Noise Mongers GRIDFAILURE Interview is up
1. Dave can you give a brief history how this very prolific project came to be?
It was a totally unplanned occurrence. While I was playing/recording with Theologian for about a year, which was the first fully experimental sort of project I was ever in, I had hours of random recorded material sitting here; we’d use like thirty seconds of a ten-minute experiment so I’d have tons of leftover pieces. I started learning how to use recording/editing programs and began Frankensteining these long stems together in on the computer – mostly long segments for the H. P. Lovecraft albums we were scoring for Cadabra Records at the time – and these creeped-out “structures” began appearing. After tons of mistakes and fallbacks and learning pains, the first album Ensuring The Bloodline Ends Here came together, and I’ve since been learning and working every day on new material, having released seven recordings within one year of the first album, yet there are two more albums almost completely finished and about seven more under construction at once.
2. With each release, Gridfailure has become darker, harsher and more combative in sound. Is this just a natural progression?
In some ways, yes, but the project is shifting in about a hundred different directions all at once; there is just a ton of music that has not been released yet. If you heard some of the other albums in the works you’d hear a lot more diversity than the harshness of the most recent releases. There are lot of ambient/nature-inspired tribal rhythms, mellow jazz tracks, fully acoustic desert jams, creepy folk music, hardcore, and tons of other types of music being infused into the sound. The initial sound was almost all driven by dark ambient/horror soundtrack tones, but I continue to play more drums and add more styles of percussion, infuse more of my hardcore/harsh metal influences, attempting to expand the vision of terror within the song structures. I’m constantly learning more about recording/production and working with lots of other talented artists who provide material to some of the albums which also helps influence the sound.
3. You are working with many artists on collabs and splits are you just working on getting name everywhere you can? You have Tapes, Digital only, CDR's and Proper full CDs out sir?
I release everything digitally, but yes, several records have physical versions and eventually all will. The first album is on CD, the split with Never Presence Forever is on Cassette, the Dendritic collaboration with Megalophobe is on Cassette, and the most recent album Scathed is on CDR through Darker Days Ahead. I’ll release more DIY versions of some of the other back-catalog releases this year, and I’m talking to some labels and outside contacts about releasing more of the upcoming material. I work with a lot of collaborators, some of national/international status in other bands, but some are simply friends, family, and other henchpersons I’m close with personally.
4. Does Gridfailure ever want to play live or have you already on this project?
I have not yet but it’s in the process of happening. By the end of summer, I will have broken the seal on the live set, as some things are coming together now. Experimental shows around the NYC and upstate New York realm where I reside will be first, but after that I’ll likely start traveling around to perform with other collaborators on the albums wherever that may take the experiment.
5. I know you were in few Punk/Crusty projects and Theologian for a bit. Are you not with Theologian anymore? Is Gridfailure the real release you need creatively at this time?
In the mid-late 90s I played bass or provided vocals for punk, hardcore, grind, and metal bands in the Lancaster and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania areas. After parting with Heidnik in the Y2K era I moved to Brooklyn and just never hooked up with any other bands full-time since. I was jamming with my bros in Vise Massacre behind the scenes a few years back, and my first punk band, The Militiamen, decided to play our first show in seventeen years, so all of that got me back into playing regularly again. That’s when I joined Theologian and began playing more of the dark ambient and experimental music that helped me feel out what Gridfailure was going to be. I was only in Theologian for about a year; from June or July of 2015 until May of 2016. There was a falling out two weeks after the release of my first Gridfailure album, however I have appeared on a plethora of Theologian releases since then. But yes, I work on Gridfailure every single day and it’s a major part of my life now, and as far as I’m concerned this is just the beginning of what I plan on creating.
6. If Gridfailure could find a proper label long term what would be the dream label to release material in a perfect world?
Any label who would support my sound/vision and help get it out to more fans would be a great asset to me. I’ve released some of the existing titles on my own label, The Compound Recs, and self-released most of the other titles. Minneapolis-based DIY label Darker Days Ahead released the Scathed album (which is also available for free download). I am discussing things with several other labels for future releases, and I am a fan of so many kinds of music from so many different labels that there is just an endless list of labels I’d be into working with.
7. I’ve seen some interesting videos for a few Gridfailure tracks. Are you happy with the visual perception of the project?
