Real talk, I have been a huge GELD fan from day one, and this very passionate and thoughtful interview has made me more of a fan! Their new record Currency // Castration is all that and an epic bag of psychedelic D-beat chips. They totally pushed their sound to higher heights on this record. It’s time for me to stop talking and time for y’all to get into this amazing interview! I want to say thank you to GELD for taking part in this rad feature!
Take us back to your childhood—what music did you hear around your home, booming out of the cars in your hood, or your headphones? What four albums have had a major impact on y’all’s creative spirit? Each of you pick one.
Al: Music wasn’t really a thing for me growing up. Being in a pretty conservative family, sport was really the only thing I had exposure to. Having said that, I was lucky enough to have a mate in primary school whose dad was cool and dubbed me a tape of Radios Appear by Radio Birdman, and it’s probably still my favourite record to this day.
Tom: There was always music playing in my house. Whether it was my parent’s cds, the radio, music videos, it was never not on. My mum used to listen to stuff like George Michael, INXS, Fleetwood Mac and stuff and my dad played things like AC/DC, The Angels, Danzig, Billy Idol, Divnyls, Talking Heads, etc. I still love all of those artists. I dunno if it’s a nostalgia factor or what, but that’s what I heard from my parents.
I guess my first exposure to alternative music was from watching MTV. I knew a lot of the bands my cousin listened to like NIN and Smashing Pumpkins but I think two things really changed the game for me and that was Beavis and Butthead and Headbangers Ball. I used to watch Headbangers Ball and being the late 90s/early 2000s write down what I liked, and then cause my family didn’t have the internet, I would go over to my friend’s house with my list and get him to download all the songs and burn them on CD which took forever to do back then.
I was pretty enamoured seeing Slayer ‘Seasons in the Abyss’ video and ‘Dead Embryonic Cells’ by Sepultura, but the video that really got me was the ‘Where the slime live video’ by Morbid Angel. I had never heard anything like it before and I was so drawn to how different and crazy it sounded. Also, David Vincent wore an ECW shirt in the video which I thought was super badass cause basically all I cared about up until that point was professional wrestling. I became completely wrapped up in this heavy music and would sit in the computer lab at school just learning all I could about them all day (no internet at home, remember) and started to see Slayer would cover bands like Minor Threat, Napalm Death would cover Dead Kennedys, Metallica covered Discharge, Misfits and Anti Nowhere League.
My best friend at the time’s dad was an ex-punk guy from England and we would go through his old vinyl and I recognised a lot of the names from what I saw these bands shout out. I was about 14 then, and that’s when the whole world of punk opened up to me which was exciting AF. I remember three albums in particular: ‘Inflammable Material’ by Stiff Little Fingers which I thought was just so white hot with rage even though at the time I didn’t understand what they were mad about, ‘Feeding of 5000’ by Crass, which at that point when I heard ‘Asylum’ I lost my tiny little mind cause I had never heard anything like that before. It was so scary, even scarier than Deicide. It’s basically the first time I heard noise music. The third record was ‘Fresh fruit for rotting vegetables’ by Dead Kennedy’s. Still one of my favourite all-time records and one of the reasons why I play this kinda music. I think that record and ‘Angel Dust’ by Faith No More really put the idea in my head of making heavy and hard music on your own terms. Doing whatever you feel like and taking inspiration from wherever you want. Doing something not within the confines but using the confines to bend and shape them with whatever outside influences you want.
Pete: I didn’t grow up around much music but my mum would play Enka or The Beach Boys occasionally but I gravitated towards metal when I was like 8, no idea why.
The album that’s had the most impact on me is Os Mutantes ‘Os Mutantes,’ it sounds like Brazilian carnival folk who took too much acid then heard The Beatles or The Beach Boys for the time and decided to make an album, it completely blindsided me and to this day I’ve heard nothing like it.
Cormy: My first memory of music is the video for ‘Bad’ by Michael Jackson – I remember watching telly with my Dad when we lived in Cork. When Micky J rips a grille off the wall and roars into it, I asked my Dad “Why’d he do that?” and my Dad goes “he probably thinks it’s fun.” In retrospect, this was probably my first step on the path to running around in chains and leather doing petty vandalism with mad weirdos.
