The Horror! Q&A with Entertainment’s Trey Ehart

ENTERTAINMENT: Bari Donovan (left), Trey Ehart, and Jim Groff. Photo by Will Weems.

In September, Atlanta post-punk outfit Entertainment released Horror Part 1, the first of a two-part EP that finds the group returning from more than a decade between releases. Founding members Trey Ehart (vocals, guitar, bass, and synthesizer) and Bari Donovan (drums and percussion), convened with newer members Jim Groff (synth), and Henry Jack (bass) over a few years to chop, layer, and hack a new body of dark and abstract post-punk into being.

In keeping with its title, the Horror Part 1 EP’s four songs create austere, intense, and icey cold ebb and flow. The music is loosely thematic, drawing out those deeply buried childhood memories of dread and despair that came along with watching horror movies on late-night cable back in the ‘80s. It’s a singularly abstract and powerful approach to songwriting that resonates in a deeper, dark part of the subconscious that more traditional songwriting does not reach.

Ehart took a few minutes to talk about how the music came into being, and what’s in store with Horror Part 2.


Listening to The Horror puts me in an October/November kind of mood. I’ve found myself looking up quotes from movies like Chopping Mall and Sleepaway Camp as I’ve been listening. This is being released by BatCave and Stickfigure, correct?

Those are both great movies! We may have a quote from Night of the Demons on Horror Part 2, it depends on if I feel like it’s too on the nose or not. I always liked the way The Smiths/Morrissey and the Chameleons used TV and movie quotes in their songs, it added a really bittersweet layer to me.

We’re self-releasing Horror Parts 1 & 2, digital only, through Bandcamp. Stickfigure is releasing vinyl of both parts together in 2022, doing all the PR, and handling the streaming services. BatCave Productions is releasing a CD in Europe that combines both parts with all the singles and remixes in early 2022.

For what song are you making a video?

We’re finishing a video for “Voyeur” right now. It should have been out with the single last March but we had to move it from the first person we hired over to John from Hip to Death. We wanted the visuals to match the current sound of the band as much as possible, and John’s aesthetic lines up perfectly with the kind of psychedelic, dark, dream-like layers of sound. John also did the video for “Maggot Church” that we released in late 2020.

Tell me a little bit about the concepts you’re working with in the song and the video?

Conceptually it was originally more like the mimed performances you’d see on ‘80s TV, in front of green screens with a nod to Japan. We hired a model, shot through blinds, making it much more literal to the idea of enticement and voyeurism.

We tend to hide ourselves, or obscure who we are visually, and for this we really wanted to try and push ourselves up front. But when it was put together it was just too sterile for the track. The painterly quality of the music wasn’t coming through. Layers and layers of information, the kind of desperate sound wasn’t coming through.

The cover art effectively projects a sense of cold, dark isolation. What is the idea that’s at work here?

We struggled with how to visually represent what we sound like right now, and with the fact that Gender had such an iconic cover, how do we keep that visual strength going, but move forward?

After talking about it we decided the best way to represent these songs was through the idea of layers of paint on a canvas. As a reference to how some artists can never finish, like Edvard Munch, who would constantly print and paint the same image and theme over and over, seemingly never satisfied, often painting over his own images, leaving canvas outside to rot in the elements then coming back to them, or scraping the paint off a nearly finished piece and starting over. Similar to the writing process for these songs.

So if you look at the covers of all the singles we released leading up to the EP you’ll see a similar obscure bleakness, layers of different paintings overlapping and overwriting each other. I also wanted to make the obvious reference to the Horror sticker from VHS stores, as well as overlaying a torn plastic wrapping to each cover, since these will probably never be physical, it’s the ephemera, the fake idea of a lost reality.

That’s what you see in the cover, layers of paint, fake plastic wrap, and then some neon lights thrown on top, the spark of nostalgic light piercing the dark, or just sinking into it.

It’s also probably another Japan rip off …

The music itself can be described using similar painterly terms. The sounds of the instruments and the vocals feel like big swathes of paint that collide and blend into each other. Can you talk a little bit about this?

