Funeral Chic is a band out for blood. The blackened crust/hardcore/grindcore amalgam that the North Carolina-based quintet creates is a crazed lightning storm of riffs, pummeling drums and guttural vocals; as raw as they sound on recordings, Funeral Chic are exponentially more feral during live shows. With two releases under their belts since 2014, including the well-praised Hatred Swarm, the band recently finished a two-week tour with WVRM and is preparing to record their debut on Prosthetic Records. Before their first show in New Orleans, we met up and talked about the new album, the punk ethos of country music and HP Lovecraft’s grave.
So, where did VITOA (Violence Is The Only Answer) come from?
Dustin: Fuck Nazis forever. That’s about it. Fuck Nazis.
Robbie: Yeah, that stupid pacifist shit. “Violence is never the answer.” Fuck that.
D: That’s a nearsighted, liberal bullshit thing to say. “Oh, you can’t be hitting people but we’re gonna send your kids off to fight a war for oil.”
Alex: Yeah, if you say that you can talk through every problem that you have… That’s not real. Somebody’s not gonna be right. Sometimes somebody just needs to have their ass beat.
R: Fuck somebody up.
D: I got scars and a missing tooth to prove that shit.
R: Teach ‘em, man.
D: We got a lot of soft-ass motherfuckers who try to come up to us and they’re like, “Aw yeah that’s tight!” You know, these bro-ass motherfuckers. To clarify: fuck those motherfuckers. If you’re not fighting to put an end to some bullshit then you don’t matter to me. You’re being stupid. If you’re fighting just to fight then you’re a waste of space.
What is this band about?
A: Blast beats.
R: [Laughs] Blast beats.
D: I have the perfect answer for this: drug romance.
R: Drug romance?
D: Drug romance.
R: It’s about loving this goddamn world.
D: Pain and romance.
R: We’re trying to be the Fleetwood Mac of grind. Trying to be the ZZ Top of black metal. [Laughs]
D: I wanna be the Stevie Nicks mixed with the Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd) of whatever it is we’re playing. It’s just sexual drugs and romance.
R: Because what the fuck else am I supposed to do?
R: Ride it until the wheels fall off.
Just because everyone knows about Young And In The Way and this band also falls under the “blackened hardcore” label, what sets Funeral Chic apart?
D: We ain’t shit. [Laughs] Don’t nobody know who we are yet.
R: Different band. We come from different areas.
A: Different members and a slightly different style.
D: Honestly, we have a completely different sound. People that don’t know shit about shit will say it sounds similar, but we don’t sound like fuckin’ Young And In The Way. We don’t sound like Trap Them. We don’t sound like Full Of Hell. Those are all great bands, but we don’t fuckin’ sound like them.
A: And we don’t sound like fuckin’ Nails! Stop saying we sound like goddamn Nails! Just because that band’s fast too…
D: For real! Todd Jones is the shit, but we don’t sound like Nails!
A: It’s different. It’s grind into Swedish death metal.
R: It’s punk rock. They just intend different things. YAITW and Funeral Chic mean different shit so different shit happens.
You’ve started on a new record, right?
R: Yeah, almost done.
Between this one and the last one, are you trying to do things differently?
D: We’ve been listening to a lot of Fleetwood Mac.
R: They wrote the last record together.
D: Yeah, me and Alex pretty much did the last record entirely by ourselves and we enlisted Robbie and he took the reins and fuckin’ killed it. He knocked it out of the park. Don’t know what he did, don’t know what he was taking, but I’m glad he shared it with us.
Logan: And I’ve contributed absolutely nothing.
R: Absolutely nothing. Can you scratch him from the record entirely? [Laughs] No one said shit at this part.
D: We can shout out Logan.
R: I’m not shouting out Logan! Wherever you are. RIP.
D: Logan, rest in peace. [Laughs]
R: By the time you read this, he’s gone.
D: New record is a lot of weird shit. We got a little weird with it. I’m fuckin’ stoked on it. It’s either gonna take us straight to the motherfuckin’ top or…
R: Straight to the bottom. No middle ground.
D: Right back to our day jobs. Robby’s gonna go back to being a cop.
R: That’s right. I work for the FBI.
D: Don’t forget Robby’s a cop, y’all.
R: We didn’t answer that question at all.
D: New record’s wild.
What’s your best, non-incriminating tour story?
R: Oh shit.
D: We got lost in Joshua Tree.
R: That’s still kind of incriminating.
D: It’s a little incriminating.
R: Went to Tim Horton’s one time… I got nothing that’s not incriminating.
D: Yeah, we haven’t done anything legal that’s fun to talk about.
R: Not even a little bit. I really don’t have any that aren’t illegal as shit.
Well, tell me a slightly interesting one.
