GENRE IS DEAD! Interview With 3Teeth’s Alexis Mincolla

GID: Looking at music trends, it seems like industrial music is having a resurgence of sorts. Bands like 3Teeth, Author and Punisher, and Youth Code are bringing it to the forefront and making people take notice again.

AM: I see it sonically having a resurgence more than the scene. Yeah, there are some bands that are getting more popular, like the ones you mentioned, but I think sonically, you’re seeing it represented tremendously. You’re seeing it represented in some of Ghostemane’s music, you’re seeing it represented in a lot of pop music, the Yeezus record feels like an industrial record. You’re seeing it represented in sound design for movies, you’re seeing it come to the forefront in video games. Industrial music is driven by technology which allows it to be continually reinvented. What the fuck is industrial music in the first place?

It’s such an experimental genre. You’re not held back by gatekeepers, which is another reason I wanted to make more of an industrial project. I love metal, but metal is very much you gotta have your glass beats, you gotta have your cookie monsters vocals, you gotta have this – I just don’t wanna deal with that. With an industrial project, no one’s gonna give a shit because there’s no real definition of industrial. So you can do whatever you want. Obviously, we’re very reverent of the genre and the history, but it’s also – Ghostemane has a shirt that says death metal purist. I love that. It’s like fuck purists. People are like are 3teeth even industrial anymore? I’m like who cares? I don’t call myself industrial. You guys call me industrial. Fucking Spotify me into a fucking description. I dunno I just make songs I wanna hear.

GID: Why do you think now in particular industrial is having a sonic resurgence?

AM: Because you’re seeing the advent and the popularity of electronic music in general. Technology is driving innovation in music in a lot of ways as well. The very venture of creating music is a little bit lower and you have so much in the box computer-based music now that lends itself to industrial music fairly well. I think that you’re seeing amalgamations of things like hip hop getting industrial and metal getting industrial, like the new Code Orange is modular synths and stuff like that. It’s a hardcore band and I know people think a metal band that uses synths doesn’t make them industrial. Yeah, but it makes them industrial inspired, so I think you’re seeing more of that.

People are trying to push boundaries. Every guitar riff has already been played, every drumbeat has already been played. You have an acoustic kit, you have the bass guitar, and guitarist – not to say it’s limiting, but a lot of that’s been done. So where is the creative space? Where is the territory that allows for innovation? You’re gonna get a lot more sort of industrialized, electronic, experimentation to push that and I think that’s the natural path of where we are right now. Not to mention as we lean stereotypically closer to a dystopian existence the soundtrack seems to manifest with it.

GID: Metawar features an excellent cover of Foster the People’s “Pumped up Kicks,” which brings out the disturbing nature of the song. What another song you’d like to cover and highlight the darkness lurking underneath?

AM: It’s funny because we thought about that for a while. What’s a song that people would never expect us to cover, that’s a super big song, but not from too long ago? But it would hit in this way that if we gave it a genetically modified sort of cover it would bring out the darkness of it and that was immediately the perfect song. We thought about a lot of other ones but they just didn’t hit the sweet spot. “Everybody wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears would be a great song and very appropriate, but everyone loves Tears for Fears. I want to pick a song that I didn’t even like and see if we can cover it.

By the way, we just did two other cover songs for a Daniel Radcliffe movie that’s coming out. I haven’t announced what the covers are, but there are covers that you would never fucking expect and we gave them that 3Teeth re-rubbing and they came out fucking awesome. It’s so weird because I hated the idea of doing a cover song. And now I kind of love it. It’s fun. It’s fun not having to write a song and just sort of interpret it instead. All that burden of everything has to mean something – it’s like this is already a great song, let’s see if we can fuck it up. We had fun with “Pumped Up Kicks” too. I was like is this gonna be cool? Who cares let’s just try it. And then we tried it and it was like holy shit it actually came out cool. I was so ready to 86 it. I was like we’ll try it. We’ll get into the first chorus and if it sucks, not doing it. And it was like damn that thing rips!

GID: It’s an awesome cover! I love finding metal covers of pop songs, like Children of Bodom covering Britany Spears.

AM: Yeah! Everyone was like dude, cover an industrial song. I’m not covering an industrial song. We’re an industrial band. It just felt so masturbatory. I already like that song, why would I cover it? I want to cover a song I don’t like that I don’t listen to it and turn it into something I would listen to. That to me is the impetus for covering songs. It’s not tainting a version of a song I love. That feels disrespectful. I don’t do karaoke for that reason either. Fuck that shit.

GID: It’s been a pretty crazy ride for the band ever since the release of your first album. You’ve toured with major acts, gotten all this well-deserved praise, and have really made a buzz in the metal scene. For some bands, it seems easy for them to get overwhelmed or lose sight of what they were trying to do in the first place. How do you deal with the craziness of the past few years?

AM: I think it’s good to have a good support system, people who are in your corner. [Tool guitarist] Adam Jones, for example, is sort of a mentor. Those dudes from Tool are just humble guys. In the grand scheme things, we’re not shit. We’ve barely made a mark on the face of the dragon. There’s so much more territory to explore. For me, there’s no place for the ego. I think on stage it’s okay, I think people want that. But we’re just fortunate to be doing what we love and not have shitty day jobs and allowing us to continue to do what we love. If people want to give us more resources to do that, we should be infinitely grateful. I think having gratitude is a good way to stay bound to that respect. So, a good support system and not being a dick.

GID: The passion you guys have for playing definitely comes across on stage. Your energy is infectious. One thing I really love about 3Teeth is how you’re not afraid to move on stage. You guys really get into it and you’re dancing is so mesmerizing!

AM: Yeah, even when we don’t have space like tonight, we make space. I always say if I’m thinking about something on stage, I’m not performing. I just want to get lost. One of my favorite things about performance is that sense of getting off stage and thinking “what even happened up there?” I don’t even remember. I just want to be conscious and present. I need that to be my fugue state. Just disappearing and occasionally realizing there’s a crowd, but that doesn’t even bother me. I’ll put on the same show for 200 people as I do for 20,000. We just have fun. It’s the coolest job in the world. I want to be fucking grateful of it and just keep doing it.

3Teeth’s third album, Metawar, is available now. The band recently wrapped up their outing with Ghostemane. Next year, they’ll embark on their European/UK headlining tour. Find all their dates here.

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Ashley Perez Hollingsworth

Ashley Perez is a freelance music journalist based in Chicago. Her work has appeared on AXS, Chicago Innerview, New City, The Millions, and Illinois Entertainer. She also runs her own music blog at Radio Not Found. Some of her favorite bands include Nirvana, The Cure, Muse, Creeper, and Green Day.

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