Waving a giant middle finger to a humanity gone toxic, Chicago’s Acidrodent invites ReGen to share in the misanthropy.
An InterView with Anthony Edward Smith and Roland Zwaga of Acidrodent
By Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)
Aggressive, belligerent, caustic, depraved, and whatever letter comes next in the English alphabet – call it what you will, but Acidrodent is all of these things and more. Hailing from Chicago, Acidrodent is the brainchild of Anthony Edward Smith – a.k.a. T.Smith of industrial/noise act mindFluxFuneral; taking on a more in-your-face attitude with Acidrodent, Smith delivers a one-two punch of virulent and venomous dubstep infused industrial/metal that is every bit as harsh on the ears as one could hope for. With each release since the band’s debut in 2012, Smith has cultivated a monstrous and confrontational sound that goes right for the jugular and threatens to bite even harder should you attempt to escape; topped off by the malevolent lyrics and vocals of Roland Zwaga, and underscored by the succulent and smooth bass of Karen Righeimer. While at work on the latest album, The Blood Room
, Smith took the time to wave a giant middle finger at ReGen Magazine
and its readers, exulting in the toxicity of a diseased humanity, daring audiences to step into his antagonistic world and revel in the misanthropy that drives Acidrodent’s music.
First of all, tell us about your original vision for Acidrodent and how you feel the band has developed to achieve that vision; as well, can you talk about what has changed and how those changes have affected the way you approach making music in Acidrodent?
: My original vision was to release music as much as I could. I’m not sure I had an original vision. I really liked the sounds that were coming out of dubstep – those synths Excision and Broken Note were using reminded me of metal guitars at times. I felt there was so much more you could do with them. I didn’t develop anything to achieve that vision and decided to go back to my roots with a mix of my other industrial roots and just do an industrial/metal thing. I’ve been playing guitar since I was seven-years-old; I was in a bunch of metal bands back in the day and I still love heavy music, so it was logical in my head to go in that direction.
But my approach to making the music changed. I now start everything off with guitar and build around that; no more trying to come up with a cool synth bass line first – I hate coming up with synth bass lines.
Also, it was partly because I did guitar tracks for Annodaleeb and in payment, I got a guitar. I was doing all of the guitar on an acoustic and running it through Guitar Rig. So I finally had a real electric again and went to town with it – thanks to Prophie from Annodalleb.
Originally, Acidrodent was just you, but has since gone on to add Roland Zwaga and Karen Righeimer – in what ways do you feel their contributions have strengthened your original vision for Acidrodent?
What is the working dynamic like among the three of you? How involved are they in the creative process of the music?
Smith: Karen can play anything on the bass and is incredibly easy to work with; a great person all around, not to mention she is incredible on stage as she has proven with W.O.R.M and her NIN tribute band Now I’m Nothing. Her stage persona is second to none. I’m not sure why she even plays bass for me to be honest – it’s probably my charm.
As for Roland, he is in Construct or some shit name like that. Fuck him. (Laughter)
I always wanted people that I could tell what to do and they do it. I give them total creative freedom to do whatever they want – I trust what they are going to do is going to be amazing and it always is.
As the front man for mindFluxFuneral, what do you feel distinguishes Acidrodent from mFF; at least in as far as your mindset and your lyrical focus?
: Well, Roland writes all the lyrics for Acidrodent. I didn’t want anything to do with that shit. I haven’t been feeling lyrics for a very long time. Writing lyrics for mindFluxFuneral is challenging for me. I was getting tired of writing lyrics with mindFluxFuneral and getting kind of tired of singing for that matter. When I was younger and was able to do a ton of acid whenever I wanted to, they came easier. mindFluxFuneral is Jason Prost and myself. It’s more intricate, smarter if you will.
As far as Roland goes, the guy is a master lyric writer, the best I know. His stuff is just horrible and dark and he doesn’t hold back anything. He just writes what’s on his mind and that’s what I wanted.
Acidrodent now has 12 releases on Bandcamp since the band’s inception in 2012 – what motivates you to maintain such a prolific pace; in what ways do you feel this has allowed for Acidrodent’s sound and style to evolve vs. if you took a longer time between albums?
: I came to the conclusion a long time ago that I will never be played on the radio or be signed to a big record contract, so I just release music as it comes to me. Everything and nothing motivates me. It’s just something I have to do. When I find a new style of music I really like, I usually try to incorporate it somehow in one of my music projects, whether it be Acidrodent, InBetweenNames, Bowlfinger, or mindFluxFuneral. Usually, I can fit whatever it is that’s giving me a hard on in one of those projects. I release what I feel at that time. I can’t hold onto material for too long; shit, I was thinking about just releasing songs as I make them… I mean, why not? The new album The Blood Room
is pretty much sludge metal. I do all the vocals on the new album, also with a quest appearance by Roland. Roland has been working with Frake on Construct and I have been in the mood to start screaming again. The album I have planned or have been planning for a while is going to be along the lines of breakcore; I’m not sure if I will even add guitar to that. Whatever I do with Acidrodent, I will always try to make the heaviest music I can possibly make. I have my project InBetweenNames for when I want to do lighter music.
