Sunday, June 3, 2018

an interview with Violent Opposition

Bay Area quartet Violent Opposition have tweaked the grindcore formula with a dizzying, quirky approach that is influenced as much by Frank Zappa as it is by Napalm Death or Terrorizer. The band has a prolific release history online, but little information about their origins or the philosophy behind their approach - so I took it upon myself to probe deeper. Guitarist Damian was kind enough to answer my questions.

Dreams of Consciousness: Please introduce Violent Opposition - who are you and how would you describe the music you make?

Current Line up is: Mark Machine - drums, Chu Chu-bass, Damian-guitar, Nico-vocals. Grind/punk from Oakland, California.

DoC: For anyone not familiar with you, please give a brief history of your band - what led to you forming? What were your goals, and how close to those goals would you say you are now?

Started Sept 11, 2013 to foment dissent from the status quo. We are very happy with the progress but they make it too easy for us.

DoC: The music for Violent Opposition is quite unique, featuring frequent tempo changes and tricky time signatures. What led you to this approach? Would you describe your music as "technical" or "progressive"?

Yeah, very technical. Progressive, I suppose. Not really sure what that means. I'm looking for good riffs but also sometimes I want to rebel from everything you're supposed to do to make a good song. Sometimes I just want to make a monster. People who speak with perfect rhythm put me to sleep. A good conversation requires some twists and turns. And sometimes taking a journey into the mud produces some gold. If I don't take risks, there's never going to be any innovation. I'm looking for the magic not the money.

DoC: Lyrically, VO explores a lot of socially conscious and political themes. What motivates you to write about these topics? Do you consider VO a political band? Would you collaborate with a band or label that doesn't share your beliefs?

Challenging people's beliefs is important for the progression of humanity and the health of society. The things I write about are the things I think about, or shit I feel I need to yell about to release some angst. I'm not really an "____ist". I don't advocate for any politicians or sides. I like to laugh and have fun.

I think politics are pretentious and narcissistic. All the suits and ties bore the shit out of me. All power should be consistently challenged to prove its worth or be eliminated. Most of the political leaning songs I write are about that. I don't have a religion I live by. Live and let live, and treat others how you want to be treated is my leanings.

I don't expect most people agree on everything and don't expect anyone to agree with me. I change my own mind frequently. I have collaborated with people I don't agree with and will continue to throughout my life. It's important we all have differences or there won't be anything new and exciting to talk about.

DoC: I really enjoyed your Utopia/Dystopia album. Where did you record it? How long had you been working on it? How would you compare it to your previous releases?

Utopia/Dystopia took about 8 months from the beginning of the writing process to the finished product. I recorded it in my basement and then took it to Greg [Wilkinson] at Earhammer and re-amped the strings, mixed, and mastered it there. It's not as much fun as our first album, Dr Evil Pays Well, but I wanted to do something a lot more serious. Some longer songs that take you on a journey. Tons of riffs - not just grooving on the same thing for 5 minutes. It's a lot more in the "deathgrind" category than other stuff I've done. I'm trying to make every release different.

DoC: Your latest release Reboot features songs written in the style of different seminal hardcore bands. What was the inspiration behind it? What is it about that specific era of punk/hardcore that appeals to you?

I always wanted to do something like that when I was a kid but all my friends were into metal. I never felt comfortable playing punk drums but thought I'd finally give it a try. Better late than never...

I'm not big on that era. I just like the gold. All the first albums.

DoC: You have a series of shows in October with Antigama from Poland. How did this tour come about? In what ways do the two bands compliment each other?

Pete from Benumb hooked their booking agent up with me because they needed someone to drive them around. I've never heard of them before. They seem cool. I don't know much about them though. I think we got booked on it because I have a van. It was my last bass player's favorite band and he seemed stoked on it. It will be the first tour I've ever done that is all clubs.

DoC: If you could tour with any band, past or present, who would it be?

I'd love to tour with the early 70's era Mothers [of Invention] before Zappa was pushed off the stage.

DoC: Frank Zappa is cited as a big influence on Violent Opposition. What aspects of his music do you draw on? What would you say Zappa's music has in common grindcore/power violence? For anyone not familiar with him, what albums would recommend as starting points?

I like the freedom to play any genre and explore any topic. I like to laugh, explore the darkness, express angst, and challenge the status quo. I like art and expression.

