DOTDR: Your tunes are absolutely great, but I have to say that the name really sold me also. I tell people about you and they bust up laughing and show interest instantly
YKOF: Haha, that name came from a conversation I had with the guy who was going to play guitar for us back in the beginning, regarding some kid who managed to set himself on fire while making his own movie. I don't think at that time we were even trying to consciously distance ourselves from the proliferation of "disease entity/anatomical" death and grind names, but I'm glad we came up with something that set us apart a little.
DOTDR: I recently have been really into the sleazy gore/porno grind and industrial sludge/grind stuff so I know all about names, anything with Anal is pretty much taken and some are even lame enough to turn me away although Anal Cake is a keeper and I’m damn sure that my diseased mind can deliver up some really good ones. Anyway, I’ve had Chainsaw Devil on advance around here for some time and one of your other releases as well, it’s great that CD is finally seeing its Haunted Hotel release date. So aside from the name history, from what spawn of ideas and minds did YKOF evolve from?
YKOF: Kill Moe Dee and I met each other in high school. I was already into metal but only just then getting into the more extreme end of it. He introduced me to a lot of great bands like Terrorizer, Macabre, Repulsion, Napalm Death, Carcass, etc. He was doing vocals in a death metal band with some friends, but he wanted to play grind and most of them didn’t want anything to do with bands who weren’t produced by Scott Burns. We decided we’d just do our own band and try to write the craziest music we could.
DOTDR: I’ve been on a huge Obituary, Cancer, Nocturnus kick so Scott Burns is engrained in my brain, or at least his “sound” heard in those recordings is. Aside from the hilarious band name and insanity that is definitely heard in YKOF, what are some of the influences that provoke the YKOF spirit (bands, albums, books, films, interests)?
YKOF: YKOF is an amalgam of a lot of morbid interests. KMD and I were friends foremost because we were both long-time horror movie fans. This was back before the ready accessibility of a lot of the most depraved films, when you would expect Japanese subtitle characters on a movie if you wanted to see it uncut in 4th or 5th generation dubbs from a laserdisc. Movies with zombies, cannibals, black-gloved killers, monsters, and over-the-top sadism and carnage – Don’t Go in the House, Anthropophagous, City of the Living Dead, Torso, Maniac, Cannibal Ferox, Cannibal Holocaust, Zombi Holocaust, Pieces, Tenebre, Bay of Blood, Mark of the Devil, New York Ripper, Ilsa, She Wolf of the S.S., Coffin Joe movies, Blind Dead movies, The Thing, The Fly, Burial Ground, Nightmare City, etc. We also had an abiding interest in books about serial killers, mass murderers, cannibals, anything of that nature. The collages from our album covers are based around these ideas foremost – horror movie stills, catalog excerpts, and snippets from crime magazines. As for bands, we draw a lot of inspiration from Napalm Death, Regurgitate, Repulsion, Terrorizer, Carcass, Death, Dark Angel, Celtic Frost, Unseen Terror, Mortician, Autopsy, and many more. Raw and oftentimes relentlessly violent music, which of course tends to be the YKOF template.
More of an inspiration than a direct influence on any of our lyrics, but we’re both big on Lovecraft. Sometimes just the presentation of horror films is a big inspiration – the old VHS artwork and the old press kits with great tag lines (like “The pleasures of the flesh, the horrors of the grave” from Vampyres, “It’s exactly what you think it is” from Pieces, and “The blood runs in rivers, the drill keeps drilling” from Driller Killer). And sick humor in general is something that informs a lot of our approach. Something bizarre and funny in a degenerate way, not cartoonish.
DOTDR: I’m a huge fan of those films you’d mentioned, especially Maniac and the New York Ripper. Currently I’ve been on a HUGE Herschel Gordon Lewis binge so Gore Gore Girls, Gruesome Twosome, and Wizard of Gore have been recent favorites. I also love Bloodsucking Freaks and picked up the two-for-one of Satan’s Black Wedding and Criminally Insane, crazy fat Ethel had me in tears that movie was so ridiculously brilliant and bad.
