Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Extortion Interview

Here's an interview I did with Rohan of Extortion for TheSharpEndZine a while back. It was before I really got into any good PV, so please PV heads excuse the noobness of some of my questions. Yhew.

Members? Roles etc?? 

My name is rohan, i "sing" for the band. not very well i might add. forget lyrics at the drop of a hat. in all the previous bands i've been in i played bass.

dan plays bass, surfs and previously played in pc thug and dead hand. he also is looked upon with distain by the hardcore scene for his occassional hairstyle.

dean is a machine. he also plays drums. our previous drummer (rhys) left for england, so i asked him to play and he's picked it up pretty quick and we're back to writing new songs again. he played in some perth hardcore bands in the mid nineties (nailed down, heist, rupture and a few more).

jay plays the axe, lives off poker winnings and is the richest member of the band whilst also being the slackest. also goes by the name grindsnore due to requiring close to 73 hours of sleep a day.

I think it would be reasonably fare to say that Extortion play a style of hardcore that is for the most part still fairly underground within Australia. The music comes across to me as a fairly thrashy, punky blend. What sound are you guys trying achieve when putting together new songs? Is the whole thrash sound what you’re trying to get at? 

well, we wanted to do a hardcore band primarily influence by early 80s boston and early 90s california hardcore, i guess thats why its sounds "punky". hardcore pre-mid nineties was pretty much just fast angry punk (boston style being fast as fuck). and pretty much every band i've been in has been pretty fucking fast, but that just comes down to me liking fast music. so extortion was always gonna be fast, if thats what you mean by thrash sound? i come from a weird parallel universe where the fast parts of songs float my boat more than the slow parts. not that i don't enjoy a good breakdown, but a rad fast beat and riff makes the blood go to my head and the veins pop out like my head is gonna explode, blood, gore and lymph flying hither and thither.

What bands would you rate is big influences? 

as stated in the answer to the previous question-"we wanted to do a hardcore band primarily influence by early 80s boston and early 90s california hardcore" for anyone who doesn't know what that means, early boston bands like siege, negative fx, dys, ssd, deep wound, gang green and jerrys kids. all fucking fast as fuck. these bands also went on to influence the grind scene in UK in the mid 80s (napalm death, heresy, carcass etc). late 80s/early 90 californian bands like infest, no comment, neanderthal and crossed out took what those early boston bands did and "kicked it up a notch". they "pushed the envelope" and as a result created music that hits you "like a tonne of bricks". also got a bit of basic grindcore like napalm death, repulsion and terrorizer in there. just the brutal fast shit eh. whilst i'm name dropping bands, we like to add the occasional weird slow bits, so i guess flipper and sabbath would be the bigger influences there?

Hailing from Perth, do you guys ever feel alienated from the rest of the Aussie scene? Would you say that bands like Miles Away (kind of) recent popularity has really exposed the Perth scene to the rest of the coun-try, if not the world? 

never really think about it to tell the truth. i dunno about the rest of the band, but i personally am more focussed on the next recording and the next show. speaking of shows, its been pretty good recently. shitloads of bands touring over here and enough people going to the shows to make it worth while. so yeah, whilst we are isolated the rest of the country is coming to us (us as in the people of perth, not us as in the members of extortion, that'd be fucking stupid) so we're not really missing out on too much.

What are a few less known bands that are really sounding good at the moment from the your area? 

battletruk and pillar of hope are pretty gnarly. there is a new band called 9 must die, who i haven't heard yet, but the guys in the band don't listen to the dogshit they call "good music" nowadays, so im keen to check them out.

Here in Brisbane it’s fairly obvious that their is a good division between the scenes. On one hand we’ve got bands like Against and Mourning Tide playing the shows at The Basement then we’ve got bands like Mouthguard playing separate shows. Though with that said we have got band like Just Say Go! and RBAY trying to mix it up, but for the most part both scenes are fairly separated. Is is similar in Western Australia? Are there separate metallic and more underground scenes? Do the two co-exist? 

its pretty mixed over here, and it kinda has been since hardcore bands started popping up again around here in about 2000/2001. there are a lot of new metal and emo/metal fusion bands popping up and playing their own shows which is cool, but the music ain't my cup of speed so i generally give those shows a miss.

How has the Perth Hardcore scene grown and progressed in the last few years? 

as i mentioned 5 bazillion emo-metal and death metal bands have popped up outta no-where, a lot of new kids are going to shows. all ages gigs are pretty big nowadays and everyone wears heaps of black. its not good in the heat. kid will be dropping off like flies on the street come summer. it used to be real small, mixed bills cos their weren't enough hardcore bands to do a all hardcore line-up. i dunno how it got so metal, its weird.

How do you see it growing in the next few years? 

i have no idea. other than playing shows i'm not really involved in the scene so much, my finger is not on the pulse. it will be interesting to see how many of the kids, most of which are still in school, will stick with the music and how many drop out. its bizarre how big it is in perth considering the population, it'd be twighlight zone levels of weirdness if it got even bigger.

To date the band has a demo and a 7” under your collective belts. You’re also on the verge of releasing a new LP ‘Degenerate’. How has past material been received? Do you find you’re moving many 7”s outside of Perth? Where else have you guys been doing really well? 

yeah, we've almost sold out of the 7". most of it has gone outside the state actually. when we went on tour with jaws we sold over 100 7"s in sydney and newcastle and ended up not having enough for melbourne cos thats all we brought over. the 7" got a good review in maximum rocknroll, and felix from havoc records bought a stack of them to distro over in america. henk from kangaroo records in netherlands did the same for europe. its cool that dudes who deal with so much music are into it. there are a lot of average or flat out shithouse hardcore bands out there and we try our best not to be too sub-standard.

