Monday, April 25, 2011


Can you introduce yourself and what your role is in Robocop?

My name is Ryan Page. I play guitar, along with various electronic instruments (mainly wave form oscillators) and one of the three vocalists. I also write the lyrics for the most part, and do the design work for the band.

How did Robocop form?

I was in a super market getting something to eat, and Tom came up to me and asked me if I wanted to play in a power-violence band. I immediately said yes, even though I didn't know who this guy was. I honestly didn't think anything would come of it, but in a few weeks he got in touch with me.

At the time, I was trying to get a live version of my other project, Body Hammer, going, but something about it wasn't working for me. Anyway, I had been trying to do that with Luke, so when our band needed a bass player, I thought it would be a chance to play in a band with him, which I had wanted to do for a while. A month later we recorded our demo.

What is it like being a band in Maine?

It's pretty difficult. Most of the support exists for bands that emulate popular bands. I'm sure its similar everywhere, but because most nationally recognized bands don't come up here, the next best thing for people are bands that sounds like them.

The way I see it, there's essentially three or four camps as far as punk/metal/hardcore goes: The stereotypical punks who spell it with the letter 'x', the hardcore guys, the metal crowd who's goal is to be sponsored by monster energy drinks and tour with trivium, and the “arty” portland scene that's sort of the exclusive hipster thing that imagines its cool because its only a year behind the curve rather than the 10-years-past-its-expiration-date metalcore that gets played up here.

That said there are good people in the scene. Some of the people into hardcore are exceptionally nice guys, and for a while there was an attempt to build some kind of community up here.

Essentially though, we kind of fall through the cracks because we're not really committed to any scene or aesthetic other than our own internal ideas about what does and doesn't work.

You released “Robocop II” on J. Randall’s label Grindcore Karaoke, how did that come about?

I'm not really sure how Jay first heard us, but basically, I received an email one day where he mentioned that he had been following Robocop and Body Hammer, and offered to release something for me. At that time we were coming to the tail end of the process for Robocop II, so it was perfect timing in that sense. I've always been a fan of ANB and from what I can tell Jay and I have similar interests, especially in regards to noise. We've talked about doing a noise recording, I think that would be really cool if that worked out.

What was the writing process like for “Robocop II”?

About half of the songs written for Robocop II came from our demo, and on the demo a few of the songs were partially written by Tom for another project. So it was somewhat complicated. I believe the demo was written before Luke joined, but of course he writes bass lines that are different from what I'm playing on the guitar. Its difficult to say when these songs were fully formed. “Fed to the Wolves” and “Maine is The Bastard” were written after he joined, but I believe everything except the noise tracks was written in 2009.

What was the recording process like for “Robocop II”?

The recording and mixing process was really hard on Luke and I. It took over a year, and we never felt completely satisfied with the results. We recorded it ourselves, by using our own equipment or borrowing it without asking from the school we're attending. Unfortunately we had a lot of equipment failures, and the computer we were recording on had errors throughout the process. We lost an entire session because of this. We tried again, and had similar errors, but somehow we got through it. The process was complicated because we had to record extra percussion for the record (gongs, timpanis, etc), and electronics for certain songs. We also were tracking the guitars for most of the songs because the recorded guitars didn't sound great. It look a long time to get the recording in decent shape and there were times when I wasn't sure we were going to finish it.

What are some of the lyrical themes on “Robocop II”?

The lyrics and extracted quotations are a variety of perspectives that range from fairly straightforward songs like Skramz and CBMP to quotes from Baudrillard and Ballard, and songs with more complicated and compressed ideas like Feminism Uber Alles.

Initially when I first joined the band, I was writing lyrics to fit the simplicity of the music we were writing, and to a certain extent what is expected in hardcore. I think initially playing this kind of music was a bit of a stress relief, and was a break from the more serious works I was doing, and to a certain extent, in Body Hammer. However, the full length became such an extended and painful experience that the lyrics and designs shifted to match that. Because the recording process was so fragmented, I wanted to take advantage of that, so that the album would at the very least be consistent in its sporadic nature.

I guess I will summarize, I think the lyrics reflect a general paranoia, and distrust, especially in regards to codified scenes or ideologies and those that use them to define themselves. There is also a sense trying to make sense of the large number of symbols we are constantly bombarded with, and maybe an attempt to find patterns in the chaos.

I think the best way to listen to this album is pattern recognition. There are a large number of allusions to other works and ideas from a variety of sources with the intent to overwhelm the listener. I think this was partially to match the effect of the music. In a way they are very similar, the music is a large number of sounds compressed into a short time frame, and the lyrically there are a lot of concepts compressed into a small number of words.

