MURDEREDMAN interview with Ron Kretsch and David Russell

February 19, 2014

MURDEREDMAN interview with Ron Kretsch and David Russell

© Ron Kretsch
I’ve heard the term hard rock a lot but I don’t know if I’ve
ever heard it so aptly applied than as a description of MURDEREDMAN.  Yes, they incorporate a lot of ideas from
different places and you can hear a lot of stuff kicking around in the music,
but first and foremost this is some heavy rock. 
I mean seriously heavy.  Like
Sabbath sounds kinda whipped when you’re through with the record heavy.  It’s so hard I wanted to call it metal until
I paid more attention to the music and started to wrap my head around what was
going on.  It’s strange that something
this dissonant and atonal could be so freaking catchy too.  Beneath the murky mask of insanity that seems
to gather at the top of MURDEREDMAN’s music like pond scum, there’s an
extremely intricate and well planned structure underlying the entire thing,
frantically darting and weaving about in these insanely precise little
patterns.  Most bands that are this loud
and aggressive don’t pay near enough attention to the structure or melody of
their songs but have no doubt MURDEREDMAN are here not only to break the rules
but your speakers as well.  Unleashing
their debut album Love In Danger on the world last year (2013) along with a
slew of sold out limited cassette releases that last few years, MURDEREDMAN is
a well-oiled machine capable of basically anything they set their minds
to.  Having reached the maximum amount of
infiltration in their home state MURDEREDMAN are now looking to expand their
empire with some touring, singles and cassette tapes or so I had heard; global
domination seemed immanent.  I had to get
the skinny on it all, the touring, the tapes; all of it.  Luckily Ron Kretsch and David Russell took
time to answer my myriad of questions about the band and shed some light on
where the band’s come from and where they’re going, so come on, let’s get
murdered man!

What is
MURDEREDMAN’s lineup?  Is this the
original lineup or have you all made any changes over time?
David:  We are
currently and probably always will be the original line up: John Delzoppo on
drums, Ron Kretsch plays guitars, Rich Raponi on bass, and myself, David
Russell, I’m the guy with the microphone and mirrors; but I’m going to talk a
lot about the drums in this interview.
Are any of you in
any other active bands at this point? 
Have you put anything out with anyone in the past?  If so can you tell us a little bit about
David:  John has been
playing drums in Clan Of The Cave Bear for the past ten years and Yeti Scalp
for a little less.  Ron has another band
called Banging Fragiles he’ll tell you about in a second.  Rich frequently plays guitar in Matthew
Wascovich’s Scarcity Of Tanks and I’m active in several experimental/noise
projects: Collapsed Arc (solo), Stopped Clock (with Josh Novak), COPS (with
Wyatt Howland) and Jerk (my twelve year old on again/off again noise rock
quartet).  All four MURDEREDMAN members
have multiple releases from previous and current bands.  As for myself, my personal discography is 167
releases strong to date.
Ron:  David is
correct, I’m in a band called Banging Fragiles. 
We sound more or less like ‘80s college rock sprinkled with shoegaze
fairy dust.  LP one of these days.  Prior to MURDEREDMAN, Rich and I played
together for many years in a band called Self Destruct Button, who released two
LPs, a CD, and a few singles.  Also,
since David mentioned Matthew Wascovich, I believe everyone in MURDEREDMAN has
been in Scarcity Of Tanks at one time or another.
Where are you
originally from?
David:  I’m pretty
sure we were all born and raised in northeast Ohio.  Rich and I are both from Lorain, Ohio.
How would you
describe the local music scene where you grew up?  Did you go to a lot of shows when you were
growing up?  Did the scene play a large
part in your childhood or do you feel like it played a large role in shaping
your musical tastes or the way that you play now?
David:  While I did
play in a band in high school, we were the only band in the entire school.  I didn’t discover Cleveland’s local scene
until I was in my early twenties and started playing in “local”
Ron:  I got involved
in Cleveland’s underground music scene just about as soon as I found out it
existed.  I was about fifteen or sixteen
and I saw a band called Death Of Samantha at an outdoor fest and they blew my
mind.  Someone told me they were from
Cleveland, and I thought “well shit, if people around here are doing stuff this
good…”  So I started attending as many
shows as I could get to.  Once my friends
were old enough for drivers licenses, it was on.