It’s hard for me to approach music in terms of traditional means most of the time, I don’t know if I have a mild form of synesthesia, but I’m never happy with a piece of music until I can’t hear myself in it, I don’t know how it was formed, and it comes back to me as something alien of the speakers. I want the sounds to affect the listener in an emotional or psychedelic way. Putting you in a world all its own, appealing but revolting at the same time. To get there I’m constantly layering and revising in overdubs, leaving phantom chords and impressions of sound and texture, unrefined and wild. Kind of merging an artistic approach with a raw punk ethos, and Brian Eno’s “generative music” theory and Oblique Strategies.

The treatment of the sound draws out a more mysterious atmosphere than a lot of more straight-ahead Songwriting with a capital S. There’s an element of abstraction here that puts the imagination into overdrive. Has this presented any obstacles in terms of how the music is perceived, or does it seem like listeners are open to the music?

It’s definitely turned some people away, especially with how at odds we are with modern, sterile production, some people just shut down right away, some are immediately pulled in.

We used to say we wanted our records to infect and ruin every other record in your collection, so you never hear music the same. But maybe that’s a cover up for not being able to write in a pop structure yet… I love the mental space our records put the listener in, but I definitely needed guidance in not taking it too far for this release, reining it in, learning the “correct way,” which I really want as we come back and move forward.

Live, we’re a different beast, more minimal but impactful, deliberate, we’re often told it’s “powerful and sexy,” which makes me a little uncomfortable, but I think it’s a reaction to our rhythm section taking over, the bass lines and beats really shining through.

We accept it, next year we’re going into the studio with Tom Ashton — finally — to re-record a lot of these tracks and make them bigger, more palatable to a wider audience, maybe shed some of the deathrock for more traditional post-punk sounds… whatever that means for us. Tom hears potential in our sounds that I’m really excited about.

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Brann Dailor of Mastodon on the ideas and imagery behind the new album, ‘Hushed and Grim’

MASTODON: Bill Kelliher (left), Troy Sanders, Brann Dailor, and Brent Hinds. Photo by Clay Patrick McBride


On Halloween eve, Mastodon unleashed its 8th proper studio album, Hushed and Grim (Reprise). The album’s sprawling 15-songs distill the group’s legacy as the pride of Atlanta metal, and a force of nature the world over, into a punishing, real-time reflection on death, sorrow, and reclamation.

From the moment the album’s first single, “Pushing the Tides” arrived, the brutal power on display made it clear that Mastodon was coming out of the gate strong. Guitar players Bill Kelliher and Brent Hinds, drummer Brann Dailor, and bass player Troy Sanders channeled their anguish over the loss of their friend and former manager Nick John, who died from cancer in 2018, into a serpentine musical saga.

Within weeks, “Pushing the Tides” was nominated for a “Best Metal Performance” Grammy. In the meantime, the group has remained on the road playing shows across the U.S.

Dailor took a few minutes between tour stops to talk about how the ideas and imagery behind Hushed and Grim came together to form an emotionally hefty and gorgeously articulated new chapter for Mastodon.

Over the years we’ve had conversations about each new Mastodon album, and there’s often an element of the band confronting death—losing someone close—and dealing with it in a real-time kind of way. I recognize this in Hushed and Grim, but the album also feels empowered.

When you start writing an album, maybe you find out that you have less control than you imagined you did. It just starts to unfold, and maybe in the back of your head you’re thinking, “We need to be heavier, faster, and crazier.” Then the things that you naturally gravitate toward are slower, darker, and deeper. Then you think, “Maybe this is actually the vibe.”

It starts to reveal itself, and it really is the manifestation of what we’re going through during that moment in time. Nothing happens in a vacuum. When you’re creating something, the emotions that you’re experiencing with whatever you’re dealing with in life will ride in tandem with that.

Going into Hushed and Grim, We weren’t feeling too good as a group. So during the writing process, wallowing in those feelings led to what the album sounds like. Anything that sounded remotely happy was kicked out immediately. It was like, “No! I’m not happy. Get rid of that.”