YKOF: Kill Moe Dee passed along Criminally Insane to me here recently, so I will be checking it out. He played me a clip where Ethel got to hacking away at her sister. The prolonged screaming was hysterical. That’s the kind of thing that has us thinking “sample.” Bloodsucking Freaks is a depraved classick! We will have a song about that one soon, probably on the 3rd YKOF album (Horrorcaust). I just bought the HG Lewis BluRay with Wizard of Gore and Gore-Gore Girls, which are my personal HGL favorites. They’re both so over-the-top and morbid. “Are you certain you know what reality is?”
DOTDR: That ending was classic and unexpected!!! It threw in this intellectual/philosophical mind bender at the end that was a cliffhanger...it made you question the whole film again. I know that you have Chainsaw Devil released, Bill hooked me up last summer/early fall with it on CDr, so how did you come in contact with Bill and what are some of your future plans with NVS? You also share members with Elders of the apocalypse, right?
YKOF: I met Bill through Devon from December Wolves. I had sent him the YKOF and Elders recordings we had done to that point, and he passed them along to Bill. Bill turned out to be a like-minded sicko and we were fast friends. He wanted to interview us for Mental Funeral and he wanted to be the one to put out the EOTA album on NoVisible Scars. He’s great to work with and we’ll keep doing releases with him as long he wants to. We will do our first one with YKOF this year, hopefully. It will be called Jackings in the Morgue, a collection of recordings we did in 2009 and 2010, demo tracks for songs that were ultimately on Chainsaw Devil, a raw 8-track recording we’re working on now, and then one or two alternate mixes from Chainsaw Devil. This was going to be a CD release initially, but probably is going to end up being a cassette. The cool thing about the NVS cassettes is the cover art is more like a 7” EP, which will be great for another collage. KMD and I are both in EOTA, and the former guitarist of YKOF is also in EOTA.
DOTDR: Nice!!!! Bill and I came together because he saw my profile on Hellride as liking much of the same stuff like noise/power electronics and the fact that I reviewed non stoner/doom metal on there and it still got a great response, since then we've bonded and even chat over the phone like normal folks. How long has YKOF been active?
YKOF: We started writing lyrics and musick back in 1996 right out of high school. “Hunchback of the Morgue,” which will be on Jackings in the Morgue, was actually written circa 1996/1997.
DOTDR: How did Elders of the Apocalypse get started?
YKOF: Kill Moe Dee and I are big on Blasphemy, Beherit, Sarcofago, Bestial Warlust, etc. We talked about doing a band that was comparably violent, something even more merciless than YKOF. It started with me on guitar and him playing drums, then I moved to bass and we brought in Masked Jackal from YKOF on guitar. The level of violence has increased in YKOF since then, but Elders is probably still the most chaotic musick we are involved with.
DOTDR: You can’t go wrong with any of those!!!!! I’m on a HUGE cassette binge right now, thanks to Bill and Kenny (over at WOHRT), and have been picking up some crazy goregrind/ black doom/ and ugly stuff like PEST, Herpes, INRI, Diseased Oblivion, Reclusa, Colostomy Filter, Anal Throne, Cemetery Piss, etc. Being one of the hoodlums involved with EOTA, you’d love Cemetery Piss!!!!
Back there you mentioned serial killers, I’m a huge true crime nut, and it never fails that when that theme comes into play on a track or album, it instantly gratifies me. As an aside:
I’ve been really into two documentary series from Investigation Discovery, Deadly Women and Wicked Attraction; both are available on Netflix streaming and highly recommended.
YKOF: I haven’t seen those…they both make me think instantly of Karla Homolka, though. Was she mentioned? We will have more serial killer songs eventually. I wrote some lyrics for one about Richard Chase for Cannibal Rites, a death metal band KMD and Masked Jackal are in. As for true crime, we want to do a song in YKOF about the Wonderland Murders on the next album.
DOTDR: Sadly no on Karla Homolka on Deadly Women, but she was the first case on Wicked Attraction. They had some real good ones though, but their names slip my mind and Google is worthless. Casey Anthony is a hillbilly tramp, but they won’t list some of the more gruesome ones!!! I also recently saw the first part of the very first and only interview with Dahmer in prison, but it played mainly off the drama between his parents and very little on the crimes or his reasoning…probably because his dad was there next to him, so I can't recommend that one. Definitely scope out Most Evil, that's one of the best SK series put to DVD!!!!
