LUNATIC HOOKER SPEAK TO ZT ABOUT EMBRACING THE FILTH

With their debut album Embracing The Filth being just around the corner, Zero Tolerance found a nice excuse to ask London sludge/grinders Lunatic Hooker a few questions. Guitarist Ross told us all about extreme music, sick situations, and being nice to others.

ZT: Can you give us a brief history of the band? What brought you together and what are you hoping to achieve with the band?

LH: The origin of the band started a couple of years ago. On evening I was sat watching the ‘Extreme Metal’ episode of the Metal Evolution TV series and thinking to myself that I quite fancied getting back to playing some extreme metal, and that very evening I received a text from Tim (Guitarist) saying that him and George (Vocalist) had decided they want form a grindcore band and did I want in? I think he might have been half joking, and likely they were stoned and possibly drunk at the time but I was well up for it! The very next evening I plugged in my guitar, maxed out the HM-2 pedal and wrote the riffs for the track ‘Blood Eagle’. We then completed the line-up with Duncan (bass) and Rafa (drums) and had ourselves a full band. As it turned out, we had all recently had issues within bands we were playing in/working on (member issues, management issues, financial issues etc.) and had all lost a bit of the enjoyment from making and playing music, but Lunatic Hooker came along and actually ended up re-igniting our passion and enjoyment for playing in a band. We kept writing and had initially thought of just doing an EP, but the tracks were coming out so well and so easily that we carried on writing until we had the 12 tracks that now make up the album. Recorded the album ourselves, Tim mixed it and we got Mick from Anaal Nathrakh to master it. Also we got Dan from Winterfylleth to do the artwork and then we sent the album out to a few labels and Black Bow Records were keen to work with us and that’s who we decided to go with.

ZT: You describe your style as sludge/grind and your main influences definitely reflect that. Given that the two genres are quite different sonically, aesthetically and lyrically, where do you see the common ground between them?

LH: Hmm, erm, I dunno really, haha! I don’t worry or think about such things really. We never set out to sound any particular way or merge genres together or anything. Our sound and tracks were all just created 100% naturally and organically. It is just literally what we came up with after a few beers and plugging in the HM-2. It really is that simple and pure. Personally I think there are way too many bands these days who just sound and look exactly like other existing bands. Too many bands and people are caught up in being part of a scene or being part of a little niche genre etc. If music is art, then don’t just copy other people’s pictures, paint your own!

ZT: On a similar note, do you expect negative reactions from sludge or grind ‘purists’? Do such people exist (as in other parts of the rock and metal world)?

LH: Oh yeah I’m sure there probably are ‘scenester purists’ in all genres but I couldn’t care less. So far the feedback/reaction has been very good. If there are too many blastbeats for sludge/doom fans or too many slow bits for grind/death fans then tough shit! We are just making music that we enjoy listening to and playing. If no one else likes it then so be it. If you start worrying about what other people will think or say then you aren’t writing/playing honestly.

ZT: Your overall presentation comes with a healthy dose of humour. How important is this for extreme forms of music?

LH: It depends on how you see, hear and deal with things I guess. Some people are deadly serious about everything (music, politics, films etc.) whereas other people find humour in such things. Neither is necessarily right or wrong. For us I think a little humour is necessary to balance out the dark stuff. We are playing dark and heavy music but overall we try to give a positive message and sometimes a little humour creates a cool contrast to a barrage of death and destruction.

ZT: On a similar note, who came up with this horrible and, at the same time, very catchy name? Do you expect negative reactions from extreme music fans (and others)? Were you aiming at these exact reactions by picking this name?

LH: The name came from a late night (probably herbal powered) chat George had with some mates I believe. There isn’t any particular meaning to it, it was simply a funny phrase that came up during a story and was suggested as a good band name. We were happy to go with it due to the fact that it memorable, made us laugh and also has a bit of character to it. There are so many bands with totally bland, meaningless, empty, forgettable names these days, so I think we all just felt that going with something a bit more ‘out there’ would be fun. It wasn’t done on purpose to piss anyone off. Interestingly though, the vocalist from a well-known band in extreme metal did suggest to me that we should change the band name as some people might be offended by it. I was kind of disappointed to hear him say that as I didn’t think they were the sort of band who would worry about or pander to stuff like that.

ZT: Along the same line, what do you make of gender politics, political correctness and safe-spaces in extreme music subcultures? Do they have a place there? Do these have a place in your life?

LH: I don’t really know about or pay much attention to such things. I’m sure they all come from a positive place initially but often seem to end up just creating more division amongst people. I just live by the simple code of treating others how you would like to be treated yourself. it’s not rocket science. I don’t need to be part of any movement or religion or be involved in politics etc to know that. Male, female, gay, straight, black, white, blonde, brunette, tall, short, fat, thin, blue eyed, brown eyed, etc. etc. etc., none of that really matters. People are people. Lets just all try to be good people and get along eh?

ZT: Is ‘shock value’ still important in rock music today? Was it ever important?

LH: Well I guess it was massively important at the start of rock music. In fact it was pretty much what the whole rock’n roll thing was built on. ‘Music that your parents wouldn’t like’ etc. In the modern age I think it still has its place but it’s obviously much harder to shock people now. Ultimately if people didn’t want to be shocked then extreme metal, horror movies, haunted house rides etc wouldn’t exist. It’s that dark side of the human psyche that gets a thrill from being shocked/scared, and that won’t ever go away.

ZT: What do your lyrics deal with?

LH: A mixture of things really. Religion, personal stuff, vikings, the human race being destroyed, psychos, a walrus, star wars. You know? The usual stuff 😉 The title track of the album Embracing The Filth is about finding strength and happiness in amongst all the crap that life throws at you. Don’t let the bastards grind you down! If the apocalypse is coming then lets welcome it with a smile and a beer in hand. That is a good overall idea of what Lunatic Hooker is about.

ZT: How do you write songs? Do you jam them in the studio? Do you file-trade? Is each song composed in its entirety by one member?

LH: For this album I generally came up with the riffs and basic song structures and everyone built their parts on top of that (George and Duncan wrote vocals, Tim wrote lead parts etc.), and that was done mainly via emailing ideas/files back and forth. We don’t live that near each other plus with some of us having kids and some of the band working weird and wonderful hours it means that meeting up regularly isn’t always possible so this way of working seems the most productive way for us. Next album might be different, we shall see.

ZT: How has your location in South-West London helped shape your music and aesthetics?

LH: Erm, I don’t know really. I’m not sure that where you grow up or where you are based particularly shapes your musical taste and abilities. Music is often about escapism, getting you away from your boring day or giving you that buzz to help you get through the rest of the day etc. That’s one of the great things about music, that it can be totally universal and bring people together. We know there are radio stations in America, South America, Portugal, France, Luxembourg etc. who have played our tracks and that is great! Metal fans are metal fans wherever you are in the world. Music is the universal language.

ZT: Your album is out on April 17th. What should we expect from it?

LH: 12 tracks of heavy as hell death/grind/sludge metal. If you like stuff like early Entombed, Nasum, Iron Monkey etc. then we might be right up you alley!

-Future plans?

Make a video for one of the tracks, play some cool shows, drink some beers, have fun and eventually we’ll start writing the next album.

-Anything you’d like to add?

www.facebook.com/lunatichooker go have a look/listen, maybe you’ll like it 😉

Thanks

 

go back to the news section