What about your
house when you were growing up?  Were
either your parents or any of your relatives musicians or extremely involved or
interested in music?
David:  My grandfather
played drums since he was young.  On my
ninth or tenth birthday he gave me a snare drum and I started taking lessons
soon after.  He and I would practice
together and take lessons back to back until I was eighteen.
Ron:  My father was an
opera fanatic, so there was always music in the house, but neither of my
parents played instruments.
What was your
first real exposure to music?
David:  Beyond bonding
with my grandfather over the drums, I’d say it was my experiences with high
school marching and jazz band.  Not only
did both of those groups play the typical school related events, but we were
also good enough to do a lot of exhibition and competition shows too.  And the first two concerts I went to of my
own accord as a teenager were Butthole Surfers with Flaming Lips, and Porno For
Pyros with Mercury Rev.  Those shows
really set a tone for me.
Ron:  The classical
music I heard in the house growing up was about it until I was able to start
discovering stuff on my own.  It was a
big eye-opener when I found out you could borrow records from the library.
If you had to pick
a single defining moment of music in your life, a moment that opened your eyes
to the infinite possibilities of music, altered your perception of the world
and changed the way that you saw everything, what would it be?
David:  For the
record, hearing Nine Inch Nails Pretty Hate Machine as an eleven year old
changed my tastes forever.  As far as
live performances, seeing Marilyn Manson on the first date of the Anti-Christ
tour in 1996 opened my eyes to the power of theatrics and performance
art.  I’ve carried that impact with me
ever since.  Live theatrics with mirrors,
lights, flowers and other objects is a crucial part of my contribution to
Ron:  I brought home
The Beatles’ soundtrack to A Hard Day’s Night from the library.  I was familiar with the band name, is it
possible not to be?  And I liked the
cover.  I think I was nine.  My first time hearing that “JAAAAAANNNNNG”
chord at the beginning of the title song was the actual moment of my Rock ‘N’
Roll lobotomy.
When did you
decide that you wanted to start writing and performing your own music?  What brought that decision about?
David:  My sophomore
year of high school I started my first band, No Conviction, after listening to
too much Pavement and having an “I can do that” moment.  Before that, I played drums in a cover band
that never left the basement.
Ron:  I started music
lessons when I was in third grade with mandatory violin, and I moved on to
dicking around with a bass guitar at about thirteen-ish.  I don’t think I ever “decided” to start
writing and playing my own stuff.  I
can’t understand why everyone who can play an instrument doesn’t make up their
own music.
How and when did
you all originally met?
David:  We all met
within the Cleveland rock scene in late 90’s/early 2000’s playing in likeminded
bands that often shared bills.
What led to the
formation of MURDEREDMAN and exactly when was that?
David:  John, Ron and
Rich started forming the band in the winter of 2011-2012.  I joined in February 2012 as the singer.  At the time we were all at a crossroads after
our primary bands dissolved; Clan Of The Cave Bear, Self Destruct Button and
Ron:  The band formed
in John’s mind well before that, even. 
He came to Rich and I with a well-realized concept for the band, and
since our previous band had just splintered, we said “why not.”  I’m sure that if you were to time-machine
back to that evening and listen to John’s pitch, the descriptions he brought to
us could probably pass for a review of our first 7”.
Is there any
shared creed, code, ideal or mantra that the band shares or lives by?
David:  High
productivity at practice and in the studio, and giving the audience something
more live than just watching four guys rock.
Ron:  Write, perform,
record, release, write, perform, record, release, write, perform, record,
I know the name
might seem a little self-explanatory to some people I’m always curious and
often surprised by the real meanings and motivations/reasoning behind band
names.  What does the name MURDEREDMAN
mean or refer to?  Who came up with it
and how did you go about choosing it?

David:  John came up
with the name.  He mentioned liking the
way it actually looked on paper with the palindrome moment in the middle.  That led us to make a decision to run the two
words together.  I don’t remember there
being any other potential names on the table, MURDEREDMAN just seemed like the
right choice.  I really liked the name
because it fit the dark, noir, death-themed lyrical content I was working on in
the first few songs.
Ron:  Huh.  I thought you came up with the name,
David.  Okay then.
Where’s the band
located at right now?
David:  Cleveland,
How would you
describe the local music scene where you’re at?