I'm not sure what Zappa has in common with grind and PV. I don't really think about that.

I'd recommend Roxy and Elsewhere for the metal heads and We're Only In It For The Money for the punks.

DoC: You have quite an extensive discography on Bandcamp, and it's all available as "name your price" downloads. How do you feel about Bandcamp as a platform? What, if anything, would you improve about it?

I don't have much opinion of Bandcamp. I mostly use Youtube to listen to music.

DoC: What's in the future for Violent Opposition?

Remixing, mastering, and re-releasing the first album in September. Got material for 3 new EPs to record in September. Just got cassettes for the split with Sidetrack. Got cassettes of the newest album, Reboot. Getting CDs of Utopia/Dystopia printed around September, too. On a US tour all summer - 101 dates. Just finished the western US and on our way through the South now. Heading up to the Northeast and Midwest after. Working on new albums for next year, a European tour and a Canadian tour.

Violent Opposition on Facebook

Violent Opposition on Bandcamp

Violent Opposition Live Dates: 

Fri 1: San Francisco - Thee Parkside
Thu 7: San Jose - xbar
Fri 8: LA - The Blvd
Sat 9: Phoenix - Cornish Pasty Co
Sun 10: Tucson - Hotel Congress
Mon 11: Las Cruces - Saba Wear
Tue 12: El Paso - Apt 215
Wed 13: San Antonio - The Guillotine
Thu 14: Harlingen - The Hop Shop
Fri 15: Houston - La Playa
Sat 16: New Orleans - Poor Boys
Sun 17: Pensacola - Chizuko
Mon 18: Talahassee -?
Tue 19: Orlando -?
Wed 20: Miami - Churchills
Thu 21: St Petersburg - Fubar
Fri 22: Gainsville - The Wooley
Sat 23: Jacksonville - Shantytown
Sun 24: Savanah -?
Mon 25: Atlanta -The Bakery
Tue 26: Birmingham - The Firehouse
Wed 27: Nashville - House show
Thu 28: Memphis -?
Fri 29: Little Rock -Vino's Pizza
Sat 30: Dallas - Renos

Sun 1: OKC - Snug Lounge
Mon 2:  Clovis-?
Tue 3: Santa Fe - The Cave
Wed 4: Albuquerque - Moonlight Lounge
Thu 5: Co Springs - Triple Nickle
Fri 6: ?
Sat 7: SLC- Dis House
Sun 8: Reno- ?
Wed 18: Chico
Thu 19: Portland - Cobra Lounge
Fri 20: Olympia
Sat 21: Spokane
Sun 22: Missoula
Mon 23: Great Falls
Tue 24: Bozeman - The Zebra Lounge
Wed 25: Bismark - Rhythm Records
Thu 26: Fargo - The Nestor
Fri 27: Minneapolis -Rostamos Bar
Sat 28: Appleton - The Rad Pad
Sun 29: Madison
Mon 30: Milwaukee
Tue 31: Dekalb

Wed 1: Chicago
Thu 2: Grand Rapids
Fri 3: Detroit - Trumbullplex
Sat 4: Ann Arbor
Sun 5: Cleveland
Mon 6: Buffalo
Tue 7: Rochester
Wed 8: Johnson City - Avenue DIY
Thu 9: Vermont - The Plot
Fri 10: New Hampshire
Sat 11: Boston - Grayskull
Sun 12: Rhode Island - Alchemy
Mon 13: Conecticut
Tue 14:
Wed 15: NY
Thu 16: NJ
Fri 17: Philidelphia
Sat 18: Baltimore - Side Bar
Sun 19: Richmond - Strange Matter
Mon 20: Raleigh - The Bunker
Tue 21: Knoxville
Wed 22: Louiseville
Thu 23: Cincinnati
Fri 24: Lima - The Leather Shop
Sat 25: Indianapolis - The Glory Hub
Sun 26: St Louis
Mon 27: Columbia - PDM
Tue 28: Omaha
Wed 29: Witchita
Thu 30: OKC
Fri 31: Santa Fe

Sat 1: Flagstaff
Sun 2: LV - Garth

Aging Like a Fine Grind:

Mixtape 49:
Rotten Sound
an interview with
Mixtape 42: