Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Continuing on with the history of Hardcore, Punk, Metalcore and Grindcore. This is Vista Fanzine.

Unrestrained interview with vocalist: Justin Sitner. March 12th. 2012

Full Of Hell interview with vocalist: Dylan Walker. March 8th. 2012

Vista: Hey Dylan. Just the basic stuff. Who's in the band and who's doing what?

Dylan: Hey John.. I'm Dylan and I sing and do some of the live power electronics. Spencer plays guitar, Brandon plays bass and Dave Bland plays drums.

Vista: Give us a brief history of the band. When did you guys come together as Full Of Hell. What has been released so far and what's still available? You guys have a split 7inch just about to be released? Give us the details on that.

Dylan: Full of Hell was formed in early 2009 by our guitarist Spencer. They recorded a demo with a session drummer and another bassist and vocalist. In late 2009, I joined and the music was able to take a different turn, creatively. Once Spencer and I were able to take the band in our own direction, things fell into place with other members, although Dave has always been involved with the band and has been on almost every tour to date. In 2010 we released our first 7", kind of like a demo EP, entitled "The Inevitable Fear of Existence" and in the fall we released a split 7" with the band Goldust, from Germany and our first all electronic tape, entitled FOH NOISE 1.. Our intention was and is still to release each volume as it comes together. This past year we released our first LP, "Roots of Earth Are Consuming My Home" and the second volume of FOH NOISE. It has been a full couple of years and I still feel as though we are in an incubation stage as far as sound goes.

Vista: I know it only takes three clicks of a button these days to check out a band but pretend there is no such thing as the internet. How would you describe the style that you guys are playing? I had watched a full-set from the "A389 Recordings" label show. To me, you guys are doing something much different than I have seen or heard in quite awhile. You guys add a lot of effects and sounds to your live set to bring a wall of texture & atmosphere. Well, that's how I would describe it. What are some of the ideas behind that?

Dylan: It's hard to explain. Genres are very limiting and often times pretty stupid. We're not under the illusion that we're creating anything that hasn't been heard before, but we are trying to create something that feels honest to us. We've always had a vision to create something fluid, so we like to bleed everything together when we play live. We believe that it should be a full experience, a wall of sound. Specifically, miserable sound. FOH definitely specializes in something more negative and ugly, but I feel that in many ways, there is a thin line between what is considered to be ugly and what is considered to be beautiful. I think that the harsh textures sometimes exemplify the latter.

Vista: Who are some direct influences to the band as far as musical influences and talk a little bit about the lyrical influences as well. As a vocalist, who are some of your favorite bands, artists that you look to as an influence maybe on your vocal approach as well as your lyrical approach? Are there vocalists that made you want to pick up the microphone and destroy your vocal chords on a nightly basis!

Dylan: We have some more obvious influences, and some not so obvious! We are clearly influenced by staples of our genre.. Bands like GASP, Pageninetynine, Napalm Death and Man Is the Bastard (or any medium of Eric Wood for that matter) have always been strongly influential. Lyrically, I've always answered with Tom Waits. He is haunting and depressing in the most satisfying way, but there is also something in him that is not so at all. I really appreciate that dichotomy. There are a lot of vocalists that I think are really wild.. To name a few, J.R. Hayes, Alexis S.F. Marshall, Jon Chang and the obvious choices of GG Allin and Henry Rollins.

Vista: Speaking of the "A389 Recordings" showcase show. Where did the show
take place and it must have been a insane show!? The line-up looked to
be really good. Tell us some personal highlights of the show itself.
Also, how did you guys get hooked u with the "A389 Recordings" label?
Is it more of a "handshake" deal with them?

Dylan: The showcase took place at the Sonar Compound in Baltimore, Maryland. The lineup was pretty ridiculous this year, and the whole day was amazing. I think one of the personal highlights of the night for all of us was watching Pulling Teeth's final set. Very chilling to watch. A389 definitely operates with us on a sort of informal basis, and to clarify, that just means that we don't have a contract with him. This label is the absolute best around, hands down. Working with Dom has
been great, and we look forward to releasing another LP with him in the coming year.

Vista: It looks as though you guys have done a lot of different releases on multiple record labels. What are some of the benefits of this? Besides the obvious I would guess...Not having to be tied down to a long-term contract? Would you guys be opposed to a contract {for example} that would be multiple releases with one label?

