Monday, 21 April 2014

Unholy Grave - 2008 Interview

My printed zine Ploppy Pants officially came to an end after 13 issues and nearly 9 years of activity in 2012. Since then I've thought very little about the zine and its content, walking away from it fully to work on fresh projects, in fact I almost gave up on all my punk activities in 2012, but when Thisclose started snowball I realised I had once last horse to take over the finish line. Anyway my recent post South East Asia bout of salmonella got me thinking about Ploppy Pants and all the interviews I did over the years, some very much relevant to the time, but others, like the one below, which i think could be appreciated by a wider audience. As part of my plan to revive this blog I'm hoping to go through the Ploppy Pants archive and dig out some of the more interesting interviews and articles for a new audience of readers, as a first serving i have got me dirty mits on an Unholy Grave interview from 2008.

Unholy Grave for those not in the know are about as cult as it comes. An underground powerhouse of the highest order they have been relentlessly releasing records since the early 90's and will most certainly have one of the most impressive back-catalogs in grindcore, second only to Belgian legends Agathocles. my first introduction to Unholy Grave was in a Leeds record shop whilst on tour early 2005, I had pulled their 'Aussie Disorder' double 7" out the rack and was taking in the fantastic art and luxurious packaging when the guitarist from The Process lent over and said something along the lines of "Great band, buy that record, they all sound the same." The record was purchased, my head was smashed and over the following years a modest collection of Unholy Grave 7"s began to gather under my bed. My collection was nothing compared to the likes of Stuart Bartlet, but when I sold off my record collection I was very sad to see the UG stuff go, especially the 'Aussie Disorder' 7" I had bought so many years earlier and which had, in it's own way, changed the way I thought about and approached my own music.

Anyway, its 2014 and if an artist ever farted, chances are its on Youtube, so here is that life changing record for your digital enjoyment - prob not as cool without the lengthy sleeve notes come tour diary that came with the original!




And here is the interview from Ploppy Pants zine, enjoy!

Ok Takaho can you tell us whats up with Unholy Grave right now, I guess your back from your summer tour in the US, how was that and whats happening next with the band?


 " well, i am just home from Tokyo . we played with die you bastard,little bastards,hazard,etc....it was an awesome gig !
yeah,our west coast usa tour 2007 with INSECT WARFARE was great !we played at a radio show ,too .it was our 1st experience. insect warfare dudes were great on live and very nice guys,too. because of this,tour was lots of fan !!! i  will organize insect warfare japan tour in may 2008. it should be fun !!"

UG are well known for having released a lot of releases especialy split 7"s so my first questions are can you remember every band you have made a split with, have you done every split you've been offered and are there any split releases which stand out for you for any special reasons (the agathocles splits for example?)

" no , i can not remember  every bands ....i know it sounds little silly, but i just can not remember....i sometimes say "no "to  release offer. i wanna say every release is "special" for me ........ "

I've interviewed Jan from Agathocles for this issue of my zine as well and he has hinted that there might be a 4th UG?AG split coming, can you tell us anything about this or is it still top secret?

" only i can say is there is possibilities of "agathograve #2 " split cd......
let's wait and see...... "



since so many of your releases are extremely limited do you have any plans to re-release them in discography format?

" no . we  do not have any plans to re-release our old records.....but who knows our future ?....."

at lot of the lyrics of  UG talk about how we never seem to learn from mistakes of the past such as war atrocities/crimes and racism. Do you think we as  humans are trapped in a cycle of repetition or do you think we can bring peace to the planet?

" what can i say...... we should keep trying to bring peace to the planet..."

Another big lyrical theme of UG is terrorism so I wondered what the situation is like in Japan since we hear so little about it on our news, have there many 'terrorist' attacks there and how is your government since the twin tower bombings, have they introduced any new anti-freedom laws in the name of the 'war on terror'?


