Tuesday 22 September 2015

***ALTAR OF COMPLAINTS exclusive interview***

When I first started this blog and Zegema Beach Records I noticed a name that kept popping up in facebook groups, band submissions and record orders - JESSE MOWERY. Attached to said name is one of the most solid people I've ever encountered. Jesse has played in a plethora of bands and continues to do so to this day, my favourite of which was ALTAR OF COMPLAINTS. Jesse sent me this band's first/final full length 'A Sea of Decency With Some Swells of Greatness' and I lost my shit. Before I go on another Dave tangent and fill up a few thousand words, I'll just tell you to read the ALTAR OF COMPLAINTS discography review and all the random thoughts I have here.

This post was birthed to let you all know about the new 4-way split 12" with ALTAR OF COMPLAINTS, Thetan, SeeK and Stubborn Father. It is being released on Meatcube Label (north america), Kakusan Records (europe) and LongsLegsLongArms (japan) on September 29th. Until then just stream it in its entirety here. I've had the mp3s for a few months now and I can definitely say that this is a killer release. I can't wait to get a physical copy!

1) How did the split come about?
The split has been in the works for over 2 years now. We had been wanting to a split with our friends in Thetan, and also wanted to a split with a Japanese band, and then Dan from Thetan told us Ryan from Meatcube wanted to do a 4 way split with 2 Japanese bands and 2 Nashville bands, and so our wants were fulfilled with one release. Ryan found the Japanese bands cos he's a nerd about Japanese music.

2) This 12" is special in terms of the production of the vinyl, how so?
Dan from Thetan has his own mastering thing called Black Matter Mastering, and in the past year has been doing some really cool stuff with etchings and stuff. The label on the vinyl has raised etchings, I can't remember what is on it though, but he's done a lot recently for Off Cloud Nine Label that are beautiful, and has been working on playable etchings and just all sorts of weird stuff with vinyl. Dan has always been a positive force in the Nashville diy scene since before I was in it. His old band Moral Decay was a huge influence on my old band Dawn, and Dan took us high schoolers and showed us the possibilities of diy by recording us, releasing us and other local bands, showing us how to screen print, helping us play out of town, among other things. His label Anti-Corporate Music Inc. is basically the only label in Nashville that puts out more extreme bands of the hardcore/grind/crust/black metal variety and has been mostly local oriented. He's slowed down on the label and doesn't really go out to shows too much since he has a kid now, but he still is doing more than most people for the scene there by providing great cheap mastering and awesome affordable vinyl etchings.

3) What would you like to say about your songs as well as the split itself?
Our songs on the split were written in very different times of us being a band. "Leif" was one of the first songs written by Roy and Justin before I started playing with them. "Alone In the Middle Of All That Madness" was one of the last songs we wrote before recording our first album, the song is "inspired" by the guy who walked the tightrope over Niagra Falls, most of the lyrics and the title being quotes from the commentators. "Tuffcoupleoctopus" was one of the first songs written as a 4 piece, I'll come back to this song though.

4) What were your influences during this writing period?
We all had our own individual influences, but Roy, Elias and I all drove from Nashville to Murfreesboro together to practice so we spent our drives listening to Nitro Mega Prayer, Mihai Edrisch, Mahria, Envy, Tristan Tzara, Gameness, Mew, the cabs, Capsule, Dip Leg, Kaospilot, Kulara, and La Quiete, plus others. Justin tends to listen to mostly jazz, metal, and old rock n roll, but that was cool cos it made it so we didn't sound like the things we wanted to. Elias joined us in the middle of recording our first album because we realized we sounded empty, but having a badass bass player helped us move forward as a band too around this time.

5) "Tuffcoupleoctopus"...wha?
"Tuffcoupleoctopus" is a weird one. The song was created from Justin playing a New Orleans jazz beat, and Elias started thumping along with him. Somehow we winded up with the rest of the song, including homages to Kulara and Iron Maiden on ecstasy at the end. The song was so fun to play and all over the place so we just kept it. We had too much fun naming our songs, sometimes spending more time debating the name than it took to write the song. I was trying to say tough snuffleupagus but ended up saying Tuffcoupleoctopus, and we kept that name in the reserve until this fitting song was born.

