Friday, April 28, 2017

Contra Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?
Chris: We are having our debut release "Deny Everything" on RobustFellow Productions. At the same time, we are playing some shows in the Cleveland / Akron area and writing some new tunes.

2.How would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recordings?
Chris: Metal. To add some color to that we have a lot of different influences such as rock, punk, sludge, doom, hardcore.
Larry:  Yeah, definitely metal.  I think the rock influences are more evident than one might hear during the first or second listen. I’d like to start drawing on some more blues influences in the future.

3.In the beginning the music was all instrumental, what was the decision behind finally using vocals?
Chris: Thanks for asking that. We were playing as an instrumental for about a year or two when we decided we wanted to add another element to the band. We asked Larry because he great at what he does, it's different and we have all known him forever now.

4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
Chris: I'll leave that to Larry. However, all the song titles on Deny Everything are completely random since they were all made before Larry joined the band.
Larry: The only real question I consider when I am writing lyrics is whether or not they fit with the overall aesthetic of the music. Which can be difficult because a lot of people will just listen briefly, think we sound like a stoner/doom/sludge band and expect lyrics about wizards, warlords, dope and other bullshit. Which is fine - other people have covered that ground - I’m just not interested in that sort of thing. The lyrics are all personal. I guess you could say that they are angry, but there are a variety of themes that run throughout. I’m not that concerned with communicating specific ideas with listeners - I’d leave it up to them to interpret them how they see fit.

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Contra'?
Chris: One day we were all talking about what we should name the band. It took us a few months until one day we were talking about playing video games. We started talking about old school NES games and thought it would be cool to name our band after CONTRA.
Larry: Contra also means “against” or “opposite” in Latin. Which is why I thought “Deny Everything” was an appropriate title for the record - it’s also the name of my favorite Circle Jerks song...

6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Chris: There were two shows and they were both in Cleveland. One was with Acid King and the other was with Ufomammut. We have a couple more coming up that could possibly be even better than those. One is with CONAN and another RELAXER. The guitarist owns Earthquaker Devices in Akron, Ohio. I also used to play in a band (Sofa King Killer) with the drummer from RELAXER.

7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
Chris: We want to do something. We all really want to get on a big show, a festival type of thing. Then we were thinking about doing a short tour to and from wherever that would be. We would also like to do some weekend warrior shows around the Midwest or East Coast.

8.The new album is going to be released as a joint effort between 'Robustfellow Productions' and 'Shifty Records', can you tell us a little bit more about those labels?
Chris: RobustFellow Productions is from Kiev Ukraine. Filipp the guy who runs it is awesome. We are fortunate to be working with him. He goes beyond everything I was expecting. The artwork they do is really cool as well. Shifty Records from Akron, Ohio is joining the project as well to help us out with some distribution and other things relating to the release.

9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Chris: We like to mix it up. I have a ton of riffs saved on my phone so we can go in many different directions. It's just a matter of us getting the time to write new songs. I foresee a lot of more riffs influenced by Budgie, some Sabbath, maybe some Motorhead.
Larry: I’ve been listening to a lot of Budgie as well and Motorhead is always in heavy rotation.  But, I’d like to see more blues creep into what we’re doing as well.

10.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of stoner and doom metal?
Chris: It's been mixed but overall I think it has been positive.
Larry: It’s early, so it is hard to say. I agree with Chris. It’s probably mixed.  But, part of that is because a lot of folks put us into a stoner/doom category. I’m not really into those types of labels or sub-genres. I think “metal” is probably the most appropriate description for us in spite of the variety of influences in our music.

11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Chris: I mainly listen to Rock and Metal. I also listen to some sludge and doom as well. Lately it's been Dust, Cactus, Floor, Church of Misery and Witch Mountain.
Larry: Primarily the blues and a lot of hardcore punk. I go from listening to Leadbelly, Taj Mahal or Howlin’ Wolf to Negative Approach and SS Decontrol daily. There are a few other outliers as well like The Birthday Party, Morphine and Tom Waits.

12.What are some of your non musical interests?
Chris: I've been playing a lot of PS4 lately. I'm a big fan of gory zombie games. For a while I was playing a lot of 8 bit old school NES games like Contra, Street Fighter, Bad Dudes. I also create websites for a living.
Larry: I read a lot. Novels as well as comics. Jim Thompson is a favorite of mine. I watch a lot of the old Hammer Films from the 60’s and 70’s as well.

13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Chris: Thanks for giving us some time on here. Visit our website. It's a portal with links to our Facebook, Bandcamp, Merch and all other things.
Larry: Thanks!
Contra's website:

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