" i would like to say everyday,anywhere,the-bomb-blast could happen !!you know any new laws can not stop terrorist attacks. coz it depends on their "moral "......terrorism sucks!!"




ok back to the band, you've done quite a few European and US tours now as well as South East Asia and Australia so can you tell us a little about what you've thought of the different places you've been, how they've differed to Japan? How has Unholy Grave been accepted worldwide? Have you experienced any big cultural differences on your travels?


" it is difficult to explain but,every country has their own culture ...so it is always fun to feel the difference.....it seems people liked/enjoyed our live show. i really appreciate that.....anyway i like tour !!...."


what's been the strangest thing you've been offered to eat whilst on tour? I know a lot of European bands hate the beans on toast that we eat over here everyday, did you get offered them on the uk tour?

" beans on toast are ok !"

I'm guessing your a metal are a metalhead as well as a dirty punk rocker with your choices of cover songs and splits with Nunslaughter and Sabbat so can you pick a few metal albums that perhaps are not so well known that us grind freaks should be checking out?

" ok, ACID (belgium) "acid "lp, BACKWATER (germany) "revelation"lp , FLATBACKER ( japan ) "accident "lp & "esa " lp ,and.....ENGLISH DOGS (uk )"forward into battle "lp......."


When was the first and last times you felt like you were watching your heroes when you saw a band play live?


" not really......"

Unholy Grave seems to have a record appearing at least once a month these days, since you do all the artwork your self as well as recording and writing for all these releases I wondered how much of your life Unholy Grave takes up, do you have any other interests outside the band or is Unholy Grave pretty much your life?

" UG takes big part of my life....and i am enjoying to handle/manage lots of things by myself though i have a full time job......( i am a "mover"over 20 years )  besides ug, i like watching movies & watching bands in the weekend at my favorite clubs.......oh,well,one more thing...i am a big RAMONES fan. so i formed a Ramones-cover-band called UG. RAMONE .it is really fun !!"

since this is Ploppy Pants fan zine Takaho we gotta ask, do you have any funny stories about someone from the band shitting in their pants on tour??

" yes, actually,there are some stories ...but i can not tell you who's got that problem....it should be "secret"ha ha!! "




right final question from my mate Dave, what makes a grave unholy??????

" hummmmmmnnnn....it sounds better if it was "graves of the unholy "......make sense ?? "

ok any last words or coments please write them here, what releases are upcoming, where can people get your releases etc.

" thanx for this interview. check out our "revoltage"new cd/lp which just came out from agromosh records.... some splits are coming soon. split 7"with mind of asian,split 7"ep with flash gordon ,and split 7" with total fucking destruction....and split lp with insect warfare ....if you want to buy something,just e-mail me at grindfreaks@ybb.ne.jp. thanx a million for all our funs/labels for your support!stay happy and stay positive!!i hope to see you on the road!!so grind on !!cheers!!"

CHEERS!!!!!!

All roads lead to the Kingdom





Gods Country

Friday, 18 April 2014

High Spirits - You Are Here

One of the best bands I discovered in 2013 was definitely High Spirits from the USA. I guess I would describe their sound as my favorite kind of music, heavy hard-rock with a strong melodic edge, the best bits of 70's rockers like The Scorpions and UFO and Cheap Trick mixed with the youthful energy of NWOBHM. Their debut LP Another Night was a regular fixture on both my work cycle and gym workout playlists to the point where I was almost word perfect on every song, not bad for the punk who struggles to remember his own lyrics. Actually the bands x-factor is probably the lyrics, tales of love and heartbreak, passion and power, posi anthems about getting out there and enjoying life, what more could you ask for?

They toured that debut LP over here about a year ago but only made it as far north as Newcastle on a week night, and without the luxury of me own motor at that time I had to sadly let that one slide. By all accounts they absolutely nailed it on the night. I thought that was it and i had missed my opportunity to see this hot new underground band from the US, I mean I think I can count on one hand the number of DIY bands who come over to Europe on tour anymore than once every few years, so imagine my excitement when I checked out the line-up for next years Bro-fest  in Newcastle:



Not only will I get the chance to see High Spirits perform to a festival crowd but another of my all time favourite NWOBHM bands, Mythra, will also be reforming for the fest, wow!

