Wednesday, July 1, 2015


One of the rules of this column is whatever music I receive from a punk band I will write about it. Luckily I got the Mystic Inane Ode To Joy test press from their singer Jonah. What a nice person! Surprise, surprise - It’s an amazing record from the folded paper cover – it’s a test press – that pictures drawn, naked, middle aged men who are playing volleyball in front of a mansion; until the music itself that is again, manages to combine all sort of sounds, paces, ideas and charms of sub-genres of punk and hardcore within one and a half minute songs. The title song starts out with dynamic, robust minimal beat pounded by the drums and in parallel with the guitars distinguishable credo, manifested with spilling out its bucketful of worm-like little notes, all around the surface of the rhythm a terrific disharmony happens. Then these two components merge and without giving up their own characteristics, together Mystic Inane succeeds where average punk tends to fall into mediocrity. This is what great in Mystic Inane, they play for the punks who are bored of those other punks who have forgotten how great punk is. They play for themselves since there is a detectable will in between the notes to distill the fundamental punk idea and toss it into the form of punk songs. It’s no deconstruction of anything that is bad because even though their alienated after taste Mystic Inane’s music is a reflection on genre slaved hardcore punk, those types where the form dictates the songs. That is boring, when nothing is sticking out among the leveled lines and unwritten codes.
Punk is great because within it’s environment everyone is gifted with the opportunity to succeed and it’s other subcultures failure thanks to their arrogance that they are unable to create such infrastructure within their scenes where anyone could achieve what they want. What we want is free! But it’s a very fragile position to base everything you do either on talent or luck or both and nothing else. I’m always bummed when I ask bands about their predated visions before their first ever practice and probably out of being shy they always reply as if anything that is great in their band is thanked to their mutual unconsciousness because after all they only wanted to play music and thought nothing special about it. But for fuck sake even bands who have no idea how to play their instruments have the idea to play music and most of the times they have a way to solve their lack of musical education for what they use tactics to sound original, fun, frightening and not just a bad sketch of something. The lack of educational knowledge could be balanced with enthusiasm thus great punk is smart and brave. It’s smart enough to know it’s limits and brave enough to do even though the known handicaps. So it could limit itself and it will be great because the inner force of the band will spread-eagle those limits or it could be totally mad and laugh on any limits. But punk needs limits because it’s a counter culture as much as every culture is that is not serving an order but being confused by the confusion of the world. It is also great when you know a lot more than what you seem to do because then you put this knowledge in between the panels of your creation. After all this is what differentiates art from being fucking dumb and hard-working. If you are talented you can be lucky even without knowledge of what you do. If you are talented and have knowledge you will be great. If you have knowledge you might not need talent. If you are not talented and have no knowledge and still doing it at one point you will be really sad. Read a fucking book, listen to something new, burn a cop car.

Anyways here is an interview I did with Shiva about Deformity and things:

Why and how did Deformity form?

Same reason any ol’ punk band forms man. We were all high school kids from different places and few other friends who’d hang out all the time, we needed something to do when we realized we didn’t have enough beer an’ weed to blow our minds out, so we made loud music to do it. We got a little more productive later, but never much more, so we broke up at the end of last year. Now it’s Kaleidoscope.

Of what are you the Deformity?

I got bug eyes and my hands sweat.

Your sound bears the idea that you, the players are deeply in love with a lot of music. It sounds like you listen to more music than what could be captured in your actual songs. Among the influences for there is the libido of rock and roll. That hard to describable charm which is the core force of your music. What is that you are looking for hearing in great music? What is that grabs your attention in others music and what is that component in music that you want to communicate through Deformity?

Hell yeah man, music’s my first and closest love. I like melodic hooks that get stuck in your head and seem like they could be infinitely expanded, I like the sound of voices or instruments straining to convey the most outta one little note or phrase, I like music that takes a fantasy or a nightmare and puts on a show with it, owns it, makes it completely palpable that comes out of anything, so I’ll listen to anything. This might be a non-answer, but I just look for soul, for maximum feeling outta music, and that’s what I wanted to communicate in the band. I wanted to paint my face with the dread I was feeling and show it to people to see if they felt similar.