David:  I’m pretty
deeply involved in Cleveland experimental, noise and synthesizer scene.  The experimental scene is very diverse and
productive.  Some of the more renowned
artists have included Aaron Dilloway, Bee Mask, Emeralds and Skin Graft.  I’ll let Ron talk about the rock scene as I
only dabble in it these days.
Ron:  I love the
underground rock scene here, always have. 
It’s at once wide open and tightly-knit. 
Punk rock old-timers still hang out and are cool and participate
musically, and new kids who turn up in promising bands are generally accepted
really quickly.  People trying to be
exclusionary dicks in Cleveland tend to find they’ve only excluded themselves,
and that they’re not particularly missed. 
But most importantly, the bands are really good.
Are you very
involved in the local scene?  Do you book
or attend a lot of local shows?  Do you
help to record and or release any local music?
David:  We’re all
pretty involved in the local scene.  John
and I both book a lot of shows and we all attend shows pretty regularly.  John runs Negative Space recording studio and
records a lot of locals.  I run the PolarEnvy/A Soundesign record label and have been releasing experimental music
mainly from northeast Ohio since 2004.
Ron:  I was a college radio
DJ for fourteen years, and I often wrote about Cleveland music for the
alt-weeklies and a monthly here. 
Briefly, I was in concert promotions as a proper job.  It did not suit me.
Has it played a
large role in the history or sound of MURDEREDMAN or do you think that you all
could be doing what you’re doing and sound like you do regardless of your
location or surroundings?
Ron:  Hard to say
specifically what might be different, but broadly, I’d say there’s no way we’d
sound the same if we were from someplace like Los Angeles or Miami.  There’s a reason Manchester produced Joy
Division and Birmingham produced Black Sabbath. 
Immersion in a dying industrial city clearly shapes minds, perspectives
and aesthetics.  Art from the rust belt*
looks and sounds, for the most part, like art from the rust belt.  As well it should.
I feel like I’m
pretty good at my job with Psychedelic Baby, at least in most regards.  The one thing that I’ve never been good at,
and despite working on it I feel like I still do a terrible job at, is
describing how a band sounds to people. 
I just end up making these really long strange statements that confuse
people more than anything else.  Rather
than me taking some awkward stab and describing how you sound, how would your
describe your sound to our readers who might not have heard you yet?
David:  I couldn’t
describe us better than this Instagram post we found: “MURDEREDMAN was
like if Bauhaus was on Touch And Go in 1989.”
Ron:  That’s such
total fucking horseshit.  We’re like if
Red Lorry Yellow Lorry were on Boner Records in 1991.  EN GARDE!
Can you tell us
who some of your major musical influences are? 
I hear a lot of different stuff kicking around in your music and I’m
very curious to hear who you would cite. 
What about major influences on the band as a whole rather than
David:  In our first
year we spent a lot of time listening to, and talking about, music after
practice.  Some notable group influences
would be, Amphetamine Reptile and Touch And Go, bands from the 1980’s and 90’s,
Bauhaus, Hum, Jesus Lizard, Vaz and Wire.
Ron:  Doom metal and
no-wave are present as well.  If one of
us likes something, it’ll find it’s way in.
MURDEREDMAN’s songwriting process like? 
Is there a lot of jamming and exchange of ideas that get worked on a lot
and kind of distilled into a song over a process of refinement or is there
someone who comes to the rest of the band with a riff or more finished product
to work out and compose with the rest of the band?
David:  The majority
of our songs seem to follow this process; either Ron brings guitar parts to
practice, or John has a specific drum/song structure in mind, and then they
write the skeleton with Rich.  I
typically join in on the songs after they’re two-thirds laid out and start
working on lyrics.  After the lyrics are
finished I work on the live theatrics while the band tightens the song.  We write songs pretty quickly, we’ve got
about eighteen done in two years.
Do you all enjoy
recording?  There’s not a whole lot in
the world that beats holding an album in your hands knowing that it’s yours,
you made it and that no one can ever take that away from you.  But getting to that point, getting everything
recorded and mixed, especially when it comes to doing it all together as a band
can really be trying to say the very least. 
How is it recording for you all?
David:  It’s
laborious, but I think we’ve found a good rhythm in our process.  We’re all pretty efficient and “results”
driven artists.  Love In Danger took
about eight months to go from recording to test press.  I think everyone else in the band has worked
on albums with other projects that meticulously before, but that was my first
experience crafting something so detailed.
