Thursday, November 13, 2008

FOR THE SICK: On the Southern Nihilism Front with OUTLAW ORDER

OUTLAW ORDER 00%- Mike IX Williams

Interview for Unrestrained! Magazine

Kim Kelly

FOR THE SICK: On the Southern Nihilism Front with OUTLAW ORDER

New Orleans, Louisiana just might be the hottest place on earth. Not temperature-wise (though try walking down Bourbon Street on an August afternoon in jeans and a black longsleeve and see how much you like it) but moreso in terms of attitude. During the weekend I was there this past summer, I witnessed more warm hugs, sultry looks, heated barfights, and fervent consumption of alcohol (that Kentucky bourbon sure burns on the way down) than I’d seen in my hometown all year, and it goes without saying that their music scene is positively sizzling. The NOLA underground is famous for its tight-knit community of musicians and supporters, who between them have produced some of the best and most enduring albums the extreme metal world has ever seen. Anyone who’s ever soaked in the oppressive, heatstruck intensity of Crowbar, Buzzoven, Acid Bath, and Eyehategod knows just how potent, gripping, and sinfully heavy the New Orleans sound can be, and that that dirty, dopesick swamp sludge is unlikely to ever clean itself up or fade away. A true product of their environment, the battleworn dirt worshippers of Outlaw Order have arrived on the scene with a new full-length and a hell of a lot to say. The man behind the microphone - Mike IX Williams – was kind enough to shed some light on the inner workings of this infamous group of doomed souls and expound upon the virtues of non-virtuous behavior. Welcome to the end times.

“Outlaw Order came into being out of the boredom and frustration from being in EyeHateGod and idly waiting for Jimmy Bower to finish touring with all the other bands he was in. I mean EHG has had a whole slew of troubles, and Jim's by no way the only or first person to go out on his own and pursue other avenues, but that's the main reason that the few of us decided we wanted to still play together and continue on the same New Orleans inspired path. Crime and all of its influences and effects is the 00% concept. To damage & confuse society through threats and propaganda is our aim and to open their eyes to the corruption of the criminal justice system and world of evil cops and police brutality. Our manifesto is the Siege Mentality, which basically is a more detailed combination of the the 'concept and aim theories' + our vision of class war and chaos. A full written manifesto will be released on a future date on our web-site...”

What is it about New Orleans that breeds metal and punk? It seems as though everyone I met down there was in at least two other bands, and everyone loved Black Flag as much as I do.

”I don’t know why NOLA breeds so many great groups; one reason could be that we are semi-isolated in our widespread scene and we make our own entertainment from scratch. It’s funny you say that about Black Flag, they are highly regarded down here as a major influence for a lot of bands. Different eras in Flag’s career - some will say My War, some may say the Process of Weeding Out, others will harp on the Damaged record all fucking night. I love ALL of it, but I personally dig the early records and am a big Jealous Again fan. I've seen Black Flag over 6-7 times all on different tours, even back with Dez singing in 1980-81 or something. I lived in a home for boys when I was younger and we snuck out and walked like two miles to see them. I've got all kinds of Black Flag gig stories.”

I’ve got to say – I’m a huge EHG fan, and when I found out that there was a band out there comprised of 4/5 of the band, I couldn’t have been more excited. Outlaw Order really is made up of a veritable who’s who of the NOLA sludgecore scene – Soilent Green, Crowbar, Hawg Jaw, and, of course, Eyehategod. How do you guys find time for all your projects? Do you ever tire of playing the slow stuff?

” Well, first of all thanks for the support and your love of the music, it’s much appreciated! Firstly, it’s not all slow stuff, and, no we never get tired. I'll sleep when I'm dead. I like to keep busy, it keeps me out of trouble! We are all like that here in New Orleans. Playing music and writing and doing art is our way of life. I'm at a point in my life where being serious about the music supersedes getting high. It used to be the other way around. Also, my 80's Hardcore Punk worship band, Arson Anthem, is definitely NOT slow in any way. I really can't stand the 'sludge" label, it seems silly and an easy way out for writers with no creativity. I mean I'm a music writer as well and I'm guilty of using all the generalizing terms like 'Speed/Death/Thrash/Black etc, but I don’t know, I guess when it comes to describing the music we've invented ourselves down here, it can't pinpoint exactly what we do. They can try and pigeonhole it, but it’s gonna be a waste of everybody's time.”

