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F.O.B. - Outside The Palace Walls

An Interview with a Portuguese Death/Grind band.

Hey Pedra, what´s up man! How´s summer treating you this year?

My buddy Pavel, all good here, just another day in the multiverse trying to escape this schizo void. Summer’s good, nothing too much different from the previous ones.

You started GROG in Sept. 1991 and the first recording was made in Jan. 1992 called ´´The Bluuaaarrrgghh rehearsal´´. GROG have re-recorded only one song from that reh. demo, the song ´Cannibalistic Devourment´ which appeared on the debut album ´´Macabre Requiem´´. Have you never felt like re-recording the whole demo 1992 in a proper studio? Or at least a studio remake of the song ´Grog´!

You know, some things are best unchanged. That’s the case of ´´The Bluuaaarrrgghh rehearsal´´ those songs and the way they were produced are very special for me and stand in time as the first tracks we ever made and recorded. It’s totally organic and this recording session is almost a live rehearsal were J.A. from Decayed helped us out with the production. So, it will stay in this format although we did a reissue of it in tape with a colorful cover and stickers in 2015 out by Dina Dog Records.

Fair enough. Can we though expect from GROG at all in time to come to do some shorties like e.g. the ´Grog´ song?

Can’t really predict that one nevertheless we did some other shorties in our latest Monsters’s split 7’’ and as well in the past. Go find them!

Unfortunately, I don´t have that split 7´´EP w/NAMEK but it doesn´t contain no shortie if we talk about those few seconds songs?

In that case, there will be not another one like Grog for sure, but if the riffs make sense to us, we might do some more songs with one minute.

Now please, unbolt the inception of GROG. How you blokes met and how about your very first rehearsal room, was it a garage, a pub...?

Well, to keep it short, we all became friends in our teen years and one day Marco, João and Johnny decided to invite me to make part of the band. The band’s name was already decided, so as the music style. We started rehearsing in Johnny’s girlfriend parents’ house shortly after putting the line-up together.

I Guess Johnny´s girlfriend parents´ didn´t last long before you had to leave and look for another place, or were they ok with the ´noise´ for a longer period?

Well, I think if I am not mistaken, they broke up afterwards, so I guess grindcore isn’t healthy for relationships. You go figure it out!

After a couple more tapes comes 1994, a short lived German record label Born To Booze Records released your first and for now only 7´´EP ´´95 Stabwounds in Your Throat´´ where you placed a Live recording from Sept. 1994. Amazing artwork by the way man, did you or Johnny came up with the front cover? It must have been a beaut, feeling to hold a 7 inch in your hands back in the day.

Johnny did all the cover artwork; he was a huge Fangoria fan and had a lot of magazines in his place. It was a matter of selecting the images, scissor cutting, paper gluing and then xerox the final model. Yes, the old ways were phenomal! And to hold the physical copy was outstanding,
especially because all this come from nowhere. We met the guy from Born to Booze Records Saturday night out of the bloom, presented ourselves to each other, drank some beers and got record a deal just like that. No contracts, no formalities, no posers, or wimp attitudes. Every was done by the book. Man do I miss those times!!!

GROG´s debut opus ´´Macabre Requiem´´ was released on CD in 1996 (then released on 12´´LP in 2018), don't you intend to re-release it on CD for the hungry collectors out there who ain't got a turntable? Coz the CD is nowhere to be found for sale anymore.

We are working on that, there will be a reissue in CD and tape formats this year around November, out by Helldprod Records and Headsplit Records.

I totally dig the album cover of your second opus ´´Odes To The Carnivorous´´. Who made it and has it ever been printed on T-shirts?

We did several releases covers with our friend Victor Costa like Macabre Requiems, Odes to the Carnivorous, Gastric Hymns Mummified in Purulency and Monsters. He’s a truly gifted artist although the design concepts are ours, but you can follow his work here: http://www.victorcosta.pt. There’s a recent but exclusive tee we did with part of that Odes drawing and it’s only available here: https://www.unkind.pt/catalogo/listaprodutosbanda.php?cat=2134.

It´s a pity it ain´t printed as a whole, i mean the exact picture of the album.

Don’t lose your hope because we also don’t. Odes to the Carnivorous is on sight for the future. Let’s all wait for that and see what comes.

