AmocomA Interview


A CDR turns into a CD on the legendary Tumult Recordings...no liner notes, no information to be had...and that's basically the story of mysterious Bay Area black metal band AmocomA...and don't look for any myspace or blog. The only way to experience AmocomA is to get a copy of Go to Hell and bask in their fuzzy black metal dementia. Luckily, I managed to pry some answers from this enigmatic entity for your viewing pleasure.
HAMMER SMASHED JAZZ: Ok,cliche question number one....the band name...any meaning behind it?
AMOCOMA: Amocoma represents the being birthed into a deathlike state, re-emerging lifelike into actual death, and thus being re-born, but dead.
HSJ:So, either my ears are deceiving me, or there really is no guitars on the first three tracks... and on later tracks as well, which is a pretty bold way of constructing black metal. Was there a certain reason for doing this? Also, what are you using to get that cool hum/chant that permeates so much of the record?
AA:There is guitar on every song. The cool hum/chant thing, that is your ears decieving you.
HSJ: I really love that the first track sets a a tone that conjures thoughts of vikings and cold and war, considering so much black metal nowadays seems to only be about introspection and mental issues. So, is there a central theme or idea that Go to Hell represents?
AA:The central theme of Go To Hell is that cowards live forever, while the noble tend to perish quickly. The fact is that most of us mortals remain somewhere in the balance, to some degree desiring nobility and also fearing its imminent repercussions, which means we, as a race, with obvious exceptions, tend toward cowardice and dishonor.
HSJ: I think a lot of people believe that to create fuzzy sounding black metal, all you need to do is plug some shit into a four-track, and let fly, but it can't really be that simple, is it?
AA:There is definitely more to making music than plugging in and letting fly. As far as black metal, and other "genres" of unclassifiable music, these are generally not geared toward finding the widest audience possible. Of course, with the type of music that is characterized by a wide audience, production values are sometimes at the forefront, taking precedence over substance or emotional resonance. That being said, music artists that do not hold production values in high esteem are generally making music for themselves and their "friends" or peers to appreciate. As long as the artist is content, there is no further discussion necessary. I do believe there is a middle ground, whereby an artist can strive toward self-satisfaction by way of the "approval" or appreciation by like-eared individuals, but that is up to the artist herself. As far as "Go To Hell" is concerned, this was my first attempt at making this "type" of very sludgy, repetetive music, so a lot of the murkiness serves to further remove identifiable characteristics of the instrumentation (see question #2) and lyrical content. This was, I felt, half-conscious on my part, and wholly necessary to create the mood that I was attempting to create...
HSJ: I realize that genre classification is sometimes the tool of lazy journalists, BUT it does seem that your music would probably best fit into two sets of black metal subgenres...the first being the fuzzed-out style, akin to Velvet Cacoon, and the other being Bay Area/Cali black metal like Weakling and Leviathan. Do you see yourself aligned with or relating to either group?
AA:There is a natural alignment that occurs between all one-person bands of this ilk, if for no other reason than you can imagine their music being recorded in a dark hallway, in an anonymous building in this foggy, morose city. Like I indicated in my previous answer, the fuzzed-out quality of this music renders its origins impossible to pinpoint or identify. Albums recorded on a computer with the finest audio equipment and ones thrown together on a tape recorder using a built in condenser mic can reside next to each other in total harmony, its just that technology allows artists the freedom to willfully de-construct their sonic potential in order to create something that sounds like it was recorded on a two dollar tape recorder. That being said, it is difficult to place myself and these other "black metal" artists anywhere but right next to each other, as we all seem to have espoused a "music-before-production" aesthetic. However, I would never compare myself to the genius of Leviathan or Weakling.
HSJ: There is virtually no information about the band or> anything else on the CD. Is this a conscious choice, to keep an air of mystery about the band? Is that an important
aspect to black metal, or art in general for you?
AA: When I completed the album, it did not seem wholly necessary to put a face or a name on it. The band name, artwork and music should suffice to create a moment in time, a mood, or whatever else potential listeners are seeking.
HSJ: Also, the artwork is mostly white, which is very> rare for a black metal band to do ( instead of predominantly grey or black). Any reason behind that?
AA:No, no reason. I left the art up to the artist. He is this strange character from rural South Carolina, Earl Gramling. His decisions, I did not question.
HSJ: I must admit to you, that despite loving the entirety of Go To Hell, I have before listened to the last track, You Shall Yet Rise, on repeat many times. To me it is one of the most amazing riffs I've heard in a long time... and very much reminds me of Jimmy Page's magnum opus, Achille's Last Stand, both in structure and in mood. But the song wasn't on the original version of Go To Hell. So what was it recorded for? Did you decide to add it on to round out the record for the Tumult reissue, or was it just a random track?
AA: First of all, thank you for that compliment. That is by far my favorite song on the album. It was originally included on a short lived tape-of-the-month series that my friend and I did for Aquarius records in San Francisco. That song and the other bonus track were included on separate cassettes, the series only lasted two tapes! and were of seriously limited quantity. However, I could not let that track in particular languish in such a state. To bolster the original set of songs , we added the bonus tracks. Therefore, "Go To Hell" represents the entire recorded output of Amocoma...

HSJ: So speaking of Tumult, as a black metal band, it must always be nice to get a call from Andee.
AA:An honor and a delight.
HSJ: So will we see any new AmocomA anytime soon? Anything else going on?
AA: There is another album in the works, however I'm headed out on the road for a couple months, perhaps we will finish in the dark of winter, when it seems appropriate. Anyhow thanks for listening and getting in touch, I'll keep you posted with any new music, and hope to hear back from you. Take care..

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

One of the best releses of this past year Amocoma- Go to hell... go directly to hell do not pass go do not collect 200 bucks

HSJ said...

Indeed...

Anonymous said...

Anyway to get a copy?

HSJ said...

I have an extra copy. $6 if you're in the US. $9 world.

Nate said...

Great interview... like you said about the last song on the album, totally fucking great. That might be the best riff ever.

HSJ said...

Truly. Hey Nate, email me...