INTERVIEW: Noisear’s Dorian Rainwater on the New Mexico grind crew’s “Turbulent Resurgence”

What else could New Mexico nerve-shredders Noisear have named their forthcoming album? Turbulent Resurgence kinda sums everything up nicely; in the year since the release of the near free-jazz grind lunacy of Subvert the Dominant Paradigm, the band have shed some serious personnel and had to regroup and re-focus. But despite the changing of the guard, core writing duo of guitarist/vocalist Dorian Rainwater and drummer Bryan Fajardo were still at the wheelroom, rolling up and tossing riffs and blasts together for the greater good.
Turbulent Resurgence is Noisear‘s debut LP for Willowtip and comes booby-trapped with 40-second salvos of turbo-grind. And as Dorian Rainwater told the Deciblog, while they may have reined in some of the chaos, Noisear are still keeping the dial jacked up high against the red…

This sounds a bit more cohesive, more straight-ahead than Subverting the Dominant Paradigm, was that intentional?

Dorian Rainwater: Yeah, it’s a bit more straightforward than a few of our releases; we were a little bit more angry. We lost a couple of members on the last tour we did, last year, around the Maryland Deathfest, and we had to get a new guitarist. And we got our original guitarist from 1997 on this album. It’s a lot more angry and a lot more serious.

How did that affect the writing process?
Dorian Rainwater: Well Bryan Fajardo [drums] and I usually write all the material anyway, so it really didn’t affect any of the music but as far as the vocals it kinda had an affect, as far as you can tell the vocals are different to the last album. There’s not a lot of the higher vocals and most of the vocals were done by myself and Thomas [Romero, guitars/vocals] so there’s a bit of a different flavour on this one in comparison.

Is there more of a death metal influence?
Dorian Rainwater: Yeah, it does have a little bit more of a death metal edge to it but I think that we went a little sporadic on the last album, and we were adding a lot more than we should have, y’know, and we wanted to do it a little more straightforward just to capture the same essence as the live atmosphere.

Did you feel that Subvert…was too difficult to recreate live? It was super-anarchic.
Dorian Rainwater: Oh no, not at all. But the thing was, we had to double guitars because there were multiple layers of guitar on that, there were multiple vocals as well, and on this album where we were a little bit more concentrated and singled out on the riffing process, and the vocal structure is more patterned out in a more straightforward way as opposed to everyone just singing on every part.

Does Turbulent Resurgence have any over-arcing lyrical themes?
Dorian Rainwater: It is more of an attack on the ego of the generalized human these days. It’s more of a psychological theme, as far as the pressures of everyday life and, I guess you could say, when relationships go bad, burning bridges as far as friendships, romance or whatever, a business affiliation; it just has to do with more personal matters. That could be due to the fact we lost a couple members of the band as well.

Did the material come together quickly?
Dorian Rainwater: Oh definitely, every time we write together we have this spontaneous aesthetic and feel. It’s kinda like we just try to feel each other’s emotion for the next part of the song, and as we are writing we do the first thing that comes to mind and then try to mold that to our liking. We tend to do a few scratch tracks on a little four-track microrecorder, and we put ideas out for different songs and then emphasize those ones once we get into the studio. We try to, as we’re recording a song we are writing it; it tends to be a lot of fun. The way we communicate when we write is that we kinda hum things out to each other as opposed to putting down sheet music or anything like that, so it’s a lot more of a feeling.

Noisear “Born Alone Die Alone” by Decibel Magazine
Noisear “Fiery Rebirth” by Decibel Magazine

Certainly on Subvert… and on moments on this one, you sound like you’re improvising.
Dorian Rainwater:
We don’t wanna sound like anyone else, really, we try to get that feel so that the first natural thing that comes is unique. If we don’t like it and don’t think it’s fitting then we’ll scrap it and start out anew. Which really isn’t much of a problem because we’ve played together for so long now, 15 years.

