The band is called Piss Vortex. They hail from Copenhagen. And if I didn’t feel the responsibility to inform you that they play some ferociously angry and chaotically bent grind, as you might imagine a band named Piss Vortex would, I might’ve just left things to those first two sentences and let you discover the caustic majesty of their colossal noise yourselves. Their self-titled, debut album (with 150 of the records pressed on limited edition, piss yellow vinyl, of course) was released earlier this month, so we sent a bunch of questions to the band, watched a video of their biggest fan* extolling their virtues and attempted to rinse the filth off.
*Ok, maybe not
First of and most obvious, that name! Who came up with it and what have the reactions to it been like?
Christian Bonnesen [guitar]: Well, as you might know, 95% of being a metal musician is about conjuring up crazy band names for projects that never materialize. Sometimes you come up with a band name so stupid/good, that you have to form a band just to use the name. I was at a party some years ago and when you get something to drink you naturally have to take a piss at some point. After the deed was done, I flushed, looked at the pee whirl around in a vortex and just sort of thought to myself, ”Piss Vortex! That’s a great fucking band name!” It stuck with me throughout the years. When we were discussing what to call the band, I casually mentioned it and we all agreed on it pretty fast. People really seem to like the name. Here in Denmark the name baffles people, but Americans usually think it’s hilarious. We recently got a review, where the name is described as immature though, haha – Can’t win them all.
How did Piss Vortex form and come to be in its present state?
Rasmus Moesby [bass]: I met Niclas [Sauffaus, drums] through a mutual friend one night; he complimented me on my Arson Project t-shirt, I complimented him on his Cap’n Jazz t-shirt, he mentioned he was a drummer, and that was pretty much it. I had briefly played in a band with Christian some years before, and his discordant sludgy guitar antics seemed a good fit for Niclas’ strange approach to drumming. To this day, I’m still on the fence about whether or not it was good idea to pair the two together. We needed a vocalist that understood the type of music we were playing and even though I only knew Simon [Stenbaek] peripherally, I was fairly certain that he would make a fine George Harrison to our little troupe. Also, in that analogy, Christian and Niclas are both Lennon and McCartney simultaneously and I’m Ringo Starr or maybe Yoko Ono, either way the one who mostly just does pointless stuff no one gives a shit about. Anyway, Christian knew Simon a bit better from back in the day, and asked him to come along for practice one night and Piss Vortex manifested itself onto conscious reality.
Was there a particular intention/direction you had in mind for this band when compared to what you’ve done with past bands or even bands that you’re in concurrently?
Simon: I didn’t really know what I was getting in to, so I can’t say I had any intentions at first. I just re-started my power rock band, Redwolves, half a year before I joined, so Piss Vortex was extremely weird compared to that. It was like that dog that smells like shit and only has three legs that you can’t help but love. Compared to my other musical endeavors, Piss Vortex is one of the more extreme projects I’ve been in, and I want it to be even more extreme in the future. “Try everything” is kind of my mindset with this band!
Christian: To me, as the guitarist in the band, my intention was and still is to play more extreme music than I’ve ever played before. Another is to evoke the spirit of late 90’s/early 00’s chaotic hardcore, but kind of update it and put our own spin on it. Rasmus also contributes with riffs to the band and shares an affinity for that kind of style, but is more rooted in grind and death. That’s usually the inspirational base for what I try to contribute to the band. In a time where people seem so enamored by D-beat bands with black metal imaging and progressive bands playing polyrhythms for the sake of playing polyrhythms – granted all things I enjoy – I’ve been missing that kind of style something fierce. As a young shithead, I grew up wanting to do crazy shit like tuning down the guitar by ear in the middle of a song (a la Botch, “Hutton’s Great Engine”) and that’s a big inspiration as well. A thing we do that’s different compared to the other bands I’ve been involved with is that we always try out an idea, even if it sounds completely stupid/silly, because it usually evolves into something fucked up and great. A lot of our songs have materialized by doing just that. Our song “Devouring Intent” from the album was born from Niclas idea of doing a waltz grind song in 3/4, which on paper is completely ridiculous, but it turned out crazy and fun.
Three years in the making? 14 songs? 23 minutes? At what point did you stumble upon a definite sound/style that you wanted to keep going along? When you found your particular (left hand) path, how quickly did the material come into being?
Rasmus: It was a long process, to be sure. The album can almost be said to be something of a compilation of nearly all the material we had written up until the time of the recording; some less-than-exciting songs were discarded or simply slipped into the oblivion of long-term memory. We’re all busy people, so we’ve occasionally had long gaps between practices, which sort of stunted creativity for a while, but even after we eventually got our act together, writing this type of music still presented a challenge. Even if there are certain traits that all the songs share, the concrete, ”Piss Vortex sound” is still a somewhat elusive and ever-expanding concept. ”Beaten Womb” took over a month to finish while a song like ”Altered State” was over and done with more or less on the spot. So how long does it take to write a Piss Vortex song? It all depends on the song itself and what we’re trying to do with it. It’s easy to lose focus sometimes, but overall, as the studio deadline crept closer, I think we really dedicated ourselves to the process and the material came out a bit easier than it otherwise might have. Or maybe we just chose the right time to substitute beers for energy drinks. It’s anyone’s guess, really.
What exactly is going on on the cover of the record?
Simon: Our good friend, Jesper Christoffersen, made the cover and it looks fucking amazing! I don’t really know what the deal is with it, but I sort of imagine a path going into a forest – a forest covered in shit. As far as I know, it’s a pile of dirt and paint in a corner, and he really made something so fucking simple into something that you can interpret in so many different ways. Jesper is such a talented artist, and hopefully we will be working with him again in the future! Just answering this question I looked a lot at it again, and now I also sort of see an abstract pile of dead rats lying covered in dirt – what’s that called again, a rat king or something like that? Google it.
Who is this Tyrone fellow, how did you get him on board to do that video and what is that sound he makes towards the end of the clip…?
Rasmus: Tyrone might or might not be the secret fifth member of the band. I’m sorry, but that’s all I can tell you at the moment. The sound you hear at the end is, ”yahtzee”. ”Yahtzee” has become known as Christian’s personal outburst of ultimate success and victory over the challenges of life; Tyrone simply appropriates it to express how the release of our record is both a symbolic and very physical triumph for us as a band, and for Christian as an individual. Good job, Christian! Yahtzee, indeed.
I’m guessing there’s a plan for the band once the album is out and about…Care to fill us in…
Rasmus: Playing a ton of shows, writing a ton of new material, hopefully faster than last time. Getting rich. Getting fat. Slowly losing our collective grip on sanity. Die a miserable peasant’s death in a Copenhagen gutter, un-mourned and unloved. Eventually, I mean. For now, just more shows and more records would be nice.