INTERVIEW / Obliterations
By Taylor Ferguson
Hardcore punk group Obliterations boasts an all-star lineup, composed of current and ex-members of Black Mountain, Saviours and Night Horse. Their debut album, Poison Everything, was just released through Southern Lord on October 14th, 2014. The subsequent West Coast tour saw Obliterations taking the stage at The Biltmore Cabaret on October 25th with Torch Runner and Baptists, where Not Your Scene’s Taylor Ferguson caught up with them for a quick chat.
Not Your Scene: So to start off, what do you guys think are the major differences in the music scene here in Vancouver compared to your homeland in LA ?
Sam James Velde: I’m not from here, but from what I’ve gathered so far, it seems like a pretty good scene.
Steve McBean: Not much, I mean it just comes down to when good people can come together and make music, but I guess theres a lot more rain here and it’s dark, but we’re all into the dark stuff, I guess you could say anyhow.
NYS: What music have you guys been playing in the van while you’ve been on this last tour?
Sam: We actually really like listening to a lot of Louis C.K.’s stand-up comedy shows.
Steve: Some of The Frogs, we’ve really dug the Wicked Lady records, Merle Haggard, Pink Floyd, anything that’s good. The van is great for listening to music and the albums, because you have all that time to listen to the stuff you never got around to before.
NYS: How did you guys get the opportunity to record your full-length debut, Poison Everything, at Dave Grohl’s Studio 606 in Northridge, California? How long did it take and how was the experience?
Sam: I’ve known Dave for a while, he offered for us to come by and start laying down some tracks. The tracking room was just this nice, great big room… a good live sound is kinda what we wanted to accomplish. We never really had high expectations as to what it would sound like at first, but I think it all worked out really well. So we said yeah, and took him up on the opportunity.
NYS: Who was responsible for the artwork on Poison Everything?
Sam: His name is Derek Snodgrass, he’s a tattoo artist from Louisville, Kentucky, who now lives in L.A… he’s a good friend of ours.
I mean, influences can come from anything, movies, books, anything that comes across you in life. Going for a bike ride or learning a new trick on your skateboard… well, maybe not as much nowadays for us [laughs].
– Steve McBean
NYS: Since most of your fans and people that have attended your shows are already pretty aware of what your main musical influences are, what would you guys say some of your biggest non-musical influences are in life and for the making of this album?
Sam: For me personally, a writer named Paul Bowls, he had a pretty interesting perception of the human race in some of his work. He wrote a book called The Sheltering Sky, which I was really inspired by.
Steve: I mean, influences can come from anything, movies, books, anything that comes across you in life. Going for a bike ride or learning a new trick on your skateboard… well, maybe not as much nowadays for us [laughs].
I watched the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune, Alejandro Jodorowsky originally tried to make Dune in the early 70s, but it failed before the movie came out in the 80s… in the early documentary, he wanted to have music acts like Pink Floyd and Magma playing on different planets, along with idea of having Salvador Dali being one of the emperors, and it just goes to show that this guy Alejandro was just this genius bursting with creativity. It makes you wanna be like, “I wanna get out and do something fun like that!” Rather than just stare at my phone all day, you know?
Sam: I think your whole life in general can just be an inspiration of what you want to write.
NYS: Any last words for any bands out there that are wanting to do music like yours?
Sam: Can’t say much, just get out there and do it. If you’re going to start a band… Start a band!
View Taylor Ferguson’s photographs of Obliterations performing LIVE at the Biltmore Cabaret below.