It’s not usual that music based on such gory lyrical themes as Chat Pile’s songs gets so popular this quick, but hey – is anything that we’ve experienced in last 3 years (which is also the time that this band exists) usual? The newest noise rock kings from Oklahoma City are taking the alternative scene by the storm – especially with their critically acclaimed first LP – The God’s Country – that have been released in 2022. I’ve had the pleasure to talk about the gore, love for movies, living in the southern US and many other topics with their vocalist – Raygun Busch. Check it out!
[MOŻESZ TO TAKŻE PRZECZYTAĆ PO POLSKU]
Let’s start with the obvious stuff. You’re well known for your love for movies and that movies inspire you on some songs and you made a score for a movie. How did that inspire God’s Country?
Movies kind of inform everything I do. There’s a song that is literally about „Friday 13th” on the album. And then we have a song that is directly inspired by the movies „Mysterious Skin” and „In a Glass Cage”. It’s all over the record. Even when some stuff is sort of more like based on true story, there’s still kind of a movie element in there. That’s just how my brain functions best.
You’re writing while watching movies?
I’m just always watching movies.
Are there any that you could recommend particularly?
Well, yeah, like the two I said: „Mysterious Skin” and „In a Glass Cage” are both excellent films. I think I recently watched the movie „The Golden Glove”, which I wouldn’t really recommend to everybody, but if you’re into that kind of thing, that’s a good one to watch. „Angst” is another one that is always in my mind. Oh, and „Humanity” – the Bruno Dumont movie, too. I love that movie.
You use a lot of horror and gore themes in your lyrics and your music. How do you come up with such images?
I don’t know, honestly. At the begining of Chat Pile, when I was trying to figure out what I was going to do in the band, it was way more like goofy horror kind of stuff, more like White Zombie kind of inspired stuff. And they kind of wanted me to do it a little more subtle and stuff like that. So finding a balance between what they want and what I want to do is kind of how we arrived at how it is.
It’s mostly very strong. And do you try to top yourself by doing more gory stuff on a new album than the previous one?
Yeah, honestly, for sure. On the new album, I had that in mind. Dallas Beltway is sort of like the song everybody likes the most for our most listened to song or whatever from our earlier stuff. And so yeah, I had that in mind. I got to do better than this or as good as this or make that my goal at least. I tried to top myself on this one from the stuff you’ve heard before. I think we did.
Yeah, definitely. And you mix all that stuff with some real life inspirations, as you said. How does living in southern USA fit that? Because in Europe there’s that image of southern USA, that it’s all guns and right wing people and stuff.
Yeah, all that shit is in Oklahoma for sure. But, I mean, it’s not like Mad Max or something. I’m able to live a normal life. There’s normal people, a lot of normal good people in Oklahoma. But yes, there are a lot of rednecks. Capitalism is riding among completely. There’s no regard to standard of living necessarily. It’s all just kind of like McDonald’s here and a Dunkin Donuts there and don’t you dare try to ride a bike in your city because we’ll kill you in our big trucks. It’s that kind of atmosphere. In Oklahoma City, for instance, there’s nowhere, except the mall really, where you can go to walk and be amongst other people on foot. So there’s this weird disconnection there where there’s. Everybody drives a car everywhere. Anywhere you go, you drive.
As far as I heard, even your name has something to do with southern history of mining cities. Is that a common thing there?
That is specifically an Oklahoma reference and… I might be wrong. It might have been after World War I, but I think it was during World War II – they were mining for lead in Picher, Oklahoma to make munitions and stuff and it formed these huge piles. They look like big hills. It’s like this fine sandy stuff and it’s highly toxic. And basically they had to evacuate the town eventually because it was deemed too toxic to live. So there’s a town in Oklahoma that is abandoned except I think a few people. It’s kind of like the area of Chernobyl – some people just still live there anyway. It’s kind of like that. But most people have abandoned the place and you’re not supposed to be there or live there. I don’t know if that’s necessarily just the south. Buffalo, new York has an area like the Love Canal. There’s lots of places where people made everything toxic and now you can’t live there. It’s not exclusive to the southern United States though.
It didn’t affect you personally, right?
No, I’m not from that town. I didn’t know about that town until I was in my 30s. There’s a great documentary called I think „The Creek Runs Red” that Brad Beasley made about it.
Yeah, so I believe, but I may be wrong, that starting a noise rock band in Oklahoma might be a little bit harder than in New York or Los Angeles. Was it hard for you in your first bands? Because that’s not your first, obviously.
I see what you’re saying, for sure. There’s a punk scene here in Oklahoma City and there’s like an indie rock, indie pop kind of scene. There’s like a music college downtown that produces those kinds of bands, which is great. But yes, noise rock. So on one hand, if we were in L.A. or New York or Chicago especially or Austin, there would be kind of an infrastructure where we’d have a bunch of other bands that we could play with. But on the other hand, by being kind of one of the only noise rock bands going in Oklahoma City right now, especially a few years ago, it made us big fish in a small pond, I guess. So I guess it kind of worked to our advantage and then we’re right above Texas and Texas and Illinois are kind of the noise rock states. I mean, there’s other states that have claimed to that but you got like Jesus Lizard, Scratch Acid, Butthole Surfers… All that shit comes from Texas. And then Exhalants are there now. And then Big Black – probably our biggest influence – Albini and all, Touch and Go Records and all that shit are from Chicago. We’re kind of in the middle of those two states though, so we’re kind of in a good place.
