Preaching the End-Time Message – Eyehategod Interview   Leave a comment

I have to tell you about the Russian undeground community Dirgenera. Dirgenera was started by Igor from RAIG Records to release compilations of doom, stoner, sludge to noise and drone. Dirgenera is very passionate about the music they present so it is with great pleasure for me to announce they have granted us permission to use their interviews here on Doommantia. Thanks goes out to Aleks Evdokimov for setting this up with the guys. For the first interview we have a exclusive interview with Mike from the one and only EYEHATEGOD.

A Welcome Message From The Dirgenera Community
“Hello, guys!!! Greetings from Russia, Moscow!!! I represent Dirgenera Community. We deal with Doom, Sludge, Stoner, Post-Metal, Drone, Ambient and other experimental music styles. Our aim is to support and promote such music in Russia. There are enough people, who are interested in it, there are bands, that play sludge, stoner and doom. Some bands are interesting, some are not, but, anyway, russian sludgy scene is growing nowadays like plants of weed in growboxes, giving birth to new groups and exciting fan`s interest. And it`s rather funny to watch this shit moving around you”.

Mike IX

Well, it`s a great opportunity for all of us /Dirgenera/ to have an interview with EYEHATEGOD. Because you, guys is the real face… it`s better to say the core, the very idea of sludge style. So pure, so frank, true and unpredictable. Without any limits, restrictions, laws. Just pure angry hardcore and heavy depressive doom riffing. The real madness!!! And it`s a great luck for me personally to get a chance to talk to you in this way. I listen to many sludge/stoner/doom bands, but none of them can replace you… not even replace, but evoke any emotions, similar to ones, that fill me, when I listen to E.H.G. I go mad, slowly loosing my mind through your sick riffing, drowning in my depressions, smoking weed alone. “Depress”, “Ruptured heart…”, “Zero…”, “Serving times…”, “99 miles…”, “Jackass…” and, of course, “Dixie whiskey” & “Self medication blues” – I used to take them as a remedy, suffering from a hangover… some hashish, “Self medication blues” and I`m ready for beer again. All these exclamations is an endless stream of emotions. I can talk about EYEHATEGOD endlessly, but we have a definite point. So, let`s start the interview.

-One of your t-shirts says: “Do you like the things of this world, or have they caused you pain?”. So, I`d like to address this question to E.H.G. as the first one. Whose phrase is it? I consider it to be a great way for you to introduce yourself to Russian audience.

Mike IX: Well, first of all thanks for the kind words and compliments, I really appreciate it. Its great to hear from you that this type of music has erupted in Russia and other parts of the world. We took the chance of mixing Black Sabbath with Black Flag and it came out killing so its fantastic to see it grow internationally. I’ll be honest, however, I have no idea who brought that quoted saying to the table. I believe it was our drummer Joey. We used to seek out and steal nasty and sick artwork and words for our own propaganda use and that was something, a phrase, that hit home in our hearts you know. The saying itself is such a true emotion, its something I think we all think at one time or another wouldn’t you say? The image we project is

– Well, if we started to talk about your merch, so there is one more question about it. Who`s the designer of E.H.G.`s t-shirts, hoodies and so on? Do members of the band take part in it? If I`m not mistaken, Mr. Williams makes pictures, collages for album covers himself. Am I right?

Mike IX: Yes, I did all of the art in the very beginning, along with Joey LaCaze also again, and eventually Gary our newest bass player took over for the most part as he has the same aesthetic and ideas as we do. I did the first two LPs, then “Dopesick” I did the cover for and it was banned by Century Media, so Joe did another one. I did “Confederacy of Ruined Lives ” and then “Southern Discomfort” was done by the label, we had no say so in that one. “Ten Years of Abuse” was just a live shot photo cover and for Preaching the End-Time Message” I wrote the lyrics out on the inside and the cover was done by Gary and Jimmy I think. I also did all of the old 7″ single covers and such.

– How do you feel being “The fathers of sludge”? Do you care about it? And who started to use this term first, describing your music.

