Hissing Choir interview

Originally published in ‘zine issue #31, 2005

Hissing Choir is (or was) an exciting and incredibly talented group that a bunch of friends from different bands in Virginia U.S.A. formed. There had been high expectations locally toward Hissing Choir. The band has been inactive for quite a long time due to everyone in the band being in another band previous to and during Hissing Choir’s existence, among other reasons, and although a local record label had already expressed interest in the release of a full-length recording, the band only played a handful of shows and did not even record anything besides a rehearsal before it went on hold. In this interview, reprinted from Violence Magazine from Poland, bassist Chris Taylor and drummer Jake Cregger talked about their band at one of their shows. It will hopefully be of interest despite the large amount of time that has passed since the interview took place.

Hissing Choir performing live

“If you wanna classify it, it’s just basically structured noise in a traditional band format,” suggests Chris. “A direct reference would definitely be Swans. My Bloody Valentine.”

Jake adds, “Like Neubauten type stuff could possibly be thrown in there. I mean, we’re thinkin’ about employing more industrial percussion.”

“Sheet metal and chain saws. Basically we want it to be open ended enough to where any influence or whatever could just come in,” says Chris. “More or less what we’re comfortable with right now is really slow stuff … that all five of us really relate on … But it’s going to change into something else.”

“We’re trying to make something a threat again,” explains Jake, “really in your face and really loud and obnoxious … I think the intent behind this is the type of thing where [you] walk into a room [in which we’re playing] and you can’t avoid it.”

“We just want it to be extremely confrontational, like pretty much if you’re in there you’re in there because you can’t get enough, or you’re fuckin’ walking out the door,” Chris declares.

“That’s what I’m here to do: offer a healthy alternative to your average generic rock show.”

“We’re trying to make something that is threatening,” says Jake, “something that a lot of those kids who think they’re into something badass, who think they’re into something that’s heavier than the next guy, will just be like, ‘Oh my god, this is more threatening than stuff I thought was the most brutal stuff ever.’” Jake goes on, “Yeah, people can throw around the Swans thing, but you know, Swans are a great band, and yeah, it’s heavily influenced us, but I think we’re doing our own thing with it. I think with this band, it’s at the vortex of a creative plane. I think in the future … the sound’s gonna branch out more, and I can’t say exactly where it’s gonna go, and that’s kinda the beauty of it.”

The conversation moves on as they often do, from the effect Hissing Choir wants to have on their audience to the audience and bands in the underground themselves.

Chris begins, “I’ve toured around the country a buncha times, and what you see looks like a blank fuzzy television screen on fuzz or whatever in terms of bands, because bands are taking so much influence off each other that they just all end up sounding like this big mess, and more or less when I see bands like, you know, Kylesa, or just in general any band that’s doing something that’s a little off-kilter or a little refreshing, it’s almost like I have to wake up when I watch ‘em play. Whether I like it or not, it’s obviously different, and there’s not enough bands doing that on an underground level, where they’re going around the country in basements and stuff and bringing a good, quality alternative to the aggressive, screamy punk that’s going on right now. And there needs to be something else … That’s what I’m here to do: offer a healthy alternative to your average generic rock show,” continues Chris. “There’s a lot of people [that are jaded and are complaining about the state of the scene] but you go to 40 shows in a month, and you realize why everybody’s like that—”

Jake interjects, “Because no one’s done anything different.”

Chris continues, “Everyone’s doing what the other guy did, only a little bit worse. And I’m being straight-up about this. It’s really hard to find another band out there that’s doing something that you haven’t heard before … That’s my opinion. The only thing that anyone’s doing is ripping off the next band, the big flavor of the month, and it’s very uninteresting and very bland, and I can understand why anyone gets a little bit tired of shows or whatever, because I’ve seen it.”

While the future and even the next move for Hissing Choir remains uncertain, perhaps a few words of encouragement will help the band stay on track. ■

Photo: Hissing Choir performing (D.U.)


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