A brief chat with GENGHIS TRON
Nov 1, 2007, 16:30
© Orion Landau
Mixing electronic blurbs, terrifying banshee shrieks, and thunderous riffs, Philadelphia's Genghis Tron have only been pounding out the rage for a few years but not without notice. Their as-of-yet untitled Relapse Records debut will be setting the streets aflame in February 2008. Guitarist/programmer Hamilton Jordan was kind enough to delve into the wired mayhem that is Genghis Tron and share his thoughts with Your Flesh.
How did Genghis Tron come about?
Hamilton Jordan: Michael, Mookie and I all met in school at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. We were all friends for a year or so before the idea of a music project came about. Michael and I started writing songs, and eventually Mookie joined as a vocalist. After some time, he started adding second keyboards as well.
Is there a primary songwriter in the group or is it more of a collective thing?
HJ: Everyone has a say in the songwriting—there's no primary songwriter. Because Michael and I program all of the drums, we find ourselves making most of the "skeletons" for the songs, but Mookie contributes lots of riffs, melodies, and of course all of the vocal ideas. We have no rules when it comes to songwriting—many songs are written collaboratively between the three of us, and other songs will be written almost entirely by single members of the band. We try not to develop any specific songwriting patterns in an attempt to challenge our process and avoid redundancy.
What can be expected with the new album? Any big changes coming up?
HJ: The biggest change is that it's by far our best yet! The songs are much stronger and more unique, the production is more massive and clear, and it's by far our most diverse release to date. Tons of melodies, tons of moods...each song definitely has its own unique place on the album. We absolutely cannot wait for people to hear it.
The metal community has their fair share of purists, as I'm sure you know. Has there been any significant backlash due to all of the electronics you guys use?
HJ: We don't feel very in touch with the metal "community" specifically—we just play our shows, and people who want to come will come. The three of us love metal of all shapes and colors, but that's not all we listen to. I'd say the same goes for most people who come to our shows and/or buy our albums.
I'm sure there are lots of people who think we suck because we use keyboards or because we don't have a drummer. Luckily for those people, if instruments are so important, there are about ten thousand metal bands out there who don't have keyboards and do have drummers—so they've got plenty of music to listen to for eternities to come.
How would you describe your sound to someone that hasn't heard you before?
HJ: It depends on who I'm talking to. I usually say abrasive metal music with a lot of electronics and keyboards.
How is working with Converge's Kurt Ballou? What is the vibe like in the Godcity Studios?
HJ: It's great. The vibe is pretty relaxed, but we're always working really hard and doing as much as possible to improve upon what we've done. We always use up every single hour available to us. He's a great engineer/producer to work with—very knowledgeable and very committed to helping his clients achieve their goals.
It's a shame that the Dillinger Escape Plan tour was cancelled (due to a broken foot in the DEP camp). Have you anything else coming up?
HJ: Yes, we'll be going on a 3-week East Coast tour with Dillinger Escape Plan, A Life Once Lost, and Stolen Babies in December. After our album comes out in February, there will be many tours throughout the year...but none have been figured out at this point.
And then to top it off, some dude broke into your van and stole some merch. What's that about?
HJ: We'd love to know his story—but we don't know much. After recording, we took a week off before tour...during that period, Michael parked the car near his mom's apartment in Manhattan for a few days. Some one broke into our van and stole our stereo and two boxes of merch.
Do you guys have day jobs when not performing/writing with Genghis Tron?
HJ: We didn't work all of 2007 because we were either on tour or working on the album writing at home. It definitely put a hurting on our bank accounts, though...so now that we have a month break we're each working inconsequential part-time jobs as much as possible to rebuild some of our finances before heading out on more tours!
What are some of your influences?
HJ: We each have our own musical tastes and histories; we are also influenced by whatever music we're listening to each year. Recently, I've been listening to a lot of Gescom, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the new Radiohead, and Inquisition. There are a group of artists who I've been enamored with for a long time, though...and who have probably been my most consistent influences over the last 5 or 10 years: Nine Inch Nails; Philip Glass; Tool; Steve Reich; Immortal; Autechre; Converge; Meshuggah; Queens of the Stone Age; Radiohead.
Listening to your music, the thought crossed my head so I have to askâ€¦what was your childhood like?
HJ: I primarily grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. My childhood was pretty fun. Ages 10-18 were occupied by guitar playing, rock shows, and video games. I love my family. Atlanta was a good place to grow up.
That's it from this end. Any closing comments?
HJ: Look out for our new album in late February on Relapse...see you on tour!!!
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