Mon, 05 May 2014 11:29:16
Anti-Mortem ignite a hulking and hypnotic southern rock groove that makes for one of the year's best debuts. They summon the spirits of Pantera and Corrosion of Conformity and conjure a new paradigm for southern metal in the process. Yup, it’s that good...Meet the new gods of southern rock, Anti-Mortem.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Anti-Mortem frontman Rado talks New Southern and so much more.
What ties New Southern together for you? It feels like there's cohesion and a distinct vision.
I appreciate what you're saying because that's exactly what we set out for. We're totally down with people having singles. At the same time, we're guys who like bands that put out full records back in the day and today. You don't just listen to your favorite bands for one song. You listen to their records because you can't put them down. The biggest things are our influences. Every single one of us likes music that dates all the way back to the thirties to nowadays and everywhere in between. We want to sound like Anti-Mortem. We want to sound like every band that has influenced us and then make that our own. We want to turn it into this new thing that makes us all happy to listen to.
Is it important for you to paint a picture with the songs and tell a story?
There are two sides to that. Storytelling songs are pretty much gone nowadays so that's something we'd like to bring back with "Jonesboro" and "Old Washita". At the same time, we always have a cohesive theme to each song. I'm not just painting a picture with the story. There's a message behind it I'm trying to get across. You should have the imagery in your mind of what this song means to your real life. The other side of that is we're all about playing live. Our live show is what we love the most. That's where we feel like all of our power and everything we bring to rock comes through. It's good when you visually want to imagine what this looks like in person.
What are you covering lyrically?
The biggest thing that I like to cover is life. That's an obvious thing. At the same time, there are so many different aspects to life. So many of our heroes we listened to have something in all of their music. Really, that's the underlying theme to almost every song you hear. They're trying to rationalize things that happened to them in life. To me, the best writers are uplifting. If you feel a certain way and you listen to your favorite song and it makes you feel better, that's incredible. Most people that know how to make you feel a certain way through music are trying to uplift you. Even if it's heavy music, it's powerful. It's like in Spider-Man—with great power comes great responsibility. Do you want to move people to negativity or positivity? I started writing because I would have so much bottled up anger as a teenager that I wouldn't have anywhere to put it. I was very angry and mad at everything around me for no reason. I started writing to put my negativity into something. Through writing, I created change in myself in words. I try to write about my life lessons I've picked up on. Even at a young age, there are certain things you pick up on and you want to share them with people. The artists who have touched me aren't just songwriters, they're lyrical poets. There are so many things to pull from what they're saying to you.
What's the story behind "Hate Automatic"?
I don't mind people being influenced by me at all. That makes me so happy. What upsets me is when someone doesn't acknowledge that they were influenced by you, especially being a young band. In the bridge, I'm saying music is my love. I go certain places in my mind to write our music. No one is me. I'm not saying someone couldn't handle being in my head, but you definitely couldn't be dropped in my mind and feel comfortable with it. That's how I write. I rationalize my own life and my own crazy thoughts through music. I find happiness and comfort in it. It's when someone tries to steal my happiness and comfort in a way or borrow from me before I've even begun. That's how I felt at one point in my life from a lot of different bands I knew. It was okay. I didn't mind, but I'll see people and be like, "Hey man, you're just as good of a person as I am. You're just as deep of a person as I am. Everybody is just as special as the next guy. Have your own originality and make your own art, and it will be just as good as anybody around you as long as you give it value". The guy who writes it gives it value. The only reason anybody listens to us is because we like our own music. You can tell when somebody doesn't like what they're doing if they're just trying to make money. That's what the song is about. To me, my mind is like a fully automatic weapon. When you try to fuck with me, you're going to feel the wrath of my mind. That's how I've always written. If you want to steal from me, steal from me, but it's not making me any worse. It's making you worse because you're cheating yourself of the originality and love you could find by doing your own music.
Where did "A Little Too Loose" come from?
It's Mr. Big, man! [Laughs] I don't know too much about Mr. Big, but I heard that song. It's crazy. We've always loved the blues. I've always loved Led Zeppelin. We've always loved Black Sabbath and all of the other bands in between. They really brought the old-fashionedness to us. Those guys made records back in the day. You couldn't really skip on a vinyl. You could try, but it wasn't exact. Most people listened to the whole fucking vinyl. That's how I want everyone to listen to our record.
What song means the most to you right now?
It's hard to say. I'm really proud of "Truckstop Special". It's one of the oldest songs we've written. We actually wrote "Stagnant Water" when I was thirteen. That song has been made for seven or eight years, and it just made it to a record. When we play it, it's like, "Look where we started and look where we are now". "Truckstop Special" is a better version of that. We were discovering that we could write really good songs. My all-time favorite song is "I Get Along With The Devil". It's the heaviest song on the album. That chorus is my favorite I've ever written.
What influences you outside of music?
It's every type of media and artistry that exists. I'm more of an old school guy. I love paintings. I love classical music and music now. When I was younger, I would watch lots of TV and movies. I'd figure out the theme of a movie or TV show and be like, "That's cool!" It's like watching a moving hieroglyphic. You can take it at face value or dive into it and try to figure out what it really means. Trying to find out what the artist is aiming to put across is just beautiful to me. The thing that resonated with me the most as a kid was poetry. I was reading Edgar Allan Poe books when I was nine- or ten-years-old. It was so hard to understand at that age. I remember saying, "One day, I want people to read what I write and feel like there's so much meaning while wondering what I'm saying". That's what I think is really fun about it.
If your album were a movie or a combination of movies, what would it be?
Oh God! There are definitely a lot of movies in there. The raw power of our music could be 300. You move from power to epicness, and that's like Gladiator. At the same time, there's a lot from To Kill a Mockingbird in there because it's about justice and doing the right thing. There's a dark mysticism to it as well. Those three cover aspects of it. There are so many movies that influenced me. Another dark side of it could be that movie Secret Window. Who is this man? Where does his mind go? That's definitely in there.
Anti-Mortem - Stagnant Water