I've heard it described in various ways, but I tend to think of writing lyrics as similar to the act of computer compression. The idea being that if you have access to the same information it is easier to communicate a vast number of ideas merely by invoking a reference to them.

What music influenced “Robocop II”?

The Endless Blockade, Sleep, Japanese Torture Comedy Hour, Discordance Axis, Black Sabbath, Napalm Death, etc.

Who are some of your biggest personal musical influences?

I enjoy twentieth century composers like Stockhausen, Cage, Iannis Xenakis, etc. I also like a lot of metal; Doom, Black Metal, some death metal, a bit of thrash, etc. I'm a big fan of older hardcore bands, I enjoy powerviolence quite a bit. There are quite a few grindcore bands I like. Italian soundtrack music... I could go on for days.

I'm not really sure where the influences come from musically. I don't like the pretense that somehow my band was influenced by music that it clearly doesn't sound like, or doesn't share a philosophy with, but there are a variety of artists who have influenced me indirectly.

What albums are you listening to now?

Big Black's first couple 7”s. The new Gridlink. The Endless Blockade. Kool Keith. The sub-bass hits coming from my jock neighbors' apartment.

Are the members of Robocop in any other bands?

As I've mentioned before, I have Body Hammer. I also compose music for film soundtracks, and create electroacoustic compositions. Luke is in GiantGiant, and Tom plays in We Are, The Vulture and Divide and Conquer.

Does Robocop have any plans for the future?

We're currently working on a new split with Detroit. After that we'll be playing a few local shows and possibly doing a short tour. In August I'm moving to California to work on my masters degree.

Any other comments?

Thank you for setting this up. I believe this is our first interview as a band.

Thanks to Ryan for the interview! You can buy "Robocop II" here and download it for free here. Also thanks to Luke Kegley for the awesome original artwork, you can check out more of his work here.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Hatred Surge-Deconstruct

If I had to pick the perfect soundtrack for last week's tornado, I would pick this. This is one of the best, heaviest, and just plain awesome albums I have heard in a while. Hatred Surge are a powerviolence band from Austin, Texas founded by the ex-bassist of Insect Warfare, Alex Hughes. The album starts off with a cool, sort of "spoken word" mash up, but then the pounding, sludgey guitars come in and you know you are about to get your face melted off. To put it simply this album is just unrelenting and intense. One of my favorite things about this album is Faiza's screaming vocals. Faiza's voice sounds like she is yelling and screaming, unlike many metal female vocalists who sort of growl and sound inhuman. Sadly she is no longer part of the band, but Insect Warfare's Rahi(who also guests in two songs on "Deconstruct") has taken her place. I also really love the sound of this album, it manages to sound raw and clear at the same time, and really showcases Hatred Surge's intensity. I really can't say anything negative about this album! My favorite songs on this album are Infinity, Sleep Terrorizer, Lethal Pedigree, and Out of Balance. Overall, I think this is a great album, that has a lot of playback, and I am looking forward to hear some of Hatred Surge's other work.

My copy is on black vinyl, which also includes a lyric insert. The record sounds great and I love the artwork and layout! This is also the first 12" that I have gotten that plays on the 45 speed. What Hatred Surge split, ep, etc. should I check out next?

~Andrew Lipscomb

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Kylesa-No Ending/110° Heat Index

I ordered this two song e.p.(four songs on the CD version) after hearing Kylesa's excellent albums Static Tensions and Spiral Shadow. When I played this record for the first time I was taken back at how different it sounded than the aforementioned albums. If I would have heard this record and not known that it was Kylesa, I wouldn't have even known who it was. Unlike the Kylesa I was used to this album didn't feature the dual drumming attack, the melodic guitar playing, and many other signature sounds that Kylesa is known for. The singing is also a lot different and more raw. The first song "No Ending" is my favorite song on the album. It begins with some cool trade-off vocals courtesy of Phillip Cope and Laura Pleasants, it then goes into this more laid-back part that sounds like the modern Kylesa, this part doesn't last long and it goes back to the pummeling drums and trade-off vocals almost immediately. Up next is "A 110° Heat Index", which begins with some cool guitar playing, and then goes into into the dual vocals. I'm not really a fan of the vocals on this song, but the music makes up for it. Overall, this is a pretty solid release, and I am looking forward to hearing more of the old Kylesa.

My copy came on solid white vinyl and includes a lyric insert. This is also some of the best packaging of a 7" that I have ever seen, the artwork is a amazing and the Kylesa logo is stamped in gold foil. Also thanks to Luke Kegley who drew the amazing picture of Laura Pleasants, you can see more of his artwork here. Expect to see a lot more original artwork to accompany my reviews.