Tell me a little about the 7” just to get me up to date. Where and when was it recorded etc? 

the 7" was recorded in july of 2005 at bergerk studios over here. we've recorded there with previous bands and were happy with the results, we really wanted a more analouge sound. no shitty triggered drums, no stupid pro-tools over production bullshit. we recorded 16 songs, only 11 fit on the 7", the other 5 are going on a split 7" with jed whitey that was recently organised and should be out in the next few months on missing link records. due to endless delays the first e.p got fucked around and we didn't get the 7" until about a month before the tour (april 2006).

And what’s the deal with the new LP? Will it be available on both record and CD like past releases? 

yeah, the LP is coming out on deep 6 pretty soon, and the cd will be out a little later. in australia common bond will be organising the cd release, and will be out on october the 2nd.

How long did it take to put together? Where and when was it recorded? 

we recorded at begerk again, feburary this year. it took one weekend to get the first guitar and drum tracks down then another to do the second guitar tracks plus any little fiddly bits to fix up. vocals and mixing were done in a few afternoon sessions. we recorded 25 tracks but cut it back to 18 for the album, so we've got a few left over for a split or something.

As of yet you guys haven’t made your way up to Brisbane. Fair enough your following probably isn’t huge up here but bands like The Faux Hawks recently made the trek. Can us Brisbanites expect to see you guys any time soon? It would be awesome if so. 


Where else have you guys been able to tour? 

we did newcastle, sydney and melbourne in april, just a few days due to most of us being unable to take too long off. hence not going to brisbane or adelaide. most of us have full time jobs.

Rohan you have handled all of the Extortion artwork so far as well as doing stuff for Go For Broke! and the cover of this very publication. Where else have you contributed work? Where did you learn to draw so well? 

i've not been taught to draw, i just picked it up from scribbling all over anything since i was a kid. i was into comics for a long time, but kinda stopped collecting cos most of them are fucking stupid.

i've drawn art for a couple of local bands like negative reply, dead hand and i did the jaws demo cover. i used to draw flyers for shows too, but i'm not really involved with putting shows on, so i haven't done many. also did the cover of the secret 7/jahilia split 7", they're south east asian thrash bands that got in contact with me via a guy from singapore thats living over here at the moment. its a good record, i'm ashamed to say i drew a skeleton on a skateboard as the cover art. pretty generic stuff, i shoulda been shot in the face for that.

Do you find yourself getting alot of requests to contribute artwork? 

not really, but then i don't really go outta my way to advertise that i draw shit. which is kind of good because working full time leaves me with not too much spare time and whilst i do enjoy doing this stuff, i wouldn't want to be forced into drawing all the fucking time for little to no gain.

Most of your work that I have seen has been scenes of violence (security guards bashing on kids, dudes holding knives to other dudes necks etc) or scary shit in general. Is this the shit that runs through your head? 

i dunno, it just draw whatever i think would look cool. its never until later when someone tells that drawing a braindead mary driving a kinfe through the body of the baby jesus is more than a little offensive that i even notice. most of the time i'm just worrying if the form and rendering is okay.

extortion music is about fuck-ups, dealing with arseholes and shitty situations. it makes sense that the artwork should follow suit.

So after the release of the new LP what are the bands immediate plans? Any thoughts on big touring or anything like that? 

we haven't really made any plans apart from recording in december so we won't be able to tour til at least early next year and even then its a maybe. the album was recorded in febuary, so we've got a shotload of new material we wanna get recorded, which is the priority. we're not really as geared towards touring as many other bands are. myelf and dean work full time jobs so its a fucker to organise taking enough time off to do a full tour.

Outside of hardcore / thrash / whatever what else are you guys into? Alot of dudes get into skating etc. What do you guys do to pass your time? 

i skate a bit, but just to get around. im shithouse and can't do tricks. dan surfs and doesn't skate but can still ollie better than me. jay never leaves the house except to play poker. fuck knows what dean does. we all smoke mad bongs.

I managed to get my hands on the Collapse 7" the other day. Impressive. What happened there? I know that Piotr had to return home but say he ever came back would there be a Collapse reunion? 

piotr didn't go straight home, i'm pretty sure he's working in malaysia in the polish embassy right now. he has mentioned he would like to come back and do a reunion show or two some time, but as the guitarist (and previous drummer in extortion) rhys has left for europe, it won't be possible for at least a few years when rhys returns. as it is, its pretty unlikely. the collapse breaking up was pretty shitty. it was a band we were all happy with the direction we were heading but it didn't seem right to continue after piotr left.

the collapse recorded earlier this year, a few songs that we were going to record before piotr left, but had to can due to our drummer, james, contracting the bubonic plague the weekend we had booked to record. me and rhys did the vocals on the newer recording. it may be released sooner or later.

Do you ever get any people asking about any of your past endevours like that? Anyone ever ask about AIDS or The Collapse or HOK? 

occasionally. usually in zine interviews. to save time i just wrote up a bunch of stuff in a text file on my computer and copy and paste it into the appropriate place. you'll find most of the answers in the zine can be found in other interviews we've done.

Thanks Rohan. Any threats? 


1 comment:

errn said...

lel noobness. good change in ya blurb. whens downsided hitting my friggin doorstep!