Las Vegas

Interview: Cogs and Sprockets

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1. Could you give us a bit of background and history to Cogs and Sprockets?

C/S originally started around 2004 when I was in between bands, and no one around here wanted to play grindcore. I had never really played guitar, but that didn't matter to me all too much. Initallly, the "band" was called ATR and a couple crude demos were recorded but hardly released (I believe a few jams were uploaded to mp3.com). Flash forward a couple of years, and the between bands thing struck again. I recorded a bunch of songs, finished four, uploaded them, and thought nothing of it. People seemed hyped on it, so I finished the jams and the first tape was born.

2. Why the name Cogs and Sprockets? Does it represent or embody any idea that forms the core of the band?

The name was a jab at socio-political bands fighting against "the machine", but the starkness of it really set the pace of the music. I removed the tongue from my cheek and started rolling with it. Things turned serious and it went hand in hand.

3. Being the sole moving force between Cogs and Sprockets, do you feel there any advantages or disadvantages afforded to you on the solo basis?

I can't deny that it is real easy to write a gnarly blast pattern in my head and stack riffs on top of it, but the flipside of the coin I can never play all this stuff live by myself. 

4. You consistently use lo-fi recordings and gruff production on your releases (a feature that I feel compliments your style very well), is this a conscious decision or merely a budgetary constraint?

Initially it was my inexperience as an engineer. I fucked around on those first couple recordings all on whims. I did set out to keep it pretty raw, but that's all rookie mistakes on those first couple. I did nail the drum mix on the White Ninja split with minimal miking though, so that's whats up. Shoutout to my college professor John Jacobson, he hated it. Sorry I dropped out bud.

5. With the exception to Human Error your releases tend to be iconicly short, is this purposeful?

I have a gnarly short attention span, and it shows in the jams. I like to do short controlled bursts. "Human Error" was a task, but even at 25 songs that record isn't all that long haha. I'd rather hit you like a ton of bricks in 2 minutes than waste it on one riff-fest that meanders. Then again, that might have started with my lack of guitar talent.

6. Whats the creative process of making a Cogs and Sprockets release?

Sometimes it's me thinking up a crazy riff, sometimes it's a floor tom blast. Now that I actively play guitar, the riffs are helping lead the process. Nine times out of ten, it's me on the kit blasting in my garage.

7. Although influences like Unholy Grave (that scream in the prologue to Human Error sounds lifted straight from Takahos voice box!) and the crazier side of Agoraphobic Nosebleed appear in your work either by design or default, what bands have been influential in defining your sound?

All the classics: Steer/Dorrian era Napalm Death, the first Terrorizer LP, Fear of God, big time Assück and 324 influence. Two of my favorite bands right there. 

8. How do you come about choosing your split partners or do they choose you?

I like to split with bands I like that are also friends of mine. Not to say I wouldn't split with someone I didn't know beforehand, but it's all pretty tight knit. 

9. Given your penchant for cassette releases, is it fair to assume you involve yourself in tape trading?

Big time trader. I feel like more comes out of it. I can sell you something, but if I can shoot you an email, check out the band, have my band checked out, bro down, and form a friendship, that's ten times cooler. I've met some of my favorite band dudes through trading correspondence. 

10. Given your use of scraggy imagery and choice of song titles, what would you say the overall themes or ideas that Cogs and Sprockets express?

Bleak shit. The world is an ugly place.

11. One thing I am very fond of is that your bandcamp gives a bit a back story and explanation about your releases, it’s a nice touch that adds a personal dimension and meaning to your releases, would it be fair to suggest the band mirrors your sentiments or merely is a snapshot of one side of your thoughts? And do you feel more bands should give a pretext to their releases?

I like to read up on studio reports and hear stories and what not. Sure, someone might take it as verbal jacking off, but I nerd out on that shit. It's like the old jazz records that have a tome in the gatefold, describing the recording process and going through the tracklisting and overall vibes. It adds a dimension to the music that usually goes unnoticed. 

12. You recently jumped from tape releases to vinyl via a split with God Harvest, I loved the release, was reception elsewhere as warm? And do you feel that the shift from tape to vinyl has given any prestige or legitimacy to the band? And can we expect more vinyl from you in the future?

That record rules man, big ups to Austin from God Harvest for stepping up to the plate on that one. We had been in talks of doing a split for a while, and I do tapes because they are cheap. He wasn't having it, and for the best it seems. The record turned out awesome, it sounds awesome, and I couldn't thank him enough. Including the 100 in '10 comp that everyone hates on, those are the only two vinyl appearances C/S is on so far. 2013 has some around the bend though, so that's rad.

13. As an outsider Las Vegas is always something glamorised as a den filth, greed, alcoholism, poverty and misfortune, is it really so? And do you feel that living in such an idiosyncratic place has afforded you any perspective or outlooks on life that feature into your work?

I have a love/hate relationship with Las Vegas. Theres a lot of negativity out here on the streets and in the people, and it might be in great part due to the rampant sex and drugs  and gambling that this place offers. This place is devoid of culture. It's all casinos. With that said, the sex and drugs and gambling pays my bills. 

14. I first found about Cogs and Sprockets thanks to Grindcore Karaoke, and you yourself are a strong utiliser of the bandcamp platform, what are your thoughts on it?

