|Title: Anthrofuge Interview (March 2004) |
Coming from the ashes (or from other existing bands) of such bands as King of Clubz, Uphold, Meth and Goats, The Trilambs, The Bloody Wankers, Priapism, Drift, Chaji Brothers, Breed, The New Thrills, Subsist, The Bothered, A. R., and Armored Unit H-7, comes a new(ish) band from the Quad Cities called Anthrofuge.
No, I don't know what 'anthrofuge' means, and the only search hits you'll get is pages like this one...anyway -
Anthrofuge is a heavy metal ("death metal without the double-bass" - Chad) band that features some great talent as well as a fun attitude. They play to play, and want you to know it.
I sat down and interviewed Chad through the wonderfully personal interface of email, and here's what he had to say about the band.
Tell me about Anthrofuge - a little history, etc. What style of music would you consider "the 'Fuge'" to be classified as?
Coach and I had this idea for a Death Metal band for a few years and we never really got it off the ground. We decided to do something basic - you know un-complicated death metal. So I threw together about 17 or 18 songs with a drum machine and a four track. Coach recorded some vocals for some of them and we started talking to musicians about playing with us. After some arm twisting and good timing we discovered Kanoo had just parted with Meth and Goats and was interested in expanding his horizons. We originally asked Burlington Joe, of Gross Motor fame) to play bass and he even came to some practices, but he was far too busy with other stuff to do it. Al offered his services since he had never really played in a death metal band before. So let's see, it took me about a month or two to write 17 or 18 songs, another two months to trick Al and Kanoo into playing and we've been practicing for about 6 months getting some of the songs down.
As far as style. The best way to describe us is technical death metal without double bass. Our first CD won't be as technical as our newer stuff, but it's still pretty weird.
You have a variety of styles and influences with regards to the musicians in the band. What are your backgrounds - how do they add a certain flavor to the band?
Let's see. Al has an eclectic background from punk, to rap, to world music, to jazz. All across the board. He's also not a traditional bass player. He plays a lot of chords and off time bass lines (sometimes on purpose). Kanoo is actually a guitarist (so I have to keep my own guitar chops up or he'll call me out), but he's the best drummer I've ever had the chance to work with. He's super technical and pushes himnself all the time. He gets super bored playing the same drum beat at every practice so he's constantly improving the songs every time he plays them. Coach and I were scared he wouldn't work out because he had never played double bass and didn't even want to. But then when we heard him, we realized that he didn't need to play double bass. He made it far more interesting without having it. Coach comes from a varied music background and has always been a phenomenal death metal vocalist. He got it from grunting at his parents when he was a child - seriously. People ask him all the time if he uses effects on his vocals, but he doesn't. He's just that scarey. He's got a varied taste in music too, so he doesn't like to hear death metal all the time, same as me. I'm a classically trained musician but that doesn't count for shit in death metal. So I'm just one of those people who can't decide what I want to play, guitar, drums, bass, whatever. I just try to keep it interesting to me. If I'm bored playing it, I know other people will be too.
You asked what it adds to the band, however, and I rambled on. Here's what it does to our music. Kanoo likes the music to constantly evolve. Once you write and even record a song, it's not done. Very cool concept. He'll go to work and think up new parts to our songs al the time, that's awesome.
Al has a knack for screwing songs up. Now this might sound like a bad thing, but it's the exact opposite. Everytime he screws up a part that we're working on, we keep it because it sounds better than the original, I kid you not. If the part starts out sounding normal, then Al gets in there and plays it with some weird timing or pattern, and it sounds incredible.
Coach brings super solid vocals to the mix. He doesn't loose any energy in the studio like a lot of singers who need an audience to respond to. He's doing a much better job than any of us thought he would. I don't think I bring that much to the band. I put in a lot of effort writing parts and I tend to write alot of things I can't even play, which is amusing.
How long have each of you been playing and what brought the members to play music together?
