Sunday, August 1, 2010

Noise music: a chaotic, unpredictable, destructive, wall of sound with limitless possibilities. Ithaca's own dynamic duo of noise Genital Holograms, featuring Ithaca Underground main man Bubba Crumrine (also of BRIAN!) and Cory Mahaney (ex-The Rolemodels, Ballistic Shit Circus, Speak Daggers, Fight a Scary Dog) create vast, loud, droning pieces of noise, filled with effect driven bass, guitars, vocals and the occasional home made instruments. They have already released a 2CD demo, a CD EP, and have an upcoming split 7" with hardcore band Ailments, all on Pirate House Records.

VII: How did the band form?

GH: To be completely honest, we didn’t set out to be a band at all. We kept seeing each other at shows and really grew to hate one another. Unbeknownst to the other, we each command the superpower of noise and one day, Bubba invited Corey over to the Pirate House. The invitation was accepted, each of us under the pretense that the other was walking into the other's trap, where we would easily crush our opponent with our crushing power of noise. The battle produced a sonic nightmare that deafened anyone within light-year of the blast. Unfortunately or fortunately (depending on who and when you’re asking) we discovered our powers were equally matched and lazily decided to start a band instead of killing people. It’s interesting how over time love came from all that hate which is funny because for most couples it’s the other way around.

VII: Was the idea of being a noise band their from the beginning?

GH: Definitely. Once we put our differences aside, noise was the only option.

VII: Where did the band name come from?

GH: In April of 2009 Mel, her younger sister, and I (Bubba) took a journey to the Andromeda galaxy as part of her high school spring break vacation. On the return trip, our conversation regarding Jem & The Holograms was distorted and misinterpreted by our guest due to the properties of the wormhole.

VII: Describe the evolution of GH, your first recordings seem to have little to no pre-written song structure. Was it all improv in the beginning?

GH: Yes, GH in its infancy was solely based in improv. The recordings on our 2xCD demo that you mentioned are all improv. Initially, a GH piece may start as visualizing on an image, feeling, level of intensity, or a sound that we created. The pieces would range usually from 15-30 minutes and be extremely ambient and without form. The week before our first show, stopped in to McNeil Music and saw they had an Alesis Performance Pad for ridiculously cheap. I called Corey to see if I picked it up if he’d be interested in using it in GH (see Brian! interview where I state my lack of percussion skills) and the phone nearly exploded with all the excitement. It changed everything really.

VII: Nowadays how is a GH piece written?

GH: Improv and flexible song structure is still an integral part of Genital Hologram’s writing and performance process. Granted, the two tracks on our upcoming 7” split “The” and “Paint the Face of the World Inferno” are the most structured we’ve produced so far, in the way that we perform & record them with relatively the same structure and feel each time. However, GH pieces always have a life of their own and we are not the sole force which dictates their outcome. For instance, even on “Paint the Face…” which was practiced and performed relatively the same way but during the recording, I ended up dropping an entire bass part and replaced it with sounds from my joystick synth which more appropriately conveyed the bleakness of the cosmos after billions of years of expansion and the only visible heavens in our cosmic horizon is that of our local group, no longer spirals of epic beauty but a dense, dead cluster of their former selves.

Better examples of this are in many of the other pieces in our set such as “The Night I Kicked You Down The Stairs” off our CD “Yes, we would try human flesh if presented with the opportunity”. We use the same instruments, objects, and effects each time but the feel can drastically change from performance to performance. The recording is long and sparse where the video of our performance at CSMA shows a more abridged version with a higher level of intensity and a lot more screaming. The nature and force of the instruments, objects, and electronics we use and our subconscious control just as much of how a GH piece evolves and is conveyed as our conscious, deliberate selves.

VII:  Are their any noise artists/bands in particular that inspire you?

Bubba: For me, the first time I heard Merzbow it was like finding God. I just wanted to kill and love everything at the same time. I made Mel play a game of Scrabble with me one time while listening to “Sphere”. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to accomplish. Whitehouse was my next addiction, though I guess they’re technically powerviolence. John Weise, Streicher’s “War Without End”, Mike Patton’s “Themes For Adult Voice”, White Mice, early Growing, all definitely had an impact. I find myself inspired more by aspects of bands/artists which fall outside just noise. The Residents, John Zorn & affiliates, a lot of mutant punk/hardcore/metal/prog, my unhealthy affinity for extreme drum machine based music, all the industrial bands I grew up on, plus really all the bizarre sounds we hear every day that most people just ignore. When it came down to finally starting my own project though, I think the final straw was seeing Rochester’s Tumul perform several awesome and very different sets back at No Radio. After that I really couldn’t’ see myself not doing this.

Corey: A lot of early noise stuff by Italian futurists (The Art of Noise). Svarte Greiner, The Books, Arab on Radar, and Glenn Branca have influenced me pretty heavily. Film scores have probably influenced me the most in terms of noise. The whole concept of building soundscapes based off images and feelings is at the base of how I approach making noise music.

VII: Bubba, your label has started to be picking up steam lately. How is everything going? Any future releases planned, have artists gotten in contact about getting their stuff released by you?

Bubba: The label is going well. At this time, the main focus is still releasing works from my own projects so I can get a firm grasp on best ways to do things before getting other peoples time & resources involved. The Ailments/Genital Holograms 7” split is the first release that isn’t solely based on one of my projects. I’m very interested in releasing more collaborations like this if it does well. For the foreseeable future, the label will focus on supporting local and regional artists who tour at least regionally. I’m in contact with bands that I feel would be a good fit. Additionally, a live comp of local bands is on my mind. We’re recording where we can and hopefully have something to show for it in the end. In general though, it’s not a traditional label by any means. I have no interest in making money off of this. I’m more interested in acting as a catalyst to help bands get their material released. It’s much more of a collaborative effort than your typical label. The whole thing is still very much in its infancy but we’ll definitely keep you posted as more releases come about.

VII: Any new details about the split 7" with Ailments?

GH: Boy-howdy! We sure do. After recording delays, last minute vendor changes, that whole “rat” situation… we’ve got the test pressings in hand and artwork in hand. We just need to approve the test pressings and wait… then stuff. Lots of stuffing. We should have a release show sometime in late July or early August.

VII: What can we expect from GH in the future?

GH: We’re actually working on a new chemical warfare agent code named “Fancy Land of Oval-shaped Roses” or F.L.O.O.R.S. for short – yes we switched the R and the S in the acronym let’s see you pronounce a word ending in “sr” - which will either be a cross between laughing gas and a depleted uranium based mad cow disease or a new flavor of strawberry ice cream. EEEEEEEEE!!! ICE CREAM!!!!