I do virtually all of the art/photography for the project, and I have filmed and created two videos so far; the first for “Paranoia Will Not Coagulate” [https://youtu.be/IABxliZsqKE] from the Ensuring The Bloodline Ends Here album, and the second for “Woodlands Of Self-Impalement” [https://youtu.be/zDcMuwBbKsA] from the following EP, Further Layers Of Societal Collapse. These are the first videos I ever made, so in that sense I am pleased with them, but I plan on doing much more with some of the upcoming videos I’m working on. There are also several talented video creators/artists I’ll be working with to create some videos on some of the new and upcoming releases. One of them is Neil Barrett of Novel Concept TV, who has done videos for Today Is The Day, Primitive Man, has done stuff for Adult Swim, and more. Neil is also in Austin experimental grind/metal outfit BLK OPS and we’ll be collaborating musically in the months ahead. There will be more hand-drawn art as well as photo manipulation with the coming albums, and visuals will be infused into the live act at some point. I just acquired a couple of 8mm projectors which I will soon be experimenting with; I need reels!
8. What bands and projects are currently impressing you in the darker / harsher industrial world right now?
I listen to more dark music in general; I can’t be confined to listening to following mostly one genre. In fact, I probably listen to more rap, jazz, punk, and hardcore than I do industrial or metal. That said, the Governance album that Khost just released is incredibly bleak and decimating, and one of my favorite records of the genre in some time. Gnaw has a new album coming up, and they never fail to scorch everything. Another act I love, Melek-Tha, just released a split/collab with Corona Barathri which is great. While they’re not industrial in any way, one of the most intriguing acts I’ve been way into lately is Ak'chamel, who does a lot of odd, lo-fi ritual/chant/trance music.
9. Where do you see extreme experimental/industrial music heading? Is it a more personal tribal thing or is there a new rebirth of this genre like the golden CMI, Cold Spring, Malignant, and Soleilmoon days of late ‘90s early ‘00s?
Cold Spring, Crucial Blast, and Malignant are some of my favorite labels of the mentioned genre(s). Just like every other type of music, I see this scene expanding in many ways… some fans and artists will remain locked into their closed-minded shells and remain territorial, instead of wanting to expand the genre into new fanbases. Others will simply want to create music without thought of borders, genres, and membership cards, and not care about such pretentious scene politics.
10. If there was one artist that you could collab with and haven't who would it be and why?
Mike Patton or John Carpenter; zero explanation needed on either one. That said, I’m working on some new collaborations with some of my favorite artists and producers; I will be working with Steve Austin of Today Is The Day on some of the upcoming albums, and he’s a longtime friend as well as a major influence/icon as both an artist and a producer.
11. With so many bedroom artist in 2017 how do you stand apart from the rest?
I’m not sure that I do. I just make music and pay attention to what I’m doing; I will enjoy other people’s music whether it’s created like Psalm 69 and costs $1.5 million to create in several major studios, or if some kid demos it in his garage.
12. Are you fan of Social media and Social music sites or are they bloating the music world now?
Social media is an incredible tool for getting the word out on your brand, band, company, or message, but just like anything else, people are too consumed with themselves and take it too far. I don’t really have much in the way of personal social media, but with both Earsplit and Gridfailure those sites are a major lifeline to connecting with the public. I just don’t have time to dick-around with everybody’s personal rants and can’t like every photo of a craft beer somebody posts. If you have a new song to announce, that’s great; I’ll check it out. But I do not need to see a hashtag-soaked shot of your lunch. Again.
13. You have a PR empire with Earsplit. Honestly, do bands need labels now or is good PR and Distro what makes a band today?
Earsplit is operated by two of us; we have a bit of help from an intern or two at a time to help with the social media, but it’s really just a home-run venture. All the propaganda is created here at The Compound where we also run our mailorder sector Earsplit Distro, our label The Compound Recs, and where most of the Gridfailure murder takes place. If you have all of the proper parts in line and have a solid fanbase, independent records can do quite well, and I think some bands put way too much focus on getting signed rather than simply focusing on the music and cultivating a listener base. However, with the right deal with a label who cares about you, of course it can change the course of your band in an instant. Everything is case-dependent.
14. Thank for the time any closing thoughts here.
Gridfailure’s message is harsh, demoralizing, and seething with hate and revenge. However, I embrace any attention to the project from all listeners with open arms and huge thanks. Major hails to out to anybody who listens to or reads anything I have cultivated or harvested under the project’s moniker. Be on watch for several new titles to be completed and released in the months ahead; I’m about to issue the info on the first Irritum EP in a series I’m working on, there is a second fully collaborative album with Megalophobe heavily underway, the Teeth Collection and Drought Stick albums I’ve been working on for over a year will finally be completed in the weeks ahead, and there are other collaborations, EPs, albums, videos, and other works under construction.