Michale Yale interviewed by PSL
What initially made you form XXX Maniak?
Absolute hatred of goregrind inspired the birth of XXX Maniak. Goregrind is stupid, boring, and incredibly overdone. It seemed like a good idea to make the band because so many others suck at playing anything worthwhile. It's enjoyable to play songs that are bursts of violence, bizarre sex and drug abuse. I can see why bands want to do that. XXX Maniak does that.
How are the typical reactions to your music? I mean either you love it or you hate it, there's really no in between is there?
Deranged individuals who are jaded by goregrind's lack of innovation may be XXX Maniak listeners. People who don't think depraved acts are entertaining probably hate XXX Maniak. Obviously most of the people who like the band are people looking for something extremely offensive.
For apparent reasons it's almost impossible not to think of a band like Mortician when listening to the music. I assume this band has been an inspiration, but which other bands are you influenced by?
Besides Mortician, there's Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Enemy Soil, Regurgitate, White Zombie, Butcher ABC, Abscess, Misfits, Macabre, and old black metal. Mainly just Mortician and Agoraphobic Nosebleed.
Like Mortician you use computer drums. What is it about those that appeal to you?
I don't want to fuck around with a drummer and any ideas he may have when I write our music. I know the sound I want and sometimes it is impossible for a drummer to play it on certain songs. It is much faster to make all the music myself.
You've never considered using a real drummer?
XXX Maniak uses a real drummer whenever we play live. The drummer really holds it all together for us live because we are drugged up, drunken assholes on stage and the drummer has to play so fast that they end up postponing most of their vices until after we play.
Have you commenced work on the follow-up to Harvesting the Cunt Nectar?
Some tracks have been recorded for the next release. The overall production is much improved. The drums are bigger and more bludgeoning. The guitars sound like hypodermic needles floating in sludge. We have recorded a few things after Harvesting the Cunt Nectar for various splits.
We did a split CD with Lymphatic Phlegm on Black Hole Productions from Brazil. We have a split 7' with Embalming Theatre that just came out on Haunted Hotel records. We covered "Hacked Up for BBQ" for a Mortician tribute. There are other things too, such as a theme song for a hardcore porn website that is in the works. We have a split with GUT lined up for the Slimewave series that Relapse is doing.
I understand that Harvesting the Cunt Nectar was originally put out a few years back by you. How did Selfmadegod Records end up reissuing it?
The album was originally released by us on as a joint venture by my label Red Candle Records and Anthony's label Crooked Crosses Records and our main distribution was in the United States. Selfmadegod carried our CD's as well as our t-shirt designs. Karol from the label contacted us about doing a European release and we worked out a deal. The album got a push from its initial release, and Selfmadegod is spreading it all over Europe.
It appears as if you've approach things a little different with regards to the samples. I get the impression you made them yourselves instead of just snatching something from a movie?
We usually create our own samples, but sometimes we do steal them. It's hard to find samples that say what we want to convey. Many of our samples are about the life-affirming joy and happiness a person experiences by raping, killing, and/or torturing another person. There are others about coercing young, naïve girls to do drugs with older gentlemen. While there are pre-existing samples that cover these topics, we prefer to customize ours. It's all been done before and we want to put a distinct personal stamp on it.
I read somewhere that you recorded the album in a home-studio. Are there any particular reasons why you chose to do it that way and is it how you mostly work?
It's cheaper and easier than going to an outside studio. We had many guest vocalists on the album and it was much easier to coordinate them coming to my home studio, drinking beers, and smoking bowls than it would have been booking studio time somewhere else. However, after laying down the tracks we got it mixed and mastered elsewhere.
I bet some people must have taken offence of your music and in particular the artwork? Could you say a bit about the nature of this?
We have heard from the families of murder victims who have written us incredibly long emails about how what we are doing is despicable. As if we don't already know… To be honest, we've mainly come in contact with people who take our music almost literally and love it, or people who simply can't stomach it. It is hard for us to find companies that will press our CD's or t-shirts. We have had to postpone releases in the past, but now we deal with quality, amoral companies.
Speaking of the artwork, it was done by Mike Hrubovcak. What made you pick him?
Mike is the best album artist I know of and also a friend. His artwork is absolutely top of the line. He did some vocals on the CD too. Check out www.visualdarkness.com for his work.
I am a firm believer in eye-catching artwork. If we are going to make a song about Harvesting the Cunt Nectar, then somebody better be harvesting some fucking cunt nectar on the cover! It's got to look sick and slick! Most goregrind bands have an offensive cover with the worst music. Other bands just use a low quality picture of some girl shitting in her own mouth and then slap a band logo over it. Most people already have a million shit pictures like that on their computer, so what's the point?
Do you often play live or is XXX Maniak more of a studio band?
We have played three different US fests and are going to do some tours. Some of the songs have different arrangements for live performance. They are so short that it works better if we add or extend certain parts. We only do this for certain songs, and many retain their original form. It definitely works best this way.
Would it be correct to speak of an American grindcore scene? Right now I can only think of a handful of bands and most of these are on Relapse Records!
The American grindcore scene is nothing like Europe or other territories. The shows and crowds are small. Certain bands like Pig Destroyer and Brutal Truth have good crowds. The big problem is over-saturation. Relapse is certainly the centre of grind in the US.
Are any of you active in other bands besides XXX Maniak?
We are working on a new album in my thrash band Rumpelstiltskin Grinder. I sometimes play as a touring guitarist in Total Fucking Destruction as well.