Wednesday, 8 February 2012

An interview with BRAIN SLUG

Brain Slug are a band of hardworking New Yorkers, insistent on doing things their way. Their sound lends a cue from big time NYHC pillars Youth of Today and Cro-Mags while an uglier, twisted side to Brain Slug is left to breed chaotically in much the same way as the uncouth soundscapes of the Youth Attack parade. They just released their new 7" Distort New York, so we checked in with the guys for an interview.

Can you give us a brief overview of how the band got together?

Jack Wiley Mitchell: A few of us had been in another band before this. A few months after that band's break up Fuckface and I started working on this new one. In the meantime E.M was text-begging me to start some new hardcore shit with him too so we all wrote the demo together. Once we were finished it and were ready to play out we saw Tony Toupee at a show and he wasn't playing with anyone at the time so we asked him to join.

Did you set out with any specific ideas for this project or did the sound congeal together naturally?

JWM: Me and Fuckface wanted to do a stripped down hardcore band. Just hard New York Hardcore type shit. Keeping it simple.

Even More Gore: I personally started off wanting to do something insanely different than what Brain Slug became, but they roped me in with promises of '88 Style New York Hardcore Glory.

Would you say that being from New York is something that you're all proud of, and want to reflect in the music?

Fuckface: Being from New York definitely has an influence, maybe not so much proud, but we know what's up.

EMG: I've never felt any pride in being from Long Island or the NYC area, but I would say that being from New York is something we all collectively want to have branded on our music. That said, I think it's more of a "take it or leave it," attitude as opposed to silly "NYC is better than you," kind of stuff. In reference to the song Distort New York - I was born and raised in suburban Long Island, I lived in NYC proper for a few years, hated it, and moved back. I wrote the song because I can't stand spending too much time surrounded by concrete and steel, smelling old garbage, piss and exhaust fumes.

JWM: I have the exact opposite problem. After living in the NYC for over ten years I would go nuts living in the suburbs now. Maybe it doesn't work for Gorey, but it's the best city in the world to be at. I love New York, and am damn proud of any relation to it.

Which, if any, New York bands would you say have the most influence on the Brain Slug sound?

Fuckface: Youth Of Today, Breakdown, Antidote, Raw Deal.

JWM: Sick Of It All, Warzone, Straight Ahead.

EMG: I'd say The Cro-Mags and Youth of Today. Specifically the heavy, street-style Discharge-i-ness of the 'Mags and the wind-up fast shit with mosh part style of YOT. Vocally, I straight-up wanted to do something similar to Daryl Kahan of Citizen's Arrest with both screechy stuff and more bellowing material - more erratic and varied than my previous work.

Whats this tour been like? Who have you been playing with?

EMG: Tour was pretty solid. Only one night was a completely out of control shitbomb, and that was so bad that we've been formulating plans on how best to take revenge on those responsible. Philly was fucking awesome; shout out to Cliff and all the maniacs we met that night; especially the drunk girls who got arrested. We played with a lot of cool bands, but I was really psyched on Wet Witch and Altered Boys. Yo Geoff Greene, sorry I didn't say Hi in NJ.. I still owe you a copy of that 86 Mentality/Dead Stop video from your basement, but the Hellhole 7" you gave me was warped, so fuck you.

You just put out your 'Distort New York' EP, what can you tell us about the writing and recording process for that?

JWM: My Rites was one of the first songs we wrote when we got together as a group but we never had an ending for it until Tony came up with something. So that was the first thing finished for the EP, the rest was just the usual process of passing around riffs before and after practice and fleshing them out together. We record ourselves live in a basement out in Long Island and for five songs it takes about a day and a half to finish. Then we passed it off to Don Fury to master to bring out the crunch a bit more. Also lots of pizza, hummus, bagels and shit to give us energy.

EMG: I wrote 99% of the lyrics for that record in one day after scrapping everything I had written in the preceding weeks/months. My Rites was inspired by the work of Tom G Warrior and a late night conversation with Jack about the very real possible end of the world in our lifetime.

Do you have plans to tour further, perhaps overseas?

EMG: I'd like us to get big enough that we could go tour Japan. I'll rage all night long, buy a GISM shirt, and then blow my brains out on the way home.

Fuckface: Talked about Europe, would be dope.

Pick up Distort New York over at Hardware Records

- Josh

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