Bandcamp rules. I use Bandcamp on the reg. You can upload your whole record on there and stream it practically anywhere. Grindcore Karaoke rules because it offers a widely viewed medium for underground bands to pop their heads up, for free nonetheless. I give a large debt of gratitude to Jay Randall for being a rad dude and wanting to help me out, as well as all the GK roster. 

15. And what are your thoughts on copyright?

I hold no regard to copyrights. In other projects I'm involved in, I'd be sued to death with all the copyright infringements I utilize. 

16. I am still yet to work my way through all your discography, but from the bits I have heard I love the arrangement of the drums especially those snarls amongst a sea of scuzz and audio grit, but it leaves me with the question are your drums organic or drum machine based, its hard to tell at times!

Those are real drums, drums are my primary instrument. I can't hang with drum machines. It takes an Enemy Soil or a Parlamentarisk Sodomi to really move me. I generally hate on drum machine bands.

17. Are there any bands you would like to do splits with?

Ideally, I'd like to share splits with more one man bands. Get Archagathus or Hatred Surge back on the one man band thing and I'd write those records tomorrow! I'd be hyped to split with bands I dig as well. Death Toll 80k, whats good? 

18. Must musicians I encounter tend to serve in a multitude of bands sometimes in different genres, are you in any other musical projects?

I play guitar and yell in God's America A.K.A. The Seeds Of Rape. That tends to take my focus currently. I play drums in a technical death metal band with Randy from Guttural Secrete called Sporadic Hijinks. I've recorded drum tracks for bands, and dabble in turntablism. Then there's all the one man bands: Rotten Egg Air Of Death, The Bagheads, Warkommand, Ostracized..., Years Old, some mysterious stuff that might blow your mind if you knew it was me playing everything haha.
19. Whats the local scene like? And do you ever play live?
Las Vegas is a shithole for local music. When I say there is absolutely zero places to have all ages shows, that isn't embellishment. Most people here are incredibly greedy, and try to put on the holier-than-thou facade of a promoter. Don't get me wrong, there are some incredible bands that prosper from the shitheap though. Vihan Rytmi, Nests, China, all rad bands. C/S has never played shows, although I have had people offer to back me. Unfortunately, John Burton lives in New Jersey. Haha, whats up John?
20. Any artists you feel our readers should check out?

I've been stuck on Chiens for the greater part of 2012. Perfect band. Running For Cover might be the most slept-on powerviolence band of the decade, so I tell everyone to listen to them posthumously. Rapturous Grief is a band I just got hyped on, those guys rule. Death Of Self just bit the dust, but in the wake of their demise brought us Primitive Man who rule just as equally. People still sleep on Pizza Hi Five, whats wrong with the world? The Oily Menace too, those guys are on top of their game and no one ever gives them their deserved props. 

21. Seth from Gowl would like to know why you are so Handsome?

The beard, possibly? My charm trumps my looks. 

22. Random Question: If Cogs and Sprockets was a cocktail what would it contain?

Uppers and downers. I don't want you to be in control of your night.

Cogs and Sprockets

Concrete and Lead (Review: God Harvest / Cogs & Sprockets, 2012)

Taking Hardcore to leaden apexs not too far off the Maruta margin, vis a vis in those cold dark and dishevelled corridors of musical luridness from which to draw dark inspiration; although outcome wise arriving at a distinctly different but equally syrupy verge, Floridas remorseless and openly hostile hardcore scourge crawl back out of the heart of darkness and have at it again, tinkering a three track formulation intent on putting ash-singed craters to where ear canals once stood in a searing detonation of twisted noise.

Dropping the few and far between shudders of doubt and wavering idealogical readiness to commit a partisan act of audio terrorism found in their wonderful 2011 demo, they instead return readier than ever transfixed on an insurrection with no limitation on depravity. Opening track Genetic Death blitzkriegs its way forward leaving nothing but ash and bone in its wake, flickers of Disrupt bursting forth. Hostilities resume under middle track Creatures continuing the take no prisoners’ doctrine already set in motion, the gritting feedback resembling the sounds of a roaring fires, as the cackling ends so begins the final track Flagship, similar to the previous two, but for the roaring ending, however by this point resistance has already become futile and God Harvest have their unholy victory.

If God Harvest wasn’t heavy enough for you, enter in the king of grind squalor: Cogs and Sprockets, their asbestos laden spectre an undignified spew of grindcore vulgarity that makes no pretension in any regard to being something artful neither in form nor motive. 6 torrential tracks shafted against a serrated noise exterior, bursting forth a miasma of decibels cracking and croaking under immense sonic pressure, yet never bursting into a degeneration of meaningless abstraction or hollow complacency. The gritty production values antagonize the recorded material to a bounty of success, giving that coarse edge to an immodest arrangement, a pairing that go hand in hand and cannot be envisaged to any degree of success in any other way. The two and a half minute run time to it leaves a certain void of emptiness to this half, especially since it ends just as momentum attains full swing, but all in all does little detriment the overall steamroll the release has on you. This malnutrition of material may have become an integral part of his M.O, but hope still remains that he will eventually grace us with something meatier to gnaw at.

(True Story: When listening to the Cogs and Sprockets half I thought there was dust on my needle, and kept trying to clean it in vain, going so far to think I had to order a new needle for my turn table, it took far longer than I would like to admit to realize that gritty clamor was just the burly production values.) 

Tackhead Records

God Harvest / Cogs and Sprockets