Crawl/Child interview

If you want heaviness and abrasiveness, you’ve got it here. Industrialists influenced by the grindcore scene known as Crawl/Child have a CD out called The Principles of Exclusion, which is a classic in my book. Here I talked to* Brad and Howard, two of the people behind this Canadian band.

D.U.: How is the scene in southern Ontario for industrial and experimental music?

Howard: Well, there is sort of a scene, but we’re not really part of it. I guess the scene would sort of be DHI, Malhavoc, Monster Voodoo Machine.

Brad: The only scene that we’re part of is, like, Paul Pfeiffer’s stuff, the Wadge, the one-man scene. That’s the extent of it.

Howard: Because our music kind of crosses a bunch of boundaries, we have a problem fitting in with scenes. Everybody in the scene hates us. The industrial people hate us ‘cause we’re too rock, and the experimental/noise people hate us because we’re too rock, and the rock people hate us ‘cause we’re too weird, so we kinda just end up with our own bunch of freaks like the aforementioned Pfeiffer following us around.

In the Northern Virginia death metal scene, there is a lot of schism, cliques, and divisions, for various reasons. How much does the crusty punk/industrial scene in your area suffer from this?

Brad: Well, it’s broken off at the industrial scene, right? Okay, you’ve got the Digital Poodles, the DHIs, Malhavoc, Monster Voodoo Machine; all those bands are the industrial crew. Then you’ve got sort of a punk network, and you’ve got kind of a crust/hardcore crew, and then, like, a whole new-school hardcore bunch.

Howard: There’s no real crossover at all.

Just then, Howard’s sister walked by and said she’ll take a shower.

Howard: Anna’s gonna take a shower, okay? Say hi to Richard.

Anna: Hi.

Brad: We’re doing an interview with Richard.

Anna: Oh, okay. You wanna use the bathroom?

Howard: Hey, Richard, you wanna use the bathroom? ‘Cause if you don’t go now, you’ll have to wait for hours.

Back to the talk about the scene.

Howard: There’s no tension; it’s not like everyone hates each other’s guts. Everybody keeps to themselves, does their own thing, you know?

Brad: I mean, we don’t hate anybody, except maybe Trent Reznor.

Howard: [laughs] Nah, we don’t hate him.

Brad: We just want him to cheer up a bit.

Howard: We’re gonna send him a big happy face and a bunch of flowers to brighten his day and get him feeling a little bit better about himself, instead of all that self-loathing that he has to sell to the rest of the world and we end up hearing.

How did getting turned on to the Earache sound, circa 1990, change your style?

Brad: [laughs] A lot. We used to be really slow. Like, the first Crawl/Child cassette was quite slow. I mean, we had songs that were down to about 50 beats per minute. Then we heard Carcass, Napalm, and from that point on—

Howard: It changed our lives.

Brad: Yeah, just completely, ‘cause we wanted to have the energy and power that was behind grindcore, so all the sudden we just started cranking up the tempo.

Howard: What we were influenced to at the time was the Swans, who are still one of our favorite bands, but also, we were into, like, the Japanese noise scene of power electronics and things. And when we first heard Napalm Death and stuff, we were like, “Well, wow, these noise groups are doing exactly the same kind of thing, you know. They’re just coming at it from different musical backgrounds, but really the intent is the same, which is to be as brutal as possible and as noisy as possible.”

Yeah, it’s been a huge influence. You can tell if you listen to our first demo and our CD. A pretty major jump. You know, what can you say about it? A great grindcore song can—

Brad: Make for a good day.

Why are some of your members meat-eaters?

Howard: [laughs] Brad?

Brad: I can’t answer for the other members of the band, but I’m not anymore, actually.

Howard: Oh, you’re not? Brad coming out on tape! [laughs] So I guess it’s Ryan.

Brad: Yeah, Ryan’s the only one. Um, and it’s all due to Gandhi.

Howard: As a group we’re not [pause] the group was formed for musical reasons and not political reasons, which is why we’re not overtly political in what we do. The most important point is that we firmly believe in people completely thinking for themselves and answering to themselves, as opposed to any sort of herd mentality and jumping with the crowd just because it’s the thing to do, you know?

Brad: Yeah, I mean, anybody has to justify the reasons why they eat meat or don’t eat meat on their own grounds and from their own philosophical and ethical background. I can’t sit here and talk about anybody else’s reasons, because it’s not my place to do so. I mean, the whole straight edge scene and stuff like that. Really, it seems to me that it’s misguided if people are doing it to be part of a scene and to fit in and it’s not grounded in terms of their own sort of individual needs and desires and aspirations.

Howard: For us, I think, when we first heard about straight edge and stuff, the point was not, I dunno, don’t drink and smoke and do drugs and stuff. It was more like, don’t just do what everybody else is doing, make your own decisions, think about it, and arrive at your own conclusion. I think that’s a more valid and more universally useful point. ■

*I mailed them questions, and they recorded their answers on a cassette and mailed it back.


Originally published in ‘zine issue #14, 1995


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