Maybe by the end of the album it becomes empowered — it gets there eventually. For me, it’s a tough listen. It puts me back in these places that weren’t fun to go through, but it was necessary to get through it.

I don’t know what’s going on with us, but for the last bunch of albums, I don’t know if we’re cursed or something … I don’t believe in curses, but I’ll just say it to be fun. From Crack the Skye on, it seems like every time we go into the writing process somebody close to us fucking dies. So word to the wise, don’t be close friends with anyone in Mastodon.

In that pure songwriterly way, Hushed and Grim has multiple meanings. I first saw it as a pandemic reference. … In the early days of the pandemic I even heard someone describe Atlanta’s streets as “hushed and grim.”

Actually, I stole it from Gone With the Wind. I’ve had the title in the back of my head for a long time.

Gone With the Wind was my sister’s favorite movie, and we used to watch it every time it came on. I just really liked that phrase. It’s on a title card halfway through the film, after Sherman burns Atlanta to the ground. You see this massive crane shot over downtown Atlanta, and you see thousands of dead soldiers. Scarlett is running around tending to the wounded that are lying in the street.

Sometimes when a tragedy takes place it’s not people running around screaming. It’s quiet and there’s this acceptance that something terrible is happening, and it’s quiet. When our former manager Nick John had gone into home hospice care we all flew to L.A. to see him one last time, and to say goodbye. He was asleep in a hospital bed, his mom was there, his sister, his wife and some close friends. “Hushed and grim” was the perfect phrase to explain the feeling in that house that day.

So the Atlanta connection, the connection to Nick John in that specific circumstance, and the fact that I felt like it encapsulated the sound of the album being quieter, melancholy, and more sparse really resonated with me. … At least it’s more sparse than maybe we’ve ever been. We’ve hinted at it over the years, but this one really goes in on that slower, more methodical, take-our-time kind of thing.

From the beginning, when I was first hearing the riffs, writing the stuff with the guys, and putting it together, I had this black and gray color palette that I felt was lending itself to the album. I could see black and gray with a touch of gold. That’s the initial conversation I had with Paul Romano about doing the cover. I didn’t have anything else but the color palette.


Song-for-song, the variety goes beyond a lot of what Mastodon has done in the past. Was it your intention to make an album that’s a little more complex?

No, I think that’s the result of having more time to work on it. There was no tour looming. In the past, there’s always something we have to go and do. I don’t want to say that it rushes things, because early on we wrote Leviathan in like three months. But we had a lot of time with this one. We worked on it, and kept coming back to our garden of songs and watering them and watering them. We poured over these things like a barista in a San Francisco coffee shop [laughs]. We really took our time making sure certain parts are what we wanted them to be, building on bridges, and getting into the nooks and crannies that maybe we wouldn’t have discovered if there was a hard time constraint.

Even during Crack The Skye, it was like, “Ok, we need to go play Bonnaroo now.” It’s a mind shift to go from writing and pouring over new songs to practicing “Crystal Skull” and “Blood and Thunder.” So it’s the result of being able to stay in writing mode longer, without any hope of going on tour, ‘cause that wasn’t happening! It was like, “In fact, your industry will be the last one to come back. So now, we’re out here trying to figure it out while staying safe and making sure that our tour can happen. Just yesterday we had a scare with a false positive. This could all be taken down so easily, and everybody goes back home and loses hundreds of thousands of dollars.

That’s the general mood everywhere right now.

Yeah, it’s all hanging on by a thread, but we’re hoping for the best. Getting back to your question, we’re probably most known for complex arrangements. Anytime we come up with something that’s lesser than, people are surprised. But if a simple song reveals itself and we dig it, we’ll go for it. We don’t put on the idea that we have to be proggy all the time, or that every song has to have a thousand riffs, and within those riffs there are hundreds of little riffs. A lot of the time we’re taking stuff away, saying to ourselves, “My God, this song has five bridges. What is going on here?”

It also feels like the band has mastered working at West End Sound and Ember City Studio. Emperor Of Sand through Hushed and Grim encapsulates an era for Mastodon’s sound that has developed since the studio was built. You know how to get the best possible results out of that room.

