In the early morning hours of April 16th 2012 we arrived at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York, to speak with researcher Zhangbu Xu. In a recent experiment, Xu fired gold ions at near light speeds into each other. This in itself would seem nothing new – Xu had been working for years at the Laboratory and only last year discovered antihypertriton (the heaviest known antimatter). Yet, the collision that day produced something so unexpected and heavy that Xu’s excitement turned to fear. “The Explosion of the atoms produced this unearthly explosion,” recalls Xu, “Somehow we survived and, as we looked into the glowing darkness, there arose this multitude of stacks that went as far and as deep as we could see – multiple stacks in separate dimensions. Then, in front of each stack, there arose a dark one – he called himself McCarthy, Robert McCarthy – and he held a mighty axe that was as unimaginable in its power. Then, as he rung out a chord, there arose a second dark figure. He called himself Richard Beeman who swung sticks with a frightful and mighty force. Finally, there arose a third figure, Tony Kaelin, whose axe I do not dare describe. As we cowered behind the lab’s protective barrier, we heard the sound they created. It was an ungodly roar of doom! Some of the younger and inexperienced researchers raised their heads to see. I knew better and tried to stop them but the Rock produced was too loud and my voice was drowned out. I could only sit there in horror as their bodies fell back lifeless and headless – their heads literally blown away. Yes, our work led us to the antihypertriton last year but we knew there were heavier things out there and our lust for knowledge had only been whetted with that discovery. As we watched RHIC implode into a singularity and many of our colleagues die horrible gruesome deaths, we realized that this arrogant quest for heaviness had brought doom and ruin not just to us but possibly to this world. What we had discovered was a heaviness borne of Rock yes, but this was a rock not from this world…not of this dimension but… From Beyond. That is why we call it ‘From Beyond’ but I beg you, beware; From Beyond is a heavy not meant for this world.”
We don’t take such warning lightly but we had arrived here on assignment and when we asked Xu for an audience with From Beyond, he merely shook his head and lead us solemnly down to the secret, heavily-fortified government complex where From Beyond resides.
FPH: A lot of people consider rock and roll dead. Why do you think Rock is still relevant and still matters?
Robert: Rock and roll is a vampire; it cannot be killed. It only comes out at night, in dark and seedy places, and sucks the life out of all that would oppose it.
Richard: You cannot replace the alchemical and deeply personal experience of a band creating music live with real instruments. Pre-recordings and digital instruments, no matter how technologically advanced, will never contain the pure, raw, unharnessed aggression that makes rock music so fulfilling. The live show is more important than ever though for this reason. A lot of the shit gentrified today as “rock” has gotten away from that purity in many ways.
FPH: What makes for a truly heavy band?
Robert: For me, heaviness is just as much about the content as the music. If a band is truly heavy, you feel that weight, and it brings you to their level. I think Beethoven is heavy, and he doesn’t have 8 Marshall stacks behind him, although he might have been able to hear that a bit better.
Tony: Riffs, Content, and Mystery.
Richard: A killer frontman (or woman), unapologetic guitars and big drums. A distrust of conventional wisdom and exhibiting animosity toward the status quo. A refusal to ignore the dark and evil parts of the human experience.
FPH: You guys have a very holistic approach to your band. Not only do you have a certain sound but you also have a look when it comes to your graphic design.
Richard: Sound and visuals are both communication mechanisms in terms of music, so when you can combine the two well, your message or the experience you purvey can be much more powerful and complex.
Robert: I do most of the artwork, at least conceptually, and I get help from the rest of the band as far as execution. I’m very inspired by optical perception art, like the Family Dog’s work during the 60’s. I love 60’s and 70’s B-movies, particularly Hammer Horror and biker flicks, like Psychomania or The Devil’s Bride. Anything with Christopher Lee. My favorite horror movie is Suspiria, not only for its stylistic approach, but how great the soundtrack and story is. Lately I’ve been getting really into the Coffin Joe movies, like Awakening of the Beast.
Tony: Yes the ideas are conceived by Robert and his love for the old horror psych but both Richard and I have an extensive back ground in graphic art and design. I own www.kcsprinting.com which is a print shop in the Heights and I print a lot of our merch what not.
FPH: How did the band come together?
Robert: Richard and I have been playing in bands together for a while, like Thunderkunt. Before that, we had played together in a high school band, doing mostly our own bastardization of metal and Queens of the Stone Age covers. Right before Thunderkunt went on hiatus, I finally started getting my act together and writing a lot of songs.
Richard: We found Tony and convinced him to pick up a bass for us after we had already recorded this EP.
Tony: I’m a guitar player/vocalist but now I’m a bassist…pretty weird if you ask me…but I dig it. It’s helping me grow as a musician.
FPH: What do you hope to accomplish with From Beyond?
Robert: One of my goals is to inspire other musicians, and to also pay tribute to the people that have inspired us. I’d like to be able to cover a lot of ground, musically, never standing in the same place for long.
Tony: Make great Music that melts faces and leaves people wanting more while having a good time of course. After all that’s why I do this – to have fun and let go of the world for a while. If you’re a musician you know what I mean, there is that level that you get to where you’re just gone and into it, into that moment and nothing else even exists. That’s what I want people to feel when they hear us.
Richard: …creating some really heavy music that we like, and that ultimately will find an enthusiastic audience of metal and psychedelic rock lovers.
FPH: Robert, you play through a lot of amps. Why so many?
Rob: I play through vintage Orange and Sunn heads, and I have two full stacks, one on each side of the stage. We do the same for bass. People always tell me that it’s unreasonable, but I can’t hear them. I like to keep the band in beast mode, and we make sure they can hear us in the back.
FPH: Tell us about the new release.
Robert: We recorded these songs at Digital Warehaus a long time ago, and it’s taken a long time to get the music out because we are funding this ourselves. No kickstarter, no labels, nothing.
Richard: One song, The Heavy Wait, was actually something we started writing and playing together back in high-school. We recorded all the instruments for seven songs in three days, and only kept four songs.
FPH – What about new material you are writing. It’s a lot less doom.
Robert: Almost all of our songs are different, and I hope it stays that way. There is so much that I want to accomplish musically that I would be doing myself a disservice by stagnating in the repetition of a formula.
Richard: We have a lot of musical influences between the three of us, so I think we won’t ever be content with writing and playing just long doomy or sludgy metal songs. Our newer stuff is much more refined, and more purposeful, because we have been working together on our sound for a little while now.
FPH- What are some of the reactions you want to evoke in people with this music?
Robert: I see a lot of girls covering their ears. If our music could do the whole Bill and Ted save the world kind of thing, I guess that would be pretty neat. Might do the opposite, though. You never know.
Tony: Mostly blank stares and dropped jaws, Bug eyes from the sheer power, and emotions. People trying to pull themselves back together.
Richard: Adrenaline induced panic, soothed by euphoric awe. Sonic enlightenment.
Thursday May 31 @ Fitzgeralds Saint Vitus, Dixie Witch, Venomous Maximus, From Beyond (EP Release), Sanctus Bellum, Texxxas, Pushmen, and Pillcrusher
by Guest Author