Hells Songs is the picture of a band in the midst of growth. Their debut, Canada Songs, was eleven minutes of fury. Like a lit oil line, the songs shot out of your speakers and tore the ears off of anyone in the room. But on their new album, the band dials it back enough for you to get your bearings and actually enjoy a song before it's over.
At the beginning stages of their 4-month tour, I put a few questions with Alexis Marshall. Everything from the change in approach to his vocal delivery, to life on the road, and secret handshakes.
If you haven't heard the monstrosity that is Hell Songs, I highly suggest you seek it out. With a touch of everything you can toss in a blender, the quintet have birthed some sort of mutant that will both rock your face off and scare the crap out of you.
You guys are in the middle of a pretty extensive tour. How do you keep the energy up when you are on the road for 4 months?
I'm already out of energy. One week into this. I want to go to sleep.
How did you hook up with some of the Kayo Dot tribe for this album?
We've known various members of Kayo Dot for many years. The chance to work with them came up while in the studio and it seemed like a good idea. They're extremely talented and did a great job on that song.
What inspired you guys to come to the realization that screaming is "boring"?
I've been doing it for more than ten years. It's not challenging for me. The easy thing to do is scream a mess of shit, call myself a singer, bullshit myself and everyone else. I don't have any interest in doing that. I want to use my voice as an instrument, not just something to do so I can be in a band. Anyone can scream. Fuck anyone.
On Hell Songs, the songs are longer and the compositions less chaotic. Is this just "growing up" or growing into your own sound?
I wouldn't say less chaotic. This record has been composed in a fashion that is both interesting and different from all the other bullshit that is poisoning people's lives. Nothing was toned down or sacrificed. These are real songs, not thirty seconds of crap for dim-witted fucks to bang their heads to, not that we don't promote that in the same breathe... the head banging part.
Were you conflicted at all about your exclusive t-shirt design in Hot Topic?
No. Why should we? This is our band and we will do whatever we want to do with it. We love mall goths.
Punk and hardcore seem to becoming more and more mainstream and even accepted by kids and parents. Is the danger of the scene dead?
You're asking the wrong person. It doesn't matter if hip assholes or moms enjoy what we create. It shouldn't be about some exclusive club where you get a decoder ring and are taught some secret handshake. Fuck scene politics and the like. That is not why we do this.
There was internet buzz when the first single was revealed on-line. most people seemed to enjoy the music but seemed split 50 / 50 on the new vocal style. Is that something you guys care about, or is this the direction you want to take regardless of what past fans think?
When we start caring what people want to hear is when we stop caring about what we want to hear.
- Jake Haselman | 2006-09-05