I’ve heard that you try to recreate sounds in your environment; dogs barking, doors slamming, etc.
Dorian Rainwater: Yeah, and another thing that helps is that we smoke a lot of marijuana. Ha ha! Yeah well it helps in a creative sense, makes us more relaxed, just more, I dunno, comfortable.

So long as you stay in the comfort zone and don’t enter the paranoia.
Dorian Rainwater: Yeah, ‘cos that’s what the world is like, a lot of worry and stress and this is one of our escapes and releases from all of that everyday tension of being a human being.

So you’re very much from the Brutal Truth school of lighting up and grinding.
Dorian Rainwater: Very much so, every time we are on tour we just love to have a good time, we want people to have a good time, and it’s all people who are into the same music as we are, just the same old-school death metal influences, Napalm Death, older bands from the 90s like Assück, Obituary and the whole Florida scene. We try to implement a lot of influences from that whole area because these days a lot of the scene is over-saturated and it’s really hard to find quality acts with so many bands these days.

One of the bands you can hear in Noisear is Discordance Axis.
Dorian Rainwater: Oh definitely. That’s like one of our favourite bands since we began, since our inception. Our guitarist Thomas, him and Bryan learned pretty much their whole discography when they were jamming as young teenagers. Dave Witte has always been a big influence on Bryan as far as blastbeats and jazzy technicality go.

It terms of your sound, you both share that quality that it could all fall apart at any time.
Dorian Rainwater: Exactly, that chaotic part of it stays within the organized part, too, it’s like come together/fall apart … That’s like a Discordance Axis song.

Do you think that’s important for grind to have that quality?
Dorian Rainwater:
Oh definitely, it keeps it original and catchy and when the listener hears it they hear controlled chaos, y’know. It’s like order from chaos but, I dunno, it’s hard to explain …

Do you think that the grind scene is playing it too safe at the moment?
Dorian Rainwater: Yeah, well I see a lot of bands going towards the Swedish sound, more of the I guess you would call it the Boss Heavy Metal pedal, buzzsaw guitar sound that a lot of the early bands, like Edge of Sanity, Entombed and Grave, Nasum and Rotten Sound: I see a lot of that in the scene, a lot of bands sounding similar in that way.

Is that maybe a result of old-school death metal enjoying such a resurgence?
Dorian Rainwater: I think the unique quality of those bands in the early 90s is that there wasn’t any Internet, and everybody was tape-trading and writing to each other and there was a lot more of a sense of individuality. It wasn’t so solicited, like a high base of media, Internt and computer, everything wasn’t filesharing and people paid money to get their favourite band’s releases. There wasn’t just downloads; I dunno, there was just a higher quality and ethic to all the passion that was going behind the music. It was a lot harder to do back then. We try to implement those qualities into our music as well.

It was maybe easier to do something original back then because no one had gone there before.
Dorian Rainwater:
Absolutely. It has become a lot more generalized and I guess the younger people have a lot more access to it, and it’s kinda becoming a bit trendy. Back then it was kinda used as a weapon against the music industry, against the people who created the society where everybody has to do the same thing. It was our escape, like black sheep rather than following the heard. It’s almost like the anarchist punk ethic.

Does that not survive to this day? One thing about grind, is that it rarely is beholden to the cult of personality; it’s more collective: we talk about the bands and rarely the individuals.
Dorian Rainwater: Yeah, I can see that. The thing is, all of us in the band all have different bands as well. Bryan jams with Phobia, and I do as well, and Gridlink and Kill the Client. That’s another reason why we try to keep things different because we have so many other projects going. I myself have a few other projects going. Our other guitarist/vocalist as well. So we try to keep this as unique as possible, keep it different, not only for us but for all the people who enjoy listening to it and want to hear something refreshing.

