Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Interview with Dylan Walker of Full of Hell
1. When did you guys form as a band? What was the scene like then? How did the band come to form? What influence, musical and philosophical, did you share?
The band formed in 2009 and I joined up with them at the end of that year. At that time I'm not really sure what the scene was like as a whole. I wasn't entirely aware of things in the same way that I am now. I think it might have been a little cooler in central PA. I remember seeing a Converge/Pulling Teeth show that was insane in Harrisburg.
As far as shared influence within the band, I'd say Spencer and I bonded right away because we enjoyed the same extreme music and wanted to create the same thing in the long run. Philosophically, we seem to overlap on many things but that was not what brought the band together in it's current form at all.
2. How did you wind up coming across A389 records? Did you submit your stuff or were you found by Dom? Do you still like your older work as much as your new stuff?
We found out through the grapevine that Dom was a fan of our 7"s. We just sent him an email and he suggested doing an LP together. Personally, I can't say I enjoy our older material as much anymore. I still appreciate it and I'm not ashamed of it or anything. I just feel like we've fleshed things out quite a bit more at this point.
3. How do you feel about the hype you've accumulated? Do you think it attracts new and different people or is it people that show up who aren't really in it for the music? Not that that's any detriment to you, but it is peculiar to see that such a cacophonous band has become a big name in the underground.
It's hard to really notice if there is any "hype" or not. That's the funny thing about it for me. I would assume and hope that it attracts new and different people as well as people that may not have a true interest at heart. I'm always fascinated that so many people enjoy what we're doing. As time wears on, we definitely attempt to create harsher textures with the music, but people have stuck around. I appreciate it.
4. How did you get on Maryland Deathfest this year? Who did you see that you liked? Did you get a decent reception from any fresh, out of town faces?
We were asked by the guys that run the festival to play. It was a great honor and definitely something that I'd dreamed of being a part of someday. I'd like to think we got a good reception. It felt like a really cool set. Not a game changer, but absolutely awesome.
5. What are your influences lyric-wise? Reading the liner notes to Rudiments of Mutilation, I would say that they are very interesting, but can be confusing. (Also - side note/ sorta off the record: are you a med student or do you just have an interest in anatomy and literature? You're far better written than I am.)
I'm influenced by everything in my periphery, like everyone else. All mediums of art, in particular of course, other song writers. I'd say the biggest influence outside of literature would be human experience. Nothing really inspires you or horrifies you more than when you are a part of something interconnected, that's right in front of your face. ( I'm not a student. I like to read and I love the english language. I feel like single words can define entire songs so i'm always trying to find that word.)
6. What is Baltimore like as a city and a scene? What bands would you recommend from the area? Venues for possible touring bands to play? the east coast feels like a daunting place for midwest bands.
I'm not actually from Baltimore, nor do I live there, so my experience is limited. From what I've seen Baltimore has a pretty long legacy of hardcore punk and metal. The best band in Baltimore right now is Noisem. As far as venues, there is no go to all ages spot anymore, as I'm not sure how often Charm City Art Space even has shows or if anyone goes there anymore. The Barclay House, Golden West Cafe, Ottobar and this K-Pop club called Club K (get it?) have all been having good shows for some time.
7. How have your musical influences changed since the start of FOH? Has it expanded, refined, narrowed or increased? Has it influenced the band and it's music at all?
Absolutely. We've thankfully kept our minds and ears wide open for the past few years and I would say have refined and increased what we listen to. I feel like I've come full circle back to everything I liked when I was really young, and it's come full tilt into what I've grown into as an adult. It has absolutely effected the band. We are finding ourselves so much more comfortable with the idea of incorporating what might not be accepted by people that enjoy our band, simply because we want to do so.
8. What advice would you give to a band of youngsters who want to form a band or just started one, but are unsure what to do? Is touring, playing out, setting up your own shows, promoting oneself as hard as it seems? What should someone do to get his or her name out there for the unsuspecting masses?
I would say that if you are not passionate and not obsessed, it will not work for you. It's always going to be like beating your feeble hands against a thick brick wall, but you just need to pick yourself up and keep trying. You can't resign yourself every time you fail, because you are going to fail over and over again. The obsession and passion is what has kept me interested for years. I get so much enjoyment out of simply performing live and writing music that I don't even care where we are most of the time, as long as there's a show that day. I've had that feeling since I've been like 13 years old. You need to be obsessed.
Promoting yourself is hard and sometimes feels cheap. I think with couth and hard work you can manage to accomplish something. You also need to know the music you are playing and have a genuine need to play it, not just because it's what's cool this year. It's easy to tell when someone is just shape shifting through current trends. Play what you like and keep your nose to the grindstone. That's what I'd say.
9. How do you feel about cassettes as a music medium? Are they dead/on life support, or just perceived as such?
I like cassettes. It's an interesting discussion because I feel like it's totally a dead format, but that's almost the point. Noone releasing a tape is making money off of it. So generally, the only people that will put tapes out will be people that genuinely give a fuck about their music. I like that labels won't really touch tapes. Fuck the labels. It feels like a people's medium to me. Maybe not, but that's the way I see it.
10. What are your thoughts on the new-found Entombed/Nails worship that many hardcore and metal bands seem to be taking up lately? is it cool or just repetitive?
