Los Angeles-based industrial band 3TEETH is gearing up for a European headline tour in support of their third studio album METAWAR. Below are some highlights from my chat with the band during their stop in San Diego for the TOOL tour in 2016.
L: Alexis “Lex” Mincolla (vox)
A: Andrew Means (drums)
C: Chase Brawner (guitar)
X: Xavier Swafford (keys)
For those who don’t quite know your music, how would you describe it?
C: Visual. Sonic. Assault.
L: When we started the project, it was sort of like, let’s make an art project built on the chassis of a band – something that we can take in any direction, as big as possible, without feeling like there was some sort of constraint. We kind of don’t follow any of the rules. We’re not some purists about how it should be done. We like the experimental qualities of the genre of what some people might call “industrial” music, whatever that means. For us, we love using technology and visual accompaniment to our music.
Do you make a lot of the art that goes with your music?
L: We all have a hand with some of the visual creation. Me and Andrew make a lot of the videos together. We make everything in-house. We do everything ourselves from the mixing and mastering of our music, to the production of our music, and all the art. We don’t really rely on anyone else outside the four of us…It’s kind of how you have to do it today. I call it everything-ism. If you’re not doing everything to improve the quality of your project, then chances are it’s not going to work out.
Were you in bands before this project?
A: Yeah, we all played basically our whole lives and this was an accumulation of all of our previous experiences.
L: It was sort of a perfect storm, too, of the right people and the right time and everyone’s motivated to do the same sort of thing. We’re really lucky in that respect.
Are you changing anything up for your arena shows?
L: Everyone leveled up our set ups. Chase got two new guitars. Xavier got a bunch of stuff from Roland. We have this insane hybrid drum kit.
A: It’s actually kind of the inversion of what most people do with a hybrid kit. A lot of people will go mostly acoustic. And then they’ll have small electronic components – they’ll have like an octopad or a few electronic pieces. But we kind of go the opposite route, where the majority of it is electronic.
L: [I] built this mic stand that’s [made] entirely out of M16 parts. We had this idea of making a verbal assault weapon. It’s pretty insane looking. It’s fully articulated like a rifle. You just have to see it, but it’s definitely one of those things that goes into making an arena style performance, making something feel larger than life.
Are you happy with the reception you’re getting from the crowds?
L: Yeah. Absolutely. The fact that we get an applause after songs [is] like holy shit. These people don’t know our music and are going out there, turning it up to 11 right out the gates. People are giving it a good response…We bring a lot of intensity to the stage. We give it our all. There’s no reason to half ass it up there. We’re not these sedentary shoe-gazers up there. I’m totally fine with polarizing the audience. I want people to either love it or hate it. I don’t want them to walk away from some forgettable performance.
C: I abuse my body for the audience. A lot of dislocations in my shoulder [from] throwing fists.
What’s the writing process like for you?
L: We almost rarely got all four of us in the room together, writing together and jamming stuff out. I think “Dust” was the only song that was born that way. And it’s a great song, and I feel like the next album we’ll hopefully have more time to write together.
A: We end up volleying the sessions around a lot ‘cause the three of us (Andrew, Chase, Xavier) are producers. So we end up passing it around and adding layers of paint.
X: Basically, we just see who can make an awesome song first from the same session.
What music are you listening to?
L: Author & Punisher, who’s actually a San Diego based dude. If you’re not familiar with this dude, then you are fuckin’ up. His stuff is amazing. In terms of taking music to an innovative level, he’s pretty much doing some of the coolest crap out there. He builds all his own gear. He’s a one man band. It’s like a deep, heavy drone/industrial/metal type thing. Super noisy. Really cool stuff.
X: Gesaffelstein. Super into him. He’s a French electro/techno dude.
What’s the plan after you’re done with this tour?
C: After this tour we’ll really hunch down all together, in the same room, and really sculpt.
L: Yeah, because we were touring you get half a foot in recording and half a foot in touring. So you’re not fully dedicated to the album. And I think that we have a bunch of cool things on the shelf right now that we still need to flesh out. But the goal is to get back in the studio full-time, and really write this sophomore album, that I think essentially becomes a real defining moment in a band. Like cool, you made one cool album, what’s the second album? What’s the evolution? We want to really bleed for it.
I picture a lot of scenes when I listen to your music. Would you ever consider doing something for a movie?
C: We will definitely score a motion picture.
L: We’ve actually got two songs coming out in a movie next year.
How do we stay updated on 3TEETH?
L: I think follow the Facebook, Twitter, or the Instagram. We’re pretty active on that stuff; we’re pretty responsive. We like to engage with our audience. We’re fortunate enough to have an intelligent audience that gets what we’re doing. A big shout-out to our fans [for] supporting what we do, because it’s harder and harder to make any type of living off music. We really appreciate our fans.