I devoured the Legalize Crime EP, and am unbelievably stoked on the full-length. Why the five-year gap between Legalize Crime and Dragging Down the Enforcer?

”The majority of the songs were written back at the same time as the EP and we never planned to let the un-recorded songs go to waste ‘cause they were so good, so me & Gary (Mader of Hawg Jaw) never gave up and truly believed that we would get the tracks laid down sooner or later. The long period of wait was due to not trusting a fucking soul in the record industry. We still don't, but some friends at Season of Mist made us an offer and it looked better than 99% of the others so we grabbed it. Finally recording those songs was a great feeling, as is playing them live. It’s energetic stuff coming from us, not as doomy, but still fucking heavy as shit.

How does DDTE differ from the EP? Was this version of "Double Barrel Solves Everything" re-recorded for the full-length? What can you tell me about the new record?

”Yes, that tune was definitely re-recorded, of course. Sonically, this LP is miles apart from the Legalize Crime EP, much better production, better engineering and all that. We did it with a relatively unknown buddy of ours, David Troia, at the soundboard. He's worked with Down, Arson Anthem, Mudvayne, Otep etc. We went to him because, besides being fantastic at what he does, it was very comfortable and he is a part of our inner gang of friends. The studio process was simple, cut and dry, no bullshit y'know. That's the way its gotta be with us - it’s Rock and Roll, it should be no frills and raw. We did clean up the trademark feedback of EyeHateGod a bit and we have a lot more lead guitar work done by Brian (Patton of Soilent Green) than EHG ever had, but its still destructive, in yer face, Southern and crusty.”

You’ve expressed a desire to distance yourselves from the Eyehategod connection – well, not exactly "distance," per se, but to establish yourselves as a unique entity with your own identity. Do you consider 00% to be a side project, or a whole new band? How does 00%’s sound and aesthetic differ from that of EHG?

”Yeah I wouldn't say distance ourselves from EHG at all either, but we ARE a separate outfit with a totally distinct set of values and a more 'going into battle' vibe I would personally say. Outlaw Order is NOT a side project, it is a touring, writing, fresh version of our Southern Punk and Metal. EHG's lyrics are more on a personal level I would say. More about getting through life and love, hate, addiction- a lot about addiction was brought up in that group, relationships, things of that nature. 00% is still always embedded in reality at all times. We are also about the consequences of your actions and the direct action and illegal behavior of others, especially the lawlessness of those in power in this country. Outlaw Order’s lyrics tackle reality based subjects like class war, police brutality, injustice in the courthouses and jails, destroying the upper class society, working shit jobs, y'know, everyday stuff about throwing a monkey wrench or two into the system, etc

What does part does Outlaw Order play in your life, overall? What part of you does participating in this project satisfy?

Mike IX - The same primal thing that all of my bands satisfy, the pure expression of the ancient art of destruction of other peoples’ eardrums. Outlaw Order plays a part in the Outlaw Order part of my life. By the way, the main description of the name of this band is Outlaw Order, as to make disorder out of order, to turn organization into disarray.”

What is it about this type of music that you love so much? What got you into it in the first place, and what bands would you recommend to younger kids who are just starting to get into the sound?

”I love EVERYthing about this certain type of music, it goes without saying, but I'm into all sorts of stuff. I got into Rock and Roll when I was way young, stuff like Sabbath, Kiss, Cooper, Stones, then later on to Ramones, Sex Pistols, Clash, Discharge, Dead Boys, Germs, Stooges, etc.. I mean you name it, if it’s intense and interesting I'll check it out. The mid-80's were Exodus, Slayer, Sodom, Bathory, Pentagram, Obsessed and on and on and on....Now I dig any and everything in between the insanely amazing cracks of all this junk. To a kid getting into heavier and/or extreme tunes, I'd say, please check out the history of all this great music. Don't be close-minded. Learn where the modern stuff came from. You won't be sorry. Don't limit yourselves, that’s how new and original strains of cool shit happen.”

What’s next for Outlaw Order after the release of the record? Can we hope to catch you guys on tour anytime soon?

”More writing and all the usual things a band does. We just played a killer show last week and yeah we'll go on tour for sure, we're going to Texas very soon then plan on the rest of the world. The LP will be out November 25-26th. Go the following addresses and check out our sites, also order my book 'Cancer As a Social Activity' in its second printing from or
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