Every few years, a band releases an album that will change the face of music. Typically this is because of its music. But it is the manner in which Reclamation Process, the latest album from The Rise, is being released that is garnering them so much attention. Cory Kilduff discusses the band's new album, file-sharing, politics, and more in this SPB exclusive interview.
ScenePointBlank: What's your name, and what do you do in The Rise?
Cory: I'm Cory and I sing and do electronics.
ScenePointBlank: I've found describing the music that The Rise performs to be a rather difficult task; you don't exactly fit well into any one niche. How would you describe The Rise to someone that hasn't heard you before?
Cory: I usually tell my parents and their friends we are screamy rock-n-roll. They don't really have any other context to put it in. To a lot of younger people I say we are screamy hardcore with electronics.
ScenePointBlank: You guys have a new full-length out, Reclamation Process, which is free with the latest issue of Law of Inertia Magazine. The manner in which it was released is undeniably ahead of its time. What were the motivating factors for releasing the album in this manner?
Cory: We felt like labels were sort of holding us hostage to touring and our contracts. After we put out the Ferret release and we started meeting with more labels, including major labels. They were asking us to tour anywhere from six to nine months a year or else they wouldn't work with us. And for us, this wasn't realistic and it really wasn't fair. At least half of us have fiancés or wives and if we toured nine months a year, they would leave us. It's just not worth it. And so, the other part of that is they're asking us to sacrifice our normal lives, what would be pursuing of a normal happiness... a family, a career, things like that. So, in losing all of that stuff, we get a gamble of being able to make a living off of our band. But the people asking us to do this, the people at the labels, they don't really risk anything. They get their salary, they get to keep their jobs, they have a home life, and they get to start a family. And if touring doesn't work out for us, if a tour fails and we don't make a lot of money, it doesn't necessarily hurt them. And so, it's basically asking us to gamble everything and give up everything that would constitute normal life while they don't sacrifice anything. We thought we should suggest an alternative plan to what labels offer.
ScenePointBlank: Were there any specific bands or albums that influenced the writing of Reclamation Process?
Cory: We were coming off tour with Snapcase and I'm sure that influenced us some. Other than that we were listening to a lot of Daft Punk, Pink Floyd, The Sleepytime Trio, and talk radio
ScenePointBlank: Was the writing process for the new full-length different from Signal to Noise?
Cory: We had basically written Signal to Noise with playing live in mind. We'd just get together and write 5 or 6 songs so we could start playing shows. Reclamation Process was written while we were home and not in a live practice setting. The majority was written in my apartment on a laptop. We would record little bits of guitar and keyboards and then move them around and adding parts. Then we would take that stuff to the studio sometimes re-recording it but sometimes leaving the stuff we came up with at the apartment in the final versions. It was a very liberating way to write. Everybody would sort of grab instruments and record a little bit in and then hand off. The result for some of the songs is that we've never played some of these songs ever. They were all written in a studio.
ScenePointBlank: Will the album eventually be available for conventional purchasing?
Cory: I don't think any label would release it after we give away 60,000 copies for free. Also it seems a little hypocritical after everything we've said. The most I think we'll do is put it on the iTunes store.
ScenePointBlank: The Rise recently emerged from an extended hiatus, are there any plans to hit the road in support of the new effort?
Cory: Not as of yet. Everybody is sort of doing other things right now. Stuart lives in DC and is going to law school. Jimmy lives in England and is playing in a metal band called The Vs Project. Danny plays in ...Trail of Dead. Kemble plays in Juliette Lewis and The Licks. I do graphic design and play in Ocelot Mthrfckrs with Jimmy and Ben has a baby.
ScenePointBlank: One thing that obviously set you guys apart from the majority of bands is your incorporation of electronics? How did this initially come to be? Was it part of the mission of The Rise when you formed?
Cory: It was always there. We knew we didn't want to play chugs and we didn't give a shit about moshing or breakdowns. So it was obvious we wanted to try something a little different. I was already into a lot of electronica so it seemed natural to try and add it in. It was very crude in the beginning, Rhodes pianos, 4-tracks and bulky sequencers on stage with us. We were basically developing a method of how they would work with us. I think we have it pretty down now.
ScenePointBlank: What exactly is Texas the reason for?
Cory: Texas is the Reason (that the president is dead)
ScenePointBlank: What are your inspirations, both musically and lyrically? Are there any specific books, political movements, current events, etc... that you consider to have a major impact on your music/lyrics?
Cory: While I was writing this record I was hopelessly addicted to right wing talk radio. I was watching entirely too much Fox News and reading a few books. The one that had the most impact was Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken.
ScenePointBlank: Cliché question: what is your dream concert?
Cory: At the Drive-In, Atari Teenage Riot, Squarepusher, The Bee Gees, and Pink Floyd
ScenePointBlank: The underground music scene, particularly hardcore has seen quite an increase in attention since you put out your first full-length. Where do you see the state of underground music going in the next few years?
Cory:> I think right now it is getting watered down. Being in the "indie scene" used to carry an identity with it. But the influx of right wing ideals, Christianity and major labels is destroying what being punk actually means. I think it's a pretty sad state when someone says "I play in a punk rock band" and they could be a pro-life, anti-gay, Christian, George Bush supporter. I think if a lot of people don't watch it we will be dissolved into mainstream culture and counter-culture will no longer apply.
