Durham’s near mythical Friday night bash at the Rowing Club in the early 90s spewed forth a number of serious contenders in the UK hardcore scene including Sourface (featuring a young Ben Myers) and, a recently reformed and still ferocious, Voorhees. Since then Durham’s heavy rock/punk scene has continued to evolve over the years boasting a genre-bending and diversity-busting array of extreme music acts, from Control’s straight-edge punk to death metal and crust by the likes of GEIST.
GEIST manage to blend death-metal and dark hardcore without getting too convoluted. The Durham scene is diverse with members having previously played in niche luminaries Cholera and End Reign bookending the metalcore/crust scene. Their current offering via Bandcamp, Location Data, is a math-y dischordant ditty about government surveillance and quantum computing (possibly) and pummels so much paranoid drama into its two-and-a-half minutes of pure ire to leave you breathlessly asking for more.
I caught up with chief screamer Ian to ask him about the local scene and his band’s upcoming tour in support of recent 7” split with Michigan’s Sunlight’s Bane.
How the devil are you sir?
Very well thanks!
Geographically at least Michigan’s Sunlight’s Bane seem unlikely label mates, how did the split come about?
Both Matt [guitarist] and I have their vocalist on Facebook and he reached out for a band to release a split record with. At the time we had two songs written and gig tested so it seemed like a very good move for us. Overseas exposure is always a handy tool to have.
It’s taken a year to get from recording studio to physical release, that must be frustrating?
Over a year. We’d finished the full recording process in the early stages of September 2015. There’s a few reasons that delayed the record going to press, but I won’t list them all as I’m not one for idle gossip but Record Store Day was the main thing that was frustrating.
There is a whistlestop tour, what can we expect from the GEIST live show?
Friday to Friday. 8 days. A GEIST live show is usually intense and over in around 20 minutes. There’s a balance of fast, slow and mid-tempo songs. Mostly fast! The subject matter is usually extreme so it suits for the music to be as it is.
The Durham scene seems a bit fractured of late, what’s the vibe like locally?
Durham, musically, hasn’t been the same for a long time. I don’t want to seem ungrateful for what we have but it’s not a shadow of what it was. This is due to probably having slim pickings of venues. A lot of people grow out of this kind of music so the ‘oldies’ don’t care so much for stage dives anymore and have traded music for a quiet night at home with the soaps… Probably. It’s awful quiet these days.
So what’s next for the band?
GEIST is touring the first week of September, and we’re 80% done writing a new record. We’ve got a 7″ fresh from press and a cassette we recorded on Valentine’s Day. Promote them, play shows and move forward as a band.
So that’s GEIST, still angry, still extreme and going on tour.