Interviews : Today is the Day
Today is the Day
With Steve Austin
My first taste of Today is the Day came in the summer of 1998, when two of my high school buddies and I took a five-hour driving trip to the West Coast of Florida to see a metal fest featuring Converge / Today is the Day / Dragbody / Morning Again. As Steve Austin and Co. geared to hit the stage, it seemed like the majority of 300 or so kids that were in the small Club Q in Davie, Florida, left and the only people that stayed inside the club were approximately thirty of the strangest-looking and smelling human beings, the three of us, and a dozen or so onlookers. I have been a fan ever since...
Now, almost ten years later, the time is right for a Today is the Day interview. Steve Austin, the man behind the band and Supernova Records talks about life, music, and everything in between.
One adjective that I would use to describe Today is the Day is "sincere." What, in your opinion, is the best adjective to describe the current reincarnation of the band?
Hostile, Hurt. Pissed Off and Frustrated with the World we live in.
Each Today is the Day album seems to have a very specific and clear-cut identity of its own, with your last album being touted as the most vitriolic, scathing album in the band's history. Do you think Axis of Eden trumps Kiss the Pig in terms of sheer sonic extremity or is it a step in the more psychedelic direction of Sadness Will Prevail?
It is what it is. Extreme in heaviness and Psychedelic and Trance like at other times. I just wanted to touch on all Human Emotions and show how disturbing even the Positive aspects of life are. Sometimes shit is heavy and disorienting.
Would it be fair to say that Axis of Eden is your most politically conscious work to date?
Yes, but we have always been fighting for Personal Freedom. We have always been that band that pushes you to be you, at any cost. To stand for what you believe in is and has always been our message. The Political imagery and Miliitaristic stance, make it the most engaging record we have made because everyone is living through the Katrina's, The Wildfires, The Iraq's. and The Iran's of our day and we all have an opinion.
The Majority of the average citizen's feelings and opinion's are not being heard. The System, just keeps everyone happily working away and mesmerized by OJ Simpson, Britney, Brad and Angelina while our world is crumbling beneath us.
Chris Debari has been a staple in the ever revolving Today is the Day line-up. What does it mean to finally have someone who has the same passion about Today is the Day as you do?
Chris Debari is one of the greatest people to ever come into my life. He has always been a true friend. Long ago when he 1st started playing in TITD, he wanted to buy a Kubicki X-Factor bass. His folks didn't have the cash and he didn't have it either. I loaned him $800.00 to buy the very bass that Chris still plays today. He payed me back later 1,000 times over. We have been through many great times and many many hard times, but he has always been a great guy and never gave in to complacency. Always working and trying to be the best there is. And He Is.
What promoted a move from more of a rock direction of s/t release to a more metal influenced sound on In the Eyes of God?
I really don't look back when designing the sound for a new album. I think all of our albums have different personalities like children. It is just what I naturally feel at the moment.
To play devil's advocate, for those who say that on the first listen, Axis of Eden does not sound that much different from Kiss the Pig. What do you say to that?
That would be Insane, it is all over the place Musically. Kiss The Pig is a Destructive Machine with only Hard Dynamics. Axis Of Eden is a More futuristic and progressive album. Not to say that either is better than the other. But more like different types of weapons. Like Machine gun versus Shotgun or Street Sweeper. They all have a Function and an explicit purpose of what the intended result is. Just different methods of delivery and composition.
Was there ever intent to make the band's sound a bit more accessible after the mindfuck known as Sadness Will Prevail?
I don't look back and I definitely don't give a shit about accessible accept when it comes to handicapped people. Just kidding. No, I don't give a fuck if anyone likes what I do. I make music for myself and other like-minded individuals. It makes me happy when someone hates what I do. It usually lets me see that they are coming from somewhere else than me and somewhere I am glad to not be from. Black Flag called it weeding them out.
Today Is The Day is one of the very few bands that makes for an unpleasant listening experience. What is it that you want the listeners to take out by listening to Today is the Day?
That the Sound and The Fire and Pain is real. I was crying tears when I made the vox to Axis and it was because I was singing about some really painful and hard as hell shit going on in my life right now. It is embarrassing and it makes me feel sad. But it is my real life and it burns inside me sometimes so bad that I really don't want to live. Then, I seek inspiration from those that I love and Care about and I see Hope and a Reason to keep on going. Exposing all of the shit that you don't wanna face.
It seems as though a well-placed sample is almost as vital an aspect of Today is the Day's music as the instruments. What can fans expect to hear (sample-wise) on Axis of Eden? How do you go about choosing what ends up where?
There are No Samples on Axis Of Eden on Purpose. I am sick of my bands with their quippy short samples preluding the Beginning of songs. Sampling is there to creative an Environment and a 3rd Dimension. Not for just sake of sticking in voices or funny shit. I decided that No Extra Multimedia would be necessary for Axis and Only the Music and words would be the Message.
