Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Inhuman interview with Vocalist: Michael Scondotto. May 4 , 2010.


Vista: Hey Mike. Famous firsts...Can you give us the current line-up of the band & who does what?
 

Mike: Mike Inhuman on vocals, since day one in 1995. Joseph James on guitar, who has been in Inhuman since 1997 and Hank Hell on bass, who joined in the year 2000. Our drummer Steve Gallo is playing 2 more shows with us, one being June 12th in NYC with Underdog and then he will play his last show with us in October for Inhuman's 15 year anniversary show. The search for a new drummer begins..

Vista: Give us a history of the band. I know you guys have been around for a hell of a long time. When did you guys start, ex band members, etc.?

 

Mike: It all goes back to 1994, when I was the bass player for a band called Confusion. I knew Confusion was coming to an end and that I no longer wanted to play bass, but be a singer. So although Inhuman started in the summer of 1995, I had the name "Inhuman" in my head around late 1994. The first ever Inhuman show was in October of 1995 in Pennsylvania on a Friday night with Shutdown, and the next night was our 2nd show in Queens NY @ Castle Heights. Inhuman has had a good number of ex members, but the heart of the band for over a decade has been me, Joe and Hank and that is all that really matters.

Vista: What has been released so far & what's still in print? Also, fill us in on what record labels these releases are/were on?

 

Mike: We did our demo in the spring of 1996 on cassette, 400 copies made, long out of press of course. That demo was pressed onto a 7" later in 1996 on the infamous Back Ta Basics Records, 1000 made, also sold out. Our first full length "Evolver" was released in 1997 on Eyeball Records and it is out of press completely, but I now own the masters. The "Our Dedication" 7" came out in late 1998, 1000 made, all gone. The 2d full length "Rebellion" is a bit of an enigma, as I am certain it is out of press, but still for sale and I have no idea who really owns it since the label Exit Records has been gone for years. The third cd "The New Nightmare" on A-F Records from 2003 is available as well as our latest and best one, "Last Rites" from 2007 on I Scream Records.

Vista: As a vocalist, who are some of you influences? Also, I know you were not only in another band many years ago called, Confusion. You played bass guitar in that band. Why did that band come to an end & out of curiosity, what was officially released by Confusion & did you guys do any type of touring? 


Mike: Vocal influences are all over the place really. John Brannon, Lou Koller, Paul Bearer, Choke, Dwid, Ray Cappo, Henry Rollins and of course Glen Danzig. Some more slightly left field vocal influences are Elvis Presley, Nick Cave, Tom Araya, Nocturno Culto, Leonard Cohen, Ian Curtis, Dave Vanian, Mike Patton and Andrew Eldridge. As for Confusion, we lasted four years, 1990-1994 and mainly broke up because our singer Mike moved to Florida to go to college. Also by then, we were not getting along to well. We made 2 demos and a 7". We played all over NY, NJ, CT, PA and MD but no actual touring though.
 

Vista: You've been into the hardcore scene for many years now. Decades! What was you first introduction to the punk/hardcore scene? How old were you? What bands initial bands got you interested in this style? Also, what was your first hardcore/punk show that you attended & where?
 

Mike: 2010 marks 22 years of Hardcore for me...crazy. I was 14 and a half when I got into Hardcore in early 1988. I found Hardcore from skateboarding. Me and some other friends, including John from Candiria, were young metalheads in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. So there was a rival group of skateboarders in the hood - the HC kids. They were a bit older than us, but at some point we all got together as a big group and the mixed tapes were made haha! After hearing Bad Brains, AF, Sick of It All, Warzone and Breakdown it was all over for Anthrax and Megadeth for me haha! My first show was May 27th 1988 @ the Ritz. Bad Brains, Murphy's Law, Token Entry and Supertouch. I have the ticket stub still! It changed my life for sure. The Inhuman song "My Dedication" is about this very topic. I was 2 months shy of 15 at the time and used my brother Jon's birth certificate that said I was 16. Glorious times indeed! I recently told Andy (Supertouch drummer) this story and I also have told Jimmy from Murphy's  Law this story as well. They both got a kick out of it! It still freaks me out sometimes that many of the bands I idolized and had pictures of on my wall as a teenager are now good friends. Hardcore gave me this and I never forget it.

Vista: I know that you guys had at least one release on the Belgium record label, Released Power Productions {RPP}. How did that actually come about & what are some thoughts on dealing with Alain, who runs RPP?

 

Mike: That cdep was called 'Black Reign" and  is also out of press, it came out in late 2002/early 2003. Alain approached me and I said yes, what an easy transaction huh? Ha! It was also in conjunction with the 2003 European tour we did so the timing was great. "Black Reign" was demos of songs that would wind up on "The New Nightmare" along with a sick, heavy intro called "Prelude to Misery", sounds like Samhain meets Celtic Frost. Alain was and is a good guy, nothing bad to say there at all.