Anyway now back to the main subject. How did you guys come up with Chainsaw Devil? I personally love the horror clips, but read a review that ripped on it while I was trying to find the track titles to get a review going for it.
YKOF: Chainsaw Devil is an alternate title for Pieces, a movie that obviously deserves an album title homage. I think I know the review you mean. Some people just don’t seem to enjoy the samples the way we do, but it was something that we always liked on the Mortician, Impetigo, and Gut albums, to name a few. It’s our trademark to have a sample on all of our original songs on the albums, and this will continue on the Horrorcaust release when we do that. My biggest complaint with the review was that it described us a mix of Napalm Death and Cannibal Corpse, which reads like some of sort of mad-lib blanket comparison by someone who doesn’t know very much about grind at all. But at least he reviewed it. Most of the zines/blogs I’ve sent it to still haven’t and I suspect won’t.
DOTDR: Yeah, you’re way more in the Mortician vein than ND and CC doesn’t even play into your sound anywhere. As for most ‘zines, they won’t bother, they’re too busy reviewing Relapse titles and the recent trend of dime-a-dozen hardcore/crust metal crap. It really sucks for good smaller bands and labels even. All that I get is PR shit most days that I try to ignore because it’s the same stuff day in and day out, with few exceptions I haven't reviewed anything they've given me links to in months. Many bands that are on “better” labels that can pay for a middle-man to push reviews and such are real dickheads to some of us as well, it’s as though they are doing us a favor by letting us like and review their stuff.
Also LOVE Pieces!!!!!
Honestly, in this day and age it’s nice to bullshit with people of similar interests. How do you view the current grind bands/labels? I’ve found that classic labels such as Selfmadegod and classic acts like Squash Bowels just don’t have it anymore, they’ve weakened their sound/standards.
YKOF: I’m sure it’s the way it usually is … there are great bands doing crushing music, and you just have to get past some uninspired grind to find it. That said, most of what I have heard lately doesn’t impress me as being especially violent or harsh, though. GRIND CRUSHER from Norway deserves mention as a band worth checking out. We have a split EP coming out with them soon.
DOTDR:Thanks for the heads up on those guys, I’ll be checking them out for sure!!!With your third release in the works can you spill a bit of insider info about Horrorcaust?
YKOF: We’ve had plans to do this album for several years, actually. It was intended to be the 2nd album. The first half of Chainsaw Devil was just meant to be a split CD on Haunted Hotel Records, but the other band fell out of contact and we worked it out with Ralph to just record some more songs and release it as a full length, so Chainsaw Devil became our 2nd . (We underestimated just how much material we had for the 2nd half. KMD somehow recorded the drums and two guitar tracks + solos for that in one session.) Not much of Horrorcaust is written at this point, but I think it is safe to say it will be more like the 1st half of Chainsaw Devil than the 2nd. Most of the songs will be about some of our favorite horror movies – Burial Ground, Nightmare City, Torso, Maniac, The Fly, Black Sunday, At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul, Jungle Holocaust, etc. Probably between 20-30 tracks. Only one or two cover songs this time, but one will definitely be Repulsion. I hope we can record it in 2013 at long last. It should be the ultimate YKOF album.
DOTDR: All of the horror/Giallo talk reminds me...I actually have a huge oil painting based on the razor-blade breast cutting scene from NY Ripper that is half done but looks freaky. I'll send some images of it soon. Now back to grind bands and funny names. Over the last couple of years I’ve really gotten obsessed with the Japanese grind stuff like Bathtub Shitter, Unholy Grave, 324,etc. I actually discovered Bathtub Shitter because of the name. It’s an inside joke about an incident when I was about 3 and crapped in the bathtub because I was playing with my Gilligans Island floating island tub toys and didn’t want to get out to go. The very moment that I saw that name I knew that I had to have/hear it!!!!
YKOF: Haha…the former YKOF drummer Ultimo Z2K shared his own bathtub shitting anecdote when he noticed the name in a Relapse catalog. I believe his brother was taking too long in the bathroom so Z2K had to improvise. I guess it’s a band name that really speaks to a lot of people.
