Interviews

Confessions of the gorenoise superman (back and forth with Adam Rotella)

As I continue with my exposition of gorenoise, this obscure sub-sub-subgenre of extreme musick, one name (OK, actually three names initially, but one person has declined to be interviewed, and that wish has to be respected) has popped up in almost every conversation with gorenoise artists and fans – Adam Rotella, the famous founder of gorenoise and the mind behind Anal Birth and other gorenoise projects/bands.

Now, you would suppose I’d write Adam and conduct an interview, right? Well, you’re correct! I didn’t know if such a famous person will reply to someone unknown like me, and although it was not easy to get in touch with him (at least not for me), I’ve managed to shoot him an e-mail and I’ve been happy to see the affirmation from the man himself to do the intie.

And here it is! Adam Rotella from Anal Birth! All hail the king of gorenoise!

Hello, Adam, and thanks for your time conducting this interview. How are you doing these days? Anything interesting in your personal life and the life of the underground extreme musician?

What’s up! Not much interesting lately! Just working like a slave, watching gory movies, and playing some grind and noise when I have time. Not much else lately.

While I was researching the topic of gorenoise, Anal Birth and your person on the net, I came across one page and this quote has stuck with me: “From my personal experience, the people who make gorenoise tend to be shitty people: drug addicts, unemployed losers, and even the occasional authentic sociopath. On that same aforementioned ghost town of a Myspace page, Adam Rotella mentions how he can’t mail out a bunch of CDs on his tradelist because he got evicted from his apartment and had to shack up at a homeless shelter until he found a new living situation. The only job I’ve seen him mention: janitor. If you have something to give the world, you don’t make this kind of music. If you make gorenoise, chances are that you’re human garbage and you like it that way. Actually listening to it doesn’t make you much better. This isn’t a judgment- just reality. I have no qualms about saying that if you have any connection to this style of music, there’s something fundamentally wrong with you.”

Now, I have my own reservations about such claims, but what’s your view on such acussations and statements? What’s your take on such a negative attitude towards gorenoise even from the extreme musick circles?

It’s just ignorance pure and simple. I wouldn’t care much if it was directed at just me because yeah I’ve had battles with alcoholism, spent lots of time homeless, jobless, in and out of rehabs, etc. so I’m used to people not thinking much of me and I don’t care, but to just assume every fan of gorenoise is just a lowlife scum because of what they listen to is just pure IGNORANCE. It’s funny too because my best friend fired back at this guy saying that I’ve had my problems but I’m one of the most hardworking people he knows. Otherwise I don’t let this type of stuff bother me. I’ve got WAY bigger problems even living a sober better life.

Well, it’s quite a common knowledge now gorenoise has traced its roots to 1996 with your project Anal Birth. But, before we jump to the topic of this band of yours, let me ask you – what was the music upbringing of Adam Rotella? Which bands and records have guided you on the way to the gorenoise? If you can pintpoint some seminal stuff as a starter?

The first band I ever really had a thing for is probably Guns N Roses when I heard their first album when I was 10. A year later, I was already listening to harder stuff like Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Exodus, etc. Then I listened to Reign In Blood by SLAYER the same year and was blown away by the nonstop speed and heaviness! When I was 12/13 I heard Forgotten Past by DEATH and that was my first taste of death metal! I fell in love with the crazy vocals! It was like listening to a horror movie. I would get further blown away when I bought 2 tapes: scum by Napalm Death and the Grindcrusher compilation! My introduction to grind and noisecore! When I was 14 I started going to local shows and that introduced me to underground music and noise! Then by writing and ordering tapes from obscure bands, I got into all kinds of underground grind, noise, death metal, etc! So many great bands led me to start doing gorenoise! My very main influences at the time were Last Days Of Humanity, Anal Cunt, and Dead Infection!

Have you been in any other bands before forming Anal Birth? What was the motivation behind the decision to start “noisecore minus the humor” as you’ve put it? Can you recall any interesting initial reactions (negative or positive) to the first material of Anal Birth?

There were no real serious bands before starting Anal Birth. A couple failed attempts at bands with friends and some one man projects that never did more than 2 demos. The initial reactions to Anal Birth were mostly “What the fuck is this?? Every song sounds exactly the same!” Not using humor wasn’t me against humor at all. I liked humor noisecore bands. I just didn’t think it would fit with the dark, gory subject matter.

Adam Rotella

It was mentioned you also play (or have played) in two bands – goregrind band Mountain of Filth and hardcore Worse Than Ever. That tells me you are not antagonistic towards different styles, are you? What quality does any genre/style need to have to pick up your curiousity?

Mountain Of Filth was a short lived Goregrind band with me on vocals, Will on drums, and our friend Dan on bass. Dan couldn’t make practices so we just stopped. Worse Than Ever was a hardcore band I did with a good friend of mine, my brother, and my cousin. My friend and guitarist Bryan died suddenly so we decided not to go on without him. Me doing a band it just has to be raw, brutal as fuck, and fun to play in.

Continuing from the previous questions, although it may seem you don’t have to know to play any instruments to create gorenoise (or any other kind of noise for that matter), playing in “normal” bands is a totally different matter. What instruments do you play and how did you pick them up? Self-taught or some classes/courses?

Vocals are the only thing I’ve ever really practiced and been “good” at. Any other instruments are always improvised and never took a single lesson. I’m actually less talented now that I was at 13 and I’m fine with it. I usually just make raw disgusting noise anyway.

