Reflecting on the state of current political and social affairs in the United States, thousands of young artists , lament the changing times big time and, as predicted, it results in hundreds of interesting art works, including music records. The name of this band could well reflect the current climate the pervasive disillusion, not only regarding the Trump era, but it’s way beyond strictly political themes. Atlanta based industrial, corroded punk act WE’RE ALL DOOMED dives deep into the sense of various beliefs and uncovers new forms of industrialized hardcore that manages the ambitious task of making palpitating anxiety and disturbing nervousness sound gratifying and truly engaging. And since we don’t want to end up like the now defunct boring rock magazine, we’re introducing the details of this interesting project. Here’s our interview, conducted throughout the freezing cold months of this past winter.
Hey guys! Thanks so much for joining us here on IDIOTEQ. How are you? How’s Atlanta?
Travis: I’m up in Syracuse, currently staring out the window into a white abyss wondering how this all came to be. Nate can speak more to the ATL.
Nate: Atlanta’s great, about the same as it’s ever been. Inconsistent weather, marginally happy people. How’s Poland?
Oh man. Poland’s freezing cold, with that weird snowless kind of a winter that’s been haunting us for the last couple of years. A perfect time for gritty, monstrous soundtracks like the one you’ve decided to unveil. I must say there’s an energy and atmosphere to your tunes that seem to just pour off your debut record. Please give us some insights on what led you to diving deep into this genuine, well-measured mixture of edgy industrial, hardcore and powerviolence.
Travis: That’s the worst. I’ll never get sick of the snow here in upstate New York; it’s the days that you can’t escape the sound of the wind, pounding against your house, your car, your eardrums, all while facing subzero temperature. Those days can be gone.
Thanks for the kind words about the record. It’s sad to say, maybe, that there are perhaps extreme connotations of nihilism in what we’re doing & that might signal to someone listening & enjoying, “Ok, these guys are ready for it all to be over. They sing about political domination, about suicide. About feeling quite literally that everything is lost and questioning what the point of even fighting anymore is. And I feel so helpless myself. Maybe some would think my life is horrible & some may think I have everything a person could ask for, but ME, I feel like things are bad and will just keep getting worse and this is just reaffirming that belief.” And I might say, “Wow, you’re a lot like me in that you think way too much and need to watch those run-on sentences. You should probably seek us.”
The reality of why our songs sound the way they do is because I’m really trying to express some of the worst moments in my life from a perspective of power. That’s to say, when I felt powerless. And it comes off melancholy because those moments have left me sad, and it might sound frenetic because my emotional response to these life moments has often been just that, at least internally.
Nate’s the glue that joins it all together, he’s Programming Man. He’s been working with midi instrumentals and electronic soundscapes for years. So he makes it interesting and takes my raw emotion of generally stumbling through life confused at situations that I feel I have no control over, and composes it into something marginally (there’s that word again) listenable.
Ha! You bet! Actually, with all the energy and bleak atmosphere that seems to just pour off your debut record, he did quite a great job. Before we dive deeper into the content side, please give me some more insights on what led you to diving deep into this genuine, well-measured mixture of edgy industrial, hardcore and powerviolence. What are your musical backgrounds and how come you decided to go for such aesthetics?
Nate: I think the sound that we came up with was more of a result of analyzing, between the two of us, what we had the capability of doing. I had a drum set and about a decade of experience creating electronic music under the moniker GRANDPA FUCKIN SPACESHUTTLE; Travis had a bass and a Korg. From there, it was all about taking our tools and crafting something fresh and original.
As far as our backgrounds go, I think Travis and I grew up on different things that slowly converged into a very comparable and compatible sonic palate. Even back to when we were kids, when he was listening to Nirvana, early AFI, bands of that nature, I was finding footing in PRIMUS, BAD BRAINS, MR. BUNGLE, and other bands that skirted around being traditional. I think the light contrast between our early roots helps give the music we create together an unconventionality while keeping it relatively accessible, which is (in my opinion) extremely important in establishing an original sound.
Travis: The industrial thing, I don’t really know how that happened to be honest. Leading up to us making that EP, I listened to a ton of STATIQBLOOM. That’s about the extent of it. But I don’t really do the electronics, I just kind of ‘sign off’ on them. It was just something that happened organically, where we’re sending this around online and getting this positive response from the Industrial community. It was a really cool thing to happen, to slowly hear from members of this music community that I don’t think Nate or I really have any familiarity with beyond the cursory and I think we’re just accepting it. We kind of tongue-and-cheek started calling ourselves “Industriviolence” after that.
In terms of the aesthetics for WE’RE ALL DOOMED, when we played years ago and I was on guitar I’d trigger weird samples pulled from Twilight Zone off a pedal on my board, set to some delayed stuff in the period of a build-up in a song. It was feeling redundant and the sound was not nearly as loud as I’d hoped it would be. I’d been a huge fan of UNITED NATIONS from the get-go, and I read an interview Geoff Rickly did explaining how he views the future of punk/hardcore/whatever as sort of being pulled into this club/electronic aesthetic. Around the same time I was listening to a RAEIN album on the way to work and the remix of “From 3 to 1 and 2 & 4” came on (by ELICHEINFUNZIONE) and, I don’t know. If you were to look at one track that served as a jumping off point, I’d point to that. I started envisioning these house shows of complete sensory overload with bass & drums crushing, intense rhythm, something you could even put overwhelming amounts of fog & strobe too. An environment and sound that makes you feel like you can’t breathe & makes your heart pound through your chest. We haven’t hit anywhere near that, but we’re definitely pushing for a sound directed towards that goal.