I've been doing music my whole life - piano lessons since I was 4 then band and then garage bands. Al tells me he brought death metal to Sherrard all the time, so I know he's been in bands forever. Coach has listened to pop music his whole life and since we're both DJ's we get to hear a lot of hardcore and metal. I'm not sure on Kanoo's background, but he does listen to a little indie rock, punk and just a mix of things.
What would you say is the overall idea of Anthrofuge? Is there a point to the band? Any political views or other social messages?
I don't know if there is an idea behind Anthrofuge. We just like to play music we like. We know people aren't going to be dancing for a band like us, so we're not into it for crowd response. It's just nice to have a group of guys who are all skilled and who really push you into improving.
I wouldn't say anyone in this band is stagnate right now. We all work at making the songs more interesting for us to play. Sure, it may not be understandable in a live setting because of the noise factor, but we kow what we're playing is funand sounds good, so it doesn't matter what the crowd thinks. We don't really have any message. Since we tout ourselves as death metal, our lyrics have a dark theme to them - innards, murder, corpses, bones, blood, etc.
I had a 4 inch long hair on the back of my hand once - I pulled it out right away, thinking that I would be a freak and be shunned from society.
Is it true that Coach had an unusually long nipple hair - we know that he is normally shunned - but what was the fate of this hair?
Yes, Coach is shunned by many people and not just for his hair. The Nipple hair was enormous, it was like 8 inches long. That one got lost ina tragic golfing accident, but he grows long hairs in other random spots too. He had one on his knee that he could wrap around his leg. Super freaky. And it runs in the family, that's what's sick and wrong. His uncle had an eyebrow hair that he could wrap around his head. Super freaky. In fact, mine and Coach's side project band, Armored Unit H-7, wrote a song about it - Eyebrow Hair vs. Nipple Hair. It's all about how they would compare hair length at family get togethers. They're a weird family.
The show on January 11th had you playing with Wage of Sin - what was that like, and do you think that Anthrofuge will be playing more shows outside of the Quad City region?
The show with Wage of Sin was phenomenal. We played our asses off and we sounded good... for about 15 kids. It was a poor turnout, but we played well and sounded good and that's all that matters. I love Wage of Sin and they didn't disappoint. They're kind of my dream band - all girls, you know. The singer in the band (Melissa) is super hot. I think the girls thought it was going to be a flop show, but Coach, Al and I danced for a couple of songs which scared some people since we're old. Then we bought a bunch of t-shirts and CD's from them , so they made mad cash off our asses.
As far as local shows vs. out of town shows. I do think we'll be playing a lot of out of town shows. It's a good thing to get out and play some places you haven't been to and it kind of sucks playing to the same people every two weeks. We'll be out and about for sure.
The first initials of each of your members can spell "cack." Was that intentional in your band member search, or just coincidence? Was it just too hard to find a bassist named 'Othello?'
Actually, it's funny you bring that up. That's how Kanoo says "cock". He pretends he's from the northeast. When someone gets hit in the nads during a ferocious foosball game, he'll tell you to watch your "cratch". So maybe subliminally we did mean to spell that out.
If you had a chance to play with any band (existing or not), who would it be, and why?
There are too many to name, both current and long gone. Gross Motor, Bloody Wankers, old Iron Maiden, Bolt Thrower, Warlock, Grimfist, Agony Column, jam bands are fun to play with too, as are Rasta bands at an outdoor fest in Macomb, IL. I like to play with bands who can have fun on stage. The problem with so many death metal bands is they take themselves way too seriously and don't have fun. Screw that. I'll play with a barbershop quartet if they have fun on stage and know how to bring the mosh.
Any other comments or inspiration for local bands that are up and coming?
I have comments on just about any topic you can think of. I just try not to force them on people too much. As far as local bands. If you want to make money, play what people want to hear, if you want to have fun, play wat you would want to hear if you were in the crowd. IF no one likes you while you're on stage, that just gives you the blanket right (and
obligation) to be an ass and make it as horrible for those people as you can.
The only other comment I can make is that no band ever takes us up on the challenge to play foosball. We play a lot, but we're not the best in the world. We'll play anybody any time!
You're welcome, as always -