OFF! has by no means adopted the principles of punk rock orthodoxy. The band is fronted by the frontman of two of the 4 Mount Rushmore hardcore bands (Keith Morris and Black Flag/Circle Jerks in the event you simply arrived from one other galaxy) however was created with the intent of kicking the outdated reward horse proper within the mouth.
Even when you think about their penchant for rule-breaking the band’s sensational 2022 album (and forthcoming movie) Free LSD is past and above what anybody anticipated. The music is a daring mixture of Solar Ra-inspired jazz freakouts, digital noise and conspiracy theories that by no means – not even for a second – loses the jet engine propulsion of one of the best hardcore. The album can be simply chapter one: Free LSD is the soundtrack for a movie that, based on IMDB, is about “an aged intercourse store proprietor’s attraction to a youthful girl leads him to an erectile dysfunction physician whose remedy reveals an alluring however treacherous alternate actuality.” Frontman Morris and guitarist Dimitri Coats (previously of Burning Brides) talked to Decibel from the Slamdance Movie Competition in Utah about Free LSD, their world-shifting new rhythm part and extra.
When did you begin kicking round concepts for this album?
DIMITRI COATS: We at all times knew this file can be very totally different. I bear in mind hanging out with Keith and (artist) Raymond Pettibon earlier than we recorded Wasted Years, saying the following file we did was going to be totally different. We already knew we needed the art work in coloration as a result of it was going to be our Sgt. Pepper.
KEITH MORRIS: The seeds had been planted for this undertaking again then (in 2014). We needed to get by the cycle of that file after which take a break as a result of we are able to’t stand to be round one another (laughs). We took a number of months off after which began tossing round concepts about what we’d do with this recording. We’re now right here in Utah selling the Free LSD film. We’re with all these film folks and these folks know the music already – we’re extraordinarily fortunate that each one of that is rolling out this manner. There will probably be one other 12 months or two of us working and attending to current this music.
When did the precise work on Free LSD start? Did the pandemic issue into it?
COATS: We wrote these songs in 2018. They had been meant to be recorded with our authentic lineup but it surely was tough to get issues to land concurrently. We needed this to be our Purple Rain or Tommy or 200 Motels. The idea was at all times that the album and the movie can be joined. I tricked the fellows into experimenting by having them consider a soundtrack for a bizarre sci-fi movie. Issues felt extra black and white earlier than – there have been extra guidelines than I anticipated coming from exterior into the punk rock world. It made sense to make use of the movie as a option to suppose exterior the field. Then the pandemic pressed pause on the world and we discovered our new lineup.
MORRIS: We beloved working with our outdated members. They’re undeniably nice musicians. However there have been so many scheduling issues. We’d begin to achieve some momentum after which hit the brakes. There was an excessive amount of different stuff flying round and it turned ridiculous. Then we had been launched to Justin Brown (drummer) and Autry Fulbright II (bass). We nonetheless have scheduling issues as a result of we’re taking part in with one of many biggest drummers on the planet. However we’re having a blast.
I needed an OFF! headphone album. We would have liked to get out of the field as a result of punk rock hardcore generally is a field. Open your thoughts and free your thoughts and go to another locations. Dimitri talked about Sgt. Pepper. It’s the primary album I ever owned. Sgt. Pepper was a number of the biggest music ever – I might hear it going over my head after I was getting stoned as a child. We had all of those different influences. As we acquired deeper into issues, we listened to extra music exterior of punk. At a sure level, we needed to go someplace else.
New Rhythm Part
How did Autry and Justin be a part of the band?
COATS: Autry was in …And You Will Know Us by the Path Of Lifeless. We related later. He was one of many nicest folks I met within the music world and was good about preserving in contact. He at all times appeared to have a presence. I simply known as him up and see if he would come and check out some OFF! materials. He got here in and we went by some songs chilly and it felt proper instantly.
Autry works with a administration firm that manages (jazz bassist) Thundercat and (file producer and DJ) Flying Lotus. When Metallica requested if we needed to be on their charity album (Blacklist) we didn’t have a drummer. Autry mentioned he might ask Justin Brown. I instantly thought it might be fascinating. Once we made lists of who we needed within the band a variety of Mars Volta drummers had been on the record.
We needed to herald one thing from the jazz world and introduce it to this materials. We began throwing round names like Solar Ra. Solar Ra actually believes his music was being transported into the cosmos and that he was speaking with extraterrestrials. Justin had by no means performed aggressive music earlier than and he felt prefer it was a lacking feather in his cap. As quickly as we performed the Metallica tune as a band there was simple chemistry. There was a sense. We requested him on the spot if he needed to be within the band.
I might pay attention to only the drums on an isolation observe. There’s a lot occurring with the percussion however the groove by no means falters. I can’t consider many individuals who can try this.
COATS: Keith and I’ve performed with a number of the greatest drummers on the planet. None of them method this music like Justin. He’s the lead instrument and he’s driving the practice. You might be both on it or not and in the event you aren’t on along with your seat belt fixed you’ll get misplaced. It’s virtually like Autry and I maintain down the metronome and Justin skates across the groove and tugs and pulls. He by no means repeats himself. He’ll serve the tune however he’s at all times filled with surprises. He breathes his model of drumming. It elevated the fabric to a unique place.
MORRIS: Justin mentioned, “don’t count on me to ever play these songs the identical manner.” The best way he performs retains us on our toes. We have now to remain on high of what we play. It’s not like an everyday rock band the place everybody performs alongside. He is aware of the place he must hit and the assaults on the songs. He is aware of there are specific factor that must be hit. Between all of that’s like rolling down a hill or hang-gliding with out wings.