D: We scared the shit out of Joy when we were on tour with them.
R: [Laughs] Oh yeah. That’s our favorite thing to do. Go out with bands and just creep ‘em the fuck out.
D: Ok! I have a good, non-incriminating story! So, the wonderful, magical people at Headfirst! baked us a bunch of cookies. They made four bags: two being chocolate chip and two being Snickerdoodles. Two of them were for us, one of each, and two of them were for Of Feather And Bone.
R: This sounds like a drug story… [Laughs] The story is we literally stole some people’s cookies. We’re the Cookie Monster of fuckin’ grind music.
D: We ate all the fuckin’ cookies and everybody got mad at us cause we had all the cookies. That’s the closest we can get to non-incriminating. [Laughs]
R: That’s it. We ate somebody else’s cookies.
A: What about that creepy ass security guard at HP Lovecraft’s grave?
R: Oh my god that’s a good one.
A: We went to HP Lovecraft’s grave in Providence.
R: We had some time to kill and some homies were like, “Yo, HP Lovecraft is buried there.” And we all fuck with that shit so we were like, “Hell yeah.” So we go out there and we’re driving around this huge cemetery in Providence and we’re lost and have no idea how to find this grave. This security guard flags us down and is like, “Let me guess. You guys are here for HP Lovecraft and you’re in a band.”
R: So he took us to the grave and there’s no photography and all this shit but we’re taking all these pictures behind his back.
A: Dude, he was talking to us as we’re pulling out our phones taking pictures.
D: Secondary shout-the-fuck-out to Rhode Island.
R: Rhode Island. Greatest place on the planet. Yeah, this dude just has his Lovecraft story down pat. Even the weird anti-Semitism shit.
Did he talk about him being obsessed with his mother?
R: Oh yeah, the dude got into that! I feel like this dude went home and put on a Lovecraft outfit and talked to the mirror like, “Would you fuck me?”
A: The best shit was when he was telling us about how people leave stuff on the grave. Like you can leave something on the gravestone, you know?
R: People left their guitar picks. Like Lovecraft would’ve loved their fuckin’ prog metal?
A: He told us that he found, like on the top of that gravestone, that people have shit on that thing before. People shit on it! He found people fucking. There was a dead cat on it one time.
R: How’re you gonna love Lovecraft, like, “He’s so great,” and then fuck on his headstone?
A: Every kind of drug he said he’s walked out there and found.
I know you like country music…
So, does country make its way into any of your music?
D: Absolutely. We have at least one song that’s heavily influenced by 60s and 70s country music.
R: It’s that fuck you, outlaw attitude. That permeates everything. That’s punk rock. Rock and roll. It’s everything. It comes about in different styles. You don’t have to play the acoustic guitar and fiddle and shit. It’s the same message: take this job and shove it.
D: That’s the thing I’ve noticed about people: people don’t like strange, rural music. We all love trap music and country music like a motherfucker. I feel like that’s a perfect combination of things to make a fuckin’ heavy record or a pissed off record.
R: It is. It’s dissent. It’s anti-authoritarian.
D: We wanted to be David Allan Coe, White Zombie and Public Enemy. That’s what we decided we wanted to do for this next record. Another note: we know we’re not as hard as Public Enemy or David Allan Coe. White Zombie’s probably kinda soft. Let’s be real here.
Who are you consistently influenced by?
R: It kind of plays into that last question. A lot of it doesn’t sound like what we put out. Like Guns N Roses, but it doesn’t sound like Guns N Roses, it sounds like a fuckin’ grind song.
A: I get influenced by a lot of independent drummers, like Tony Royster Jr., Thomas Lang… Ben Koller is the only drummer from a band that I can say I’m influenced by. I’ll watch that dude. He’s a fuckin’ drum god. That’s the only one I’m personally influenced by in a band. An entire band? I don’t know.
D: Did you say Led Zeppelin yet? I feel like that should’ve been the first one because you fuck hard with Led Zeppelin.
A: I know but I feel like that’s such a generic answer to say I fuck with John Bonham.
R: I’m influenced by a lot of people who are still making music, like contemporaries. Mammoth Grinder gets brought up a lot when we’re talking about the shit we like. We fuck with Mammoth Grinder quite a bit.
D: Logan has a pretty punk based tone. Touring-wise, we fuck a little differently with tones, but the record is way different. Live we have a completely different aesthetic and sound.
So what’s the difference in sound between a live show and a record?
D: It’s hard to explain. It depends on how we decide to dial it. It depends on the tour we’re on and who we’re playing with. It’s a lot of things. Logan came strapped with a pretty sick arsenal. He hooked it up with a sick punk tone which is tight because Robby handles the metal tones.
R: I don’t even think that’s the answer to the question. The question was who we’re influenced by.
