Crowhurst interview (01/2019)
|Conducted by:||RaduP (e-mail)|
Our story with Crowhurst started with SSUS' 2/10 review of "The Mountain Of The Cannibal Goddess" which prompted Jay to make an account and respond. Nearly three years later he is about to release the third part in his metal trilogy through Prophecy Productions with some really big guests, has recently released a collaboration with Gnaw Their Tongues and has two confirmed Roadburn sets for this year. I shitposted a bit on the band's social media page until I got the courage to straight-up ask for an interview. We talked for a bit and decided that it was best it was as informal as it can be, as he specifically told me he'd rather be insulted than bored. So I came up with the best I could.
RP: All previous years have had a shitload of Crowhurst releases, but 2018 only had two. 2017 had just one. How come?
J: I wanted people to start caring about my releases, and no matter how good your records are - unless you're Thou you can't release 10 things a year without burning yourself and everyone else out.
RP: How is working so much on solely one upcoming record compared to putting our releases at a huge page?
J: I was working on a lot of stuff, I just deleted a lot. Some shit I'm just sitting on now.
RP: I may be wrong but your collaboration with Graw Their Tongues seems to have gave Crowhurst the most media attention it has had, so much so that it eclipsed Break Their Spirit, your other release this year. How do you feel about it?
J: I'd say I and II have had more but we were at a different point in our lifecycle. By now II was sold out, had no label to repress it and I was already neck deep in writing a follow up. But it definitely had more press attention than I would have expected, and I think it eclipsing BTS is fine. I'm generally okay with nobody ever listening to that stuff because it's so niche.
RP: If you were locked in a room with no internet and just a piece of paper and a pen and you had to write all of the albums you released on it within an hour, would you be able to?
J: No, nor would I want to.
RP: How hyped are you for the third part in the metal Crowhurst trilogy and the Roadburn gigs?
One of the two Roadburn sets
One of the two Roadburn sets
J: Like a kid who just learned how to jump off the diving board and stick the landing showing his parents for the first time.
RP: I asked you this back when you made a MetalStorm account when we thrashed your harsh noise wall record, along with another question, which was the only one you actually responded to. So here it is again: "It is very difficult to listen to a wall of noise album with any criticism, because it's very hard to set noise apart from other noise. What makes a wall of noise album better than another wall of noise album, what makes a wall of noise album good?"
J: I don't know. Ask one of the many people who say I'm not good at making wall music.
RP: You've only used that MetalStorm account to reply in the thread for the review of The Mountain Of The Cannibal Goddess and then went offline for the rest of eternity. Why? Don't you like us?
J: If I spent all my time on MetalStorm this interview would be even less special than it is right now.
RP: It seems both our website and metal-archives have been really bad at keeping up with the Crowhurst lineup, as they credit Matron Thorn and Andrew Curtis-Brignell as active members. Just how accurate is that and do you happen to have a full history of Crowhurst's lineup laying around?
J: On Bandcamp, definitely. It's important there's actually a log of that shit. The closest to a lineup there is in Crowhurst is me and Andy, and on "III" his role is much less straightforward than it was previously.
RP: How much of your life do you owe to Terry Funk?
J: Any moment I've ever considered throwing in the towel because it felt like throwing my sweat and blood, night in and night out in filthy basements wasn't worth it. Terry reminds me to always come back. In his words, "always have a kickass good time and never give up".
The letter than Jay received as a reply from Terry Funk
RP: Do you see any Crowhurst records as timestamps in your life, associating them with the things you were going through at the time, considering the massive amount of those?
J: Most of the Crowhurst records play like diary entries to me. It's only now I can go back to a lot of these objectively.
RP: You've mentioned that you don't drink alcohol. Why? How can you ever feel the perfect misery of noise music if you've never slept in your own vomit and drunk texted your ex?
J: I don't enjoy being drunk. I have vertigo and I'm already an asshole. I like reefer and occasionally codeine or what a friend would call "dentist drugs". Getting fucked up is supposed to be fun. Making bad decisions is something I do enough sober anyway.
RP: I saw your 15 Essential Noise Albums and I was kinda surprised not to see any Merzbow record. Do you feel like he is overrated? How do you think his popularity and him being most people's go-to noise artist affect the genre as a whole? What's your favorite Merzbow record?
J: Merz is a great project, but it's like King Diamond. You could be a massive metal head but if you don't fuck with that very specific style of metal then you're not gonna have a lot of feelings on "Melissa". That's not to say the discography isn't varied, and I love Venerology and Merzbeat for very different reasons - but it's hard music to find and to listen to. There's a lot of other entry points to noise that need more attention.
RP: Noise music has not only infiltrated metal, but hip-hop as well, with acts like Clipping., B L A C K I E, Death Grips and Ghostemane. How familiar are you with those and what's your take on the noise approach infiltrating other genres?
