Monday, May 7, 2012

Interview With Ross Gnarly (American Aftermath, Ritalin Attack)

Ross is a man that I have had the pleasure of buddying up with over the last month or so. He's a rad dude with a vast knowledge and great appreciation or extreme music. Hell, music in general. On the excellent blog site he founded, American Aftermath, you can find articles written about bands ranging from Dying Fetus, to Raekwon, to Chelsea Wolf. He's also behind several 1-man grind projects, the most active of which is Ritalin Attack. Me and him traded interviews (read his interview with me here). Full support!

Operation Grindcore: Let's start from the beginning. How did little Ross Gnarly first come into contact with heavy music? What was your musical evolution like?

Ross Gnarly: Well, I was raised on southern rock and country so there was a lot of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Charlie Daniels Band, Alabama and Hank Williams Jr. Even as an adult, I still love all of these bands. I guess I was in my early teens when someone handed me Slayer’s “Seasons In The Abyss.” I jammed that shit like crazy. Soon I was on to Cannibal Corpse, who are my all-time favorite band, Morbid Angel, Napalm Death and so on, so forth. Before metal I was into NOFX, Black Flag and Offspring, all of whom I also still listen to.

OG: Did you have a part in any "scene" when you grew up? Promoting shows, being in bands, working for a label, etc?

RG: Where I grew up, there wasn’t and still isn’t much of a scene. I played in bands, mostly with the same people, just in different incarnations, the most notably of being Philadelphia Fratricide and The Eyeboogers. Unfortunately there weren’t many shows available for us, seeing as we were in our mid-teens while playing in these bands. I helped promote friends bands from out of town, like Midget Cum Mustache, Whiskey Tractor and Angry Ralf.

OG: And now to the present, how did your blog "American Aftermath" come to be? Was this your first venture into the "blogosphere"

RG: Haha. I’ve explained this a few times before. I started the blog out of retaliation. I talked to Decibel Magazine’s head honcho Albert Mudrian, asking for a job. When I was turned down, I started e-mailing bands and labels on my own. American Aftermath actually started out as “GnartallicA,” paying homage to my namesake and Metallica. Yes, this was my first blog and so far, so good I’d say.

OG: Are you the overseer over everything that gets posted on AA, or do all your writers have free reign? What do you expect from your writers?

RG: My writers have complete freedom to write about whatever they want. Of course there are guidelines and things that I wouldn’t allow them to write about. For example, I wouldn’t except any racist or homophobic posts. When I say “homophobic” I don’t mean saying “that’s gay.” I don’t see that as homophobic and personally I can’t think of another way to describe Asking Alexandria.
I expect my writers to conduct themselves professionally. I have editors OCD, so I’ve had to lay out exactly how I want things to look in posts. Everyone is very open to it, though. They are all great and I can’t thank them enough.

OG: You've recently started making some drum machine grind with several projects, your most prolific of which is Ritalin Attack. How did these projects come to be?

RG: Well, me and Cory from Kindergarten Hazing Ritual had been throwing the idea of an anime-themed grind band for a while and we finally did it in the form of Human Transmutation. Unfortunately it was short lived, as we only put out the demo and the split with Rat AIDS.
After that, I started doing my own drum tracking and each set of tracks I did seemed to advance, performance-wise and they all sounded different. Therefore, they all had different names: Roughhouse, Waiste, Vulcan Face Fucker, Negative Youth and finally Ritalin Attack. Ritalin Attack was where I stayed because I had a sound I liked. Of course, that changed after a few releases. It wasn’t until my self-split with the Waiste project that I took ahold of the sound that now defines Ritalin Attack.

OG: You already have a ton of releases, most of them are splits, and you've only been doing Ritalin Attack for about a month. How do you do it!?

RG: It’s actually pretty simple: all of the releases up until the Waiste split were done on the fly. I’d program the drums and then blaze through the riffing and I never wrote lyrics. It was all off the top of my head. Since then I have actually started structuring my songs and writing longer tracks. I recently released a 10-track album called “Fast Times For Slow Fucks.” I think it’s my best work to date.

OG: Do you have any more releases planned at the moment?
RG: I recorded all of the “Fast Times…” tracks while I was tracking for my first full-length “Rise of The Drum Machines.” I am still working on that release but I’m not sure when it will be released. Probably this summer. I’m shooting for 20+ tracks.

OG: What's the future looking like for AA. I can only see it going up and up.

RG: More reviews, more interviews and shit! The sky is the limit, man. It really is. I really want to interview Cannibal Corpse again. I got to have a quick exchange with Paul, the drummer, a while back and it was fucking phenomenal.

OG: What releases this year have impressed you the most? What can you say is your current favorite of this year?

RG: The new Antigama EP, Black Hole Of Calcutta LP, Captain 3 Leg/Cop Bar split, Cara Neir/Ramlord split and whatever Pig Destroyer puts out this year. It’s a guaranteed ripper.

OG: Our standard question to end on: if you were stuck on a desert island, what 3 album would you bring?

RG: Definitely Hank Williams Jr.’s “Whiskey Bent And Hell Bound,” St. Vitus’ “Born Too Late” and Crooked Necks “Alright Is Exactly What It Isn’t” or Daughters’ “Hell Songs.” That last one is a hard choice. Gotta have my Hank, though.


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