Gregory Pepper & His Problems Interview + Song Premiere
- by Señor Editor, 14 February 2017
TRASH MUTANT: It’s been 5 years since our first interview with you here on Trash Mutant. We reviewed some of your records since then and, while you often switch styles between them, it seems like you’ve gone a step further with “Black Metal Demo Tape”. Brand new sound, brand new look. What prompted this latest metamorphosis?
GREGORY PEPPER: Thanks for having me back! For years, I'd been talking a big game about combining dank, sludgy guitars with sugary vocal melodies – seemed like a template that hadn't really been explored yet. When Fake Four Inc. suggested that I release something on cassette, it was an obvious match for the medium: The production is a lot more naïve and experimental than the last album and the songs are way longer, so it demands a measure of patience that I associate with tapes.
If it's not too depressing, what are the actual problems of Gregory Pepper? And were the problems you were facing during the recording of this album appropriately more metal than usual?
They're all of the 'first world' variety, I can assure you! The guys i'd been performing with since about 2009 decided to take a break from the band so I had to play all the parts myself. Was also denied that sweet, breezy Canadian grant money this time around so I recorded the album at home. I suppose a solitary man sitting in a darkened basement for hours on end could be considered 'metal' in some circles, right?
The good people at Fake Four are putting the album out in America, but have you considered sending it as an actual demo tape to some labels in Norway? Possibly touching base with the metal scene there, maybe get some collaborations going for any future metal efforts?
Ha! Those limp-wristed Scandinavians couldn't keep up with my fierce tremelo picking and misanthropic world view! I'll bet most of them don't even worship Satan!
Ok, so obviously this isn’t REALLY a black metal release (nor is it a demo), but it’s probably the most metal thing fans have heard from you. It’s definitely a heavier pop rock sound and still quite different from your previous albums. You’ve switched your sound a lot in your career, so are you ever really concerned about how your fans might react to the changes?
I still think that the most heinous musical offense one can commit is to be boring. I can deal with objectionable themes or an out of tune instrument, but dullness is unforgivable. That's a big part of why I try to switch things up. It's understandable that not everyone is gonna be on board but speaking selfishly, it's way more interesting for me to tread unfamiliar waters.
We’re premiering a joint from the new album today, it’s called “This Town” and it’s a really great, catchy song about some slasher villain type of activities. Putting masks on, hunting teenagers with a knife and making costumes from their flesh… - you’re painting a very Michael/Jason/Leatherface picture here. Can you tell us a little about the background for this song and how it came to be?
It started out, innocently enough, about feeling figuratively trapped in a small town. That concept naturally morphed into a cruel, first person anecdote about a maniac who literally prevents teenagers from escaping... Needless to say, those 80's slasher movies I grew up watching are still a prevailing force.
SONG PREMIERE: "THIS TOWN" BY GREGORY PEPPER & HIS PROBLEMS
What’s the best slasher movie ever made, according to Gregory Pepper?
It's tough to pick a favorite but the denouement of “Sleepaway Camp” still occupies an exclusive, uneasy place in my heart.
I know you’re already planning a Black Metal Demo Tape US/Canada tour. Will you guys be performing in full black metal regalia?
Yup, i've already buried my outfit outside in the cold ground so it'll have that grave stench in time for tour. Guess I ought to look into the TSA's policy regarding spikey arm bands, huh?
Thanks a lot for taking the time to talk to us! The new record sounds awesome and I know the pre-order cassette tapes are already nearly sold out (probably completely sold out by the time we run this), so it seems like this is going to be a very black metal February. Best of luck with the tour!
Yeah dude, thanks again!
Head on to the Fake Four Bandcamp page to pre-order your copy of "The Black Metal Demo Tape" and make sure to Like Gregory Pepper & His Problems on Facebook, to stay up to date on all the new stuff!