Mike IX: Hmmm, You know there were other bands that were pioneers in this genre in the late 80’s -early 90’s like Grief, 13, Cavity, Buzzoven, Neurosis even etc… I think we all had the same feelings about music at the same time, but I will always say that we, EyeHateGod were the first to bring it to the absolute foreground and get it some recognition, like touring with groups like White Zombie and Pantera etc… Giving the scene a face I guess. I don’t know where the term “Sludge” came from but its just another tag to me, another label to describe something. Its really not needed.

-You are going to take a tour in December. What do you think about it? What are your expectations?

Mike IX: What can I say, I love living in a van with these assholes I call my friends, I really do. I mean my home life is fantastic, I gotta wife and cats and chickens, ducks and dogs but I do love going out on tour, it’s always an amazing experience, especially in Europe. This is a USA trek this time however, and we always have a great reaction. America is fun as hell to play in, every night a drunken broken hearted spectacle.

-How about a new album? We all are looking forward to get it!!! Have you got any definite ideas how will it sound, look like? Is it in progress? Or, maybe, you`ve got some fresh tracks for a couple of EPs, splits?

Mike IX: I dunno when the new LP will be out to be completely honest with you, if they wanted to go into the studio tomorrow I would go for sure. We definitely have 5 or so new tunes ready to fine tune so we just need to get into a studio and then get a label to back us up and we are set. Hopefully sooner than later.

-How do you create songs? What comes first… “the power of the riff”, lyrics with it`s rhythm and melody, the whole conception of the song, or your music is just an endless jam, divided into particular songs at the end?

Mike IX: The RIFF is the absolute 1st I would say, that powers the band into the next step then we tweak it all together with voice and the rhythms. The riffs come from everywhere, everyday influences and inspirations.

-Who composes the major part of melodies, who is the author of E.H.G. music? And how do Brian and Jimmy share their guitar parts?

Mike IX: Everyone contributes in this band. Our drummer has written guitar parts and came up with song titles before so you see it’s a collaboration and whoever has the righteous ideas, we go from there. I mainly stick with writing the lyrics but I have came up with parts and ideas they all can use. You’d have to ask Jimmy and Brian how they come up with the sharing of riffs. They both have unique sounds that when put together definitely flow well.

-Which guitars and sound equipment do musicians use to create so brilliant unique E.H.G. sound?

Mike IX: Jim has played a Gibson Sonex with four strings since we began in 1988 with a variety of amps through the years, mainly Marshalls or anything loud. I don’t pay much attention to the rest of the band’s equipment.

-Do you have any musical education, or you are self-taught musicians? Especially I`d like to address this question to Joe LaCaze. An amazing drummer with brilliant disorientating manner of playing. Joe, any jazz school? And how old were you, when you got your first personal experience in music?

Mike IX: Speaking for Joey, I’m sure he he only has had self-training. Amazing, huh? No one in the band has any professional learning I don’t believe. I took guitar and drum lessons when I was a kid, but obviously I have no vocal training, just straight up screaming from a punk rock stance…

-Which bands on contemporary USA/ world sludge, stoner scene can you name as the bands, that you like, or interested in? And how do you like it (contemporary sludge scene) in a whole?

Mike IX: I’ve heard a few that I’ve liked, mainly the older groups, the ones I mentioned before, but I couldn’t tell you many new bands I even know of. I don’t sit around and listen to this style of music at all. I listen to mostly bands who have already broken up. My taste would maybe surprise you.

-Why do you change bass players so often? Is it a common practice, a part of E.H.G. style, or just a f***ing bad luck? If I`m not mistaken, Gary Mader is the fifth person who plays bass in your band, so, question to Gary. Gary, how do you feel in E.H.G.? Are you going to stay for a long with the band, or you consider yourself more as a session musician?

Mike IX: Different reasons I suppose. Some have quit, some have been kicked out. Gary’s first show was in Tokyo, Japan and he will be our longest standing bassist since around 2002-3, he is the EHG bassist as far as I’m concerned.

