Interview/Album Review: PI$$ER – Crushed Down To Paste


“The reviews of Crushed Down to Paste have been fantastic,” declares James Domestic, the driving force behind PI$$ER. (No pressure then.) Their latest mini-album has indeed been extensively well-received, but rather than bask in the praise, Domestic has already constructed the band’s next moves: “The next record is written and demoed and it’s pretty fucking wild.” It’s a laden statement, as those who are already familiar with PI$$ER have revelled in the band’s innovation and ‘quirkiness’. “People seem to be really picking up on that and enjoying it,” he continues, “Because it’s primarily a studio band, I can let my imagination run riot really. There’s not a ‘mission statement’ in terms of something rigidly documented, but there’s a desire to do things differently.”

For those unfamiliar, PI$$ER features members of (amongst others) Doom, Anti-Cimex, Sore Throat, The Shitty Limits, Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man, Personnel, Wolfhour, Beat The Red Light, Bring The Drones and Unicorn Fart Sugar. (Breathe.) Domestic himself is spread across quite a few of them: I’m kind of lucky that I get to take several different approaches in my bands – Tokyo Lungs is just straight up US-style hardcore, PI$$ER is the kind of ‘no limits’ band and The Domestics sits somewhere towards the middle of that continuum.  Cabro was just to see if I can make a convincing raw punk tape singing in Spanish; Dis-Tank is exactly what you would imagine it is.”

Pi$$ER is my ‘vision’ I suppose – I write and demo all the songs at home, but the instruments are really tools for me to write on; I’ve always thought of them that way I recruited these guys because they’re all great at what they do and are good people.  I send the demos to the others and they hopefully learn them before we meet up in the studio; they really bring it to life and will sometimes add little touches here and there. We’ve yet to rehearse! We have literally never rehearsed together at all.”

So what does that sound like? “We all have extremely broad tastes in music. I kind of see PI$$ER as having a d-beat chassis – I mean when you have members of Doom and Anti-Cimex involved that’s gonna be an integral part. On top of that chassis pretty much anything goes. I’d been wanting to do something truly different and free of the usual touchstones for a few years. It’ll always be underpinned by d-beat and hardcore, even if it does veer off into other territory. We’re integrating a lot of different influences into the d-beat/hardcore framework; from soul, dub, bands like Flipper or No Trend, John Cooper Clarke, The Budos Band, Magazine, Cardiacs, The Fall, Voidod, E.S.G., Sun Children Sun, NoMeansNo, NEU! as well a multitude of US, Japanese and Swedish hardcore bands old and new. There have been punk and hardcore bands over the years that have used sax before, but when I listen to them they’re not using it in the same way at all.”


Yup, sax. (Courtesy of Eddie O’Toole)

Which, coincidentally, opens ‘Crushed Down To Paste’ itself. ‘Jazz Wasps’ is buzz and flutter and almost-free-form verse. “Clear out your holes..” gargles Domestic, almost as if to prepare the listener for the oncoming auditory offensive. ‘Time’ then rips in with immediacy – Charlie Claesson batters away, while Bri Doom and Matt Woods hack at their strings (and find time within the less-than-2-minutes runtime to absolutely shred out a solo). It’s hard and direct, but the layer of sax adds that idiosyncratic edge. And it’s fun. ‘Panning for Gold’ maintains the pace. There’s a juxtaposition within the buoyant ska-tinged sax and the nihilistic lyrical content: “Hopes are raised and dashed again.” Closing out Side A is ‘Problem’, Domestic’s voice booming and echoing, punctuated by Rhodes’s bass stabs. Then the aural assault takes over; gloriously. Side B introduces itself by way of ‘Job’ – the incessant whirr of guitar garnished with sax stings persists, and lingers through ‘Nazi Rhythm’, and its storming outro. Closing the album at 5+ minutes is ‘Dance In The Light Of Your Burning Bridges’ – hinting at something..coarsely..melodic? Something listeners could expect from the new album? “Way more instrumentation, still fast and hard in the main, but incorporating even more influences.  pronounces Domestic gleefully.

Like dense d-beat mixed with sonic sax savagery? ‘Crushed Down To Paste’ is available through Domestic’s own Kibou Records and also TNS Records. PI$$ER can be followed via their Facebook page.