Yeah, we’re comfy-cozy in there. And if we didn’t have the studio we wouldn’t have been able to make the record. We couldn’t fly to L.A. or anywhere else to record because of the pandemic. Getting David Bottrill to say yes and come to Atlanta and live there for three months while we worked on it was paramount.


The album’s cover is a departure for Mastodon, both in color and orientation — it’s kind of a landscape image.

Yeah, it has Nick John as the Green Man in the middle of the tree. It is expansive; that’s the middle panel of a nine-panel piece by Paul. We were both on the same page as far as having a twisted tree be the main focus, and that it would reveal the seasons as you go around. So the panels are the different seasons. And there are all sorts of Easter eggs in there that Paul takes from the lyrics and song titles, and whatever any of the band members offer. He always fits everything in somewhere. There’s a reference to Jakuchu’s “Elephant and Whale” diptych in there. There’s all sorts of fun stuff in there. I wanted the fan base to know when they saw the cover art that, at least in my perception, they were getting something different. So we wanted it to be a departure, and to look different from the rest of the album covers, while reflecting the mood of the album.

Nick John as the Green Man: I tend to think of the Green Man mythology as being about regeneration, or it being about a new beginning. Is that part of what you are projecting with the artwork?

My whole made up afterlife mythology was that your soul enters the heart of a living tree. In order to say goodbye, it lives there for a whole calendar year, and experiences the seasons to reflect on the life that you had. And that’s how you’re able to say goodbye to the natural world.

… As if we needed any more afterlife mythologies, here’s one more for you! [laughs]

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Drivin N Cryin play City Winery Nov. 17-18

Two evenings of music with Drivin N Cryin at City Winery. Wed. and Thurs., Nov. 17 and 18. $50-$65. 6:30 p.m. (doors). Music starts at 8 p.m.

Tickets for Wed., Nov. 17.
Tickets for Thurs., Nov. 18.

Press play below on Drivin N Cryin playing live at the Print Shop below, and give a listen to their latest album, Live the Love Beautiful.


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Genki Genki Panic: ‘The Munge’ b/w ‘Gas Human Being No. 1 / the Human Vapor,’ and ‘Moth Mandingo Effect’ 7-inch

Put on your 3-D glasses now.


Genki Genki Panic thrives on the fringes of the ecstatic, honing a musical aesthetic that eviscerates traditional notions of genre, while offering a dizzying array of threads to pull at every turn.

Hailing from the rolling and mystical expanse of terrain that lies between Atlanta, GA and Chattanooga,TN, GGP guitar and keyboard player Chris Moree, bass player Eric Waller, and drummer Chris Campbell’s musical bounds are as limitless as the landscape from whence the group sprouted. Each song draws inspiration from the deepest darkest recesses of pop culture.

It’s all on display in the three songs pressed onto the group’s first vinyl 7-inch — “The Munge” b/w “Gas Human Being No.1 The Human Vapor” and “Moth Mandingo Effect.”

Just a cursory scroll through GGP’s Bandcamp page reveals a deluge of musical excursions in which the group plays more notes in one measure than most technically skilled metal bands on the scene. Elsewhere, GGP mines the sonic palette of video game soundtracks and reassembles them to bear their own deranged adventures.

Layers upon layers of references come together around each new offering: A cover of the Deadly Ones’ “It’s Monster Surfing Time” blends album cover art from the Descendents’ Milo Goes To College with imagery from “Planet of the Apes.”

Ghoulie High Harmony *Director’s Cut is perhaps the greatest Boyz II Men reference that no one has ever caught. Still elsewhere, GGP’s sound and vision is a tangle of not-so-veiled nods to Bad Brains, OutKast, Big Black, Beetlejuice and classic horror film scenes, all tied together with an affinity for spooky vibes and haunted surf and sci-fi sounds.

“The Munge” (dubbed “The Munge Parasito” on the Bandcamp page) saunters in before the nearly three-minute tsunami jam takes over the song. “Gas Human Being No.1 / The Human Vapor” and “Moth Mandingo Effect” push the eerie irreverence beyond the record’s grooves, giving rise to a particularly twisted ambiance. It’s seemingly impossible to avoid being swept up in the group’s high-energy dirges, despite (or maybe because of) their defiantly wide-eyed ways.