I’m actually going to take the whole Bad album as my choice that had a major impact – I was a huge MJ fan up into my teens, still am. I found an OG copy of it in Tokyo with obi strip maybe 10 years ago and listen to it regularly. ‘Man In The Mirror’ is one of the most impressive pieces of music I’ve ever heard (largely due, in fairness, to Quincy Jones’ production). The key change, choral part, build up, and then bass progression holding it down during the bridge section is absolutely immortal – it grabs me every time I hear it.
This was also the first time I became politically conscious, in the most basic way – I remember seeing the video for it at my friend’s house, which came out around six months later in 1988 after we’d moved to Dublin. It was incredibly confronting. Ireland was considered a third-world country during this period, but we always had enough to eat – I’d never seen anything like the flyblown starving kids depicted in the video, who didn’t even have clothes. Even the poorest people in Ireland had clothes. It was the first time I started to suspect that something was deeply wrong with the world.
Give us the science behind the title and artwork of your new album, “Currency // Castration”?
Al: We made a record worthy of the title, basically.
Tom: There was honestly no science behind it in particular when it came to the painting. I have those ‘neurodivergent’ tendencies so when I paint I am in a meditative state of just pushing shit around until it looks somewhat badass. I get the same shit from drumming. I can completely shut my mind off and once again there’s no particular goal, it’s just whatever comes out.
Cormy: We called the album that because we got sick of Germans telling us what our name means. WE KNOW, LADS. It also has a meaning in English, and that is cutting off dicks, which is what we’ll do to you, Junge, if you don’t leave us alone or start saying something interesting.
The artwork is a painting by our drummer, Tom. Originally our mate Nicky Rat was going to do the artwork, but we ran out of time. Tom’s an incredible artist (our first album, Perfect Texture, was also one of his paintings, there are more of them at thomaswrowley.com) and so I looked back through some of his work and the painting that became Currency // Castration jumped out at me for a lot of reasons.
Firstly, it aptly communicates a sense of joy, colour, horror and chaos, which are all key to Geld’s music. I immediately thought of a surveillance society (C//CTV) and how we’ll increasingly need to employ digital forms of masking as a means of psychological shielding – not as activists involved in any sort of organising, but simply as humans who care about freedom and autonomy. So I applied some pixelization masking to the art (which we later got our friend and collaborator Tom Sweetman to do properly for the final album art) and everyone was into it, so we went with that. I like how it represents a sometimes contradictory duality, things not as expected; a sense of hiding, masking, and inconsistencies – the world is not what you think it is. Don’t trust. Stay back. These are key concepts to Geld and that’s why the artwork is perfect.
If you could put three of your songs from your discography in a time capsule to be opened in 2062, what songs would you put in there, and why?
Al: Balaclava Mask, Success, Perfect Texture. For no other reason than 2062 is probably pretty weird, they could use some ol timey tunes to help them think of less chaotic times (lol).
Tom: I would 100% choose ‘Balaclava Mask’. I listen back and don’t even know how we wrote it. Isaac Ishadi (original bass player of Geld) and I came to band practice on acid and that’s when we wrote it. The second chorus isn’t even really a chorus but it is, the lyrics are creepy as hell and the opening drum line is directly ripped from ‘This Years Girl’ by Elvis Costello. It represents so much deranged psychedelic synergy to me.
Cormy: Okay, I severely doubt Geld will be relevant to anyone in 2062, so I’m taking a myopically Geld-centric view on this. I’ll say:
Balaclava Mask (Perfect Texture LP) – this was one of our hardest songs to write; we went through perhaps a year of losing it, rewriting it, not having a rehearsal space, forgetting it, losing our recordings of it, trying to de/recompose it. Half the band was on acid when we first came up with it, down at Bakehouse Studios in Richmond (a local haunt of Cat Power, Nick Cave and Elvis Costello). I think it’s important as it’s where we first started to get weird within structures, rather than just doing full improvisation or having a weird bit at the end of a song, and also probably where we first introduced more metal elements when we were previously sounding pretty much like raw hardcore crossed with garage rock.
