> 1. Given I am a big history nerd you take the name suffering Luna based on the mythology around the name, or any other reason?
Messee: We started out as Christfall. Christfall was just brutal shit, none of that experimental, psychedelic shit, so we needed a name that was more heavy. Christfall was as brutal as it gets so we came up with that concept. We changed it to Suffering Luna when we toned down our skeez because people would think we were some black metal, death metal band bullshit whatever, so we took it to a different level and changed the whole shit around. The homie Joe [Suffering Luna's original guitarist] had a dog named Luna and that god damn dog used to go out in the streets and it would get raped and shit and come back home and it was all suffering so we called ourselves Suffering Luna. It’s ass crack was all ripped up and shit so that’s how we became Suffering Luna [laughs]. Basically we changed it cuz of the drugs, not just being some common death metal band and Suffering Luna sounded totally different.
> 2. Suffering Luna were around in the 90's and part of the powerviolence scene, but you blend a neat mix of industrial influences and powerviolence. Given powerviolence at the time was being defined as a 100% ultra punk form of music, did this stigmatise suffering Luna, or did it give you the edge to stand out of the competition?
Sean: Powerviolence, at least the word, was defined for me by Man is the Bastard and it wasn't about a specific sound or any shit like that, it was about full fucking servitude to the skull. The skull demanded extreme brutality. For some that meant blastbeats, for others, piercing static, you know, to each his own. Another thing I picked up from MITB was that there was this sense that the brutality had to be perfectly balanced with beauty. Henry Barnes really pioneered the noise side of this style of music and even though his Amps for Christ seem like the most painful, piercing, unnatural shit to some fools, his original thing was trying to capture the chirps of birds and learn how to talk to them. So, to use the noise part of things as an example, it was about bringing together Merzbow inspired pummeling fucking extreme volume, but balanced with trying to capture the beauty of nature. Or for like, Excruciating Terror, the beauty came from precision. Every beat had to be absolutely perfect. For a lot of band, the beauty came from politics that were rooted in compassion and love. There were a lot of vegans in the scene. For Suffering Luna, the beauty part comes from hallucinogenics. From fully tripping balls. With SxLx, I'm always trying to use sound to capture the knowledge you get from extreme drugs or near death experiences. I find beauty in the oneness I feel with the universe when totally fucking faded or when I've thought I was gonna die. All that's to say that back in the day, I never got the sense that anyone wanted powerviolence to be one fucking sound, one style. MITB wasn't supposed to sound like ExTx, and we weren't supposed to sound like, say, Crossed Out. Having said that, though, it doesn't feel like that anymore. I always try to talk in circles around calling us a powerviolence band cuz people take it wrong and talk shit.
Messee: I kinda like it cuz everybody's into that d-beat, punk shit and we just do our thing. If they don’t like us fuck 'em, basically. Most crusties are like, "fuck it," they don’t even like shit but we try. We try to give them a show so fuck 'em if they don’t like us, basically. Some people might like us more cuz we're different. We’re not pushing shit that everybody is pushing out there. We’re doing things brutal. We got that noisy shit going with that brutal edge. Psychedelic drugcore shit, you know what I mean?
> 3. Having spoken to a number of bands both powerviolence and grind, did you ever consider yourself as an alternative type of scene and or genre before realizing you were powerviolence? For example early Napalm Death even though coining the term grind, had previously classed themselves as thrash until realizing they were something else.
Messe: We were always connected with the crust scene. Back then we were more crust.
Sean: I think before I started saying powerviolence, I used to say post-hardcore. What brought us and the other bands in the 90s powerviolence scene together wasn't trying to make the word powerviolence mean something, it was just that Pessimiser or Slap a Ham or Deep 6 were down to put out your shit and you played Socco shows in L.A. or Fiesta Grande at Gilman St. Messee was all crusty back then and I was into the Vermiform and Gravity records thing but we both went to the same shows, same parties. Labeling the music or the scene was kind of a joke back then. Everybody had to have there own genre that only they played, like Messee right now calling us psychedelic drugcore. People just made shit up on the spot. I still like to call us psychedelic hardcore only cuz I don't know anyone else who calls their band that.
> 4. Los Angeles specifically but also the State of California seems to be the hotbed of the powerviolence scene, is their something Cali offers that pushed through the powerviolence notion?
Sean: Yeah, I think all the credit for that has to go to a handful of really hard working people. Total inspirations that made everyone else think they could make this shit happen. I think of Eric Wood, Chris Dodge, Chris Elder, and Bob from Lack of Interest in particular. But there was a ripple effect that spread out and included hundreds of people committed to working and not talking shit and starting drama or politricks or fucking tearing each other down. Will Butler at To Live a Lie is carrying that torch. He's definitely the best of that tradition.
