It’s become a disappointingly rare thing to stumble across grind bands with heartfelt, unambiguous political stances tied to their music. Combining an acute lyrical focus on transgender rights (motivated by some of the band members’ personal experiences) and dissonant deathgrind, DOMESTICATED are thankfully a rare exception. Listen to their new album, “Dysphoria,” here. Thanks to Jake, Morgan, Sarah, and Maxine for the interview.
How long have you been doing Domesticated and what was the initial inspiration for forming the band?
Sarah: Just hit two years if you count from when we started jamming; just coming up on two years, if you count via our first show. Initially, the idea was to sound like a more death metal Dystopia.
Maxine: I’ve been in the band since the very beginning, roughly (so about 2 years). As Sarah said, the inspiration was rooted in sounding like Dystopia, but as we jammed and progressed, the direction changed quite a lot.
Jake: I first saw Domesticated play at Intrepid with their original drummer and they immediately became my favourite band in Victoria. As soon as I was given the offer to step into the breach, I knew it would be so much fun and hugely cathartic during a rather frustrating time in my life.
Are you satisfied with how your new album (Dysphoria) turned out? What was the recording process like for you?
Maxine: To be honest, it took awhile for the recording to grow on me. Personally, I hold myself to reasonably high standards when it comes to my vocal performance and the initial recording process became pretty arduous because of that. I felt I had to make a lot of compromises with what I had wanted to do vocally, but in the end I feel pretty confident in the vocals on “Dysphoria” and know the next recording will be even better.
Jake: That shit took forever, hahaha. That being said, I love the finished product, everyone brought their 100% A game and I’m more satisfied with my drumming on “Dysphoria” than any other recording I’ve been on.
Sarah: I am for the most part satisfied with how it came together, but it was an extremely long recording process and as such, there’s so many things I would have done differently. Starting from when we started writing these songs it took a year to record the LP. Part way through writing we added a second guitarist, Matt, who left to move to Vancouver after we tracked guitars. Just lots of delays, once it started being recorded we basically had a month in between when each instrument was recorded. I ended up having to go to our bass player Morgan’s apartment so we could record in the small amount of time he was free during the day. But considering all these factors, I’m very happy with the final result.
Morgan: Heck yeah, I’m definitely satisfied with how the album turned out! Very proud of my friends and the work that was put into this music. It took a while to finish the bass recording part due to a couple different reasons. Sarah started recording about six months ago. We were going to record drums and bass one night but there were technical difficulties with the computer and we could only finish the drums that night. Shortly afterward my hands were burned in a work accident in late May, so that delayed things for over a month. I lost my job around that time, and Jake and I played a few shows in Ontario and it took a while to figure out getting the bass recorded. One day Sarah came over to my place and finished it up without any problems.
“Lung of Eden” – the first track from your new album – begins with a sample that I thought was incredibly effective and genuinely refreshing considering that it’s increasingly rare to hear grind bands get overtly political these days, particularly when it comes to addressing subjects that – sadly – are likely still somewhat divisive to a metal/grind/hc audience. Can you tell me what prompted you to address the horrifically real issue of transgender/non-binary people being attacked, marginalized and demonized? What kind of reactions have you gotten to taking this subject matter on?
Jake: Anybody who has been a part of the metal scene (especially death metal) can attest to the rampant homophobia, transphobia and misogyny that are perpetuated in these groups; in many cases due to apathy and refusing to question tropes, imagery and ideas that have been longstanding fixtures of the style. I feel like in this day and age it should be an artist’s responsibility to question, call out, and fight against toxic ideals which continue to torment and kill marginalized people.
Maxine: I mean, from the start, my primary goal with this band was to focus on matters that affected me most personally. Although we started a bit sillier, going forward from that I wanted our debut album to encapsulate what we are about and where we stand, and I felt that soundclip worked as a clear and direct thesis to what this album is for. As a non-binary, I feel it’s inherent that these topics be brought up, especially in a scene that so often neglects those who are truly in need of a community. The themes I address aren’t politics, they’re the world we as trans people live in, and these topics are only divisive to those who they make uncomfortable – people who don’t want to see the true nature of sexism, heteronormativity, and transphobia, and those aren’t the kinds people we want listening to our band.
Sarah: Maxine will have the most to say here as they are both the lyricists and basically the focal point of the band being the front person, but I’d just like to say reactions wise we’ve had a lot of out pouring of kind messages from so many trans and queer extreme music fans/musicians, lots of encouragement and praise, lots of love which has been very validating.