Forces At Work (Beyond The Floor LP) – another difficult song to bring to completion but I think this was the first time we convincingly played slow without sacrificing energy. We’d experimented with this on LOWAG (on the Soft Power EP), and we have an unreleased demo song from 2015 where we tried to do similar, but playing slow and with power is hard. This song sounds unique and a milestone in Geld growing beyond the sum of its parts.
Secret Prison (Currency // Castration LP) – this is significant as I feel it’s a new high water mark for us as a band. When we introduced it to the set in the past months we were surprised to find that one of the most technically challenging songs off the record turned into one of our smoothest and easiest to play live songs, though writing it and getting it up to the pace it needed to be was hard – it represents a new level of confidence (and power) with both chaos and precision. We’re currently mixing influences, diverse riffs, complexity/simplicity and our own ideas in a way which is really exciting for me.
Describe GELD’s album “Currency // Castration” as a weapon of mass change or a superpower—what impact do you want to see it have on culture or our society?
Al: The most powerful feeling you’ll ever feel is self expression, y’all.
Cormy: If C//C was to be a weapon of mass change or superpower, what I would hope to impact is our local scene and emanate from that – to empower the people in our communities to create more art, to seek more opportunities, to change their own lives and thereby change the world. My worldview is a weird mix of humanism, idealism and realism; I care deeply about defending my communities, I’m involved in local business and “asymmetric activism,” let’s call it, but I have very little concern for the mainstream. I care about the vulnerable, the lost, and the ones who never got a chance – these are my people, and the ones I will fight to the death for. The mainstream can go fuck itself; I only wish to dissolve and disrupt their sick twisted world so we can rebuild from the wreckage. As we’ve done for millennia and will do for many more.
Talk to us about the bond of friendship that runs through GELD, and how that translates into the way y’all create together.
Al: We’re still a band because Geld works for us and not the other way round. Bros before shows, as they say???
Cormy: I’ll preface this by saying that I can be a very difficult person. When I’m nice I’m very nice but when I’m not I’m horrible. This is a result of my upbringing, and it’s the only way I know how to maintain self-respect when people cross my boundaries. I’m extremely driven and won’t accept defeat – no retreat, no surrender. Bear with me, I’m gonna get weird for a minute: I had to become like this to survive, and now I’m in the process of slowly removing and evolving the armour I created to protect myself so that I can be a better father, partner, ancestor. I seek to live in service to all beings but this doesn’t mean being a pushover or a people pleaser; quite the opposite. I’m a Protector and this is my role. It’s a tough path as it can necessitate protecting people from themselves, which is complex and can be perceived as arrogance, but that’s okay – nobody said life was supposed to be easy.
This is a part of me; my ancestors have been part of the struggle for freedom for hundreds of years, probably thousands, across dozens of failed rebellions into the current era. My Great-Great-Grandfather Patrick Moclair (born in the fifth year of the Great Famine, 1850) became a widower in his 40s, left to fend for nine children alone. He was evicted by the English – it took two district inspectors, four bailiffs and 60 cops two hours to get him out of his barricaded house. Pat was imprisoned with hard labour for three months and his kids were thrown out on the side of the road in the freezing winter – one a newborn. They only survived because the community took care of them. My G-G-Grandfather was in and out of jail due to the Land Wars as the Land League resisted the much-hated Lord Balfour over the next decades (much of which was funded by supporters in Australia and the United States) and even elected President of the United Irish League at one point.
Nobody dared occupy his evicted house about a mile outside Cashel, and it was left empty for the next 23 years until our family reclaimed the property from the absentee landlord and conservative British MP Arthur Smith-Barry, AKA Baron Barrymore – his bloodline has now entirely perished and the property he stole returned to The Irish Heritage Trust. My great-grandparents lived in grinding, crushing poverty; my grandparents managed to survive and raise a generation who got us educated and capable of building a life; my father was the first from his family to ever finish high school, which he was adopted into after being born into a Catholic women’s prison and spending his first four months of life there (it was more akin to a forced labour camp and in the 1940s it had a higher infant mortality rate than Auschwitz and Dachau; a lot of these places were still running as an open secret until the 1990s). I am eternally grateful to them all. They struggled, fought and died for our freedom. My children are happy, safe and deeply loved. We’re only free because our ancestors never gave up. I strive to do the same for my future ancestors.
