Monday, June 22, 2015
A Ripple Conversation With Don Carr
A while back I reviewed all five albums that local Nashville heavy hitters Noisecult have released so far. They are a band I have been fortunate to see quite a few times since moving to Tennessee from Maryland. Apart from being a great metal band, they are one of only a few local acts that rocks my world. Not long after the review was published I had the honour of meeting up with the band's founder and main man, Don Carr, for a chat about his band and music in general.
Don, tell me how Noisecult started?
"The band started out as a college project back in the mid 90's under the name One From None. In 2003 Bo Heyward [long time Noisecult singer] and I decided to kick start the band again for fun, using a couple of songs from One From None and build from there."
When you and Bo got the band going again, did you have a master plan. And if so has that changed throughout the years?
"At first it was to write some more songs and play a few shows. I ended up becoming the main songwriter and kept at it until we had enough to make a cd. From that point on I pushed the band forward to do as much as we could on our own. It lead to great things but eventually some band members couldn't commit a certain time and work level to the band. My goal has reached a point where I would like for us to continue to write our own music, record albums and to play in front of as many people as possible."
You are the only original member left, and have seen a few members come and go, Don. How has this affected the band and have you ever thought of shutting down Noisecult?
"It's usually a downer when someone leaves the group, there is no question about that. I've been doing this under the Nosiecult name for almost 12 years, and there seem to be a stability of 2 to 3 years tops before someone has to move on. It is hard to do this with the age of the guys in our band. People have jobs, families etc and two guys had to move out of state. Despite all these changes, we are still in touch with most of the former band members whom, to me, remain a part of our cult. Take Matt for instance. He helps out producing and mixing our albums to this day and he even tracks drums on some songs, when need be. Sean [Kay, bass guitar] has been with me since 2008 and to me he is an original member, considering how long he has been part of what the band does, and for the amount of input and creativity he brings. I have other projects I play in that are a bit different from Noisecult, as does Sean. But whether we write songs together for Noisecult, or someone else's project, it still sounds like Noisecult. That is what comes out of me naturally, be it music or lyrics. It's hard to shut that down if I wanted to. So the quick answer after all that is...No I've never thought of shutting the band down hahahaha."
How do you keep yourself motivated?
"Sometimes it is harder than other days. I do really enjoy coming up with songs, be it the riffs, lyrics or a story idea, whatever...that is the most fun on a single level, more so than say practicing scales. Then, there is nothing like jamming with the whole band. Hearing and grooving to something you all put together is really the best part. Another motivational part is hooking up with the guy who helps out a lot with artwork for the CDs, videos and the webpage. I really dig doing that kind of work."
What bands and what styles are inspirational for Noisecult?
"There are so many bands that I love, that have been carved into my brain's musical undertone, so it's really hard to say. I think we're into the 1970's metal and stoner rock or sludge; bands like Motörhead, C.O.C., Orange Goblin, Black Sabbath. But I wouldn't limit us to that either as many of my personal favourites are AC/DC, Iggy, Black Flag, B.Ö.C., Deep Purple, Clutch, Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Fear, Rush. There are so many to list, it would take up reams of paper to write them all down. But bits and pieces of all those years of music come out when you create songs. And Sean's without a doubt the most musically eclectic guy I know. He has a whole other world of sounds to draw upon."
What previous bands have you been in and recorded with?
"For me, not that many really. I was in a thrash band called Paramoure in the late 1980's, based out of southern Florida. We recorded one EP called 'For The Love Of Death'. It was fun and a learning experience. I then moved to Tennessee for school and eventually put together this band. I also played bass guitar in a fun band called The Creeping Cruds for about a year or so."
What are the current plans for Noisecult?
"To continue what Sean and I have been doing. What I mean is continue to write songs and get out there and play live. We are halfway through our next album, which I hope we can get completed with the right people and release it in late 2015."
"Well, compared to the 80's and early 90's, it's a huge difference. People actually came to local shows, because it was the thing to do to hear music and meet like minded people. There was also a lot less to compete with. Today you have so many things to fight against like the Internet, cable TV with hundreds of channels, movies and books on download demand at your fingertips. So much entertainment in such compact forms that you can take it with you at all times, or never have to leave your couch. Not only do people not feel like going to see shows, they don't buy records or hang out in guitar or music stores anymore, the places that built a scene and spread the word about bands and places to meet other fans in person. Look at the demise of record and book stores. The Internet is great and there are many more opportunities to record music and get it out to a larger audience. But many times it feels like you are a needle in a haystack, so to speak."
Noisecult clearly has it's own distinct sound, yet on each album you bring something slightly different. Even among individual tracks on any given album it occurs. Is that intentional or does it just happen?
"For me, apart from 'My War My Enemy', it isn't intentional. We have always just written what comes out[of us] and what we like. There are no real rules that says you can't have a song too punk, or too slow or one that sounds like another band etc. If we all like the song and it works for us, then we try it. On 'My War My Enemy' I tried to write a more raw rock'n'roll record like Iggy, AC/DC and The Ramones. We had songs like that already but when the actual writing process started for that one, I ended up penning more in this particular vein. Bo, who was singing at the time really liked it and said let's see if we can write more in that style. Sean joined about halfway through and brought some really good punk feel to some tunes. This is where he took over on bass guitar and it completely changed our writing in a really good and profound way".