The icing on the cake however is that High Spirits also have a brand new LP on the way, and it sounds like we are in for another belter. Roll on 25th April!





Monday, 14 April 2014

Thursday, 10 April 2014

The Vickers - Prowler

Now then, I guess most of you reading this will be familliar Japanese masters of extensive back-catalog creation Unholy Grave and their many, many split 7" singles. In fact, I'd like to know who has re-released the same song the most, Unholy Grave, Abigail or Sabbat? I'd like to imagine Takaho has a little spread sheet where he crunches the numbers under the dull illumination of a green table lamp, but given that he told me he can't even remember all the bands he has done split records with I think this may be unlikely.

Anyway! I can't remember how I chanced upon this song, I've never owned the actual 7", I must have been looking up something to with Unholy Grave online when I found out a bout this split 7" they had done with a Japanese Iron Maiden tribute band. Obviously I googled it and was shocked to actually find a video of the track on Youtube, welcome to 2014!

As anyone will tell you my first love is NWOBHM so this punked up version of an early Maiden track is mana to me lugholes. Does anyone know anything else about this group? Do they only cover Iron Maiden? I would love to hear some more tunes by this band.


Sunday, 16 March 2014

Snaggletooth - Singapore

Wow nearly 2 months and no posts, what can I say, I'm a busy boy, but then it only takes 20 mins to type some bollocks about a cool band you've discovered right? So hopefully the blog will be updated a bit more regular, check back often and send me e-mails of encouragement, or links to cool bands that need to be shared, shake me out of procrastination!

Snaggletooth hit the scene running a couple of years ago and my main man Hafiz did send me a copy of their demo tape when I was lving in Glasgow, but since I never got my ass in gear to collect it from the post office they sent it back to him, another golden ebay moment out the window. Anyway, when i was over in Malaysia at x-mas I picked u the latest issue of the awesome Shock and Awe zine and there was an excellent in-depth interview with these dudes that reminded me of my post office dissapointment 2 years earlier and made the fact that we missed them at the Kuala Lumpur Chaos in Ruma Api festival by one day all the more painful.

These Singaporean waste land warriors totally nail it, the best of Motorhead meets Tank circa 1981, is there anything better? The videos of them on YouTube show them tearing it up bis style as well, surely the voice of SxE Asian metal punk in 2014?


Thisclose - Just Aound The Corner


The new Thisclose LP has almost been a year in the making, from conception to realisation, and Im happy to say it should be out in the next few weeks! Here's the first taste of it for you, a music video for the track Just around the Corner. Enjoy, and keep yer eyes peeled for more updates.



"just around the corner the answer to your problems, 
just around the corner the answer to your prayers"

Friday, 7 March 2014

a true life on the road.

Interesting documentary about new age lifestyle in the early 90's and beyond.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Asian Invasion - The Movie

A short film from xSAXONx's recent Asian tour, hopefully give you a taste of how things went!

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Asian Invasion - xSAXONx way out east 2013/2014

well, it's nearly 4 weeks since we returned from our South East Asian trek, and am literally (well my ass at least) still living in the fall out of that trip, but more about that in another post! While this quick round up of our tour will undoubtedly miss out some crucial details I hope it gives you a flavour of what life is like on the road in SxE Asia.

Indonesia.

The first 4 concerts of our tour were through Indonesia, and they were organised by Indra from To Die, thanks a lot man! This picture hopefully gives an impression of the typical Indonesian gig experience, that is to say lots of happy punters going bonkers!

the crowd at our Tangerang gig


Our first 3 gigs in Indonesia were quite similar with a lot of melodic punk bands playing, and at least one band a night playing a cover of Cocksparrer's England Belongs to Me, which was great! More fun and less po-faced mysterious guy bollocks in hardcore.