For the new record, you've enlisted ex-Hate Eternal/Nile/etc. drummer Derek Roddy. Roddy is a somewhat unexpected choice, and certainly not the first person most people would immediately associate with a band as volatile as Today is the Day. What type of personal flair does Roddy add to Axis of Eden?
Precision Drumming by a very creative Musician. He knows Music and he knows how to manipulate beats and patterns in an original way. Derek is Truly a Legend at what he does.
Axis of Eden sees a clear introduction of keyboards into the sound. How did you decide bring them into the songs?
When you hear a Keyboard, most likely that song was written on Piano or Keyboard. Many of the songs on Axis were written on Piano first. It helps come up with unconventional Guitar lines.
Rob Fusco from Most Precious Blood has a guest appearance on Axis of Eden. Can you tell us a little bit about why you chose Rob and what he brings to the new record?
Rob Fusco is a Great friend, but does not appear on Axis. There are No Guests on our new album.
Axis of Eden is the band's first release on your own Supernova Records. What caused you to release it on Supernova rather than try to find a new label?
DIY is the only way to go. People working together for a Common Cause. Making sure that everything is respected appropriately. SuperNova is Rock's last hope harking back to the days of SubPop and Earache and Amrep. The BAnds we are putting out defy definition and trend and are giving people something real to listen to for once instead the same ole' Scene Shit.
You moved your label/studio/family back to Tennessee this fall. What prompted the move back, you were quite outspoken about your dislike for the state...
11 Years go by and I missed the weather of Nashville, TN and my home. Massachusetts is an Extremely Socialist State and I want to have nothing to do with places like Mass., California, D.C., Jersey or Others that want to control my life. Freedom is all that I care about. The Freedom to be myself and stay true to what I stand for.
How has the response been for Taipan's recently released 1002: A Rock Odyssey? Why wait until 2007 to release an album recorded in 2001?
I guess good. Because it was a work that we did and never released. Recorded ALL Analog on a 2" Tape Machine and Mixed on a Trident Console, with no computer involved. It is a Classic sounding and written rock album.
Is playing live with Taipan much different than playing with Today is the Day?
Yes, not as technical. Same amount of feeling.
Aside from the eclectic mix of artists on Supernova Records, what recent music have you been listening to?
The Sound of My MP5 ripping a 40 round mag or the Sound of My Tromix S17 blasting double 00 Buckshot out of it. I hate Music in general these days. I really only listen to Miles Davis or Progressive Jazz.
You are sponsored by Paul Reed Smith guitars which sponsors a wide array of guitarists from Opeth to Linkin Park. How did that relationship come about?
PRS Signed me to an endorsement deal over 10 years ago. They have ALWAYS been true to the underground and me. For a band with such non-commercial music to be supported the way we have by them is amazing to me. In 1994 I met Paul Reed Smith at his Factory. I have been to the factory 3 times. They endorsed me and have been a Great company behind me since 1994. For Axis Of Eden Tour, Winn Krozack their main man hooked me up with (3) Brand New PRS Guitars. A Cradle of Filth Model, A Les Paul Style SC 250 MArk Tremonti Signature, and a 22 Fret Standard in Black. They know I neat the hell out of my guitars during shows and are there for me with Parts or Tech help whenever necessary. Mesa Boogie has been the same exact way for over 10 Years now to me and Today Is The Day.
If you had to make a choice, what is your favorite Today is the Day song from your Amphetamine Reptile days and the newer catalog?
Six Dementia Satyr (Supernova) "Born Alone, Die Alone. Live, You Must Live. Free At Last (Axis Of Eden) Now I am Peace, Left All Alone. I feel At Home. Left All Alone."
Today is the Day seems poised to go down in the annals of music history as having a reach and influence that spans both numerous genres and multiple decades, yet you've never had a radio hit or a commercial endorsement. Is this a source of frustration for you and do you ever feel pressured to write something more accessible?
I can only be what I am. An Artist with a Vision and Hope In My Heart. If money ever really mattered to me, I would have studied to become a Lawyer or Doctor. My calling is playing music and working with other Artists on their endeavors. I wanna be remembered as that one guy who never cared about the Bling.
Who never needed Fame or Bullshit to designate who he was. The guy who had nothing, was a nobody from Tennessee with no family or money to make things happen. It's called having a heart and integrity which is rare in the day of Dog Eat Dog and Everything Is For Sale or Profit. I feel I am leaving a legacy that will hopefully be the blueprint for Underground music in the future. Boldly Screaming at You. Do your Own Thing. Don't Be Afraid. Take what is in your heart and mind and Make It Reality. Make it happen. Truth, Honor, Love, and Hope are the real motives for one to keep living. Telling the Story as honestly as possible is a Right and a Privilege that we shouldn't take for granted. Don't be afraid. Scream it from your heart. Scream it till blood runs down your face.