Ron:  I love
recording.  I’d love to do it all the
.  With this band in particular, it’s
been especially rewarding since we all pretty much know what we’re doing, and
how we want the end result to feel.
Do you all go into
the studio to record or is it more of a DIY proposition for you where you
handle more of that stuff on your own terms, time and turf?
David:  We’ve recorded
two short, limited cassette releases ourselves on our own time.  But for our 7″ and 12″ records we
went to different studios to work with specific people.  We’ve found that when we’re working on a
bigger project it’s often the best call to leave the boards to someone we trust
so we can concentrate on our performance.
do a lot of prep work before you record? 
Is it a situation where you all work out all the compositions and
arrangements getting things to sound just the way that you want them, or do you
all approach recording with a more cavalier attitude where things have some
room to breathe and evolve during the recording process?
David:  We’re a very
prepared group.  We typically go into the
studio with finished songs.  However,
when we recorded Love In Danger, we did a lot of multi-tracking which led us to
results you can’t necessarily achieve as a live band.
Ron:  I personally
have almost never set foot in a studio without knowing well in advance exactly
where every note belonged. Our song “Diamona” was an edifying exception, but
generally, I’m not at all keen on the potential timesuck of chasing half-formed
ideas down God only knows how deep of a rabbit hole while the clock is ticking
on your record.  This jazz ain’t free.
You guys have a
pretty extensive back catalog for a band that’s only been releasing music for a
few years so let’s dive on in and talk a little bit about it.  Your first release was the 2012 self-released
MURDEREDMAN 7” limited to only 200 copies and’s long since sold out.  Can you share some of you memories of
recording that first single?  Was it a
fun, pleasurable experience for you all? 
Where and when was that material recorded?  Who recorded it?  What kind of equipment was used?
David:  We demoed
those songs ourselves at John’s Negative Space studio but decided to go with
Paul Maccarrone’s Zombie Proof Studio in Cleveland for the actual 7″
recordings.  Paul is someone we’ve all
worked with before and respect, we trusted him to get an honest recording of
our live sound that carried the power and intensity of the performances.  We essentially recorded and mixed seven songs
in one day.  Paul records bands on
1/2″ reel-to-reel tape if I remember correctly.
Ron:  Paul is
awesome.  If there’s even a little bit of
dirt on your band’s sound, he knows exactly how to make it work for you instead
of trying to tidy it up.  At the time,
his studio was set up in the living room of a punk house, and the session was
very loose, flexible, and casual, but still perfectly workmanlike.  He captured the band exactly as it needed to
be captured at that time.  I would make
another MURDEREDMAN record with him.
You followed up
the Self-Titled MURDEREDMAN 7” with the Self-Titled MURDEREDMAN cassette tape
on A Soundesign Recording and ultra-limited to only 30 copies!  Was the recording of the material for this
release much different than your earlier single?  Where was it recorded and who recorded
it?  When was it recorded?  What kind of equipment was used?
David:  The material
on the tape is the same as the material on the 7″ record with some extra
songs from the same session, all recorded by Paul Maccarrone.  The limited edition tape was made for a
weekend tour in case some people didn’t want vinyl.  Cassettes are a very popular medium in
Cleveland, I knew we’d be able to find a home for all of them if they didn’t
sell on tour.
To finish out 2012
you self-released the Dark Entries cassette in another ultra-limited run of
only 20 tapes.  2012 was a really
productive year for you all, was that material recorded on its own or was it
part of some previous session(s)?  When
and where was it recorded?  Who recorded
it?  What kind of equipment was used?
David:  The Dark
cassingle was a special edition made for the WCSB Cleveland 89.3 FM
Cassettefest Fest.  It was available for
one night only.  The Bauhaus cover was
backed with “Halve The Mind”, which would later be re-recorded and
appear on the Love In Danger full length. 
John recorded those two songs digitally at his Negative Space studio.
You started off
2013 with your first full-length album Love In Danger on A Soundesign Recording
and limited to only 300 pieces.  Did you
all approach the writing or recording of your first full-length differently
than your earlier work?  Did you try
anything new or radically different when it came to the songwriting or
recording?  Who recorded that material
and where was that?  When was that
material recorded?  What kind of
equipment was used?
