The Judas Chair Collective first crossed my path last year, and recently impressed me yet again when plans were announced for a cassette reissue of the final full-length from Miami, FL's Timescape Zero; plus a couple of new tapes from Vegas—two musically familiar yet ideologically atypical metallic hardcore bands from different generations, each possessing a uniquely intelligent and defining frontman in Adel Souto and T, respectively. Quite limited in number, Timescape Zero's Total War cassettes are now available for pre-order; the Vegas items soon to follow. Read on for a bit of insight—and music—from all parties involved regarding these projects, as well as news on the forthcoming split 7" between Vegas and Long Gone...
For the Judas Chair Collective, what landed Timescape Zero's music on your radar in the first place?
Toni: Well, in fact, Adel from Timescape Zero sent me the Total War CD for review in my fanzine back when it was released. The album grew on me later on and I kept coming back to it. I think it's a solid masterpiece music- and concept-wise, but stayed very underrated. The band never got the attention they deserved, so it was a natural choice for a re-release.
Nakki: A few years ago, I found a copy of an old issue of Inside Front at a record store in Oslo. There was an interview with Adel, and that sparked my interest in the band. I tracked down a copy of the CD and enjoyed it very much—musically, lyrically, and concept-wise. Toni talked to me about the idea of the re-release, and of course I was totally into it.
That's funny, because 15 years ago, Adel, you also sent me a package that contained your Feast of Hate and Fear edition of Timescape Zero's Total War CD. Here we are today and an obscure Finnish hardcore label is reissuing said album on cassette. Were you shocked when they contacted you to pursue this project?
Adel: I was pleasantly surprised, if not a little thrown back. Admittedly, I always thought that—if anyone ever did contact me about a repress—it would be over the demo tapes. Still, I'm thrilled someone cares enough about a band I was in (20 years ago) to re-release any of our material. While I have been involved in numerous projects since, it's always cool to have folks remember your early work. With that said, I'd like to express my gratitude to the Judas Chair Collective for their involvement in this.
This looks to be a fairly straightforward reissue of the music (i.e. sans liner notes), so generally reflecting upon Total War today, what would be your assessment of Timescape Zero's final outing?
Adel: Total War is much different from the first LP, Born With the Fear of Dreaming—musically and lyrically. In the first few years with Timescape Zero, besides the song "Kali Yuga," I wrote lyrics for what I thought would fit that genre of music. By Total War, I wrote lyrics for myself, and much of it from the heart. I got a lot more poetic and metaphorical. Even so, I do have to say that I enjoy the music from the first album, but I like the lyrical content much, much better on our second outing.
Anyhow, the darker music along with those lyrics really did something to crowds. Our last show had the usual fistfights, but also had bottle- and chair-throwing, bartenders blowing fireballs, and people cutting themselves (this time it wasn't me). It may have been the 6' black crucifix I performed with. Who knows?
I can tend to be a "stuck in the past" type of guy, so most of the music that I buy is older and I'm a huge fan of reissues. I'm curious if you think the Judas Chair Collective might continue to explore these types of opportunities in the future?
Nakki: We try to concentrate more on the newer bands, but we can't rule the reissues out. I personally would like to do more of these types of releases, but nothing is planned at the moment. There are tons of great bands from the past who don't get the respect that they deserve today, for example Ironside, Stalingrad, Mayday, Fear Itself, etc. If anyone from those bands happens to read this, feel free to contact us.
Riku: Nakki said it well. I, too, think that Judas Chair Collective represses should concentrate more on underrated classics, obscurities, and rarities.
What more should we expect from the Judas Chair Collective in the near future? I know you're working on a few additional releases with Vegas, for example.
Riku: Yes, there are two Vegas tapes coming out. One is the second pressing of Ei Savua Ilman Tulta, which is a compilation of four new-ish songs and it comes in a "matchbox." The other one is The More Nowhere, The Better: Live in Helsinki. The pressing plant is also working on the Judas Chair Collective's first vinyl release, which is a Vegas/Long Gone split 7" EP. I'm personally stoked about the Vegas-related releases, because they have been one of the most interesting and oddest entities in underground music for a long time, and I think that the newest era of Vegas has produced some of the greatest material we have heard. In a few months, the public will hear more greatness when the split comes out. I'm a huge fan. Of course, I'm very happy for Long Gone's side, too [laughs]. We are influenced by the sounds and things of the past, and bastardize those in our primal ways. Still keeping it hardcore.
We are still putting out mostly tape releases, because tapes are a great format for releasing underground music—they allow for small pressing numbers and low costs. The people who are most vocally talking against tape releases probably don't know what they're talking about. It is a great-sounding and long-lasting object if you use proper cassette players, etc.; and it suits well for the music we are releasing.
We also have plans to put out tapes for some Finnish and South American bands. The Judas Chair Collective is mostly focusing on the darker and more sinister sides of the hardcore underground. Dredged has also been busy making new material, and I have to give a shout-out to our fellow conspiracists. They keep getting better and better, and are honestly among the Top 2 hardcore bands in Finland at the moment. They constantly amaze me.
T, the "Athanor" lyric video is an intriguing new medium for Vegas. What can (or would, really) you share about its origins?
T: Over your cities grass will grow, but no atom is ever lost. "Athanor" was conceived at La Ribaute, near Barjac in the Cévennes. The video was created in the studio of Ogirdor Zul, a man of many talents who has joined the ranks of V.E.G.A.S., and whom I have been working with over the last year.
The Ei Savua Ilman Tulta cassette continues your sporadic exploration of language as camouflage.
T: The tape was released in Finland to commemorate the show Vegas played in Helsinki. Having song titles in the native tongue for a local release and the title of the tape working in tandem with the artwork—i.e. the tape packaging resembling a matchbox—seems to be more overt than it appears to be covert.
Keep an eye on the Judas Chair Collective's webstore to get your hands on these cassettes before they're gone...