COATS: Although Justin is a classy musician who has toured with Herbie Hancock I really feel like he performs punk rock drums right here. It is a full-force pure expression. Simply because he has unimaginable technical chops doesn’t imply it isn’t hardcore.
Within the jazz world drummers main a band isn’t uncommon. Artwork Blakey led the well-known Jazz Messengers.
COATS After I lived in London within the late 80s I went to see Artwork Blakey and met him after. He was one of many individuals who caught my ear. He was a band chief and plenty of folks got here up by him and have become legends.
The Free LSD songs got here collectively in 2018 – did the brand new members change the fabric?
COATS: The songs didn’t change in any respect. It was only a matter of how these guys interpreted the fabric. The true wild card was the experimental, industrial free jazz turns we added to the album. I’ve a desk filled with crude electronics I experiment with and that’s the place the band has no clue the place we’re going. We set a complete day for experiments after we did the file. We had 5 or 6 channels simply stuffed with weirdness panned in another way. Including that to the album moved issues in a unique course as a result of nobody was anticipating it. I’m very pleased with the noise stuff and it additionally lends itself to the movie. It provides the album some psychedelia.
“We Went Down Loopy YouTube Rabbit Holes”
What course of do you need to get phrases and music working collectively?
COATS: We hang around and begin speaking. We go file buying and play the data we purchased. It’s like hanging out with a pal after college listening to Sabbath. We pushed ourselves to hearken to various things on this album. We tried to get impressed and fired up after which I’d seize a guitar and play by a tiny amp. I tug and pull at totally different riffs till one thing begins to type and there are sufficient adjustments for verses, choruses and bridges. I file concepts on my telephone and that’s the muse for vocal phrasing. Loads of occasions the vocals begin with patterns and gibberish.
MORRIS: Dimitri requested me what topic materials we might use apart from what we’ve handled up to now. The place are we going to go? I believed we might write love songs however that’s been executed (laughs). He mentioned I had a treasure trove stuffed with lyrical concepts on a podcast I did with Pete Weiss (Blowmind Present) who drummed in Thelonious Monster. We did 50 episodes on conspiracy theories like Bigfoot, lacking kids and who killed JFK. Do UFOs exist or is it a figment of our creativeness? There was a lot to choose by. Dimitri inspired me to pay attention to each episode we recorded and select what slapped me within the face.
COATS: We watched these loopy motion pictures and went down loopy YouTube rabbit holes. There have been a variety of documentaries on UFOs and aliens. That additionally tied into what we needed the film to be about.
After I learn the lyrics I stored pondering of MK-Extremely (an unlawful CIA program that used LSD and different medicine with out consent to develop procedures for interrogations).
MORRIS: It was one of many issues. We additionally spent a while with Walt Disney conspiracies and the bizarre vitality at Disney World in Florida. We hung out with the jet propulsion labs in Pasadena. We additionally hung out with L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology – all of those conspiracy theories.
COATS: The problem in altering instructions lyrically was nonetheless needing to hit the us vs. them storyline. When the refrain hits while you maintain your microphone out it must be highly effective sufficient that folks wish to attempt to sing it.
Regardless of all of the experiments the album by no means loses its innate hardcore goodness. A lot of the songs are two to 3 minutes lengthy.
COATS: It’s the best way we threaded every part. We knew we needed the file to be a nonstop expertise the place you don’t know the place songs finish or start. It takes listeners on a journey. That was a course of and we acquired a variety of it in mixing. That’s one of many file’s biggest property – it’s an expertise.
And you may nonetheless have that have in roughly a half-hour.
COATS: it’s 38 minutes and we nonetheless handle to get 16 songs in there.
“The Steel World Began Embracing Us”
There’s a band known as Agoraphobic Nosebleed that has an album known as Altered States of America with 100 plus songs in roughly 20 minutes.
MORRIS: Wow. Isn’t that the identical vibe as Anal Cunt?
Nicely, one of many guys concerned (Scott Hull) was in each bands.
MORRIS: Wow (laughs).
COATS: When this album got here up the steel world began embracing us. I by no means considered this as steel. I actually don’t thoughts listening to sure black steel. I come from extra steel than punk. However folks say “Kill To Be Heard” appears like black steel. I believed it was one of many poppier songs on the album! It’s Justin’s alternative of drumming that evokes that – the blast beats. I can’t think about every other drummer sounding like he did.
Are folks coming to the film by the music or the opposite manner?
COATS: The movie is in its early levels. Most individuals are beginning to see it for the primary time. It’s an enormous deal to get a completed movie on the market. We’re sitting the place we wish to be. The concept of the movie has at all times been to carry extra consideration to the music. The one distinction is that Keith isn’t driving round on a purple bike (laughs).
Numerous individuals are speaking about OFF! Realizing that, the place does the band go? The choices appear limitless between movie and music,
COATS: I simply love hanging out with this man and creating. We’ll see the place issues go. If it is smart to file extra music and play extra exhibits we’ll do it. We are able to all make more cash doing our different issues. We don’t get wealthy from this. We do it as a result of it’s stimulating creatively in ways in which nothing else is. That is all about friendship. We fell into it by chance and realized we might collaborate in a particular manner. He’s the star quarterback and I’m the coach serving to him rating touchdowns.
MORRIS: We’re taking part in with an especially in style drummer. He performs with like twenty totally different jazz folks. He has many excursions, usually in Europe. So there may be room for me to do different issues. However we’ve an ideal rapport with the band and the folks in it. That is crucial factor to me as a result of there may be a lot hooked up to this undertaking.