What other projects do you have on the go?
Dorian Rainwater: Right now I just recorded with Phobia, and that just came out on Willowtip as well, and I am doing a lot of other jazz projects on my own, and I was playing with two bands in Arizona, nothing major label or nothing that’s really well known or anything but… I’m doing a collaboration with J. Randall for Grindcore Karaoke, it’s called The Inhabitants, and it’s got members who are scattered across the United States, it’s sort of an avant-garde, Naked City/East West Blast Test kind of thing. Yeah, it’s just weird jazzy grind, I don’t know what to call it…

Jazz is a weird but kinda suitable fit for grind.
Dorian Rainwater: Yeah, the thing about us is that we are into a lot of different types of music, too, just to try keep it different. We all listen to hip-hop, blues, funk, and pretty much whatever as long as it’s interesting.

There’s a channel-surfing quality to the way grind picks up influences, uses them and discards them and comes back to them: Would you say that you’ve got short attention spans?
Dorian Rainwater: Oh yeah, we call it A.D.D. twitch-grind! Like it’s really fast and frenetic and just high energy. One of the things we did with this album was try to keep the songs relevant to each other because we never did that in the past. In the past it was everybody putting their ideas together in a big melting pot and it was almost a little bit too much. So we went with a little bit more organization, a little more simplified I guess.

Noisear have done a lot of splits: Was that important in developing your sound?
Dorian Rainwater: Oh yeah, we try to keep the same quality that was in Noisear from the beginning, and just to change and grow over the years. Being on tour with a lot of different bands has definitely helped too. We’ve only been across the United States and we hope to get overseas to other countries, which I think would only help us grow. Touring is difficult for any hardworking band these days; it’s hard for promoters, booking agents, and you never really have a solid guarantee most of the time.

It means that the scene has to be ever more self-reliant.
Dorian Rainwater: Yeah, I guess that’s the way it’s got to be. If you’re relying on a booking agent or a promoter, they’ll take something from you, too, they’ll take their cut. If they’re gonna help you then they’re going to want this and that but if you’re doing it DIY and self-reliant then the possibilities are a little better. I love how it is in other countries as the bands are a lot more hard-working, a lot more dedicated to the music and the sound. That’s why we try do splits with bands form other countries; we try not to do splits with other bands from the US ‘cos we’d rather keep it on an international basis. We did a tour a few years back with some German guys from RSR records and came up with something we called the International Grind Conspiracy, and there were quite a few bands like Entrails Massacre, Regurgitate, a lot of bands we were really good friends with, sent emails to because it was before MySpace and Facebook exploded, and it was just really cool to be in touch with other people who shared the same passions. There are a lot of Japanese bands we love, too.

Never mind Europe and R.O.W. you’ve moved about a lot in the States. You’re still down as a New Mexico band but you’ve moved, right?
Dorian Rainwater: Oh yeah, I’ve lived in about eight different states in the last few years. Right now I’ve just moved to San Diego, California.

Has moving about and having the band members in different states been a factor in shaping your sound?
Dorian Rainwater: I would say so, because different environments have different ways of thinking, different philosophies and different ways of thinking, different cultures, and all of that will influence the different things you do. Some places you go are more fast-paced than others, some places are more metropolitan. We’re from New Mexico, Albuquerque.

That’s Breaking Bad country, is it really as hopped up on blue meth as the show suggests?
Dorian Rainwater: Yeah, it is like that over there! I think we’re glad not to be living there because it has one of the highest crime rates in the US. Oh yeah, the funny thing is that show is filmed, all the original members of Noisear grew up in all those areas, we have friends who are on that show, and even our old house where we used to practice is in that show. Yeah, it’s kinda crazy. I almost think they took that story from true events that happened in Albuquerque because it was so bad through the years. I’m not sure how bad it is now because I haven’t lived there recently; I mean, I’ve visited but you can’t really tell what’s going on just by visiting. I have family there still. There’s always been a huge drug and crime problem out there; it’s easy source material for a TV series on a cable channel.

**Noisear’s Turbulent Resurgence is out Sep 25th on Willowtip and you can get all hopped up on schizoid blasts after ordering it HERE**
**You can read about Dorian Rainwater and Thomas Romero’s grindcore Top 5 HERE.**