-What`s your attitude to straight edge, guys? According to your art, you propagandize drugs, whiskey and other kinds of fun. Straight edge is a important part of hardcore culture, so, what do you think about?

Mike IX: I don’t think about it. To me, its obviously a healthy way to live I just really never have any thoughts about it. We have friends that don’t smoke or drink, so to us its not a big deal. We’ve shared bills with S.E. bands and had a great time. I was around in the beginning when Minor Threat unknowingly started the whole thing and have seen it turn into another whole deal, more of a trend I guess. It’s not for me however.

-How do you like D.I.Y. as the way of releasing CDs and spreading art? Has EYEHATEGOD ever used D.I.Y. method, or you prefer to deal with music labels? What benefits and drawbacks does D.I.Y. have, according to your point of view, and how urgent is it nowadays, when bands can represent their art on the internet?

Mike IX: We’ve done it both ways and there are benefits to all of it. Record labels though are some times hard to get along with but some times you need the financial backing. Our attitude is mostly D.I.Y. however, coming from early punk and metal scenes in the 80’s. The art scene was meant to D.I.Y. I think.

-Which is your favorite E.H.G.`s album? Which one was the most difficult to create and why? Which one has become the most successful? A few words on this point…

Mike IX: I think “Take as Needed…” is a great album but I like different things about each one we’ve done so thats a hard question. “Confederacy…” is a killer record also. Our first LP “In the Name of Suffering” is unique but I wish the recording was a little better. “Dopesick” sessions were crazy and fun and that one was mixed in San Fransisco so we were out of our element, its a great record though. We never went into a studio with much knowledge on what we were doing back then, more of an attitude of “fuck it” if you know what I mean.

-Have you ever thought about any commercial success? Does E.H.G. give you enough money for living, or it just gives you extra money? Do you have to work, or you earn money only with music?

Mike IX: A couple of us still have jobs but me personally I dont work. We get by in our own individual ways.

-There are two excellent videos in You Tube – “Anxiety Hangover” and “The Age of Bootcamp”. Are they your official videos, or a kind of fan art? And how about releasing a live dvd for example? Aren`t you going to make us happy with it? I`m sure – you`ve got enough crazy stuff from different periods of E.H.G. activity!!!

Mike IX: Those are fan videos, as we’ve never made an official one. We do have a live DVD coming out very soon, it is in the final stages. It’s all stuff from the most recent years however. We want to do a documentary of all old interviews and ancient footage but its a lot of work and we havent had time lately. We need a curator. Also I lost 25 years of stuff in hurricane Katrina. With You Tube these days folks can see anything they want at any time anyway. We have done live DVDs in the past, like the “Live in Tokyo” thing, bit its impossible to find now. Maybe E-bay has it.

-“Cancer as a Social Activity” is the greatest book, written in a very specific manner. Naked, sincere, spearheaded at the core of life without even a chance for a reader to hide behind the curtain of self-deception. Unfortunately, I haven`t finished it yet… Any plans to bring us another one collection of poetry? And do you have any novels? I mean do you write prose?

Mike IX: Oh, cool glad you like it. I have two more dark, negative poetry books written, which once again I dont have time right now to finish editing and putting together. I’ll get it done though of course. I want to eventually write my life story as well and also we want to do an EHG book, with photos, stories etc… I also write for a few different metal/punk magazines around the world.

-If we speak about literature, which books do you prefer? Who are your favourite writers? Which book has changed your life?

Mike IX: I read everything, I especially love biographies. Wm. Vollman, Jeff Vandermeer, Hunter Thompson, Bukowski, Burroughs, Stan Lee, Darby Crash, Nick Cave, Karen Carpenter etc…

-Your attitude to religion. What do you think about it? And your attitude to particularly.

