I first became aware of BLUE HOLOCAUST from their three-way split CD with SAVAGE MAN, SAVAGE BEAST and MICROPHALLUS (2001). Pierre’s (formerly) one-man campaign of giallo-obsessed goregrind savagery has since expanded to include a second and equally devastating band, VOMI NOIR, whose bassist and drummer have since joined BLUE HOLOCAUST, as well.
Pierre is also a tremendously talented artist – if you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably seen his artwork on more than one occasion already – and also runs BRAINDEAD, an excellent webzine dedicated to underground/DIY grindcore & goregrind that I’ve spent countless hours reading. Thanks to Pierre for the interview!
Your new band, VOMI NOIR, marks a significant change for you compared to BLUE HOLOCAUST, in that you now have a full band – what was it like for you to transition from doing everything by yourself to actually collaborating, working with a drummer and playing live?
Yes, I made multiple attempts to form a band in the past, but they all failed miserably every time. I actually moved to a bigger city in recent years and was able to get a band going more easily this way… At first I found a friend to play bass for BLUE HOLOCAUST and we rehearsed old and new tunes for a drum machine set! But eventually we found a drummer who was available through another friend.
Doing BLUE HOLOCAUST by myself derived from a desire to create the type of grindcore I wanted to hear, but it was eventually kind of frustrating only working by myself. Finally playing with flesh and blood persons is a bit more fulfilling and more of a real commitment to get things done, and not procrastinate quite as much. We formed VOMI NOIR, but we’re still doing BLUE HOLOCAUST, too, and working on a full length album right now!
What is your recording set-up like? Is there a particular guitar amp or simulator that you prefer to use? Do you enjoy programming drums or was it a result of not having a reliable drummer to work with?
It kind of evolved with time… I’ve never been satisfied with my sound, I’ve just always been using whatever crappy equipment was available to me. Originally, in the “Twitch of the Death Nerve” era, I was playing on a small Fender amp, plugging it directly into my computer without any sort of interface… I think I might have fried a soundcard or two this way… Basically using Cubase and programming drums through that, too. I tried mic’ing amps for a long time, but I could never get a satisfying sound. I tried every amp simulator. Lately it’s been a combination of Line 6 stuff, Gearbox & Amplitube, and Superior Drummer for the drum sound. Our tracks for the upcoming split 7” with ROSKOPP were done this way, for example.
I only bought my first real amp recently though… It’s a ENGL Ritchie Blackmore that belonged to a dude who shares the same practice room… I’d like to record from a real amp on the upcoming VOMI NOIR & BLUE HOLOCAUST recordings!
I don’t particularly enjoy programming drums, but it’s a good way to demo songs, so I’m still programming drums and sending demo tracks to my bandmates before we start working on new tunes! When riff ideas creep up in my mind, I like being able to record a version of the songs with the beats I hear in my head, as well. But we started working with recording drums with my drummer first so I can come up with riffs afterwards… That gives a different dynamics to songs… Maybe more spontaneous, we might try that more often in the future!
I know of your interest in giallo and horror film in general – what do you think about the state of horror films these days? Are there any you’ve seen in the last few years that you’ve especially enjoyed?
Hmmm… I don’t really keep up to date with modern horror… I haven’t seen anything particularly good lately. I was hoping I would dig Eli Roth’s “Green Inferno” (since I didn’t mind “Hostel”) but I thought it kind of sucked. I did enjoy the “Maniac” remake, the first half of “Martyrs”… Some stuff like “Amer” or “Berberian Sound Studio” paying homage to giallo could have been my thing, but they don’t provide the chills for me, there’s something missing…
There might be decent stuff out there I’m not aware of? I usually immerse myself in older movies, and there’s so many older movies I haven’t seen yet, I’d rather catch up on those…
You are an amazing artist, and extremely generous with your time and talents in doing cover art and logos for many bands – when did you begin drawing? Were there any particular artists that influenced you as your skill progressed? Do you enjoy the process or is it a painstaking, time-consuming one?
Thanks, man! Well, I began drawing as a kid I guess, like everyone… I remember drawing my own Garbage Pail Kids “stickers” since I wasn’t allowed to buy them. So that’d be one of my first influences… I would always draw gory stuff in the margins during school… I remember coming up with fake band names and drawing logos and covers for ‘em pretty early, too!
