First Exposure - Topon Das (Fuck the Facts, Merdarahta)
A while back, before I was even a writer for OG, Andrew asked me to talk about the albums got me into grindcore (read here). I had a lot of fun writing it, going back in my head and remembering the genesis of my love for fast and extreme music. Stories like that always intrigued me, so I thought I would serve my own interest and ask members of the world wide grindcore scene to talk about the first grindcore album that they heard. Kicking off this new series, called "First Exposure", is my pal, Topon Das, founding member of the excellent Fuck The Facts and Merdarahta. Big thanks to him for being a part of it and delivering a super impressive essay-like answer.
I'm gonna say the first grindcore album I ever heard (or at least that I can remember hearing first) was Napalm Death's "Utopia Banished". It's either that or Gorgut's "Erosion Of Sanity", but that's probably not considered grindcore. Either way; both albums just sounded like straight up noise to me. This was when both albums had just come out and I was still all about bands like Metallica, Anthrax and a bit of Slayer. What set me on the path to listening to more "extreme" music was Carcass' "Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious". This album had enough melody and the drumming didn't sound too crazy, that it eased me into my love of death metal. Shortly after that I started doing a radio show and one day the guy I did the show with threw on Brutal Truth's "Walking Corpse". That's the song that opened my mind to this "grindcore" thing. It just sounded so insane and I loved it! I guess around this time my brain had already become desensitized to how aggressive and extreme death metal was, so grindcore was my new "fix". There was a punk/hardcore radio show just before ours and the host of that show started trading me 7"'s for tapes I had. That's how I got into bands like Agents Of Satan, Plutocracy, His Hero Is Gone & Dystopia. I was on this road of just getting into more and more "unlistenable" music, and before I knew it I was into just straight up noise like Massona, Merzbow & Namanax. There's actually a few months that all I wanted to listen to was "noise". It's funny, because at this early age whenever I would get into something new I would pretty much abandon what i was into previously. But at some point I would go back and just start picking out all my favorite bands from all the years and it all kind of mixed together. That's what got me motivated to start my own band where I could do all this different stuff. So as for my first grindcore albums; "Utopia Banished" is still my favorite ND album and I still enjoy "Extreme Conditions...", even though "Need To Control" is by far my favorite BT album and one of my all time favorite albums, period. All these albums I mentioned definitely played a huge roll in how I started making music for my own band. Usually when you start playing you're looking to almost mimic your influences, so I would be trying to figure out how to get my riffs to sounds like something Brutal Truth or Napalm Death would write; "Oh, if I slide my hand around the fretboard like this it sound like this song" or "if I pick really fast here it sound like that song". You develop all these tools by trying to rip off your favorite bands and before you know it you have all these hand motions that just pop out as soon as you pick up a guitar. I still go through this process now when I pick up my guitar and my mind is always thinking about what a new riff or idea kind of sounds like. I don't know if it always sounds like what I'm thinking, but I know all the influences I've developed since I was a kid (and am still developing) are always in my head and playing an integral role in the music I create.