SSS – Part Music, Part Message

Thursday, 20th November 2014

Oftentimes, music is far too content to just be an escape from reality. A time span that you can forget about all of your problems and life’s worries and just be in the moment. It’s all well and good while the tunes are jamming, but at the end of the day nothing has changed. When bands come along that can not only take an interesting musical approach, yet keep things relevant and thought-provoking in a lyrical sense (that apply to one’s daily life no less), it’s worth taking note of.

One such entity is Liverpool’s SSS (Short Sharp Shock), who play blistering crossover that blends music with message. The band’s fourth and most recent offering, Limp.Gasp.Collapse is a veritable how-to on providing visceral music with meaning. Tracks such as “The Stress of Excess,” “For Your Own Good,” and “Slave to Persuasion” display the band’s stance as one that is not at all happy with today’s socio-political structure. DR was able to shoot vocalist Foxy some questions as to crossover, the band’s newest output, as well as his thoughts on the current world around us.

Dead Rhetoric: What is the meaning behind the name Short Sharp Shock?

Foxy: A blueprint for the music style we wanted to play. Cut all the unnecessary fat away and you are left with aggressive songs that cut quick to the point.

Dead Rhetoric: Who are three of SSS’ biggest influences?

Foxy: Negative Approach. SOD. Discharge

Dead Rhetoric: Crossover is a term that’s been overused a bit over the years. Do you feel the term is diluted at this point and lost any meaning?

Foxy: Cro-mags, SOD, Leeway, Suicidal, DRI, early Agnostic front – those that blend hardcore and metal is first and foremost the definitive definition in my head. I wouldn’t know where or who has used it of late however. Limp Bizkit?!? ha

Dead Rhetoric: There is a lot of variety that is brought into Limp.Gasp.Collapse. How would you accurately describe the band?

Foxy: We always like to mix up the styles on all our records. A conscious process to kick against that thrash tag we were lumped with at the start definitely came into play on later releases. To replicate is to bore yourself. Painting yourself into a corner doesn’t work. Personnel changes within the band means more influences and styles have been brought in. SSS still has a hardcore outlook but now it’s coupled with a heavy weight metal groove within it.

Dead Rhetoric: SSS has gone 2-3 years between albums since Short Sharp Shock was released in 2006. Any reason that the band goes at this pacing?

Foxy: It’s just been the natural amount of time we take to write, tour, take stock, feed off your life’s experiences, demo the noise, refine the racket – not being afraid to cut and drop things that are not working, refine again, record and release a record. Mix in a slug of “life”, work and family. Then start from square one and repeat the process once again. I don’t know how that pace fits into the normal scheme of things for others, but it works for us.

Dead Rhetoric: Looking at your previous material, how do you feel that Limp.Gasp.Collapse compares to your discography?

Foxy: Feels natural to myself that it’s a progression musically and that as a band it ultimately keeps our creative interest going. Compared to our discography both musically and lyrically it is less primitive. We have explored in a different vein that’s all – more of a metal crossover this time around. Both in the writing and the recording process as a whole.

Dead Rhetoric: With the number of shorter and punchier tracks, where did the idea for the 10-minute “Crushed By Drudgery” come from?

Foxy: I had a riff that every practice I’d get Stu to play. It went on and on and on and on. Dave cracked at one point, he couldn’t handle it. But that was the point. It was the monotony of the working life that’s imposed upon us all. The endless debt slave toil that erodes us to stagnate into an early grave. Possessed with the idea of a long ending track it was endured and written in sections. It was actually longer, but was reeled in. It will definitely divide listeners. It’s a song that will definitely be played live.

Dead Rhetoric: How did the collaboration with Jeff Walker come about?

Foxy: I’ve Known Jeff since the early Carcass outings/Planet X club in Liverpool in the late 80s.We wanted another voice on the record that was completely different to make both stand out. It was a simple case of askin’ Jeff and getting an answer back, that answer being yes. Job done.

Dead Rhetoric: Many of the band’s lyrics are socio-political in nature. What’s your take on the world around us?

Foxy: Fuck. Where do you start? It’s hard not to get to depressed about the whole situation. Ultimately a disconnected self-absorbed society, all constantly living in a state of fear. Instead of a population filled with apathy, it should overflow with enmity.

Dead Rhetoric: How do you center a concept around socio-political topics without sounding too preachy?

Foxy: Since becoming a father the issues raised on the record have really hit home – they are for everyone to acknowledge knowing that future generations will ultimately pay the price. For example, infinite growth on the planets finite resources – overpopulation and the overconsumption it brings, the pretext of “terrorism” that’s being used for securing the last supplies of oil with unending wars. Techonology that should empower yet is typically used to keep us distracted and spellbound and passive consumers. So-called democracy as we vote for the “least worst” as the entrenched status quo continues. The media machine working to manipulate opinion in favour of those in power and their corporate interests. Omission of real/true issues is the greatest form of lie. Ultimately these topics and others are for us all to wake up too. Ideally laying out a foundation out your ideas to be explored and interpreted by the listener is all you can hope for…

Dead Rhetoric: What is the most important thing to take away from a band: the music or the message?

Foxy: Part music, part message is ideal. Both can be immense life changers for us all. The things that I have listened to in the past and occasionally the present have influenced the way I view the world around me. You need to “listen” to music and not just “hear” it.

Dead Rhetoric: What’s next for SSS in the coming year?

Foxy: Get out and gig. Play these new songs to all and sundry. Ultimately get to album number 5, then look back and laugh.

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