In times like these we need a band that takes all that is good about punk and metal and combines it into something amazing! Something that is raw and tight and dark and energetic and destructive all at the same time then combining that with lyrics that matter. Lyrics that speak to both the personal and political nature to this world in which we live. That band is called WE MUST DISMANTLE ALL THIS! and they just released an incredible new LP called “Decathect”. It’s been on heavy rotation here at the PE warehouse. We took a moment to sit down with the band and do an interview with them so that everyone else can see what they are all about.
CLICK HERE FOR THE NEW LP…
PE: Lets start with the old standard: how did WMDAT! come about? All of you were doing separate bands before Justin moved to Champaign-Urbana from Milwaukee.
WMDAT: In 2007, Justin, who played in Avoided, was set to play second guitar for Sali and Greg’s drunken, depraved street-punk band Carbomb Lottery. Carbomb broke up before Justin could join and we started Dismantle afterward. Our first practice space was Austin’s tiny, unfurnished room in the basement of a punk house – he had nothing in there but beer cans and a blanket. We kicked his shit out of the way, set up, and then realized he should probably join and play lead guitar – even at 18, he was a sick metal guitarist. Chris’ crappy metalcore band at the time played that house and we recruited him after watching him bolt out black-metal, tortured screams. Chris ended up singing and cutting off 7 years of his life to debauchery and sleepless nights thanks to our collective insanity – Chris loves us for it.
PE: What do you think has been the impetus for the band’s evolution over the years? Early on you had much more of a street punk mixed with thrash metal feel, and nowadays you guys are pretty much an “epic crust” band (though I hate putting labels on a group with so many different influences).
WMDAT: Everyone’s self-evolution has contributed to the bands evolution, be it expanding musical tastes or different aspects of everyone’s personal lives. The D-beat style we now play came out of deepening our appreciation for Scandinavian crust and battling demons – the loss of close friends, addiction, hopelessness, and capitalist culture. The dark melodic style we play now is a better voice for our fears, angers, and frustrations.
PE: Though you guys are all punks, metal clearly has a huge influence on your sound – and Austin is a dyed-in-the-wool metalhead. Who do you think has influenced you the most from the genre, and what are some of your favorite bands? Does it ever feel like you’re cheating on your wife punk with your mistress metal, playing some of these riffs?
WMDAT: Austin is certainly the metalhead in the band. He grew up obsessed with Metallica’s first 4 albums and it was all downhill from there. Justin’s love of punk and thrash challenged Austin as a guitar player and they ended up feeding off each other very well. Justin will write something and Austin can almost immediately find something that sounds cool over it. Our genre mashing results in some pretty sick riffs. We are all influenced by different styles (e.g. Justin: Tragedy, Martrydod, Passiv Dodshjalp, Krum Bums; Sali: Disfear, Anti-Cimex, Iron Maiden, Nausea, World Burns To Death; Chris: Darkest Hour, Tragedy, Total Abuse, Raw Nerve, Tenement, Grave Babies; Greg: Mariah Carrey, N SYNC, and, in general, Puruvian dance hall pop-disco unlimited).
PE: Your lyrics are pretty personal yet also fairly political in nature. They’re also fucking depressing as shit. What goes into the creation of such tormented writing? Chris, being a carnivore, how do you feel about singing some stanchly vegan lyrics at times?
WMDAT: We write about what seems to be destroying people and ourselves, in particular, the consequences of internalizing values esteemed by a capitalist system (selfishness, greed, inequality, murder, and so on), which infect our ability to be autonomous and develop truly loving relations with people and our environment. Sometimes this translates into expressing pure hatred and depression, and sometimes it helps us fight and find possible solutions. The system’s disgusting nature lives in all of us – mostly, it shapes what we find valuable and justifies actions we do but sometimes can’t fucking stand – and so we tend to write personal songs about our experiences that illuminate the killing fields of the system. Chris sings our songs about militant veganism because he’s flexible enough to hate himself – we should all thank him for this. He understands why we disagree with the commodification of slaughter and cruelty towards living creatures, but since he’s a pretty sexy dude so we’re not gonna give him too much shit.