D: Metal, punk, we don’t give a fuck.
L: Since I’m halfway here, mine are Matt Freeman from Rancid and Prince.
D: I fuck hard with that answer. Let me get one answer in this. Just “Committed to Parkview” by The Highwaymen. That’s it.
R: Begin and end with old country.
You’ve all played in different bands over the years. What do you still look forward to about playing live?
D: Drugs. [Laughs]
R: The whole thing is a fuckin’ hassle. It’s work and it’s annoying and backbreaking and shit, but it’s really cool to play and see people singing your lyrics and knowing the songs. It doesn’t matter what band you’re in, that never gets old. That’s the only thing that’s cool about this shit. The rest of it sucks.
D: Basically. We hate touring and only like seeing cool places.
A: I like touring, just the shows kind of get in the way.
If you could just skip the show every night…
A: It’s not even the shows. I like watching the other bands. It’s just our set – that 17 minutes.
R: It’s the hassle. The problem is it looks fun from the outside and everybody’s like, “You get to go on tour and play in front of people! That must be so great!” No, most of the time it fuckin’ sucks. But for the 15 minutes we play, it’s worth it. Playing live is never not worth it. Ever. That’s why people still do this in their sixties. They don’t do it for money.
D: Logan’s done a pretty good job of keeping me excited about the shows because he’s excited. It’s strange to be with somebody who’s actually excited to play shows.
L: This is my first official tour with a band and they asked me to play and it’s cool to get daily life out of the way for 15 minutes a night and see places I haven’t seen.
What are your plans for next year apart from the new album?
D: Only releasing the new album.
R: Taking the fuckin’ world over.
D: We’re going straight to the motherfuckin’ top or straight to the motherfuckin’ bottom. We’re hopefully going to do some festivals. Probably do some record release shows. Typical bullshit.
R: Tour. Get out there in front of people as much as possible.
D: Really just put the record out and do a small release run. See what happens and then start planning the rest of the year after that. We start recording pretty much the second we get home. Do we have the title for sure yet? Is that the title?
R: Yeah, do you want to put it out?
D: I don’t know if we can actually do this. New record will be called Superstition. We’re shooting for early to mid 2018 and then the world is our fuckin’ toilet. We’ll see what happens. Hopefully we don’t get beat up, but can’t nobody fuck us up like we fucks us up.
What was your favorite album from this year?
A: Capital Punishment by Detain. That’s heavy as fuck.
R: Nikki Lane. Highway Queen. Absolutely. I think it’s the best country album in like 30 years. Even all the people doing country right now, she puts all that shit to rest.
A: Snoop Make America Crip Again is not bad, I’m not gonna lie.
L: Top heavy release? Top metal release?
L: I have a list, but the top would probably be Misantropologi by Undergang.
A: Shoutout to Wheeler Walker Jr. Ol’ Wheeler.
D: Oh Wheeler!
R: Scratch all our answers. They’re all Ol’ Wheeler.
D: Wheeler! If you see this, fuck you until you hit us up dog. Mine. I don’t know. Cory Branan – Adios. The White Buffalo – Darkest Darks, Lightest Lights. Wolfbrigade. Don’t know how y’all didn’t mention that.
R: It’s not my favorite.
D: It was tight though. Dave East – Paranoia: A True Story.
R: Fuck with one. Favorite.
D: I can’t pick a favorite. Venom Prison – Animus. Incredible records. That’s all I got aside from Wheeler. Hit us up motherfucker. Run The Jewels 3! Run The Fuckin’ Jewels 3!
L: There’s another metal release that people need to listen to: Eroded Corridors of Unbeing by Spectral Voice.
R: Scratch all that. Don’t put that down. That’s crazy. That’s a weird ass name.
D: Spirit Adrift.
Sort of similar to that one, but who are some new bands we should check out?
R: Joy from North Carolina. They’re excited about hardcore.
D: Alex, what’s your new band’s name?
A: Expressive Action.
D: Expressive Action. They sound like American Nightmare. It’s good as fuck.
L: Concealed Blade.
D: Concealed motherfuckin’ Blade. Dive bomb kings.
R: Cloak. That new Cloak album is…oh my god.
L: Cloak. Undergang. Spectral Voice. Acephalix. That’s a cool fuckin’ metal band right there.
R: I just want to go on record and say don’t listen to WVRM. Just avoid it at all costs.
[Ian Nix yelling from WVRM’s van]
D: Ian! Come answer a question.
R: Actually, WVRM is a really good band but I want you to spell it with an O.
D: New bands to check out…don’t know, but listen to the WVRM/Funeral Chic split that’s probably coming out next year.
R: And spell WVRM right for once!
D: Fear the Reaper Superstition.