There’s some sense of what we might call pride on this website for noticing Full Of Hell when A389 put out “Roots Of Earth Are Consuming My Home” – by that time you could easily perceive that those young fellows did listen to all the good records and it was a matter of months before they started to let grow their tortured experimental side. That’s what happens when you are talented, grow baffled by Hydra Head‘s catalogue and dazed with Man Is The Bastard love for sulphuric noise: you eventually end up recording and playing live with Merzbow, touring extensively with abnormal good bands such as The Body and being a fucking kickass band that is giving today’s heavy music an extra prism of denseness and brilliancy.  

I’ve been following you since “Roots Of Earth” and seeing you trespassing hardcore boundaries – whatever that is – comes as a no surprise. What surprises me the most, though, is how you are now working as a linking bridge between traditional heavy music and experimental noise. Despite your age, people are starting to look at you as a mandatory starting point before plunging into nerve­pinching power electronics. Were you expecting that? To be, for example, called out by Team Rock to write a noise guide?

We are very fortunate in our short time as a band to have been able to do all of these things that we’ve done on the road and on record. I can’t say we expected any of it, so it’s all been a nice surprise the whole time. I think it’s interesting to consider that some might feel that we are a good starting point or a gateway to more experimental music. I would say that we are proud if even one person chooses to explore into the deeper depths of what’s out there because of what we are doing. That’s what it is all about.

Everyone is now aware of how you and Merzbow joined forces. What I want to know is the insecurity // self­consciousness side of it. If my band had to mash up its songs with Prurient ’s work, I’d be trembling, never satisfied with the outcome. Was it tough to say ‘okay, this is fine, let’s wrap it up and release it’?

We were extremely self­conscious, of course. Looking back on any release, especially one such as this, it’s very easy to think of what we could have possibly done differently, but we are very proud of it and stand by it. We had a vision for what we felt would be an interesting double album and we followed through with it. It’s difficult to consider working with a master such as Masami, because who are we, really? You can only accept the privilege and be grateful to have been given it.

Having talked with numerous musicians, there’s a detail most people seem to overlook when looking at a particular band: with whom their tour with. You’ve shared lengthy excursions with Whitehorse and The Body. The latter, particularly, are known for their experimental catalogue. How much did they end up influencing you by just witnessing their live performances every night? Is it a constant learning process when touring with such great musicians?

We try to share our tours with bands that we have a lot of respect for. I am usually a fan of the band we are going to tour with at any given point. The Body in particular might be my favorite contemporary band, period. It’s very inspiring to travel with people like that. Frankly, they have a lot more experience than us in every way, so in that, we do learn a lot. Watching musicians that work in ways that are alien to us helps us to grow. It also forces you to grow up fast when you have to hold your own against a band that’s truly incredible night after night.

Most people are not really aware of Full Of Hell’s self­-taught ethos. Your first LP documents your craft­ learning process, even though it sounds bold and mature. But Neurosis comes to my mind when thinking about you, as they all grew up together as well – playing rudimentary crust punk at first, progressively evolving into a mammoth, master of all heavy arts. What are the pros and cons of being in a band where all of its members have started on the same plate? Do you often look out for advice from other musicians, producers, etc.?

The Neurosis comparison is very flattering. We’ve always felt inspired by them, how much they grew together over the years and how they’ve become this massive force. The pros are obviously organic discovery. That «aha!» moment that you will all share at the same time (if you’re lucky), and an overall feeling of coming into the world, learning it’s ways. I think the cons would be the same, but from a different perspective. We had ideas about how to do things within a band, but didn’t know for sure. We had to discover it all on our own and I feel like every time we feel as though we are starting to fit in our own shoes, we get a bigger pair to grow into. It’s a constant learning process. We always look to our peers and older peers for advice. Thankfully, we have a lot of wise friends. It hasn’t been a total plunge through the dark.

Unlike the vast majority of bands, Full Of Hell’s lineup remains steady. Friendship might not be the word, perhaps it’s beyond that. Could you help me trying to pin down what that thing is, since FOH might have it in its genes? Is it patience? Endurance?

We have been through many bass players, I’m not really sure why. Maybe a curse? The core of the band has always been Spencerand I. He is the most driven individual I’ve ever met, so our focus doesn’t waver. Our drummer Dave is very young, so we originally had to work with him as he made his way through high school. His talent is something to be witnessed, I really don’t know where he gets it. He’s very essential to us. So, to answer your question, I think the only thing that truly keeps us together, is the only thing that really matters at the end of the day, which is an unwavering demand from within to keep writing and touring. It’s all we like to do, and we got lucky when we came together like this.

Having not seen you yet on stage, what really caught my attention, when watching those Youtube full sets, is how intense you are. There’s a sense of honesty that I appreciate and the consciousness that being quick and to the point is still the most effective weapon when playing fast heavy stuff. Do you agree with this? Is it better to play a 100% intense short set, instead of dragging yourself out for 30/40 minutes?

The bands I was inspired by when I was young put everything they had into their live shows. We always stuck by a code that the music should be one solid wall of sound from start to finish, if only punctuated by intentional silence once during the set. Short sets are perfect for this kind of music. Any longer and you lose my attention.

I might be incorrect, but you’ve started to left some of your early material out of your setlists. How do you look to your first LP or to “The Inevitable Fear Of Existence” nowadays? A great number of artists, as time progresses, feel that their initial work no longer represents their actual state of being. Does this happen with you?

It absolutely happens with us. Like I said above, we are fortunate to experience this kind of group feeling of real discovery. As we grow as musicians and our music becomes denser or more technical, we do lose some interest in playing the older material. With respect to anyone that would want to hear it, we have too much interest in our current work to waste time with what was, three years ago or more.

Being myself a writer, words are vital. But, in my case, I don’t have a massive wall of sound surrounding and engulfing what I write down. So, how important is the word in a heavy band’s context? Is it a hermetic experience rather than the old classic of trying to reach someone? Do you write for yourself primarily, to vent out?

I am a born writer as well and I feel very strongly about the words behind this music. A friend of mine told me a year ago that in music like this, the lyrics are more of a place­holder, because the vocals are so indecipherable and harsh. It was a good point, but I really appreciate a band with dense lyrics and a firm descriptive form. So, I guess I write for myself.

Let’s talk about the future, the near future. You’ll play here, but before that you’ll materialize your collaboration withMerzbow on stage at Incubate. How will that all happen? Are you nervous about it?

We have played with Merzbow once before this year, in Tokyo. We were very nervous, but once we met Masami some of that dissipated. He’s an amazing person and once we were soundchecking together, we realized that this would be a good experience and that we should just roll with it and enjoy our moments on stage. Incubate Festival will be similar. The pressure might be a little higher only because we are also sharing the stage with the Melvins. So yes, no matter what, we will be nervous.

I’ve heard about a collaboration with The Body and a new 7” on Bad Teeth Recordings. Any further details about it?

The Body collaboration is almost completely finished. We recorded the music in May and the artwork has been in progress for some time after that. It is being released by a truly incredible label that I cannot believe wants anything to do with our band. We are very proud of the music on here, it was not hard to make this record with them. Because of time constraints with pressing plants, and just having a desire to avoid rushing, this collaboration won’t come out until early next year. The 7” is coming out this fall on our friend from Chicago’s label, Bad Teeth Recordings. The material has a heavier death metal vibe, and we are excited to play the songs live this autumn on tour.