More Pain: Justin Pearson (The Locust) & Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) Get Grindy on EP

Justin Pearson (The Locust, Swing Kids, Planet B) and Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) first collaborated as members of Head Wound City, releasing a self-titled EP in 2006, and an excellent album, A New Wave of Violence, a decade later. The connection continues with More Pain, a project that finds the two musicians going full-on grind. "I think we were both fans of each of our bands at the time," Justin tells me about first meeting Nick. "He was into The Locust and I was into the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. We ended up doing a US tour together soon after we met and then our friendship developed from there."

More Pain's forthcoming debut self-titled EP is an ugly affair, ripping with short bursts of speed, thrash riffs, and gnarly vocals. If this was 1991, Earache or Peaceville would have been all over it. It's interesting because most people that know Nick from his work in the Yeah Yeah Yeahs probably wouldn't expect such brutality. "He's a closeted but not so closeted metalhead," Justin explains. "I think the first time I ever read any press about the Yeah Yeah Yeahs was this thing in a metal magazine on Nick and his favorite metal bands. I thought it was an odd article, and even odder than he mentioned The Locust on that list. And with those oddities, I knew he was on the level. And when we all got together to work on Head Wound City stuff over the years, it was easy and natural. He's a brilliant musician and with that being said, he's also genuine and honest with his playing and writing.

"You might find people in this world that are into metal, want to be metal, and then try to play metal. That can be forced and might not lend way for something that is unique. Where a dude from the Yeah Yeahs Yeahs ripping on thrash music seems pretty out there, in a great way."

Justin's own Three One G will be releasing More Pain as a limited edition X-RAY flexi disc as well as digitally later this week, but No Echo got an early stream for you below:

I ask Justin how Nick described the musical tracks that ended up becoming More Pain before he sent them to him for his vocals. "He had initially asked me to sing on some thrash music for a film score. I trust Nick and signed up before I heard the tracks. When I got them, they were much more crude sounding than I expected them to be. But they felt pretty natural to me, since I grew up with bands like Jenny Piccolo, Crossed Out, etc. The songs were very much in line with stuff I am familiar with. I mean one of the songs is 17 seconds long."

Justin and Nick performing with Head Wound City at the Casbah, San Diego, CA, 2015. (Photo: Dan Rawe)

I was curious if Justin approached the lyrics for this project with a very specific “More Pain” direction in mind. What I mean is, even before he heard the music, did he have a clear vibe/spirit he wanted to nail? "No. I wish there was more effort or direction put into what we did. But as much as mapping things out is cool, just seeing how things pan out is also good at times. It comes off as a bit more natural or organic that way. It was like, 'Here are some songs, write something that seems fitting to them, and then what are we calling this project?' Nick suggested calling it More Pain, and I pitched the X-Ray flexi idea and Brandon McMinn who is part of Three One G knocked out the design. 

"Oddly enough, Nick and I were talking about putting a live band together for this, but I think it would have been a lot of effort for very little activity. Interestingly enough, something did come of that idea, and I have a new project which is sort of in the More Pain vein that I'm working on now because of Nick's and my effort. Unfortunately Nick wasn't able to commit though. But More Pain did spawn something new, which will be coming out soon."

More Pain will be out on April 19 and can be pre-ordered via Three One G today.

Tagged: head wound city, more pain, planet b, retox, some girls, struggle, swing kids, the locust