INTERVIEW: The Mung

The MungThanks for taking the time off from bangin’ horses and answering these questions dude. OK for the folks at home, what is “THE MUNG”?

Time off from banging horses? Not likely, there’s always time for tenderness. No sweat brother, cheers for the interview.
THE MUNG, as defined by the internet is: “The one thing worse than genocide. One must first have no shame. Then he/she must use a newspaper to find the obituary of a recently deceased man or woman. Then must find a buddy, with no shame, who will aid them in this act. The partners then go to the cemetery where they dig up their victim, and flip a coin. The loser, (or winner depending on how sick you are), applies his/her lips to the genitals or anus of the corpse, while the other partner proceeds to climb the nearest tombstone and elbow drop the corpse’s stomach. Thus forcing out a blend of rich bodily fluids and embalming materials onto the partners. This blend is called mung. The act of getting this blend on your face is called munging. Chicks’ll dig this one.” Makes sense, as ya know, the internet holds more truth than the bible.

Figured we may as well name our slop of a band after a fantasy we all share. I think it’d be just as much of a bonding experience as playing on stage with the other guys, what do you think??

What made you want to join/form a band about such ridiculous stuff? Obviously it’s all fun and games with the sexual, gore, perverse humor you guys write and play about, why is it funny? *laughter*

This band wasn’t built with the intention of creating a vehicle to popularity, sex, to attain popularity or fame with social networks and its affiliated factitious fabrication to image or anything of the like. Themes that drive against the grain to what 99% of other metal bands ensue amuses us. I’m sure some people may feel that having a loud and proud wit that provokes others may convey some kind of lucrative clamour, alas, as nice as that would be, it’s incredibly doubtful.

There is an insulting amount of ego in heavy bands, from weekend warriors that wear corpse paint in Satan and Hitler’s honour Friday to church day, to token new wave ‘Death metal’ members that have fallen victim to conforming with the obligatory tattoos, stretched lobes, choreographed stage routines and internet super glory.

Lyrically and aesthetically the majority of bands, regardless of style or genre try to look, or sound more extreme than the other. It’s a joke. That’s exactly what we detest about heavy music. We aren’t other bands. We’re four individuals who enjoy riffs with a fresh approach. THE MUNG‘s jams are for fun, we’ve never picked up our instruments to recycle the same miserable tripe that’s been rehashed with a new (insert new hybrid here)-core tag. This band wouldn’t be what it was if we weren’t laughing our asses off, and enjoying the times surrounding it the entire time we’re doing it. What you see, is what you get.

Call us sick, but we honestly find that glorifying the gross shit that everyone is actually capable of to be pretty fucking funny. Call us what you will, we don’t give a shit. With the amount of dope the band smokes, there isn’t much that we don’t find amusing. Shitting songs out with the titles we have separates us from needing to deal with any of the aforementioned fakes, and we’d like to think that we convey ourselves as a band that does not take itself too seriously. I think the coolest thing is meeting so many down to earth dudes that understand our personalties. Thanks to our distaste, there has never been a hierarchy between us on stage or off.

Don’t get us wrong, we love to tour in a bus with beds, release more platinum records, and be welcomed with free bumps of coke at every stop off along the way, but to anybody that’s sheltered enough to encounter this band and connote it with any semblance of austere demeanour needs a lobotomy. Stat. We take the piss, and enjoy every moment of it.

The Mung bandDid you ever write a lyric or title a song and think, “is this too fucked up”*laughter*

Lyrically, no – we don’t use any lyrics. Vocally, we’re just patterns of grunts and plosives. It’s for this reason we had decided to include a disclaimer into the first page of our booklet on our last disc. It’s a reminder that we don’t actually care enough about that kind of shit to spend time articulating some kind of scene or story surrounding the hypothetical song, let alone any subliminal messages that should warrant any scrutiny.

As for titles being ‘too fucked up?’ Totally. We won’t touch racism… but that’s about it. If we can string together a rhyme about a scenario, or topic that is as equally as offensive as it is amusing to us. We’ll roll with it.

However, there are a lot of people that don’t quite ‘get it.’ Our label unfortunately copped a fair bit of heat for our content, to which I sternly rebutted with common sense to the concerned. I think a lot of it comes down to a language and culture barrier.

What the laid back Aussies dish out without worry, can be taken with an alarming measure of trepidation on the other side of the world.

