“We’re not a political band. Of course it touches on political subject matter. If you want a theme for the band as a whole it’s…we’re all fuckin’ screwed.”-Kevin Baker
The intoxication of power fuels the rage filled, Entombed Core friendly batshit awesome GOD IS WAR (Southern Lord), the anticipated full length debut from All Pigs Must Die. Featuring members of The Hope Conspiracy, Converge and Bloodhorse, APMD have been setting the underground ablaze. With one of the most insightful and ferocious LP’s of recent memory and an upcoming Power of the Riff appearance (also featuring Pentagram, black cobra, Eyehategod, Winter, Masakari and more) the APMD boys are taking names.
The band released their self-titled debut EP on their own Nonbeliever Records in 2010, and has toured regionally over recent months, already amassing a die hard legion of followers eager to rip into GOD IS WAR. Fans of Today Is The Day, Trap Them, Jungle Rot or the above mentioned bands will be nuts for this.
Click HERE to read a talk with vocalist Kevin Baker (one of the greatest voices in hardcore) about this new, metal leaning warhorse of a band.
MORGAN Y. EVANS: GOD IS WAR is more metal than some of your past bands but still has a lot of what I loved about Hope Conspiracy. It’s abrasive and intense. How is it singing for this project versus older bands?
KEVIN BAKER: It’s definitely more metal tinged stuff than Hope Conspiracy was. The feel of the music, y’know, dictates the subject matter of the songs and how the phrasing works.
MYE: Or what it brings out in you?
KB: Yeah, yeah. When we did it there was definitely a conscious vision to be over the top heavy and not overly technical. Really kinda blunt. Like a sledgehammer, really. That’s the only way I can try to describe what we were going for when we did it. As far as I can tell it’s the best the 4 of us could have done based on what we wanted to go for. Everyone is really stoked on the end result.
MYE: It has live intensity, which is something I always admired about your records. Your bands have always had a chaotic spontaneity even in the songs that are more studio. Balancing the anarchic spirit with pre-written stuff. I know with Hope Conspiracy you threw in a quickly written song on ENDNOTE at the last minute along with much more worked out material. How did it work for APMD? Did you just go at it with the writing process?
KB: Some songs we wrote (laughing) in an hour. Some songs we worked over with a fine-toothed comb. Some songs the subject was already in mind and the words were pretty much put into place in under an hour. Other songs took me weeks to put the finishing touches on it. I think that’s cool. The mix of songs that are real urgent and spontaneous and the other songs that feel like there is more going on. It creates an ebb and flow to the record. You can get that punch to the gut but there’s something else that also makes you come back.
MYE: “Third World Genocide”, I was watching the footage of you playing that at SXSW and it was awesome.
KB: Thank you.
MYE: I wanted to ask about the subject matter. The record touches on a lot of struggle, death and catharsis.
KB: The primary subject matter of the band is basically mankind consuming itself. Song by song. There’s a personal outlook on things given the subject matter and some of them are just the subject itself. Like “Third World Genocide”. What’s that noise?
MYE: Motorcycle just went by. Hold on. I’ll shut the window. I’m on an open porch. There’s a two year old inside who wants to beat on a drum. Ok, that’s better… the song idea?
KB: I was watching Youtube videos on Somalia. A tribe was moved off their land and were starving refugees wrapped in whatever cloth they had to cover their bodies. Living on the same piece of land with nowhere to go. Flies crawling all over them and in their noses, ears and mouths. The subject matter from song to song is always man’s inhumanity to man. The ideals that are put in place to pit us against each other. I’m not trying to pick sides. We’re not a political band. Of course it touches on political subject matter. If you want a theme for the band as a whole it’s…”We’re all fuckin’ screwed.” The songs themselves are just things that happened in the world. People choose to love their lives and stick their heads in the sand. Play with their Iphones and knock up their sixteen year old girlfriends. Perpetuate the fuckin’ problem. As a whole, everyone in the band is on the same page as how it views the world and how we perceive society. It comes out in every song.
MYE: I know about how you came up with the band name and the Animal Farm aspect but of course people are thinking about it related to cops.
KB: That’s the thing. People are so fuckin’ surface level. Most people don’t even know what they’re talking about when they open their mouths. It’s face value. Judge the book by its’ cover and move on. That’s how pop culture is. That’s how things are marketed and the majority of the culture is. The name is not a cheap anti-cop reference. A pig is “mankind” in general. Corrupt motherfuckers that walk on the people of this world. People that get the power and in the end it’s walking on others. There are corrupt politicians or police officers of course and you also get the other end of the spectrum right down to people who deal drugs or victimize others.
MYE: Corrupt rock n’ roll promoters or record labels or even bands! (laughing)
KB: Exactly. It’s the whole spectrum. We could sit here all day and say, “this is a pig” and “that’s a pig”. That’s the point. Humanity as a whole is a beast. All pigs must die. I’m not a negative person. This is one part of my personality. This is the outlet. This type of stuff, what we’re talking about now. That’s why it exists and that’s why it’s meant to be. It’s an outlet for the things we think fucking suck about the world and in general.
MYE: I was thinking about how GWAR used to dress up like the X-Cops and how they must have gotten a lot of shit touring for that from police. I was wondering with a name like your bands and the way people misinterpret things, are you worried about getting harassed on tour?
