EYEHATEGOD – Obeying no Masters
Surely, EYEHATEGOD needs no introduction. All you depressed, downtrodden and/or moody fuckers out there ought to know and cherish this band. However, given that the band has released its first full-length album of new material in 14 years, which is an event in itself, I figured that I would mail some questions to vocalist Mike IX Williams and learn a little more about the band’s killer new album, the influence of New Orleans, different side-projects, literature, and other poisonous topics.
Mike, thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions of mine.
No problem, chief.
It’s been quite a few years since the previous full-length EHG studio album, "Confederacy of Ruined Lives", was vomited forth, but you guys have kept busy ever since then it seems. Touring with EHG, releasing singles, EPs, and even a DVD, not to mention playing gigs and recording with other bands such as Down, Arson Anthem, Corrections House, and so on and so forth. The new EHG album sounds very inspired, intense, and organic. I love it! Some of my faves are "Worthless Rescue" and "Medicine Noose". How does it feel having a brand new album in the can? Do you have any particular favorites off the album? Was there any outside pressure of any sort for you to write and record a new album?
Damn right we been busy, we never sleep. We only pass out. Feels amazing to have such a great album I’ve made with my long time friends finally out, I love every song on it honestly… Worthless Rescue is killer cos it’s got the showcase for Joey LaCaze there with the drums at the end.
No!! No pressure at all, we play what we want to hear so we just take it one day at a time & follow our instincts. The next record may take 30 years to come out, who knows? We flow at our own EHG pace & obey NO masters.
Was there anything in particular that inspired and motivated you when it came to writing the words for the new songs and coming up with the titles and so on? The cover art rules, by the way. It certainly fits and enhances the mood of the album. Who came up with that?
Gary found the image for the cover and sent it to us to pick apart, cut up, choose, bastardize & manipulate. All of the art is found art thats cut & paste then put through the usual EHG filters & edits. The lyrics are coming from the heart & soul of a bunch of guys who have been through hell & back & lived to talk about it.
The song "Flags and Cities Bound" is one of the most unique and atmospheric songs off the new album. It’s also pretty long compared to most other EHG tunes. Could you elaborate a bit on the lyrics for that one? Any chance of hearing it live on one of your future tours?
A lot of the lyrics for that song were made up in the studio, I didn’t even write them down. I guess we could do it live but I doubt it would be 100% the exact same words I’d use every night considering it’s a stream of consciousness vocal pattern.
I mentioned bands such as Arson Anthem and Down before, and I was wondering if you find it difficult to make time for everything and fit everything into a schedule from time to time? All members of EHG are involved in other bands and projects, right?
Yeah we all keep real fucking busy playing, writing, recording music, it’s not difficult at all. I mean this is what we do as creative people… It’s definitely a game of planning Tetris, putting all the pieces together to allow us to do what we want to do, but I love it, it’s never boring for sure…
What did you guys grow up listening to? New Orleans has fostered some of the greatest music ever known to man, but how did you feel about the blues, jazz, and country when you were kids and teenagers? Did those genres influence you, not just musically, but lyrically and mentally as well?
Alice Cooper, Sabbath, the Who, Stones, Beatles then Kiss then Sex Pistols, Clash then Black Flag & it went on & on from there. As a kid my cousins all loved Southern Rock so that seeped in, my oldest brother loved tons of Blues & lots of New Orleans Jazz, Dr. John, Billy Holiday, Mahavishnu Orchestra… Through 80’s Metal crossover, Hardcore & Punk, Post-Punk, Industrial and now EVERYTHING…!!
It’s probably damn near impossible to summarize something so vast in just a few lines, but how did living in New Orleans influence the sound and lyrics of EHG in the very beginning?
Come visit here & listen to our band LOUD & you’ll figure out the influence really quick.
You guys have always had that whole DIY ethic and attitude to you, which is very inspiring I think. Given that a lot of old hardcore and punk bands had that same attitude and put out their own demos and records and made their own flyers and album covers and so on, were you inspired by the hardcore/punk scene in and around New Orleans when you launched EHG and put out your first two demos?
I was. I grew up in that HC scene. I always thought the only separation between the two great genres was the haircuts. Venom & Motorhead is Punk & Rock n Roll. You dig? We have to also include the early NWOBHM & USA Hard Rock/Metal bands that did their 7"s & art, fanzines and recordings all DIY as well.
One of the things that I really love about the whole NOLA metal scene is that so many of the bands are original and have a sound and identity of their own. From an outsider’s perspective, the scene appears pretty close-knit and strong in the sense that so many musicians turn up in each other’s bands, help each other out, and jam with each other. Is there some truth in that, and has it always been like that?
We all hate each other & talk shit when we can… I’M FUCKING JOKING.
It’s a total brother/sisterhood family vibe down here. We go to each other’s crawfish boils, weddings etc.. The South is just like that man, you gotta help out a friend when they need it, it’ll come back to you tenfold.
Just out of curiosity, how often do you, i.e. EHG, get together and rehearse?
Terribly boring question! I’m guilty as the typical asshole singer of not being at enough rehearsals… No excuses except I can’t drive well & don’t have a proper driver’s license. Those guys BATTER all the time, and are writing new songs as we speak!
You put out the book entitled "Cancer as a Social Activity: Affirmations of World’s End" some years ago and you also did a noisy/ambient-like EP containing spoken words, namely "That’s What the Obituary Said/Ten Suicides". Are there any authors in particular that inspire you when it comes to writing song lyrics? What is it about the written word that inspires and moves you? Would you consider doing another EP in the vein of the aforementioned one?
I read a lot of books but not one particular author could be cited as an all-encompassing influence… There’s Darby Crash, Bukowski, Nick Cave, Wm. Burroughs, John Fante, Wm. Vollmann, Lester Bangs, Stan Lee, Clive Barker, Johnny Cash, Herbert Huncke etc. I love all these writers but I find more inspiration from reality & personal experience. I’ve done a bunch of spoken word recordings since that one 7" so yeah, I’m still in the same mindset and will release even more in the future. One thing I put out was a cassette covered in broken glass shards so to be able to play it, you must cut your hands prying the pieces off of the body of the tape.
Could you tell us a bit about The Guilt Øf.. and how that came about?
Just another project to keep me busy. It’s Industrial/Noise/Black Metal/Punk/Dark Wave/Experimental/Electrix etc… We have out two full-length albums, two cassettes, a few 7"s, a CD, a couple splits; one with Merzbow, a 10" and a bad headache.
Do you ever feel nostalgic and put on some of the old EHG albums and demos and listen to those?
Are there any plans afoot to poison Europe later on this year by means of a tour?
In 2015, yes. This year is fully booked so far.
Wasn’t there talk of releasing the EHG live album recorded at CBGB via Housecore Records?
There was, yes.
With me being Danish, I just have to ask if you remember your crushing show at Loppen in Copenhagen back in April 2010? How did you like Denmark, by the way?
I love Denmark and especially Christiania!! Loppen rules of course. I’ve played there with Corrections House also. Copenhagen rules. I wanna move there…
What are some of the most important things you bring with you on tour?
357 Magnum. Roky Erickson tapes. Socks & underwear. Lots of LSD & airplane glue…
Probably a strange question this last one, but what kind of music do you listen to when you’re at home and just want to relax and kick back?
Why is that strange? I listen to so much stuff I can’t list it all here. Mainly the Geto Boys.
Thanks once again for taking the time to answer my questions. I hope to catch you on tour in Europe later on this year! The last words are yours.
Go to: www.EYEHATEGOD.ee NOW!!