Putrefaction are definitely one of the more interesting bands in Ireland today. It’s been 5 years since their great demo ‘Destroyers’ (http://www.mediafire.com/?1zdwfutzoh2) which really gave them time to master their craft. May 2012 saw the release of their debut album ‘Blood Cult’ on vinyl. It’s been called ‘Mad Max’ crust, a great term. But to give and idea of the sound I hear SEPULTURA mixed with HELLSHOCK, but in saying that it’s obviously very much their own sound. So while the album is being pressed I spoke to Eric and Eoin from the band about the new album, life in Ireland, and the world we live in.
PE: I read recently that vinyl records are better environmentally than CD’s and DVD’s. That albums are usually never discarded into landfills due to their increasing value. And that unlike other plastics vinyl brakes down naturally in comparison. So the first album is vinyl only, is it because of environmental principles or are you all vinyl nerds? Do you think there is a future with download only releases?
ERIC: WOW. i didn’t actually know that! well its vinyl only mainly cuz vinyl is our favourite medium and I guess it’s the most common/loved format in the diy punk scene. Personally I have always hated cd’s and I’m just getting to grips with downloading stuff. We’re gonna make the lp available for download too. Tapes are great too. We released our demo on cassette. A lot of this argument comes down to privilege I guess. I mean if you can afford vinyl that’s great but that’s not the reality for a lot of punks all over the world. On the other hand, vinyl is the best way to get across art work, lyrics etc because of the size and to me it sounds best. I reckon a good compromise is to do vinyl and download. In previous bands I’ve been in we had our stuff re-released in Eastern Europe and Asia on cassette cuz at the time that format was more affordable for people. That’s also an option. Still for me you cant beat that big slab of wax with a shit load of inserts, posters etc. A lot of my politics were informed by bands putting that kind of effort in when I bought records as a teenager like CONFLICT, SUBHUMANS,OI POLLOI etc. The environmental side you’re talking about is definitely a plus. I always feel like a hypocrite slightly in relation to any project that involves mass production. Its so hard not to support some bunch of bastards or fund some form of ecological exploitation, whether it be tapes, vinyl, stickers, paper etc. We debated this quite a lot when it came to making t-shirts and decided on spending the extra money on non-sweat shop, organic, reliably sourced cotton t shirts, which Tom (KILLER SCREENPRINT) was thankfully able to sort out. You do what you can to escape the mega machine, but its fuckn difficult in this day and age..
EOIN: Well the first thing for me is that I just really dislike CDs, horrible things they are .I’ve never been a fan of any format apart from tapes but they aren’t really viable these days. Vinyl is still going strong. I think I only really like it because you can cram a load of extras stuff in there!!! To be honest, although I still buy vinyl releases from time to time I barely listen to records. I mostly listen to music on mp3 player while doing other things rather than actually sit down and give it my full attention. I’m easily distracted! Some pioneers are releasing music in new ways like a download code on t-shirt/poster/mug/whatever, it seems really tacky to me but in some ways it probably makes sense. At least you’ll end up using whatever the physical object happens to be!
PE: It’s being released by a few different labels, is this to better
distribution/release costs with vinyl being a bit more costly to produce? And who
did the recording and where?
ERIC:The recording was done by the mighty James Eager in THE HIVE in Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow. We have always recorded with him as well as with our other bands. It’s a brilliant diy studio and James is a fuckn great person for the job. The reason we have 4 labels involved is partly due to spreading the costs and partly due to distribution. Distroy and Underground Movement have been on board since we recorded almost a year ago and recently Phobia from Czech and Rat Bone from France have stepped in too. We feel very lucky to have these 4 individuals involved and we definitely couldn’t have done it without all of them.
EOIN: I’d add that the record was mastered by Enormous Door Mastering who did a great and importantly a cheap job! This was the first time I’ve been involved in releasing something where we had it mastered and the difference is massive, especially for such dense, distorted music.
PE: I see lyrically Dublin/Ireland where you live is brought up. Do you think it will be rid of it’s catholic run, industrial ways? Are things just getting worse? Do you think a geographical region can influence good music? What has been your influence from music to film?
ERIC: Well as far as musical influences go, we all come from different slants. We started being extremely influenced by the darker side of Swedish d-beat like BOMBANFALL and DISCARD as well as Japanese masters such as BASTARD. Of course the old raw SEPULTURA records as well, and over the years we’ve definitely been listening to more old Swedish Death Metal like NIHILIST and CARNAGE. At the end of the day though, we’re fuckin punks, and that won’t change.
As far as film is concerned: MAD MAX 2,BURST CITY,LE DERNIER COMBAT and STALKER By Andrei Tarkovsky is all you need to know!
On this record the lyrics are kind of a mix of topics such as war and the corporate interest behind it, the desperation, violence and drug reliance visible here in Dublin, as well as the parallels between organised religion and organised economics with the same results of subjugation and slavery. I try to write lyrics from a somewhat personal/regional perspective, so yea there’s one or two about Ireland specifically and the industrial scale abuse and murder carried out by the Catholic church here. Some people comment that the upside down crosses in our artwork are very ‘black metal’ but for me, coming from Ireland, they are a fucking political statement against a culture of systemised rape and incarceration against the young and poor by church and state. I don’t think things are getting worse in this respect as people are finally being brought to task over all that shit but they’re not getting better. Economically, Ireland is worse off than in the last 50 years. Mass unemployment, mass emigration and a government hell bent on bleeding the population dry for the sake of European banks.