So, that wayward ramble actually does have a point – the point is that friendship, community, vision, courage and loyalty is everything. We recently undertook a ritual and what we discovered was a disconnect amongst us – it was me in particular who was at odds with the other three lads in the band; I was losing sight of friendship under the weight of expectation, the weight of stepping into our full potential. A lot of this again comes from my family history, from oppression, from having a long line of Grandmothers and Grandfathers who have done everything they could to protect us from a cruel empire, who sacrificed everything for our clan to flourish against the odds. They are warriors and healers, and so I feel a huge weight of expectation from my ancestors, who support and protect me, who are my spiritual bodyguards and who are extremely fierce, quite unreasonable and sometimes unpredictable entities when they perceive a threat.
The four of us in Geld are similar in this way. We may come across as confident and self-possessed, as the other lads did to me before we got to know each other well. After almost 10 years of being a band, I’ve come to realise and recognise that we’re severely wounded individuals. This isn’t a value judgement, just an appraisal. In the course of growing from children to men, we’ve been tormented, abused, beaten, manipulated and otherwise mistreated in dire ways, often by people who should have been taking care of us. That’s resulted in a deep deep mistrust of authority and power, and it also means that we’re pretty much unassailable in our positions. We will break before we bend. This is a vulnerability, but one which we can work with – we’ve evolved it into a power as we’ve worked through challenges that would have destroyed ten thousand other bands. The reason we keep moving forward is simple: love. We love and support each other, even when it’s tough love, even when it’s misplaced disappointment, frustration or confusion – it’s coming from love, a labour of love, and labour is the key word because once again: nobody said it was going to be easy. This is what translates into our creative work together. Hardcore is easy – life is hard.
What two historic events or political movements have made an impact on your band?
Cormy: The British Empire and the Catholic Church; the invasion of the former and the incursion of the latter into Australia and Ireland. They have corrupted and destroyed so much of the Indigenous culture of both our lands. Our ongoing war of resistance and reclamation against both is a fertile source of #inspo.
Al: Ima pick three: the birth of Corm’s wonderful children. A huge reason why we have such a close/familial relationship is because of those three rugrats.
Describe three of your songs in terms of your favorite foods, and tell us how these songs will feed our souls and minds?
Al: Wild Bomb – $60 (AUD) worth of McDonald’s, cuz every time we play that song live, I never want to play it again.
Infrasound – Protein Bar and speed, because it’s lean and gives me just enough energy for the next song in the set.
Cut You Down – Fancy fucking sashimi, cuz I love it and wished there was more of it.
Cormy: Blood Circle – makes me think of black pudding, the best food in the world. It feeds our bodies with blood and oats, it feeds our souls with the knowledge that all things have value even when fancy cunts tell us they’re worthless.
The Perfect Texture – black pudding again. Clonakilty Black Pudding, to be precise. It is literally the perfect texture. This is also the true subtext of this whole album; it’s unofficially The Black (Pudding) Album.
Clock Keeps Crawling – why is it not time to eat yet?! Any food will do. Just GIMME SOMETHING!
Why do you feel that some working-class whites are at odds with POC and immigrants when the rich (“upper class”) are fucking all of them over?
Al: Capitalism is eating itself, so the conservative tagline of “stable economy” no longer works. Instead, they’ve opted for some bullshit culture war to make people think that drag shows and POC folks are tearing apart the fabric of society.
Cormy: Thought control and propaganda. It’s really easy to dismiss such concepts as conspiracy theories, especially in the “post-truth” era of social media misinformation and lies. What people fail to consider about “fake news” is that the news has always been fake, created and controlled by the ideological state apparatus, comprised of schools, media outlets, churches, etc. Alongside all the outrageous conspiracy theories and lizard lords and tin foil hat grifters, there are also literal conspiracies that have happened and are still happening. All you need to do is look at the history of the CIA; likewise, there literally is a cabal of paedophile monsters destroying children’s lives, but it’s called the Catholic Church rather than anything attached to QAnon nonsense.