In GROG´s 31 years of existence, there's only four Full-length albums out. How come man? What was the longest period of slackness? Meaning gig inactivity or lack of reh. sessions.

After all these years there were a lot of factors that contributed for that. We had to overcome line-up changes after our first album, then after the second one, as well the lack of medium-long term label support in both moments, along with family issues and once you notice you have a full life with your family, job, and less available time to do/play music. And, just for the record, we don’t pay our bills from the music we make. Nevertheless, there’s a very important point here I also want to mention, especially for the last 20 years, we see the music we play as a personal challenge so it’s not just a creative thing. Meaning to keep making the music we like and stand for we must have to transcend what we did in the past. So that takes even more time and makes everything even more demanding. We don’t see our releases like an agenda, for us it’s all about quality not quantity or because we need new songs to play live. That’s utter bullshit and a commercial and sell out approach even if you are in the underground whatever scene. We need to feel in it in our bones and souls, we must be the first ones to say this is awesome, this is Grog. You say we have four full lengths and I say we have seven studio releases not counting with demos, other tapes, tributes and 7’’ and all of them have the best of us no matter if they are short or long ones, more grindcore or death grind orientated.

Grindhead Records (Australia) released a very nice 3 way split CD in 2010 with Aussie pack ROADSIDE BURIAL and your country mates PUSSYVIBES. Who brought the idea in of covering NUCLEAR ASSAULT? This band goes way beyond me but this cover song man, I can listen and re-listen to it as many times as forever around the clock. It sounds way better than the original.

Well, I am a huge fan of Nuclear Assault for all that matters and so is Ivo. They stand as one the best bands ever within thrash metal, hardcore and crossover. So, we decided to make a tribute to them by using this song. Also, our props to Bubsy from Grindhead Records, Nelson from Pussyvibes and Roadside Burial for their excellent work on this one.

You have played in various countries in Europe, any plans to perform for the oversea audience? Wouldn't it be sick to hit Japan?

Not for the moment and yes it would be. Hopefully, someone will hear this shoutout not only for Japan, but for the rest of the world.

Every band that breathes that long have their ups and downs. What were the most turbulent times and on the contrary the brightest?

Making it through for all this time is a humongous task but if we keep the pace, it means that the good moments have overcome the bad. So, all the music made, all the shows played, all the people we met, all the experiences we lived had and have a huge impact within each one of ourselves. I think it’s all about everything we lived so far but I would say, for example, SWR Fest, OEF, Stonehendge Fest, XXXapada na Tromba shows make us grateful for being doing what we are doing. The hard ones are the line-up changes and the continuing motivation we must give ourselves to put a new album together. Being the last one very demanding like I said previously.

I have interviewed you for Buryzone zine (N°5, 1998, Czech Rep.). At that time you lived in Oeiras, now you live in Carcavelos, tell me man, how come a guy from Lisbon area ends up being a fan of FC Porto?!

That’s an easy one mate. Well, both of my parents had northern blood from their family sides, so FC Porto was already in their football preferences before I came. It was only a matter of time.

That explains it then. Do you find some spare time to go to see FC Porto play at their stadium or you´re more of a lay back TV match settee fella?

Not really, but I ‘ve seem them play here nearby. It’s a matter of time, there are other priorities and although I am a very occupied person, I am not omnipotent yet.

I know you were a tape trader in the days of yore, it certainly had some magic to it. Thanks to you I knew what was going on in Portugal. Nowadays with the Internet it is a whole different story. Everything is fast and easy to come by. Mostly soulless. Not saying all of it is bad...Doesn´t it sound cliché that in every epoch of life people often think in nostalgy of the good old days? The please-send-my-stamps-back was epic!

The way I see it we are made of past, present and future feelings, decisions, and actions, in one-word, experiences, and there’s no doubt about tape trading, snail mail and xerox magazines made it through the time being as valuable and congregating means for this genre of music. We were in contact with the world, it was crazy, but there was nothing like opening your mailbox and see a simple letter from a distant friend, with or without a music cassette, with or without a musical magazine, with or without a video cassette (VHS or Beta) that twinkling smile would show up regardless the content. I think we were a step ahead from everyone back then, to glue the stamps to reuse them was truly a domestic piece of scientific engineering!

You´re also active in releasing music. Reveal the label idea and what´s to come next? You mentioned the reissue of ´´Macabre Requiem´´ on CD.

