Deaf Club is a new band comprised of Justin Pearson (The Locust, Dead Cross, Planet B), Brian Amalfitano (ACxDC), Leo Ulfelder (Fissure), Scott Osment (Weak Flesh), and Jason Klein (Run with the Hunted). Yeah, with that lineup of musicians, the stylistic direction could have gone in a host of diffrent directions, but listening to their debut EP, Contemporary Sickness, the results are full-on grindy hardcore.
As far as comparing Deaf Club to Justin's past personal discography, I would say it’s pretty straight-forward in its delivery. Well, at least, in “Pearson World” it is. To me, it reminds me of the controlled chaos of Discordance Axis meets the spazzy-ness of Retox, one of his other bands. "Let’s see here… I can’t tell if I should be offended or appreciative," laughs Justin when I give my assessment of the musical situation.
"I mean, I will take the Discordance Axis mention, as I loved that band from the second I heard them in the early '90’s. They are one of my favorite bands and a legendary one at that. I just hope that I can avoid hearing that something I’m part of sounds the same as I something else, which is what I have heard from day one with people like my mom. But all jokes aside, I see where you are going with this. Deaf Club, sort of filled this strange place when it was put together."
Before you read on, take a listen to the entire Contemporary Sickness record in its entirety:
Justin explains who Deaf Club initially came together: "Going back a year or so, I worked on a film score with Nick Zinner. The film never came out, but Three One G ended up releasing the music we did together as More Pain. At some point, Zinner and I were talking about putting a live band together for that music and for obvious reasons, it just wasn’t feasible for him and I do at the time. But the gist of what I was trying to arrange as far as a line up, and even a musical direction to steer things in, were loosely tied to the stuff that Zinner and I did.
"But throwing in both Scott Osment (who is easily one of more technically proficient and brutal drummers out there) and Brian Amalfitano into the mix, it ended up creating what I would assume brings Deaf Club into the realm with something like Discordance Axis. And, at the time of Deaf Club becoming a band, Retox decided to cal it quits, so I think Deaf Club fell into that place in my world. And where something like Retox was starting to be less technically or less musically absurd, Deaf Club seemed to be going dead straight into technical and absurd, which is always cool with me."
Deaf Club’s grindy sound brings up something I’ve thought about in more recent years, which is the older I get, the pickier I am about that style of music. I ask Justin what his relationship is like with stuff that falls into the worlds of grindcore and power violence:
"I’m not a fan of terms like grindcore or power violence. I’ve heard that Eric Wood (Man is the Bastard) coined the term 'power violence,' and that the only bands that fit that description are the ones that he listed off in the Man is the Bastard Track, which I believe is from the spit with Crossed Out. I could be wrong, as MITB has a lot of releases and there have been a bunch of years between then and now. But I also have been told that stuff I’m part of, like The Locust, is 'false grindcore,' by bands like Insect Warfare. Interestingly enough, I’m not a fan of genres, or labels, especially in an attempt to describe music that I’m part of.
"I’d rather exist in a space that is a bit more open, and has the ability to breathe and do things differently if warranted. Being a music purist about a genre seems like a white person saying that their race is superior, when in fact you look a bit further and realize that Joe the skinhead is really Jose and he just hates his dad for being a dick and leaving the family (This comment is actually based on someone I knew as a kid who kicked my ass a few times). I’d rather not use conventional terms to explain music or art. It’s like asking someone to explain a joke and delivering the punchline without the set up.
"For instance, when I’m asked what kind of music I play, like at a grocery store, and the clerk looks at us on tour and assumes that we are not locals in Albertson's somewhere in Wyoming, and want to know what kind of music we play, I opt for more obscure genre yet accurate description, like 'annoying.' I’m just not a fan of trying to explain art. With all that being said, I’m grateful for what might be the first time for me, or at least a rare chance for me to sing in a band that has D-beat parts."
Since Justin is always writing lyrics for all of his projects, I want to know if he changes his mindset for each band. In other words, since Deaf Club is grindy, does he go about the lyrical themes differently than say, Planet B, a project that falls into a different stylistic world? "I think the topics, or lyrics are similar in what I do. But the delivery based on the structure of the music warrants it’s own thing. Where, stuff that Deaf Club writes for me to sing on is not practical in a musical sense. For instance, I often can’t find where one would consider the chorus to be, or there isn’t a typical or rational song structure to follow, as there would be in say Planet B, with is rooted more so in hip-hop that hardcore. However, both projects fit under the umbrella of 'annoying.'"
The last question I have for Justin was what topics he tackled on Contemporary Sickness: "Some of the lyrics are more metaphorical. Even when I use characters like God in the words I’m singing. I’d rather opt to get people to think a bit about the lyrics than spell things out if that is an option. I’m also a fan of confusing people or even getting tightly would people to become a bit more upset. But an over all thematic thing does exist in the material we put together. Where it might appear as mean, or aggressive, which it easily could be, it’s also a means of explaining progression, or hopefulness in some strange way.
"Poking fun and alluding to the arrogance of modern humanity might be an effective way to reach our collective goal. I can list off the topics that we are trying to convey, but I think it’s best left for the listener and/or reader to ponder the words and emotion that the music provides. I just hope that assholes don’t dig our band."
Contemporary Sickness will be released Oct. 4 on limited edition, specially printed vinyl via Three One G Records. The record will also be available digitally through all of the usual suspects.
Upcoming Deaf Club shows:
Oct. 4th - Los Angeles, CA @ The Factory w/ INUS, Graph Orlock
Oct. 6th - Las Vegas, CA @ Bunkhouse Saloon w/ Blast Flashes
Oct. 8th - San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar w/ The Gay Agenda, Oh Cult, Modern Love