Genki Genki Panic plays Hammerhead Fest 9.5 Sat., Nov. 27, at Boggs Social and Supply (outdoor stage) with Paladin, Order of the Owl, the Vaginas, Canopy, Black Candle, and Naw. $15. 4 p.m. (doors). 

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Upchuck plays a 7-inch release show at Eyedrum Sat., Nov. 6

Upchuck. Photo by Marlon Garcia

Upchuck celebrates the arrival of the group’s debut 7-inch (Famous Class Records) with an outdoor show at Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery on Saturday, November 6.

Its About Time also performs.

An extremely limited quantity of Upchuck’s “In Your Mind” b/w “Upchuck” blood-spattered 7-inches will be for sale on the merch table—first come first served.

Doors open open at 7:30 p.m. Music starts at 8:30 p.m. $15-$20. Get tickets here.

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Claire Lodge & Tom Cheshire: A chance meeting in the produce department at Kroger on Buford Highway

Claire Lodge

I first heard about Claire Lodge on a Tom Waits message board about 10 years ago. Everyone was fascinated, but no one seemed to know much about her. Then somehow we linked up online through an old musician friend. For years we’ve shared ideas and filthy jokes and suggested books and music and films to watch, without ever meeting in person. That all ended last week, when I was at a grocery store on Buford Highway in Atlanta. 

We both tried to grab the same piece of fruit. She looked at me and said “You’re Tom Cheshire, I’m embarrassed I’m in my pajamas.” I responded saying “that’s OK I’m in my rain boots.” So there we were, finally face to face. We put our groceries in our cars and went and had a cup of coffee. 

Three hours later and a lot of laughs a real friendship was born. We managed to squeeze out an interview and we are talking about doing an EP. 

Here you go, I hope you enjoy.


Tom Cheshire: The first time I saw you live was in New York City, It was with Compartmentalizationalists. You had two drummers and a bassist.

Claire Lodge: Yeah, I co-write in that band. We have made three albums.

The Fainting Couch is your first solo album, do you approach your solo music differently?

With Comparts, most of the tunes have a set structure, even if we improvise within that structure. When I play solo, It’s almost all by feel. Some tunes will be two minutes one night, and eight the next. Life has enough structure, I like freedom. I like that in the artists I go see live too. If you are a rock band that plays everything the same way every time I see it, I get bored. I love people like PJ Harvey, Andrew Bird, Tom Waits. I like the element of surprise.

Did you set out to make it with just guitars? Did you try playing with a band first?

I set out to make it with just guitars. I love solo guitar albums. Bill Frisell’s In Line, Marc Ribot’s Saints, Masada Guitars, Sharrock’s Guitar, Etta Baker’s Railroad Bill, the list goes on. I like the intimacy of one person with one instrument.

The songs on the album have no titles. And it is an album, not a record. And where did the name come from?

They have titles. “Part 1,” “Part 2,” and so on. I want people to listen to the entire album, like you would watch a film. And no, no vinyl. They sell records at Target. So I hope I’m ahead of the curve on the comeback of CDs. As far as the title goes, I have always liked the words “Fainting Couch,” it sounds like it could mean several things.

Tom Cheshire: What is the first song you remember hearing?

Probably “Happy Birthday.” My parents didn’t listen to any vocal music growing up. I don’t remember hearing anyone sing until I was 10.

How old were you when you wrote your first song? What was it called? 

When I was 12 or 13 I got serious about guitar. I wrote a song called “Cincinnati String Bean.” It was a banger… I have never sung in my life. 

Where were you born? Where did you grow up and where is home now?

I was born in London. I have lived all over. Mainly London and Atlanta. I went to school at Stanford.

Have you ever stolen a car?

Never. I can barely drive.

What is the best cross country driving record?

Oh man, probably Francoise Hardy. Anything by her. Or Pink Flag on repeat.

Who is your biggest influence as a guitar player?

