FLUIDS: An Icky Sticky, Extra-Saucy Friday the 13th Interview/Album Review
Updated: Sep 15, 2019
Grindcore burst onto the scene in the mid-80s with the attitude of a drunken, safety-pinned punk at the Queen’s high tea, the speed of a soccer mom running ten minutes late in the morning, and the brutality of a serial killer with a scalpel, too much time on his hands, and a mommy-complex. It’s no surprise that the style attracted fans and even less of a surprise when subgenres began to emerge, as is metal credo. One of those subgenres is deathgrind: a bombastic fusion of death metal and grindcore with an emphasis on the death.
One such deathgrind band is the up and coming band from Arizona, Fluids. I’ve been a huge fan since I first heard of them and since that time, their catalog, as well as their fan base, has grown. Recently, I was fortunate enough to be able to sit down with Jan from the band and talk shop.
First, thanks for taking the time to talk with me! Tell us a bit about yourself and the other members of Fluids.
Thanks for having me! I'm Jan (pronounced Yawn) and I'm guitar, bass, sample curator and the guy who posts all the terrible shit you see on our social media. Walter is the other main part of Fluids and he takes care of drums, recording and all the synths and electronics you hear under our samples. In the guttural and brees department is Cole who also does vocals and guitar in his main band Lago.
You’re a self-labeled troglodytic deathgrind band. If you were talking to someone who didn’t know what that was how would you describe it?
I would say it's death metal dumbed down to its most simple form with an equal part of blasting grindcore played through guitar and bass distorted past the point of decency. Take Mortician and pepper in a little Crowbar and Morbid Angel and you've got something close to our sound.
I can definitely hear the Mortician love! Would you consider them one of your biggest influences?
For sure. I just love the utter simplicity of it. I always figured Roger Beaujard was just writing and playing in Mortician to the best of his abilities, but then I saw some of his YouTube playthrough videos for his other bands and realized he could fucking shred. It's really cool that they stuck to writing the most ignorant stuff they could and have never changed that up in 30 years. You use samples, but they’re not horror samples. What kind of samples are they, and how did you come to use those?
All the samples are taken from deep cuts of amateur documentary film. A lot of our material comes from Mexico, Brazil and some bodycam videography of law enforcers in the states. Walter always made great electronic and synthwave music so I felt it could be something we could use to set us apart from what other people were doing. I find some raw footage or sometimes people will send us something we can use to complement our songs and then Walter scores an original piece of music to it based around the audio.
I first discovered Fluids when Slam Worldwide streamed your album Bagged & Tagged. I imagine that helped get you out in front of a wider audience.
Yea, it helped for sure. SW is the biggest YouTube channel for promoting slam and brutal death metal and even though we aren't really the target sound most subscribers there are into we have some elements of those styles that some of the viewers could appreciate. If anything, SW is always great just for all the hilarious shit-talking and trolling in the comments section. Maggot Stomp even quoted a couple of choice cuts on the promotional flyers for the new album.
Haha, yeah. I've seen a few of your Instagram comment collages. What's your favorite comment from the YouTube comment section? Hahaha, alright I'll do a two-parter. The positive and brief one is from Pepito Abdominales who said very accurately: "Justin Beaber Death Metal".
The second is more of a YouTube dissertation from Xavian Johnson: "You know back in the day, I used to think linking park was the heaviest shit known to man. Then My friend introduce me to slipknot. I said: "Bro this is just noise, I can't understand what he's saying." Needless to say, a year later I progressively fell in love with slipknot and thought it was the heaviest shit ever created. After graduation, I learned about sub genres and realized metalcore wasn't even close to the heaviest. I discovered Chelsea grin on a youtube recommendation. I thought to myself: This is pure noise, how can anyone make out what he's saying. Then a few years later my ears adapted and grew to love it passionately. Now a few years go by and I discovered Slamworldwide. It was inevitable, Slam has become my ultimate genre I've loved longer than Linkin Park in my highschool days. The whole point I'm trying to make is... THIS to me literally sounds like just noise. I can't make out the lyrics or the fucking instruments being played when the grindcore kicks in after the intros. However I'm a bit concerned how far my ears will take me."
You have a new album out, Exploitative Practices. I know you’ve said before that this is a concept album; can you tell us more about that?
Hahaha, a loose concept at best. All the titles and lyrics of all our songs have been based around the samples we use. We usually write and record the music then place a sample in between songs and use the songs to kind of narrate what's going on in the interludes. The songs for Exploitative Practices were written in pairs or 3 at a time with a sample to go with them. When they all got put together it happened to fit chronologically into a story about someone who had a really bad day. The title of the album doesn't really have anything to do with the story, but more so what people would consider our music and themes.
Where can we buy Exploitative Practices or any of your other albums?
Maggot Stomp has cassettes and CDs for the new album and shirts soon also. Sevared Records coreleased the CD and will also be doing a joint CD release of all our EP/Demo material with an unreleased track at the end of the summer. Syruphead Recordings will also be doing a second pressing of the Arterial Rift +3 cassette with an added bonus.
So, what’s next for Fluids?
Probably just keep on writing and recording and maybe try to get some live stuff going. We have 2 splits coming up with all new music that should be released by the fall. One of them will have our only song that's had live drums played by a special guest.
Killer! Well, good luck with your future endeavors, and please come to Omaha someday!
Thanks for taking the time to talk.
Of course, being a fan of Fluids myself, I had preordered Exploitative Practices ahead of its July 7th release date. So, it only seems fitting that I do a review of it as well.
Exploitative Practices starts off like a horror film, only the horror is real life in the form of a cartel torture sample. If you’re not mentally prepared for that, it’s difficult to listen to. However, if you are mentally prepared for that, it is the perfect segue for what’s to come. I don’t know about you, but when I’m in the mood to listen to deathgrind, I’m not looking for dreamy, floating melody; I’m looking for raw, powerful, in-your-face music. In this regard, Fluids, my friends, does not disappoint. After the first sample, Caught catches you with some powerful guttural vocals from Cole, caveman riffs by Jan, and synth by Walter. The killer guitar solo on this track is done by guest Sean Benson of Boethiah which lends to the creepy-ass vibe of the song while simultaneously elevating it. It’s almost like listening to the final death scream of our unfortunate friend from the opening sample.
Shot, the second song on the album, starts with the audio from a well-known police bodycam video that still chills me to the bone when I hear it. It’s fucking terrifying and the music that follows doesn’t let you forget it, either.
The album works in this same fashion throughout, peppering the riffing, synth, programming, and vocals with samples that drag you screaming into the simple yet almost complex song structures. Along the way, you’re treated to a bit of melodic riffing and another guest appearance, this time in the form of vocals by Matti Way on Caught and Shot. Yes, that Matti Way…you know…of Abominable Putridity.
Now, while you get the brutal formula consistency on the first nine tracks, when you reach the last one, Scattered, you get a song of another color. It's an instrumental piece and the guitar playing is melodic. The notes are long and strung together with a bit of tremolo here and there. It reminds me, in this way, of a good melodic black metal song, minus the screeching vocals. It’s also kind of dreamy, putting an ethereal end to the misery that ties the rest of the album together.
CD copies of Exploitative Practices will be coming out soon, and you can bet I’ll be snagging one. Oh, and if you look at the liner notes…you might be able to spot a familiar name. Grind on.