CIA Drug Trafficking Allegations Hearing (1998) | w/ Maxine Waters Gary Webb
Sins of the Church: The Disturbing Transfer of Fallen Priests
This is not a grand high secret society of deep state agents, etc. This is pure self-interest; the rich know that we are at war. They know that if we got together, it’s the guillotine for them. They invest in means of control in order to maintain power, and the easiest way to do this is to divide people. It’s quite simple, it constantly happens all around you on a microcosmic basis every day. Think about that local band who got the support slot because they’re mates with the promoter, about how that promoter went to school with one of the bands, how this enabled the band to get funding from the local state-funded arts council due to their parents being friends, and so forth. Multiply this by a million and you’ve got laissez faire neoliberal capitalism – it’s simply brutal self-interest playing out on a macro scale. Power for power’s sake is what drives the very rich, with a healthy dose of fear (they know we would redistribute their wealth to the poor and hungry given half a chance).
I won’t get too deep into this side of it, but a large part of this is down to how the status quo has identified that the best way to divide and conquer is to break us down into individual units of self-interest in relation to race, gender, class, age, etc. Why is everyone talking about boomers, zoomers, and millennials? These are new subdivisions. Generational conflicts are as old as the hills, but the subdivision into neoliberal units of economic value is a fresh filter on the whole sordid business.
Naturally, if you’re carrying 10 pounds of weight (poverty, theft of family members, spiritual amputation, abuse) and I’m carrying 100 pounds of weight (poverty, race, theft of family members, spiritual amputation, murder of family members, incarceration, abuse, systematic introduction of drugs into our community), then I’m going to be coping with a lot more. This is self-evident. I hate to see this weaponised against us; we need to understand each other and focusing on degrees of disenfranchisement is a lovely outcome for the man at the top who has a million times more than the rest of us combined who are still fighting over who has more crumbs than the other.
I don’t talk about this often, as it’s easy to take it out of context, but I will say it to you, Sean, because I’ve met you and I trust you – something I would like to see considered in the same context as what has been taken from us is the strength and resilience which allowed us to survive – not just you yourself, or your parents, or your grandparents – I’m talking about a long line of ancestors who survived when many many more didn’t. Your bloodline and their wisdom survived in you. This is not racist, this is not about superiority – this is about gratitude and appreciation: nobody is better than you and you are better than nobody. No matter how bad or good your relationship with the family members who currently survive within living memory, they are a mere fraction of the ones who are departed; they were real people, with thoughts and emotions just like you. They’re still there, with you, in you, and they want you to succeed. Don’t forget them; honour them by reflecting on their struggles and sacrifices, on how they survived and how they made it through, and you will, too. Acknowledge them and they will assist you.
When y’all think about how Australian imperialism/colonialism impacted POC around the world, do y’all channel this rage into your music?
Cormy: Australian imperialism is British imperialism; what was enacted upon the people of this country was practised first on the people of my country.
Australia’s brutal colonisation by the British crown was followed by the cynical subjugation of the Indigenous population under the Catholic sceptre. One-quarter of my country is still occupied by a terrorist foreign power just as the entirety of this country is; we are still fighting to have the terms of our treaty with the invader honoured and self-rule enacted – Australia is still fighting for a treaty. Things are changing rapidly, though not as rapidly as I’d like – if we started today, it would take three or four generations of hard bitter struggle before we had even begun to work through Australia’s deep trauma of the last 10 generations.
Punk is angry music; even pop-punk, emo – this music is a response to alienation, an escape from despair. Even when upbeat. What I’m saying is that rage is endemic in this music, and often you/we/I are reacting against all sorts of systemic oppressions. I’m not a young man anymore, but I’m still extremely angry. I get through it with music, meditation, medication, and hard physical exercise, but it never ends. Just look around. Middle-class people simp to the ruling class, trying to make us seem somehow below them for being angry. Don’t fall for it – you should be angry. Reject their gentile aspersions. Be angry. Get pissed. Destroy.