I heard the song “Apache” by the Shadows and wanted to learn it. While I was learning guitar we were living in Italy and my teacher introduced me to Tom Waits’ music and I fell in love with Marc Ribot’s playing. Then when I heard Sonny Sharrock my life was forever changed. I wish I had a cool story about discovering him, but it was on Space Ghost.


Who is your biggest influence as a piano player?

First off, I can barely play piano. But I like to listen to this dude Francois Couturier a lot. Nina Simone, Monk.

What is your favorite film score?

A Zed & Two Noughts by Michael Nyman. It is insane and perfect. In the past 20 years, I also really liked Johnny Greenwood’s The Master.

Do you see colors when you hear music? Do you see colors or visuals when you write music?

My images are almost always black and white.

How long should a film be? What is too long?

90 minutes if you have children. Up to 2.5 hours if not. I hope Bella Tarr doesn’t read this. 

What do you look for in a song?

Texture.

Your favorite city/country to perform in?

Poland. I have been going there for the past eight or nine years and it has been a blast. That’s what pushed me into recording my tunes.

Your favorite food on the road?

Red licorice.

Mexican vs Chinese. Your thoughts? That’s on food.

I hate goddamn cheese, so Chinese. Chinese food is awesome.

Go-to snack food?

Ice cream. Any kind, anywhere.

Guilty pleasure music?

I rarely feel guilty. I guess I will go with Poppy Family, Ace of Base. At this point… Nick Cave. 

Favorite member of Wu-Tang Clan?

Inspectah Deck. He is the man. He has the best verses and he needs the publicity.

Who is your favorite comedian?

Living or dead? George Carlin might be the best ever. But I love so many. Chris Rock, Chris Elliott, Norm Macdonald, Louie, Pryor … Why didn’t he make a record called Pryor Convictions? Wait, did he? 

Would you date a man who drives a Corvette?

Only if it was stolen. Jesus … I sound like Lana Del Rey.


Who would you like to work with, write with? Dream collaboration?

Chris Gaines. We could talk shit about Garth Brooks. I bet he sniffs glue. I should go easy on him. He survived tragedies. 

But really, Tom Cheshire. Let’s make that happen.

Please say me, and do you want to put out a record together? If so, let’s do this.

Oh… I didn’t even read ahead. Yes! Let’s do eet. 

Will we get a Claire Lodge U.S. tour soon?

I don’t think so. I play secret shows in Atlanta and New York a few times a year, but can’t hit the road anymore. 

Last but not least, your thoughts on sandals? I personally can’t stand them.

Is Sandals a show on CBS? It should be.

Thank you so much for your time, Claire. 

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Circle Jerks, 7 Seconds, and Negative Approach play the Masquerade April 22

Circle Jerks photo by Atiba Jefferson


Circle Jerks are on the road again, celebrating the 40th anniversary of their 1980 debut album Group Sex, recently reissued by Trust Records.

The show also marks the group’s first show in Atlanta since they played the Masquerade in December of 2006. Were you at that show?

For this tour, drummer Joey Castillo (Danzig, QOTSA, BL’AST!, the Bronx, and more) fills out the lineup.

Trust Records also recently reissued 7 Seconds’ 1984 debut LP, The Crew. Both 7 Seconds and Negative Approach (!!!) fill out the bill for what’s sure to be a total blast of a show.

Friday, April 22 at the Masquerade (Heaven). $32.50 (adv). 7 p.m. (doors).

Photo courtesy 7 Seconds


Negative Approach photo by Chad Radford


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4 1/2 Grizzes with David Bair of New Bedlam

David Bair of New Bedlam. Photo by Chad Radford


At the top of the year, New Bedlam went into Maze Studios with Ben Etter to record a new EP titled Steady Diet of Bullshit (released June 18). Later, singer and guitar player David Bair, bass player Tyler Davis, drummer Mike Walden, and guitarist Michael Parrish returned to the studio to film live performances of each of the EP’s five songs.

Recently, Bair and I made our way to El Myr in Little Five Points to talk about the group and the latest EP while knocking back a few Grizzes — four and-a-half Grizzes each, to be exact. What’s a Grizz, you ask? It’s a pony-sized bottle of Corona with a shot of well Tequila dropped in, and a lime placed atop so you don’t spill too much on the way back to your table.