KB: If it happens it happens (laughing). The second the government tells me what I can or can’t say then we are all in trouble. If you don’t like something you don’t have to like it, buy it or fucking talk about it. Go on with what you do like. People love to pay attention to what they don’t like. As far as bands or our band name. I don’t waste my time with shit that I don’t like. I don’t fucking talk about how I think Lady Gaga sucks and is a pariah who uses gay culture to prop herself up and get rich. It’s my opinion but I’m not gonna go on and on and on about it. I don’t fucking care.
KB: People need to fuckin’ move on. Don’t pay attention to something that doesn’t matter to you.
MYE: Censorship trials like PMRC used to inadvertently help sell MORE records.
KB: The right wing Conservative Christian culture in this country is so on the rise. It goes to show that here it is, 2011 and it’s the Dark Ages all over again. Islam and Christianity battling over Jerusalem or some shit. The fear this culture lives in on a day to day basis is fuckin’ unreal. The record title GOD IS WAR actually came from the book BLOOD MERIDIAN. When it comes to writing songs, I’ll have things I already know I wanna write about but when I need a hand I consult Matt who plays bass. He writes the majority of the songs as far as the music goes. He’s the one at home right now writing song after song on Garage band. He’s unbelievable. He devours books and is extremely well read whereas I have about half a thousand half read books in my house right now. I’ll pick them up where I left off in…a year or so. It’s just how I am. I can go to him and say I need help thinking of something to write about and we’ll usually get something going. He brought up a character in BLOOD MERIDIAN who references “War is God”. We flipped it around…GOD IS WAR. The book is about the white man killing all the tribes for manifest destiny and making way for the herd behind them. You can apply that to so many hundreds of other things that have happened in different wars. One race destroying another in wars for territory. God isn’t a man in the sky. God is nature and man is a force of nature. With man comes war because we’re bound on this earth together with a slew of ideologies that are continuously at odds. It’s impossible for there to ever be peace on Earth amongst man. I believe this. As long as man walks this Earth there will always be conflict.
MYE: One of the saddest parts of the Bible is the Tower Of Babel where God decides man has too much hubris and is building the Tower too tall towards the heavens and just creates a million different languages amongst them and then they all start fighting.
KB: Right. Right.
MYE: I read that as a kid and thought…”That’s fucked up.”
KB: The Bible as a book is man trying to explain things at the time because modern science didn’t exist. Creating order and control. Obviously it did that because (laughing)…look at us today. It’s what they set out to do. With all the actual facts that exist that people choose to ignore, it’s so disappointing how people have blind faith. They’ll dive into the deep end with something unproven but things that are proven are ignored. They can’t believe in it. Create their own world. The Nazis did it. Any time they didn’t agree the books were burned and history erased. If you want to control a group of people, destroy the past to move forward.
MYE: There’s so much weird history. I’m reading SPEED, SPEED, SPEEDFREAK by Mick Farren and it talks about how they gave pilots and soldiers speed to be “super soldiers” in WW2 and Hitler and even Presidents took it. Captain America and The Red Skull were metaphors. They didn’t want soldiers to sleep or eat or need rest. They are making this big Hollywood Movie and it’s a metaphor for speed. You could run for days and not need to rest to stop killing.
KB: (laughing) Yeah. Yeah. It’s amazing.
MYE: How is Southern Lord for your band?
KB: I’ve been a fan of the label for years now. Anything I have bought from them has just been great. The product they put out. The packaging. It’s a cohesive thing. Even if the bands don’t sound anything alike there’s cohesion. We started the band and were gonna self-release the stuff. We didn’t have any ambition and weren’t gonna even play out. Get together, write songs and give ourselves an excuse to hang out and release the stuff. Throw it out there. When we did that we hadn’t played a show when the EP came out. We got an email out of the blue from Greg Anderson to tell us he loved the EP. HE asked what we’re up to. We said we do the band as a project and everyone has jobs and other priorities. We have songs written and are gonna record them in December. To make a long story short he saw our live performance videos and I told him if there was a label with this band we’d ever wanna work with it was Southern Lord. He was stoked and we were totally blown away by it. We think Southern Lord is a proper label, especially for underground and metal and hardcore.
MYE: They’ve kept their integrity where a lot of labels have been bloated.
KB: Right now the label is reaching out a bit more and signing stuff like NAILS and BLACK BREATH and stuff. It’s cool. I think everything that comes out is really solid. We’re just stoked to be a part of it.
MYE: It’s all bands that hold to the aesthetic of valuing integrity.
KB: The next generation of bands very influenced by what the label has done in the past. Her put out an Electric Wizard record that I think is fuckin’…awesome! Most Black Metal I think is a fucking clown show.
KB: It’s a guilty pleasure, most of it. But the stuff he’s put out has a punk, crusty edge to it. That band Craft, I don’t know if you’ve ever listened to them…they’re just fucking AWESOME. Really a big influence on what we do.
MYE: What do you hope people get from this or is it more about making the statement?
KB: Honestly, I was never interested in what people took away from it. We didn’t give a fuck whether they were gonna listen to it or not. We like these songs and wanna play them live. If people are psyched on it and pick up on it and write to us, that’s really awesome. It’s a validation of what you’re doing, but as far as what people can say about it…they can take away from it whatever but I’m most interested in the people who get it. You’re not gonna win everybody over. It’s a small group of people who want heavy music with substance. We’re not a goofy death metal band talking about fucking a dead girls’ corpse. That’s for 15 year old Juggalos that live in Indiana. I’d like to think what we’re doing…Yeah, the subject matter is grim but it’s based off stuff that’s real. We have a good time doing this.