Silence interview

Originally published in ‘zine issue #2, 1991

Silence, the northern Virginia band, invited me out to its temporary practice space once so I could do an interview. The band was working on one of two new songs when I got there, called “Thanatos,” which sounded quite good in its early stage. Anyway, Silence has released a new CD and cassette called Vision and calls itself intense thrash metal, which is an accurate description.

D.U.: Question number one: how has the current recession affected the band as a whole?

Jason, bass: It hasn’t. [laugh] The only thing that’s happened is that our booking agent kind of has been out of town. And then also we haven’t had any rehearsal space. So we haven’t had a lot of time to practice or whatever. So we’re kind of in a lull right now. We did have a lot of shows—

Sonny, rhythm guitar: A big-time lull.

Benjy, vocals: We’re sitting on our assholes!

Louie, lead guitar: The scene is dead. That’s why.

Have you been looking at any labels with the new CD?

Benjy: Not right now. Maybe do some shopping in a couple months or so. Right now there’s a lot of things that we need to work on, such as getting a definite rehearsal space, and too many things that we need to do locally before we start branching out other places.

Louie: We need to write songs.

Sonny: Exactly. As soon as we get a definite rehearsal space, John [drums] was saying this morning, he was like, “Man, I wish we could play some more!” Y’know, then we can start working on new stuff. So that’s after we get some new stuff recorded, then we’ll start shopping it, hopefully.

Do you guys think playing live or recording is more of a priority for getting the name spread around?

Louie: Playing is definitely the way to do it. It’s too bad there’s nowhere to play around here, isn’t it?

Benjy: We’re playing this one damn place. [laughs]

Sonny: But, I mean, if you record, then you can get it all out, like, send it to friends in different states and stuff, different countries.

Jason: You need to get your name out before, and then once people are exposed to your material, then you bring in recording and stuff like that.

Are you doing any advertising by mail, sending out flyers?

Benjy: We’ve been talking about a mailing list type of thing for years. Through Matt [Shea, the manager] with his computer, we had it all set up and stuff like that, but now his computer’s fucked up. For advertising and stuff, we’re not really doing much right now.

Do you think the thrash genre is currently fresh or healthy?

Jason: I think it’s definitely changing. A lot of influence is going into more death metal. Everything is getting a little more brutal edged, so I think the mainstream thrash has kind of like gone downhill. I dunno. I’d say thrash isn’t very healthy. Definitely not.

Benjy: It’s kinda dwindling.

John: All the bands like Testament and Slayer, y’know, who seem to be lightening up or whatever with their music, they’re, like, just helping us out, because I think they’re gonna get us more people. They’re also starting to playing arenas and stuff. That’s pretty cool. No thrash bands were playing arenas four years ago, except Metallica.

Louie: The thing is that they don’t have the same talent that they used to, though, so they’re not thrash anymore, and—

John: I know, they’re going a little bit more commercial, which is just helping us, because more people are coming into the scene.

Louie: But if they go too far, it’s not gonna help us. It’s gonna hurt us.

John: Why?

Louie: Because we still have that thrash sound, and they’re gonna be more like, whatever you wanna call it, heavy metal, or hard rock, as I call the new Metallica, and—

Ha ha ha!

Louie: I’m serious. So them people who listen to Led Zeppelin stuff are gonna listen to Metallica, but they’re not gonna listen to us. Most people listen to hard rock and hard rock only. They won’t listen to thrash.

Sonny: We’re kinda stuck in this limbo, because you got the people who don’t listen to anything heavier than Poison, then you got the people who don’t listen to anything lighter than Carcass.

Ha ha ha!

Sonny: Y’know, so we’re kinda in the middle going, “Who’s gonna listen to us?” That’s exactly right, too.

Louie: And then another thing that really hurts thrash is, like, all this alternative music now is gaining a lot of fans, like Primus and stuff.

John: I think that’s good.

Louie: Well, it’s good, yeah, but, like, people are saying to themselves now, “Should I listen to Primus or just a regular thrash band? I’d much rather listen to Primus, ‘cause it’s got a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and it’s so weird and it’s so trendy, and bla bla bla.”

Benjy: The music these days is, like Jason was saying, it’s evolving into either heavier stuff or more diverse stuff, but real thrash, there’s not that much around, it seems.

John: You get categorized immediately when someone new hears your music.

Sonny: “You sound like Metallica.” Fuck you!

Jason: I mean, when has a real thrash band been signed? No one new has come out. Everybody’s commercialized.

Benjy: What can you really say is real thrash these days?

Where do you guys see yourselves in one year from now, realistically?

Sonny: On a four-day tour.

Jason: Musically, I’m not sure where we’d be. Our music keeps on changing, we keep on going in different directions and stuff like that, so I still don’t know. I mean, we’ll probably be still playing in the area, and hopefully branching out, y’know, up and down the East Coast.

Benjy: Still local, shopping our music, and just playing the best shows that we can, y’know?

Sonny: It all depends on the progression of our songwriting.

Let’s say next month some band was coming through. What would be a great band to open for?

Louie: The Great Kat!

John: Forced Entry.

Jason: Exhorder. That would be cool.

John: Prob’ly Wrathchild again, ‘cause they always bring in so many people.

Benjy: One thing that’s interesting, Brad [Divens] might do some producing the next time we do some recording.

What would be a new lyrical concept that you haven’t covered that you would want to write about?

Jason: We still don’t write any kind of social conscious issues. Forget that.

Sonny: I’ve been getting kinda angry with racism lately. I’m gonna write a song about drowning too, about walking onto a lake and the ice being real thin and falling through and then drowning.

Well then, do you have a customary wrap-up comment? Because that’s it.

Louie: Just that I wish people in the area would start coming to more shows. And I wish the local clubs, like the 9:30 Club, would start putting on some more local shows, except they’re not going to. At least they let some local shows happen at the Bayou, unlike the 9:30 Club. It’s just the clubs really gotta give us a chance. If they don’t, nothing’s ever gonna happen. ■


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