Talk to us about these two songs “The Fix Is In” & “Hanging From a Rope” — what was the creative process like and what emotions provoked you to create these songs?
Al: Two songs about insecurity and lying to yourself. Common themes in Geld lyrics
Cormy: I guess these two songs are thematically emblematic of the whole album – they both represent the duality/conflict between introversion and extroversion. Diving into the abyss, laughing at the devil, locking yourself into a cell and throwing away the key. Consuming oblivion with gay abandon. It’s hard to articulate in words…as the old saying goes, writing about music is like dancing about architecture. Which I guess is why we wrote a weird album about it instead hahaha.
In terms of the creative process, Hanging From A Rope was one of the earliest songs we wrote for the album. I think it was Tom’s riffs. It was originally the breakdown/back half of another song but we ended up thinking the first half was boring so we kept chasing this one down the rabbit hole until it reluctantly assumed its final form. I think this one was pretty tricky to finalise the composition of; there are a lot of guitar effects going on, from flange to wah to delay to reverb and multiple layers of gain/distortion/overdrive pedals. It’s very much a bass-led song so it took a bit of trial and error to make sure the guitar was serving the song instead of taking over. I still think what I’m playing in the second verse sounds like KoRn though haha.
The Fix Is In was actually super easy to write, it was my song and I think it started with the bridge section which was an homage to Chelsea from Death Side/Paintbox. It was the anniversary of his death and I was playing my guitar trying to write bits in his style for the fun of it as a little personal private tribute. His style is so gorgeous and wild and burly all at the same time, I’m always curious to try and replicate it (I can’t but hey it’s a noble quest). So then the rest of the song was an excuse for that riff, and we’d been trying to use that sick Hawkwind beat for a while but it never sounded convincing until we had that whole weird improvised breakdown part after the Burning Spirits bit, and then for some reason it felt right to do like a hectic ENT/Napalm Death bit to finish the song. The second half of that song also took a lot of trial and error until it hit the right flow. The lyrics are Tom’s also, I think this was the only song that Al didn’t write the words to.
Tom: The Fix Is In is the first song in the band’s history that anyone else has ever written lyrics for. I sent it to him and he was like ‘Yes cunt!’ That was a big deal to me cause I respected Al as a lyricist so much. The Fix Is In is about choosing hell. It’s about choosing escape, believing that the world you surround yourself in tells you is shit. Okay? So I’m shit? I’ll be shit in your world.
Can you break down your creative arc from your debut LP to “Currency // Castration”?
Tom: We literally just did what we did. The only rule in our band is, try everything. We may come at odds at times about other shit but the one thing I know is I get together once a week with these cunts and we have synergy and I love them as my own brothers. We are like-minded and discuss concerns and concepts but this is all progression. Most of all we have a fuck tonne a fun of together most of the time
Al: As Eddie from Eddie and the Hotrods said, “do anything you wanna do.”
Cormy: I guess this was sort of a trilogy – not planned, but in how it played out.
The first album took the sound of the demo (which was our third demo, but we didn’t release the first two since the sound wasn’t there yet) and began to fuck with the threads at the edge, trying to unravel those influences into something less immediately recognisable. People picked up on stuff like Poison Idea, H-100s, Gauze, Lip Cream, all of which are relevant, but the most interesting things on that album are the ones we still play live – the title track, Balaclava Mask and Parasitic Fucker.
These were each key elements that we took with us to the second album; if Perfect Texture was us trying to find the grain of the wood or the source of the sound, Beyond The Floor was, well, not to be too fuckin clever about it, but it was us driving those influences through the floor. Stepping on them, stomping on them, cutting them with some other malevolent substances that give you an interesting buzz and might stop your heart. Hahaha sorry. But yeah, you can hear the influence of bands like Sepultura or Celtic Frost start to come in as we realised that we had more fun playing metal riffs. We condensed everything else into a “no frills” format where you get little weirdy psych bits happening on vicious hardcore songs like Infrasound, Red Mist or Invader, but none of them exceeds the two-minute mark. We also let some of our more ignorant teenage love affairs bleed into it, sounds of bands like Sick Of It All or Merauder except stuck through the LSD grinder. I’d also begun running two parallel setups across two half-stacks (occasionally two full stacks) which added a lot more in terms of dynamics.
