Combining forces with The Body, Full of Hell have returned with yet another collaborative full-length effort. Following the release of Full of Hell & Merzbow back in 2014, One Day you Will Ache Like I Ache sees the band exploring new realms. With its 8 nightmare-inducing tracks delving at the threshold of extremity, the band further reinstate their fantastic ability to push boundaries with each release without ever repeating their last move. Whilst on their latest european tour alongside The Body, I got a chance to meet up with Full of Hell guitarist Spencer for a quick interview.
You recently got back from Roadburn festival, how did that go?
It was awesome. I think we were one of the faster bands to play. I think we might have been the only grindcore band to play besides Repulsion. The rest of the bands were Stoner, Sludge and experimental bands. We also got to see G.I.S.M.! As soon as I found out that they were playing Roadburn, I called Dylan at 6am and said we have to make sure we stick around to see their show. It was absolutely amazing, it was perfect!
To get to you latest release: you’ve just put out a collaborative record with The Body, bearing the title One Day you will Ache like I Ache. What was the idea behind the bleak album title?
The title is a reference to the band Hole. That was an idea from Lee (Budford, The Body). He’s more into 90s’ alternative music and he suggested it so we went with it. He just liked the phrasing and said it would be perfect for the album title. Dylan and Chip wrote the lyrics and said that it fit the lyrical themes of the record.
Can you tell us a bit on the creative and collaborative process for this record? I understand that this was a spontaneous collaborative effort.
Yes, we had just finished up a six week tour and we were going to finish off in the studio for a week after that. I don’t think anyone had any actual ideas, we just went in there and one of us would come up with a skeleton of a song to which each person would add their bits of ideas. We would be like “Alright, let’s start this song with an electronic beat” and then someone else would come up with an idea to add on to it. We kept doing that until we actually fleshed out the songs.
Given that this isn’t your first collaborative release, how does this collaboration differ from your previous collaborative efforts?
Well with the Merzbow collaboration, he had basically sent us one solid hour-long track. With the rest of the members we basically had written an album together, and Merzbow told us to do whatever we wanted with the material he gave us. So it was basically our album, but then we took touches of what Merzbow had done and put it together. So writing that record was “easier” but it was also more nerve wracking because Merzbow is such a legendary artist. With the Body, like I said before, it was spontaneous. It was a little bit stressful and there were some butting of the heads because of so many people throwing ideas on the table at once. With Merzbow, the stuff was written and we were just adding ideas from each other before taking what he did and lacing it throughout. So this record was more stressful in the sense that there were no ideas, whereas the Merzbow collaboration was stressful because we had to live up to so much expectations.
You’ve also done some shows alongside Merzbow from what I’ve heard.
We’ve actually done two sets with him. We did a set in Tokyo, and it was the first time we had ever met him in person. There were no ideas. We just got up on stage and just jammed. For the second time, which was at the Incubate festival in the Netherlands, there were still no ideas, but we had to fill a set time of an hour. We played for an hour straight, no stopping, just improvised jamming! He doesn’t really like to play songs. Even when you watch him collaborating with Boris, they’re just playing their set with him just adding whatever he wants. With our sets we wanted to watch each other and bounce off each other in a spontaneous, Jazz-like fashion.
Having run into the guy a couple of years ago, I’m guessing he isn’t much of a talkative character. Did you get to discuss certain aspects of the album or the live sets with him ?
With the album development, which was a year long process, we had maybe talked to Masami himself three times and we talked to his live collaborative drummer. The live collaborative drummer is actually responsible for setting up the collaboration, he’s the one that got it in motion. He was just like “yeah, go for it” and Masami also said “Do whatever you want”. With the live things, Dylan and I would kind of suggest how to build on top of each other to flesh out the live sets, especially the one at Incubate, but for the most part it was just eye contact and little body signals to say which persons starts doing what. With any suggestion he was just like “alright, that’s fine with me” (laugh).
To get back to your latest collaborative record, could you tell us a bit on the magnificent album artwork?
The artwork is based off of the Tower of Babel story. It was done by Bo, who used to play in a grind core band called Dead in the Dirt. We wanted him to do a Nick Blinko, Rudimentary Peni Style of layout. We had originally asked Alexander Heir aka Death Traitors to do the artwork but he had really busy schedule, so we got Bo to do it. Dylan gave him some lyrical references and he mapped out this idea and kept showing it to us. It’s basically his ideas based upon the lyrical references we gave him.
You’ve included a Leonard Cohen cover in the middle of the albums’ track list. What sparked off this idea to reinterpret this particular track?
I think Dylan had wanted to cover a more folky type of song for a while now, and the collaboration was so open-ended that we actually do something like that. I don’t think we could do a one-off cover as Full of Hell, but since this was such an experimental release, Dylan suggested to try and keep it true to the cover while at the same time adding our touch to it. It’s all the same notes and everything, it’s just slowed down ten times. He wanted to do that song in particular because it fit with the rest of the lyrical themes that he had written for the other songs. It’s basically just a guitar, Dylan and Chip trading off on vocals and some samples. I think Chip learned the song in the studio, on the spot, and just recorded it on the spot.
For this current tour, Full of Hell and The Body played separate sets. Is there a chance we might see both bands perform the record onstage or is One Day you Ache Like I Ache a solely studio project?
Actually we have a couple of tours coming up in the US and at the end of the summer we’ll be planning out a full US tour as one collaborative band. Since the songs were so spontaneous, we’re probably going to have to rewrite the songs for a live setting. There are so many layers to the stuff so we’re going to try and flesh out the songs for a live setting while staying as close to the recording as possible. We’re probably going to do some other stuff like play one of each others’ songs live as a full band. We’ve also already discussed some other covers to do besides the Leonard Cohen cover. So we’re going to tour out and meet with The Body to practice for a week and figure out a set of songs we want to play. We’re not going to be able to play the album in full, some of it was just so spontaneous and impossible to recreate, but we’re going to stick to it as closely as possible.
Are there any plans following this release?
We just recorded two songs for an upcoming split and we’re also in the middle of writing a new “solo” LP, we’re about 5 songs into it.
Could you name one of your favorite albums, movies and books?
I’m going to have to skip on books because I don’t actually read a ton of stuff. My favorite album is actually Pinkerton by Weezer, which is surprising I guess. It’s got my favorite guitar tone of all time; out of any band, it’s got the thickest, most dense guitar tone. I don’t really have a favorite movie but I know as soon as we’re done with the tour, most of us want to go see the new Marvel movie. It’s not a favorite but that’s one movie I’m looking forward to seeing when I get home.
(David walks in right in time to answer the question)
For albums I’ll name a new one. I think the Pissgrave Suicide Euphoria album is the best raw death metal album that’s out right now. The most recent book I’ve read thats’ sick is The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker. It’s the Hellraiser novel that came out before the movie. It’s so sick. My favorite movie of all time is Phantasm. It’s the best horror movie ever. It’s got 3 sequels that are still good, but it get a little off. The first one is the most perfect horror movie I’ve ever seen. As a kid I’d watch it nonstop, my dad gave it to me when I was super young, probably nine. I just loved it.
A huge thank you goes out the band, to the booking agency and to Matt for making this interview possible!
Full of Hell