EARLY GRAVES – Sez…You Don’t Like Razor Quit Lying to Yourself!
This was a really fun interview I did with the dudes in EARLY GRAVES. Sure there was somewhat of an interview prepared but really we just got down to talking about tunes. I mean we got way down, I had to edit out some shit or this would have been double the length and would have just really been us talking about what band we like and stoking each other out on old thrash metal tunes.
Anyway…these are solid dudes, they are rooted in the Bay Area and they play dark, metallic hardcore. Word. (JoshMosh)
ThrashPunx: Today is March 20th, the first day of spring and we’re talking to EARLY GRAVES outside the Blast O Mat. Who do we have?
Chris: This is Chris. I play guitar.
ThrashPunx: We were just talking a little while ago, you said you were in Texas I think…
Chris: Yeah, we’ve been at the SXSW Fest. It’s kind of a shit show but a lot of fun.
ThrashPunx: Did you play there?
Chris: Yeah, we had 5 shows there in a couple of days. So it was pretty cool. It was a lot of fun. The shows were ok, some were a little weird because they lump weird bands together. But some were awesome. Got to play with CLINGING TO THE TREES OF A FOREST FIRE and some other shit. Last night we were in Amarillo and we ended up having a day off and we just chilled in the hotel room.
ThrashPunx: I’ve been to Chaos in Tejas, but never SXSW. You get all kinds of different bands there right?
Matt: Everything under the sun. Everything that we don’t like.
ThrashPunx: Was there anyone that you were excited to see or anyone that really stood out to you?
Chris: We did a show at SXSW with RINGWORM and then we played the next night in Fort Worth with RINGWORM. And they were awesome! KILL THE CLIENT…They were great! MUTILATION RITES was great, CTTTOAFF was great.
Matt: We played some shows with CANCER BATS and they are probably like the nicest people in music right now. Total fucking sweethearts, really nice guys.
Chris: We bumped into some of our friends from back home, DEAFHEAVEN they were hanging out ya’ know…It was fun.
ThrashPunx: At SXSW there are so many bands, big bands, small bands…Don’t like Hollywood people go there?
Chris: Anthony Bordain was there. I’m sure there is all kinds of that shit going on there. Snoop Dog was there. I am sure there is all kinds of that shit going on, but truthfully for us because we were doing 2 shows a day…you can’t park anywhere near your venue so it’s pretty much just a shit show all day long. We spent most of the day loading and unloading. We parked in a parking garage that was like 10 stories tall and brought it down in the elevator.
Matt: A lot of nice looking women that didn’t want to talk to us were there…
ThrashPunx: Lets get a little bit of history on the band…Were you all in APIARY?
Chris: None of us started that band, we didn’t play on the album. Just as dudes from that band got kicked out or quit we ended up taking their spots. We were only in the band like 6 months before no original members were left. The replacement singer for the band was Mac who was the singer in EARLY GRAVES and I and Dan and we just said “fuck it we’re just gonna start a new band”. And that’s what we did. We toured with those dudes for a while. We had written a new album that was different. Most of the dude that were in that band are still good friends of mine. Some of them, not all of them. Fuck one of ‘em!
ThrashPunx: From what I can tell is with the different styles of music APIARY was entrenched in probably a different type of scene than what you guys doing today with more crust bands, grind bands, hardcore punk…What would you say are the difference between those scenes and how did you adapt from one to the other?
Chris: When we were touring with APIARY…I was in that band the longest out of everyone that is in EARLY GRAVES and what I would say for the most part is that this is cool and that shit sucked basically. The people were rotten, everybody thought that were going to be fucking rock stars. This was like in 2006 when we played with that band…So metal-core was at it’s apex and on it’s way down even. So everybody thought that they deserved to be on Ozzfest and all these stupid fucking tours. When I joined the band the dude that I replaced was kind of like the guy that did everything for the band, so when I joined I kind of took that role over I met some good dudes like Ethan and the guys from GAZA. It was fun but totally different and not what we do.
ThrashPunx: It sounds like you guys are a lot happier and have your own identity now.
Chris: totally…The first EARLY GRAVES record came out after APIARY dissolved and we wrote that record, it was totally different than that whole thing was. There was a little bit of a transition because people thought “Oh EARLY GRAVES is just like this ex-metal-core band” and for intents and purposes, yeah, we played in that so I’ll wear that shit hamburger every day. The fact is that is not what the members of EARLY GRAVES was trying to do, we didn’t write any of that shit.
ThrashPunx: I hear a lot of different influences in your music. How would you describe your sound?
Chris: Someone described it really well in this write up for a show we were going to play…”Swedish Death Metal mixed with American Hardcore”…And American Hardcore and punk I would say. If you asked everyone in the band it would probably be different.
Matt: Like the one common thing that we have is we all like really aggressive music but we all like all kinds of stuff. Some of us more into punk and rock ‘n roll, some of us are into hardcore, some are more into metal. So you hear all those things. You hear a lot of metal, like super metal guitars and then like the rhythm section is more into punk and rock n’ roll.
