Kansas death metallers Origin have a very fundamental and respectable approach. The music is heavy and the application tight. The band tours Australia this May. Killyourstereo.com sat down with vocalist Jason Keyser to discuss the shows, the state of the genre and life on the road.
Hey, Jason. How’s it going? Thanks for the interview.
G’day. Shrimp on the barbie, that’s not a knife, a dingo ate my baby, and all the other Aussie clichés that I can just get out of the way immediately. My pleasure.
Let’s get straight to the obvious one – the Australian tour. How is everything coming along for a trip to our shores this May?
All is booked and ready to go. We have six dates from Perth to Brisbane starting on May 6. We will be on the road with A Million Dead Birds Laughing and Eternal Rest, who we actually did a Japanese tour with last year so we are pumped to play some more gigs with them. Leading up to the Australian tour we have a run of Southeast Asia dates coming together, so hopefully none of us will end up in a Chinese prison for being Americans or anything like that.
Generally speaking, how has 2014 been so far for the band?
It has been great. We spent a month in Kansas writing and recording the new cd, now it’s just the proverbial calm before the storm of the release and subsequent endless tours. But we haven’t really went out hard in almost two years, so it will be good to get back to being grimey road dogs again. We all get antsy when we sit home for extended periods, and long for the fast food diet and truck-stop showers that is tour.
As you mentioned there about the new album. ‘Omnipresent’ is a wrap as of late January, I believe. What’s the timeline looking for the roll out for that?
Sometime this [US] summer, hopefully along the same time as our big US tour in the states.
Where is death metal positioned in 2014? Is it in a better or perhaps worse place than when you first started?
Tough question. The popularity of all the extreme music has definitely skyrocketed in the past decade or so, mostly because of the Internet and the whole instant information, instant gratification available. I think it hurts more than it helps. There is no more “underground”, or at least whatever underground is left is dwindling. In the early days, it was almost a struggle to be a part of a music scene. Tape trading, scouring record stores, mailing cash for albums, you had to put in at least some effort, and you were rewarded with that feeling of accomplishment, almost arrogance, that your music meant more than the mass produced drivel in the chain stores.
But these days, everyone can hear everything instantly, and delete it from a hard drive without a second thought if it isn’t perfect. It is becoming a throwaway culture in a lot of ways, there’s no mystery or mystique or awe like I remember when I was younger. Now everyone knows who is really in Brujeria, and it makes me sad that we don’t believe they are actually Mexican drug lords like I thought when I was 14. Thanks internet.
You talk about how things are today, on the topic of contemporary metal, everyone seems to have an opinion in regards to the excessive sub-genres. What’s your opinion on the bands whose music is littered with breakdowns, chuggs and all the members seemingly have matching haircuts?
It’s a shame that fashion is starting to meld with metal. Musically, there has been some watering down mostly just out of the sheer numbers of bands that exist now, but I don’t really judge the quality of what kind of music someone likes, that’s all personal preference. The fashion part of it just annoys me so much though. Black metal started out as a total anti-fashion bit, and was actually legit in its earliest days and was kind of intimidating, but now the gauntlets are professionally made and there is a crew of make up artists to apply your makeup for your photo shoots. As far as the scream stuff or whatever else has the tight pants and eyeliner and stuff, it’s the same thing, it’s all intentional to build an image and trick you out of money, it’s just more focus taken off of the music. Holy crap those have been some nonsensical ramblings.
You’ve toured with plenty of notable metal artists across the journey. While the music is often extreme, off stage things can be rather low key. However, what bands have you toured with that are seemingly just as intense off stage as they are on it?
I once saw Anal Cunt totally trash a hotel in England total rock star style. Furniture smashed, TV through a window, piss and shit everywhere, all over some nothing argument with the promoter of a fest we were playing. It was in bad taste to act like that, but it was the only time I’ve ever seen a band ever live up to their rep really. Mostly nowadays a metal tours backstage room has way fewer strippers and coke and way more circle of guys sitting quietly on their cell phones. The rowdiest I ever see a backstage get anymore is when everyone finds out there is no Wi-Fi.
What was the first death metal record that really got the ball rolling for you?
For death metal, probably one of the earlier Bolt Thrower albums, the IVth Crusade I think. Never gets old.
I know you’ve played with Psycroptic before, but what’s your current knowledge of Australian metal?
I don’t know how current I am, honestly. I liked Destroyer 666 back when they were still Australian, and Blood Duster and TDEBN when they were around. Portal is pretty great, and I hear King Parrot is your new big thing, so I’m excited to play some shows with them.
What are your outside interests? Music can be quite consuming, what keeps the mind busy when you’re not in band mode?
Honestly, not much that isn’t music related. I just graduated from university with a degree in Anthropology, so there is that. John has been really into MMA lately. I guess I am pretty boring in the real world.
Thanks for the interview Jason. Appreciate our time. Looking forward to catching up with you guys in Melbourne.
See you crazy bastards soon. Cheers…and Hail Space!