“Go big or go home” is the maxim that the Western Canadian band KEN mode apply. Their fifth album Entrench (out this week on Season Of Mist) continues the evolution of their unique fusion of ferocious noise rock, tense hardcore punk, and boisterous sludge metal. In support of that release, the trio is currently on intensive tour across the US and Canada delivering one formidable show after another. Luckily, amid all the fuss around the band the guitarist and singer Jesse Matthewson found a moment to answer my questions.
1 – KEN mode is a rather controversial name. What inspired you to name your band like that? Why do you think it fits your style so well?
KEN mode is a tag line that Henry Rollins used to name the psychological state of mind that Black Flag was in while touring for the My War album. They’d been tied up by legal battles with a major for several years and were unable to release the album, and thus to properly tour (being that touring gets stale with no new music to sell). They were finally free again, had a new record, and were taking the stage with a ferocity HOUR dubbed “Kill Everyone Now mode” as that was their agenda. They were in KEN mode all the time.
We tend to approach the band in a similar way, and I’ve even taken it that step further to have the phrase relate to a way that…
Based in Aarhus, Denmark, the band BOIL plays an ambitious style of music that properly balances polyrhythmic modern metal with melody-driven alternative rock. Their third release aXiom is both technically intricate and highly accessible showcasing a large step forward in an ongoing evolution of the group. Krisitian Outinen, who plays the bass in the band, has agreed to answer our questions.
As most SputnikMusic users are not familiar with Boil, could you tell us how your musical path has started and what exactly inspired you to be the member of an alternative metal band in the first place?
For me personally, I study classical guitar at the conservatory in Aarhus, Denmark. Soon after I moved to the city, I saw an ad from a local progressive metal band looking for a bass player. I listened to the songs (mainly from the second album, A New Decay) on their myspace and was blown away. I could hear tremendous potential and there was already a mature, yet original style I hadn’t heard before and immediately wanted to be a part of. I started practicing bass like crazy and successfully auditioned for the spot. I’ve been driving the entire band crazy with my love for Finnish melodic power metal and baroque classical guitar ever since and I expect them to be admitted to a mental institution within the next year (haha).
aXiom is your third full-length and it surely showcases your rapid growth as an outfit. How…
Newcombe and his shifting band of acolytes in the Brian Jonestown Massacre have been steadily and stealthily releasing records that that are revered and reviled in equal measure. As one of music’s more outspoken characters, Newcombe cares not for public opinion, nor would he have it any other way. Taking time out from a lengthy world tour, Newcombe spoke with us about his life in Berlin, thoughts on U.S. culture and cynical Hollywood sharks.
JV: The title of your latest LP, ‘Aufheben’, is a word that has multiple meanings. It can be used to mean ‘to lift’ or ‘to abolish’ among others. What meaning did you have in mind when choosing it to represent your music?
AN: I love the concept of destroying something to preserve it. I read a book once about a Sufi institution of learning…maybe it was in Iran hundreds of years ago. At some point a new ruler decided that Sufi art and teaching were against more conservative Islam, so mobs of angry orthodox people were going from village to town to attack and destroy these schools of learning and art and purge these mystical sects. The master of one school, upon learning of a mob heading in their direction, ordered his students to grab all of the texts and art they had created in the compound and take it out to the street and burn it; all of the rugs and tapestries etc. A student…
State Faults have been on the rise ever since the release of their debut EP Head In the Clouds in 2010, and now with their Tiny Engines release Desolate Peaks they are poised to go from California secret to post-hardcore darlings. We talked to them about their new album, what they see in their future, and, of course, about some old school video games.
SputnikMusic: Lyrically, the new album seems to be coming from a much darker place than your EP. What was the impetus for the shift and did it come into play when you decided on the title of Desolate Peaks?
State Faults: The lyrics of Desolate Peaks are very personal, we kind of left ourselves wide open and let a lot of negative feelings flow through while at the same time trying not to be TOO obvious about the subject matter. The song ideas came from introspective talks we’d have with each other, and Jonny would take them and weave em into lyrics, sometimes before all the instruments were even written. We’re all really goofy and light hearted guys, so when times get tough or we look back on times and experiences that leave us heavy hearted, we channel it into our music.
SM: I’ve been told that you’re very hands on when it comes to recording. What was the recording process like for Desolate Peaks?
SF: We had a lot much fun recording Desolate Peaks. We took five days to record drums, bass, and guitars…
I recently got the chance to talk to Eddie Gancos, vocalist of the Ohio-based post-hardcore act CityCop. CityCop just released the wonderful EP Seasons digitally back in December and are teaming up with Flannel Gurl records for a vinyl pressing this summer. I talked to Eddie about all things past, present, and future with CityCop and just how far they’ve come in the last few months.
SputnikMusic: So lets start off at the beginning — what’s the formation story of CityCop?
Eddie Gancos: Well one day at school Max (guitar) came up to me and said that he wanted to start up an acoustic/folk project and wanted me to sing for it. I never sang in my life. In fact I was kicked out of choir class. But I said sure. The reason he had asked me was because Cody, our current drummer, said that he wanted to take a break from music for a while because girls were more important. Max and Cody have been jamming together since junior high and I was in a terrible punk band called The Local Guns. It’s pretty funny to me that we were going to start an acoustic project because I have always been into Punk and Max at the time was a huge metal head. So we practiced a few shitty Folk/Indie songs in his garage, including a Bright Eyes cover, and decided they were good enough to record. We couldn’t think of a name so we went on
Rody back in 2004 with his short-lived Danzig-inspired haircut. Photo © Kieran Meyn
It’s odd, as a journalist, to interview someone you’ve known for nearly a decade.
I’ve known Rody Walker in some capacity since I was 14. Two years older than me, Rody was the long-haired, shredded jean-wearing frontman of Ontario’s fastest growing punk band. It was 2003 and Protest the Hero, formerly Happy Go Lucky, were riding the momentum of their first real release A Calculated Use of Sound. Sure, Search for the Truth existed, and yes, “Silent Genocide” defined my teen years, but it’s a release everyone, the band included, discarded pretty quickly once ACUoS came out.
For a lot of angst-ridden Southern Ontario teens their EP was the shit. It had it all—verbosity, technicality and political eccentricity. Drummer Moe Carlson free-flowed in a way he hasn’t since, and Rody’s passionate if shrill delivery caused many of us to lose our voices at their frequent gigs.
I was 14 when all this happened. Rody was 16. I’m closing on 23, Rody on 25, and Scurrilous, the band’s third full length, is the first time his name’s been on a lyric sheet since. Understanding Rody’s lyrics means understanding Rody, and for some that’s not easy. The reason for this intro, as long-winded as it seems, is to preface such an understanding.
Ever since Kezia came out, Rody’s been known as the loud-mouth of the band, with good reason–he is, after all,…