Mike IX: I’m not a religious person at all, but I believe in spiritualism. I’ve taken things from Buddhism, Rosicrucians, Native American Indian culture and a lot of other things when building my certain thoughts. So I do not believe in God or a god, and I’m not an Atheist either because I think its a pointless word. I think Buddhism has a lot of perfect ideas and I dig the chanting aspect of it as well. I’ve tread my karmic wheel, believe me; I’ve paid some dues and now think being cool to people gets people to be cool to you, it’s a fact that actually works.

-Your country has an admirable psychedelic past. I`m talking about 60s, the times of psychedelic revolution and so on. What do you think about LSD, as a kind of psychedelic weapon? Is it the real way to change the world to the better? I mean the scheme: I change my mind and become more positive, my neighbors do the same and more and more people do the same and we get…. …”peace” without cops, political bullshit and “war for oil”. Or you think that people are violent and stupid by nature and neither LSD, nor mushrooms with tons of weed won`t change shit in their minds?

Mike IX: Those types of drugs are obviously good for some people but I do think that most people are violent and stupid by nature and won’t change for anything. Hallucinogenics are not for everybody, as everyone has different thoughts and mind frames. It’s probably useless to think humanity could be saved by these things. It does open doors however, and allows you to see another way of thinking. Peace is a word.

-I`ve heard that methamphetamine is extremely popular in The USA nowadays. Why do you think Americans use it so hard?

Mike IX: Its a horrible drug, but so prevalent here because its cheap and easy to make and make a profit from. Anything can be used in small doses for experimentation, but people are dying over here from that particular substance as it’s extremly addictive and dangerous. Lots of violence over here from these things, drug gangs etc…

-Do you agree, that terrorism, guerrilla warfare are the best ways to express your political, social demands?

Mike IX: Not always. Once again in depends on what the situation is. Sometimes it’s just best to do smarter planning with intelligence and underground scheming and covert activity.

– What do you know about Russia? Any Russian writers, poets, musicians, rock bands…??? Some foreigners think that Russians are hungry, angry, always drunk communists. Rockers and metalheads usually enjoy playing shows in Russia. What do you personally think about us? And would you like to visit our country and play gigs in f***ing cold Russia?

Mike IX: I have heard of heard some Russian music and writing, Dostoevsky and such, but I’d like to hear/read more. I know of a band called “Schlam” that sent me some songs. I don’t like to go by stereotypical things, but sometimes it’s all you have to go on, right? I do not believe in these traits truly though. Of course I would love to visit your country and play some shows, that would rule!!

-Anyway, you guys don’t look like gloomy, sorrowful freaks in spite of the music and art that you perform. As for me, all your “sick riffing” looks more like a kind of self-irony, or black perverted humour. How can you describe yourself as people behind the scene? Are you married? Do you have any children? Your hobbies? Do you like pets? Do you like to travel?

Mike IX: We have good senses of humor and like to have fun, but that doesn’t mean we ain’t all miserable bastards at one time or another, that’s for sure. Shit happens. We have all those things you mention, I am married to great girl who saved my life and all love animals, liquor, music, art, books, and life…

-Thank you for the interview!!! And the last question. What is EYEHATEGOD for you? Only music that you like to play with the poetry that Mike likes to sing? Or E.H.G. is a kind of direct action, an act of terrorism, committed in a form of art, a double-barrelled gun, pointed at a fat cop`s face? And if it is, always remember: we support you faithfully!!! Living on different continents, we stand nip and tuck, fighting our common enemy!!!

Mike IX: EHG has become a way of life for us and still means all the things we meant when we started the group, confusion through art and propaganda through contradiction. Destroy society as it stands!! Fight the good fight! Thank you all for being our brothers in this war, beat down normality and convention. It’s brave new world out there we can let our kids know that things can change if the earth doesn’t self destruct soon! Drink and be merry!! See you one day!! Thanks for the I-view!!

Good luck to you!!! Cheers!!!
Dirgenera.Ru
Sergey Dovlatov – project coordinator
Konstantin Gosha, Eugen The Brick – text, design
Original Russian Text Here
EyeHateGod @ Myspace

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Posted December 25, 2010 by doommantia in Eyehategod

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