ThrashPunx: My brother was asking me the other day what you sounded like and I said kind of metal, a little more like TRAGEDY but with Chuck Billy singing.
Chris: Oh yeah, mac totally sounded like Chuck Billy. On our records we have a different singer than we do now. We are from the Bay Area, most of us…But Chuck Billy, on those mid 90’s records, even the Gathering he had that…he was doing the more deathy stuff. I grew up with thrash and when we talk about the metal influences that’s definitely a lot of my fault. If you ask me we’re a fucking death metal band! But we’re not, I know that…I think where we are all cross is our love for TRAGEDY and certain grind bands. That’s kind of like where the middle ground is. Somewhere in the American hardcore and punk, the d-beat thing, that’s where we all kind of mix together.
Matt: SLAYER. The first four METALLICA records. A lot of people like to reach further into more obscure shit, but we listen to Ride the Lightening pretty regularly.
Chris: We toured with this band THE SECRET from Italy, they are a pretty comparable band to us I would say. We shared a van and out on just what we would normally listen to and they were like “you guys listen to a lot of METALLICA”.
ThrashPunx: Some of my younger friends that are in to the Thrash resurgence thing they try to dig up these old obscure bands from the 80’s…I am like “when I was a kid that band sucked, I don’t want to listen to them now!” There was a reason some of these bands were obscure! There were so many thrash bands at one point and there was a reason SLAYER made it, METALLICA made it, MEGADETH made it…
Matt: We’ve had this conversation many times. A lot of times we end up being put up in these houses by like nice kids, but they’re like in their early 20’s, of the internet age, and their like into great bands but I am like “Master of Puppets”.
ThrashPunx: My buddy Joe is into RAZOR…RAZOR?
Chris: I saw a couple of dudes at SXSW wearing RAZOR shirts and they were new, probably got them on Ebay and I’m like “Motherfucker, you don’t like RAZOR…ok? Quit lying to yourself!” Like people that wear NIHILIST patches…”No, you like ENTOMBED!” It’s just a weird thing, the Big 4 are thrash metal. Those are the ones. I don’t even like MEGADETH all that much but lets be real here…
ThrashPunx: Well even the second tier…OVERKILL, TESTAMENT, EXODUS, maybe even NUCLEAR ASSAULT and some other bands but beyond that…
Matt: I get down with ANTHRAX. I think I’m the only EG member that gets into ANTHRAX.
Chris: It because you are from the East Coast originally.
ThrashPunx: Are most of you from the Bay Are?
Matt: We’re all transients. I’m from Massachusetts, John is from LA, Dan is from Santa Barbara, we from all over. We represent San Francisco.
ThrashPunx: What were some of the earliest heavy bands you got into whether they were punk or metal.
Someone: My older brother gave me a tape of MINOR THREAT and NIRVANA, if that counts.
Matt: When I was like 12 I was hanging with the older bad kids huffing glue in dumpsters and they made me a mixed tape and it was like something retarded like PANTERA, FUGAZI, OPERATION IVY, and then like one local hardcore band. Then I found where the shows were and just never looked back really.
ThrashPunx: Where was the point, where you just drew the line and said this is how my life is going to be now?
Matt: I think it’s the common story like you don’t belong in school, so already you are on like some weird ill path. I discovered punk and hardcore when I was 12 and fell into love with it. Started going to all ages hardcore shows in Massachusetts and I just loved it. It was accessible too. There was no huge fashion thing. When I was going to shows in the 90’s dude were going in there that just looked like kids. I’m from Western Mass so I went to shows in Springfield and Holyoke. There were a lot of really good Western Mass hardcore bands. AFTERSHOCK went on to become SHADOWS FALL. Before they were SHADOWS FALL they were this band AFTERSHOCK that was fucking dope. And OVERCAST, the singer was in OVERCAST.
ThrashPunx: So when you are not out on the big rock n roll tour what do you do for a living?
Someone: Recording studio, days jobs…
Chris: Whatever will keep us employed.
Matt: Whoever is going to put up with our shit.
ThrashPunx: How often are you able to get out?
Chris: We used to tour a lot, then when Mac died we didn’t tour for entire year. And then John joined the band and we only did a little jaunt in December, we did just a few shows. Then after that, this is our first real tour being a band again. We’ve been writing a record, it was just very difficult to tour and do anything. We didn’t have a singer for a very long time. John and I have another band called the FUNERAL PYRE and I was out with them for a while.
ThrashPunx: What are some of the guilty pleasures as far as tunes when you are travelling in the van. The stuff you don’t like to admit to.
Chris: I constantly blast METALLICA and SLAYER.
Matt: When Chris is driving you hear Death Metal and Gangster Rap!
And there you have it!
~ by thrashpunx on April 14, 2012.