By the time we were writing Currency//Castration, we were self-consciously trying to perform an exorcism of hardcore because that’s what we were feeling. With each record, we’ve always been like, “Okay we’ll let the weird stuff in more next time” but it transpires that it’s not possible to stray too far from our immortal hardcore soul. Instead of doing a HardCore EP and then doing some weird psych improv album, it all just gets concentrated down into something more condensed and meaner. Previously we’d had one or two passages on each record that used digital samples from elsewhere, rather than audio we’d recorded ourselves and sampled to create the feeling we wanted; Currency//Castration is the first album where everything is self-made, even the interludes and weird industrial or instrumental bits between songs. We’ve also put a lot more work into the overall sound design and this has affected the composition too. I feel like with these three albums, we’ve reached the peak of a mountain we didn’t know we were climbing. And it turns out to be just a hill, and we can see a lot farther from up here, and there are a lot more bigger mountains around.
So while I can’t say there won’t be a point where we veer fully into psych or ambient or soundtrack, or we might just go full hardcore or metal, our next album is already 80% finished and so far it’s just meaner, leaner, harder, faster. With scarier drug feelings. And burgeoning elements of escape, euphoria and ascension.
Why did y’all start the album with “Currency” and end the album with “Castration”?
Cormy: Well, in line with the previous question, and with the earlier one about Ze Germans, this album was the end of a chapter. Now we’re starting the next one, and so with the first two albums setting out the stall, we’ve bookended that period with the definitive record stating our intention: power. Everything in this world revolves around power – most obviously, sex and money. Everything is driven by sex and money. Everything. We open the record with some crushing mosh: currency. Show me the money. We end the record with a very basic E to A# progression which references the riff from Secret Prison except on acoustic guitar and synth: castration. Cutting off the power. So that’s all it is: power in the context of sex and money. Now we’re moving beyond that, into a new sphere; power is temporal and fickle, it is there to be leveraged towards an end, but it is merely a sordid wretched pitiable cul-de-sac when abused as an end in and of itself.
What lies beneath power is the duality of love and fear. These are the true drivers of human behaviour and every decision, every impulse, every memory and ambition are reflections of love and fear (often projected onto ambitions around sex and money). So yeah, for the next record, Geld’s gonna be a pop band!
Tom: There’s only nine songs on the album so we made some interludes and passed them off as being part of the album title.
Top 5 MC’s Dead or Alive?
Kool G Rap
Big Daddy Kane
Tom: Lord Infamous was the scariest MC I ever heard. He is LEGENDARY. RIP. Listen to his verse in ‘Fuckin wid dis click’. It’s eerily hardcore and soothing at the same time. I think people Pop hard for Koopsta and Project when it comes to Three 6, but he is the realest.
Dj Spanish Fly
Cormy: Vast Aire – when he starts the “still born baby” bars on the first song off The Cold Vein I feel like the life is draining out of me; technically and lyrically I guess Vordul is better but Aire’s storytelling and the way he juxtaposes concepts is just so fucking ruthless that he is undeniably number one.
Big Boi. Aquemini was a huge record for me (still is); this could almost equally be André 3000 but there’s something unique about Big Boi’s staccato delivery and flow.
Phife Dawg – the way his syllables weave around the beats is just so fuckin stylin’. The contrast between him and Q-Tip’s monotone makes it all the more impactful.
MF Doom – for years he just didn’t click for me. When he did…game over. I didn’t even like anything east coast during the ‘90s, only west coast, but MF Doom changed everything. I think it was his Special Blends records that first made me horny in the mid-’00s. They actually were the gateway for me into a lot of east coast guys who I hadn’t cared about before.
Rí Rá. This lad was in ScaryÉire, an Irish hip-hop band who got signed to a big London label and then had their album unceremoniously shelved into archival obscurity – blew me away when I first heard it on a battered cassette tape in the 90s. Someone from Ireland, rapping, not putting on an American accent, and it sounded fucking deadly? No way. Check out their tune 25 O’Clock In The Morning – still stands up today.