Interview with the Agents of Abhorrence. I am bold.
Zmaj: Do the Agents of Abhorrence have a specific musical objective or something similar? To be as clear as possible with this question, I'll use NOISM as an example: the objective is to produce the most technical, fastest possible stuff, which is in turn supposed to result in the ultimate aural brutality, but without going into (harsh) noise territory, so to say. I'd like to know if you guys have any compositional principles like that. For another example see the infamous first rule of good music by Jon Chang, "No slow parts!".
Max: To make music first and foremost for fun with 2 of my best friends, that we all enjoy musically. To achieve all goals that we strive for and to put 100 percent into song writing, live shows and tours when we find the time. To push ourselves, both creatively and physically. Fast doesn't always equate to brutality. Technicality doesn't make a good song. Discordance Axis had slow parts.
Zmaj: How did you come up with the bandname, "Agents of Abhorrence"?
Max: We came up with it at random when it was just Ben and I playing as a two piece. Slightly cheesy. Slightly in homage to many of the great Bay Area/West Coast American grind/punk bands in the 90's. If I knew we would last this long as a band I would've considered a different name - but in the end it isn't the name that does the talking.
Zmaj: What inspires you? I do not mean this as in "bands that influenced you" (in fact, that's the next question). It's a very general question, so feel free to recommend artists and whatnot.
Max: At the moment I am inspired by a whole array of things. Roy Orbison and his ability to write perfect love songs. Roskopp playing live grindcore. J-dilla's production. Finding new ways of playing and recording drums. It's always inspiring meeting young people who have a general passion and drive to create new things - without a trace of arrogance within them. My other band just finished a tour with another band whom each member was double our age - yet still played an energetic kick ass set night after night, that was pretty inspiring.
Zmaj: Time to ask the inescapable interview question/request that somehow always manages to remain relatively interesting (well, for me at least) - name your influences! I am 101% sure that there's a big Discordance Axis influence present, which is pretty much the only thing I care about, but please expand on that a little anyway.
Max: A lot of Australian grindcore has influenced me just as much as DxA has. The Kill being just one of the important local bands for me. Our good friends Iron Lung in America. Mortalized, Immortal fate, Neanderthal, Regurgitate, 324, Repulsion to name a few off the top of my head. A huge influence on us is also SWANS.
Zmaj: Lyrics. I wish that every booklet contained expansive liner notes about the lyrics, like the DxAx reissues, or some Shank stuff. What I'm most interested about is the meaning behind seemingly less personal songs like Under Earth, but really, I'd just like to talk a little about the lyrics. From what I can tell, most of the songs on Earth.Water.Sun are sort of angrily emotional, as in short bursts of self-expression. Is the newer stuff like that too, or is it heading in a particularly different direction?
Max: Well Earth.Water.Sun is the most recent release we have. Although we have recorded for a split 7" with Insect Warfare since then. Our lyrics are often dictated by the theme of the record itself. For example with Earth.Water.Sun we often refer to images of land, soil, water, life, energy and use them to express ideas of isolation, death, fear, human fragility and most of all love. As new age hippy as all that sounds. We did the same for earlier work such as Character Dissection - the lyrics were themed around flesh, blood and physically separating the body from the mind to describe our experience of losing touch with today's generation, anger and ideas of love and romance. Basically being a cold being, cut with precision and then internally analyzed for hidden truths. We all contribute lyrics so this may be just my outlook. Our newer stuff is mainly about Mango's and rollerblading.
Zmaj: Musically, how does the new AoA sound compared to Earth.Water.Sun and earlier stuff? Any changes and/or important differences?
Max: Well, again Earth.Water.Sun is our latest release. Here is a list of what's recorded:
2003: 14 song demo. Really quickly put together by me and Ben for the fun of writing fast songs with a mate. 4 track recording in a room. Released on tape on a few different pressings.
2004: Covert Lobotomy 9" E.p. Our first studio recording was a nightmare. This record came out way to thin sounding. We were unhappy.
2005: Split 7" with Iron Lung. Our last batch of songs as a 2 piece.
2006: Character Dissection Album. Our first record with Grant on vocals. The first big change for AOA was becoming a 3 piece and expanding our song range.
2006: Split 7" with EXTORTION. Took forever to come out for many reasons. Out now (December 2008) on Deep Six.
2007: Earth Water Sun Album on 625thrash. Our best material recorded. Although not our fastest songs, I think they are the most intense and planned out.
2008: 5 songs recorded and unreleased. Supposed to be a split with our mates Insect Warfare (r.i.p) who we have toured with. Raw and Faster. We hope it comes out soon!!
Zmaj: What equipment do you guys use?
Max: Drum kit, single kick pedal. An Aluminum made guitar run through 1 guitar amp + 2 cabs and 1 bass amp and fridge. One throat.
Zmaj: How do you like touring and gigging in general? Does any AoA member dislike it? In the case of DxAx, Rob Marton didn't enjoy playing live at all (if I remember correctly). Just thought it was kinda weird.
Max: I love touring. We have been lucky enough to have traveled a lot as a band and I hope that doesn't stop. I can understand how it might not be for some people.
Zmaj: What do you guys do, other than AoA? Feel free to mention any other bands you're in, but it's more of a "what do you do for a living?" question.
Max: I play in a few different bands. Produce music for people and work as a bar tender. I also Dj for extra cash. Grant does phone service work and looks after autistic children. Ben is a painter and does a lot of sound work for bands. We all play and have played in many other bands.
Zmaj: What do you think about file-sharing in general (how's that for a worn out topic, eh)? Do you think it's positive or negative for the more underground bands (and music in general)? I know a lot of people like to complain how it's so different from the past "when we used to trade tapes and write letters" and whatever, but you can obviously still do all that now, it's just much easier (and "less-personal").
Max: I think it's positive. Let it all hang out. Fuck purity. People will always put out records and I will always be a fan of buying them. Whatever makes people happy. We can still write letters, emails and send packages in this day and age. The "old way" only dies when people let it and the digital age only threatens the musicians who see dollars in art. My only concerns in the future would be for live music and how well shows and bands are supported.
Zmaj: If you'd like to express the band's political stance, go ahead.
Max: Always use lube.
Zmaj: Okay, if there's anything else you'd like to add, feel free to do so.
Max: Thank you so much for the interest and the support. We are very sorry we didn't get to play Croatia this year. Borders are a nightmare!
Zmaj: Thanks for the interview!
[All photos are from the band's myspace.]