Complete Failure interview

Complete Failure from Pennsylvania formed around the end of 2006 and plays grindcore, first off. They generally concentrate on churning out d-beats and blast parts, but doomy and crunchy, moshirific sections make appearances as well. Heal No Evil is the name of their first full-length CD that features this sound. It’s a solid piece of well-recorded grind. But next up for these guys is the new album called The Art Gospel of Aggravated Assault.

Heal No Evil was written in a pretty dark time,” vocalist Joey Mack explains via email. “It’s more about mental confusion and bad decisions. I tried to keep it pointless but indirect and generally sexual and involving of self destruction and abuse and all that stuff. The music itself is more deathy and kind of a faster playing.

“The new album is more of an approach toward morality and heartbreak and selfish living. I think the songs James [Curl, guitar] and Mike [Rosswog, drums] put together prior to me applying what I wrote to the structures were more challenging in that the swing from hardcore through to a Black Flag punk rock to straight forward grindcore were songs I never ever heard before out of any other bands that release actual albums. So I was kind of scared, in a good way, of what I was going to end up doing. When listening to the test recordings I couldn’t really envision a traditional right and wrong, as in, where I would put what I wanted to do. Whenever I was done with what I wanted to do and test recorded and presented it to the rest of the guys, there were some parts that I really had to defend, that, ‘Yes, I mean that. I want it like that.’”

Complete Failure comes across as a band that has a chip on its collective shoulder. Does Joey think that’s accurate?

“Unfortunately, yes. The general community here in Pittsburgh accepts us for it. I don’t know where it comes from. We don’t treat anybody like garbage at all; we’re just kind of grumpy guys. It’s mostly a live thing. I think we hate playing shows and don’t really care for most of the people who try to organize events and shows, and it comes off live, which is actually a good thing in the long run, performance-wise … We played a show in Cleveland with a few friends’ bands, but people we don’t really know all that well. We spent the entire time prior to playing just kind of looking for something to get collectively pissed off at. The set was amazing.”

The band has a philosophy about how they put together their live sets. Joey explains, “After songs are put together we usually play them pretty hard at shows only. I think whenever the first iota of energy starts to deteriorate, we opt to scrap the song altogether and move on to new tracks. Ideally we like to keep every bit of the songs we play live as intense and energetic as humanly possible …. We never ever practice to rehearse. We get together to write. I usually rehearse for a show on my own here at my house.”

For a band that hates shows, they’ve toured their fair share. “Been as far west as Vancouver and Seattle and as far east as Poland and Croatia,” Joey says. Good Things Happening To Bad People (Live In Switzerland 2008) is on their Bandcamp page and, as he describes it, “it’s probably the most vicious and violent sounding hardcore/grindcore album and sound you’ll ever hear.”

OK, but what about what Joey listens to when he’s not grinding? We asked him what record he’s been playing a lot lately.

“Nothing. At all.”

The Art Gospel of Aggravated Assault will be out on Season of Mist on February 15th, 2013 (February 19th in North America).

Complete Failure page


2 Replies to “Complete Failure interview”

  1. I lost touch with these guys after Mike Rosswog’s first stint in Today is the Day. Because I am a dick and I don’t have time in my life for Today is the Day, I just figured that I didn’t have time for Complete Failure either. This interview makes me think I’m wrong. They definitely deserve credit for shaping the scene and making metal a going concern in the ‘burgh, though.

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