Vista: I saw that Inhuman toured through Europe in 2003. How was that tour & what countries did you hit? How long was the tour & did RPP bring you over? Also, did you headline most dates or did you tour with any other band? How many times have Inhuman been to Europe?

 

Mike: MAD Touring brought us over and we paid for our own plane tickets, but Alain did help with some shows  and promotion for sure. Inhuman has only been to Europe once, but we are dying to go back. We played all over Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Something like 20 shows in 21 days. The biggest one was a fest with Blood For Blood which was awesome. At one point in 2008 a small tour was booked, but it fell through.

Vista: What is the first thing that comes to mind when I say, "CBGB"? Also, tell us some memories of not only playing there as a band, but also just going there as a young kid, as well as into adulthood?

 

Mike: When I think about CBGB's I think about quite literally a lifetime spent there from 1988 to 2006. I grew up there. The first show I saw at CBGB's I was 14 still, June 26th 1988. The bill was a band called The Lead, Six & Violence, In Your Face and Token Entry! It was a great show and seeing Token Entry twice in a months time was fucking awesome. I bought a TE shirt for $5 at that show too. The first time I played Cb's was with Confusion in 1992 and Inhuman's first show there was February 1996. I saw countless bands, countless times at Cb's and forged friendships that I still have to this day. Seeing it close in in 2006 was heartbreaking and I miss it to this day.

Vista: Tell us what's going on in Brooklyn currently. There were so many diverse bands to come out of that area. Is there still a number of bands active & are there any bands we should be on the lookout for?



Mike: Aside from Inhuman, and established bands like Merauder and Most Precious Blood, Maximum Penalty and Everyday Dollars there are no other Hardcore bands that I am aware of that are new around Brooklyn. There are a lot of BAD "metal-core" garbage bands who's names are not even worth mentioning and bands that throw "Hardcore" on their flyers, but I do not know of one legit new HC band actually from Brooklyn. New NYHC bands from the five boroughs? I don't know of any of those either. There are no actual hand held zines being done out of NYC either, I wish that there was, I'd buy it!

Vista: Speaking of Brooklyn. After all these years...Did you ever think you'd not only see Evan from Biohazard, not only really skinny, but also in the PORN industry!? Good Lord!!
 

Mike:  Evan, keep up the good work bro! Wow. Some people dream about that life or just think about it, but he went and DID it. Cheers to you! I do like the Biohazard demo from 89 and the first 2 lps. After that they lost me. Glad to see them return with Bobby in the band.

Vista: What are your top 10 essential albums of all time? Doesn't matter if it's punk/metal & hardcore. Just your personal top10.


Mike: This is not easy. But here are 11 essential New York Hardcore lps in no order...
- Sick of It All "Blood, Sweat and No Tears"
- Sheer Terror "Just Can't Hate Enough"
- Token Entry "From Beneath the Streets"
- Killing Time "Brightside"
- Cro-Mags "Age of Quarrel"
- Agnostic Front "Victim in Pain"
- Gorilla Biscuits "Start Today"
- Youth of Today "Were Not in This Alone"
- WarZone "DFTS/DFTS"
- Murphy's Law "Back With a Bong"
- Leeway "Born to Expire"

Vista: Tell us about your lyrical topics that you touch on? Also, what is the writing process like for Inhuman? I mean, do you guys have any set formula to construct songs?


Mike: The lyrics for Inhuman have always been based in some type of reality or my own personal experiences, thoughts or feelings. The exceptions have been there as well, like the song "Sinister" is literally the Devil/Satan speaking in first person about his life...not the typical Hardcore subject matter, but something that is at least interesting to me. I like the darker side of life and that always influences me. I write all of the lyrics and Joe handles the music, this is how it has been for a while. But on "Last Rites" Joe wrote some lyrics and even sang on one song called "Bitter & Jaded".  On the next Inhuman record, you will see me again writing music as well. I wrote almost all of the music on the first record "Evolver" so I know I have it in me to do it again. Inhuman has no set formula other than if we all like it, we use it and it becomes a song.

Vista: I had asked earlier about the Brooklyn hardcore scene, but what's going on with the over-all New York City scene these days? Who's doing shows & where are these shows taking place? I always hear about "BlackNBlue" doing a lot of stuff? 


Mike: Black N Blue does shows and promotes the hell out of NYHC in general and they do a great job.
Aside from them there are other smaller promoters out there too, doing shows at bars etc.
Most of the shows are in Brooklyn lately and not Manhattan. What is cool now is that some of the bigger venues in Manhattan like The Gramercy are doing Hardcore shows and sometimes Irving Plaza/The Fillmore does too. A new mid-size spot called Santos Party House is doing shows. So yeah, Hardcore is not completely shut out of Manhattan thankfully.

