:: INTERVIEW TO LABRAT
rare to see a death metal band hailing from England... What's about the
scene of your country?
There has always been a death metal 'scene' in England, although for a period
there wasn't any bands that made the breakthrough into other countries.
I think a lot of those bands have matured now, and hit a rich vein song
wise, so you're bound to see many more English death metal bands making
waves in the near future.
Why is the scene of your country passing thru a serious phase of crisis?
Things have finally started to look up again, after a spate of closures
of popular underground venues, which meant that a lot of bands either sank
without trace or pulled themselves up a level. Currently there are lots
of exciting bands starting to gain recognition from the UK magazines, and
dare I say it, there is starting to be a buzz on the underground again.
Is heavy metal music still popular in your homeland?
I would say so, England is quite a fickle country music wise, which seems
to have a collective taste that differs greatly from the US and European
scenes. Nu-metal is still very popular in the UK, which in some ways can
be an entry level for younger fans to start experimenting with the 'heavier'
side of things.
Would you like to talk about you?
I personally joined Labrat on vocals in the early summer of 2002. I am joined
by Jamie Farrell on vocals, who also joined the band at the same time. Both
myself and Jamie have been fans/friends of Labrat for a number of years,
so when the opportunity to replace previous vocalist Rob McAuslen presented
itself, we were both more than happy to help. It's quite funny really, I
was supposed to sing on the album, but the timewhen I was scheduled to go
in and record some vox, I got arrested and couldn't make it to the studio.
Little did I know that I'd actually be singing full time with the band a
few months later.
Labrat is an unusual monicker...
It is... As I understand, it's an abbreviation of 'laboratory rat', which
is what is used in labs to test drugs, cosmetics etc. It's kind of ironic
really, as we test our noises on the people that attend our gigs/buy our
I'd like to know more about your history?
Once upon a time, in a land not far away, four pieces of scum, bound together
by circumstances not beyond their control, hatched a hideous, diabolical
plan to fuck with peoples heads by defiling the conventions of modern music
through dischordance, non-existant chord-progressions and irregular tempo
changes. SICK of constantly seeing bands around them pathetically trying
to pander to the whim of the masses, our four fuckwits locked themselves
in the unused function room of a South-East London pub and went to work...
After an early EP ('Themes For A Downer & Anthems Of Rejection') and a split
CD with Subvert, Labrat sold their soul to the devil that is Visible Noise
in 2001. 2002 saw the release of 'Ruining It For Everyone', the debut full
length on Visible Noise. The four became five when vocalist on the album
Rob McAuslen left to be replaced by myself an Jamie Farrell. Since the release
of the album, we've tried to play as many shows as possible.
In which ways did you have been contacted by Visibile Noise?
As far as I've been led to believe, the original foursome got the head of
A&R at Visible Noise out to a pub, got them blind drunk, then made them
sign them. Quite a unique method I'd say... Other bands should try it!
Is 'Ruining It For Everyone' your first album?
'Ruining It For Everyone' is the first full length CD. There were a couple
before then, an EP called 'Themes For A Downer & Anthems Of Rejection' and
a split CD with Subvert called 'Homegrown Brutality' which tied up with
a tour we did with them a few years ago.
Would you like to give us all relevant infos on it?
Well, it's 10 tracks of hard hitting 'urban cuntcore', which is suitable
for anyone that likes their music a little bit twisted.
Where did you record it?
The album was recorded at Fortress Studios in London.
Satisfied with the final result achieved?
I would say so, it was mixed/co produced by Roger Tebbutt, who has previously
worked with The Wildhearts amongst others. Basically, he managed to give
the album a big 'rock' kind of production that made the instruments sound
huge, and the vocals sharper than a butcher's knife.
I noticed a great dose of angriness, do you agree?
I would say so, put it this way, there's no 'love songs' on the album.
Why are you so violent?
It's all about being honest, I don't think I know anyone that can honestly
say that they're happy with every aspect of their life, and if someones
says they, they're lying. Labrat circa 2003 is 5 individuals who express
their dis satisfaction in a noisey and vociferous way.
Is violence a part of you?
I'm not normally, but I guess when I get onstage, I just change. I often
have blackouts when we play. Where we'll finish the gig and I'll be covered
in bruises that I have no idea how I got them or where they came from. Generally
our live shows are total chaos. We do play violent music, which whether
we like it or not makes our bodies do things against their will when we
I'd like to know more about your music...
Musically Labrat draws influence from many different styles, each of which
could surface at any point during the songs. We all listen to very different
things, from death metal, to black metal, to hardcore, to grindcore, to
jazz... The sum of parts could go on. It's pretty crazy! Do you define it
as death metal? I think what we do best is to defy conventional catergorisation,
I certainly wouldn't consider us a death metal band as there are so many
styles on the album. 'Urban cuntcore' is a term we've coined ourselves,
simply because critics haven't ever come up with a suitable description
of what we sound like. Some people call us grindcore, some people call us
death metal, we call it 'urban cuntcore'.
What's about your background?
My own musical background is firmly rooted in grindcore, bands such as Napalm
Death, Brutal Truth, Carcass etc really captured my imagination when I was
younger, and have kind of stuck ever since.
Well, the main aim, is too just play live as much as possible, and continue
to write towards the follow-up to 'Ruining It...'
Did you think to come in Europe for touring purposes?
The sooner the better really! I would anticipate us touring both mainland
Europe and the US before the summer. We're certainly ready to play in Europe.
Question is, is Europe ready for Labrat?
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