Phobia’s Shane MacLachlan discusses Insane two-decade collection

If you go to a grind show and don’t see a single Phobia shirt (or patch), then you my friend are not at a grind show. The Orange County legends are inextricably tied with the grind scene, consistently putting out crusty, blasting anarchy for over twenty years. 

But if you are worried you’re late to the party, the ludicrously huge Decades of Blastphemy will bring you up to speed. The over 150-song compendium joins together 17 releases on a 4-CD set. It covers two decades of the band’s existence, about the closest thing a grindcore band has had to one of those Time Life collections. 

And it’s dropping Friday, March 4th on Melotov Records stateside. 

Many, many people have had the chance to play with Phobia, but Shane MacLachlan has been there since the beginning. Here he is reflecting on the band, the collection and the shirts. 

What compelled you to release such a huge collection?

Well, Karol at Selfmadegod approached me a few years back actually. I never thought much about something like this, but the more I thought about it, it was something I would be interested in, you know? We have a lot of material that was never released on CD, a lot of material people say they can’t find except maybe online, so I looked at it as a fun project, to celebrate the band’s history for the most part. We can only release some stuff, not everything, but I think 4 discs of material is a good amount! I also looked at it as a way to get back in touch more with former members and people that have definitely contributed to the band’s grinding force! I feel it opens more doors for the band and adds opportunity to expand in many ways!

How long did it take to put all of this together? What were some of the roadblocks?

Well it probably took about 3 years. Like I said, Karol at Selfmadegod approached me with the idea years back and we talked and talked through ideas, and stuff really moved slowly, but we were still interested and would keep in touch. I think 6 months ago is when I really became 100% committed to this project and really moved forward on it and got a hold of some people – Jasper to draw me a cool cover, Matt Slime to draw and add a bit, Frank Huang to do some photos. I got Melanie Voltz involved at Melotov Records to release it in the States, and we all kicked ass and made it happen. I’m really glad that it turned into something brutal where a lot of good people can be involved and it’s put me back in touch with other band members with ideas and go back to the roots of the band!!!!

Is there anything in here that you hated but have come to appreciate, or vice versa?

I would have to say not really, it’s all really good and positive to me and where it’s going, you roll with the punches, and if there is anything you may dislike, it blows over and it’s a waste of time to hate, haha.

When listening back through this, what were some of the biggest changes the band has gone through that you maybe didn’t notice before?

Well we have been through many changes. We were just kids when we started this band, didn’t know much, couldn’t really play all that well, just wanted to make noise and be punk. I think the biggest change you notice is when certain members aren’t in the band, a vibe changes maybe, but being a band for this long, like many bands, there is going to be changes, not always bad, not always good, but the band will identify itself again, and create its own personality with new members. This band has been through chapters, and it’s fine with me, and people have their preferences, as I do for a lot of other bands! I listen to the material and love it, laugh at it, and really appreciate the changes and what the band has become. We became better at what we do, I think. This band can still kick ass no matter what situation we are in, at least try, haha!!! i never noticed that until now, or believed in Phobia that much, but it’s because I play with good people that are friends and loved ones – we family!

Has this collection brought any long lost ex-members out of the woodwork?

Yeah we are planning some good stuff, next shows will be with former members, original members, and it’s going to fun, like I said, it opens windows!

How has the grind scene changed from when you started to where you are now?

Oh damn, it has changed 100%, now you got internet, Youtube, cell phones, haha! Back in the days there was a certain passion, identity, it wasn’t popular music, the scene was a lot more involved, people were more supportive, because you had to go to the shows to buy that 7″ or shirt. When you played a town, the town went – punks, metal heads – it was a great time for music in the underground. You had a problem, you dealt with it at a show, and it was done! Now you have internet cowards who use social media to slander people, true or false, how fucking ridiculous and pathetic is that? I think the internet has really hurt the scene in many ways, but it can definitely help and has, it’s about how you utilize it. We all have become a part of it.

Phobia shirts seem pretty ubiquitous. Where is the weirdest place you’ve seen one?

I’ve seen a picture of a Phobia shirt on a guy on a camel in India!