Alright, so tell us about the writing and recording process for this EP. Have there been any surprises and discoveries about yourself along the way?
Travis: That’s a different question. I think I just realized in the middle of recording this that I don’t really have a concept anymore of where I’d like to take the music I’m involved with. I used to always have a very clear path sonically that I wanted to head down and tend to write envisioning what a song would look like live. That’s still true to some extent, but I guess I’m more open to not just new sounds but entirely different genres if that’s what it comes to. If we decide that this next stuff to come out sounds like a MY BLOODY VALENTINE tribute, so be it. Or whoever, whenever. I really don’t care if we’re at some point that we won’t be booked on shows with screamo bands because we’re so far removed from how that’s supposed to sound. That doesn’t matter anymore, which is huge for me because it’s so easy to get pulled into that shit and ultimately you’re not making music for you or anyone else but instead for this idea of what a community might prefer. It gets tedious, and not in a good way.
Content-wise, what inspired you to write these tracks? Also, apart from the obvious political points, there’s a kind of other-worldliness within these tracks. Could you speak to that?
Nate: I don’t think the inspiration was really happened in a track-by-track basis, but rather towards the sound as a whole. Travis and I have been creating music together for several years now, and most of the time, an idea one of us has will inspire the other. We’ll compound ideas creatively on a song until we have a complete product, and as far as just the musical content goes, I think our inspiration and motivation comes from the ideas we share. Lyrically, I think Travis is better suited to speak on what inspires his subject matter.
One of the main concepts behind WE’RE ALL DOOMED is a constant questioning of beliefs; not specifically political, or social, or scientific, but the underlying sense of what ‘belief’ is and what it means to people. This is not limited to exploring paranormal ideas, which we like to try to convey when appropriate in our music. The “other-worldly” motifs are just another outlet we can explore, another tool we can incorporate to pry at what a person may or may not believe, and another means to have that belief examined introspectively.
How about other kinds of inspirations that may feed a creative soul? How much Atlanta does inspire you? How is your relationship with the city?
Nate: Travis may be able to speak more to this, I don’t get much out of Atlanta to be honest.
Travis: Yeah, I mean I live in New York and travel down to Atlanta and we play out of there but it’s a weird city. Bands trade members like anywhere else, and we’re friends with people in the punk scene but it’s just all over the place. We still prefer playing house shows. I kind of hate venues and the process of booking; even supposed not-for-profit spaces can have a weird who-do-you-know vibe to them that rubs me the wrong way. So I guess the relationship, since I do all of our booking, is one of necessity. We’ve had the chance to meet some really cool people through it, but I don’t care so much about the city.
It’s the people that come out that are inspiring. When I map out new music, it’s usually while I’m standing in the shower visualizing what it’s going to look like playing said song from my POV, staring into a small crowd in someone’s living room. So that living room could be anywhere, those people could be anybody. As long as it’s inclusive and people want to be there and treat each other well, I’m all for it. We don’t play for money and I personally don’t believe in it. That’s not to sound cool & anti-capitalist or whatever. I just find it a lot less stressful when I assume the responsibility of gas/finding a place to sleep/etc. is on us. There’s less resentment when things go wrong, as they often can.
That reminded me of some of the most amazing house-shows here in Warsaw including a jaw-dropping performance of post rockish screamo acts MEN AS TREES and SINGLE STATE OF MAN.
Do you mind recommending some noteworthy local acts worth checking out in 2017?
Travis: I would love to come to Warsaw sometime and see if the living rooms are any different.
For local acts in Atlanta, BRANCHES is a really dope & unique band. They have an EP out called “birth.” that I’ve probably listened to a dozen times. We were schedule to play a show with them but some things came up, maybe it’ll happen later on. If you like doom, check out GIGER. Really nice guys. In Syracuse, I have to mention BLEAK. We don’t play shows up in Syracuse, but when I go out it’s to see them play. They’ve put out a few albums now on Hex Records (home of ED GEIN), and they just obliterate. I’m not sure what kind of attention they’re getting outside of the region, I feel like I’m in a bubble up here sometimes, but they deserve a listen.
Speaking of shows, have you played some gigs with WE’RE ALL DOOMED? Are there plans to book some dates in the coming months?
Travis: Yeah, we’ve played around the southeast US. We had a tour booked back in February but everything kind of got thrown into limbo with my job. I work at a refugee center in New York and the executive order that our president signed created a real mess for us. I’m going to be moving to the Atlanta area this summer after some time in Europe (maybe I’ll stop by & say hey!) and I think we’ll start booking pretty regularly and release some new material that we’ve been sitting on.
Great! Where might you go next with this project?
Nate: We have a decent amount of material already written for whatever we may release next; I think the most important “next step” for us is to really practice and solidify our live performance. Being that our means of collaboration has been primarily long-distance, fortifying our stage presence is an imperative piece of progressing forward as a band. We had a tour scheduled for late February that we had to put on hold in the light of political events that affected Travis’ work schedule, but I think that’s only made us more eager to hit the road and begin performing wherever we can.
Cool. Thanks so much for your time. Aprreciate it! Feel free to leave your final thoughts and take care!
Travis: Thanks. If you have to watch the news then watch all of them. Take care.