J: B L A C K I E has been around forever, and I believe I did a festival show and shared a bill in 2014. Clppng are great dudes, and William Hutson is incredible both solo and with the group. I'm 10,000 percent behind genres fucking and making new genres. We need new genres.
RP: Do you like your steak more rare or more well-done?
RP: deepcuts did a video last year called "Talking About Noise Music" (as well as a guide to get into Power Electronics, but that's not the subject of the question) where he tries to explain to outsiders what noise music is and how to approach it, as listening to noise music is obviously quite different than listening to "normal" music. How do you think a person who has never listened to noise music could get themselves in the position where they could start enjoying it.
J: Same as metal. Find a sub genre of noise that works for you, find an atmosphere that compliments it and go from there.
RP: Also our harsh noise wall discussions pondered the "what is music" quite a bit. With it pushing on the boundaries of what music is, do you think there's any sort of sound that could in no subjective or objective way be considered music?
J: This interview has no rhythm, so if it made a sound it'd be considered a contender.
RP: Does pineapple belong on pizza?
J: I don't care. I prefer a plain cheese pizza. A pizza with too many toppings will never be structurally sound anyway.
RP: A lot of your collaborations seem to have come from you simply asking in an email about them. Have there been instances where you were straight up refused rather than simply ignored?
J: Yeah, twice that I can remember. I'm not going to throw that shade in public, but let's say we've been asked about 100 times to do stuff with a band that's very popular now in the metal and noise world. A member of that band didn't want to work with us but they were nice about it. The other was a musician I was supposed to do a collaboration with, we talked on the phone a bunch, and we seemed like friends. But then he went on tour with a real big band, nixed our split and has spoken to me once since. Sucks, but you can't dwell on that shit.
RP: Is there anyone you're building up the courage to approach?
J: Whoever is editing this interview so I can give them a fucking medal. [I'm waiting for my well-deserved medal]
RP: Other than you, the bands on our website with the most collaborations are likely Sunn O))) and The Body. Who do you think each of those should collaborate with other than with you or with one-another.
J: Sunn O))) with Gavin Bryars produced by Brian Eno. The Body and Saint Vitus produced by Steve Austin of Today Is The Day.
RP: What are the ethical dangers of romanticizing serial killers? Is noise's fascination with the cruel reality just exploration of things other people don't want to talk about or does it get a bit weird sometimes? Probably still miles away from Incels idolizing Elliott Rogers or girls having romantic thoughts about the Columbine shooters, but noise music and the serial killing topic goes hand in hand a bit too well.
J: It's a topic I don't care about. Not knocking anyone who can squeeze blood from that stone, it's just not one of the horrors of the world I have a personal enough relationship to that I can give a shit. You'd have to ask someone who's got more than one album about violence.
RP: How come I can still listen to your music through my noise cancelling headphones?
J: Because you're too busy writing the worst question I've ever been asked.
RP: You talked about documentaries in your interview with Metal Injection. What are your thoughts on biopics and how do they approach talking about someone differently? Would you rather a documentary or a biopic be more factual or "you should never let the truth get in the way of a good story"? Is there a person who you think deserves a documentary or biopic and hasn't received one yet, one that hopefully wouldn't be a massive financial flop?
J: I don't mind a good biopic. It's impossible to get a real story, so getting a good story is the next best thing. Maybe a Merzbow documentary? Or maybe something on Jamie Gillis or Rinse Dream?
RP: You get to time travel for one minute to Vault 7 of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio in Culver City, California in 1965 right before the fire happens. Which film do you save?
J: All of the Fritz Lang.
RP: If you could have any living director direct a video for a Crowhurst song, who would it be?
J: Rinse Dream, aka Steven Sayadian. It'd premiere in Hustler magazine.
RP: Which is the better out of the first two Godfather films?
J: The best mafia movie is Massacre Mafia Style. If you're making me choose between the Puzo adaptations specifically, it'd be the first one.
RP: What's the difference between death industrial and power electronics and harsh noise?
J: Death Industrial is more based around the loop and it's textures whereas Power Electronics seems to be more about the vocal delivery on top of that loop. Seems like there's more of an emphasis on viciousness that overlaps between Power Electronics and harsh noise that touches death industrial less.
A lot of harsh noise is less loop based and linear and follows more of a free jazz philosophy.
RP: The longest Crowhurst record I could find is the 3h20m long Studies In Pessimism. Noise and ambient have quite sparked a discussion (I think the article I read was regarding either Prurient's Rainbow Mirror or Autechre's elseq 1-5) [it was Prurient]. What is your approach to really long albums? Should they be considered a collection of more parts or a test of patience?
The live lineup of Crowhurst
The live lineup of Crowhurst
J: Studies is an audiobook, so it's not meant to be absorbed as an album. When it comes to long albums, it's got to work both ways. Something like our record Speedboat is meant to be listened to in pieces or as a whole. You can't pretend like people are willing or able to invest that kind of time in your shit.
