Interview: All Pigs Must Die Bassist Matt Woods Talks New Album, Nothing Violates This Nature
All Pigs Must Die could be called a supergroup. But while the band does boast a lineup of underground heavy-music all-stars that any hardcore fan will recognize--The Hope Conspiracy's Kevin Baker on vocals, Ben Koller of Converge behind the kit, and Bloodhorse guitarist Adam Wentworth and bassist Matt Woods--the group has also been making its own name in its own right, release after release. For APMD's second and newest full-length, Nothing Violates This Nature (which you can stream in its entirety right here), the band puts even more confrontational attitude into its blend of hardcore and black metal by adding heavier death and grind parts. Revolver spoke to Woods about the new album, the "us vs. them" logic, and why it all sounds so ugly.
REVOLVER The title of the new record is Nothing Violates This Nature. What "nature" are you referring to?
MATT WOODS The title is the first section of the line "nothing violates this nature, for this nature violates all." Essentially, the line itself is giving voice to a juggernaut. It's not meant to be inclusionary or to make a grandiose statement for people to feel comfortable with. The "nature" is not meant to refer to anything concrete or specific. It has more to do with consciousness or perspective. At their best, reality, ideology or morality are a consensus. At their worst, a complete illusion. The title and more specifically the line address the unwillingness to be cowed by the illusion, to reject the "us" or the "them" and understand things as they are. What man creates, man destroys.
What did you want to do differently than 2011's God Is War?
The plan remained the same as all releases: We want to write the best songs we can. What makes Nothing Violates This Nature different from God Is War is the growth of the four of us playing together and how the two albums are sequenced. God Is War is paced more like a live set. Nothing Violates This Nature is far more of an album.
What did you want to convey, lyrically? It sounds really pissed off.
In the interest of accuracy, I can only speak to the lyrics I contributed. Everything came out from under the aegis of "nothing violates this nature, for this nature violates all" and "one will versus all." It's a perspective where neither the "us" nor the "them" are entirely appealing. Most heavy music, despite the attempts to come off as edgy or extreme, is comprised of people-pleasers. For example, constantly harping on how there is no god or advocating political extremity is utterly inoffensive nor very meaningful at this point. Most bands pushing that rap do not have religious fundamentalists or opposing view points buying their albums. It only pumps the tires of a pretty homogenous audience. The stuff I contributed was done so with the hope it would energize people to think, rather than energize a disposable sing-along type deal with transient meaning. Oh, why is it so pissed? People. End of story.
There is, however, a lot of religious imagery around the band, whether it's in band photos or album covers.
I look at it as they serve as visual representations of conflict, both ideologically and in violent reality. Sure, there are plenty of other means to arrive at the same end but it seems to have worked so far.
A lot of people are using the words like “nasty” and “ugly” to describe the sound of All Pigs Must Die. Why do you think it comes off that way?
It's visceral music and adjectives like "sunny" or "pleasant" are not applicable.
Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou has produced albums for a lot of hardcore artists like Kvelertak and Nails and, of course, you guys. Why did you choose to work with him?
Comfort and communication. We've known and worked with each other for years and years now and because of the aforementioned, it's a very creative and pleasant environment when we record.
The packaging was done by Aaron Turner of Isis. Do you know him and why did you choose his artwork?
Ben and Kevin know Aaron better than Adam and I do. We picked Aaron to shake things up a bit and get a different perspective on board as far as the visuals go. He nailed it. It's my favorite cover layout for sure.
Is it hard to do All Pigs Must Die when members are committed to other projects?
It's hard to play all the time. We are all north of 30 with families, careers, as well as other music projects. However, things are always in motion even if we aren't practicing or playing live all the time. Things get worked out independently then expanded upon when we are together.
You've toured with a countless other artists. What's the craziest thing that happened to you while out on the road?
Craziest thing? Surviving Adam's odor in close quarters for extended periods of time.
The band interests on Facebook are listed as, “Extreme Behavior. Fried Chicken Bones. Silver Bullets. Lycanthropy.” What's that all about?
Just livin, son.