Ron:  Most of that
album was simply collected from the pool of songs we had in the hopper at the
time.  The songs weren’t written any
differently than any others, they were just our songs.  When the time to record approached we
realized “hey, it would be nice to have this kind of song on the album, or that
kind of song,” so one or two things were purpose-written, but that’s it.  We didn’t record anything extra or leave
anything off.  The recording process
itself is an entire article in itself, really. 
I’ll do it the best justice I can, but this story could go so much
deeper.  Dustin Rose of the amazing
Columbus band Drose offered to record us “in this room where [he] worked, which
they sometimes let [him] use on weekends.” 
We jumped at the offer, since the recordings he made of his own band had
a lot of sonic characteristics we coveted for ourselves.  It turned out that the room where he worked
was a friggin’ hangar at the Center for Automotive Research at Ohio State University.  Nobody in his or her right mind endeavoring
to build a recording studio would contrive a space like this.  The room was massive, every surface
floor-to-ceiling was metal, and there was no sound baffling of any kind.  The entire floor was false and made of thick
slabs of removable tread-plating, with four feet of crawl space beneath it so
that one could get underneath a car no matter where it was in the room.  I’m guessing the ceilings were about forty
feet high, maybe fifty.  That was the
drum room
.  My guitar amp and Rich’s bass
amp were in the crawl space underneath the floor, and very nearly underneath
the drums.  John’s drums were all
double-mic’d.  One set of drum mics went
straight into the multi-channel digitizer, there was no mixing board, it was
all done virtually on an iMac, and the other set went into a P.A. so that more
low end could be EQ’d into it and pumped into the room sound; “the room sound,”
by the way, in this monstrous room, was two mics on the floor.  The P.A. speaker then went up over John’s
head on a forklift, so that it wouldn’t vibrate the floor plates, and so it
wouldn’t create a feedback loop into the drum mics.  It was fucking bonkers, and I still cannot
believe that shit worked.  We did all the
basic tracks live in one afternoon in this compound full of experimental
cars.  Afterward I did a few quick rounds
of overdubs just to get as much material recorded as possible with the same
sound, and then we and Drose packed up our gear and drove up to Akron to play a
gig at RCN Cave.  The rest of the tale is
more mundane.  We took the digital files
from Dustin and did vocals, other overdubs, and the final mix at John’s studio
in Cleveland over the course of a few months. 
John really threw himself into the process, making it all his own and
using every opportunity to experiment. 
Obviously it worked out.  I’ll
shamelessly and unhesitatingly go to bat for Love In Danger as one of the best
noisy underground rock records you’ll ever hear, and the process was an
experience I’ll cherish until I die.
You also released
another really limited tape in 2013, a split Drose v MURDEREDMAN on A
Soundesign Recording in a limited run of 50 tapes.  Was that material written and or recorded
specifically for the split or was it some material that was kicking around from
previous session(s) that were looking for a home?  If they were recorded for the tape can you
tell us about the recording of those tracks?

David:  While we’re
always working on a new song or two, those three songs were written with the
split in mind.  We recorded those tracks
ourselves, same as the Dark Entries material. 
We did a five day tour with Drose last July and that split was limited
to the tour.  As you can see, we like
doing short run cassettes for special occasions.
Ron:  I feel I should
add that while they were written for that specific release, we’re sufficiently
taken by a couple of those songs that it’s not out of the question that
different recordings of them may end up on other releases in the future.  We do love the short runs, but we also want
our strongest ideas to be potentially accessible to more than just a few
have any music that we haven’t talked about yet, maybe a single or a song on a
compilation that I might have missed?
David:  Nope, you’ve
covered it all!  The only material we
haven’t recorded and released is currently being developed at practice for
release sometime in 2014.
With the release
of the Drose split and the Love In Danger full-length last year (2013) are
there any releases in the works or on the horizon from MURDEREDMAN at this
David:  Right now
we’re taking a break from playing live to write new songs.  Instead of putting that material together as
a second album we’re going to shift focus to smaller releases like split
7″ records, lathe records and cassettes.
Where’s the best
place for our US readers to pick up your music at?
David:  You can get
our Love In Danger 12″ record direct from us here, there’s links to buy
our releases digitally there too.  A lot
of Cleveland record stores like Hausfrau, My Mind’s Eye, Loop, and Music Saves
carry our releases, also Chicago’s Permanent Records.
With the
absolutely insane postal rate increases this last year on international postage
I try to provide our readers with as many options as I possibly can as far as
picking up import releases as I can. 