Perhaps we’re just desensitised. Either way, if we don’t care about it, nor should anyone else, and we’re not the kind of band that will be heard on your morning radio slot, or shovelled down your throats on posters with attached clothing endorsements, video clips on MTV or the like.

THE MUNG fit a niche, to whom the demographic hungry for this style of music will scope out, not vice versa, and so if our content hits home to anyone who feels affected it’s by pure coincidence. I guarantee reminders of whatever we may have hypothetically triggered to something that has upset person(s) ‘x’, how about the consideration that we don’t actually know you from a bar of soap, and it’s only a self inflicted insult to blame strangers to you. We’re not assholes. We’re actually really approachable sensitive new-age kind of guys, with cute asses and high paying jobs for any potential nubile and nympho female fans out there.

Look, if I must point out the obvious, our songs… every single one of them has encompass one common denominator… Love. Every living creature on this earth needs some romance in their diet – That’s what we endorse wholeheartedly, via the sweet sounds of Southern Gore Slam.

There are some amazing sound clips on this EP, do you guys hear the clip first and find it so good you have to write a song about it? Or is it the other way around, song then clip?

Thanks sugar. Being devoid of lyrics gives us the freedom to introduce any song we want with any sample we deem fitting, or if we feel like keeping it bare, we will. It’s interesting that so many people find the samples so memorable, that’s killer.

Our reason for incorporating them into our records is to ‘set the mood.’ I mean, to properly enjoy death-grind like this, or at least, in the frame of mind we intend it to be experienced is through pot induced giggles and maximum volume of your stereo/ghetto blaster (but probably more realistically, from your computer speakers you thieving blogspotting mongrels), and it’s a bonus to us if they’ve ever been responsible for embarrassing the shit out of you’d ever had the displeasure of anyone else overhearing these discs playback at the wrong/perfect time. If successful to our motive, we should exhibit the same sensation as watching a cheesy horror film that is equally as funny as it is aversive.

Unlike “The Splatter Sessions” (EP, 2010) where many of the samples were taken from B-films, “Showering In Shit” (EP, 2012) featured more samples from documentaries I found fascinating. This might explain the attached confusion surrounding the content on the disc, as the undertones are real. You’d be surprised how much effect that has on an individuals subconsciousness – But, that only makes it even funnier, amiright?

The Mung - Showering in ShitNot too long ago you released the “Showering in Shit” EP on Rotten Roll Rex. I loved the record and thought the art from Tony Koehl was one of his best. How have the fans liked it?

Most of our ‘fans’, if we have any, have probably downloaded the disc, and missed out on seeing the artwork up close and personally, which is a shame, because I totally agree with you on the quality of Tony’s work. It’s beyond bad ass. The dude is king.

Mr. Koehl was the icon responsible for that visual stamp slapped on so many incredibly influential records to us, and it was an honour to work with the man. With his combination of attention to detail, professionalism, and extreme colour, it was a no brainer that we contacted him to consign our art. We needed a representation of the record to be an enjoyable repugnance, and we’re absolutely stoked that Tony was able to hit the nail on the head with that integral balance.

Fingers crossed that we didn’t grate his nerves too much, ’cause we’d love to work with him again!

Your first release was also an EP – “The Splatter Sessions.” Any chance of a full length coming out soon, or just EPs for the time being?

THE MUNG had only been a band for a few months before tracking “The Splatter Sessions.” We hadn’t even completed our circle with a bassist, and in turn had resulted in the inability to make a live debut.

Originally, those sessions were supposed to be for a demo, or for a couple of short splits, depending on how the product turned out. We pissed Jason P.C. off a lot, and made sure he mixed it to sound okay and Rotten Roll Rex approached us with an offer to release as much as we had recorded after hearing a teaser track we had streamed online in search of filling the needed member void.

“Showering In Shit” was not intentionally recorded for a release at all. Those sessions had been slapped together around 8 hours of free studio time with a friend, to which we dedicated to drum tracking for what we figured at the time was going to be pre-production for a full length album.

Guitars, Bass, Vocals, Sampling, Mixing was all done at my make-do home studio (James and I shared a house at the time coincidentally) which I’ve called ‘The Gain Cave.’ This was my first ever attempt at recording anything semi-seriously, however, deep into the mixing stage, our vocalist (James Turfrey) decided that it was his time to make an exit from extreme music, and pursue a new chapter in music.