Really unique music like yours tend to come from distant and disconnected places. Where there is no given form, sound of the scene/city. Where people are left to be whatever they want to be. It’s like they are not hearing the actual music but hearing of the music and they play it how they imagined it. But Deformity hails from New York which is the center of the world. Do you have to lock yourself in to be free in that environment? Is it harder to be original and stand out from such a vivid scene?

Well two of us are from an hour outside of NYC proper, and throughout the time Deformity was writing music, we were based out of there. That was its own form of isolation. That and being a few or more years younger than most of the people involved with punk in the city.  I’d go out to these shows and be inspired by these bands who were just DOING it, letting loose, going wild. When we really started getting going it was us doing the same with our own experiences. The three of us have been best friends growing up for years, we had our own chemistry between us and our own thing to express. I don’t think you gotta lock yourself in to be free, I think you just gotta feed off the people you’re involved with, reciprocate, and let it be your outlet. Otherwise its useless, to you and to anybody who happens to come across it.

Do you think there is still a need for progressive originality in punk? Should bands try to invent new sounds or is it established enough that originality appears in reconstructing already existing ideas and sounds? I ask that because in a way Deformity is a unique band but if I break it down and think it through you sound like Japanese hardcore mixed with mutant American hardcore through garage sound from a collapsing basement.

I like all those things, but I don’t think any of us were thinking about any of that when we were playing. I think its cool that it hits your mind that way though. I don’t think there’s a “need” for anything in punk, punk is a pretty mixed bag man. People do what they like and take pleasure in what others do as they please. The word “progressive” has a nasty ring to it though, I think the whole idea of setting out to push some abstract thing forward is pretty wrongheaded.

In the majorities head New York is the capital of hardcore. But all of the largely known bands hailing from their after all act as dads. Either the republican, catholic dad who tells you not to drink, be nice to your friends, don’t drink or the dead beat grown up jock dad who only tells tales about how powerful, better, stronger he is than everyone else and he teaches you how to fight people who are weaker than you or stab back people who disappoint you. But as these bands are tending to rather play for actual old folks a new scene is blooming in New York who tend to behave like kids left alone for a weekend, home alone style with more taste to do chaos. How do you relate to your cities musical scene, present and past?

I’m really into what’s currently been going on. You know the bands. I’m listening to the new Dawn of Humans LP as I type this, its great. Joe (Deformity bassist) and I just recorded a tape for Nandas, they’re my favorite new band. New York’s got a pretty rich musical history, I like a lot of it, if that’s what you mean by relate. Miles Davis was here a while, James Brown live at the Apollo (I’d say that’s *from* here), Velvet Underground, Suicide, mid-70’s proto/art/punk shit, the fuckin’ BAD BRAINS, Reagan Youth, Urban Waste, Cro-Mags Before the Quarrel, early 90’s rap, PERDITION….as far as that neo-conservative big-white-man side of things—“NYHC”—goes, I don’t care for it.

In the past two or three years you have only released two 7’s that had 3-3 songs. Is there something beyond this very filtered and selected way of releasing your music? I hate to wander to my turn table to always replay your 7’’ while some days it’s the only thing I want to listen to.

There’s other stuff out there, a peppering of mediocre tapes from 2009-2011, then a couple of botched recordings, and another demo tape that came out in 2013, which is probably the best representation of us. That is still floating around, we dubbed a bunch and then Toxic State pressed it as a pro-tape. It’s all floating around on the internet, and its 2015, so unless you got much bigger problems that’d prevent you from giving two shits about tracking down our music, I’m sure you can find it.

You have a fanzine for yourself. I didn't have the chance to read any of the issues – is there any relation between how you write music and how you write texts? Is The mindset you use for editing also used for forming a song? 

Nah not at all. I stopped writing a zine almost three years ago, and that was the time when I’ve made most of the music I’ve been proud of. So maybe there’s a negative relationship there? Nah, not that either.

Are you more of a music maker or listener? What do you think how is looked upon by the other the maker or the critique?

Both. Both help me make sense of the world. I’m not sure about the second part,  if you’re asking what I think of music critics, I like ones that write well, or at least with sincerity instead of pretentiousness.

What's the best way to make egg?

Over Easy—but that’s hard as hell and I always fuck it up, so I’ll say as an omelet, with mushrooms, green chilies, shallots, and cilantro. Hits the spot.

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