Brain Slug Interview

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I first saw Brain Slug at our favorite small venue called the Crunch House. Most of the kids were there for East Beast, but everyone was taken aback with the first chord Brain Slug played. I have listened to their self-titled nonstop since then. 

How did you guys come up with your name?

Wiley Jack Mitchum: Gore came up with it. We wanted something memorable and what’s more memorable than a bullet in your head.

Gore: On the subject of names; I am heretofore no longer known as Gore anymore because biters are trying to jack my style and I gotta stay fresh.  It’s Gravel Teeth, now.

Who are some of the biggest influences on your sound?

Wiley: It’s sort of a New York hardcore smorgasbord really. Some days we’re writing and we’re really in that early 80’s, stripped down, almost punk but harder type thing it’ll be the obvious of type of shit like United Blood, or Victim In Pain from AF. But on another day we might try to write something that’s more part-y like a Raw Deal or Outburst song. The truth is we’re not trying to get stuck in one particular sound and try to bring in as much influence as we can to liven things up and keep people interested.

Gravel Teeth: I think at first we were just throwing things against the wall, then got more focused and PATENTED our NYHC meets Brooklyn Punk style with the demo and 7″, and since then it’s been a lot about not repeating ourselves, hence the extended wait for a new release.  Personally, it’s always been about doing a Citizen’s Arrest style on the vocals, but now I’m trying to somehow merge that with the lyricism of say… GZA or Rakim… just let myself go crazy on the delivery, but have some seriously well-crafted phrases and structures behind it.  I 100% over-think my part and I know nobody cares and just wants to hear my screech while the mosh part kicks in.  I encourage it.

What was your favorite show you have played so far?

Wiley: For me it was with the Cro-Mags & Sheer Terror. The room at Highline sounds really awesome and big, they have a crazy system so I could actually hear everyone for once. And then after we played I just sat back and took in two of the best bands currently out there. Perfect night.

Gravel Teeth: How is somebody gonna play with Cro-Mags and Sheer Terror and then try to act like that isn’t the highlight of their life?  After that, I gotta give it to Philly w/Double Negative and Leather.  I had busted my ribcage and ankle a little while before that, but the gig had the perfect vibe with the crowd being into it and the rest of the band cranking that I didn’t even feel the pain… the best shows, for me, are the ones where I completely blackout and get so physically into it that I just expel everything that’s built up inside of me from being forced to live a normal life… after that gig, outside in the summer air, I told Wiley that I felt completely emptied out and just totally blissful… it was a legit spiritual experience.  Fuck y’all if you think that’s cheezy or something.

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What is the songwriting process like for the band?

Wiley: Me and Fuckface do a lot of jams. Usually goes one of two ways: we either sit at home with a guitar and just riff to death until we feel we got something worth hearing, or we just freestyle and record it and pull together the parts that work. Then we get Gravel Teeth in to start putting words to the music. And lately our new-ish second guitar player Potato Slims has been soloing over the shit once the structure is down. Lots of demoing though.

Gravel Teeth: They write a song, ignore my suggestions, and then tell me exactly how to phrase words.  Just kidding.

What are the main themes of your songs?

Gravel Teeth: Man… this question is hard to answer… if anybody wants to know what we’re all about, they should just watch True Detective… my man Rusty Cohle has all the answers.

When we first started, I was just writing about whatever popped into my head, so there were no “main themes”, but two tracks from the demo that I think touch on what would become mainstays of the Brain Slug Philosophy are Weak Flesh (man’s mind being separate from, and at times in conflict, with his own body) and Worthless (the illusions of civilization and it’s values system).

The 7″ is where I really feel like we really put our “main themes” out there.  Side A is what we are all about as hardcore dudes – being an honest, even when, and especially if, it isn’t going to win you any friends (Gag Reflex), being from New York (Distort New York), and balancing being a respectful prince of peace without letting anyone fuck with you (Crunch Time).  Side B gets more esoteric with meditations on mortality (My Rites), and karmic cycles within a world of violence and depravity (Red Circle) ; which is pretty much where people will find we’ve gone thematically with our new material.  I try to blend those sides into a good balance and I think Annihilate Me (from the CREEP single) is the perfect example.

When can we expect new music?

Wiley: We’re hoping to have everything done this summer for our LP, but good things come to those who wait. Just hopefully not much longer.

Name 3 bands/musicians that you would want Brain Slug to play with? Like your fantasy line up.

Wiley: If it’s fantasy line up? Well then like a prime Bad Brains, when they were still young and dressed like they did in that At The Movies video. Think it’s from 79 or something? Full of energy and not full of hate yet. Warzone with one of the crazy line up from 88. Like go find the Crazy But Not Insane video where Raybeez has a ski-mask on and there are flying V’s on stage. And maybe Madball before Freddy even hit double digits cause that would just be insane to witness.

Gravel Teeth: Soul Swallower, Midnight, and Deathcycle.

Shout outs?

Wiley: The mighty Altered Boys, of course, Pleasure Industry, the Razorheads / Ugly Parts crews, Bleeding Edges, Failure Recordings (our CREEP//Annihilate Me single is coming out on 7″ from them soon), and Black N’ Blue cause we’re hype to play the Bowl.

Gravel Teeth: The only ones we got respect for is the motherfuckers we say peace to.

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Listen to Brain Slug HERE



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