Dylan: As of this point, we have only released records through Get This Right Records and A389 Records. We have plans to release a split 7" on Topshelf Records next month (April). As far as I know, no contracts are involved with that either. We have never signed a contract with a label, simply because it hasn't been necessary to do so. I don't think we would be opposed to it, because we do have plans to keep releasing a lot of music in the years to come. We wouldn't sign a contract
unless it was with a label that we felt comfortable with. We have always liked to have the maximum level of involvement in our band. That means booking our own tours, deciding who we tour with and when. I also believe that a label that would put us under contract might also have an issue with free music sharing, which is pretty asinine. You are only crippling a band by keeping their music off of the internet, especially in a time when there are literally thousands and thousands of bands doing practically the same exact thing. No one cares about any of us.

Vista: Tell us about the area that you guys are from. Are there any bands that we should be on the lookout for? Do you guys play a lot of shows locally or no? Where are the best places to play in your hometown-clubs, legion halls, basements?

Dylan: We play almost no local shows. I live in Central PA, very close to Penn State University. The rest of the band lives in Ocean City, MD. Right now my area is having a bit of a revival, I'd like to think. There are a few bands worth checking out.. Menace, Greylines, Copkiller and Benchpress. Down in MD, "the area" really encompasses Delaware as well. We have our friends in Doubledealer, they are very good and are releasing a new 7" with 6131 Records soon, I believe. There's also a new band called Primitive Ways. They have a new demo that's pretty killer.

Vista: I was reading that you guys are going to Europe this coming spring {2012} for the second time? When did you guys tour Europe and how was it? Are there big differences between touring Europe as opposed to America? What countries are you guys gonna hit this time in Europe? How many U.S. tours have you guys done so far?

Dylan: The hospitality in Europe is unrivaled. Our tour last year was absolutely amazing and very humbling. We did not expect it to go as well as it did. We are planning on returning next month and we are touring with our Swedish friends in Grieved. Stockholm has an amazing community that we couldn't resist returning to. We will also be visiting some new countries for us, including Croatia, Hungary and a belated trip to Scotland. At this point, we have done 3 full US tours. In between that, we've done a lot of smaller tours. Some people claim that we tour too much. They can fuck off, we'll go home when it stops being so much fun.

Vista: So far, what country has been your favorite place to play and/or visit? Same question as far as America, favorite State to play and/or visit?

Dylan: That is a tough question. I have to go with Sweden. We made so many great friends. In the US, I think I'm going to give an answer that not a lot of people do, and say Florida. I think Miami in particular is becoming one of my favorite places to visit and play. Great scene, great bands and great friends.

Vista: "Full Of Hell"... This band name sure conjures up many thoughts! Where did this name come from? What does it represent to you, as a band {if anything}?

Dylan: It's an Entombed tribute, from their album "Wolverine Blues".

Vista: What are you top three must-have items while on tour?

Dylan: A container for water, even if it's just a gallon jug. It's really easy to get dehydrated, and after a long time, I've finally learned to just keep water on me at all times. Another crucial item would have to be ear plugs. I like to wear them at shows sometimes, but more often, they are a necessity for sleeping. Half of the band snores, and I hate that. Apparently I wake up screaming a lot, but the snoring is way more offensive. I'm going to take the easy answer for my last item, going with my phone. If I'm not connected, life is over, right?

Vista: While on tour, what is the most played band while traveling endless miles in the van? Also, which one of you does the most driving. Is there a band member that always has an excuse NOT to drive or is there a band member that does ALL the driving?

Dylan: The funny thing is, our drummer doesn't have a license. He finally turned 18, and I think that he's long overdue. Our bassist is also 18, and has a license, but it's likely that he'll never be allowed behind the wheel. Our guitarist, Spencer does almost all the driving nowadays. There was a time when I helped more often, but I think his trust has waned, and not just towards me, towards the entire human race. I wouldn't say that I'm a bad driver or anything, I'm just really relaxed, and sometimes I don't really sweat the details. You know, red lights and crosswalks. That kind of thing.
Although, when we were in Europe last year, I drove a lot. I was the only one that knew how to drive stick, besides our friend Kris that came along only on the condition that the driving would be split. I
think this proves that I'm the best driver in the band. Although, I did hit a couple cars in Europe. I guess it's up in the air.

Vista: As a band that tours a lot and records a lot as well, what would be some advice for a young band that is on the verge of spending large amounts of time in a hot van and playing shows night after night in different States across the country?

Dylan: If you are passionate about it, just keep grinding. It's never easy, and I actually remember it being pretty tough in the beginning trying to get going. I just remember the repeated feeling that I couldn't believe we'd gotten as far as we had, and there was always something to look forward to, some larger accomplishment we'd made.

Vista:  I ask this a lot just cause I am always wondering what people regard as their favorite bands/albums of all time. So, give us your top-ten favorite albums. It doesn't matter what genre. Just your tops favorites?