Instead of having these amazing vocals sitting on a shelf collecting dust, we had decided to release what we had with him, and I think it was the right move for us for a couple of reasons, firstly for closure for James – I mean, to know that some of your art is hiding away from the world can be pretty spiritually oppressive, and the momentum was on our side. We were touring a lot upon it’s release, so it managed to really solidify our intention to seed our presence within the underground music culture.

The next release we crap out will be an album. We’re all on common ground with the epica-el-audio-deluxico we hope to emit upon it’s release. If we create the beast we intend to, we promise it to be an opus for ugly music. Expect the grind to be more violent than ever before, the vocals to be an attack Lucifer himself couldn’t compel, and riffs so fat you’ll actually spontaneously-combust mid-mosh and leave a hell of a cleanup for Mum. But stop your complaining. Two EP’s since 2010 is still better than one, or none right? Christ.

How often do you guys play shows? Do you ever thinking of hitting other countries for fests?

This is one thing that sucks about Australia. Logistics. It costs so much let-alone to tour here. On a map, it appears to be a huge mass of land, but that’s exactly where the dilemma stems. 80% of our country is uninhabitable desert.

Our shortest interstate stint by car is just shy of 700km’s away (that’s about 6-7 hours of speeding in a van that red-lines at 100 km’s per hour, only to arrive to an oversized country town). Without shifting merch, the overheads become impossible to recoup without requesting monumental guarantees from affiliated promoters.

THE MUNG (generally) tour nationally bi-yearly, which will include a string of shows that hit the major cities. Unfortunately, because of such vast distances needed to cover every state, places like Tasmania and Perth get dealt the ‘eat shit’ card, but it’s only by default. Flights add up.

We love playing everywhere, but we also need to make sure we’re making our money back from touring. It’s impossible for a band of this calibre to be funded solely by our personal income. We have lives outside of riffs. We study, we have partners, we have bills to pay, booze to drink, and we’re not lawyers or dentists by day. We’re realists that try to balance our lives, which are subject to being outweighed by other obligations from time to time, but hey, shoot us, that’s called responsibility. Over-saturating our local city with shows is also an alarming no-no for us.

We’re extremely selective to the proposals we’re lucky enough to receive. The last thing that we want is to become stale in our home state.

Playing outside of Australia would be insanity. There are some bonkers shows I honestly believe THE MUNG would fucking destroy at… Obscene Extreme, Maryland Deathfest, Eurovsion etc, but without stringing together a cluster of shows around them, it would squander a pretty exorbitant sum. And last time I checked, the reality is that in the scheme of things we’re a pretty small and crappy band in a big ass world that doesn’t want to spend money on anything any more. Especially not on Grind.

Who knows, between our drive and willingness to want to tour overseas, magical propositions, faith from people who believe in what we do, or just good ‘ol sexual favours, it may come into fruition, but for the time being, this year will be spent honing in on preparation for a full length album while delegating a harmony to all of the other facets we have going on personally. Then, we’ll decide how much touring takes place. (I’d love to go bananas, but hey, I’m not the whole band am I?)

The Mung band live

The Gasometer Hotel, Melbourne.
Photography Credit: Anwar Rizk

The scene from Australia seems to be pretty opened minded with different types of bands playing the same show, i.e. hardcore band and gore grind band. Is that always the case? In the USA it’s balls, metal band play with metal bands and so forth.

Our music culture fucking slays dude. We’re from Melbourne, and I dare say it’s home to some of the sickest live music on the planet. The diversity, integrity, and originality that oozes out of our bands is mind-blowing. Call me an meanie, but I’ve experienced enough of this countries music scene to personally, but proudly affirm without bias that most of the bands outside of ours are playing catchup to approaches and technical executions experimented musically that has come and gone to Melbourne years ago.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a fair share of exceptions, but unfortunately those bands go under the radar for obvious and unfortunate reason – the majority of people wouldn’t know good music if it came up and bit them on their pink-bits. I pity any organiser that is ignorant enough to place a stylistic box around a correlating line-up. Music is one of the many artistic expressions that should be projected without prejudice.

