North Carolina is home to an impressive roster of metal groups: Buzzoven, Corrosion of Conformity, Weedeater…and Young And In The Way. Slightly departing from the sludge of the South, they present a feral blend of hardcore and black metal that is powerful, intimidating and utterly unignorable. YAITW crush in every sense and create an atmosphere of uncertainty without seeming forced or gimmicky. We talked to vocalist Kable Lyall, drummer Randy Baucom and guitarist Rick Contes about aggression, Norwegian black metal and more.
Why do you play music?
Randy: I would say because it’s necessary. I think all of us live day-to-day regular lives and this is the only time we actually get to express ourselves.
Rick: This is an outlet.
Randy: An outlet for aggression. It’s everything.
You’re known for your live shows. Do you go into them with the intention of being shocking?
Kable: It’s kind of natural.
Rick: Whatever happens fucking happens. Last night in Portland, our show was out-of-nowhere just fucking chaotic and wild. Lots of technical issues on stage, but we just kind of went with it. The crowd was amazing and it was just chaos. Just a great show, you know?
Randy: Definitely felt unsafe.
Nothing? Like an out of body experience?
Kable: I can’t feel anything.
Rick: It depends on which drug I’m taking.
Randy: It feeds off the crowd. Typically, there’s an unsettled, aggressive energy in the crowd and that plays on us as well. If the crowd’s stale and you’re playing to a lame crowd, it’s the same type of feeling. Yeah, I’d say aggression.
You guys seem to handle most aspects of this band on your own. Why is that important to you?
Kable: Well, for design purposes, it makes everything aesthetically the same and simple and we know exactly what our brand is. And then he (Rick) records everything.
Rick: We have full control over everything.
You don’t tour too often because it’s not a full-time band. Do you ever see it becoming that?
Kable: It really depends on what happens.
Rick: It would be very cool. We talk about it sometimes. I think it’s not likely, but you never know what could happen.
Randy: I mean, with this band, we have your typical jobs so this is what keeps us sane. When we’re on the road, we give it everything we absolutely can. Every single bit of aggression pent up is put on that stage. So, at the end of tour – this is 9 days and we’re at the very end of it – all of us are fucking exhausted.
Kable: It’s like you hit a wall.
Rick: I haven’t slept in 2 days.
Randy: We just go and step on the gas and we don’t fucking stop until the end. I think that shows in our performance and I don’t think we’re like most bands where we can do this every night. We, literally, are all fucking dead.
It shows – the good part, not that you’re dead tired! So, you don’t explain the lyrics to your songs too much. Is that because they’re personal or because you’d rather people interpret them for themselves?
Kable: I think a lot of them are straightforward enough to where people can think the way they need to about the songs. We don’t need to explain anything. I know how I feel about it and they can feel how they want about it.
Touring the US two years in a row now with Taake – have you learned anything valuable from that?
Randy: If you only knew… I don’t want to give away anything from them about that!
Rick: Those guys are our ideal touring mates for sure.
Kable: They party the same as us. They tour the same as us. It’s just 100% the whole time. But, did we learn anything? We learned that there’s another band that likes to tour the way we do.
Randy: Not only that, but black metal isn’t nearly as serious as you think it is. It’s just like everything else. It’s like anything else you could ever imagine.
Career-wise, who do you admire beginning to end?
Kable: No one beginning to end. Fuck that.
Rick: I’ve always admired Darkthrone because they record their own records; they do what the fuck they want to do and each record sounds like a whole new beast every time. You never know what they’re going to sound like on the next record. I love that.
Randy: Not only that, but all of us have different music tastes. For me, the only band that has 110% followed exactly everything that they’ve ever said they would ever do is The Devil’s Blood.
Last year you said you were working on a new LP. Is that still happening sometime this year?
Rick: It is 90% complete right now. When we get home that’s what we’re going to be finishing up.
Randy: The next tour will be for that album.
Lastly, which artists should we be listening to?
Rick: The Handsome Family.
Randy: Right now I’m listening to Whoredom Rife. Other than that, Chris Stapleton. I don’t think any of us listen to just black metal, but if it comes to something black metal: Myrkgrav, Whoredom Rife. Those are the newer bands that blow me away.
Rick: One Tail One Head.
Randy: All of the new wave of Norwegian black metal bands, for me.
Rick: Carpenter Brut from France.
Randy: Whoredom Rife just released a new LP that is fucking amazing. That’s the only band right now that is completely blowing me the fuck away, especially in that genre – a genre that keeps repeating itself.