Caught In A Mosh: April 2011
ilentertainer | Mar 30, 2011
I have a love-hate relationship with Relapse Records. On one hand, the label never, ever, ever sends me music. Never. Ever. And I’ve asked. Many times.
On the other hand, Relapse is like an adorable puppy that shits all over the living-room floor: it’s hard to stay mad. How can I hold a grudge against the label that introduced me to Mastodon and High On Fire? The list of Relapse alumni reads like a royal charter: Deceased, Repulsion, Incantation, Neurosis, to name a few. And Toxic Holocaust, Disfear, Voivod, and the freshly reunited Zeke call the Pennsylvanian label home nowdays. So yeah, Relapse knows its shit.
And right now, when it comes to heavy music, Chicago is the shit. That’s not meant to be all, like, “Our scene is better than yours,” but I’ll kiss yer ass if it ain’t. Relapse is damnwell aware, too, which explains its Windy City shopping spree in the past few years. First was Minsk (technically Peoria, but Chicago has claimed the band as its own), then Circle Of Animals, now Bloodiest and Indian, both of which signed last year. Bloodiest, whose seven members come from metal (Yakuza) and non (Atombombpock-etknife) backgrounds, struck first March 29th with Descent; Indian’s Guiltless arrives April 12th. The two team up for a dual record-release show April 9th at Subterranean, so “Mosh” shipped questions to both bands, never figuring Indian bassist Ron DeFries and Bloodiest guitarist Eric Chaleff would drunkenly hammer ‘em out at Logan Square’s The Burlington. Assume it was drunken, because DeFries saying “Oh, snap!” in any other circumstance is unimaginable.
Mosh: Is it really sheer coincidence Indian and Bloodiest signed to Relapse within six months of each other and will release their label debuts within two weeks? Sounds too good to be true.
Eric Chaleff: Yes, sheer coincidence. I hear the word around the Relapse office is Chicago is sort of the mecca for metal.
M: I assume the decision for a dual record-release show wasn’t a difficult one.
Ron Defires: Bingo.
M: In all honesty, what about Relapse appealed to your bands?
EC: They’re the biggest indie label any of us could hope to be on. Plus they have put out countless records that are so influential to all of us. How wouldn’t we want to be a part of that?
M: In 50 words or less, describe the other band.
EC: Well, Indian [is] my favorite Chicago band. [They're] disgusting and completely hopeless as musicians.
RD: Gypsy hair drone and best band I’ve never played in.
EC: Never will.
RD: Oh, snap!
M: Eric, you’re on the spot: Bloodiest, metal or not? This is technically a “heavy-music,” not heavy-metal, column, so it’s O.K. to say no.
EC: Yes and more. Our influences range all across the board; each of us brings a different style to the table. I feel a big success of the band is focusing those styles to a cohesive end. Darkness is the end goal.
M: Ron, Guiltless (like past Indian releases) is a completely hostile, antisocial-sounding album. That’s 100-percent compliment, but I would (and have) absolutely avoid talking to any of Indian’s members if I was standing next to them at a show. Are you guys as unfriendly as your music suggests?
RD: We’re the nicest guys I know. The music is what it is, that’s just what comes out. Buy us beers and we’ll be your best friend.
M: What are the pros and cons (there must be something) about being a heavy band from Chicago?
EC: I really can’t think of any cons. We have a really strong-knit community; we all hang out together, drink together. I mean we are writing this from a bar right now.
RD: Really all pro on my end as well. Playing shows in the winter sucks, but you’re smack in the middle of the country, so touring either coast is pretty easy. And we all jam together so that rules. (That’s my Circle Of Animals plug.)
M: Who are some of the other local acts you guys are into, and what makes them stand out in your minds?
EC & RD: Chicago bands that rule: Sweet Cobra, Bloodyminded, Anatomy Of Habit, The Swan King, Follows, Circle Of Animals, Yakuza, Electric Hawk, Minsk, Killer Moon, Ga’an, Locrian, Head Of Skulls, Howler.
M: Ron, Indian has nearly doubled in size since its last release. What did the addition of Sean Patton and Will Lindsay mean to Guiltless? How did you guys hook up with Will, anyway?
RD: Sean has been around since the beginning and currently co-owns Emperor [Cabs]. We met Will while on tour with Middian; he was playing bass for them and somehow just knew that he was gonna be our second guitar player. This lineup slays.
M: Of course, five members is nothing, right Eric? Can seven people in one band ever be a pain in the ass?
EC: Not so much a pain in the ass as just a scheduling nightmare. All of us are a part of other projects or have real intense jobs. Everyone really contributes. It’s actually kinda sweet.