That’s not to say it doesn’t happen – there are a lot of genres that have that militant segregation, but it doesn’t mean that a punter cannot go and check those acts out without their band. It can be a shame, but at the end of the day, that’s what separates the princesses from the men. Bands that refuse to play with any other band based on merits that aren’t something like a personal discontentment due to dudes ploughing the wrong guys ex or something is somewhat… arrogant – and working with those dimwits is not an avenue we like to support for obvious reasons, which is why we love jumping on a mixed salad of a show. Slap us on any show with bands we’d also enjoy watching. It doesn’t have to be a wall of blast all night.

A good line up here will offer an absolute barrage of riffs from each band that brings something independent to the table from the rest of the bands. They may be similar enough in style to see the link, to punters with a mind open enough to give something fresh to them, a go.

There’s no point playing to the same demographic all of the time, if you’ve won a fan or 2 over with a good performance that was strong enough for them to buy a CD and remember you, you’re doing something right, and without spreading out and satiate your sound to an unsuspecting and perhaps even an virtuous punter, we need to evaluate our shows.

In saying that, it’s still extremely common to have just Death Metal shows, or Grindcore shows, or Doom/Stoner shows or whatever here in Aus, the only problem with those shows is that you only pull in one particular (and limited) audience. Where’s the fun in that? I can promise you now though, if it’s in Melbourne, 3 of 4 of those bands will kill. The other band will most probably just be drunker than the rest.

I gotta ask, BLOOD DUSTER, how huge of an influence are they on you guys? Speakin’ of that, what bands influence you now?

They’re an influence, but far from what I’d consider “huge” by any stretch. I think that we share a lot of the same music taste and humour. Luke (drummer) is probably the biggest BLOOD DUSTER fan of us all, and I think I’m making that assumption based on seeing him wear his sweet “Menstrual Soup” (Demo, 1992) Tee design of theirs on him a couple of times. I’m not going to deny that they weren’t one of the first local bands I grew an affinity to when I first started taking notice of our music scene, but at that time I was such a novice to playing music that in proportion with all of the music being spun, they certainly weren’t idols or anything.

Our adoration to groove is a heavy root in all of our individual upbringings, which is testament to why we work so well as a unit I think (not surprising that on the road a lot of stoner/doom/sludge is always welcomed when driver and shotgun change hands and in helm the iPod). The ugliness that permeates in our tones and sounds is thanks to bands of the similar lineage. Personally, I’m always shifting in and out of certain styles of heavy music, but bands like Eyehategod, Noothgrush, Buzzov-en, Corrosion Of Conformity, The Sword, Iron Monkey, Graves At Sea, Crowbar etc, never, ever tire my ears, and when I write riffs, it’s naturally going to affect my style of playing. The note selection, the transitions, it’s all relative – which are elements we undeniably share with not just BLOOD DUSTER but also with other killer bands alike LORD GORE, DEAD and PUNGENT STENCH just to name a few.

Influences outside of THE MUNG? Rob listens to Crowbar and film scores almost exclusively, and as for I, eh, I won’t bore you. As off lately though, the quality of heavy releases dropping in 2013 has been blowing my sack off. How retarded-good is the new GUTTURAL SECRETE disc? Holy macaroni!

When can we expect new material from THE MUNG?

We’ve been in the demoing process for a while now, a couple of songs will be re-written and re-recorded until we’re happy with how things are shaping up, but we’re not in a position where we’re rushing to make deadlines. We’re not taking any backward steps, just assuring that the ones we are taking are in the right direction. Our sound is maturing, and I’m sure that the few people out there who actually give a shit about our next release should find the convergence between our initial sludgier ingression and our latter blast-heavy offerings in disgusting harmony – we’re being meticulous this time around.

It’s hard to depict how long it will take us, but we’re lucky enough now to have access to some really amazing resources for the recording, to which I’ll be administering again. No doubt we will use some of these pre-production demo’s for a 3-4 song promotional release to keep you hungry fuckers at bay shortly! Perhaps even with another extra goody. But I wont disclose any further gossip about those plans just yet.

Thanks again dude for answering these questions!

Any time brother, thanks for the support, here’s hoping a few beers and buges are just around the corner. To anyone who hasn’t heard our tripe, and would like to check it out:

www.facebook.com/themungsoutherngoreslam
www.youtube.com/shitrifferer
www.reverbnation.com/themungsoutherngorelam
www.lemonparty.org

Written by: Nev

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