R.J. Ober of Magrudergrind: The Heavy Blog Is Heavy Interview

Unless you’ve been living completely under a rock (or just don’t listen to grindcore, who knows), you’ve most likely heard of Magrudergrind some time in the past 15 years. And all with good reason, of course. The band mixes a rapid fire grindcore style with a healthy dose of powerviolence, adding some truly sludgy, groovy breakdowns in between their blast beats for a fully vicious, infectious musical attack. The band further expands on this formula on their new record II, which shows a slightly more mature, rounded out Magrudergrind then ever before. Below is the full interview conducted with the band’s current guitarist, R.J. Ober, on just what went into the making of II.

After nearly 6 years of inactivity recording wise, what made it the right time to come back and do a new Magrudergrind record now?

We were finally living in the same city with a lineup that made sense. Otherwise it would not have happened.

Powerviolence fans are often quick to dismiss any bands that delve too far outside of the general confines of the original powerviolence formula, but still largely take to Magrudergrind despite the large amounts of grindcore influence. Do the genres make a difference to you as you’re writing and recording, or do you just pull from the two influence and not pay much attention to it?

I don’t think most bands worth listening to think about genre as they write. To me “powerviolence” was more a time and place than a genre and most of us weren’t there, so if you want to own that obscure label I hope you were living in Southern California in the early 90s.

One of the most exciting moments during the II announcement for me was when I saw that Joe Denunzio from Infest would be featured on a track. Your self titled was what really launched me into powerviolence and grindcore, and Infest did not follow long after. What was it like working with Joe and how surreal was it to work with a living legend?

It’s been a trip getting to know and really get close to the bands we grew up listening to. Doing shows with Infest, touring with Dropdead and Despise You. It’s just great to see so many of those cats still involved and making vital music.

I also couldn’t help but notice that II is completely devoid of samples, something that is a rather rare occurrence in powerviolence. Was it a conscious decision to avoid samples this time around or did it just unfold more naturally without them?

It just didn’t seem to fit the vibe of this record. It’s a fun element that might come back if we have good reason for it.

 

powerviolence

 

As a band with heavy roots in hardcore, where do you stand on the current state of the scene where crews seem far more widespread and obnoxious/aggressive than ever before?

Not sure what you mean about this one. Crews like straight edge? We don’t see much of that in BK or on tour. Maybe we don’t play that kind of show anymore.

To me at least, it’s always seemed like you guys have had a pretty solid sense of humor, from your use of Trailer Park Boys samples in the past to a string of pictures you took posing in front of Chevy Avalanche’s that you sent to a promoter posted in an online hardcore group. How important do you think it is for extreme musicians who deal with heavy subject matter regularly to be able to still maintain a sense of humor?

If you were to spend 10 minutes with us you’d see Magrudergrind is just a vehicle for hundreds of idiot inside jokes. If you can’t laugh you can’t live dude.

I’m also to curious to know what it was like working with Scion A/V considering it was run by a car company and how you feel about your current label Relapse Records. I have to ask too, as it is a widely disputed topic in the powerviolence scene, but Weekend Nachos and Punch, powerviolence bands yay or nay, and how much do you actually care about people being uppity as for what qualifies as “true” powerviolence or grindcore?

We couldn’t care less about the validity of any genre label. I like both the bands you just mentioned. As far as Relapse, they’re a great label and I’m glad they think we’re worth the energy they put into our latest release. As far as Scion, that promotional wing was run by heavy music industry veterans so it was like anything else while it existed. Haters are great at hating but typically contribute little.

Any new, aspiring bands you want to give a shout out to?

Afternoon Gentlemen, Genocide Pact, Chiens, Backslider, Ilsa, Dead In The Dirt, Full of Hell. Not all new but all rip.

Finally, how do you like your eggs?

Hardest question. A soft sunny side up over corned beef hash son.

 


 

Magrudergrind’s II is available now via Relapse Records. Stream the album entirely via the Bandcamp player below.

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