Metal In Ruins: Hey guys! Thanks for agreeing to this interview! I just want to say your music is excellent and is indeed, the shit. Let's start with our first question. I heard you guys had anamed after you at Kuma's Corner, is this true?
Erik: Thanks for the kind words, my friend! What you heard is true. The burger on special this month at Kuma's is the Northless. Luke (executive chef at Kuma's) checked out our record, and liked what he heard. So, he decided to make a burger in our honor. We finally got to go down to Chicago as a band the other day and taste it, and I can say without any bias that it was easily the best burger I've ever had. To my simple palette, it tasted like an awesome Indian curry mixed with a Wisconsin butter burger. Complex flavors, but overall just a great tasting burger with some heat to it, which I dug. So yeah, we're so thankful to Luke and all at Kuma's for the honor!MIR: That's great! glad to hear. Now your recent release Clandestine Abuse has been released on vinyl only so far, any chance of it being released on disk?
E: Indeed. We've been in talks with our pal Dave from Barbarian Records(www.earwaxwisconsin.com/Barbarian_Records.html) about releasing a CD version of the album. We're hoping to have it out sometime later this year, but there's no for sure date yet. In the meantime, the LP comes with a download card so you can actually download really high quality mp3 versions of the tunes for your iPod or what have you.
MIR: What was the inspiration for Clandestine Abuse? What does the artwork Symbolize?
E: The basic concept behind the album is about someone forced into their own death by existential misery. I know, that sounds really fucking pretentious, but that's what it is. I've had a lot of negative experiences in my life, particularly in the last 5 years, and I think it all finally just culminated here with these recordings. Each song has different meanings for me. "Clandestine Abuse" is really about all kinds of abuse, nothing specific, though I am a child welfare social worker for a living so some of the inspiration did come from all the fucked up, abusive situations I've seen over the last 7 years. But really, most people I know abuse themselves in some way, be it physical or mental, and they always hide that pain and anguish they feel until they can't hide it inside anymore. A lot of times it then manifests in various ways. People in the modern world are being pushed to the brink. I'm way more angry and angst-filled at 30 than I was at 20. The wiser you get, the more fucked up shit you see around you, and the more you realize there is nothing you can do about most of it. We live in some really shitty times right now, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a societal collapse in the next 10 to 20 years, possibly sooner.
The artwork for me is the incarnation of pain and misery, the Masochist, if you will. He's a man like any other (though he appears to work out and be in very good shape, haha), who carries something inside that leads them to destruction of others and eventually himself. The fire symbolizes the driving force behind his anger, as well as his eventual demise, from sinking into the bowels of the Earth, or possibly in Hell if you believe in that kind of thing.
With all that said, I hope the people who are paying attention take their own meaning from these songs, if they care to. Just because it means something to one person doesn't mean that's the only interpretation.
MIR: Now Erik, people have said that your voice is so powerful and amazing on this record, how did you get to such great vocal power and how do you feel about peoples words on that?
E: Where are these people that are saying such nice things about my vocals? Haha. The only comments I've read about my vocals are about how they're "crap" or that I sound shitty or whatever. One guy did say I sound like John Caution from Weekend Nachos if you slowed the tape down, which I accept as a huge compliment as I'm a big fan of that band. But anyway, I do appreciate the kind words.
Vocals for me are about singing from your guts and your heart, and just going for it. I try to use as much of my diaphragm and as little of my throat as possible, and just go for volume and thickness. On our 2nd tour as a 2 piece band, I completely blew out my voice to the point where I couldn't talk for several days, so ever since then I've worked really hard on developing control. I love death metal and all that, but to be honest, I just don't really like the way those vocals sound over sludgy metal. I prefer listening to vocals that sound like a pissed-off guy is just going for it, as opposed to some dude who is cupping his hands around the mic and making insect noises or whatever. My favorite vocalists are Mike Williams from Eyehategod, Scott Kelly from Neurosis, and Kirk Windstein from Crowbar. Those guys just sound powerful and pissed, and loose around the edges in the best possible way.
MIR: this is for the whole band. Everyone has a guilty pleasure, a band they absolutely hate to love, what's yours?
E: My wife doesn't listen to metal, so I get to hear all kinds of shit that I would probably never check out on my own. I'm a big fan of Eddy Grant...You know, that "Electric Avenue" song and that tune from "Romancing The Stone"? Yup, that guy. He rules. His music just puts me in a good mood immediately. Although I guess he's not really a band...But that's probably the least metal/most embarrassing thing I listen to. Nick and John both said something about Billy Ocean...they're silly.
MIR: thank you for taking the time to interview with us, we hope you enjoyed this experience. I'll see you guys at Inherent Records April 19th! before we go we want to ask. How big do you see Northless getting within the next few years?
E: Thank YOU for wanting to interview us! It's been our pleasure. We're really stoked for that Inherent Records show, it's gonna be awesome and I swear, we're gonna make it this time!!! That's an interesting question. To be honest, I have no idea how well known we'll get or whatever, and I'm not really concerned with that. There are so many bands out there right now. It's saturated. I think there are tons of jaded people out there, that don't like anything or act like they don't for whatever reason. They don't care to check out new music. It sucks, but at the same time, the people who stick around and continue to support good music are the ones who matter, so fuck the rest. My only desire is to make records that I am proud of, play with good bands, play really fucking loud, and just have some fun before I die. Anything beyond that is a bonus.