Vista: I'll ask, cause I have no idea? Did Inhuman ever play Coney Island High back in the 90's? If so, how was that & tell us what that club was all about? I remember going there a bunch of times to see some amazing shows. It seemed like that club did so many shows in a relatively short amount of time?


Mike: Inhuman played Coney Island High many many times, I miss that place! It was open from 1995 to 1999 and it was just awesome.I saw Hardcore, Punk, Death Metal bands there, and sometimes hung out there when they didn't have shows too. One night I met Mike Ness and Dennis from Social Distortion there on a non-show night and they were really cool. Another time while watching the band D-Generation play there, the awesome actor Willem DaFoe was standing right behind me, ha! I miss that place almost as much as I do Cbgb's.

Vista: How did Inhuman get hooked up with, I Scream records? They are another European label. As a band, do you think it hurts you guys to have a label from Europe, mainly because they are so far away. Thoughts?

 

Mike:  I Scream does have a US base in Brooklyn for the past few years, but they are a much bigger name in Europe. Meeting them goes back to the tour we did in 2003 when I met Laurens and Onno from I Scream at a show we played. I Scream wanted to put out  "The New Nightmare" in Europe at the time, but A-F Records didn't follow up on it. Then around 2006 we hook up with the label and by early 2007 we are in the studio recording "Last Rites". It came out in the USA in October of 2007, but we didn't like how "Last Rites" was promoted and they didn't like that I ask a lot of questions. So, twill not be another Inhuman record on I Scream and we are looking for a new label to call home.

Vista: Outside of doing band stuff, such as writing, practice, etc...What are some other hobbies & interests?

 

Mike: I co own a comic book store with my brother Jon called The Brooklyn Monster Factory in Park Slope Brooklyn. We opened in 2006 and it hasn't been easy, but we are still alive and in business. About 70% of our business is comics, but we sell t-shirts and toys too. We have good customers and people from the NYHC scene that come in and help us out. Aside from that, I collect records, cds and dvds...I'm out of control sometimes, but I could have worse habits, no? I love reading books, watching movies and talking about movies, Metal or Hardcore. And I DJ at bars as well.
 

Vista: Recently, Brooklyn has lost another member of the hardcore family. Pete Steele passed away not to long ago, on April 14, 2010. Most people nowadays knew that he was obviously in Type O Negative, but older people know that he fronted the groundbreaking band Carnivore. Tell us some of your memories from both bands & what these bands meant not only to the hardcore scene but also to Brooklyn?
 

Mike: Well, I found out about Pete on a night when I was setting up to dj at a bar in Brooklyn I hang out at, Lucky 13. My friend and I were just 30 minutes prior talking about Carnivore, Type O and Pete. So fucking sad. As a Brooklyn HC/Metal kid, Pete was and is a huge inspiration to me and most of my friends actually. I was happy to hear that things were much better in his life before he died. He was several months sober, Type O was setting up for a new record and a tour.... and then he fucking dies. No more Type O shows or records, no more Carnivore shows and no more Peter. So yes, he meant a lot to me and Inhuman for sure. RIP.

Vista: What are some future plans for Inhuman? Any tours or future music, etc.?

Well, 2010 marks 15 years for Inhuman. No break ups in that entire time either. We will be doing a 15th anniversary show in October for sure.
 

Mike: Joe is going into the studio later in the year to do a new Agnostic Front record and Hank is also doing some dates this summer with his other band, Seventh Void, who has Kenny and Johnny from Type O. As for me, I am working on another band AND working on new Inhuman music and lyrics. Inhuman in my opinion is a serious band, but it is not a job and none of us look to it for money. That could be why we have lasted so long. Hardcore isn't supposed to be your "job", it's who you are as a person, an extension of your personality and your outlook on life. I have made Inhuman a huge part of my life for 15 years because I love doing it...I have to do it, it's in my blood. I work office jobs I hate, I make not as much money as I'd like, but having Inhuman actually makes that shit a bit easier to deal with, you know? Having MUSIC makes life better and I will have music forever. As far as tours go, Inhuman needs to find a new drummer first and we shall see what happens. We will play where we are wanted. Also, I'd LOVE to finally see an Inhuman full length get a vinyl release....none of them have ever been on lp and that kills me as a vinyl fan. Maybe that will happen soon.

Vista: That's all I got for you. Thanks a lot for doing this interview. Is there anything else you'd like to say? Also, what's the best way to get in contact with the band?

Mike: Check out www.myspace.com/inhuman and www.facebook.com/inhuman and email Inh722@yahoo.com or Inhumannyc@yahoo.com
Thank you for the interview and keep the faith!   

MCS

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