Animosity Interview w/Leo Miller
Animosity- members/duties, hometown, years since inception and current releases? Navene, Chase, Frank and Evan all play instrumentsâ€¦I run around and yell stuff. We released the debut album Shut it Down on tribunal Records in 2003 and our Latest Empires in 2005 on Blackmarket Activities. We are hard at work on the next album entitled Animal to come out later this year on BMA. Chase has also played in a somewhat similar band call the Taste of Bloodâ€¦they released an album called Predator on Tribunal. Evan is formerly of the prog metal wizards known as Reflux and he lives in Nashville TN. Navene has a solo brutal death project called Fleshrot and while working on the new Animosity album, he is simultaneously preparing a Fleshrot debut full length. I started the band with Frank when I had just turned 14 and I am now 20 years old. We have been together over 6 years as Animosity. You guys started really young and have had a few line up changes; how have those aspects strengthened your abilities/resolve? Navene joined the band within the first year of our inception and that was probably the biggest leap we have made with a single member change. His musical skills were pretty much unmatched by other kids his age when he joined the band, so having him on drums allowed us to play cooler music earlier on. Our newest addition is Evan on bass. He is doing a great job and plays bass like no one else I have ever seen. I am looking forward to his performance on the new album to see how his insane techniques manifest for Animosity. Starting as early on as we did, we are all still finding ourselves and growing up so changing around the lineup is not a bad thing. Coming from the Bay Area metal/hardcore scene, which is a very rich and diverse community, how did it affect and mold Animosity and who are some of your main local influences? Right off the bat we had the classic San Francisco Thrash bands like Testament and Exodus as influences. I always looked up to the local bands like Sworn Vengeance, SEED, Execution Style, Hoods, etc. You can hear that a lot in my early vocals and silly lyrics on our first demo and whatnot. Beyond the bandâ€™s music, we are so proud to be from such a great place that I think we have been even more motivated to get our city back on the map in terms of relentless touring. For the most part I think pride is pretty lame, but I really have a lot of love for where I come from and I want it to be known. I wanted to start a band so that I could play with all of my friends every weekend and be a better participant in the community that was my entire world. You guys had much more hardcore based in the early days with the demo and your debut, â€œShut it Downâ€ but have since moved onto a style steeped in the death metal/grind sound youâ€™ve always practiced. Was that a natural change as you grew with this band and up as individuals or something you made a conscious effort towards? If anything, we have made a conscious effort to try and write better songs and more interesting riffs. If that means moving away from hardcore, then I guess that is what we did. As we get older, our musical interests change and these changes can be heard our playing. We all go through little phasesâ€¦I remember distinct times when Frank would be obsessed with Jimi Hendrix and you could hear it a lot in his playing, same thing with Navene and drummer like Terry Bozio and Zach Hill. We never try to change anything about the band, I guess it just happens. Animosity are often branded â€œdeathcoreâ€; what are your thoughts on this tag and itâ€™s growing application to bands like Despised Icon, Job For A Cowboy, Ion Dissonance,etc. Do you consider yourselves to be â€œdeathcore?â€ Personally, I just see you as individuals playing death metal with more hardcore attitude like other bands in the DM scene such as Dying Fetus, Internal Bleeding, etc. I am not really down with all the labeling. I like to think that we can play whatever we want and are not limited to any specific style (especially one that seems to be a passing MySpace fad). I doubt that anyone will be able to simply call our new album â€œdeathcoreâ€ (assuming that people actually are listening to the music). If anyone were to ask me, I would just tell them that I play in a metal band. The only thing that pisses me off about that type of shit is that by branding us as a deathcore band, or any other sort of randomly popular new hip subgenre, all the years of shit ass tours, broken down vehicles, and struggling for the littlest recognition gets sort of swept under the carpet. I am not trying to say that all of the so-called â€œdeathcoreâ€ bands lack history, but that we have been gettingâ€™ her done for long before this style of metal that seems to have become a new trend in the underground got noticed. Because of the mix between death metal and hardcore, Iâ€™ve seen a lot more fighting at shows due to different dancing styles, etc. Coming from the hardcore scene but being more a part of the death metal community, what are your feelings on this situation and/or possible solutions towards it? I honestly donâ€™t really careâ€¦people can go ahead and fight each other; itâ€™s their loss. No doubt, I think it is incredibly unreasonable though. There really is no solution. Animosity has very political/socially aware lyrics, not something you see a lot of death metal bands doing, hell, not even a lot of hardcore bands focusing on these days. Who/what inspires you in that respect? I just write about what I am feeling and what I think is important. While writing