Exclusive Interview: Scuzz talk “Volatile Doom”, Kurt Ballou, Toska and John Carpenter…

…St. Louis Missouri is where you’ll find the trio who wrote “Bong Rips From The Grave” back in 2017 and who have returned in 2020 with “Volatile Doom” as the perfect antidote to all that is going on in the World. We’re talking about Scuzz, an instrumental band with a rich history of hallucination creating riff-heavy stoner hymns that everyone can enjoy and once we reviewed their new record, we had a chat with them about damn near everything and anything you can think of…

How have you found the reaction to “Volatile Doom” so far amongst those that have heard it?We’ve received many positive responses to our single “Volatile Doom” and the select few that have heard the masters have been stoked on it. A few comments have been highlighting our more mature sound and progressive style along with the diversity of riffs and numerous captivating transitions”

Volatile Doom” was mixed and mastered in house by drummer Michael Girard. If you had the opportunity to work with someone like Kurt Ballou at GodCity Studios would that be an interesting opportunity for you or are you happy doing your own thing?Absolutely! We love doing it ourselves, Mike always captures exactly how we sound, but we would love to have some outside direction and the professional touch that comes from 20+ years of experience like that of Kurt Ballou. Kurt has produced many bands that we love like Russian Circles, Code Orange, Every Time I Die and Chelsea Wolfe. His approach to driving guitar tones and huge sounding drums is right up our alley. Going to a studio like GodCity would immediately make anyone feel like a legend, and we feel like that would push us to the next level

We’ve described your music as having a film score vibe to it, always being on the move and offering new things. If Hollywood came knocking on your door, what kind of film would you be attracted to writing a score for?We love movies and they influence us a ton. Some crazy action sequences like from a Tarantino film would be sick. If they made another Mad Max or Terminator we would be all over it. Horror is one of our favorite genres, like movies from Ari Aster or John Carpenter. We also fantasized about getting our music into some intense video games like Doom

When you were putting the album together what was behind the decision to cut 2018 single “Creepin’ While You’re Sleepin’” adrift?We love that one but felt like it didn’t fit this record even though it’s a crowd favorite.  Some time has passed, and we’ve updated the way we record songs with different studio gear and a new mentality. The new material we’ve made was live tracked simultaneously with us all in the same room to capture the energy of the whole group. Before we used to track each instrument individually in more direct fashion across multiple days as many groups do. Tracking everything at once gave us the opportunity to really feel each other’s vibes for the more atmospheric sections and tighter rhythmic breakdowns

Did you bring any new gear to Graveless Studios this time around? If you could have any gear endorsements, which company would you like to work with? “This time around we made a few changes like down tuning and using a Fender Tele Deluxe instead of a PRS Single Cut, and a Music Man Stingray instead of a Gibson EB4. We used less D.I. techniques and more analog pedals and amps for a more energetic feel. We also got the opportunity to run through some long awaited and insane sounding preamps made in Chile and some Neumann microphones. If we got the chance we would be stoked to be endorsed by Meinl Cymbals, D’Addarrio and Orange Amps

We’ve mentioned Monster Magnet, Spirit Adrift and Nonvector as having similar styled moments on some of their releases in comparison with your record; who were the main influences behind it? Do you find influence in other things like books and films when you’re creating instrumental music, bands often do when writing lyrics?Early on we decided to try to tell a story with each song and that those would fit into a larger abstract narrative. With everything that’s going on this year with Covid we felt that the post-apocalyptic vibe was tangible, and we wanted to translate those feelings to our music. We let the songs sort of follow the uncertainty and impending doom that the onset of the virus created. We also drew inspiration from a bunch of different bands all over the genre spectrum but there were some notable ones. For this album Mike was influenced by the Toska album “Fire By The Silos” for its immaculate production and hard hitting guitars and drums. Donny was really digging on early The Sword and Death From Above 1979’s album “Outrage! Is Now” for its catchy hooks and relentless momentum. Lastly, Jandro was in a huge doom groove with bands like Fister and Monolord. As far as movies, The Witch has a creepy atmosphere we love, as well as 80’s synth elements like from John Carpenter soundtracks. Our FX collaborator Nick Rodriguez is a huge fan of those big synths and eerie soundscapes and helped us adapt that to our music

Volatile Doom” by Scuzz is out now and available over at bandcamp

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