Two Decades of Miserycore: An Interview & Stream with Fistula

Two decades is a long time to play depressing music, but Fistula aren’t slowing down. In celebration of twenty years of their self-proclaimed brand of “miserycore,” the quintet are releasing a wave of six splits with a host of notable artists. The first two seven-inches (streaming below) are shared with sludge stalwarts Come to Grief and -(16)- and are out now. Decibel caught up with Fistula to talk about the releases, covering Devo and what comes for the next decade of the band.

These splits with -(16)- and Come to Grief are the first two splits in an ongoing series that will also include releases with Hemdale, Bloodsick, Fister and another band that hasn’t been announced at the time of writing. What fueled your decision to release these splits instead of a full-length with this material?
It was a culmination of things happening over the years that has led us to this choice. After last year’s tour, we took some time to write and wanted to do something different… nobody was really doing anything cool anymore. We thought back to the days that inspired us to play this kind of music. We thought of all those killer splits… Eyehategod/Grief/Cattlepress/Buzzov-en/Floor/Noothgrush/Dystopia/-(16)-… the list goes on. So why not do a bunch of split 7-inch with friends of ours? We also have material that we’ve been working on for the next full-length. This is just the start.

Your split with -(16)- includes a Devo cover. How did you settle on that cover, and how did you go about making the song sound like Fistula?
We’re always thinking about cool, older bands that inspire us. We had talked about covering Devo for a while, since we’re both outsiders from the Akron, Ohio area… it just fit perfectly. We just play the song how we hear it in our head… it comes out that way. Plus, it marks our first venture in recording with kazoos.

How would you describe the main difference in sound between your split with -(16)- and your split with Come to Grief?
The main difference would be the split with -(16)- is the fact that it’s a covers single. Although it’s Fistula playing, you definitely have Devo’s writing style present. With the track we did for the Come to Grief split, that is an original written by us, which is going to be a lot more ugly and a lot more bleak compared to “Mongoloid.”

Fistula maintain a pretty hard pace as far as your release schedule goes; six splits from the end of 2017 to the end of the first quarter of 2018 is no small feat. Does it get hard to maintain this volume? Does the creative well ever run dry?
Yes, because everybody has their own lives to live and shitty jobs they have to work. Dan [Harrington, vocals] lives in Massachusetts, so that doesn’t make it easy but everybody sacrifices and makes it work. We don’t run out of ideas. We have separate material for a new full-length and we’ve been planning tours for 2018. The 20th anniversary starts with an East Coast run in the US with Come to Grief in May and then another US tour in June for a couple weeks with the band from the yet-to-be-named 6th split. After that, we are organizing tours in some other parts of the world. More info will be known soon. Thanks for listening and see you on the road.

Both splits are out now via PATAC Records. Get the split with Come to Grief here and the split with -(16)- here.