Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Interview with Mind Eraser

This Interview was done over a year ago. In the meantime Mind Eraser released a new full length and a 7".

Without a doubt, Mind Eraser is one of my favourite bands these days. Their music is like written for me, it has it's very fast, pv-style moments, really slow, heavy sludgy parts, and god dethroning mosh parts. Plus it features one of Hardcore's best vocalists, Justin, who's more known for his drumming in countless bands in the Boston area. This interview was done via email with Justin and Chris "CC" (guitars). If you haven't until now, pick up their records or stay a whimpy douche bag who still lives at home and tries to play the newest Green Day songs on his acoustic guitar.

As far as I know you and Chris are the only founding members that are still in the band, the last line up I know of is Chris, Justin, the other Chris, Craig and Brendan, is this still correct? How would you describe the music and attitude of Mind Eraser?

Justin: The current line up is me, CC, Brendan, and Craig. The music and attitude of Mind Eraser is similar in that both is abrasive and disgusting. We got nothing to prove, we just want to assault our ears and other peoples ears with awful sounding music. That pretty much sums up the band I think.

CC: Me and Justin are the only founding members. We were originally a studio group. Chris has a child to raise. I would describe our music and attitude introverted and loud.

When I listen to your records your influences are more or less obvious, you have influences from bands like early Agnostic Front or Madball, from early 90ies powerviolence bands like No Comment or Crossed Out, and from Grind and Metal bands like Napalm Death, Terrorizer and so on. Was it a considered choice to play music of that style and feeling, or was it more like that the sound you have is the end of a process of playing and writing music together, and you realised afterwards that you were influenced by those bands unconsciously?

Justin: Well we certainly knew what we had in mind when we started the band and of course all the bands and genres you mentioned were/are important to us developing our sound. I would also include a lot of UK/Swedish hardcore and early Death Metal both from Scandi and the USA as well. Other influences early on were early Ringworm and Citizens Arrest... I can't neglect to mention them... I think later on especially after the Cave LP we started to incorporate a more Doom Metal/Black Sabbathy vibe and you can definitly see that on the later material, especially Glacial Reign. We always had that kind of feel but we really expanded on it for sure. I think our latest stuff is an extension of that mixed with more slowed evil sounding shit like Winter. It's definitly our best material.

CC: Everything was pretty conscious. We definitely set out with a specific aesthetic, and also planned to let it progress and mutate as time went on.

How active is Mind Eraser, thinking of shows, tours and stuff like that? Since I guess most of you guys are playing in more bands I could imagine that it's pretty hard to work stuff like that out.

Justin: Mind Eraser isn't too active. We usually do a month long tour in the summer and besides that we do a lot of one off shows or weekends. A lot of the time we will play shows if our friends bands are in town or on tour. We all have other bands and projects but most of them aren't so active either haha. Work and conflicting school schedules is what does it the most for us but at the same time we don't need to tour 7 months out of the freakin year.
CC: We play more than we should. We've done 3 summer tours, lots of out of state shows. We all play in at least 3 other bands at any given time, and all of us have full time jobs. It's very hard to juggle.

Justin, I guess you've heard that question like a thousand times before, how do you manage to play in so many bands? I mean, not only I could imagine that it's pretty hard to learn and know all those songs, but just time-wise, do you have some kind of a secretary or something who's planning for you?

Justin: Ha well the real secret is that I don't have much of a life. I'm what you would call a loser so I have lots of time to concentrate on music. I think I need to find a touring band so I don't have to be stuck at home losing my mind.

Ok, this is a "guitar nerd question" for CC, what setup do you play, guitar, effects, amp, cabinet, on stage and on your records, especially on Glacial Reign? I think the guitar sound on that one is so fucking brutal, it's really amazing.

CC: I used this modified early 70s SG which was kind of fucked up at the time. It was one of the lower end models produced at that time. I used a couple different Marshall JCM 800s, and then a combo of Big Muff and tube screamer pedals, as well as a turbo rat pedal, and some of the built in distortion on the amp as well. Also some parts (obviously) have wah wah and phaser pedals. Thanks for the compliments, I spent a while twisting knobs and flipping switches. Will Killingsworth was indispensible in his assistance with this stuff and with the actual recording.

What about that split with Fucked Up that is mentioned on the Painkiller page, will it ever come out? Have you recorded songs for it? Or are there any problems with Fucked Up because they're on Jade Tree right now?

Justin: That is something we have been talking about for a few years now. It will come out eventually but there is no real rush. It has nothing to do with Jade Tree or any red tape bullshit like that. The plan is that we write their songs and they write ours. It's gonna be really cool once we get to doing it but as of right now there is no said date.

CC: Yes one day it will come out... in a far away future world, with flying cars and strange space creatures. The songs were written a long time ago, nothing is recorded. There's no problems with F'd Up on Jade Tree, I think they just signed a contract for some albums, not slavery.

Besides the mentioned split, are there any planned releases in the nearer future? Any plans to tour Europe?

Justin: I want to do Europe and everyone else in the band is down but it's just a question of when it is convenient for us. We would like to do it to coincide with a new release so we have something to tour on. But yeah, it will most likely happen.

