City Slang: Hellmouth on being bitter, old and pissed off

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Not long ago, I interviewed local hardcore/metal crossover band Hellmouth for Alternative Press magazine. The piece was pretty small, so much of the interview didn’t get used. However, I saved it and I now present it to you. Hellmouth consisted at the time of Jay Navarro (vocals), Jeff Uberti (bass), Alex Awn (guitar) and Justin Malek (drums – not present for interview).

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Jay, is it tough to start from scratch (after the Suicide Machines)?

“I never wanted to do a band ever again that was successful. I don’t give a shit about that stuff. I’m bitter, old and pissed off. It was unfair to people that loved the Suicide Machines because the last 2 albums got more pissed off and negative, where as that band was a positive, hopeful thing. The older I get, the less hopeful I get. It became time to end that and begin with this. Not that I knew that this was coming. I think a lot of people expected me to do something like this, but I didn’t. I was done with it. I’m over what punk rock is, the commercial side of it at least.”

How much has Hellmouth’s sound got to do with its surroundings, re. Detroit?

JU: “It has a lot to do with just looking around. Whether you’ve been a part of the desperation or not, walking around, seeing the people and knowing what’s happening, it’ll take its toll on you, whether you’ve been a part of the desperation or not. I think a lot of really hard, devastating music has come from this city. We’ve grown up listening to it. This is what punk is to me. I want to be in a punk band, and this is it. We may be metal to some people, hardcore to others but this is my definition of punk because we have the attitude and the aggression that I believe comes from that label.” AA: “I see Hellmouth as something where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s an abstract idea and it pulls our strings. Hellmouth exists beyond the 4 people who play the music. It’s taken on its own entity outside of us, and the entity is set by Detroit. We’re kind of puppets, controlled by what Hellmouth wants us to do musically or visually. So Detroit is a huge influence on Hellmouth and in turn on the 4 of us who create the music for Hellmouth.” JN: “This city has a huge impact on anyone who ventures in.”

Is there a theme to the album?

JN: “Fuck everything.” AA: “We put a lot of thought into everything we do.” JN: “We’re a cult.” AA: “It’s attention to detail. The album has 2 sides, Apocalypse and Blasphemy. Those are 2 things that are prevalent in our lyrics.” JU: Anything that offends people that are too weak to get it, that shit’s fun to me. AA: Blasphemy rules. JU: We take it seriously, but we do have fun offending people. Sexism, racism, homophobia – that shit isn’t funny, but I do think insulting somebody who truly says they believe something and I can piss them off by saying the opposite, then their beliefs aren’t true.

AA: Hellmouth isn’t funny. JN: There are moments when we’re playing that I can’t deny I’m having fun, but I pretty much want to strangle everybody that’s watching us. I know that’s not a cool thing to say because those people are there to hear our music, but I don’t give a shit.


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