Sunday, February 8, 2009


Originally published in: Monday Magazine

Album: Destination Time Tomorrow (Level-Plane Records) 

Random thoughts: This interview was odd, especially when Justin Smith started talking about Mark Wahlberg. Still, a great band, and not your run-of-the-mill hardcore band story.


By Jason Schreurs

Graf Orlock, one of the rare breed of hardcore/metal bands playing “cinema-grind,” originally decided to write songs about ‘80s/’90s action movies because they were “just tired of people writing terrible lyrics,” according to guitarist and vocalist Justin Smith.
“The action movie thing is just an excuse to exploit the pop culture of our childhoods,” explains Smith, “or, actually, it became interesting to take out different parts of them and focus on them, through either samples or lyrics, and highlight some of the ridiculous popular preoccupations in the US in the 1980s.”
Smith (known in Graf Orlock as “Jason Schmidt”) also handles the hilarious pre, mid, and post-song samples from movies such as The Terminator and Total Recall on the band’s latest release, Destination Time Tomorrow, eight songs of spastic, screaming grind/hardcore in well under 20 minutes.
Smith doesn’t hesitate on his favorite movie ever (the Die Hard Trilogy, featuring “one of the best action characters ever created”), and also doesn’t mince words about which bloated Hollywood actor he’d like to see accidentally saunter into one of their local Studio City, CA shows.
“Recently, Mark Wahlberg, or Marky Mark,” says Smith. “The reasons: Three Kings, Four Brothers, and, mostly, Shooter.”
It would be a lesson in bludgeoning Marky wouldn’t soon forget; these guys are known for an out of control live set that rivals any show of the golden era of late-‘90s SoCal spazz-core (think Jenny Piccolo and The Locust or, if that’s French, think unhinged mania set to ear-piercing chaos in 20 minutes or less).
“It’s kind of a pain in the ass, but always brutal in some aspect,” says Smith of their live show. “Super fun though, for us, and we always try to play on the floor so that we can be as close to people as possible, and things can happen…”
And we can’t talk about Graf Orlock without mentioning the packaging on their latest release. Quite possibly the sickest thing ever, rivaling any grindcore or death metal release, the CD comes wrapped in Alien-like face-hugger tentacles and is hiding a particularly nasty piece of female genitalia underneath.
Geez, wonder if they’ll have troubles getting that one across the border when they come to town on Sunday? “I don’t know,” says Smith, “do your border cops care about that stuff?”
Well, let’s hope Canadian customs is too confused by the concept of “cinema-grind” to inspect the band’s merchandise too closely.

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