Tuesday, 12 July 2011

An interview with Slices

GREG: vocals
JOHN: guitar
MIKE K: bass
MIKE O: drums

Your new record is soon to be released, what can the snot nosed collective of Slices fans expect from it?

John: We try our best to do something new with every song we write so there is some branching out, but it still sounds like a Slices record.

Mike O: We’ve been playing some of these songs in our live show for a while, so some of them might sound familiar.

Greg: More songs like Medusa, less songs like Red Raft. Nothing against the latter, but the crop of songs we ended up writing sound like the former.

Mike O: Otherwise, fans can expect thought provoking lyrics, fanciful cover art work, and the Slices sound.

Also, what can you tell us about your relationship with Iron Lung Records, have they been an important factor in the progression of the band to date?

John: They are the best dudes, easy to work with and fun to tour with.

Greg: Jon and Jensen have treated us better than we probably deserve. We're kind of spoiled working with them because they're really patient and considerate. We're somewhat slow due to a lot of reasons. Also, I don't think a lot of people doing record labels, if they received a record cover like the one we sent them, would have been OK with releasing something like that.

Mike O: They’ve put out some really great stuff and some pretty eclectic stuff. It’s great to be included with the other bands on the label.

Perhaps it's just me as a listener but, I often think I can hear a great deal of Steve Albini influence in much of Slices' output, particularly Rapeman. Am I way off the mark here or is Albini a genuine influence?

John: I listened to Big Black in high school but not so much these days. I wouldn’t consider him to be a strong influence personally.

Greg: I just try to form words. I think Albini is better at this than me.

Mike O: I really like Big Black and Shellac in particular, but I think as a band we are more influenced by Albini’s recordings than the actual music he’s made. We spent a little time trying to mimic some guitar sounds from In Utero (I’ll admit it) while mixing down “Still Cruising.” Personally, my approach to poker is very Albini-based, however.

Which other artists would you class as having inspired the band from a foundational level?

John: Wolf Eyes had a huge impact on Mike K and I. When Dead Hills came out it pretty much fried our brains and soon enough we were making sounds with weird electronic junk in our basement, which was the beginning of Slices. As a teenage guitarist I was really into Matthew Bower of Skullflower, Paul Leary of the Butthole Surfers, Seiichi Yamamoto of the Boredoms, and I could keep on going…

Greg: I really love the way the vocals on the first two Meat Puppets records sound, but I'm not sure if they really translate into the way I sing. Lyrically, I don't really think about it in terms of other bands. It's always a mish-mash of a lot of different shit. A lot of times a song will start off about one thing, but then over time I've changed it so much just to fit with the song so it tends to end up weirder than originally intended.

Mike K: Bands like Wolf Eyes and Hair Police are probably the reason why Slices started in the first place. I can't speak for the others, but my biggest musical influences are probably Neil Young, Brian Wilson, Michael Nyman, and Henry Barnes. They, however, don't really come through in Slices' music. John writes almost all of the songs and then me and Ovens do what we can to fill out the sound. Some of our songs come from straight improv sessions that we think sound funny or cool and it just evolves naturally from there. I think Fushitsusha has a major influence on the way me and John play together, but in the end I think we are really just trying to play engaging rock songs.

Mike O: Yeah, Mike and I spend a lot of time trying to keep pace with John. I started out playing bass in bands but moved to drums to be more in demand. Whenever I see a band live I spend a lot of time watching the drummer and try and steal tricks when I can, especially from guys like Chris Strunk (from a million bands from Boston) or Brandon Farrell (Government Warning, Wasted Time, too many to list). As far as foundational bands, when I first started getting into weird/intense music I was a metal guy and spent a lot of time in high school listening to Megadeth etc and branching out from there. After a whole mess of over the top riffs and thrash poetry I developed a taste for bands that were subtle or restrained, especially bands that are heavy and build tension but aren’t beating you over the head the whole time. Harvey Milk I guess would be an example. Burning Witch to a lesser extent. I think we try and build tension in Slices.

Did last month’s R A P T U R E treat you well?

John: No comment.

Mike O: Yes.

The inception of the term 'stingerpunk' seems to be somewhat enigmatic, and according to various sites it's an acute genre which lumps Slices in with H100s, Formaldehyde Junkies and others. Do you identify at all with this terminology or is it just the culture of internet classification gone mad?

Mike O: Stingerpunk is a natural and understandable reaction to our world around us.

John: We are the first stingerpunk band. Those other bands may be stingerpunk in hindsight but we were the first. Stingerpunk will sting you right in the face.

Greg: Fucking sting you in the fucking nose. Sting kings.

Do you guys have any immediate or future plans to tour?

John: Nope.

Greg: We're busy guys.

Mike O: I will be going to California in August, but not in any musical capacity.

Finally, it's always cool to know what other people are listening to at the minute, could you mention a few records that you're into right now?

John: Home Blitz are my favorite band going right now. Everything they’ve done is good and I’m sure everything they'll do in the future will be good, but their last LP “Out of Phase” is my favorite for sure. Great summertime jams too, so I’ve been blasting it in the whip a lot recently. I filled in on bass with them for a tour last summer and it was fun because I could talk about how awesome my band was without feeling like an asshole. Daniel Dimaggio, the man behind it all, plays piano on our new 7 inch, which is out now on Kemado Records.

Greg: Kevin Drumm when I'm at work and trying to drown out the rest of the office. Applehead when I'm at home studying. Usually Slayer "show no mercy" in between all that.

Mike K: Recently been listening to a lot of Total Control(can't wait for the LP), Cheater Slicks, The Dictators, and various 70s soft/classic rock. I am really into that Iceage record and the Waka Flocka Flame album, as well. Home Blitz is probably my favorite contemporary band, can't wait for the new EP.

Mike O: So far this has been the summer of Steely Dan. A lot of Autopsy, Obituary, Entombed, too. I’m looking forward to new records by Rational Animals and The Men and Pollution (I don’t know if Pollution has something coming out soon but I’m hoping). I’m lamenting the end of Wasted Time (hoping it’s not the end). I spent the last year listening to Earth “2” everyday and I think that has noticeably affected me. Also really into Broken Water.

Slices' "Modern Bride" b/w "Chump Change" 7"is out now on Kemado records, go and buy it and let it sting you in the face

- Josh

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