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INSECT WARFARE

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Photography (c) by Rosa Guerrero

Insect Warfare may arguably be one of the world’s premier Grindcore bands but mastermind Beau Beasley is hardly given to any rock star posturing when we sit to talk at La Tapatia. “All I do is go home, read, and play guitar. You know, I’m just a 25-year-old loser who dropped out of college and works in a record store. When I write songs, I write songs for me. I write about anger and frustration, not that I’m angry all the time, but I want the music to sound rough. I don’t write poetry or draw so this is how I cope with life. It’s a reflection of how I feel; I play music as a direct result of things in my life. I don’t care about politics or animal rights…this is just normal stuff – feeling like a loser, lonely, frustrated…I’m not anyone special this is just the way I deal with it.”

And his way of dealing with life leads to albums like last year’s World Extermination which is 20 some-odd minutes of pure unrelenting brutality. Dobber’s rat-a-tat blast beats fire like machineguns over singer Rahi’s guttural growl and Beasley’s precision-engineered guitar riffs. Picture a battlefield being ravaged by untold violence and you will have a good idea what dropping the needle on this album sounds like. Drop it with some headphones and the brutality becomes panoramic. After listening to it, you can’t help but appreciate the precision and care that someone took to utterly and completely crush you.

“Since we rehearse a lot, we work really quick.” says Beasley, “World Extermination was recorded in one day.” And this album came about much like any other Insect Warfare album. Beasley gets an offer for a release and, based on the format, commences work on enough songs to fill the allotted time. Once his music is completed, he brings it to the band. Beasley shows them his guitar riffs then Dobber fills-in his drum parts while Rahi writes the vocal patterns. “I’ll give Rahi a title and let him go. We collaborate. A lot of times he writes lyrics and sometimes it’s just screaming – it depends on how he feels.” Then there are various rewrites and rehearsals which finally culminate in a recording session. “A lot of times we don’t even play those songs again; we just record and move on. Right now, we’re working on six records, about 20 songs, and, of those, we’ll only play one or two of those songs live.”

The sound is very particular: two panned guitars on the left and right tracks (“I like a gritty tone so I use shitty amps. I’m not really picky.”), blast beats, vocals, a few pedals generating noise to obscure the riff, and a bass guitar – low in the mix – to fill in the space. Some bands may bring in other elements but, when Insect Warfare does Grindcore, they keep it pure. “A lot of people say we’re not breaking any ground which is OK by me. I want to keep it primitive, simplistic, more barbaric.” Which isn’t to say that Insect Warfare only do one thing. “We’re getting ready to release two tracks which aren’t Grindcore – they’re noise – and I don’t give a shit if people like it or not.”

You almost have to not give a shit as Grindcore is so often concerned with who is a poser and who is not. “That’s fine,” says Beasley, “when I was younger I did that. When you are younger, you try to grasp onto an identity but now I don’t even wear band t-shirts. I’m not flaunting it every five minutes. I don’t want people to know I’m in this band – any band. My parents didn’t even know I was in a band until we started touring. Twenty years from now I don’t want people to know. I just want to get a regular job and let the records stand alone. I don’t want to be that guy who played in Insect Warfare.”

That kind of standoffishness hasn’t exactly endeared them to everyone. “A lot of people think we’re assholes because we don’t play a lot of shows and we don’t want any part of the local scene and that’s fine. We’re more concerned with people overseas than in America. Nothing against American bands, they’re more concerned with precision and punk, which is OK, but my tastes favor more overseas Grindcore – particularly Japan and Australia. That’s because they focus more on noise which I appreciate more. Those are the peers I’m concerned with more. Noise is the most extreme thing you can do. There is only so heavy or fast you can be. Pure chaos is the next evolution and” Beasley concludes in his trademark chuckle, “I like the fuck you attitude.

Insect Warfare will be touring Australia and Japan beginning in February. Look for an upcoming split 5” and 7” releases in 2008 as well as a double CDR as their entry into the Grey Ghost series.