Great powerviolence outta texass. Conducted via mail with Alex Hughes and originally published in Perro Maldito#5.
Perro: When I first heard your band name, I immediately thought “finally someone used it…”
Alex: My old roommate brought it up. I don’t even think I had another name picked out for it. That was the first thing he thought of and it sounded perfect. All the other good Napalm song titles had been used.
Perro: Ok, let’s start with a brief history of it….
Alex: While I was playing in Machine Gun Romantics, I was living in Denton, almost 300 miles from Houston. In the Denton/Dallas area, there aren’t a whole lot of people to play with and as far as what I like to play, it’s even harder to find people. I recorded 6 songs just for fun on a 4-track and brought it with me on the 1st MGR tour. After our Gilman show, I played it for Max in the car and he made a copy of it when we got back to his apartment. After tour he asked if I wanted to do a record and I of course took the offer. The rest is history.
Perro: Hatred Surge is basically a one man band where you play all the instruments. Since you also toured, it’s quite obvious that you were not forced to do everything alone due to a lack of good musicians but it’s more like a conscious decision. Please, explain…
Alex: My friend Beau had switched over to guitar in Insect Warfare and asked me to fill the bass duties on their tour. They asked if I’d like to do Hatred Surge with Beau and Frank of Insect Warfare for the tour since we were already doing a split together.
Perro: It frequently happens that people don’t take one man bands too seriously and usually they don’t pay them the same attention they usually do for “normal” bands. Does something like that ever happened to Hatred Surge? I mean, something like labels that refuse to pay attention to you due to it?
Alex: Luckily I haven’t had that problem. I could understand though, I’m not a fan of drum machines, I think that’s a big turn off.
Alex: Pros: I’m in control of everything (art, music, etc.). I write what I like and don’t have to worry about another “member” not being into it or not being able to play what I write. Recording also goes faster despite what you might think.
Cons: Not being able to hear ideas in their full form. That’s about it.
Perro: The Despise You influence is unmistakable but I think there’s something more on it. How would you describe it? Which other bands could be considered influential?
Alex: I don’t know how exactly to nail it. Here are some records I like:
Discordance Axis – Jouhou
Pig Destroyer – Explosions In Ward 6
Napalm Death – From Enslavement…
Despise You – Stapled Shut split, Left Back, Let Down comp.
Disrupt – Unrest
Nasum – Inhale/Exhale
Infest – Mankind
Neanderthal – Rorschach split
Perro: Talking about Despise You, I was really impressed by guest vocalist Amy: she sounds like a Leticia clone!! Did you look for someone who sounded in that way or you’ve just been extremely lucky?
Alex: I’ve always liked guy/girl vocals. I asked my girlfriend if she’d be into recording some for the split w/ Insect Warfare and she was down. I didn’t tell her specifically what I was looking for, just yell into to the mic. It ended up being just what I wanted.
Perro: Your lyrics are very negative, short and straight to the point but sometimes they seem to be also a bit obscure so maybe people could misunderstand them. What is your wish to say through them?
Alex: I guess you’d have to be specific about which songs could be misleading or confusing. I write songs about people, things, and institutions I don’t like. Hopefully I’m not too cryptic.
Perro: During the last few years I noticed that heaps of cool grind, powerviolence and fastcore bands are coming out of Texas. What’s going on there that’s worth mentioning? Bands, labels, zines etc…
Alex: Gulf Coast:
Insect Warfare – traditional grind, ripping
50/50 – gore grind w/ lyrics about skating
Knuckle Scraper – Spazz worship, we already broke up
Lethal Enforcers – heavy power violence, lots of slow, chunky shit
Pretty Little Flower – almost 8 years of grinding, still raging
Psycho Wolf – Josh from R.O.I., Gulf Coast Massacre Comp LP, putting out old Houston/Gulf Coast shit that ripped but didn’t see the light of day.
Dangerously Small – Our (my girlfriend, Amy and I) label, just put out the Mindless Mutant EP.
Repercussions – fast, ripping hardcore w/ Shawn Cold Sweat, Stan Deathreat, Matt Army of Jesus, and Sissy Pedestrians
Army of Jesus – just broke up, hardcore w/ influences like Poison Idea, Reagan Youth, Rudimentary Peni (obviously), Void
Perro: Generally talking, it seems that in the whole USA a lot of extremely fast hardcore bands are forming here and there, and someone even talk about a coming back of powerviolence….
Alex: Max has put together an LP called “Trapped In A Scene” that documents this resurgence of “powerviolence”. I’ve always been a fan of that style, unfortunately some people can ruin it (i.e. girl pants, haircut, Locust fans).
Perro: Stereotypes describe Texas as a very conservative place with rednecks and rifles everywhere. But stereotypes are always far from reality. How’s the real Texas? I mean, I’ve heard that Austin is one of the most politically progressive cities in the US…
Alex: The redneck stereotype comes from East Texas. Central Texas is where the major cities are located and it’s not as “uptight” (i.e. Austin). I actually think Florida and the Southeast is a lot shittier and more “redneck” than Texas if you can believe that.
Perro: On the other side, I know that sometimes terrible things happen to mexican immigrants that try to cross the border illegally…
Alex: The security on the border is getting tighter. It’s hard for people to understand that becoming “legal” is a long and tough process. With as much work as illegal immigrants do and have done for the U.S., I don’t know why it’s becoming such an issue now. Probably related to the whole “War on Terror” and exaggerated and inflated American pride that’s been more visible since ol’ Bushy has been in office.
Perro: If there was an hatred Surge movie, how would it be and who would direct it?
Alex: It’d be similar to Twin Peaks and of course David Lynch would direct it.
Perro: Plans for the future?
Alex: Split LP w/ The Endless Blockade on Schizophrenic Records should be out soon as well as the “Trapped In A Scene” comp. Working on a split 7” w/ In Disgust on Torture Garden Picture Company and possibly an EP on a new label from Houston.
I’m supposed to be heading to Europe in May 2007 with The Endless Blockade and Iron Lung. The line-up for that tour will be me on bass/vocals, Jensen from IL on drums, and Ben from EB on guitar.
Perro: Thanx a lot for your time, hope you enjoyed this interview. Feel free to conclude as you like!
Alex: Hopefully I’ll see you all soon! Thanks for the support, keep it angry!