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Agoraphobic Nosebleed
Agoraphobic Nosebleed's Scott Hull is a busy man. Juggling two bands (he's also in Pig Destroyer), a wife and a baby isn't easy, but he managed to work in some time to talk to the Metal Update about how he got to this point in his life, From AC to ANb. It became clear rather quickly that Agoraphobic Nosebleed's controlled chaos is the soundtrack to the band's ever-escalating battle with life in the world of extreme music. Scott suggested that we try and conduct this interview over AOL Instant Messenger - that was a new task for both of us, but I think we pulled it off. . .

SCOTT HULL: OK man, let 'er rip!

METAL UPDATE: OK. . . We'll start light. . . How are you doing today?

SH: Well, thank you. Very fucking tired at the end of a blurry and frenetic week. You?

MU: Right on. How come your week has been so frenetic? Anything ANb related?

SH: Well, not so much this week. Mostly just shit dealing with work, scheduling care time for Preston, my five month old little fucker. I call him Hull 2.0, or the Hullchild. But outside of this week it's been hectic with trying to put some touches on the next ANb release.

MU: Can you tell me anything about the ANb release?

SH: The new ANb EP 'Altered States of America' will be a 100 track 3" CD. Couple of different motivations for doing it:
1) 100 track 3" CD is absurd, and we are all about absurdity. It's our muse.
2) It looks back to our beginning days when we'd get flyers in the mail for band's tapes that had like 1,000,000 songs on them.
3) We want to see how much information we could actually pack into such a format.

MU: What's the maximum amount of time you can put on a 3" CD?

SH: 21 minutes. Oh yeah, we wanted to produce something that's even less palatable and more difficult to digest than 'Frozen Corpse' was.

MU: That's funny, because I thought that 'Frozen Corpse Stuffed With Dope' was extremely palatable, music-wise!

SH: Right!! Exactly, it's very catchy in spots. But I'm not sure the title really fits it.

MU: Why did you title it that then, if you're not sure it fits?

SH: The title is something we had since 1998, when we did 'Honkey Reduction'. FCSWD was actually a song title off of HR, but when Bill Y. (former co-founder of Relapse) saw that, he insisted that the next full-length be called that. So the press started and continued to build around the title. The second half of 'Frozen,' which regrettably sounds inconsistent with the first half, was written and recorded in 1999 and is almost entirely blast beats, out of dissatisfaction with the way our 'Poacher Diaries' material came out. Advance a few years later, and Jay, Rich, Carl and I are tasked with finally finishing the fucker. And really, my head was not in grind at the time. More like 80's thrash. So we were stuck with having to make whatever our next full-length would be 'Frozen Corpse.'


MU: Why weren't you so happy with the 'Poacher Diaries' material, and how did that split come about?

SH: I had actually never really heard of Converge at that time. Jay was good friends with those guys and suggested to me that we do a split 7" as a goof. Time elapsed and they proposed that it become a split CD on a label that would actually get it out; namely Relapse. It all sounded good to me, but I really felt that, musically, I wanted us to go the more tech metal route and experiment less with speed and more with math metal. It took a long time to do musically, because I kept throwing shit out. Then, by the time I got fed up with tinkering, Jay was tasked to come up with lyrics and arrangements. His head was REALLY not into doing ANb at that point. He was more interested in getting his tattoo shop going, getting situated with his woman, etc. So he came down one weekend in a meth haze and really underperformed. He had three sheets of paper which he covered with text on the bus ride down and NO sense of how they were to fit anything. Worse yet, I was fed up from tinkering with the music, so. . . (takes a breath here) I was no help to him in arranging ANYthing. So he shat out two or three songs before physically falling apart. We went back to my place and just drank and passed out. The next day he left and we really never spoke again for a long time. So, I'm unhappy with Poacher for a whole shitpile of reasons. Poacher was surrounded by shit. Then there was some strange passive-aggressive thing between both bands that tainted it too.

MU: The bands weren't getting along well? And unless I'm wrong, Jay is on 'Frozen Corpse,' so you guys made up?

SH: Yeah, I don't want to perpetuate any bad feelings between us and Converge, if there are any. Jay likes to stoke that fire, but I'm really not about shit-talking. But Jay and I did make up, brought Carl and Rich on board and really got a whole new lease on the life for the band.

MU: Right on. Well, could you give me a little ANb history? How'd you get started and stuff?

SH: We began in 94-95. Just me and a couple of friends fucking around with a drum machine. I wasn't in any band when we started. I had really just moved to Boston to go to grad school, but REALLY got wound up listening to grind ALL the time. I didn't know any drummers or anything, but I did have a drum machine. So we recorded a demo under the name Surgical Dysfunctions, which blew ass. Then we recorded the first ANb demo, the 30 song tape that later wound up becoming our first 7". But before the 7", I wound up joining Anal Cunt. After leaving and joining and leaving AC again, I got more serious about ANb. We did a couple of other splits with Cattlepress, Laceration, and Enemy Soil, before I met Jay. Jay had actually contacted me about releasing a split CD with my electronic noise project, Japanese Torture Comedy Hour. I'm really not sure how we got to the point where he started doing vocals. . . I think we just had a lot of the same ideas. Anyway, he's always been fucking funny as shit and really has contributed 50% to this band since then. There you go, ANb 101 condensed.

MU: Do you get along with Seth Putnam (Anal Cunt)?

SH: Yeah, he and I have been exchanging emails back and forth about a possible upcoming AC / Pig Destroyer / Napalm Death mini tour of Japan. I was never like, "Fuck you, I quit."

MU: Yeah? And would you be playing in AC? Also, I thought AC broke up.

SH: No, he's going to get back original members and do it as a 15th anniversary reunion show.