DOTDR: Ha!!!! I knew it wasn’t just me. They came up with that name for a reason too and I’m sure it wasn’t because two words fit well together. Have you checked out any of the crazy Japanese stuff? Their noise/power electronics stuff can get really intense as well…lots of violence, sexual sadism, and fecal fetishes.
YKOF: That’s something I don’t know very much about, admittedly. Bill has offered to recommend some choice offerings from noise/electronics to me, though it’s hard to conceive of having the time to investigate. I just took on the role of mixing the YKOF recordings and a lot of time goes into that now.
DOTDR: I’d say start off with the weird grind take offs of Vomitoma/Colostomy Filter/Anal Birth/ Gruesome Toilet/ Putrephilia/ Geist/ Brownfilled Human Race. With many of those acts there’s a lot of mixing and sampling done that’s incredible. Maybe even venture into weird grind styles like noisecore, I wholly recommend Finnish nut jobs Nihilist Kommando and the US based Arseterror. That might prep you for the noise stuff because it plays off grind and noise really well.
Grind is horribly underrated and misused as a label. Bands like Impetigo, Mortician, Carcass, Cripple Bastards and the more technical death grind stuff like Malignancy and even later Carcass are fucking amazing!!!!
Again I digress. So how is the mixing going and do you foresee YKOF becoming more evolved in song structure?
YKOF: Cool, thank you for the recommendations! I’ll have to look into those. When you think you are well versed on most everything that’s out there, it’s always good to discover new avenues of sickness to explore. The term “grind” seems to get thrown around a lot here for bands that are no such thing, so it has become quite the misnomer. It’s weird how it has evolved that way. When someone says something is black metal, you have a very clear idea on what to expect. With grind, you could expect Regurgitate and get Fleetwood Mac. People don’t seem to know what the Hell they’re talking about. I’ve heard us categorized as brutal death, which is even more inaccurate than “Napalm Death meets Cannibal Corpse.”
The best word to describe the mixing is “painstaking,” haha. A LOT of trial and error. It would have cost us a small fortune to experiment in the studio with getting the proper balance of sound in as many hours as I’ve put into it, and still a long way to go. It’s so different for each recording, too. I plan to remix the Elders album at some point as well. I think I can make it sound a lot better while still being very raw and annihilating (e.g., being able to actually hear all the guitar riffs).
More evolved in song structure? No. Haha. We are not a structurally complex band and don’t care to be. Very few of our songs evolve beyond 4 riffs, at the most. You may notice that though we repeat riffs, we don’t actually play them a lot. It’s very rare that we’ll play one more than 4 times before moving to the next and coming back to it. It’s a way of trying to keep it from getting boring while still hopefully making it something you will remember hearing. Also, we don’t get to rehearse our songs as a 2-man band. Unless it’s an older YKOF song we played with the Aught Six line-up, we don’t actually know how it will sound until we record it. We come up with riffs, agree on the structure, and Sam might show me what he plans for the drums, but there is no true rehearsal. You don’t want to get too adventurous with that approach, but even if we had a full line-up and a place to rehearse, we wouldn’t do it any differently. That’s just the style we like. It should be swift and shockingly violent, like a giallo murder.
DOTDR: Stick with what makes you YOU and as long as it ain't broke why break it? Sadly, I used to really love black metal but everyone in it now are way to self absorbed and even now I loathe it when yet another album comes out in the style. I heard one the other day sent as a digital promo that was hippie Euro trance/pop with BM vocals (?)!!!! I was horrified.
Oh shit, now while I’m thinking about it, have you ever heard early General Surgery? Great stuff!!!! I also really love the highly underground Gore Obsessed releases as well, many of which are free downloads off his MySpace site.
YKOF: Oh yes, we are fans of that first General Surgery EP. I’ve used some variation of the phrase “an orgy of flying limbs and gore” in a couple of our songs, haha.
DOTDR: I know you guys are busy and this interview has taken aeons to get finished as a result of schedules on both sides so I'll end it here with a massive thanks for your time and sounds. I know we'll be in touch.