I get it. I think that maybe there could be far worse trends to come into style. There are some bands that come to mind that are really killing it with scandinavian influence but overall I feel like it's very forced and boring. So, cool or repetitive? A bit of both, as with everything else. Maybe right now since it's still such a big thing, there might be a little less of a balance with quality.
11. Do you follow sports at all, or no? Why or why not?
Nah, it just never interested me. Dave and Brandon from FOH like Baltimore teams.
12. What are your views on respective scenes you've toured and seen recently? Any places in particular popping off aside from your hometown?
There are a bunch of areas doing sick things. I think the one that needs to be noted the most is Florida. I think that state had a bad reputation for some reason, but noone realizes that that state is absolutely killing it with bands and that the shows are amazing. We always have so much fun down there and there are so many talented bands and people. A lot of respect for all of them.
13. What would you say is your greatest accomplishment as a band? How did it come about, how did you do it?
Hard to say. I consider it a great accomplishment to have been to Europe 4 times, 5 times by this coming June. It's easy to make things happen in a community of people that genuinely care about music. I want to try and keep the band in that kind of circle. Another accomplishment that comes to mind that is more specific would be playing alongside some of our favorite bands at 305 fest in Miami a couple years ago. It was a huge deal to see Bastard Noise, Noothgrush, Iron Lung and Dropdead and be able to play alongside them.
14. What do you feel about politics nowadays? Does it have a place in the music scene or is it something to leave out of music and save for another time?
I'm not apolitical, but I do feel like I have an amalgam of beliefs that don't really put me into either major US party. Sometimes I'm sadly apathetic about what's going on in our country and the world beyond. It most certainly has a place in the music scene. There are many examples where punk should absolutely be a vehicle for social and political change and backlash. It should also be a place for people to not give a fuck and destroy themselves. It's your world!
15. What's on the horizon for Full of Hell? I know you're on tour now, but do you have any new songs or projects planned out for when you return?
I've lined up some tours for us in 2014 that have me very excited. We are pretty much just touring with bands that we respect and are huge fans of. We are starting off with an east coast trip alongside Brooklyn black metal band, Mutilation Rites. We have a split coming out for record store day with someone we are fans of, and later this year a collaborative LP with a true legend, and it's something that I am still in disbelief about. It's gonna be a nice year for us, I hope.
16. Anything else you'd like to add?
Thank you for this interview David! Listen to Jarhead Fertilizer, Purge, the Body, DOC, Fucking Invincible, Sokushinbutsu, Column of Heaven and Joanna Newsom.
Sold Short- 2013 demo review
While listening to this demo and simultaneously playing Dynasty Warriors, I had a revelation, a moment of odd enlightenment, if you will. I was analyzing the music as I knocked away Chinaman after Chinaman, and one thing I noted in the songs was a metalcore breakdown and a youth crew breakdown, mixed of course between pretty stellar new age hardcore. Upon coming to this realization, it truly hit me how fucking nerdy it was to differentiate between these two extremely similar kinds of breakdowns (the only real difference is the drum tempo, and in some cases, the guitar tone)- in the end, it’s fucking hardcore. Is it any good? Yes, it is. It’s more along the lines of modern mid-tempo hardcore, and for that, it’s pretty stellar. Well worth it for a demo.
Nuke Cult- Join or Don’t demo review
Like a darker version of The Freeze, Nuke Cult still rings of the nascent, adolescent anger of the hardcore of yesteryear. However, something about the instruments seems… darker, more evil, more menacing than the likes of their influences. The songs are driving, dingy compositions of a brain(s) filled with more caffeine than dopamine, more adderall than tetrahydrocannibol, and more pimple-faced frustration than stone-faced constipation. It’s a cornerstone of a growing Kansas City hardcore scene that includes the likes of Spine, Night Moves, No Master, Vomit Assault, Kicked In, Dirty Work, and certainly more. This is the weird punk that I love, and should get more credit than it does. Get a 7” of this demo pressed ASAP, labels.
Born Free- 2013 demo review
Super chuggy, burly, 86 Mentality-esque hardcore/Oi! The songs are decent, lyrics are alright, but the breakdown in ‘Power’ is brutal as fuck. Even though I am not overly impressed with this, it’s a demo, and for that, it’s not too bad. It seems to take more from the influences of Oi! rather than modern hardcore, and even though this group sounds a bit like this aforementioned hardcore, the aesthetic is more from the former. Again, a notable, but not absolutely remarkable, demo.
Hounds of Hate- s/t LP review
This record mixes up the ’88-era hardcore with that of the contemporary style focusing on slower, more gang vocals and chug-oriented sounds, and it’s pretty stellar. The slow parts are heavy as shit and the fast parts thunder away as singer Trey spits out his thoughts and ideas, which cover a pretty wide array of topics, from drug addiction, a new world order, interpersonal problems, to a few where I’m not entirely sure what the song is about. Four of the songs on this LP were on a promo tape I nabbed in late 2012, and it’s safe to say that this LP lived up to my expectations and more. Secret Knowledge, Pound of Flesh, Brotherhood of Night, and Untouchable are my favorite tracks, but none are bad, unbalanced in their respective mixes, or out of place in any way. It’s very friendly to hardcore kids and punks alike- it’s not as pointed as the EP, but it is damn close. Sing-along, two-step, ninja mosh, it’s all good here. Packaging is stellar as always- Painkiller does it right.