Where’s the best place for our international and overseas readers to
purchase your music?
David:  The Love In
12″ is available through SuperFi Records in the UK.
And where’s the best
place for fans to keep up with the latest news from MURDEREDMAN like upcoming
shows and album releases at?
David:  I run the
Polar Envy website, MURDEREDMAN has a page there.  We also have a Facebook page.
Are there any
major goals that MURDEREDMAN are looking to accomplish in 2014?
David:  Write at least
eight new songs, reinvent the live theatrics and tour more.
Ron:  Traveling more
feels like the single biggest priority; we’ll always write and record
anyway.  Cleveland is a great place for
artists and musicians to live, but the population is small enough that we’ve
likely reached most of the people we’re going to reach here.  We believe very strongly in what we’re doing
and we want to bring it to as many people as we can, and that’s not happening
if we stay put.  Another step we’ll be taking
is getting more active in seeking a label to work with.
Do you remember
what the first song that MURDEREDMAN ever played live was?  Where and when was that?
David:  Our first show
was at Now That’s Class in Cleveland on April 21st, 2012 opening up for
Racebannon.  “My Time As Fire”
was probably the first song of the set.
What, if anything,
do you all have planned as far as touring goes for 2014 so far?
David:  We’re going to
try getting out of Cleveland one weekend every month starting in March, with
maybe a week-long tour sometime this summer. 
First up, Chicago and Milwaukee in March.  Ohio is easily accessible to Chicago, New
York and everywhere in between.  We can
easily get out to a number of cities that are tourable in two to three days.
Do you all enjoy
touring?  Do you spend a lot of time on
the road?  What’s life like touring with
David:  We all come
from projects that have toured, some rather extensively across America.  I think it’s safe to say that we all enjoy
it.  I wish we could spend more time on
the road but most of us have full time day jobs so we concentrate on weekend
excursions.  We’re all pretty amicable
and well prepared when touring.  We take
time to see some sights when possible too. 
We spent some extra time in Toronto with our host Tad enjoying the city
and several hours taking in the majesty of Niagara Falls on the way home.  That was a great short trip!  I’ve always felt that touring is equal parts
work and vacation.
© Lou Muenz
You guys have
played with some seriously cool bands the last few years!  Who are some of your personal favorite bands
that you’ve had a chance to share bills with?
David:  We played with
Columbus, Ohio’s Drose seven times; I think that speaks for itself.  It was an honor to play The Varnish
Underground Festival in Chicago and get to share a bill with BLOODYMINDED,
Rectal Hygienics and Oozing Wound.
Ron:  VAZ!  I’ve been fortunate to have played on bills
with those guys since they were in Hammerhead. 
Their music is still as powerful as ever, and I abidingly respect their
relentlessness.  One show we played with
Vaz in New York City featured, at the top of the bill, an improv double-trio of
incredible players, Mick Barr, Tim Dahl and Kevin Shea vs Brandon Seabrook,
Evan Lipson and Weasel Walter.  The
opening band was Barr, with his co-guitarist in the prog/black metal band
Krallice, Colin Marston, doing a twenty-minute guitar duet.  That night was totally unforgettable, it
would have been a gift just to have been there, let alone be on the bill!  And to echo David, Varnish fest in Chicago
was a great, great day, and we’ll absolutely play with Drose whenever,
In your dreams,
who are you on tour with?
David:  Just dreaming
here…  Shellac and or Swans.  A bit more realistically, Niccofeine.
Ron:  Ha, yeah, Swans
would be something, wouldn’t it?  A Place
To Bury Strangers would be amazing, too. 
I could watch bands like Pop.1280, We Are Hex or Vaz play several nights
in a row and never get bored.
Do you have any
funny or interesting stories from live shows or performances that you’d like to
share here with our readers?
David:  We played one
of the last shows at The Charleston in Brooklyn, there was septic water leaking
through the ceiling above us, the floors were fucking filthy and I play
barefoot on broken mirrors…  Use your
imagination as to the disgusting end result. 
A year later we went back to New York and someone came up to me and
said, “You’re the guy who played barefoot in The Charleston, I still talk
about that!”
© Sean Gleba
Do you all give a
lot of thought to the art that represents the band like flyers, posters and
cover artwork?  Do you have a go-to
person for your art?  If so, how did you
all originally get hooked up?