Messee: We have our scene here on the West Coast. We hold it down and shit. It’s real big up north but we got our L.A. scene. It’s moving everywhere, though. It’s spreading
Fivel: iTs sOMeTiMes BruTaL JuST LiVinG HeRe. HeNCe ouR MuSiC sCeNe ReFLeCTs BruTaL
> 5. Any members of Suffering Luna part of the old punk sub cultures, like the DIY crowd or the straight edge movement or drug fiend society?
Messee: Punk, crust, hardcore, grind. I was into going to crust shows and being a writer. I used to mob with the UTIs, fools like that, TGSs, Ghost Squad Crew. I'm not necessarily doing that shit any more. There’s too much bullshit and politics, you know what I mean? Fuck all that.
Sean: I had worked at a club in L.A. called Jabberjaw that was the place in L.A. for bands like Bikini Kill, Nation of Ulysses, Unwound, Karp and bands like that. Me and Patrick grew up in Venice and Culver City, so the whole Suicidal scene was all around us. He went to junior high school with Beowulf [laughs]. Pat and I have also always been into jazz and improvised music. Me and the drummer from Cryptic Slaughter used to be in a band that would play Cure and Modern English covers! It was mostly about getting girls, though [laughs].
Pat: In the mid 80s I was playing drums for a band called Magnolia Thunderpussy. We got noticed my Black Flag guitarist Greg Ginn and he signed us to his SST label. We played shows with Black Flag, Saccharine Trust, SWA, and other SST acts. The band imploded before we could get a record out though. It was too bad. Saint Vitus was one of our contemporaries and on the same label. I would have loved to have played with them.
Fivel: I GreW uP iN BaLDWiN PaRk PlaYnG a lot oF sHOWs ouT oF tHe SGV aRea oF LoS ANGeLes …. BaCK tHen aLL tHe BanDs iN ouR aRea tHreW a lot oF RaD BaCKYaRD GiGs, I MoSTLy BeeN knOWn tO PlaY wiTH RuNaMuCk siNCe 97’ …. wE cAMe aCRoSs a lot oF DiFFeReNT DIY SceNes.
> 6. I notice you attribute Cuban Rumba as a musical influence, not accustomed to it myself (Im Uk based never met a cuban let alone their music beyond TV) how do you think this musical influence manifests itself in Suffering Luna?
Sean: A lot of that's my influences. I think the most powerful kind of music is music that summons spirits into the room and shit. I met a Santero, a Santeria priest, a long time ago and he told me about Afro-Carribean religions and about how in those religions you can be possessed by the gods through music. It's the kind of shit that changes the way you see music forever. I used to see it happen at Crash Worship shows, too. I started to learn some African and Cuban drumming basics. I snuck in to Cuba and listened carefully to real rumberos while I was there. You know it's illegal here for Americans to go to Cuba or to buy records or CDs made in Cuba, so I've always dug the underground, illegal aspect that shit has here in the U.S. I'm a total beginner in that style, but I know enough to bring some of it into our music. Unfortunately, it's not something we can really do live, but maybe some day. I would love to try to make people literally fucking possessed at our shows.
Messee: Spiritual, brutal, shaman drumming. We just into that. We like fucking with them spirits and shit. Shadowboxing with the fucking devil and shit.
> 7. How does it feel for Suffering Luna to have done splits with artists that they cite as being greatly influential to their music, ie Dystopia split?
Messee: That was fun. The Dystopia split was fun. Hooking up with Phil from Despise You and Crom, who recorded us, Sean Cole from FYP, who played on that track, that was fun. We were just killing it. We were fresh, just some little young shits, just putting the smash to the noise scene. It was fun working with Maus, Todd, Dino. Suffering Luna was actually earlier than Dystopia. They’re cool and shit. We were both helping each other out. Gasp that was cool cuz we connected with them since the beginning, us and Gasp smashing it from the beginning. It was cool.
Sean: Those splits were before I was in the band. I was booking shows back then and actually met Suffering Luna through Mitch Brown who was the drummer for both Gasp and Suffering Luna. He also did all the tape loops and noise for Gasp and Suffering Luna. So there's a lot of interaction between the different musicians in the bands. Mitch still records with us. A lot of us are in more than one band.
Fivel: aS a ReCORD NeRD GroWiNG uP, CoLLeCTinG tHOSe ReCORDs….iT BleW mE aWaYsO MaNY DiFFeRenT MeMoRieS, nOw I’m GraTEFuL tO PlaY iN thiS BaND .
