OOZING WOUND is in a genre all it’s own and it literally doesn’t give a shit. The three person riff-heavy, punk outfit has been thrashing skulls and taking names for roughly three years with no signs of slowing down. This month they’re celebrating the release of their second full length album, Earth Suck, out on Thrill Jockey last week. In the new record, you can find even more caustic examination of mankind, an impressive blend of punk, metal and rock & roll, and some very cheeky lyrics, that is if you can decipher them. I met up with the trashy trio for an interview that’s as serious as the band itself, during which I weird out Zach Weil, discuss past wounds, and the toppings on an Oozing Wound specialty dog.
ASHLEIGH DYE: So your newest album Earth Suck, out on Thrill Jockey, was just released. What are you guys most excited for with this release?
KYLE REYNOLDS: Definitely the fidelity of it is way better. We spent a lot more time writing this one.
KEVIN CRIBBIN: It sounds way better than our first album, but I don’t think we’ve recorded the album yet. We may never.
AD: Haven’t peaked yet.
ZACH WEIL: We got out of the play really fast mind-set.
KR: The second half of the album de-evolves into this really strange repetitive kind of sound. Things are stranger and more melodic. The second half of the record I really like a lot. Whatever we were doing, it was good.
ZW: I think we just intentionally knew that the second half of the album was just going to be weirder. It let us feel more free to do something like that. Retrash had already established a very specific sound, we finished side A of Earth Suck before Retrash even came out. So, side B was really more, I don’t want to say reactionary, but we felt much less restricted on what we could and could not do.
KC: We had more recording time, too, we got to think about more making intros and outros. Our friend Whitney came in and played the viola.
AD: Yeah, you guys had what, one day to record your last album?
KC: It was quick, we were just stuck with what we had. I’m happy with that, too. It was just a little stressful. But, we even cut a song.
ZW: Yeah, but it has it owns aesthetic. At the time it was good fortune. I worked with this one guy who convinced me to let him record us. He had one night free so we recorded four songs, and he was impressed we could do four songs, so then he interned at Electrical Audio and he got a free day. We all figured we could do an album in a day if we can do four songs in a night. In that sense it was total luck. I mean if something had gone wrong or it sounded horrible it would be another thing.
AD: How was moving from doing your first release on your own label, Rotted Tooth, to putting stuff out with Thrill Jockey?
KR: Well Rotted Tooth is just me. I don’t have thousands of dollars to throw into promotions and marketing. So, it was obviously totally different.
KC: It would have just gotten out there so much slower. Kyle’s just one dude, man!
ZW: We’re used to that, though. That’s how we’ve done everything. It’s either Kyle puts it out, or Permanent would put it out, or just random dudes. It’s never been remotely a big production for any record we’ve been a part of, Thrill Jockey’s not even that big. It’s only five or six people working directly on something. It doesn’t feel all that much bigger, but they’ve been doing it long enough so for whatever reason now we have a playlist on Entertainment Weekly.
AD: I listened to that today, I really liked it! I love that a lot of your musical output, Zach you run that music blog Heavy Wave, and the music you review is really versatile. There’s some harder stuff, but also a lot of like late 80’s pop. How does those sort of left field influences surface in Oozing Wound’s sound?
KC: I hear things emerge here and there that allude to something else. I really like minimalist music, I love Lungfish and Lighting Bolt. They’ll get in your dome. I think in that sense we can relate to their sound.
AD: What was the process for some of your music videos you have out? That video for Welcome to the Spaceship, Motherfucker is insane. Did you guys work on that together?
KC: That’s our good friend, Joe Martinez. I’m sorry, Joe Martinez JR. He’s been our go-to photo guy and he’s always done videos. It was like “Dude, we need to make a video.” So, we called Joe and he had already shot a bunch of these pictures and we just had a bong hit idea to make GIFs out of them. A friend of Joe’s who works for Mudwing Media drew all that stuff and edited it.
AD: How many beers were shotgunned for the Call Your Guy video?
ZW: So many beers. Ryley Walker alone shotgunned a shit ton before cameras even started rolling!
AD: Does Thrill Jockey help you with your videos or is that still something you do on your own?
ZW: Oh no, we would never make them do any work for a video unless they specifically ask us to make a video. They help fund them, which is great because we have no extra money to create something like that. For the most part they’ve been pretty hands off. They’ll just ask “You guys got any ideas?” and then we say no, and then we panic and come up with something pretty fucking stupid, then we shoot. “Call Your Guy” was done in one night, “Going Through the Motions Until I Die” was a little more sporadic.
AD: Yeah I watched all three of those today, they were great.
ZW: Man, you’ve had such an Oozy day!
KC: Oozing Monday.
AD: Yeah I even read through almost your entire blog. I really like the harmonizing you did with your nephew Bamper.
ZW: Man, this is almost getting creepy!
AD: You put it on the internet, man. Do you see a future for infants in Oozing Wound?
ZW: Hell yeah, if he ever wants to be a part of it we got a spot for him. Right now he only cares about Thomas the Tank Engine and some really fucking terrible cartoons. He sings though, it’s pretty cute. I played a lot of the Retrash riffs in front of him, because we were writing that while I was watching him. He seemed pretty into it.
AD: Do you play into the sludginess of the sound when writing your lyrics?
ZW: I just do it based on how it sounds best. I’m yelling and screaming on top of loud rock music, so it’s not surprising you can’t really hear what I’m actually saying.
KR: One of the things we are self-conscious about, as a band, is having vocals that are too loud. I like when vocals are buried in a sound. Lyrics can so quickly ruin a song.
ZW: Yeah there are two elements that can really ruin a song. Your lyrics are fucking horrendous or the vocal itself is unlistenable. Things don’t always translate very well.
KC: There are certain times when clarity is cool, but not when you’re playing loud rock in a basement. Too loud of vocals is just like when there’s too much icing on a cupcake. It’s obnoxious.
AD: I literally could not agree more. I guess I should ask if you feel like you can say some more personal things since people won’t really be able to hear what is being said.
ZW: I go out of my way not to be very personal, especially in this band. I free write until something cool comes out, or I’ll save pages of weird or fucked up things I read on the internet and sometimes a story kind of emerges, but I don’t think we have any songs from my point of view. I mean, I relate to them, but even “Hippie Speedball” is about a roommate of mine who would go to work high everyday, which most people probably think is about me, but I don’t do that. I get it and I relate to his plight.
AD: What caused your Oozing Wound?
ZW: 7th grade. Emotional turmoil. I got called poser a lot.
AD: Oh yeah, that’s in that video, Going Through the Motions til I Die. “How’s my headbanging, babe?”
ZW: People keep walking up to me and saying that at work now. It blows.
KC: I had an oozing wound once. I was almost really hit by a car. It knocked me over and crushed my bike. I got this really bad scar on my ankle, I don’t know if it was from the car or the bike, but it was right on my joint and wouldnt heal. It got really gross and gnarly. But, then I bought liquid skin, because the future is insane.
AD: Kyle, what about you? Do you have a real or fantasy oozing wound?
KR: I don’t. Wait, a street fight!
AD: I imagine some leather jackets, some switch blades…
KC: Broken bottles!
AD: And lastly I’m not sure why, but I want to ask: If Oozing Wound were a specialty hot dog what would the toppings be?
ZW: Oh man, we’ve talked about this!
KR: A veggie dog with bacon. No substitutes.
KC: A Chicago dog filled with that green ketchup they made for Shrek. Because fuck you Chicago and your hatred for ketchup. You can put ketchup on whatever you want, it’s America.
Words & Photos by Ashleigh Dye