Dirty, Dirgy Motherfuckers
CoC chats with Chris Edmonds of Leechmilk
by: Adrian Bromley
The world is full of a lot of surprises, isn't it?

Just when you think you a music scene has somewhat become stagnant, a band like Atlanta, Georgia's Leechmilk comes along and adds some intensity and solid dirge-like atmosphere into the mix.

While the band's split CD with Ohio's Sofa King Killer, titled _Guilty of Sloth / Crusty Mother Fuckn Rock and Roll_ (on Tee Pee Records) may not be that well-known right now (though a slight buzz has erupted), it will catch on if all things go properly for this band. Good word of mouth and live shows will no doubt propel this band into the spotlight. Who knows? Maybe this interview in Chronicles of Chaos might just do the trick. I can only hope.

While there are a lot of bands nowadays that play this sludge/doom kind of music, rarely does any of them exude as much emotion as this band does. Other bands seem to go through the motions, while Leechmilk makes an effort to deliver the goods in a blinding fury. Where does that emotional factor come from?

"That's very kind of you", starts guitarist Chris Edmonds about my comments of the band's material. "The difference may be due to how long we have been doing this. I am from the New Orleans area originally and have been playing this music for ten years. None of our pre-Leechmilk bands amounted to much, because there was so little interest from the industry side of things. The newer bands may have missed the early days when the excitement and impact of this music was more obvious. In recent years, sludge/doom or whatever has been diluted quite a bit from its original form. The style that we play is very stripped down and hopefully more intense, especially in a live setting."

Listening to the music of Leechmilk, as you can do with almost any band out there right now, the influences are obvious. Edmonds lets CoC know what bands helped fuel the sound of Leechmilk.

"We all [the band is rounded out by drummer Charr, singer Greg Hess and singer Dan Caycedo -- Adrian] grew up on Slayer, Black Sabbath, Discharge and basic thrash metal stuff. That was a big influence. We fell in love with all the Southern bands right away. Bands like Dead Horse, Crowbar, EYEHATEGOD, Buzzoven and Harvey Milk were and still are heroes to us. I think it still shows in our sound. We get canned as an EYEHATEGOD band pretty often, which is hard to take but also a compliment. I would like anyone that says that to point out one single blues riff in any of our music. I try to steal from lots of different people, not just one single source. For Christ's sake, I may be a scumbag, but I ain't lazy."

So how does Edmonds feel about being pigeonholed as a sludge/doom band? Does it bother him?

Blurts Edmonds, "It bothers the fuck out of me. The thing about being labeled like that is that it does drive off potential interest in our music. People feel safe when they can mentally store things away in that manner. They feel safer and more secure knowing that nothing is getting by them. They will not be able to hold that feeling very long with this band. There are many surprises yet to come."

There has been a buzz about the band -- do you notice that? "We have heard that", answers Edmonds, "but we don't really know if it's true or not. It's hard to get an honest assessment when you're in the band."

How about reading record reviews, how do you respond to those?

"The reviews can be difficult. We have only had a few really bad ones. Those I can laugh at pretty easily. The ones that really piss me off are when they [reviewers] form opinions and it seems like they really never even listened to the music. A lot of the more political zines despise us immediately because we don't play their little game. They slag us off because we don't print lyrics for them to inspect to see if we fit their agenda. Fuck that! We will never print lyrics now! We feel like it's no one's fucking business what we say. We don't say it for them anyway."

While on the topic of songwriting, I ask Edmonds: does popular culture and/or news inspire the material, or does it come from personal experiences?

"It's all from personal experience. Sometimes outside events will forge those experiences, but musically it's all personal", he explains.

"Our music and lyrics are more of an exposure of scars both physical and mental, it's like this is what makes us tick, what about you? We don't feel that we should respond to current events or speak down to the listener. We despise arrogance and you really have to be a real prick to think as a musician your opinion means shit to anybody. People don't need to be told how to think. They do need someone to provide them with an hour or so of fun. We try to do our best in that regard."

And how has the band evolved since the early days up to now?

"We have slowed down quite a bit. We were always slow but we had more fast parts. The dooming down was more of an unconscious slide than anything else", he reveals. "We are really influenced by the Swedish hardcore and dis-core type stuff as much as we are by doom. We have lost our way to a degree, and we will be returning to our earlier sound soon enough. That is not to say that we won't be dropping the bricks. We will always play slow."

Seeing that I have already worn this new split CD out, I'm already looking for new Leechmilk material. The questions of when can we expect new material from Leechmilk?, how does the material sound?, any new ideas you experimenting with?, etc. get thrown out to the singer, who responds: "You can expect it to be heavy as hell. The new material will be the definition of Leechmilk. We will have the time and support we need. We will release the next album and it will set the standard as how we are perceived as a band."

He ends, "Everything up to this point has been coming from a different place. We really feel like our backs are against the wall this time and we are going to come out swinging like a motherfucker."

(article submitted 14/1/2002)

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