Mysterium Tremendum Volume 2:
John the Baptist of Mystery School Records catches up with Jimmy of Insomniax, West Memphis, AR's relentless crust metal noise plague. Interview conducted vie email 2/8/17.
Mysterium Tremendum: When did you first begin writing and recording as Insomniax?
Jimmy: It was towards the very end of December of 2015. About half of the songs on the first album "Amphetademons" were songs that were going to be on the upcoming sophomore album of Speedböozer. When that project inevitably ended, I picked up the pieces and started Insömniax.
MT: Despite the shared material, Insomniax seems different from Speedboozer in both intent and content. What is common between both? What are the most important differences?
J: Musically, I think it was/is a natural progression and evolution. The formula was always the same, but I wanted Insömniax to be a much darker and personal reflection than Speedböozer, especially since my time alone in isolation really made me reflect on a lot of things - face a lot of demons I have been dealing with on a daily basis. When I started Speedböozer, I was full of energy and eager to take on the entire world. It was a constant bar room brawl mentality and wild, aggressive outlet / coping mechanism. I felt it was time to start a new band, honestly. With the passing of Lemmy at the end of December, it seemed appropriate to pull the plug on Speedböozer, which had honestly been hanging on by a thread for the past two years anyway... I was just so tired of the shtick and joke that lost its humor pretty early on. I was tired of the circus, tired of the scene, tired of everything. I wanted to detach myself completely. Bittersweet, but mostly bitter. When I lost my home and relocated to Arkansas, it was obvious that things had changed and the good times were pretty much over and done with. It went from "let's raise hell and have a rowdy time destroying everything" to "let me dig a ditch to die in". It was more of a reflection on my surroundings. I was isolated in a very empty and desolated state. There wasn't any money (but that was nothing new) and each day was passing by, indistinguishable from the last. Really, with a band like Speedboozer, it served its purpose. Said all that needed to be said on that one album. Insömniax is definitely a lot more personal and I could make endless songs about what goes on behind my eyes.
MT: What are the strongest influences on the style and sound of Insomniax?
J: I pull influences from death, black, crust, thrash, grindcore, hardcore... it's all in there to a degree. Really harsh and raw bands of the old guard. The originators. Injecting raw hardcore punk and d-beat with some metal in the house that Driller Killer built. I think Japanese and Swedish hardcore punk bands and lo-fi black metal bands really made me embrace the abyssmal production values and "don't give a shit" attitude.
MT: "Amphetademons" has a feeling of mania and hedonism, but also desperation about it. Can you say anything more about the influence that your personal circumstances had on the writing and recording of this album?
J: "Amphetademons" was a strange time, as it was during the process of breaking up/shedding the skin of one band and molding a new caste into a new project heading in a new direction. I was going through a lot of really bad shit, honestly. I couldn't sleep and was having a lot of panic attacks, realizing I had an addiction to benzos like Valium and Ativan. I couldn't function at all without them. I felt like the best part of my life was over. I was giving some serious thoughts to ending my life to the point of planning it out. I felt betrayed and cheated on a lot of different levels in my life - pissed and disgusted with myself too. All around just negative energies non-stop. I wanted a big "fuck you" to everyone back in North Carolina, especially the fake and trendy scene there and a few certain individuals who aren't worth mentioning at all by name. "Amphetademons" summed it up perfectly though. A speed demon. If the band was an animal, it'd be a sloth or snail...
MT: Insomniax most recent album, "Misanthropunx" is already a stylistic departure from what we heard on "Amphetademons". Talk about the "Misanthropunx" album and where Insomniax stands now, where you see it going in the future.
J: I think it's more focused, definitely. It was the first full-length album of all songs written specifically for this project. I think it will continue down this same path to ear bleeding nihil. I want each new record to be even more punishing, devastating, faster and more bleak until the demise, when I unavoidably pull the plug for good on my musical "career" and give the final curtain call. I've already begun working on the third full-length. We'll see where it goes. I have no plans of live shows or anything. I honestly can't stand 98% of people in this type of music and I don't really have anything left to prove anymore. It's a farce. If the right gig came up, maybe... I don't know. I doubt it though. I really want to keep my distance from my past and the scene I was a part of. It just has no appeal to me anymore at all.
MT: How have Speedboozer fans and supporters reacted to the transition? I couple labels rejected the "Amphetademons" album before its CD release on Mystery School Records. What has been the overall response to "Amphetademons" and "Misanthropunx"? *editor's note- I released the "Amphetademons" CD on my label and I really don't give a shit if you like it or not*
J: From what I've read and been told they either love it or hate it. No in-between. There have been a few fans that have stuck around and they seem to really dig it, and you also have the ones who can't accept anything other than "Poser Killing Heavyweights" or "Back on the Road". Overall, I think most of them aren't even aware that I have a new project, either that or they don't care. I think the whole metal punk bandwagon has come to a close and most of the people in that scene have moved onto the next big thing or gone back to their Midnight records. I think "Misanthropunk" has gotten a lot more recognition, especially in the extreme metal and crust community. They seem to be welcoming Insömniax a lot more than the old Speedböozer crew. New band and a new, but very limited following. I'm ok with that.
MT: Fans, critics, and scenes are fickle things. Recently when we talked you mentioned your music being dismissed in the past as "venom worship." I heard the same critique of my old band with a Venom influence. My question, how is that a bad thing?!
J: It's actually kind of funny because the people that usually say that don't stop to look in the mirror, as their bands are some of the most lackluster, mediocre snooze fests I've ever heard. Either that or people who don't even make music. It's impossible to be completely original, and unlike some people, I actually do listen to bands like Venom. I don't wear their patches or talk about what an influence they are on me for kvlt/elitist points. If I will be remembered as a Venom rip off, that's ok. Venom were one of the first extreme metal bands I ever got into and it's no secret that they have had a direct impact on my playing. I'd honestly consider myself a bigger Driller Killer rip off than anything, though.
But all the guys in DK know of my band and they're fans, so I couldn't be more honored (cheers Charlie, Johan, Christoffer, and Cliff).
MT: Speaking of extreme metal, what is the best album by album Village People? Can you confirm the existence of, or have you ever had contact with the Village People Cult of Death?
J: They pretty much wrote the book on death metal, no doubt. I think every single one of their songs are d-beat burners. My favorite album is without a doubt their final album, "Sex Over the Phone". One time The Village People came through NC on the very night that Speedböozer opened from The Murder Junkies. I was flirting with the idea of leaving the gig and high tailing it to Asheville where they were playing. I contacted their agent weeks later and tried to set up a gig, but they wanted at least $5,000 just to basically show up. A small, but humble offering to play with living gods... but I was broke and unworthy...
MT: Where are Insomniax albums available?
J: Amphetademons is available through Mystery School Records, and Misanthropunk is currently in production through Vonfrost records out of Canada on procassette. Currently in the worx: a split with Evil Army, talks of one with Lautsturmer, and another full length.
I also put everything up on the bandcamp page to download or check out. Tone deaf forever. Bonne nuit...