~Andrew Lipscomb

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hiroshima Vacation-Demo

Hiroshima Vacation is a hardcore, grindcore, powerviolence, or whatever you want to call it, band from Ithaca, New York. The current members of the band are two brothers, Tenor and VII Caso, VII also has a great YouTube channel that you should check out here. Now back to the music, this demo straight up rocks, how could it not with a song called "Bashin' Emo Kids"? This is one of the best bands I have heard in a long time! The music just doesn't let up, as soon as you hear the first song you know this is going to be an awesome demo! To be honest I was really surprised at the quality of this demo, from the great riffs, sweet vocals, unrelenting drumming, to just how catchy this album is. This album also has great production that manages to sound clear and filthy at the same time, which really suites the music. This band demands attention and I can definitely see HV becoming one of the next great hardcore, grindcore, powerviolence bands in the future. To Live A Lie Records should definitely check these guys out. Some of my favorite songs on the demo are "I Hate Everyone"(which is probably the most hardcore influenced song on the demo), "Take Away Their Power", and "Destroyed".

~Andrew Lipscomb

You can download Hiroshima Vacation's demo for free here.

Multinational Corporations-Equality(Demo)

From the moment that I first glanced at the track listing of Equality, I knew I was going to be getting some politically charged music. With titles like "Presidential Castration" and "Immolating the Parliament", and the fact that the band is from Pakistan, how could it be anything else? As soon as the music began playing I was instantly reminded of old Napalm Death, and that is a great thing. The first song "Presidential Castration", clocks in at around five minutes, and is the first and longest song on the album. It features some awesome mid-tempo riffing, spoken word samples, a variety of vocal styles, and is also my favorite song on the demo. Next up is "Immolating the Parliament", which is a fast paced, more straight forward old school death/grind song. My only problem with the song is that it seems to end abruptly at an awkward place. Finally there is "Pakistan Zindabad" which is audio from newscasts put over some acoustic guitar playing. I really like this song, but towards 1:15, it sounds like the newscast/guitar both mess up. Another problem I have with this demo is the recording quality. I mean I am all for some lo-fi grind, but this album sounds like it was recorded through a laptop's microphone. Overall, I think that this demo is pretty cool and I think Multinational Corporations' have a lot of potential, and I am really looking forward to hearing more from them.
You can download their demo from here for free.

~Andrew Lipscomb

Spazz-Crush Kill Destroy

Wow, this album is great. This is the first album that I've heard since Magrudergrind's S/T album that I just can't stop listening to. Much like Magrudergrind(who are obviously influenced by Spazz) this album features some hilarious samples and is an all out assault on the ears. From it's blazing fast tempos to it's more mid-paced groove parts, this album just kills! I love everything about this album, the amazing bass playing, the insane drumming, the frantic guitar playing, and most of all the deranged vocals. The thing that sets Spazz apart from most bands is the variety of vocal styles in their music. From the highs, to the lows, and to the almost cartoonish singing, it all fits goes together perfectly. You should definitely check this album out if you haven't already.

I bought the vinyl reissue that came out last year. There were 500 copies pressed on yellow vinyl and 500 pressed on red vinyl, my copy came on red vinyl.

~Andrew Lipscomb

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My Favorite Albums of 2011(so far)

1.KEN Mode-Venerable(Profound Lore)
When I first got this album I wasn't really into it. Then a few days later I picked it up again and gave it another shot and began to love it. This album is definitely a grower and after hearing Venerable I am stoked to hear more from them.

2.Victims-A Dissident(Tankcrimes/Deathwish Inc.)
I hadn't ever heard Victims before this album, but they were always on my "Bands To Check Out" list. So when I saw that they released their album on Tankcrimes/Deathwish Inc. I knew I had to get it. This album is some great Hardcore/Crust and once again this album is a grower.

3.Robocop-Robocop II(Grindcore Karaoke/Name Like His Master)
Man, this album is great. It's sick powerviolence with some awesome sludge/noise parts mixed in. It is a perfect balance of powerviolence/noise, think of The Endless Blockade.

4.Noisear-Subvert the Dominant Paradigm (Relapse) This is another great grindcore album, which features Bryan Fajardo, who also plays drums in Gridlink and Kill the Client. This album sort of reminds me of Discordance Axis and Brutal Truth mixed, which is definitely a good thing! Another great thing about this album is the twenty minute noise track by J. Randall(Agoraphobic Nosebleed) called Noisearuption.

5.Mitochondrion-Parasignosis(Profound Lore)
This is a very good ambient death metal album. Mitochondrion sort of remind me of Portal but a little more straight forward. This album is best experienced while listening to it in headphones. It's one of those albums that just takes you to another place and I can't help but get lost in this album.

~Andrew Lipscomb