The Red Chord – Sense and Sensibility

Saturday, 30th March 2013

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)

Toward the end of Blistering’s chat with The Red Chord frontman Guy Kozowyk, the gravely-throated Mass-hole said something very profound: “You know how they came out with these reports about people getting brain cancer from cell phones? I’m going to be one of those people.”

It could be true, although we hope not. When we phoned Kozowyk, he was in the midst of balancing label business (he runs the much-respected Blackmarket Activities) and TRC business, most notably their cross-country drive to start this year’s Summer Slaughter tour. The man is a virtual machine, which probably explains why his band (and label) are still hoisting their sails in these ever-troubled waters.

Out in support of their excellent Fed Through the Teeth Machine, The Red Chord may not longer be at the forefront of modern death metal like they were with 2005’s Clients, but something tells us Kozowyk and crew are just happy where they are, which is right in the thick of the scene, making albums on their own terms, far removed from trends. Kozowyk talked to Blistering about this and plenty more, so read on…

Blistering.com: Summer tours…would summer be “summer” without one of these tours?

Guy Kozowyk: Last year we did a European tour. We did Mayhem in 2008, ’06 was Ozzfest, we were writing for Prey for Eyes, but that year, we did a run with Between the Buried and Me. You know, one of these summers I’ll happy to have one at home or tour in the fall instead. Whatever, it’s all good. My birthday is August 13 and I think I’ve missed every birthday for something tour-related since the very first tour we did in 2001. I missed my birthday every year, every time.

Blistering.com: A lot of bands always say how bored they are while on tour. What do you do to fend off boredom?

Kozowyk: I didn’t realize touring was synonymous with being bored. Fourteen-hour rides aren’t that entertaining, but we have a pretty interactive bunch that like to see stupid roadside attractions. You know, things like the “World’s Largest Thermometer” and an adventure like that. On my time, when we’re not playing, I have all of this work to do now with interviews, blogs, lyrics…shit like that. Plus, my life is never that boring where my phone rings off like, once every four seconds [laughs]. I can’t wait until I say that I’m bored. If I’m sitting still, I’m probably slacking on something.

Blistering.com: You have Mike [Justian, drums, ex-Unearth] back in the band, so what’s the overall atmosphere like at the moment?

Kozowyk: One of the great things about playing with Mike again is that he has always been one of my favorite drummers. He’s got a really interesting style. We’ve played with guys that are faster or educated when it comes to certain drum techniques, but Mike is a natural-born player; he’s got a very interesting style and he’s self-taught. I’m just a fan of his drumming from everything he’s done. It’s pretty sweet because I enjoy him as a person.

Blistering.com: So is this line-up as stable as it has ever been?

Kozowyk: [pauses] I guess “it’s as stable as it’s ever been” is a good way to put it. It’s par for the course right now. I never liked the idea of people thinking we have a revolving door line-up or anything like for that. For the most part, Mike was in the band for a long time, but we really only had Brad Fickeisen as a stable drummer, so we’ve switched drummers once and are now back to the original guy. Greg’s [Weeks, bass] been in the band since 2003 and me and Gunface [aka Mike McKenzie] have been in the band since the beginning. And that extra guitar spot, I think we’re happy where we have it.

Blistering.com: I would imagine the sound as a four-piece is much more clean without that extra guitar.

Kozowyk: It’s tighter, but Mike is really good with his gear, so it sounds pretty gnarly. There’s definitely a raw nature to it, even though everything is a little bit tighter. We’re all very comfortable playing together in general, just because Greg and Mike have been playing together for so long.

Blistering.com: Fed Through the Teeth Machine came out last fall, so going back now, is it something you’re fully satisfied with?

Kozowyk: It’s a weird time to put a record out because there was a time when we were a hotter, bigger band. In general, I feel good about the record, I feel like it’s a great album and we’re all proud of it. At the end of the day, kids decide want they want to support. Everyone knows how to get the record for free. It comes down to how kids want to support the record and we definitely have the support when we go out on the road; we have loyal fans. It seems like people seem to view Fed Through the Teeth Machine as a good record in comparison to the other ones. I wish the sales were better and I wish the response was bigger, but at the end of the day, I think the Red Chord isn’t necessarily for everybody and in some ways, it’s insane that we’ve had some of these sales, when we’re this death metal/grind band playing in people’s basements and eventually stuck our heads up to the point where we sold 50,000 records [for Clients]. So that was more than we ever intended on doing. I think we’re at the point now where we’re going to go back and start doing stuff that we feel better. It’s more about doing what we want to do as a band as opposed to stuff that will make you bigger.

I know a lot of people want to be in the shoes of Converge or the Melvins where they can do as they want. That’s the goal. That’s real freedom from anything when you can tour when you want, you record when we want. Converge plays Dethklok tours and plays to a younger crowd, but I like the way those two bands have always done it. Being more a cult band that have a smaller amount of people that are more passionate…I definitely wouldn’t mind that.

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