Sunday, June 28, 2009

Suffer Interview

This is the interview that I did with Mickey from Perth PV band Suffer for issue #1 of Downsided last year. Haven't posted an interview in a while, and I figure that is a good enough excuse to post this awesome chat. Suffer sound like the grim reaper driving a bulldozer over a field of infants. Go listen.
What's the basic story behind the formation of the band? What made you guys wanna play what you play?

To dumb it down as much as possible, Suffer was just a side project from another band that Luke (drums) and I were in. We recorded about 6 demo tracks and put vocals over a few.. We lost pretty much all those songs, which is a bit of a bummer. Our other band was kinda cheesy and not really going anywhere, so that piece of shit broke up and we didn't do anything music-wise for a few months. I guess we felt like we had a big void with no band anymore, so Luke and I talked about just jamming again to our Suffer songs, roped in Dan who played bass for our old band and just started getting down to business. We recorded a 4 track demo and got some good feedback, but didn't have a vocalist (since i was pretty keen on playing guitar). We ended up getting Adam who shredded in a few grind bands to play guitar and i decided to do vocals. We got offered 3 shows supporting Crux early on, so we had an agenda to work by... I didn't really dumb that down much did i?

Perth has always seemed to spawn amazing band after amazing band. One needs only look at the last couple of years for examples, let alone the last 15. What's in the water over there?

I think there tends to be a lot of body boarders in the water over here, which is probably why a lot of these fast, angry hardcore bands come about. Most of the band are kind of reclusive and I'm too pale to give a shit about doing drop knees and drink oj's at the beach, so i spend a lot more time indoors.

We're probably not a very beach orientated state, but that's how it was in high school i guess. I used to get laughed at for going to the beach... Probably because i wore jeans there?

I suppose the best way to describe you guys would be to use obvious Infest/Crossed Out comparisons. What sound do you think fairly describes Suffer?

It's always hard to finger point this, because we all listen to different music than each other and then a lot of the same music as each other. I guess when we started and recorded our first 6 track demo [RIP] the main influences were probably Dropdead, Spazz and AIDS, but now I'd say we're probably more so a deformed hybrid of Infest and Crossed Out, but replacing the cool sludge parts with uncool catchy breakdowns.

Do you think that powerviolence is a dirty word? I think it definitely does well to describe a certain sound that many bands, including yourselves choose to play. Do you think it's weird that so many people hate using the PV description?

I actually had a conversation about this recently. It pretty much ended with me saying 'We are not powerviolence, we are hardcore with powerviolence influences'. Which was probably a mixture of my cynicism and the influence of rum. That said, when I hear a lot of modern day 'fast-hardcore-that-would-be-powerviolence-if-it-were-ausable-term' bands, I'd probably describe them in my head as powerviolence... But we all know that it's not a REAL genre, as ou can't call yourself a powerviolence band on myspace music!

With the Perth thing... the town seems to pump out a shitload of good PV/thrash/crust/grind bands in particular. Rupture, Nailed Down, AIDS, The Collapse, Extortion, yourselves... I could list a tone more from the last decade alone. Why the fuck do so many bands of this particular influence come from your town do you think?

I think it only really takes one band of the genre to spawn off many in a particular town. I guess since Perth is so small and a lot of the Punk, Hardcore and Metal bands tend to share a lot of the same bills, you see a whole lot of very different bands that might appeal to you. I think since there's not much to do here in Perth, a lot of people probably do a lot more of actual listening to and hunting for good music.. We're probably one of the first bands of this breed to not feature someone from one of the past greats though, so I guess a lot of it has to do with those bands having members that went on to make other dope bands.

Pretty much every major city in this country is producing the odd PV/Grind bands these days. Septic Surge, Hagborn, Extortion, Collapsed Toilet Vietnam, Agents Of Abhorrence, Pathetic Human, White Male Dumbinance, Taipan, Crux... just a few that all come from around the place. Do you hold high hopes for a good future in Grind-Violence for this country? Do you think it's definitely getting more popular?

I think it's definately getting more popular. It seems like the bug has bitten a lot harder over east by the looks of things though. Over here the only other non-Harrison/Vinciguerra affiliated groups that fit into a simular category are SUFFER, Ten2Go, Wasted Til Death, Clarence J. Boddicker and The Craw... And even then those bands wouldn't really fit into the 'powerviolence' category. It wouldn't be fair to say it's trendy either, I mean a lot of the people who seem to be really into the music by making these sorts of bands aren't really the trendy type. I'd like to see it have a bigger following like a lot of the bigger hardcore shows with kids going crazy, which happens sometimes, but I think the smaller shows with everyone nodding their head and a few people going berko are awesome too.

Here in Brisbane there is without and doubt a very segregated scene. In one corner you've got the modern hardcore vibe thing going, then you've got the metalcore stuff, then there's the crust/punx scene. Each scene has it's own bands, and rarely to bands venture beyond their designated scene. What's it like in Perth? Are you guys ever playing with bands like Miles Away or Break Even? Is the city big enough in that respect? Are their 'PV specific' shows?

Over here there's a lot of mixed shows, particularly in supports of interstate/overseas bands. You might get a band like Something More and Extortion doing support for Down To Nothing as an example, or i guess when Mindsnare came we had melodic hardcore, thrashy hardcore and brutal death metalesque bands doing support. It seems like a lot of the All Ages shows tend to be a lot more mixed and matched, but if a band like Suffer played, we probably wouldn't get too much of an overwhelming response. We're actually on a bill for a show next month playing alongside Blkout, Burning Sensation, Grim Fandango and Negative Reply. I guess each band on the bill is different to the next, but a lot of the people who would be into one band would dig another. At the punk shows though, a lot more people tend to check out every other band and be supportive of each other, which doesn't happen a lot at the more hardcore shows.