David:  Ron and I are
both artists and designers, we collaboratively handle the visual representation
of the band but everyone has a say.  John
came up with the band logo and occasionally does some type design too.  When we’re not handling art-duties ourselves
we often involve Cleveland illustrator Jon G for flyers.
With all of the
various methods are available to musicians today as far as releasing their
music, I’m always curious why they choose and prefer the various mediums that
they do.  Do you have a preferred medium
of release for your own music?  What
about when you’re listening to and or purchasing music?  If so, why?
David:  I think we all
have a fetish for vinyl as many musicians do. 
And while cassette fidelity is not always the greatest, I do love the
way it mimics vinyl with an A and a B side. 
Personally, I favor vinyl accompanied with a digital download code when
Ron:  Vinyl with
download is overwhelmingly preferred, but I have no problem with downloads
alone.  I’ve done a lot of my listening
on my phone’s MP3 player while walking or cycling, so I put a premium on
portability.  I’ve had an eMusic
subscription for more years than I can remember.
Do you have a
music collection?  If so, can you tell us
a little bit about it?
David:  When you run a
cassette label you receive and trade tapes a lot.  I have over a thousand cassettes that were
all made since 2006.  I have a modest
record collection and a couple shelves of CDs. 
But due to my on-the-go lifestyle I do most of my listening digitally.
Ron:  I have far more
records than shelf space to accommodate them, and this is after some pretty
brutal purges.  Plenty of shelves full of
CDs and a fair-sized pile of cassettes, as well.  I’m a pretty incorrigible music hoarder.
I grew up around a
pretty sizable music collection and I was always encouraged to listen to
anything that I wanted.  When I was a kid
it seemed like these huge shelves of music just stretched on and on
forever.  I would wander up, pick
something completely at random off of the shelf, stick it in the player, read
the liner notes, stare at the artwork and let the music transport me away to
another place.  As a result I developed a
pretty deep appreciation for physically release music at a pretty young age and
I don’t think I’ll probably ever fully shake the addiction that I’ve
developed.  Do you have any such
connection to physically released music?
David:  I’m
particularly drawn to handmade objects like cassettes, especially ones that
push the boundaries of packaging.  My
favorite cassette is one I’ve actually never heard, it’s Ophibre’s Composition
For Disassembled Cassette
.  After dubbing
the cassette, Ben Rossignal meticulously disassembled every piece of it and the
tape reels themselves and neatly packed everything into tiny Ziploc bags, all
carefully placed inside the shell and outside of the case.  I’ve had it for at least six years now, I
promised myself I’d assemble it and listen to it when I’m fifty.  Another favorite is the Hanson Records
reissue of Wind Licked Dirt by the Haters. 
It’s a c0 cassette, there’s no tape, just tape leader connecting the
spools, which comes with a bag of dirt and the instructions, “This tape is
played by rubbing dirt in it.”  I
take that one out and jam it at least once a month.
Ron:  I buy vinyl all
the time.  I bought copious amounts of it
even when the format was presumed dead. 
I grew up, as I said before, in a house full of classical records, and
many of my formative memories revolve around procuring and playing 12” vinyl.  And I feel this sort of, this is going to come
across pretentious as all hell, but fuck it, atavistic connection to LPs.  To handling them, to admiring the covers and
reading the liners while I listen, that whole experience is practically
elemental to me.
If you can’t tell,
I love music in all its various forms. 
The one problem that I’ve always had with my collection though is
portability.  I could never take enough
of it on the go to keep me happy! 
Digital music has virtually eradicated that problem overnight but when
you team it with the internet, that’s when you get the real game changer.  People are being exposed to an entire world
of music that they otherwise would never have had access to and it seems to
have leveled the playing field somewhat for independent musicians willing to
take the time to promote and cultivate an online presence.  On the other hand though illegal downloading
is running rampant and it’s harder and harder to get noticed in the chocked
digital jungle that is the internet these days. 
As an artist during the reign of the digital era what’s your opinion on
digital music and distribution?
David:  The internet
has played a huge part in exposing my sounds to people who will never see me
perform.  I have a download website where
something like seventy out of eighty releases are free, I’m interested in the
music getting heard and getting it off the site and into your media
player.  I feel like illegal downloads
become an issue when you’re making a living off of your music, I still have a
day job.
