Chuck Schuldiner Project

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Interview with Gordon Koch from Call of the Void!

So I recently had the honor of getting to chat with Gordon Koch from Call of the Void at This is Hardcore. In the interview we talk about his love for art and his upcoming record. A truly jovial and fun dude, this is one of the coolest interviews I've done in a good long while.

If you don't know Call of the Void already, find them on Facebook!

So how have you been?
I'm good, very good. We flew in last night, We got to Philadelphia after a connecting flight, slept on a hardwood floor, drank a bunch of beer, and I'm alive!

Will you be around for the entire festival?
We actually leave Sunday in the afternoon. We'll be able to see all of Friday and Saturday, but we want to check out the art museum and stuff.

The art museum? Are you guys into art?
Whenever we're on tour we try to check something out that's a little educational. My dad is an art collector and my mom is an art teacher and I grew up doing art. I always went to art museums and I find them neat. Whenever we're on the road we try to find something bizarre or a famous museum. When we were on tour with Ringworm we went to the Cleveland art museum where there are Van Gogh's and Picasso and stuff that you don't normally see.

Being raised in that kind of culture, has that impacted your music?
Absolutely! Growing up and seeing surrealist art and stuff that's not related to popular culture definitely helped out. My parents always encouraged me to do whatever I wanted. That allowed me to get into extreme music. They bought me my first drumkit. When I first startedp laying heavy metal shows they were totally supportive, they didn't give a shit, they wanted me to express myself. I grew up listening to Frank Zappa and weird stuff like that. A lot of people get bored at art museums and wwe were forced to go to them because that's where my parents wanted to check out. Then you learn to appreciate that. I'll invite people to the art museum and they'll be like “That's boring. Are you stupid?” I just think it's neat.

I had a similar upbringing yeah.
If you just have a basic understanding of what you like you can do a lot. I went to a French classic collection at the Denver art museum and I think Monet is fucking boring. I don't give a shit. He did all the work that he did but after seeing three rooms full of it I don't care.

Whose you're favorite painter?
I really like the early Mark Reiden stuff from Juxtapose Magazine. When they were popping up he was kind of uncomfortable. He did Abraham Lincoln and a bunch of meat or little girls milking their teats into elephants. That was kind of a bit more shocking when I was growing up. I really like Frazetta, Frank Frazetta. It's total nerd stuff, but his oil and the way that he's able to actually put together the human body... Oil is really hard, you've got to wait and let it sit. He took the full figured woman and portrayed that. While other painters were doing rail thin skinny women, he was just loved painting big old butts and dragons and muscles and stuff. He definitely took a lot of inspiration from his wife, he portrayed a more realistic female character. Albeit they're wearing a tunic and they have a knife and they're fighting a giant lizard, but I just like the way he portrayed it.

Do you have a love for fantasy in general?
I grew up watching Star Wars and Fantasia and stuff. I'm more into surrealist shit. I like the first couple seasons of Ren and Stimpy. That kind of stuff is completely bizarre. I like the fever dream kind of feel.

So you seem to have a very solid understanding of stuff that normal society would refer to as 'high art'. So why do you make music that's so brutal and vicious?
You can find a lot of meaning in anything. When you look at Jackson Pollock it just looks like he put paint in his mouth and sprayed it everywhere. When you look at all the pain he went through though and what he put into it. You'll see a painting that's just blue with a red square in the middle. There's a lot in that.

Grindcore for example is really basic and super intense, and some people think that's just bad songwriting. But when you look at it from a minimalist point of view. If you listen to actual ambient artists, like Sun0))), that's just one example of minimalist music and then listen to Discordance Axis which is a great grind band, they repeat and repeat and repeat and do one phrase and it's over. That's fucking art. You don't have to be super complicated like some fantasy metal band to be considered artistic, it's just how you present and what you're going for.

It's like John Zorn and Speedball.
I love John Zorn. Naked City's Torture Garden is just one of my favorite CD's to listen too. It's so outrageous. A lot of people need to be in a specific mood, I can listen to that any time, I fucking love it. He did the Painkiller series with the fast versions of Naked City and then like the doom versions of Naked City, just different jam sessions with different artists. It's great. He has an awesome grasp on everything.

How did you get called in to do this showcase with Relapse?
The guitar player Patrick and I have been playing music together for a long time. We had started this band together doing a few songs in 2007. It petered out and we did other stuff and then we were in a stoner rock band together. We decided to get this band back together and recorded the first record in 2011 I believe. We surfed it to all the labels we could think of but we didn't send it to Relapse because we thought they were too high caliber. So we ended up putting it out ourselves. We put it on blogspots and as a free download on bandcamp and all our friends posted it all over the internet. Then drew from Relapse heard it and called us up and said “Wow this is awesome, do you want to be on the label?” he showed it to the rest of Relapse and they called us the next day. We had already done the artwork and mastering and they were like “This is awesome, we'll totally put this out for you.” We signed a record deal and we're touring on it and having fun.

Do you have another couple records in the deal?
We signed a three record deal and we just finished recording our second album, I don't know when it's going to come out, we're still finishing up artwork and stuff. We're really pumped about it.

How did that evolve on what you have out now?
The first record is pretty grind and heavy and mean and stuff. We wanted to bring more of a thick cohesive and beefier sound. It's a little bit more hardcore and some more repeated ideas. There's more song structure to it. It's a better evolution and it's the proper evolution. We're trying to be better songwriters and play more presentable music. We got a new guitar player, he's not here today because he couldn't get off work but we're going on tour with him in the fall. He added an awesome new sound to it so now we sound bigger and badder.

I want you to finish this sentence for me “I've never told this story before and probably shouldn't but...”
There's a lot of shit... I egged a kids house in middle school and then lied about it and it was funny. I spray painted a middle school. No one cares about that shit. I haven't killed anybody or ripped anybody off. We come from such a nice place it's weird. I don't like stealing, I can't even steal hot sauce from Chipotle. I'm pathetic.

What do you love so much about music?
I've been studying this shit since I was 13, it's my entire life. When you force a kid to play violin fo his entire life all of the sudden he's really good and that's his entire life. We got signed to the label and this is my one chance to actually do it. Yeah I got a day job and a lady, but this is what I've been training for. Instead of making money like a master carpenter I play in a heavy metal band and tour in a van.

Any words of wisdom, last comments?

Everybody needs to mellow out. This past week has been stupid, people are dying for no fucking reason. There's a lot of beef in a lot of communities and you could make a lot of sandwiches with them.

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