MU: Oh, I see. But only in Japan?

SH: Well, I'm sure they'd do some dates here, but he's REALLY happy not being in AC anymore. Not because of personalities, I just think it was a huge burden on him and really caused him to not move ahead with his life. He's kinda shaped up.

MU: Were you in AC when they got beat up by Hatebreed?

SH: No, but I heard conflicting stories.

MU: Oh, well, I'm in the AC corner all the way! I'm from CT. I know what goes on.

SH: Yeah, don't know much ABOUT Hatebreed, but I get the sense that they are a little didactic.

MU: So let's talk about 'Frozen Corpse,' what did you think of Metal Judgment's review of your album?

SH: I thought it was VERY honest, insightful and had legitimate questions, not assumptions about the content and intent. In short, the writer was puzzled by the content in the lyrics, yet seemed to give us the benefit of the doubt. Rich was the first to point out the review, and Rich is the one that has the biggest problem with Jay's content.

MU: Ah, so Jay is behind all the "questionable" lyrics?

SH: The agreement was, when we bit our lips and said "go for it," that all of the lyrics would be credited specifically to the author. That was our concession. Not that I'm going to duck any questions about content.

MU: Does Jay hate women?

SH: Well, I know he hates one woman, his ex-girlfriend. I think a LOT of his anger comes from somehow feeling duped by her in co-owning the business he has.


MU: So they're not together, but they co-own a business?

SH: Over the last few years of his relationship with her, she really did do nothing but spend a lot of money - money that Jay made. Currently, they own a business, but she wants him to buy her out for this inflated figure that someone appraised the business at. So I think he feels extremely emasculated and sucker punched because he was blinded by falling for a girl.

MU: Ah, so then. . . in the lyrics:
"Your bitch has got you looking in a magazine for clothes. Homo. All I'm buying a bitch is a bag of shit to choke on." Does that have something to do with her?

SH: Actually, I think he is talking about me.

MU: You buy your clothes from magazines? Explain the lyric if you can!

SH: Not that I'm a homo, but I think when I started seeing my wife, he saw a lot of my weight-lifting and more "domestic" style changes as pretty much caving into the same stuff he might've felt HE fell for (it's not, I'm perfectly happy). I think the lyric's really talking to a guy who used to spend his money on booze and cd's, but now spends it on clothes and shit because of the chick.

MU: What does your wife think about those lyrics?

SH: She really doesn't care, but she laughs because she made me buy clothes too.

MU: OK. . . next question. . .

SH: Oh yeah.

MU: "I don't' fuck bitches anymore.
I make them watch me massage myself 'til I cum in my hand.
Belt them with my payload across the mouth.
Real men don't just blow loads on Jane Doe, they grind them in."
What the hell is that all about?

SH: My explanation: Really ultimately all these offensive songs are just being Grand Guignol, just a morbid and VERY coarse sense of humor. To the point really of being questionable as to whether they are trying to BE humorous or just mean-spirited. MY back story about Jay is purely my speculation. I'm sure he'd be calling me a fag.

MU: Guignol?

SH: An old theater in France that really just put on plays with torture, gore and exploitation for no other purpose than to shock.

MU: Ahhh. So if that song is supposed to be humorous, what's the joke?

SH: Just extremely, extremely dark humor. I think I can try to explain it. Sort of like Andrew Dice Clay (goddamn bad example), you're sort of laughing at the absurdity.

MU: Hey, I'm from the '80s. I love the Diceman.

SH: Yeah, but he's a comedian, which makes it a little easier to see the humor.

MU: Yes, I agree, because I don't actually picture Andrew Dice Clay really doing a lot of the things he says he does.

SH: I think there's a little of, "Let's see what we can get away with." Yes, with Dice there's more of a separation. Yeah, the lyrics have no levity, because you have no idea what's really behind them. Could be worse case scenario, y'know?

MU: So does ANb ever play shows?

SH: No, we never have played live.

MU: Do you ever plan to play live?

SH: Dave Witte (Burnt By the Sun) and I have practiced, but it's never moved forward. We do plan to, and I've talked to Dan Lilker about playing bass and Dave about playing drums. But everyone just lives all over the place - Dave in NJ, me and Rich in VA, Carl in Philly and Dan in Rochester.

MU: Where's Jay?

SH: Jay is in western MA. So, we are really east fucking coast grind. Represent.

MU: So you would never play out with a drum machine?

SH: No drum machine. Just not fun live. Too much overheard.

MU: So how many people could theoretically be in ANb?

SH: How many? We could theoretically be like Wu-Tang clan and leave it open-ended, but there's really just the four of us.

MU: (laughs) That works for me. So if Dan Lilker played bass, what would Rich do?

SH: Rich, perhaps second guitar. I think.

MU: OK! This band is so confusing!

SH: Confusing!! Now you're getting it. We're like the Andy Kaufman of grind bands. Can't tell which end is fucking up.

MU: Hey, speaking of Dan Lilker, who's idea was it to have him do "Hang the Pope"? 'Cause seeing as he plays bass and sings, it's not even really like a cover.

SH: Jay actually contacted him first, but I followed up much later. Dan saw me at a show and asked if we were still going to do that cover.

MU: Right on.

SH: So we really knew we had to include it. Actually, we're doing the same thing with an Accused cover "Halo of Flies" where Blaine is actually going to do the vox.

MU: Fantastic! What's your deal with Accused? Isn't the artwork on your new album somehow Accused related?

SH: Jeff Gaither, who did a couple of Accused covers, is actually DOING the cover for 'Altered States of America'. He's adapting the original cover concept for FCSWD that Paul Booth was supposed to do. More ANb - what the fuck?!?! Head spinning yet?


review of ANb's 'Frozen Corpse Stuffed With Dope'






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