Ron:  I like
digital.  Vinyl commodity fetish
notwithstanding, playback formats are just containers for songs, and ultimately
what I want to hear is people’s songs. 
Not one development in the entire history of humanity has been more
favorable to a person who wants to hear a song than the digital takeover of
reproduction and distribution.  As to
illegal downloading, when I was a kid, whichever one of my friends bought an
album first would let the rest of us tape it from him.  That was how we routinely procured our
music.  Nobody took that for an
apocalyptic social crisis except the corporate music industry, who’re the same
people now ginning up all the wailing and gnashing of teeth over
file-sharing.  Nobody’s being seriously
hurt by file-sharing but millionaires in the artificial zeitgeist
industries.  Boo-fucking-hoo.
I try to keep up
with as much good music as I possibly can, I listen to stuff online, I pick up
albums at the local shop and I talk to as many people as possible.  Speaking of which, is there anyone from your
local scene or area that I should be listening to that I might not have heard
of yet?
David:  I hope you’ve
heard of Cleveland’s Pleasure Leftists and Skin Graft by now.  This past year I’ve been super into
Ultrasphinx from Akron, Ohio, they’re a killer complex rock trio with Joe
Dennis from Party Of Helicopters backed by my current favorite rhythm
section.  And a little bit further south
in Columbus, Ohio there’s one of my all-time favorite artists, David Reed from
Envenomist, Luasa Raelon and Imvixor.  I
put a record out for Envenomist a few years ago, he makes dark cinematic
synthesizer compositions.
Ron:  To expand on the
mention of Pleasure Leftists, they’re working a totally different approach than
us to dark, gothy music; I just adore them, and they honored us greatly by
opening our LP release show.  There’s the
heavier Blaka Watra, who just made a really cool album, which our drummer John
recorded in fact.  There’s the atmospheric
and trippy GoldMINEs, who’ve had a membership diaspora and so are only intermittently
active now, but are still very much worth listening to.  There’s a solo electronics project called
Prostitutes who’ve released some excellent records.  There’s the solo vocalist UnoLady, who is
amazing, but indescribable in a mere sentence. 
There are plenty of awesome heavy rockers, like Homostupids, All
Dinosaurs, Megachurch and Fuck You Pay Me. 
And there’s Obnox, which is Bim Thomas from This Moment In Black
History, who’s been making some serious and well-deserved inroads to the wider
public.  It was my privilege to play on
an Obnox record last year and so see his process up close.  As loose and gritty as his records are, his
work ethic is mighty damn serious.
What about
nationally and internationally?
David:  Good god get a
copy of Rectal Hygienics Even The Flies Won’t Touch You LP on Torn Light!  Chicago’s finest.  And the new Tiger Hatchery Sun Worship LP on
ESP-Disk’ is incredible too, they’re another Chicago favorite, and I did the
album art for that one.
Ron:  Vigorously agree
about both of the above.  My answer to
the question of with whom I’d want us to tour is a partial answer to this
one.  Also, I’ve been digging Cellular
Chaos, Guerilla Toss, the Chicago math rock band Boyfrndz, a Columbus psych
band called Eye, and Bruce Lamont’s Circle Of Animals project.
Thanks so much for
taking the time to finish the interview, I know that it wasn’t short but I hope
you at least had some fun looking back over everything that you all have
managed to accomplish and some of the stuff you’ve done as a band, I know I
really enjoyed learning about it.  Before
we sing off though is there anything that I might have possibly missed or that
you’d just like to take this opportunity to discuss with me or talk to our
readers about it?
David:  Thorough
interview Roman, it’ll be great to look back on this ten years from now!  Thank you!
Ron:  I’ve had long
term girlfriends who never wanted to know this much about me.  Thank you, sincerely, for taking such an
interest in MURDEREDMAN.  I’m glad you
enjoy what we do.
© Roxanne Starnik
MURDEREDMAN – 7” – Self-Released (Limited to 200 copies)
MURDEREDMAN – Cassette Tape – A Soundesign Recording (Limited to 30 copies)
Dark Entries – Cassette Tape Single – Self-Released (Limited to 20 copies)
Love In Danger – 12” – A Soundesign Recording (Limited to 300 copies)
MURDEREDMAN/Drose – Drose v MURDEREDMAN split – Cassette Tape – A
Soundesign Recording (Limited to 50 copies)
Interview made by Roman Rathert/2014
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2014
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