DRUG HONKEY

   
Band: Drug Honkey
Translation: Insanity / Fedaykin
 
Line Up:

  • Honkey Head (Paul Gillis) – Synths, Vocals, Samples, Programming
  • BH Honkey (Adam Smith) – Drums
  • Hobbs (Gabe Grosso) – Guitar
  • Brown Honkey (Ian Brown) – Bass
 

Drug Honkey have been around for a while now, they've been playing for more than a decade and have released four full-lengths; their latest work "Ghost In The Fire" is undoubtedly among the most evil and badass albums of the year.


 

Welcome to Aristocrazia Webzine, how are things going?

Honkey Head: Thanks, things are going well and thanks for the interview.

Let's start immediately by giving a brief introduction of your band. Who are Drug Honkey? How was the band born, what are your shared passions, which artists were and are your greatest influences, how did you choose this name? Anything else you could tell us to better understand your project?

Drug Honkey is made up of four musicians from the Chicago IL area: Paul Gillis aka Honkey Head on vocals, synths, samples; Adam Smith aka B.H. Honkey on drums; Gabe Grosso aka Hobbs on guitar; Ian Brown aka Brown Honkey on bass. The band evolved from an earlier project of Paul and Adam's called Chronic Illogic. We all have a shared passion for heavy music as well as experimental music. Our influences are many. Here are some: Swans, Melvins, Godflesh, Faith No More, Autopsy, Aphex Twin, Winter, Gorguts, Scorn, Hellhammer/Celtic Frost and Bathory… We chose the name of the band on a whim. It can mean anything you want it to. Some people love the name, some people hate it. That's fine by us. There are no rules or limitations within this band.

I've been able to listen to your previous albums, and even if I could notice some differences between them, there's some sort of dual nature that is common to all of them, two different sides of your music always fighting with each other; but while usually, in cases like this, these two parts are in neat contrast, with one trying to prevail over the other, in your music it's like the parts are trying to bury each other. How do you manage to make the notes and mood of your songs so angry and perverse? How do you usually write a song?

We create songs in two ways. Sometimes we just improv and pick songs from that. Other times we write structures and riffs. We don't actually write within two different sides or a dual nature within one song as you mentioned. It may sound like that, but it's one train of thought.

This conflicting decay that I mentioned earlier is fueled, in the lyrics, by corrupted and made-up realities (love) and by sensations such as failure. In the title-track, you go as far as to say "all you need is to die". Do you think death is the way to be set free?

No. My lyrics are usually made up on the spot. So, most of the time they are sub-conscious in nature. And sometimes they are pointless banter that just fits with the sound of the music. At times I like to use the vocals as another instrument.

In the lyrics, I also found hatred against religion and its fundamental symbols. Religions and cults drugged people, subdued them to their will and imposed their iconic symbols; does mankind really need to believe in some Christ or E.T. to feel aware of its own potential?

Yeah, anti-religious sentiment comes through often in my lyrics as I believe that religion in general is like a cancer. Humankind does not need to believe in religious propaganda, but usually does, because fear of the unknown is far too scary for most to handle and clutching to some false hope satisfies on the surface.

The tryptique of tracks called "Heroin" seems to be partially an open message sent to a crowd of people, but in some of its passages it seems like its constant burst of rage and resignation is meant to be more of an intimate dialogue between two parts. Is there a specific story behind these tracks?

The Heroin tracks all come from a place that is expressing a bunch of the feelings that are involved with Heroin. Whether it be the dealing of losing lost ones to it, the actual highs and lows of the drugs effect and a basic message to not do it.

After participating as guitar player and singer in "Weight Of The World", is Blake Judd to be definitely considered a member of Drug Honkey?

Blake Judd is no longer a member of Drug Honkey. He was in the band for a very short time and it did not work out.

Your earlier albums were all self-released, with the exception of "Death Dub", whose distribution was supported by Diabolical Conquest (now Transcending Obscurity), that later dealt with the production of "Ghost In The Fire". Was this your choice from the beginning, or have you realized that a band like yours is not always supported as it should? The reason I'm asking this is that lately everyone seems to be listening to bands like Cough or Ufomammut, when not five or ten years ago death-doom and the other extreme derivations of doom metal were restricted to a very small group of fans; do you think that some sort of trend is hiding behind this recent interest in the scene?

Well, early on I just never cared about a label. Then as the years passed I started to tire of the promotion end of things, so it is nice to have some help. As for there being a trend, that is for certain. There are so many carbon copy doom bands out there it's insane. We were always different enough that I never considered or worried that we would be clumped in with the rest. We have done things our way from day one.

Will your relationship with Kunal and Transcending Obscurity go on even for the release of your next full-length?

We'll cross that bridge when the time comes.

In a 2001 interview with Locrian, I asked them about the Chicago scene, which they described as positively growing; what's your point of view on the matter? Are there bands that you consider friend or that you particularly respect, and are there any that you would suggest listening?

The Chicago scene is ok. There are definite politics involved that I loathe. There are cliques that really are sickening and I will never be a part of… There are definitely some good bands and definitely some bad ones just like anywhere else..

Trying to make a comparison between what the current music scene can offer and what it could offer in the past, what do you think are the most positive and negative aspects of today's music?

A lot of today's music is riddled with over-technical nonsense for the sake of being over-technical. A lot of feeling is missing…

What can you tell us about your live performances? Have you been playing your latest songs on stage recently?

In general, when we play live, we do about half written songs and half improv, give or take depending on how the night is going. Although, we haven't been playing much live lately as we've been working on material for an upcoming four-song EP. When we did play last, though, I believe we played a few songs from "Ghost In The Fire".

Here in Italy, many people are complaining because of the scarce audience going to live gigs, but considering all the shows canceled due to unconvincing motivations (Black Sabbath) and the awful organization, the efforts of the few people who are doing their best to get the scene going are being made pointless; in addition, clown politicians and the Church are always trying to mess everything up, and we are subject to all kind of limitations. What about your area? Are you allowed to play live with regularity? Are there forms of influence peddling such as "pay to play"?

Attendance at concerts is really hit-or-miss. Sometimes shows are packed, other times only a handful of people. There are no restrictions like you are dealing with. Yeah, "pay to play" exists here as well. Fuck that shit.

What will your next moves be? What should we expect from the immediate future?

Like I mentioned earlier, we are working on a new EP, and we hopefully will be setting up some good shows soon as well. Also, we will continually promote "Ghost In The Fire" as it is still only about a year old.

This is it! Thank you for being with us, and please, feel free to say anything you like to our readers to end the interview!

Thanks for the great interview! Listen to Drug Honkey as much as possible! Reject religion! Drug Honkey on Facebook and on Transcending Obscurity.

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