Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Blind Surgeons Operation Interview

Andrew Cleveland should be familiar to readers of this blog by now - he was the guitarist for DoC faves Pretty Mouth. The last time I talked to him was just before the release of Pretty Mouth's final album The Endless Mistake. Since then, he's joined Canadian thrashers Mad Trapper and resurrected his old project The Blind Surgeons Operation. I e-mailed some questions to check in on the Operation.

Dreams of Consciousness: Andrew, it’s been a while - what have you been up to?

I've been super busy with the boys in Mad Trapper. We recorded a full length last year and we have been playing frequently all over southern Ontario, Canada. Other than that, working steadily to support the most expensive hobby of all time that is music.

Please give a brief history of The Blind Surgeons Operation - how it came to be, came to not be, and came to be again.

TBSO was formed officially back in early 2010. It started off as a Daughters/Psyopus/Agoraphobic Nosebleed kind of worship band that I would write music for in my spare time (I had a lot of spare time back then). You can hear a little of that influence on the first record.

I started taking it seriously around 2012 for the second full length Wolfram Syndrome. That album cycle had a human drummer and a reliable (at the time) vocalist. We played very frequently around Southern Ontario, sometimes opening for fairly big bands like Fuck the Facts and Beneath the Massacre. Things went sour around the time I started playing in Pretty Mouth and the band played its "final" show in September 2012.

It was only about two weeks ago that I decided to continue the band. We had an opportunity to open for Melt Banana that I couldn't pass up. That was more or less the catalyst of the band's revival. We have one original member on vocals (Tristan Rickaby) a member from Wolfram Syndrome on bass (Richard Page) and a drum machine. It's a nice mix so far, the music we've written sounds a lot like Discordance Axis meets Full of Hell so I am pretty excited.

The Blind Surgeons Operation is some crazy stuff. If you had five words to describe the music, what would they be?

I can do it in 4; Doom, Noise, Death, Grind.

While listening to your last album Malpractice I experienced intense feelings of discomfort and discombobulation. Is this normal/expected/intentional?

Very much so. I intended that record to be the final one/magnum opus. It was in the works for a long time. Unfortunately it fell apart a little when it came to recording the vocals, as I suck really bad at that. Kyle Maticic did a fantastic job writing and performing on that record, and it's kind of a bummer that it didn't sound the greatest due to my inexperience. Maybe that is part of its charm though.

How did you get involved with the net label Torn Flesh Records? Is there a benefit to having your releases up on more than one platform (i.e., multiple Bandcamp pages, archive.org)?

I think it was during 2010 that I came across TFR on Myspace, hahaha. It was as simple as a private message and they began releasing our material. Having your music spread across the web is always beneficial, especially in this case. The first record Prognosis Negative was downloaded over 10,000 times if I'm not mistaken. So that alone is pretty cool.

Do you have a live line up for TBSO, or do you perform by yourself? How closely do you follow the recorded versions of your songs when you play live?

TBSO has always had live members, usually each record has different people involved. No, that is not intentional, hahaha. In 5 years we have had 7 singers, 3 bassists, and 2 drummers. 3, if you count my shitty iPod that died during one of our record releases. It was promptly fired afterwords.

When we played the first two releases the songs stayed the same due to the drum machine. When Wolfram Syndrome came out and we had an actual drummer, the songs changed up a little bit, but nothing major.

Why is my skin falling off?

It's funny you mention this. During the first jam with 2015 TBSO, that song title in particular was brought up and I explained where it came from.

I typed "why" into Google and one of the automatic suggested searches was "why is my skin falling off?" Why someone would ask something as serious as that instead of calling 911 is something I will never know.

Between TBSO and Pretty Mouth, I'm starting to think Canada is a pretty terrifying place. This isn't a question, I just thought I'd let you know.

It is literally just my projects that are terrifying. Canada is wonderful. Except in the winter.

What’s in the future for you?

As it stands, TBSO will be playing Lee's Palace with Schizoid and Melt Banana May 17th, as well as releasing a split with Sete Star Sept sometime in 2015 on Delicate Artifact records and maybe another full length. Mad Trapper will be releasing a 12" full length in the summertime and we are also opening up for Misery Index at The Hard Luck Bar May 6th. In July and August we will be touring Canada.
The Blind Surgeons Operation on Facebook 

TBSO on Bandcamp