Tight to the Nail recently conducted an interview with WEEKEND NACHOS frontman John Hoffman.
So, your new EP ‘Watch You Suffer’ is ready to drop on A389 Records next year (it’s actually out now, time travellers) and a new LP set to follow that. What can you tell us about recording the new material? Any major differences from the ‘Worthless’ sessions?
Definitely different than the Worthless sessions…we’re really going for something else here, but that’s every new record we do. The last record we recorded before this was the Lack of Interest split and I will definitely admit that those songs were more of an extention of Worthless…but not for this new shit, we’re progressing yet again. I can’t disclose too much information about the sound but it’ll definitely be a good mix of styles we know we’re good at, as well as some that we have not yet attempted. If the darkness of Unforgivable had a shitty, bipolar child with the ferocity and wit of Worthless, that will hopefully describe the new album you will hear in 2013.
Looking back for the next few questions, and for people who might be new to Weekend Nachos, can you tell us about the very early days? What inspired you to start a band, and how were those first couple of years?
In November of 2004, I remember being very fed up with what I had been doing. Every band I was in seemed like some real poser ass shit, I needed to do something that defined me more instead of just my drum or bass skills. That’s why I ended up doing vocals. Weekend Nachos was definitely born out of a mixture of college boredom, college angst (does that exist?!), and college intelligence. Basically, we were in college. The goal of Weekend Nachos in the beginning was to piss people off and play “evil” shit. Sounds fucking stupid now (because it is) but at the time I truly believe it’s what a) Chicago needed, and b) the scene needed in general. A brutal band that was silly enough to really make some people think “hey, does this band suck…or is it ME that sucks?” That was pretty much what happened.
Was there much of a music scene in your hometown of Chicago at the time, or rather, much of a scene for a band like Weekend Nachos?
At the time when WN began, Chicago was alive and well, and experiencing a very golden age that lasted for a few years after we began as well. We didn’t ruin anything. However, there was NO scene for a band like us. To say we were laughed at, ridiculed and shit-talked in the early days would be an understatement. We were the Nickelback of Chicago Hardcore.
I’ve heard some bands admit how embarrassed they can be by early material. To me though, your first recordings from 2006 still sound insane, Torture specifically, and fit perfectly with how you’ve evolved. Do you look back fondly on those early recordings?
Very fondly. I think my vocals needed work, but the rawness and innocence of the early shit is so pure. We were seriously cranking out 20 second jams with no effort, just a desire to make fun of people, kill them, and then make fun of them again once they were dead. I love the first 7″. I also love the way we have progressed at the same time. But i love the first 7″. We still play songs off of it at every show.
You tend to get pigeonholed by people, quite unfairly really, as a powerviolence band. Obviously, that sound is in there, but there’s so much more happening. That gigantic bluesy section at the end of ‘Acceptable Violence’ with the awesome solo from your LP ‘Punish & Destroy’ is when I personally sort of sat up and went ‘ok. Wow.’ Did you consciously add elements in there, like the doom and sludge stuff, or did it occur sort of organically?
Absolutely. This is gonna sound tacky to say about my OWN band, but I really don’t think we were ever just a powerviolence band, even in the early days. We always had a very heavy sound, it was like if you mixed Infest, Carcass, Eyehategod and Youth of Today. I’m not claiming that we reinvented the wheel or anything but I agree with you 100% that the early claims (and the current claims too) were unfair. I think people took the “vibe” of our band and heard my stupid voice and thought “Okay, this is a powerviolence band like Charles Bronson was”. That’s fair to a degree but we were adding so many more styles to the table that people didn’t recognize. I’m glad though. Motivation to keep releasing more records. Punish and Destroy was built on the desire to keep adding more of those other influences to stray from the “powerviolence” path that we had already been lumped into.
Speaking as a guy who owned about 100 Korn t-shirts back in 1996, I think I read somewhere that you are (or were) a big nu-metal fan. Is that right? As much as I look back on it now and cringe at most of it, I fuckin loved that stuff! I owe it my entry into hardcore without a doubt. You still listening to any of it, and did it influence Weekend Nachos in any way?
We all love different angles of the nu-metal spectrum. I think our biggest nu-metal influence comes from Andy…who grew up on nu-metal and then got into hardcore. Me, personally, I discovered and appreciated nu-metal AFTER being a close-minded punk! Once I got over the whole attitude of being a shitty piece of crap, I started listening to the Korn songs I hated in high school and thought “whoa…this shit is mad brutal.” And now I’m in a nu-metal band. If that doesn’t say something positive about my path towards enlightenment, I don’t know what will. So yeah, I am a nu-metal “late bloomer”. But Andy grew up on bands like Korn, Mudvayne, etc. Drew was into bands like Pantera and Fear Factory before getting into punk. Brian, for all I know, has always just listened to Chinese Traditional.
Your ‘Bleed’ EP was considered pretty experimental for a band more known for songs that clock in at around a minute and a half long. How was it recording that, and what was the driving force to do something different?
One day I was listening to Bulldoze and I thought to myself “somebody should do a beatdown sludge record”. I’m sure it already existed before I thought about it, but I wanted to do my own version of this idea. That’s basically how the idea for Bleed was born. I listened to a lot of ignorant NYHC and a lot of Earth EXCLUSIVELY for a few weeks to get in the right frame of mind and when Andy and I got together to practice the riff I had come up with, we ended up tuning his guitar down to G standard. It sounded pretty cool. When Bleed came out, MANY people complained about it and it made me very happy.
The rest of this interview can be read here.