I guess Vince Locke, Stevo/Impetigo, Luisma/Haemorrhage have been influences… And especially Jeff Walker, I’ve been aping the “Scum” cover drawing style a lot these past few years… I dig the look of it, but these artworks are a fucking pain in the ass and super time-consuming to do. I’m beginning to feel burned out on this stuff… I always thought logos were my weak point, so I tried to focus more on those lately, not really sure they got any better…
You run one of the best, most well-informed resources for grind/goregrind reviews on the internet with BRAINDEAD. I know I’ve spent hours on that site discovering new bands and reading reviews. What is/was the biggest challenge of running BRAINDEAD? Do you plan to continue adding new content?
Thanks again… Yeah, when I started the website there wasn’t a lot of information out there about the type of goregrind and grindcore I liked… I just had a lot of fun with it especially in the early years… Getting to write to my favorite bands, etc, was exciting! I get burned out every now and then, like right now. It’s difficult to recapture the same type of enthusiasm I used to have… And some sites like Goodguysgogrind have like, ten interviews out during the time I struggle to come up for questions for just one… I tend to get disheartened quickly, maybe I’m too old for this shit. But right now, I’d still like to do a printed version of BRAINDEAD, that’s the main thing I’d like to do with it, might be a mix of old stuff and new and featuring a lot of my artwork…
I’ve been leaving the website alone for a while, I know, but maybe I’ll bring it back some time… Enthusiasm comes and goes.
It seems that these days, there are not nearly as many grindcore bands with politically-geared lyrics as there were in the 90s. How do you feel about grind bands with politically-charged lyrics, and why do you think there are fewer of them now?
Yeah, that’s possible! Maybe people are more and more disillusioned nowadays about changing things with lyrics?! I don’t know… Stuff like early Napalm Death, Agathocles, Disrupt, Drop Dead, Enemy Soil & Wadge definitely influenced my way of thinking. Personally, I don’t think I could write political stuff… I’m way too confused and I don’t really like to preach anything… I’d rather write about general disgust, insanity, death and gore which feel more personal to me anyway… I just love songs about dying horribly the most.
Everyday when I look online,I see new goregrind band names or logos popping up. There seems to be new bands (or projects, in many cases) coming up all the time, and because recording software is so accessible and sites like Bandcamp and Facebook make it easier than ever to spread info on new bands, sometimes it can be hard to separate the garbage from good quality bands. Has this effected you at all, or your interest in checking out new bands? Are there any new bands you would recommend?
Yes! I’m just glad the genre isn’t completely dead… There’s always gonna be garbage out there whatever what the musical genre is, but you can easily sample stuff and make up your mind, so that’s cool. Not sure they’re all exactly new, but some bands I like right now are Radiation Vomit, Acid Feast, Heinous, Pancreatic Purulence, Meat Spreader, Halitosis, Couple Skate, G.O.D. and Reeking Cross, of course…
Can you share 5 CDs (or tapes) you currently have in your car?
I’m actually a subhuman who doesn’t know how to drive and doesn’t own a car… But off the top of my head some stuff we often listen to on the way to rehearsal with my band mate David (bass) are: Regurgitate “Effortless…/Concrete Human Torture,” Excrement of War “Cathode Ray Coma,” Defecation “Purity Dilution, and Obituary “Cause of Death”…
We were listening to Incantation “Onwards to Golgotha,” Impetigo “Horror of the Zombies” & Napalm Death “Scum” in my girlfriend’s car the other day, too… Otherwise I just walk around listening to my iPod… Honestly, it’s mostly old Napalm Death, Carcass & Regurgitate usually… Not very original. Been listening to Bodies Lay Broken a bunch too to study the riffs… I was listening to a few Coroner albums during a train ride the other day. Also “Razor Sharp Daggers” by Agathocles!
What is next for BLUE HOLOCAUST and VOMI NOIR?
Right now we’re learning and jamming new songs for the upcoming BLUE HOLOCAUST full length called “Flesh for the Cannibal God”… I’ve got 22 tracks already written! It’s just a matter of learning them as a band now… Ideally it should come out on vinyl LP and the “Carnage” EP should be released on tape pretty soon…
And I’m trying to write new stuff for Vomi Noir, too… We’ve got splits with Halitosis (tape on SAORS), Acid Feast & Radiation Vomit in the plans! The first demo/EP is coming out on 7” through Morgue Ritual, Headsplit, Hjitrous Tyror & Symphony of Death Rattles in the coming months… Plus a tape release… There’ll be a tape for the “Session Ecorché à Vif/Peeled Alive Session” too. That’s about it for now! Thanks again for the interview!