Saturday, 3 February 2018

INTERVIEW: Primitive Man @ Meat Locker, Montclair, NJ (8/11/2017)

By: Mark Ambrose

Denver’s Primitive Man has amassed a truly impressive discography since their debut, “Scorn”, was released in 2013.  Remarkably, 2017’s “Caustic” is only their second full-length, but gathered rave reviews from every heavy music outlet that matters.  Rather than exhaust their prime material on a number of splits and EPs, Primitive Man seems to have an endless supply of brutal riffs and despairing lyrics to hammer into sludge masterpieces.  Ethan (guitar/vocals), Joe (drums), and Jon (bass) took a few minutes to talk to THE SLUDGELORD before their November 8 gig with Bell Witch to talk about their record, touring, and the inspiration behind their bleak, uncompromising music.  Primitive Man will be embarking on yet another US tour this spring with Spectral Voice.

While there has been steady output from Primitive Man, it’s been four years since the last full length.  What made now the right time to release a full length album?

Ethan: We had a year and a half where we were doing a lot of touring and we were just writing a lot of songs in the process.  There was enough material there for a really long record and it just came together that way.

Jon: Because we did all the other stuff, too, we just wanted a really focused Primitive Man release.  Those were all splits and shit.  It’d been so long since our first record.

Ethan:  Yeah, the reason we did all those splits is because we wanted to see things through.  It took all of that time to get through that stuff.

Joe, you’re relatively new to the band.  What has the process been like?

Joe: Yeah I’ve been with the band about a year and a half.

Ethan: Two years.

Joe: Wow.  Yeah two years.  I started practicing with these guys about two years ago and the idea I generally got from these guys that we’d work toward a full-length.

And you’ve become comfortable in this lineup since you’ve been touring nonstop?

Ethan: Yeah we’ve played a lot of shows in the last two years.

Any standout locals that you’ve enjoyed playing with?

Ethan: Figures, from Omaha.  Heaviest.

Jon: Swollen Organs.

Joe: Worthless from Milwaukee.

There seems to be a lot more political content to your lyrics that many heavy bands seem comfortable with at the moment.  What’s the process like when writing?  Is it a concerted effort to address political, racial, or economic themes?

Ethan: I’m just writing about the life that I’m living, the way that I’m experiencing it.  My perception of the world around me.

What are your nine to five lives back at home?  How is that work/band balance?

Ethan: I mean, yeah we all have regular jobs that we go to.  I’m a substitute teacher.

Joe: Jon and I both work at bars back home.  We’ve committed to this situation so we’ve somehow found ways to balance our home lives with Primitive Man.

Jon: It’s still really hard, though.  I lost a job coming out for this tour.

Ethan: It doesn’t always work out that well.  We arrange our home lives around this.

Jon: Even just with partners and stuff it’s hard.  You go from living with someone every day.  Ethan’s been with his wife a long time.  I’m with this lady and living with her – it’s hard.  But it’s also that I wouldn’t have it any other way.  You just make it work.  The technology really helps.

What do you guys do to wind down?  Any music, books, movies?

ALL: Smoke weed. *laughter*

Jon: And eat chicken wings.

How has traveling with Bell Witch been for this tour?

Ethan: Oh great.  We’ve known them for a long time, before all this. 

Jon: They’re frosty little darlings.  Love those boys.

And what does 2018 look like?

Ethan: We have a split coming out.  Bunch of touring.  And writing music – keeping it going.

The End

Band info: bandcamp || facebook