Your music blends elements of dubstep, drum & bass, industrial, metal, and noise – with so much cross pollination of styles in modern music, what are your thoughts on the way people perceive and distinguish musical genres?
Smith: I have no clue. Shit, people think too much. I understand that we need genres. With that said, I really don’t have time for them. I have no idea what genre Acidrodent falls in – I call it industrial/metal, but I’ve been told that’s not right. With Acidrodent, I’m going to make what I feel. If I want to do an all piano Acidrodent album, I will. Why the fuck not? Genres create gangs. Groups of people take a genre and turn it into a lifestyle – that’s weird.
What is the potential for Acidrodent to perform live? What would an Acidrodent live show entail – either visually or sonically?
: I want to take Acidrodent live more than anything. I envision a lot of black and white – harsh, violent, intense… In order to do that, I need some people that don’t give a fuck. I need a drummer, guitarist, and keyboardist, and maybe a bassist also if Karen can’t make it out on the road because of being an adult or that thing called a job. I plan on doing vocals live and maybe some guitar. I’m really big on theatrics; if it wasn’t for KISS and Alice Cooper, I would probably have a normal job and less tattoos. But I think I want the Acidrodent visual to be very black and white and assaulting. I’m trying
to have it stay away from backing tracks of any kind. I want it to be a full band that plays live; not that I have a problem with backing tracks at all, but I want to be able to go into longer jams as we feel the need and stuff like that. So yeah, any drummers, guitarists, and keyboard people out there want to send me a demo? Oh, and it’s going to be loud, very loud!
There’s a great deal of misanthropy in your lyrics and song titles, and perhaps rightly so given the state of the world now; in what ways do you feel expressing these feelings musically helps you to reconcile them in daily life… or do they?
Smith: They don’t. I really don’t see much good; even if I stay away from the internet, I still don’t see anything good. I mean, yeah, here and there, someone shoots a video of someone doing something nice, but then I look at that and wonder if it’s set up. I want to say things here like I have hope and we can change things if we stick together, but we won’t. We won’t stick together. We like to kill – it’s in our nature. So I make music that reflects that.
Is your outlook on life really as bleak as they are presented? What sorts of changes would you like to see in society and the world?
Smith: I’m passing this one off to Roland, being I don’t write the lyrics. My answer would be, yeah it is and I don’t believe any kind of changes will help. Again, we like to kill, we like to hate, we like to discriminate, and we have proven that time and time again. We aren’t changing, don’t fool yourself.
Zwaga: First and foremost, the type of music that Acidrodent puts out doesn’t call for happy-go-lucky lyrics, in my humble opinion. The music is aggressive and loud and therefore calls for subject matter that fits those sonic qualities. Is my outlook on life as bleak as the lyrics suggest? I don’t believe so. The words are a magnification of any negative feelings I have towards humanity in general and in a lot of ways, they’re really there as a mirror of society. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a tree-hugging hippie either. I’d like to believe my personal view on life is a little bit more nuanced than the characters and scenes depicted in the words that accompany the music. It’s easy nowadays to believe the media hype and come to the conclusion that this world is fucked. Fuck me, after watching the RNC convention, I might actually start to believe it for real. And it’s true, the world might be fucked, but only if we let dumb idiots come to power, which brings me to your last question. I’d like to see more rational and individual thought in people, which boils down to education. Get people an education and teach them how to think for themselves. If you get enough of those people, then the dumb idiots won’t stand a chance to grab any kind of significant power. I respect intelligence, rationality, humility, and kindness over aggression, grandstanding, and chest-beating. And the former are usually qualities of people who have learned how to think for themselves in a smart manner.
What would you like to see as the next development in technology – musical or otherwise?
Smith: Anti-gravity. Anti-piracy so I can maybe make some money off my art. Self-washing clothes. A weapon that kills anything Kardashian.
What’s the best new movie you’ve seen this year so far, and why? Are there any movies that you’re particularly excited to see when they are released?
: I don’t really watch movies, but the last movie I saw that I really loved was Into the Void – the one about that kid in Japan that dies, then is reincarnated. Besides that one, I like anything with dragons in it, or big monsters that are like dragons, or little dragons with big dragons.
What’s next for Acidrodent?
Smith: I’m working on a long awaited music video for ‘Parasite Paradise.’ The new album The Blood Room should be done soon – I have about five or more songs and vocals for only one, so I have to get on that and finding a band to take Acidrodent live would be kick ass. But with all that said, more music is always next.
Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, YouTube
Photography by Bell Burton Photography, courtesy of Acidrodent