This is part 1 of our conversation. Keep an eye out for part 2 coming soon.

What brought you to Atlanta?

Me and our bass player Tyler were in a band called Bully Pulpit. We moved here from Charleston in 2016. Danny, the kitchen manager here at El Myr, was the frontman for that band.

We were touring up and down the East Coast, putting out records, and bought a van. Charleston just wasn’t a good place for our headquarters. We had some homies living here, so we moved. … Moving four guys into a house, who didn’t have jobs, and had never really lived with anyone else before … It fell apart pretty quickly. Me and Danny and Tyler stayed. We put a lot of time and money and energy into this band, and that’s what pushed me to pick up the guitar again and start writing music with a new band. Nothing will happen if you don’t try.

It’s taken three years to get the word out about New Bedlam. The songs are there, the sound is there, now we just need to get it into peoples’ ears.

Having some professionalism in our work ethic, staying on peoples’ asses, doing the live videos on Youtube is only going to help us.

The new EP is called Steady Diet of Bullshit … Clearly a Fugazi reference?

Yes! Tyler is a Fugazi nut. Originally, jokingly, we were going to call it Steady Diet Of Pizza, but that was too much. Obviously, Fugazi is a huge influence on us and we’ve covered “Merchandise” before. It’s that DIY ethic: If anyone’s ever seen a Fugazi show in person or on the internet, you’re going to church. You connect with it immediately when you’re watching those motherfuckers play. So the title was a clever way to give them a nod, and to signify that if you come to one of our shows, you’re going to leave with something new in your life.

I’m not on stage just because we’re some band on a bill. I’m here because we’ve culminated this with our homies, and wrote these songs to hopefully send you home in a way more positive mood than what you showed up with. We want it to be something that’s fun and exciting, something you hadn’t experienced before.

Let’s talk about some songs — “End Transmission”.

We had a bunch of songs in the can and everyone was like, “fuck it, let’s go record them.” At first, it didn’t make any sense to me when we recorded. But now, hearing them together, whatever the songs mean to the user makes sense. They all mean different things to me, they mean different things to the boys and the band. “End Transmission” is more personal. To me it’s about parents and childhood and shit like that.

The idea with Steady Diet Of Bullshit is something that me and you deal with every day. Something that everyone in Atlanta deals with everyday — the mound of bullshit you are constantly navigating to be happy, or to have a positive mental attitude, or just to keep your  bills paid. People relate to that because it’s everyday life.

“Lurch” is a heavier song. Some of the other songs on the record are more punk oriented. “Lurch” has got more atmosphere, but when we hit the chorus it still punches you in the gut. It’s about how we’re always trying to move forward so fast — society, technology. But my personal experience is that we’re just lurching in one way or another, trying to get through whatever.

As much as I love Fugazi, I never detected much of a sense of humor in the music. A lot of bands wear the Fugazi influence on their sleeve, but calling the album Steady Diet of Bullshit is a new approach … And it’s a funny way to pay homage.

Yes! And even with our other EPs, there’s always a cynical quality to the music. You could take some of the lyrics seriously, or not. There’s always a light side of me saying some pretty heavy shit. So naming it Steady Diet of Bullshit is my way, and the band’s way, of bringing humility to the music. We’re all pretty humble people, but we’re still vulnerable.

It’s refreshing to be in Atlanta, and to hear this level of anger in a newer band. Atlanta is the music scene that you’re part of, but these songs resonate with a bigger picture that’s aligned with Melvins or Unsane.

We were learning “Scrape” not too long ago, just to have a fun cover to play! Dude, that kind of feeling that you get from listening to Unsane is what we want — that’s us in a nutshell. The way it makes you feel when you listen to it — that nasty, knee-buckling shit — when you hear it, however you relate it to your world, we’re in the same boat. 100%

New Bedlam is (from left) Tyler Davis, Mike Walden, David Bair, and Michael Parrish. Photo by DJ Bing.

Part 2 of our conversation is coming soon.

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