The fourth concert we played was in Jogjakarta and here the gig was organised by some metal heads so there was a great mix of thrash metal and hardcore bands, every single band was shit hot,but I cant find the flyer right now ha ha! these maniacs were especially good.




The food in Indonesia, just like last time, was always top drawer, so many tofu and tempeh dishes to try, and everything spicy spicy! My only words of advice this time would be make double sure you wash your hands before you eat, don't touch the salad and maybe don't eat street food at 3am thats been sat all day, you might end up being sat on the pot for a few weeks....




For the Asian leg of the tour we hired a car and driver and my friend Dolly joined us as a guide, There is no way we could have done the tour if we hadn't organised this. We were driving for nearly 10 hours everyday, but our driver Abideen did his duty well and got us to all the concerts on time.



As for Mr Dolly Patchaos, what can we say about this legend that has not already been said, he joined us at the last moment to be our tour guide and made sure we got where we needed to go every time, miss you so much mate!


because we were driving al the time we had very little time for sight-seeing beyond what we saw out the window of the car, but after our last gig in Jogjakarta we had time to visit the Prambanan 9th century Hindu temples which are extremely impressive and well worth a visit.



Malaysia

After Indonesia out next few concerts were in Malaysia, with the first two being at the Chaos In Rumah Api festival.



The venue is very similar to Bradford's 1in12 Club, and a lot of quality bands played with us over the weekend. This was also our first time meeting Endorphins Lost from the USA who we would play with for the next 3 or 4 days. Our Saturday night gig was one of the best of our tour.




We spent 4 nights in Kuala Lumpur altogether and so we had a chance to see quite a bit of the city and its tourist attractions. 
at the top of the KL tower
at the bottom of the twin towers with our mate Hafiz

Saxon Champion not quite making it up the Bantu Cave steps

After Kula Lumpur we played in a couple more towns including Temerloh, the same town where Atomgevitter played our final gig. The gig was in  a house and apparently this was the first ever house show in Malaysia, which was pretty cool!



After Temerloh we were all excited about taking a sleeper train to Singapore and getting a kip in a bed after 8 days on the floor, but alas the sleeper train was sold out, so around 3am (eternal) we boarded the regular train and fell uncomfortably asleep regardless.

Singapore was a surreal experience after the previous two weeks. Upon arrival we were picked up in a kind of disco bus, complete with carpeted walls and mirror ball and whisked to our accomodation, a chalet next to the beach with its own pool!
did we suddenly become Guns'n'Roses?

After some top vegan scran and an hour practicing our cannon balls and belly flops we headed to the venue, again in some kind of boogie bus. The line up for the concert was really fantastic, with Scumraid, Life Lock and Vaarallinen being particular highlights. Endorphins Lost also nailed it this night, the last night of their tour.



After the gig all the bands headed back to the chalet for a big after party where we stayed up all night shooting the shit, great fun. the highlight was finding out the gigs promoter works as a dinosaur puppeteer - cool!
Despite the late night we still had energy enough for a Scotland vs Singapore frisbee water polo match the next day, where Scotland came out victorious! 

Our final concert was back in Malaysia at a place called The Wall, which is quite a legendary venue in Malaysia, again quite similar to the 1in12 Club. The concert was great with plenty of faces through the door, but I think after the high of Singapore, I at least was thinking a lot about the flight home. My main memories of this final gig were a girl leaping off the stage, nobody catching her and watching her hit the deck head first and a guy coming into the place where we were trying to sleep and nestling in between us with a recorder in his mouth ready to give us a tune: "lose the recorder mate" was all I could think to say, but he took the hint.

So like I said already, sorry this is not more comprhensive, my brain is a little frazzled at the moment due to one of the things I picked up in Indonesia which I'll report more on in my next post. Enjoy the pictures, enjoy the music and enjoy the videos.