ScenePointBlank: File-sharing and illegal music downloading is all the rage these days. Would you consider yourself to be an advocate or adversary of illegal music downloading? Do you feel it hurts or helps artists in the end?
Cory: I'm all for it. I think if you give kids a great record and your band has credibility they will buy it sometimes. I think it helps smaller bands get their music out. When I was a kid all the music stores flipped out about how home-taping was killing the music industry. Now people are saying that about mp3s. The difference is that now it is killing the rich music industry but indie labels are thriving. Unfortunately, record stores are closing in record numbers. But things are changing and I think for the better. Faced with a crisis, major labels don't try any new strategies or price negotiations; they just sue 12 year olds. They've left themselves little room to adapt. It's about time for those labels and rock stars in general to be taken down a peg or two in society anyway. They make and then waste so much money and it all comes down to the consumer in the end.
ScenePointBlank: We just had ourselves and election. What are your thoughts on the re-election of George W. Bush, the banning of gay-marriages in many states, and the possibility of a Roe v. Wade reversal?
Cory: It's been a sad week. I asked a kid the other day that said he was against gay marriages why he was. He started in on some words about The Bible. I told him we don't all accept The Bible so you can't use that to legislate. And then I asked him if gay people were allowed to get married how that would affect his life personally. He said it wouldn't at all, but that he still doesn't think they should be allowed to. Unfortunately our culture doesn't lend itself to nurture the most informed and educated people.
ScenePointBlank: Austin, Texas is a fairly liberal metropolis. I was quite a fan of the smoking-ban that the city had instituted in bars/venues/restaurants throughout the city. Being based out of Austin, what do you think of living in such an open-minded city?
Cory: I grew up in Dallas which is almost the exact opposite of Austin. When I got here I was like holy shit, these are my people (with exception to the hippies). There are so many ways to be active here and work on issues and get very informed. The best part about Austin is the music scene. The difference I've noticed is that it isn't as divided off as other scenes. All the bands play together regardless of style and play in side bands totally unlike their main band. The people who come to shows are the same. Our crowds consist of punk kids, hardcore kids, indie rock kids. It really does feel like more of a community here.
ScenePointBlank: What is your favorite album in your collection?
Cory: Ok I can't just pick one so I'll give you my top 3. I had to think of this in term of if I could only listen to 3 records for the rest of my life: Cap'n Jazz - Analphabetapolotholgy, Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon, and Squarepusher - Ultravisitor.
ScenePointBlank: You are currently working on a couple of side-projects, what can you tell us about them?
Cory: I mentioned a few above. As for me specifically: Jimmy and I do a group called Ocelot Mthrfckrs. It's basically what happened when we were working on the last record. We started having all this electronic stuff that didn't fit on The Rise record and we were just shelving it. Then Snapcase called us and asked us to remix a song of theirs. So we did and it was a lot of fun. So we had this idea to do a full hardcore remix record, started calling around and got a few bands onboard like Elliott, Throwdown, The Aka's, At All Cost, and more. We decided an all hardcore remix record was a little too novelty, so we are putting some originals on it as well now. We just started shopping it to labels to see what people think. Eventually we want to do movie scores and stuff.
ScenePointBlank: In your spare time, you also do your fair share of graphic design work. What was your first project that you ever did? What is the project that you are most proud of? What are you currently working on for the future?
Cory: I was always doing flyers and shirts for my bands and stuff, so it came pretty naturally. I was going to school for music theory, but it was really taking my enjoyment out of it so I stopped. I realized design was something I could do for hours and not get bored so I went back to school for that. I started doing some other stuff for Ferret and then Portland asked me to do Sons of Nero with him. That's when things really kicked off for me. My favorite layouts I have done are the Boys Night Out CD where we dunked Stuart's head in ice-water and shot all the photos, also the Scraps and Heart Attacks layout and Fordirelifesake layouts. I always enjoy doing shirts for Dillinger Escape Plan because they let me do just about anything. As of now I'm focusing on Law of Inertia Magazine. I took the position of art director there a few issues ago and we're not yet where we need to be but I suspect I'll switch to that full time after the New Year.
ScenePointBlank: If you could live the life of any Bill Murray character, which would it be and why?
Cory: Carl Spackler from "Caddyshack." Just to live the simple life and occasionally blow things up with clay animals.
ScenePointBlank: What bands are you currently listening to frequently? What bands would you recommend to others?
Cory: The United States of Electronica, Blind Guardian, Chromeo, Phoenix, Pharaoh Overlord, Squarepusher, Jimmy Eat World, Constance, Elliott Smith, El-P, Jay-Z, Interpol, Dntel, that enough?
ScenePointBlank: Any last words?
Cory: Thanks for the interview. If anyone is having a hard time finding the magazine, check out our website: The Rise. I will be posting alternative means of getting the CD there. Also if you live in England, a vinyl version is being pressed right now.
Click here for Scene Point Blank's review of Reclamation Process.
Interview and layout by Michael.