PE: WMDAT! are confirmed road-dogs. What were some of your best shows/venues/cities? Any crazy stories that you can reveal without getting arrested?
PE: Tour has been kind to us over the years. We’ve been to most states numerous times, and we’ve met some unbelievably inspiring, loving, and supportive people, which has really helped us understand ourselves, our music, our collective problems, and our collective advances. The show, the people, and the interactions after the show and the next day all make a huge impact on us – after all, tour is 23 ½ hours a day developing relations with others. Some of our favorite places have been Appleton, WI; Amarillo and Dallas, TX; Binghamton, NY; Providence, RI; and East Bay and Sacramento, CA. A few insane shows stick out. One is our second show in Las Vegas in a little taco joint on the east side. We were two songs into the set and the pit erupted and a group of kids smashed someone’s head open. The taco joint pulled the plug on the show and we were left loading out dodging pools of blood on the floor. Another show that comes to mind is last year in Binghamton, NY. A small living room show packed to the brim with redneck crusties begging for some heavy music. The crowd went insane – people hanging from the ceiling, jumping from this little makeshift bar head first into a crowd of people. We then proceeded to get into fights (nothing serious, just some fools who were being assholes in the pit), break into an abandoned masonic temple, get lost in said temple for almost 3 hours, booty dance, Depth Charge (if you don’t know, you don’t know), and general craziness.
WMDAT: Many of the band have lived in Champaign-Urbana for a good deal of time and have differing perspectives on the punk scene in town. Having lived here myself for over a decade, it has certainly been cyclical and at times disappointing, other times fantastic. What are your thoughts about it?
PE: The first few years we were together, there were sick houses to play, shows every weekend, strong support for local and touring punk bands, and a powerful sense of community. In the last few years, there has been a general disappearance of a crowd that is passionate about hardcore punk. There are many kinds of bands and strong local support as a whole, but only a handful of people into punk. Nonetheless, the punk scene ain’t dead, and we’re far from letting C-U live without some nice, dirty crust.
PE: Justin/Prof. Remhof just got a teaching job in Santa Clara, CA. What’s the future for the band now that he’s gone long-distance?
WMDAT: Mostly the band tells Justin to fuck off, leave his career, and live in a shitty 1999 F250 Ford Cargo Van with the band until everyone’s health deteriorates to the point of welcome, creative despair … or we plan to continue playing and touring in summers, and we’re working on filling the spot for shows during the school year. Until then, Austin will continue to cry himself to sleep each night with a broken heart.
PE: What are all of you up to in your spare time away from WMDAT!? I know all of you have different bands and projects you’re working on.
WMDAT: Sali lives in Indianapolis and spends most of her time running Dead Rodent Records, a screen printing business, and playing in This Is The Enemy. Justin lives in San Jose, teaches philosophy full-time, and has recently joined the grind/powerviolence band Buried at Birth on Give Praise Records. Chris is in Gnargoyle, repping 80’s skate punk/hardcore – recordings coming soon. He is also busy working towards a computer science degree and so has very little time to do anything but the nerdiest of homework. Austin has taken over Justin’s vocal duties for the band Unnerve that he sang for here in Champaign. He loves playing guitar but nothing helps with stress like screaming in peoples faces. Greg drums for Unnerve, and, since he wasn’t able to get his replies for this interview to us on time, we will say that he spends most of his time eating the heads of rare birds, studying locust migration patterns in the South Pacific, and drinking gallons of Four Loko (one of those is not a lie).
PE: That’s about it. Shout-outs and fuck-offs?
WMDAT: Shout out to Ben from Profane for being an ugly helper of a beast. Shout out to all of you who have let us play your house (ripped it apart and put it together again), cuddle your animals (more people need goats), throw up on your floor (and buy us a 30 pack), talk about the universe (especially Pluto), and inspire us to keep writing, touring, and fighting to live well. Shout out to ice beers, cheap whiskey, broken hearts and the people that broke them, without which we may not have come up with some of the shit we’ve written. A huge fuck off to bar shows, sex and gender inequality, income disparity, and materialism.