Empires, the social and political disasters that were headlining the news everyday is what struck a chord with me. Failure of the voting system, starting a war, kids getting raped by priests etcâ€¦ Sometimes I just think about where our world is at now and how much further along we could possibly be and it really sickens me. Most people out there probably do not read lyrics but I am in a position to speak my mind and my heart to those that do. I am not going to waste that opportunity by writing about common metal nonsense like feces and misogyny. I am not trying to write things that everyone relates to either, more so just my own thoughts and feelings. Does Animosity have any particular ideologies/views? If so, books/sites you recommend kids should check out for more information? All I can say is that people should open their eyes to the world that we are living in and not be afraid to actually have an opinion about things. Everyone is so goddamn neutral about everything for fear of upsetting each other. Think about common things like where your tax money is being spent, where your food comes from, where you family comes from or even read the news. Greatest problem facing the world today and what do you see as a viable remedy? The environment is trashed. Humans have been destroying it for so many years it may already even be beyond repair. The only way to remedy the mess that we have made is for the government to implement strict environmentally friendly legislation and enforce them right away. There is only so much people can do individually. To be honest, I need to drive a van across the country to be in this band, people need to drive to work, and so on. It is up to the authorities to demand that automobile companies and factories use the environmentally friendly technologies that ALREADY EXIST. Second place problems include religious fundamentalism, and the complete corporate domination of the world (greed). Iâ€™ve seen you in some press photos wearing a â€œGod Freeâ€ shirt. What are your feelings on bands mixing religion and spirituality with hardcore/death metal/punk/etc? Bands should go ahead and do whatever they want. This is kind of a hard question for me because I personally feel like mixing religion with anything at all is pretty lame. It definitely seems backwards to me to hear death metal bands talking about Jesus Christ, but there are no rules to music, so people can play or sing however they feel, and that is a wonderful thing. What drives you and this band? Me in a big ass Chevrolet van. You guys have already done lots of touring-favorite run so far? By far our favorite tour ever has been the almighty steers and beers tour during the summer of 2006 which had JFAC, Misery Index, Cattle Decap, and From A Second Story Window. We have never done a tour on which everyone got along so well and hung out together so much. Do the members of Animosity have day jobs and if so, what are they? Navene installs window draperies, I think Chase works for his dad sometimes like serving people legal papers or something, Frank does weird shit, Evan teaches bass lessons and does some landscaping labor. When I am home, I wear a dirty tuxedo and cater parties for rich people and corporations. Last week I worked at this horrible zinfandel wine tasting event. I spent the entire day from 9-7 pouring out huge buckets of spit out wineâ€¦.fuckin bummer. I remember you guys got equipment/merch jacked a couple years back. For anyone who was still curious, how did that situation turn out in the end? Basically all of our gear got stolen out of practice space by the two fucking assholes that lived in the units on either side of us. From what we know they went to jail, but are back out nowâ€¦we havenâ€™t seen them since. We went into one of their spaces while he was in jail, but we just got weird shit like a limited Iron Maiden Eddie doll and a samurai sword and some broken computers. Not a fair trade. Any side projects currently? I remember Navene doing a one man death metal project back in the day or something to that affect. Will those tapes see the light of day? As I said earlier, he is preparing a full length Fleshrot albumâ€¦itâ€™s going to rip. Evan is doing a project with the singer of Look What I did, called Climaxes. Your new website looks amazing. Brewster from Beneath the Ashes/Man Alive did that right? How can bands get in touch with him to put something together for them? www.Manalive.com; Manalive is also a vinyl record label that he and I are running. Our next release is going to be a double LP of Animosityâ€™s Empires and Animal together in one package. Vinyl collectors take note. Video shoots are usually exhausting and boring to say the least, but the one for the â€œBlack Pageâ€ looked fun as hell. How did the concept for that come about, whose house was it shot at it and favorite memories from it? It was at my house. I just invited a bunch of friends over and we got crazy. I wanted to actually be having fun in the video instead of just faking it in some stupid ass warehouse like all the other metal videos out there. The whole thing was a blast. Up and coming bands you are into? Most of the bands I have been listening to are either a few decades old or are probably never going to â€œcome upâ€. The Faceless is a really good young metal band. Do you think fans/critics still consider you young, literally and musically, even though Animosity has been around for more than half a decade and most of you are moving into your twenties? Probably, but most of our fans are actually younger than us. Kudos/shout outs/endorsements/etc? No.