Those who know a bit about grindcore are probably familiar with Virginia's Agoraphobic Nosebleed. The four-piece who feature people from Pig Destroyer, Drugs Of Faith and Salome have been putting out lots of 7'splits, EP's, full-lengths and various other formats since a 30 song demo in 1995. On April 14th Relapse Records will issue the long awaited new album Agorapocalypse. I recently had the chance to ask vocalist and man in charge of the electronics Jay Randall about Agorapocalypse, drum-machines, grindcore and many other things.

Jay Randall interviewed by PSL

Could you say something about the upcoming Agorapocalypse? Where does it differ from earlier efforts?
It's like a whole new band now, a lot more developed sound and songs.

How do you go about the song-writing? Is it Scott Hull who writes the music or do you all pitch in?
Scott still produces all the music.

You were among the first grindcore bands to use drum-machines. Could you say what you think makes computer drums interesting?
The level of control your given with you composition is unparalleled, anything is possible if you know your software. There is zero compromise from human limitation.

A lot of extreme bands using drum-machines tend to be shit, but you and other bands like XXX Maniak and Lymphatic Phlegm do it convincingly. Is it a difficult job to make the drums an integrated part of the music?
Most drums get completely rewritten, quantized, sterilized hit for hit digitally these days, I don't see the point in recording live drums at all anymore if your just going to digitally re-write them anyways. I personally like when a drum-machine sounds like a drum-machine but Scotts always been pushing for total realism with the way they sound. With Agorapocalypse I believe he has finally been able to achieve this.

It's not that common to have three vocalists. Could say something about what you think it adds to the music?
When we where doing shorter songs it seemed a bit much to have three vocalists, but now that the songs are little longer it really works to keep it from sounding redundant like most bands tend to after a couple tracks. Even though I have done it in the past I really tend to dislike when a vocalist dose the whole schizophrenic voice thing. It's like there channeling the spirits through them or something. We all have our own style vocals so we can do change ups without having to resort to the corny schizo thing to keep shit sounding fresh.

Has it changed anything that Katherine Katz joined the band and Carl Schultz left?
Kat is hands down one of the most skilled vocalist I have ever known, Carl was not. Kat has a vagina, Carl does not [laughs]. I don't know, a lot has changed with the band and for the better I think.

Who writes the lyrics and what kind of subjects do they deal with nowadays?
I still write the majority of the lyrics and on this record the majority of the lyrics deal with social suicide. I write first person shooter style violence and send sacred cows to slaughter.

You had the PCP Tornado 6' remixed by people like James Plotkin, Merzbow, and Justin Broadrick. Does this reflect your own taste in music as well or do you prefer grindcore, hardcore and such?
I was at the time of that release, I was really into the way producers approached extreme music. I also loved how a song can become an actual instrument for another. I was using sample/sequencers to write speedcore style tracks for awhile. I was very much into it, but I just got burned on some records. Lost a ton of money and it sort of soured me on that whole scene. I'm still doing the Drum Machinegun series for Relapse Records and still believe that the future of grindcore is digital warfare. Deathstorm is a perfect example of what I think is next generation grindcore.

What is it about grindcore that appeals to you?
It's the mutant offspring of my two favorite styles of music when I was a kid - thrash and hardcore. Grindcore for me was like was like banging two fine women at the same time - awesome [laughs]. I also love that it just keeps mutating into all these new subgenres. Even though Agoraphobic Nosebleed is pretty developed musically, my personal taste in grindcore still leans more to the stripped back, raw two person approach rather than the more metal infused end of the spectrum.

You've done lots of different things with Agoraphobic Nosebleed. Is the band an outlet for ideas that wouldn't fit in your other bands?

Yeah I think because we've constantly change it up and from the start people accept that more with us than they do with other bands. Scott and I go through fazes with what we are listening to and if we want to do a power violence record or a hardcore record we just do it without much thought on whether or not it will be a fan pleaser or whatever. With Agorapocalypse we were able to bring a bunch of these different styles together and create a kind of unique and solid sound that really is the sum of our personal interests and taste in music.

Besides Agoraphobic Nosebleed what other projects are you busy with?
As I mentioned earlier I'm doing the Drum Machinegun series for Relapse. I'm also the project manager on this huge collaboration between Relapse and Creature Skateboards. I also started my own Skate Deck company called Substance Abuse with longtime Agoraphobic Nosebleed collaborator and artist Florian Bertmer.

I'm aware that Agoraphobic Nosebleed a studio project, but do you think it always will be just that?
Yes I do as I personally don't fancy myself a performance artist and have no interest in rehearsing songs, staging rage and so on.

You've released lots of split releases, 7' and various other vinyl releases - do you have any new in the works or will you just concentrate on Agorapocalypse in 2009?
Man, we have a release schedule into 2011 already. We have splits planned with A.N.S., Despise You, Lack Of Interest, Agents Of Satan and Wadge. We also would like to break this five year lull we've had between full-length records.

Anything you'd like to add to conclude this interview?
Agorapocalypse has a lot of great shit to it and the disc is totally worth owning. If you just steal it off the internet you'll be really missing out on a big part of the experience with it, I couldn't give a fuck about the money.





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