By Denise FalzonFollowing last year's stellar debut full-length, The Sum of All Fossils, NYC progressive death-grind trio Flourishing return with new EP Intersubjectivity. Featuring three tracks in just over 20 minutes, the band continue with their mix of death metal and grindcore, with Godflesh-style industrial ambience and Portal-esque dissonance. But Flourishing take it a step further, as the post apocalyptic-sounding Intersubjectivity contains an early '80s Killing Joke vibe and even more crushing, black and dark dirges. Harsh and muddy production adds to Flourishing's gritty sound, and with their ability to create unorthodox, awe-inspiring tracks with a combination of different styles, Intersubjectivity is both beautiful and brutal, pushing the boundaries of extreme metal.
You released your debut full-length, The Sum of All Fossils, a year ago. Why release an EP? Did you want to get some new material out before writing another record? Vocalist/guitarist Garett Bussanick: Well, at this time there are really no plans for another release. We knew the band were going to take a hiatus or whatever and so we decided to record an EP because that's what the time allowed for.
What was the writing and recording process like for Intersubjectivity? It was a similar approach writing it. The recording was a little different because we did that ourselves. We did the tracking and mixing ourselves in our rehearsal space. The three of us put our heads together, and we all sort of have a background, more or less, in audio engineering, so we got together and made it happen for the recording.
Intersubjectivity has a very post-apocalyptic sound. Is that what you were going for? I guess, yes. There are two ways to look at it: those things sort of come out naturally in what we do, but then also, yes, we're going for a certain thing with the sound. So it's continuing with the main idea we've had in this band; we're going in that direction on purpose a little bit, but also it's what we all enjoy doing. It's maybe going to come out like that naturally in that way.
Do you express your views on what's currently going on in society through your music? No, I wouldn't say it's a response to the physical world exactly.
Is there a specific theme behind the EP? Not really a theme; it kind of picks up what's on our previous releases with the lyrical content and that is examinations of what it means to be human and the trials and tribulations. It continues on in that direction with those sorts of ideas and exploring that stuff. And, of course, it's all based on personal experiences.
Is there a deeper meaning behind the title? Intersubjectivity is a pretty deep topic. There's a lot to it and there's a lot out there on it ― there are various studies and stuff. I'm really coming at it from a different angle. One of the meanings of it is agreements among a group as a way to define things and so I sort of put it out there for that reason. I'm commenting on where things are defined from and that's usually a group of people that come together and say, "Yes, the sky is blue" or something like that. I'm really just putting it out there as a question, a question of where definitions come from and that kind of thing.
There are a lot of different styles that come together in your music. Do you pick apart things that you like from different genres and blend them together? I wouldn't say that's exactly the way it goes, but, yes, that inevitably happens, of course, just from listening to different bands and lots of different things tend to influence us. But the real idea is: it's not to come up with a mish-mash exactly, it's more about coming up with a vibe or something that you can kind of base a song on. And then once you're at that point, then you can very easily pick and choose what feels right to bring things to a certain level that you're trying to get to. You're trying to tell a story, musically speaking, of course, and so we're starting at a base point and then finding something that feels like a song, something that feels like a good starting point. Genre is very secondary at that point when you've got something that feels right.
Flourishing are a difficult band to categorize. How would you describe your sound? Musically speaking, yeah, it's hard to say. The main inspirations are old, old grindcore. You know, old Napalm Death, Terrorizer ― that stuff is always shared between us as something we all really like. Godflesh also and I think Godflesh are maybe somewhat easier to pick out. And then there are the death metal elements. You can say it's a combination of those kinds of things ― that's what I would say.
With each release, you've taken Flourishing to another level. Is it a challenge to continue to evolve and progress your sound? No, I mean, really, if anything, going forward musically, myself personally, I feel like this is really like the beginning stages almost, where I think there's a lot of ground that can be covered based on these ideas that I've been using in Flourishing. There's a lot of room to expand.
Is it more of a natural progression rather than something you consciously think about? It's both, because you definitely have to think about it. I think it's really easy to get cornered into standard ways of doing things, like standard ways of riff writing or songwriting or whatever. It's pretty conscious; I've made a conscious effort to step outside of that to try to do something fresh. In a way, there is a lot of thought-process behind it because you've got to be able to step back from it, like a lot of ideas might be on the fence and maybe they don't feel right or maybe they feel like they're not exactly what you're going for. But, really, with writing for Flourishing, it's about the song; it's not really saying, "I'm trying to write a riff that's like this." A lot of the time, we sit there and we jam when we're writing and see what comes together, like if there are a couple parts that kind of click and feel like something, then you can sort of almost take it in any direction you want, genre-wise, as far as making it very heavy or shades of something else or less intense or whatever it may be.
You mentioned that there aren't any plans to write an upcoming full-length. Why is that? Well, let's see. I moved away; I don't live in Brooklyn anymore. We recorded this EP actually days before I moved, which was last August of 2011, so we haven't played together in over a year. So at best, the band are on hiatus right now. We don't really know what the future holds, but there are no plans to do anything. There's the release of this EP and a vinyl release of The Sum of all Fossils and there's supposed to be a tape of The Sum of all Fossils happening, but other than that there are no plans for the band to do anything at this point.
That's very disappointing! Well, I'm going to be doing other stuff. I have this project that's sort of in the beginning stages where I'm going to continue on where Flourishing kind of left off. It's something I'm doing with the drummer of Castevet, who are based in NYC. We don't have a name yet, but it's definitely continuing on where Flourishing left off and even using a lot of unfinished Flourishing material that I've got lying around.
Does this also mean the end of your other NYC band, Wetnurse? Wetnurse have a third album recorded and all of the instrumentation was also recorded last summer before I moved away. The missing piece of the puzzle is the vocalist [Gene Fowler] completing his parts and I don't know exactly where he's at with that process. But the cool thing about that is Ryan Jones, the bass player of Wetnurse, who also recorded The Sum of all Fossils, also recorded that Wetnurse album. He and our singer in Wetnurse are able to get together whenever time allows to complete that record. So there's also that, apparently this Wetnurse album will come out, I just don't know the timeframe.
Anything else you'd like to add? Well, the only other tidbit of news is that I started playing in Tombs recently. I've been touring with those guys and it looks like I'll be continuing on doing that. I've got that going on and the new project, which is still nameless.