Mike Williams Talks Corrections House's Unintended Origin and Unexpected Sound

Mike Williams Talks Corrections House's Unintended Origin and Unexpected Sound
Corrections House, the new collaborative project that comprises metal greats Mike Williams (Eyehategod), Scott Kelly (Neurosis), Bruce Lamont (Yakuza) and Sanford Parker (Minsk), have just released their debut album, Last City Zero, following a 7-inch from earlier this year. In a recent interview with Exclaim!, vocalist Williams discussed how the band came together almost by accident.

"It's a strange thing, [Corrections House] kind of just came about by itself really; it's kind of confusing," he says. "I mean, we all knew each other and we had done different projects, like I had been doing these noise shows, these power-electronic shows where Bruce would just do noise and I would just scream over it, or read over it and things like that. Bruce had been doing stuff with Scott, with Scott's acoustic stuff. So, it was just this natural thing."

It started with a tour the four individual members embarked on in 2012. "It was four solo sets, we all did solo things, like I read, Scott played acoustic, Bruce did a saxophone thing. But that was the original idea, it was just to have Scott open for me and Bruce doing the noise thing, and then Sanford Parker actually wrote some songs and they all came up with these riffs and songs for the first seven-inch we did. It kind of just went from there. We didn't really have it planned out, like 'Hey, let's start a band.' We never even said that, it was just the solo set thing turned into this group where we actually had songs. So, it kind of just manifested itself from there."

While each member brings elements of his own unique background to the table, Corrections House have created a unique and unexpected sound. Last City Zero features a dominant industrial influence, as well as elements of droning noise and doom.

"I have not found a way to describe [our sound], I don't know how to describe it to people," Williams explains. "I mean, if I had to, I guess I would have to say it's got industrial elements. Industrial used to be this thing that was like Throbbing Gristle or SPK, Nurse With Wound and bands like that, but then it kind of became the whole Wax Trax! [Records] sound, like Ministry and all those bands. But I think there are elements of both of those types of industrial music.

"And I don't know, there's some gothic stuff on there, there's one song that Bruce sings, 'Run Through the Night,' it's kind of gothic-y, I would say Swans kind of stuff, later Swans, you know? And it's mechanical sounding a lot of it, but there are also organic elements too, with Scott's vocals and guitar, just the vocals in general from everybody. It's hard to explain, it really is. But that's great, I like that."

While the band didn't plan on having a specific sound, Williams explains it was important that their music maintained a dark atmosphere and didn't sound like their other bands.

"If there was one thing we wanted, no matter what music we were going to make, we wanted it to be dark. That's the one thing that was kind of planned out. And the other thing I guess we did plan out, too, was that we did not want it to sound like our other bands, you know? We definitely didn't want to sound like our other bands at all."

Just don't call Corrections House a "supergroup."

"Everybody always has to label things, you know? I mean, I understand as a writer, I've done it myself, I've done rock journalist stuff, and you have to kind of put labels on things sometimes. But supergroup is probably the worst one, I think. It doesn't make any sense. Just because we're all in other bands, why is it a supergroup?" he laughs.

"I thought supergroup was like when Robert Plant plays with Tony Iommi or something like that, you know? That would be a supergroup to me, like huge rock stars or whatever. We're just guys doing what we do, I don't see how it fits us."

Last City Zero is out now via Neurot Recordings.