RP: You recently ranted about bands with no stage presence. What was the most entertaining show you've ever been to and what made it as such?
J: Gwar because they're Gwar.
RP: Will we ever see a nu metal revival?
J: If they do, I'll be the first one in line for Methods Of Mayhem tickets.
RP: You've mostly dabbled in noise-related genres as well as sludge and black metal. What are some genres you haven't explored yet that aren't one of those aforementioned that you wish to explore in the future. If you don't want any, consider that you're locked back in the fourth question and you have to choose one to exit.
J: I want to make a beautiful acoustic record, or something that sounds like Unwound or Frodus. If I could be in any band in history it'd be Unwound but I'd be instantly booted for being leagues less talented than everyone else.
RP: I've never been to a noise show. Does it actually smell as bad as I imagine it does and do I get the risk of aggravating my tinnitus?
J: Smells like a basement or stale beer, I guess.
RP: How can I start a noise scene in my city?
J: There's probably already one. Just go to shows and make friends.
RP: Does Slowdive's Pygmalion get too much hate?
J: Slowdive can do whatever they want.
RP: Gimme some of the music I wouldn't expect that you listen to.
J: Janet Jackson's Velvet Rope album is one of my favorites of all time. I love a lot of country. I love pop music. Dub reggae is another genre I can't get enough of.
RP: Should a band's fanbase affect one's perception of the music? What if it does anyway?
J: To an extent. Artists should at least try and prevent their fans from being shitty.
RP: Is a sad song sadder if it's very specific in details or if it's ambiguous enough that you can relate to the overall feeling.
J: I relate to the ambiguity.
RP: I asked a music group what questions should I ask a noise musician. Here are some of the suggestions:
"Ask him to stop." - J: not the first time I've heard that
"What button do they press to make the EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE sound." - J: that's delay set to .01 seconds and max feedback.
"Ask him what his favorite frequency is" - J: 420hz duh
"Ask him if it's easier than making proper music" - J: depends on the mood and collaborators
"Ask him how he is coping with a life of celibacy" - J: it's a living
"equipment/setup" - J: buzz box, meat box, boss PS2, variable speed tape jawn, ipad, holy grail reverb, rat pedal
"How does the creative process of making noise influences his practice of listening in daily life? Does it change the way he experiences hearing and sound?" - J: It makes me astutely aware of production, texture and tone. Listen to the production on Christina Aguilera's 'Genie In A Bottle' and you'll see what I mean.
"i wonder a lot of times if noise musicians like asmr. idk." — J: I don't.
"A good question would be if he feels modern computers have altered the mystique of noise music." - J: Technology has made it easier, but also opened up worlds for people to do much more mystical shit. Dudes like Jeff from Sleep Clinic and Front Line Assembly are like computer geniuses who make music in a way so intense that I can't even fathom it. So much more mystique than pedal pushing.
"Ask him about what draws them to certain types of noise music over others. What makes some of it "bad" versus "good" to them. Also a fun topic I've been exploring in class recently is the concept of storytelling in field recording and musique concrète. Might be worth it to ask what they do (if anything at all) to give their music a sense of movement, emotion, drama, etc." - J: It's like any other genre where compositional skills and an ear dictate what ends up sucking or not sucking. Adding musical concrete elements or field recordings help to add a sense of familiarity or environment to a piece which can definitely create emotional resonance and substance.
"What do they have for breakfast" - J: 3 shots of single origin espresso from Honduras, 4 eggs and 5 strips of pork bacon. Maybe biscuits and white gravy too.
"Ask him if he's OK" - J: Ask Gerard Way.
RP: You seem to have an album for just about any situation. Rather than giving you some movies, I'll give you some paintings, sculptures, buildings and memes and you'll give me the Crowhurst record that fits it best:
J: Image - Burning Ad Infinitum
Image - Memory-Loss
Image - Fuck You Morrissey
Image - Isolator
Image - Give In
Image - Split with TOMB
Image - Collaboration with Darwin Raymond
Image - Studies In Pessimism
Image - Space Race
Image - Black Funeral Atmospheres
Image - Creeping Drip Of Failure
RP: Did you ever have a moment of realization where you looked back at your life and realized that you fucked everything up?
J: The moment you asked me to do this interview.
The upcoming record, III
RP: Mandatory "anything else you'd like to add to your MetalStorm fans" question.
J: Thanks for reading this interview that makes Todd Jones' statement on MetalSucks look like it was written on a fortune cookie. If you made it here, please consider streaming our music on Spotify so we have good numbers to put on social media next year, come out to a gig and buy a shirt and ask your local record store to stock a bunch of Crowhurst shit.
||Posted on 16.01.2019 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.|
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