What is the scene like in Victoria, B.C.? Any other bands from that area you’d recommend that people check out?
Maxine: The scene is a mixed bag, as has been said, it’s very small, but in some ways I appreciate that. I grew up going to shows in Victoria, some of which were in Sarah’s basement, and I feel the personal and small nature of the scene really helped me to feel welcome into the world of local heavy music. Local bands… Parasitic Twin (cool mathcore), Amnesian (do you like Converge?), Shibboleth (shout out to Andy Andersson).
Sarah: The scene in Victoria is pretty brutally small, and as such very mixed. There are a decent amount of people going to shows but it can be very hard to predict what show is going to get people to come out. Victoria is mostly held together but a few dedicated bookers, some who are in bands and some who aren’t. That said a new collective based all-ages theatre called Subculture Club just opened and we have heard good things and hope to be invited to play there soon. As for bands from Vic I’d recommend, some of the newer stuff coming up is Sporus (sounds like Rudimentary Peni meets Gism), Rosacea (hard to nail down, kinda post- skramz type thing), Legit Heat (straight up hardcore punk).
Morgan: The Sporus demo is good stuff. Altercation‘s last demo from the end of last year is wild. The Magnum Force discography.
Please share a few of your favorite records/tapes/cds/whatever from the last year or so.
Maxine: Psudoku “Deep Space Psudokument,” Limp Wrist “Façades,” Exit Order “Seed of Hysteria,” Glue “S/T,” 16-Armed Winged Goddess “Catastrophic Outcome of Progress,” Machine Girl “Because I’m Young Arrogant and Hate Everything you Stand For.”
Jake: The new Spectral Voice is off the chain. I can’t remember if the last Altercation recordings dropped this year, but if so, bump it hard. R.I.P. to an amazing band.
Sarah: Dang, this is a hard one (I often forget when stuff came out). I know for a fact I’ve mostly been jamming Full of Hell “Trumpeting Ecstasy” and the Regress “Rotten Sabbat” tape. Most of the stuff I thought came out this year came out last year, ‘cause I was gonna plug Blood Incantation “Starspawn” and Begrime Exemious “The Enslavement Conquest.”
I know that some of you guys have other bands/projects, as well – please tell me about them…
Maxine: Minitel – a passion project of mine that was years in the making. To put it simply, I basically wanted to start this project a little while after I first heard Discordance Axis.
Sarah: Minitel. I also have a long running mince side project called Pyosis that is going to have a new live lineup with Maxine and my friend Curtis on drums.
Jake: I’m working on the long put off follow-up for Walden (my black metal project), Mindbleeder (which sounds like Nuclear Death plus goat metal), me and Morgan’s band Capsized, and I rap mystic style voices as SQUEEB. I’m also in Minitel. There’s more but those are the main ones, haha.
Morgan: I’ve been doing stuff with Jake in Capsized, this jazz band called Something Trio, a band called Slow Release, and I’ve been working on producing beats and recording lots of bummed-out instrumental music. Involved in a hip hop project with Jake, we’re going to release some music pretty soon as Dorothy Velvet.
(Ed – Some members are also in a grimy goregrind project called Maximum Carnage, who released a tape “A Repugnant Racket” last year.)
What is your least favorite aspect of being in a band?
Maxine: Trying to explain how to do a part you have in your head.
Sarah: Slow periods with no shows and no jams. Trying to do those annoying mathematical type explanations in regard to tempos and measures when working on new songs.
Jake: Moving gear, hahaha.
How important are your lyrics to you and who tends to write them? I noticed that they aren’t on the Bandcamp page, which was a bit disappointing, as I was very curious to read them!
Maxine: Lyrics are obviously pretty important to me, and the rest of the band for that matter. I write all the lyrics, and the reason they aren’t on the Bandcamp so far is because I’m currently doing some slight tweaks to them as I want them to be the best they can be before we release the album physically. Generally I tend to adjust lyrics here and there as time goes on. You will see them soon, I promise!
Sarah: Lyrics are extremely important, especially with everything that’s going on these days. Maxine writes all the lyrics. They do an extremely good job, if I do say so.
What are your plans for a physical release of “Dysphoria” and what do you have planned next for Domesticated?
Sarah: At the moment there is a planned cassette release between Toska tapes (Boston from Rosacea) and a new tape label I’m starting, and beyond that we are trying extremely hard to find any labels who would want to release this album on vinyl or cd.
Jake: We have a split with GOD coming up, that’s gonna be hype as hell. All new material that sounds evil and trudging as fuck.