Indeed, we are starting the promotion of Macabre Requiems reissue in Helldprod Records, and we also teamed up with Headsplit Records for this release. It will be out in CD and Tape formats and hopefully will be available before the end of this year. Like you said before, it’s an album you only can find in Discogs and the prices aren’t fair to those who still want it for their collections. So, the time has come to finally to do this and honor the music in it because Macabre Requiems is a hell of a classick that deserves a lot more recognition between all death metal rotten heads.

In the late 90´s you started NETHERMANCY with José Afonso of DECAYED, singing Black Metal style takes the voice to a different level. Is there any kind of a vision for a GROG/NETHERMANCY split?

Hum…funny of you to ask that, not really, but man you may have started something here ahahahahahahah.

You mean that it would be a weird split where two genres clash? It´s been 5 years since the last album, you got anything coming up?

Yes, it would be, but I guess, why not? GROG and NETHERMANCY are different bands, but they have a lot in common since they represent what I consider to be the underground way of life. Next year if all goes smoothly both bands will have new albums out. And if you like death metal, grindcore and black metal like I do that would make a lot of sense.

In 2015 Murder Records released a debut album of DI.SOUL.VED (pretty solid Death metal), are you guys working on something new or was it just a project?

DI.SOUL.VED is a project from my dear friend Hugo Silva, in the past he was involved in DOWNTHROAT. Honestly, I can’t tell you too much of what’s happening, I know that there’s a new album written but the lack of time of all elements involved to put it together make it difficult to happen. But, hey, once again, time will only tell.

What is the forecast for the near future, a new full length about to pop up soon?

Yes, we are working on a new album which hopefully will be out next year. I can say that it will be very thrilling when we see the light of day out of this one. We also have some songs from tributes for Extreme Noise Terror, Doom and Ratos de Porão to be release. Also, from my personal side there will be a new album from The Symbolist.

Great to hear that man. Will it be Victor Costa again working on the next front cover of GROG? Have you guys talked about what it should look like yet?

Yes, It will be him to work on the new album art and yes I already spoke about the cover album concept.

You mentioned THE SYMBOLIST and its new album being on the horizon. It´s way too much for my ear to bare to be honest but I´m sure there´s souls that dig this kind of extreme blend of styles. Tell us about the whole project and where can people find it to give it a whirl?

The Symbolist is the craziest thing I have ever done in all my life. First off, until today I don’t know Fred personally and we live 15 minutes apart and until today I wouldn’t recognize him if I saw him side-a-side, second the album was recorded when we were in confinement, I recorded my vocals with my telephone and sent him the files, third when the album was released Fred ask me to answer an interview instead of him because he doesn’t want to get know in the scene, so until know we only spoke a couple of times by phone, all the rest is by email. The funny thing here is, he also runs The Hills Are Dead Records. Pretty nit, don’t you think so? So, if you think this is musically crazy, try this. You can find the album “The Sentinelese” in labels bandcamp page here alongside with all the other releases: https://thehillsaredead.bandcamp.com/album/sentinelese-2.

By the way, a very good choice taken to tribute E.N.T., DOOM, R.D.P. although I somehow still think that those ´´A Tribute to...´´ compilations should be made when the band exists no more.

I get your point but when such bands exist and still influence the musicians whether they are old or new ones I think, as long they like to see their songs revisited by other artists without putting legal problems into it, it’s an excellent manner to honor their deeds and very motivating for those who do it to reincarnate their favorite music idols. It’s a creative, an honest and a memorable process for both parts that stands for what art should be.

Ok man, that´s about it for now. Looking forward to drinking some beer with you again man and can´t wait to see GROG play in January 2023 at the infamous XXXApada Na Tromba Fest in Lisbon. Cheers Pedra for the intie, keep GROG alive til the inevitable end comes. You´re definitely a helluva Portuguese Death/Grind stalwart. It was a rapture to interrogate you once more after 24 years. Cheers!

Always a treat to hang out with you dude, no doubt you have a grind rib over here now so stay tuned for more blast beats and keep it true. Thanks for all the support and friendship. See you very soon!

Interviewer: Pavel Duris (grindcorizer@hotmail.com)
Interviewee: Pedro Pedra (grogpt@gmail.com)

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Zveřejněno: 01. 10. 2022
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Autor: Redakce | Další články autora ...

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