RAVEN CHACON: Tenderizor started as a long-time collaboration between myself and the Day Brothers, Mike and Patrick, who are both members of the noise-band, Fando. Since the 90’s, the brothers and I have been involved in the noise-surf band Los Subliminados and the noise-orchestra, Death Convention Singers. We’d written songs/compositions for these groups, but occasionally wrote riffs and patterns that didn’t fit into the work of these ensembles and amassed a collection of these. Being life-long metal fans and experimental-noise musicians it was obvious that they belonged in a noise-metal project. We sought out 2 other guys who share the same history and interest and found Steve Hammond of the band Leeches of Lore and Kris Kerby from Sabertooth Cavity; both fine Albuquerque bands.
How is the ‘scene’ in New Mexico? I don’t pay much attention to what is going on locally in Tucson for my own reasons but does Tenderizor play live often in the area? How is the response?
STEVE ‘STEED HANDLOR’ HAMMOND: The scene in Albuquerque is good when you know where to look. Just like every city there is of course a saturation of terrible bands. We all tend to gravitate towards the noisy experimental side of the scene which has a lot to offer, there are a few metal bands we like also such as Laughing Dog, Noisear, Ronoso and Drought…We haven’t played Tucson, it is of course in Arizona not New Mexico, but we have played Phoenix and Flagstaff and had a good time. The shows are best at home where we have control of who plays and how the show goes. We’ve done some touring of the West Coast, Southwest and Midwest and it has generally been great.
How are songs written in Tenderizor? Is there a central songwriter or…?
STEVE: Mike, Raven and Pat usually come up with the riffs and I make up the vocal line.
RAVEN: True. Many of these songs are old ideas too. The Gilded Knight was an old song of Steve’s. Lots of The Falconer was floating around in Pat’s skull for a long time and the intro to Hellucination was based on a string quartet I’d written but abandoned. Then these things all come together when Kerby puts a beat to them.
What is the recording process like for the band? The album says it was recorded by Tenderizor, tell me more about the experience? Will the band be recording the next album themselves as well? Why or why not?
RAVEN: All members of Tenderizor (like much of the DIY noise scene) are very much involved in the recording/producing of their own work and in utilizing/making new electric/electronic devices. We all have small studios for experimentation and we enjoy the process of producing all of our work ourselves. We are proud that we’ve achieved a recorded sound that recreates the vicious harshness of our live shows.
I really enjoyed ‘Touch the Sword’ for a number of reasons, one being the diverse amount of sounds and styles that are employed. What are some of the band’s musical influences and why?
STEVE: My personal musical preferences are very wide indeed. I like everything from old country and folk to noise and avant garde to classic rock and metal to 80’s thrash to acid jazz, soul, rock n roll, etc etc. Anything that is good.
RAVEN: All Tenderizor members are surely fans late 70’s heavy music and 80’s thrash. All of us are also big fans of and active musicians in the avant-garde noise scene of the Southwest. Personally, much of my background is in classical composition, mariachi music, Navajo round dance songs, and sound art installations.
What does Tenderizor’s lyrical matter consist of? What themes are present on songs like ‘Rockweiler’, ‘The Gilded Knight’ or even the title track?
STEVE: Well the Gilded Knight is about a homosexual relationship with Death itself and Rockweiler is about Pat’s dog I think. There’s a lot of mythical creatures, demon robots, blood, guts, violent sex and humorous views of the occult and metal stereotypes for other examples.
The B Side to ‘Touch the Sword’ opens with an instrumental titled ‘Bitch Corrector’…what is the theme behind this hazy and mysterious ritual?
RAVEN: The song started off as a micro-tonal jam that the Day Brothers and myself used to do where we all started on the same note and drifted further and further away from that root tone, eventually achieving beating difference-tones as the ear attempts to reconcile the dissonance. The title is a reference to a ‘pitch corrector’ and was tossed around until some of our female fans demanded that we use it as a title.
‘Touch the Sword’ was released by Sicksicksick Records, how did that relationship come about? Is this label ran by the band or…?
RAVEN: Sicksicksick is a label and distro that I started in 2000 which is dedicated to releasing the outsider music being made in the Southwest. The releases incorporate a variety of genres and styles; everything from modern compositions for deconstructed speech to Native American electro-sloppiness to drone-mariachis. [www.sicksicksickdistro.com]
Why the decision to press the album on vinyl as a debut when mp3s and iPods are so prevalent? Is it a limited run? I love the red vinyl and artwork!
RAVEN: Thanks! We are big fans (as all should be) in the physicality and art of the releases of our heroes and predecessors. A cassette tape that gets played forever, shared with friends/family, beer spilled on it, accidently dubbed over, passed on. A great big 12” album cover laying around the house.
What are some of the things that sets Tenderizor apart from the other extreme metal bands?
STEVE: We don’t take ourselves as seriously as a lot of metal bands out there. We like to have a good time and play drunken, noisy, sloppy sets which are usually more fun for the audience as well. You can be brutal AND have a good time.
RAVEN: A lot of metal musicians will claim that they are open-minded or are fans of all different kinds of music, and those that truly are show it in the music that they make. Also, a lot of bands (at least from around here) seem to be waiting for some kind of pie-in-the-sky label signing or tour money falling in their lap. We have always taken the approach of doing everything ourselves and without compromises.
Listening to ‘Touch the Sword’, I hear so many things that I like, from old school Slayer thrash to black metal ambiance, death grind rhythms, operatic vocals, harmonious guitars… In a few years, will one of these ‘genres’ prevail over the rest? Which one and why?
STEVE: I think metal will become one unending drone of static noise and from that a new form will be bred, probably with accordions and spoons instead of guitars and drums.
RAVEN: That’s an interesting question. My feeling is that noise will prevail over all of these; like a stew gone out of control, a paint palette eventually becoming a muddy brown, a futuristic kitchen sink.
What are some of the band’s goals? Where do you want to be in 5 years?! What about the immediate future?
STEVE: We are on hiatus while I live out of the country, but I guess we will keep going until it isn’t enjoyable anymore. We each have our “main” projects: Raven with his many noise endeavors, Mike and Pat with Fando, Kerby with I Cum Drums and various other bands, myself with Leeches of Lore and solo work.
RAVEN: While we are on hiatus, we are working on a new EP entitled ‘Glory Horse’ and another cassette EP of covers, a Casio version of Touch The Sword, and some tracks from ‘The Demo Years’. We’ll also have a new LP sometime down the road and when Steed gets back there will be some more tours. For myself, I have an album coming out as KILT with Sandor Finta of Harassor/Lord Time fame as well as some new chamber music pieces.
Last fucking words are yours!
RAVEN: Wear earplugs!