recordings' mp3 download