No Doubt Extortion are the band that have brought about some popularity to this style of music within the last 18 months or so, what with the releases on the larger Aussie labels. Generally here in QLD I get the impression that beyond Extortion, and even maybe WMD most kids who do like said bands are relatively clueless about the genre, and have probably never really given much thought about bands like No Comment or Neanderthal. Is it like this in Perth? Do kids venture into much Slap A Ham esque stuff? Are they interested in other PV bands? And do you think that Extortions popularity helps Suffer as a band in terms of recognition in this respect?

I'd definitely agree that not many people know the roots of the genre, but I guess it doesn't matter too much as long as people get into it. A lot of people including myself listen to all different genres of music in dribs and drabs. It seems to be most of the older dudes who are into or who have heard of the stuff, but there are a few younger dudes too.. Just a very minimal number...

I got your cool little 3" demo CD. Really reminds me of the Faux Hawks 3" CD from a few years back. Is this all officially released material to date? I have listened to some rougher sounding tracks on the myspace. Are there earlier demos? Any tapes or anything like that?

The 4 song demo is the only thing we have available at the moment. We recorded another 8 or so songs recently, but it just didn't have the same feel to it. The sound was too clean, but not clean at all. We were thinking abour releasing those tracks as another demo, or put them on the upcoming split with Pathetic Human, but decided it was probably better just to re-record the songs again.

We had about 80 of the 3" demo which have gone around all over the place. I was going to make some more on cassette, but we're going to record another demo in the next few days with some new tracks and maybe a cover song. I guess that will be our second release in tape and cd format, just before the 7" split with Pathetic Human.

One thing I noticed on the myspace is that there were a few little variances with batches of the demo. Differing colours etc. One thing you guys made a note of is that it wasn't for any wanky collector intentions or anything like that, more an issue of availability. Do you think that kids may interpret it as a collector thing? Even if you guys were to get bigger in the future do you see kids chasing down that elusive red Suffer 3" CD on eBay or anything like that?

Who knows man? But honestly, I would highly doubt it would get to that. I find collecting bits and pieces on every colour a bit of a sham really. I buy records and i play the records.. There are some bands that i own different colour vinyl of aswell, but i never really spend too much on doing that.

The main reason why you get into a band should be to listen to the music, not to rub your dick over the white pressing with red blood splatter 4/50 that you got for $200.

The Extortion tape has gone for upwards of $50 in the last 6 months? Do you think that's ridiculous for a tape that was released in the last 3 years?

Definately. Rohan should really start making tonnes of bootlegs of the demo. Within weeks of ripping kids off on BGO, he could finally afford that smashing bachelor pad in Peppy Grove that he never wanted... It's a really good tape though. I spent $40 on a Mind Eraser demo, so I can't really talk...

Any collector scum in the band? What's some good wax residing in the house of Suffer?

I have a very stock-standard record collection and earn a minimum wage, which subsequently ends up getting blown on 'The Bay'. Although none of it's really too rare, I never really end up spending over $50 (including postage), because that's just a joke. Some of my favourites in my collection include the Fuck Grindcore 10" bootleg, Neanderthal/Rorschach Split, Now That I Have Your Attention UK pressing that i got for 20 bucks and the Slave LP. Nothing to brag about, but i do have a HYE list if you want some more laughs?

What's the most that you think is acceptable to pay for the Neanderthal Fighting Music 7"?

It's pretty hard to come by on the bay, but i've watched a fair few of them that end up going for upwards of $80. That's a bit of a laugh, but it is probably one of the most important powerviolence records ever. I'd probably pay something stupid for it. I know you've got one in your collection Sean, are you trying to flog it off? haha

Who was better? Neanderthal, or MITB?

Low Threat Profile... But if I had to choose, i'd definately have to go for Neanderthal. They had a lot of speed and intensity and were quite partial to referring to themselves as 'brutal'. I never really dug MITB anywhere near as much as Neanderthal.

So yeah, the demo is out now? Any future releases planned? Ep? Split? What?

From what i understand, we have 2 demos left of about 80+, but our next release will be a demo tape and we might do a few on CD-R too (self released AGAIN). We've had the split with Pathetic Human on the cards for a while, which was going to be a cassette on James V's label Eerie Stratum, but we've decided to go halvesies and release it on 7". I think we may fear on a 7" compilation with other local bands in the near future.. I don't know if i am meant to be hush on that or not? Probably not an EP until next year though.

Any planned tours or the like? I understand the cost that must come with leaving Perth. Come to Brisbane. I'll put on a show with Hagborn, Suffer, and Septic Surge. Would rule.

It's definitely on our to do list. Hopefully when the split is out we can do a few shows in Melbourne with Pathetic Human and then travel around the Eastern States. I'm supposedly going over to Brisbane on tour with another band later this year, so maybe if we have our shit together Suffer can play some shows too. Septic Surge are probably one of my favourite Aussie bands of late, so a show with them would be wild.

I know you guys are barley an 'up and coming' band yourselves, but could you tell us about another couple of bands from Perth that people need to check out while they take a look at Suffer? Need new music!

Our guitarist Adam plays in a sort of crusty/d-beat band called Clarence J. Boddicker, Ten2Go are a weirdo ska/grind band with an insane vocalist and The Craw are a band we've played with recently who were really fucking impressive. Awesome fast hardcore, with touches of Slayer in their riffs.

Thanks for the interview man, any shouts etc?

Thanks heaps Sean, was a pleasure. Stay ill brother.

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