Interview with Jason Hodges/SUPPRESSION

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With this pitiful excuse for a webzine/blog/whatever having largely been motivated by filthy, DIY, noisy grind, it’d be difficult to come up with a more fitting way to begin than with an interview with Jason Hodges from SUPPRESSION.

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SUPPRESSION released your first demo in 1993. Twenty-three years later, you’re still going. What’s been the driving force to continue over the last two + decades? What’s been the most difficult aspect of keeping a band going for so long? 

It’s still fun for me. It’s the only band I play bass in, and I started out as a bass player so it’s always a blast. Pissed off music seems to be the drug of choice. Me and Ryan Parrish (drums) have been Suppression for 16 of those 23 years, he’s a lot of fun to make music and noise with; he can handle and riff off of anything you throw at him.

No real difficulties come to mind actually, other than wishing there was time to do even more shit, ya know?

Your label, CHAOTIC NOISE, is in the process of re-issuing some of your original tape releases from the 90s. What prompted the decision to do that? Could you name a few of your favorite CNP releases (either due to the actual content or just good memories of assembling the material/dealing with bands)? Is there a particular release that fell through the cracks or didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped?

Screen shot 2016-11-19 at 10.39.22 PMA lot of people have asked me over the years to reissue that stuff and I’ve been meaning to get around to it forever. I think I’ve just become way more organized in recent years, to be able to get it together, and that old stuff compliments the direction the label has mutated into in recent years.

Favorite CNP releases? Hmm, I love all of the Rectal Pus tapes because they were so fun to make, The Earwigs “Gyngerella” tape, Building Of Gel “Cube,” because his stuff was so harsh and dynamic, and the original “Audio Terrorism” compilation tape because from putting that together I made a lot of pen pals that I traded tapes with and collaborated with for the following years. Some of those folks I still know today!!

One release that didn’t happen was the Tinfoil/ Rectal Pus split…Tinfoil were a Richmond, VA band that were my friends Steve Chisholm, Martin Deal, and Chris Stein (who was later in Suppression for 2 U.S. tours). They were all in sick bands over the years, but Tinfoil didn’t last long and Rectal Pus didn’t survive the mid-90s. There’s a Tinfoil track on the “Audio Terrorism: The Soundtrack for Weirdness and Blind Hostility” compilation CD that you can still download from Grindcore Karaoke…

You have a few other bands/projects happening, too – can you share some info about OOZING MEAT, BROWN PISS and BERMUDA TRIANGLES? 

Oozing Meat is a newer band with Eric Tomillon (Fake Object, Conflation) on noise and vocals and myself on drums and vocals. Scummy noisecore from the sewer. Brown Piss is me doing solo electronics, I do a lot of harsh noise, rhythmic noise, moist loops, cassette manipulation, sci-fi/ horror synth weirdness, and some gorenoise.

Bermuda Triangles is a drums, saxophone, fried-electronics three-piece with my old friends Bill Porter (on percussion, synth, and contact mics) and Sean Cassidy (saxophone, percussion, contact mics) and I play a full drumkit and handle the vocals. It’s got elements of a bunch of our musical interests. I’m also in a harsh, beat-driven, electronics two-piece called Mutwawa with another old friend Gary Stevens (Head Molt). All have multiple releases on Chaotic Noise.

ritcrFor a period of time before you returned to grind/noise with the “Rats in the Control Room” tape, SUPPRESSION had incorporated some experimental, non-grindcore elements into your music. What inspired that, and what kind of reactions did you get from people expecting the ‘classic’ SUPPRESSION sound? What’s your favorite release from this period of the band?

After 1997, I thought Suppression was over with. I was floundering in Roanoke, VA, wasting time and drinking and then I moved to Richmond in 1998. Right when I moved here, me and some new friends started a new three-piece which was going to be called Suppression; we opened for Melt Banana as Suppression, but changed the name shortly after to Irreversible Neural Damage.

In 2000, I was hanging out with Ryan Parrish and he brought up the idea of starting a new Suppression, and at the time I was listening to a lot of weird bands like Arab On Radar, Crom Tech, Melt Banana, 70s/ 80s no wave and post punk bands, Load Records bands, and Butthole Surfers… not much fast hardcore or grindcore really, so it just seemed natural to experiment with our interests. We definitely encountered a lot of people who were like “yeah, that was cool I guess, but what about the old shit?”

Around 2011, we were asked to open for DESPISE YOU here in Richmond and we thought it would be fun to learn some of the tracks from the old Suppression/ Despise You split.  After practicing that stuff and playing it live again, I knew that it was time to do it again. Plus I was listening to a lot of noise again, digging out my old Sore Throat, 7MON, Siege, etc. tapes, records, and just in general I was in the mood for brutal shit in my personal listening habits.

On your last couple of releases, you’ve incorporated pitch-shifted vocals. What inspired you to introduce that into SUPPRESSION’s sound? What kind of reactions have you gotten?

Hmm, I’d have to say listening to early Carcass and Last Days Of Humanity a lot. I know Andy/Capt. 3 Leg isn’t a fan of it!

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You have one of my favorite bass sounds. What kind of gear do you typically use? Do you have a favorite combination of amps/pedals?

I’ve always used Boss Turbo Distortion pedals. My friend Bill Mahone (ex-Suppression, Rectal Pus, and Expendable Citizen) gave me my first one when we were young as shit. I also use a few other pedals. I’ve been using a Gallien Kruger bass amp forever, and I prefer Fender Precision basses.

Five CDs that are in your car right now….

I don’t have a CD player in my van, but I have a tape player, so these tapes have been in there for awhile:

  1. The Fall- “Palace of Swords Reversed” 
  2. Rudimentary Peni- “Death Church”
  3. Kiss “Ace Frehley” solo record 1978
  4. D.O.C. “2015 Demo”
  5. G.O.D. “Body Horror” 

How has social media and Bandcamp effected SUPPRESSION and your other projects?  

I don’t know, it was such a gradual thing for me. I’m really slow to jump onboard of things, and especially with technology it’s something I ease into. We have our music on the Chaotic Noise Productions Bandcamp page, and sometimes people buy it. I’m sure people are getting it for free, too, and I don’t really care – it’s not like we make money from this and that’s not why we do it, anyway.  

SUPPRESSION went on tour a few months ago; any particular shows stand out as being especially memorable? 

Midwest Harshfest and Discontent Fest were sick. We met and played with xABRUPTx who were fucking brutal, The Mousetrap in Chicago was great, Now That’s Class in Cleveland was a great, great night of seeing old friends, getting to play a couple of times with the filthy and brutal SULFURIC CAUTERY was fucking awesome, playing with MELLOW HARSHER was a treat… all of it was great!!! The Mockbee in Cincinnati was a crazy building!! Pittsburgh, New York at The Acheron, was a great trip! Except that I somehow contracted mono, so I felt like shit for half of it. But I tried to ignore it and have a good time, which I think I managed to do! Thanks to everyone who made that trip what it was! (Kids, don’t catch mono!!)

Ending with a couple of brief, dumb questions.  Favorite current beer?

Allagash White.

Worst album by favorite band(s)?

Anything that C.O.C. did after “Technocracy.”

Fossil Fuel or Sockeye?

Sockeye forever, baby.

Visit CHAOTIC NOISE PRODUCTIONS here.

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