Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack: Ohio’s Foul Spirits

Because every day another band records another song.  Because 83% of those songs are unlistenable and you can’t be bothered to sift through the dreck.  Because metal is about not giving a shit and waking your own personal storm.  Because music is universal, expression is boundless, and even indie labels (whatever that means these days) don’t know everything, Decibel brings you Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack.
fspirits art

Feeling fat, lethargic and a little fuzzy this Friday?  Let Foul Spirits slim you down with all the subtlety of a meat cleaver and get you moving with all the gentleness of a ruddy-hot iron poker up your ass.  The Kent, Ohio crusthustlers ram a ton of dirty-massive riffs through your face on their debut EP, Live In Fear.  Currently free at Bandcamp, these six nasty nuggets prove how potent small doses of disaster can be.  There’s not a dull moment here.  We at Decibel, always here to serv(ic)e your need for horrifying harshitude, have brought the whole streaming slab to your fingertips.

While you listen, check out the band’s collective responses to our getting-to-know-you questions.  Then just keep listening…

What’s Kent, Ohio like these days?  How’s the music scene in your area?

Kent as a college town has always had a thriving music scene.  It is a small town of about 20,000, but we have a lot of amazing local clubs like The Stone Tavern, The Europe Gyro, and the Outpost that are very supportive of the heavy music scene.  Kent is most famous for its Blues and Folk festivals, but even those three-day events have metal and hip-hop bands scheduled, so it is very simply a music town.  Jeff and Wally have played in some pretty well known regional bands (NDE, Hate Theory) based out of Kent as well, so those two guys have helped create the varied and close-knit scene we have today.

How did the members of Foul Spirits hook up and start playing together? 

We all knew each other at first from playing in different bands on the scene. Chris and Gabe were in Skies Bleed Black (later Dog Days) for years and Wally and Jeff were involved in several projects throughout that same timeframe (NDE, Hate Theory, Rue). We had spent about a year working together on a pure grindcore project but that kind of dissipated and Jeff and Chris were still looking to do something together. Foul Spirits was already a band before Jeff and Wally joined. Chris and Gabe had started the band and it had been going on for a few years at that point.  [We’re all] smart guys, smart asses. We try not to take ourselves too seriously a lot of the time.

This band started from a heavy metal punk rock foundation. That was pretty much the sound established before Wally and Jeff got involved. And it still is very much that but it’s just progressed a bit further musically. We’re a crossover band.

How long have you played together before recording these songs?

We have played on and off together since 2007.  We had a one-off grind project, Tex Avery, in the first few years but started jamming again as Foul Spirits about two years ago.  We did some out of town shows and a lot of local stuff, then started laying tracks down on the new EP last August.

Was the recording process just what you expected, or was it easier/harder/stranger…?

I (Gabe) do the recording.  I have had a full service recording studio, Engine Room Recording, in Kent since 2007.  We recorded these songs early on in the process of starting up Foul Spirits, and it was definitely a challenge for all of us to get the sound and style we wanted.  These songs are varied in styles, and to get the precision, heaviness, and grimy dirt we all love, was tough.  I definitely feel we succeeded, and I am very happy with the way things came out. With all that being said, we have been playing in bands, recording and touring for a long time, so recording is a normal step in the process. Wally, Chris, and Jeff killed it in the sessions… the only hard part was getting away from our jobs and finding time to shred.

What are your favorite parts of the music you’ve recorded?

Our favorite parts are the finished piece. The whole thing is far greater than the sum of its parts. We have a lot of fun writing and recording and it truly is a democratic process.  Chris and Wally do a bulk of the writing, Jeff does a lot of the arrangements and obviously the lyrics.

Where did that very cool artwork come from?

Our great friend David Wilson is the principal creative director at Downpour Creative graphic design in Kent.  He does a lot of sick work for local bands, but also has a lot of national clients in the “real world.”  He does an outstanding job with all things visual and video.

What kind of inspirations fed into Live In Fear?

Musically speaking, our influences cover a very broad range of styles. Most obvious though, would be the hundreds of extreme metal and metallic hardcore, punk and grind bands that all of us enjoy listening to. Lyrically it’s all about violence at this point. Both mental and physical. From the most ill of egocentric will to actually lashing out, whether it be for personal gain, self-preservation or what have you. It’s, for all intents and purposes, nothing nice. And Satan.

What other music is getting you excited right now?

Gabe:  The new Nine Inch Nails, All Pigs Must Die, Palms, Pig Destroyer, The Ravenna Arsenal (local bros)

Jeff:  The new Phillip H. Anselmo

Wally:  All things grind

Chris:  Ghost, Graveyard, Elder, Cold Cave, Graf Orlock, Black Breath

What is the band’s next step regarding live shows, more recording, etc?

We have our annual Halloween weekend coming up, which we do every year.  Kent Halloween is off the charts, a giant 30-40,000 person drunken outdoor party.  They shut the entire city down and people are running amok.  Local venues have music and people meander around drinking and checking out the costumes and entertainment.  We are doing a show that Friday at the Outpost with our dudes in Forever in Terror and then Saturday in the middle of the chaos in downtown Kent at the Stone Tavern.  We already have our next full length written and rehearsed, we will probably lay drums down in December and look for a Spring release… hopefully with some label support.