CC: 2 E.P.s in 2008, one on Clean Plate, one on Youngblood.

What makes a good song in your opinion?

Justin: What always makes a good song is a killer riff and a good structure/arrangement that really compliments the music. That is the same for any kind of music whether its hardcore or r&b. I think the most important part is the feel. if it feels real and sounds like a genuine expression then I'll probably dig it no matter what type of genre it is.

CC: A chill beat, a hard riff, or a good hook.

On youtube there's a video of Mind Eraser covering Drop Dead by Siege, do you still cover that song live? What songs have you covered so far?

CC: There are probobly more I just can't remember right now... haven't played Siege in a while. It's fun though. Off the top of my head here's covers we've done....

Taste Of Fear: Prolife = No Mind
Think I Care: Burn
Citizen's Arrest: Death Threat, Serve And Protect
Infest: Shackled Down, Fetch The Pliers, Kill The Peace
Extreme Noise Terror: Pray To Be Saved
Siege: Drop Dead
Discharge: Society's Victim
Agnostic Front/Psychos/Madball: Discriminate Me
Agnostic Front: Victim In Pain, With Time
No Comment: Push Down And Turn (just the outro part)
Black Sabbath : Black Sabbath (maybe the first 2 minutes of it)
Napalm Death: You Suffer
Integrity: Hollow (w/ Damian from Fucked Up), Sarin
Meat Puppets: Teenagers (only in the studio)
Negative Approach: Evacuate
SS Decontrol: Boiling Point
Void: My Rules

We don't spend a lot of time learning covers so most of the ones we've done are just easy songs that are well known, as you can probably see. it's something to break up the monotony of always playing your own music. I think that's basically all of them though, I have a pretty good memory with that shit.

Why did you choose not to have a myspace page, website or even an email adress (as a band, of course)? Is there any intention behind that?

Justin: Well we actually have a blog now that has most of the FAQ's we get along with show listing, news and a detailed discography, heres the address:

CC: Another band I'm in has a myspace page. It's just kinda stupid and there's a million people hitting you up and shitty bands that are messaging you. I don't feel like maintaining it. I think we avoided a myspace or website for a long time because we didn't want it to be corny. I'm not saying that every myspace band page is corny but we wanted to keep it pretty cult.

Justin, you're listening to lots of Metal I guess, mostly from the 70ies until the early 90ies, are there any new and/or actual metal bands you dig?

Justin: I've always been a big Metal head even before I got into HC/Punk so I still listen to a lot of Metal. For new bands? There are some cool ones from MA such as HIRUDINEA and WITCH TOMB. There are a good group of guys from around here that know their shit and have great taste in Metal and Punk so we tend to play shows together. There is a cool Doom/Stoner band from around here called ELDER. Remind me of Sleep meets Electric Wizard. There is a band from NJ called FUNEBRARUM that plays that old school early 90's sounding Swedish/Finnish Death Metal. Also features Daryl Kahan from Citizens Arrest. Also, Brendan from Mind Eraser has a Black Metal project called HILLS OF IRON who are also really cool so check that out.

Your lyrics are very dark and fateful, and in addition also quite metaphoric. So in what kind of mood do you mostly write those lyrics? And how do you write them, is it more like you have a certain idea for the topic, or do you start with some expression that came to your mind or whatever?

Justin: Usually I need to hear the music before I write the lyrics. I try to write the lyrics to compliment the type of song it is. As far as topics, I usually just try to write what is on my mind. I don't go out of my way to prove a point or preach or whatever...its mostly just an expression of what is going on in my head

Is Mind Eraser the first band where you are doing the vocals?

Justin: No, I sang in a Hardcore band in high school called Schmegmatic Youth. We played a few shows but didnt really do much after that. It was cool, sounded like Minor Threat with Citizens Arrest style vocals.

Two possibilities, choose one!
Napalm Death or Terrorizer

Justin: Napalm Death but only because they have a richer catalog
CC: Repulsion

No Comment or Crossed Out

Justin: Crossed Out
CC: Infest

Metallica or Slayer

Justin: Metallica out of nostalgia
CC: Megadeth. Just kidding. Possessed.

Hardcore in the early 90ies or Metal in the early 90ies

Justin: Early 90's Death Metal
CC: Grunge.

To sleep or to eat

Justin: Sleep

CC: Both at once.

Summer or winter

Justin: Winter

CC: Fall (seriously)

Pepsi or Coca Cola

Justin: Neither
CC: Micro brewed root beer.

Last one, it's for a survey I'm doing, where is the best place to read a fanzine? What's your favourite fanzine? If you feel like you have to add something, the chance is now! Thanks a dozen!

Justin: Man, everyone knows the best place to read a zine is in the bathroom. My favorite zine? Hmmm I loved Town Of Hardcore fanzine but my old school pic would have to be Schism probobly... Don't have much to add. thanks for the interview and I hope we play Europe some time before we all die.

CC: Best place to read a fanzine... in bed maybe? Favorite fanzine... Bust Super-Fanzine.

Mind Eraser's blog
Painkiller Records

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