Dylan: This is my personal list, in no particular order and definitely wouldn't be the same for anyone else in my band:
1. GASP - An Earwig's Guide To Traveling
2. Tom Waits - Blood Money
3. Joanna Newsom - Ys
4. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Slow Riot for New Zerø Kanada
5. Napalm Death - Scum
6. Bright Eyes - Fevers and Mirrors
7. His Hero Is Gone - Monument To Thieves
8. Incantation - Onward to Golgotha
9. Circle Takes the Square - As the Roots Undo
10. Discordance Axis - Jouhou

Vista: Ok, so your in a band called "Full Of Hell". Your vocals are deep and guttural and the music is a mirror to the vocals as well. This being said what would be a guilty pleasure of yours, musically? What bands would people be surprised to hear that you love?

Dylan: For some reason, I've really been into the South African group, Die Antwoord. I also heard a Nicki Minaj song the other day that I liked. I think that my sense of taste and humor has been warped so severely over the past 22 years of my life that I am now only able to enjoy shitty pop and conceptual rave music. It's kind of like the sexual deviant who can no longer get off, so he has to resort to eating shit and asphyxiating.

Vista: Best metal band/album of all-time? As hard as this may be, just pick one?

Dylan: This is hard. I'd have to go with Black Sabbath's S/T record. I think that Black Sabbath truly provided a blueprint for almost every metal band after them. I can't even imagine what it must have been like to have been around in the early 70's and hear what Sabbath was creating. So incredible.

Vista: Earlier I asked you about who has influenced you lyrically. As far as your lyrics go, what are some of the topics that you are dealing with within Full Of Hell songs?

Dylan: I don't really limit my scope to any specific subjects. I've written a lot of songs about the people around me...Just personal struggles and tragedies that every human being has to endure. There are times when the songs deal with certain social and political issues, but they are approached in an off hand way. I want the prose and structure of each song to create a very visceral feeling, whether it's grief or beauty or something very ugly and primitive. That is very important to me during our writing process.

Vista: I wanted to ask you about the "Fox Womb" video. How did that come about, as far as the concept behind the video? Did you guys do it yourself? Also, where were the live shots of you guys performing taped {venue & state}?

Dylan: Our friend Lukas Hodge approached us with the idea of creating a video. We had a very rough concept and he was given a lot of freedom to do what he wanted to with it. I tried to convey to him the overall feel of the song, I had an vision for the motif, but not the specific location. He was able to film a ten minute set that we played in Charlotte, NC and turn it into something that exceeded all of our expectations.

Vista: Have you guys been in any other bands prior to Full Of Hell? Any side projects going on?

Dylan: The members of FOH, excluding me, are also in PV bands called Jarhead Fertilizer and FagsHateGod. Our bassist also has a band called [This is not for you.], which I am told is more akin to Saetia or I Have Dreams.

Vista: What are your thoughts on kids just downloading your music? Is it
just they way it is or does it make you want to smash their computer
over their head? Does it have a big impact on the band while touring
or do you make it up with other merchandise?

Dylan: Without the free downloading, our band would not have been able to experience any of the success we have had in the past year or so. I do, however, think that there is a happy medium. We like to try and keep the songs off of the internet until the pre-order period ends on our records. In my opinion, the blog Toxicbreed's Funhouse is definitive proof that free music sharing is NOT detrimental to bands. The fact that people are still opposed to it, and have some kind of naive assumption that they can stop it, blows my mind. We will always sell records to those who enjoy the physical medium. Those people will always be there. I encourage everyone to go download everything we record for free, because I'm not a fossil and I don't presume that our band is in a position where there are any parties involved making real money off of us (there never will be).

Vista: Speaking of touring. How the hell are you guys able to make it from town to town and state to state with gas prices? Here in N.Y. gas prices are almost $4.00 a gallon {as of March, 2012}. Have gas prices made touring more difficult besides the obvious price-per-gallon. Have there been times when it is just not cost effective to even leave your hometown or do you just need to be on the road doing this night by night, show after show to get the band and name out there?

Dylan: It's tough, but it's never been unmanageable. Someday, it may get to that point, but as of right now, there are many resources to take advantage of to keep us on the road. It's mainly careful planning. We tour a lot, but we don't overdo it. We also try to avoid long drives, and we take care as best we can to work with the right people.

Vista: Thanks so much for your time. I really appreciate it. Is there anything else you'd like to say? Laos, what are some plans for Full Of Hell for the spring/summer of 2012, as far as touring, recording and releases of music?

Dylan: I would like to say that this band would not be where it was if not for the help of Dave Heck and Dom Romeo. They invested their time, money and faith in us when not many others would have. Also, John Bowes too. He rules. Thank you for the interview! We are going to spend Spring 2012 in our van and in a European version of our van. Then we'll be releasing music until we're dead. So it goes.