Interview with Texas horror punks ‘Livends’

Posted by Jodie On October - 13 - 20104,354 views

Photo taken by Crimskull

‘Tis the season for graveyards, rear windows and things that go bump in the night. It’s the time of year when the normal folk dust of their copies of ‘Halloween’ and give it a re-watch through their fingers.
But for some people, it’s just another month. Because horror is more than just a genre – it’s a lifestyle. They live and breathe it. And sometimes they even make sweet, sweet music about it.

The band ‘Livends’ know what I’m talkin’ ‘bout. I spoke with their lead singer ShCkrz about music, movies and serial killers.

What’s the psychobilly scene like in Brownsville, Texas?
Well, the psychobilly scene over here in Texas was at its strongest around 2003-2007 and then it kind of slowly either fizzled out, either by disbanding or lack of promoters for the genre.

A lot of the national acts like Mad Sin, Tiger Army, The Nekromantix etc. would frequent here when on tour. These days I have noticed a bit of a fusing between all genres, whether it be horror punk, psychobilly, street etc. and helping each other out. The scene is still strong but it’s more diverse now. As far as Brownsville, Texas…the fans here are passionate about music. It’s not a huge city and the fans are not jaded. It is a mid-size city and the kids/ people support the music scene and know their stuff. That’s what I love about it here; the people who come out to shows come out because they like the bands and are familiar – not just to be a scenester. Many national acts who have passed through here loved it (and Texas in general).

How did the band come together?
The band started in 1996 with no planning, just five good friends who drank too much and just added instruments to the mix, ha! By no planning, I mean, it wasn’t like we went out searching for musicians for our “perfect” band. I hate that shit. It rarely works. We were just five guys who knew each other since elementary school, hung out daily, and learned to play.

That’s what I love about this band. We are a brotherhood, not just a band of scab members who do it for status or money. We are friends who hang out daily music related or not and that is rare .Like in any relationship, there have been fall-outs, negative outside influences that have had to be dealt with involving former members, but the true troopers stick together.
The lifestyle is not for everyone, and that’s okay. Some people grow out of it, and our band can’t tolerate that. It’s 100% or nothing. Vinny, Rigo (our newest addition), Haas and I do it for the love of playing. We crave it as a whole – Writing music, bonding, and well, again just living the lifestyle.

What turned you on to Horror Punk? Who are your influences?
When I was in first grade, I got AC/DC’s “Flick Of The Switch” and was hooked on rock. That was it.
Along the way I got into punk like Bad Religion and Minor Threat. But I can pinpoint the day I got into “Horror punk”. It was back in 1992, sophomore year in high school. I bought Misfits “Walk Among Us” just to try something new. At that point I was already a big Danzig fan, but had never heard Misfits,(keep in mind, back then music was hard to come by, ha). I played the cassette ,and by the time I got past “Vampira” I was calling Vinny. It was like nothing we had ever heard. That album changed our lives.

Horror punk and psychobilly are so intertwined with the horror genre, so tell me, what’s your favourite scary movie? (or movies. I know it’s hard to pick just one)

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). I think we all agree that TCM is the greatest horror movie ever. We paid homage to it with our song “House Where Evil Lives” and new video :

House Where Evil Lives – Livends

You use film sound bites at the beginning of your songs – how have these films influenced your song-writing?
We used D list-exploitation films for most of our sound clips. They fascinate us. Now, I’m not sure if the actual movies influence our song-writing all that much, some bites just sound perfect with the subject matter of our songs. Ironically most of our songs are not about horror movies rather true crime, REAL horror. Our lyrics are mostly about serial killers, real life brutality, or our personal experiences disguised as such. We don’t go for the cliché “Vampires in a back of a Hearse wanting brains” type lyrics haha. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not our style. We’ve tasted cow brains in Mexico and we must say they are disgusting, we are not going to pretend we like them …or drinking blood for that matter, too salty. Give us some Natty Light instead.
You’re releasing a new album in 2011, called ‘Hounds of Hate’ – tell me about it. What can fans expect?
We’d be lying if we were to say to expect something different. We pretty much have been using the same writing structure for 15 years, it is what works for us. Simple and short songs are best … that works for us and always has. Keep it between 1:00min and under 3:00min and that’s a Livends song.

Is it different from your other albums, how so?
Well, as stated, the song-writing is the same. The difference on this one is that we are now playing with an E bass player, Haas, rather than upright like we had been for the last 8 years. I think our song-writing needed that fuller bass sound and it was time to go back. We are not known to be a band that “plays by the rules”, we do as we please musically and other. It was rare, but we used to get a shit by genre snobs/purists for not having any “billy” in our sound. We are a horror punk band and always have been. For us it’s about writing good music. Not about focusing strictly on one instrument and the music being second banana. If next year we decide to play upright again, and the following back to E-bass we will. We do as we please, but the music is the same.

After the album is released – what’s next?

We plan on doing a West coast tour by next Spring in support of our new album. We are hungry for the road already.

Halloween is coming up – any costume ideas?
We are still thinking about it. Last year we were [Anton] Lavey, [John Wayne] Gacy and Richard Ramirez. This year we aren’t sure but the ideas are brewing, Any suggestions?

Writers note: Actually yes. Although those were all very scary and disturbing costumes you had last year, I’m thinkin’ something a little more silly – Dorothy, Estelle, Blanche and Rose anyone? No? Too much? Alright, but Stay Golden anyway.

Check out Livends myspace:

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