Can you recall the initial spread of gorenoise? Although it’s probably a stretch to talk about “old school”/”new school” in gorenoise, what bands/projects can you mention who started to follow you on the path you, so to speak, “illuminate”?

I developed a really bad drinking problem towards the end of Anal Birth in 2001 and I think at that point gorenoise was just starting to get noticed and there were barely any gorenoise projects. After a big blurr, I am going online one day in 2007 and all the sudden there are TONS of gorenoise projects and a lot of them are naming ME as an influence. It’s still weird to me. I guess the difference is nothing is really underground anymore. The whole worldwide web and super easy accessibility to everything has really changed things. I’m some kind of mini celebrity because I made noise in the 90s Things are WAY different now. Nobody cared about gorenoise in the 90s and now it’s a recognized genre! Crazy! There are so many that are influenced by me I could make a huge list! A lot of people blow it off as another trend but I still like finding new projects and making new noise of my own when I can.

Anal Birth is one-man project. Did you envision it as such, or is it one-man just out of necessity? I mean, didn’t you want to play/compose gorenoise stuff with similarly-minded folks?

I started Anal Birth as just a fun side project to just go nuts with constant blasts and vomiting growls. By the second demo it had just become a more serious main focus. I did eventually do recordings through the mail with other like minded people but it would be with my next projects.

Anal Birth – Stillborn Infant Breastfeeding 2016 tape release

The last release, as far as I can find the info about, was “Stillborn Infant Breastfeeding” from 2016. Going on for 20 years is an incredible feat in itself, there’s no doubt about it, but – does Anal Birth still exist? With the obvious popularity of gorenoise in recent years, does it fuel your creativity, or – on the contrary – you feel the scene is getting “crowded”?

Anal Birth / Gruesome Toilet split 2016

I did my last Anal Birth recording in 2016 for a split with Gruesome Toilet not too long after stillborn breastfeeding. I first stopped the project in 2001 but brought it back shortly from 2014-2016. It’s dead for good now. The scene has been crowded for a while, but I try to keep up with it. It’s hard.

You remember the good old days of tape trading. With the Internet making many things available with one click (figuratively, but in many cases literally speaking), did you miss the days of snail mail?

I’m old enough that I was just able to catch the ass end of tape trading and yeah it was a great time. Just having some random band from somewhere ask to trade demos, then you do it plus add some other band’s demo to let them check it out to. Piles of ads for demos, etc that looked good. Yeah I do miss it. I’ve come to accept the new way but really miss the old.

Regurgitated Corpse demo

The tape format has never actually disappear from the underground. What’s your opinion on releasing stuff on different formats? What about digital platforms? In your opinion, does digital streaming, Youtube availability etc., kill the essence of the underground?

Underground itself has been gone a long time, but there are some people who have a love and respect of the old way. I’m not against digital platforms, I just decide to stay a stubborn old fuck and do things as close to the old way as I can, but I have to use some technology I just have no choice. I am definitely not too technologically inclined and I’m perfectly fine with that. If I hear something I really like on some digital platform I’ll always see if I can get a physical version somehow. I also try not to give kids shit about it and understand they weren’t raised on demo tapes and printed zines like I was.

With the avalanche of the bands/projects in recent years, do you still follow the scene and its development? If so, any favourites you might to consider to mention for our readers to check out?

I try to but it’s hard. With so many bands and so little time. I do my best though. Anything Bobby Maggard and Bob Macabre put out always rules! There’s so many and my memory is completely shot right now, but there’s tons of projects. If I’m on Reddit I’ll check out a subreddit they have: r/Gorenoise and I’ll find a lot of newer projects on there.

I am sure that many late-comers would like to know – any plans of re-releasing the long OOP material as some boxset?

Mick from Nuclear Abominations will be releasing the full ANAL BIRTH discography if I can get off my lazy fucking ass and remix some tracks. My slave labor job takes up too much of my day. I really need to set aside some time to get this going so this poor guy doesn’t have to wait any longer.

Nuclear Abomination Records logo

And mentioning plans… what’s in store for Adam Rotella in the near future? What stuff we can expect from you?

My current gorenoise projects, Liquified Insides and Wormclogged Blisters are still semi-active and I started a new Goregrind project Low Budget Splattergore but it’s all slow going right now.

The important part of the existence of the Rubber Axe webzine, and, actually, the reason for its existence per se, is to support the artists and promote them and their creations to the world. Before we’re gonna finish this nice interview, are there any labels, distros, bands, project you would like to give a shout out to?

Shoutouts to Regurgitated Stoma Stew Productions, Bob Macabre, Andrea Laurenti, Josh Dahne, Embryo, Ray Rivera, Mick (Nuclear Abominations), Sean Lambert, Colton Pickles, Alex Metas (always sending me new sick noise and grind of yours! It all rules!), Charlie Infection, William Smith (day 1 road dog), and so many more! Sorry I haven’t been around more!

Many thanks, Adam, for your time in replying to this interview! Any final message to the readers of our webzine?

Thanks a lot for this interview! I really appreciate it! Don’t be a lazy unorganized fuck like me, do what you love doing, fuck what other people think, and have fun doing it! Noise, filth, and gore you fucks! Thanks!

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Rudolf Schütz

A father to two little perpetuum mobiles called kids, Rudolf is a main force behind The Rubber Axe webzine, a bookworm, musick lover and a movie fan - not to mention his virgin forays into the comics and board/card games.

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