> 8. Being there in the birth of Powerviolence and still going strong today (by virtue of reunion, and side projects) has the scene changed alot, if so what has been the most crucial changes to it? Is it the same scene evolved into the modern age, or has become polluted with exactly what it stood against?
Messe: The way I see it now it’s grown. The powerviolence movement is getting bigger, stronger. The kids are younger. It’s a lot more fun now. Before, kids were all stuck up. Fucking, everybody wanted to be the most original fool from the scene. It was who was what, or who knows who, and this and that. They was little rich snotty kids from San Diego and shit. It used to be a lot more white. Now it’s a lot more everything. Now it's just way more chill. It’s spreading. Powerviolence is spreading everywhere. It's getting big.
Sean: I wouldn't say powerviolence became what it stood against. What Messee said is true for like backyard parties here in L.A., but as for the records I hear being labeled powerviolence, I don't know. Most of it doesn't seem new anymore, cuz it isn't, which is cool That's just real, you know? But it's fucked up when bands try to take it into new areas and keep it fresh get all sorts of backbiting from people who think it's supposed to have a certain sound and that's it. We get people when we play parties who will look us right in the eye and say we suck cuz we don't play enough d-beats. Whatever. Fuck them.
Fivel: iT SeeMs tO Be tHe tHinG RiGhT nOw. BuT oNLy tHe sCeNe HoPPeRs wiLL BouNCe oNCe PV iS NoT HoT aNYMoRE, & tHe wHOLe DiY sCeNe wiLL Be aS iT wAs iN tHe beginning.. …..
> 9. Many people lump powerviolence as a form of Grindcore, negating the fact Powerviolence was set up to be grind minus the metal, just pure punk no metal, therefore not grind, does this annoy you or people you know? Is powerviolence big enough to stand as its own genre?
Fivel: I BeLieVe PV cAn sTanD oN iTs oWN. a lot oF PeoPLe sAy iTs DeaD aFTeR tHe 90’s BuT iT sPReaD aRounD tHe GloBE. I BeT MaTT DoMiNO & EriC WooD DiDn’T eXPeCT iT tO GeT ouT oF HanD LiKE iT HaS. tO mE iT JuST sHOWs tHat KiDs noWaDaYs hAVe reSPeCT FoR tHe MuSiC. I JuST LoVe iT wHen tHeY uP tHe aNTe & mAKe tHe MuSiC mORe TiGHTeR & BeTTeR. anD iF aNYONe iS aNNoYeD bY tHat, tHen tHe MiSSeD tHe wHOLe PoiNT oN wHaT PV iS… oR aT LeaSt tO mE.
Messee: I think it can stand on its own just like the noise scene stands on its own and the crust scene stands on its own. Grind, I don’t know, but powerviolence is different from grind. Grind is more heartless. Powerviolence is more punk. But it’s kind of the same. Plutocracy sounds kinda grind, Excruciating Terror and all those heads. It depends.
Sean: Hmmmm. I'm not sure I agree that powerviolence was supposed to be grind minus the metal. I think it was supposed to be humanistic thrash? Infest with a sense of humor? I don't know. I'm not sure how it can stand on it's own as a genre without being reduced to, like, everyone sounding the same. Either way is cool. For me, it's just a word. The music is something deeper.
> 10. Any bands that have caught your eye that you think people should be paying attention to?
Fivel: DaMN tHeRe iS sO MaNY RaD nEW BanDs tHat RiP RiGHT nOw. JiGSORe PuZZLe (EuROPe), BlaSTeR MaSTeR ( LoS aNGeLes) aRe mY nEw FaV PV BaNDs LaTLey …… FiND sOMe aCTuaRY(LoS aNGeLes), sOMe oF tHe BeST NoiSe KiNGs RiGHT nOw.
Pat: Listening to Derek Baily, Cecil Taylor, Sunn O))), Robin Trower, old-school Boredoms. I'm a huge fan of L.A. based Suffer the Storm.
Sean: Here in L.A., I'd say Destroy Judas, Gallery, Ancestors, all of Fivel's other bands. I been listening to a lot of Earth, Weekend Nachos, Ultimate Spinach and Harvey Milk lately.
Messee: For me, lately it's been Doom's Peel Sessions, Tarantula Hawk, Laudum, Dino from Dystopia’s old band Carcinogen.
There we have it, a tale of drug fuelled madness in the heart of the powerviolence scene straight from the Unicorn's hand like tongue, for those of you who like to subject yourself to psychodelic and psychoactive swarms of noise then their LP is the thing you need to begin your cycle of brute noise induced madness.