In terms of a geographical region influencing music, yea I definitely think so, and I’m generally far more interested in hearing about local struggle and perspective than a recycled diatribe about a war you know nothing about(although we’re probably guilty of that too!).
But yea, for example bands like INSERVIBLES from Mexico who sing about the struggle of the indigenous in mexico or the violent treatment of women in their society. Every region has a new perspective to add. I just wish more bands would..
EOIN: Ireland is getting less and less Catholic but obviously not in favour of a more open minded and less repressive society! We’re currently in a major recession with a number of large banks
collapsing in 2008/9, the Government came in to guarantee them, leading to revelations of large-scale corruption and irregularities in the affairs of the banks and Govt. ministers. Fast-forward
to now, the poorest people in society are taking the brunt of “welfare reforms” and loss of services while the richest are even better off now than when the recession began.
PE: Is there a good sense of community in DIY underground scene in Dublin. Has it opened up a bit musically with death metal, crust and hardcore crossing paths music wise and gig wise? I thought ‘Filthfest’ had a great mixed crowd. The one thing that
has happened though is you see crusty punk types now wearing Burzum t-shirts, do you think people leave politics at the door when it comes to music?
ERIC: Yea I’d say there is a good community here. What we really need is a large social space so we can break away from the shitty pubs. There is a collective organising to start a diy space at the moment, so fingers crossed! There’s also a renewed squatter movement so things are looking up in that respect. I’m generally happy with the cross-over of scenes. It has had ups and downs though and has thrown up a lot of interesting questions and conflicts regarding the sexism and racism that definitely exists in the metal scene. Not to say that the punk scene is exempt from this either, but it’s made us examine that shit and has led to some confrontations. On a positive note, a lot of really great people from various other scenes have become involved and it’s resulted in some deadly projects and bands being started.
I do feel that there is a reluctance to commit to a political stance these days. It’s almost trendy to be apolitical, which is a luxury in my mind. If you’re a straight white, middle class man of course it’s easier to leave politics at the door. This go’s way beyond ‘who is wearing what t-shirt’ in my mind, something which I think can trivialise very real issues. That said, there are some great projects and collectives that are connected to the punk scene here such as GIRL GERMS, ANTI-FASCIST ACTION, WEREWORMS, The WARZONE CENTRE in Belfast, our collective space THE KARATE KLUB, and loads more..
EOIN: Most of the punks I know who wear Burzum t-shirts, do it because they think they’re being mad and blowing people’s minds, I don’t think someone wearing a ‘dodgy’ band t-shirt is leaving their politics at the door necessarily, just that they like attention. The
recent cross-contamination of punk and metal scenes has been really healthy for music, loads of great manky sounding bands are springing up now. I would say there are very few people in the DIY metal scene with extreme right ideologies, some would have had flirtations in the past, as in “Fuck you mom, fuck you dad, I’m a Nazi!” (the sentiment can be equally be attributed to punk) some simply don’t care what ideology the music they listen to might be espousing, whether it be right or left. There may well be some who have to keep their fascist views secret for the very real threat of serious fuck getting kicked out of them.
PE: Any tour plans to coincide with the LP? Have you done many other gigs outside of
Ireland, your playing on a small island in Scotland in July aren’t you?
ERIC: Please invite us to your country people! Yea we’re gonna tour Ireland as soon as its out. (A gig on a mountain in Donegal would be nice Sean!).We’ve only ever played outside Ireland at Shit Town Fest in Copenhagen and at GGI in the Netherlands but we’ll hopefully be able to organise a European tour soon.
Yes we’ll be playing at WEE Fest on the Isle of Cumbrae in Scotland this summer. Hopefully we’ll get to burn a cop or two in a wicker man.
EOIN: We really want to get touring but wanted to wait till we have a recent release, it’d be a bit weird only having one demo from years ago on the merch table… Touring from Ireland can be pretty expensive as you have to get off the island to start with, but
hopefully when the record is out we can start planning stuff.
PE: Only a pleasure to interview Putrefaction, do you want to finish the interview
with your own words? Or mention any of the other bands members are in aside
Thanks again Sean. We really appreciate you taking the time to interview us. So other bands I’m in are CONTORT(Noize Punk in the vein of CONFUSE/GAI/GLOOM with a hateful Dublin slant) and RATS BLOOD(HC Punk with a love of DISARM/TOTALITAR). I was also in EASPA MEASA who just broke up but we’ll have a last recording coming out soon. Donal is also in COMPLAN(7 Seconds/80’s pop sensations) and SODB(Black Metal for the punx, sung in Irish and Sicilian.
EOIN: Cheers for the interview boss. Other bands I’m in are FAG ENABLERZ GERMSEY 80’s style HC)and NACHO’S MODERN LIFE (Dillinger 4-ish pop punk).