Meth Quarry are a caterwauling, pandemonium inducing wrecking crew, the aural equivalent of a notch in a killer’s belt in some old western that you see and know it represents someone gunned down, footage of a crumbling building, a force of nature, hardcore. They are screams and brutal grooves to rival the most excessive metalcore but wed to the historical merits of hardcore, grind and sludge with a white eyed insistent fury that keeps things raw and urgent.
It’s always important to catch bands on the way up, be it thrash or hardcore or emocore or whatever. Those are the ones who sometimes believe the most and are bleeding and sweating for the cause, hungry to impact the audience.
Meth Quarry may be new on the scene, but they have already gotten heads to turn with a psychotic live set, riffs from hell and…the cherry on the top : Their new debut album Irreverence. Guitarist Chris Smith is also an accomplished underground poster artist and record art designer. Catch his stuff at http://burzum.deviantart.com and to read our interview with Chris Smith click HERE.
How did Meth Quarry form?
Chris Smith: Meth Quarry started between me and our other guitarist, Kevin Hogue early in 2012 after we met at a local show here in Pittsburgh. We started jamming and the direction of the band wasn’t especially clear at that point – we flip flopped all over experimenting with different things. We both really wanted to start a hardcore band, pretty much. Our young friend, Joe Maccarone of the tech-hardcore band Moths was initially in the band and proceeded to embarrass us musically because he’s too good. The name came about when we were all at Taco Bell joking about rural Pennsylvanians mining meth and other illicit activities. Thus, I said “it’s like a METH QUARRY out there…”. It took forever to put the whole band together but we continued to write material as we added members. There’s some pretty hilarious stories and situations while doing that. We added our resident “idea” man and bassist, Aaron Kaczynski next followed by our singer Adam Bailey – dude has a venomous voice that is straight nasty. We finally found our drummer last – Brandon “Fluffy” Baker, and MQ was complete. We debuted live in late December of last year and have been playing ever since. We just played our anniversary show with Congenital Death from Philly.
What are your goals as a band?
For Meth Quarry – I suppose just to make energetic, catchy, and heavy music that we like to hear, regardless of trends. Also play live and tour some as well, and put out as much music as we can. Meth Quarry is and will be my primary musical outlet. I have another band I started with my bassist, Aaron, and talented drummer Chris Grillo called Hindsight. We specialize in heavy 90′s style hardcore ala Harvest, Despair, Strain, Trial, and One King Down. It’s shaping up to be a really fun project – we are working on some songs now and will hopefully record and play shows soon too. I’m also in the development stages of forming a brutal grind project with drummer Mike Rosswog (Complete Failure/Today is the Day). That should be down right insane – I’m not entirely sure I can keep up with him, the dude is an absolute machine. The project will be somewhere in the Nasum, Rotten Sound, Napalm Death, Gridlink, Nostromo realm. Aaron is also in the newly formed peace punk band, Silence (with Dusty from OhShitTheyreGoingToKillUs), and alternative band, Jericho Theory.
What were some unexpected events in metal 2013 you still think about?
There’s usually so much stuff going on in music in general it’s hard to keep up – I’m always finding new bands that are great however – so you can’t say music is dead, that’s for sure. I suppose if I had to pick a highlight from last year it’d probably be Carcass putting out “Surgical Steel” – I was really excited about that as I’m sure many were. I wasn’t necessarily as skeptical as some that the record would just be another Swan Song (which I actually do like) – but I’m thoroughly happy with it and think it’s the essence of what Carcass is. It’s got a little bit of everything. It was also nice to hear that new Gorguts album – that’s also killer.
“Gloom generator” is such a cool name for a song or a spray paint Tag. reminds me of the old Shadowrun RPG, hahaha. It is also my favorite slow riff of the band. This shit crushes!
Haha, thanks! – I love naming songs and albums – even if it doesn’t have to do with the lyrics, necessarily. I could see Gloom Gen as a tag, I suppose! We will be increasing the groove, catchiness, and heaviness for the next releases, but we will still have quite a variety styles going on due to our different backgrounds.
I like the punk rock drum sound on this with the meaty guitars and harsh vocal. Did the band know what you wanted to sound like or was it just rage?
It’s a bit of both – for “Irreverence”, we were sort of testing the waters studio-wise. We knew we wanted this release to sound pretty raw but still produced well. We knew it had to be heavy, but realistic sounding. We ripped through the tracks 2 takes each, live in studio, to capture the energy. It’s definitely not perfect – and there’s some things on our end I’d like to improve. I had no idea what it was going to sound like when it was finished, but it was cool to see it progress from recording, to mixing, to mastering. We may track the next effort – we’re not sure. We will definitely track our full length after this 7″. I haven’t been in a studio since I was younger – and since this is the band I’ve always wanted, it was great to get the stuff recorded and hear it. Working with Chris Ruane (Fist Fight In The Parking Lot), John Dziuban (ex-Sistered), and Zach Moore (Hero Destroyed) was a great experience. We couldn’t ask for anything more – they were very accommodating and helpful. The release was a bit rough around the edges, but bands are a process – you sort of mold into form as times passes through trial and error. All in all we are happy with it and excited to get the next one done!
What is your favorite part of metal these days?
I hold many forms of metal and hardcore close to my heart – for all the bad stuff (in my opinion), there’s tons of good stuff – you just have to look in the right places. I like seeing younger kids getting into music and being really passionate about it. It shows me that though there are a lot of jaded people out there that don’t support anything, but there’s still tons of people that really love music of all kinds and support bands of all sorts. Also – Music dictates fashion in many cases, even if we don’t like to hear that. It can be really annoying sometimes. Music shouldn’t be about fashion (in entirety), over labeling, and worst of all egos. I’ve met mostly very nice and helpful people while being in this band and doing art – but there’s always that handful of stuck up pricks that have that “I’m better than you” ego. People and bands can get really cliquey, uppity about gear, and down right pretentious. That’s totally uncalled for – who do you think you are, Metallica? You’re not, you’re just a bunch of dumb hipsters. Meth Quarry may be low on the totem pole – but we always try to be on time, professional, helpful, and good to others. There’s enough assholes out there.
What do you see as promising about art in the music world these days? I like the great attention to packaging detail lately. For example, the cover art of the Divine Circles record is gorgeous.
As you know, I do art for music as my job for Grey Aria Design Studio. I have to say “it (art) really ties the room together.” Pardon that Lebowski line there, lol. I’ve loved the connection between music and art/design for a long time. It’s why I still have to have the physical copy of something – be it the vinyl, cd, tape, shirt, poster or what have you. Good art and design emphasizes that a release is even more worth owning. It doesn’t always pay the bills but it definitely got my name out there and got me more and more work. I view design as art as well so I like reminding people that I do work for that I’m a designer as well and less is more sometimes. I try and use my design skills more than my illustrative skills for Meth Quarry in most cases as well. “Irreverence” was a gritty photo tour of the funeral home I live in. Our next 7″ – “The Sinking of Spirit”, is also photographically based, on the front and back cover. I’ve also done the cover for our future full length, “Worry” – and that’s all digital collage and illustration/design. I get pumped when I see great illustration and design associated with music. I love 90′s design quite a bit and really dig when things have that feel. I also love doing art for bands that tricks the listener if they’ve not heard it before, thus giving the album it’s own persona and particular feel. For instance using soft pale colors and some mild photography for a grindcore release. I’m currently working with Jeff Lohrber (Enabler/Today is the Day) on the art for Enabler’s new release as well as some stuff for PA grinding hardcore outfit, Black Mask.
B&W photo by Brain Wilson. Live color shot by Gareth Lomax.