6) I heard you were on some MRTEX tour. What's the deal with that?
Oh I dunno, some guy who writes some blog and runs a label asked me to play bass for MRTEX, so I put a bass amp in a suitcase and took a bus from Nashville to NYC, took a train to Long Island to meet up with the band, practiced for 2 days, and went on a 10 day tour. It was easily one of the coolest things I've been a part of, our tourmates People's Temple Project instantly became one of my favorite bands, and I got to meet a bunch of people I only knew on the internet besides you.

7) How did you meet and get involved with Christer and his label as well as Ryan Lewis of Meatcube/Cease Upon The Capitol fame?
Christer I met on an online group and we talked a little about music, and then he told me Ryan had asked him to help release the split, which is awesome. Ryan we had all known for years, he was originally from Nashville and Roy played in Sanctions, Cease Upon The Capitol, Baldwin Mass Suicide, and Robber Barons with him, plus ran I've Come For Your Children Records with him too. I first met him when i was 17 and my old band played with Sanctions and ended up doing a split with them a few years later when we changed our name to Dawn. He helped record my old band Karoshi, during which he turned me onto a lot of Japanese and European bands that I still listen to constantly. Since we had been friends with him for so long and at the time were the only screamo band in Nashville we talked about him releasing us, but he couldn't help with the first album so we put it out ourselves, but he offered us to be on this 4 way and we have been excited about it since.

8) What would you like to say about Altar Of Complaints post-mortem?
Altar of Complaints was one of the best experiences I've had playing music. I've been in at least 15 bands, and at one point was in 7 with 3 practicing weekly and touring. Before I started playing with them I was getting too serious with my music, getting frustrated when things didn't turn out how I wanted, not thinking about the compromises that come with doing stuff with other people with different schedules and concerns and influences. I saw Roy at a show in 2010 and we talked for a long time. He ended up telling me him and Justin had been jamming and that I should join them, but over ANYTHING it was about having fun. Once I started playing with them it brought me back to why I play music, which is cos I enjoy it. I had forgotten how practice was one of the most enjoyable parts of being in a band, if not the best. It was great for a long time, including once we added Elias, even though there was a big age gap, since he was 18, I was 25, Roy was 29, and Justin 31. Many dick jokes and dumb jams happened. I started having a lot of big losses in my life and near the end of us as a band, and it started to be a hassle getting everyone together, so Justin called it a day, which I was very butthurt and upset about for a while, but I now realize was a good thing for everybody. I miss it though, those dudes will always be some of my favorite people in existence, but I doubt we could ever play together again, especially since Roy doesn't practice.

9) You've just moved to Virginia with you partner, tell us about that.
My wife Jazzi and I just moved to Richmond, VA with our friend Nikki who plays drums for us in our band Van Hagar. Jazzi and I had spent our whole lives in Nashville for the most part, and the city has nearly doubled in population in the past few years and has become more and more expensive without wages or anything like that growing, so we moved so we could afford to live. We had been to Richmond on tour and had booked a bunch of bands from here, so we decided to try it out. It's wonderful so far, but we're still settling in. We're planning on starting more bands as soon as we can though. It's exciting to live in a place where there are so many bands that I love from the past and present.

10) What is next for the former members of Altar Of Complaints and Jesse Mowery?
Currently Justin and Roy play in Subjects/Rulers with Matt from Dolcim/Cease Upon The Capital/Baldwin Mass Suicide. Justin plays old rock n roll with his family a few times a month too. Elias plays bass in Chasm Of Teeth and Phoebos, who are both comprised of mostly the same people, and is part of the hip hop group BZRK. I play bass in Van Hagar, and I'm hoping to find people to help me turn my solo project Apostles of Eris into a full band, but if not I'll just keep recording by myself. I've got a few jams in the works with other people that will hopefully lead to something, but I'm definitely trying to do more musically, especially now that I'm in a place where I don't feel like I have to book shows for shows to happen.

Jesse, I love you buddy.

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