But I’ve heard you had some problems booking your first shows.
There are some venues in town, in Oklahoma City, that said that we were not their kind of thing and don’t ask anymore (laughs). Places that I’ve played with other bands and like the other guys have too, but yeah, Chat Pile is not welcome and now I think they want us to play there. I’ll never forget that. Yeah, for sure. There was some pushback at first.
Yes, but as you said, now they want you to play there because you’ve got pretty big very quick, right? Like your first two EPS got really popular. Dallas Beltway is, I think, a huge hit. How do you feel about it?
It’s awesome because we’ve all been doing music for 20 years. It feels very gradual. But Chat Pile – the band is relatively young band and so yeah, in a way it’s like „20 years overnight success” or whatever – there’s some saying like that. It feels great. I love that people are listening to our music. Feels kind of weird sometimes. It’s like when people, random people message you online asking you weird stuff, being weird and stuff which has happened. I don’t like that. And that kind of makes me wish that nobody had heard my music sometimes. But it’s great. I like it a lot. It’s fun. I don’t know what else to say. It feels good. It feels good, for sure.
Yeah, you started in 2019, right?
Yeah, I believe so.
And then you released the two EPS very fast. How’s your writing process going? Because it seems very fast and very good of course.
Well, thank you. We had like one year where we basically didn’t play, of course, and then we played for a little while, masked, like at the place before vaccines were around, widespread or whatever. So that kind of made everything stall out. But yeah, when I joined the band, they had been together for a month or so. Stin and Griff both had stuff they had been working out alone. So when they came together… I guess Dallas Beltway is maybe the first thing that they wrote together. But some of the other stuff, like, I know, like, Griff probably came to the place with Face. For the first two EPs I really just kind of improvised and stuff. And with the album I took a little more time on and I guess there’s kind of a difference in some of the songs. Like on the EPs – especially This Dungeon Earth – I was singing with the band a lot before we recorded. And for the album and even some of the second EP, the music was just done and I sat with it for a long time and figured out how to sing over it.
Sure. You said that you guys had other bands. Did you know yourselves before Chat Pile? Did you cross your paths with your bands?
Yeah, I’ve been friends with Stin and Captain Ron. Our bassist and our drummer are brothers, and I’ve known them for… Let’s see, I’m 37… I’ve known them for like 18 years or something like that. Whenever I moved down to Oklahoma City. We’ve tried to do stuff musically in the past and it just didn’t work out. But this is the right formula. Griff, however, I didn’t know him until 2017, maybe 2018. He’s a recent friend.
Right after you started, you’ve released those two EPs and then pandemic has hit, so you have to stop for a while. Did it motivate you to make the new album or maybe it was harder to work?
No, I mean, we’re never going to be a band that tours a lot. I mean, I like playing live, but we’re all older, everybody has full time jobs and stuff for the most part, and it’s just like, that was never part of it for me or anybody, I don’t think. It’s not really something I am hungry for. So now during the pandemic, I wasn’t like… Some people were just losing their minds about not being able to perform and stuff like that. I didn’t feel that way, really. And the pandemic kind of helped us, honestly, because people were sitting around, they had time to discover our band. We slowly, slowly gained traction and then having all that time to work on the album was good. I think that must be the way to play it. Although if you want to make it big, you got to push hard. But I think it’s been good coming at it from an angle of being real chill and lax about. Just like we just kind of did it because we wanted to do it and have fun. The label came. We didn’t expect the funds or any label to want to put out a record by us, but when they did, we just took our time with it and everything. I think that’s the key. Just taking our time and having fun. Because if it ever starts to impede on our lives, we’re just going to have to not do Chat Pile, probably. But we all like doing it.
There are no plans for like, a huge tour then?
No, probably not. Eventually, hopefully, we’d like to get out everywhere that we can’t. I always feel like if we’re going to play New York, for instance, in October, to those people in New York, it’s like, come see us because I don’t know if we’ll ever come back to New York. Maybe, but I don’t know. Who knows? Who really knows what the future holds for anyone, let alone my little band. Hopefully we’ll come to Europe at least once. That’d be ideal to go there. And we haven’t been to either coast of our own country yet, so there’s some things to do.
You’ve mentioned the Flenser. I had some interviews with some other bands from that label and they are always very nice about the label. What’s your opinion about working with them so far?
I love it. I mean, it’s a real small label run by a couple of people and so I know everybody. Stin – our bass player – handles a lot of the business side of it, so he talks to Jonathan, the label head, more than me, but it’s great. I love Planning For Burial, Have a Nice Life, Midwife, Succumb… There are a lot of great artists on there, so we’re definitely honored to be on there. So far they’ve been nothing but nice to us. I mean, I think we’re doing pretty well for them, so maybe I should expect that they would be nice to us, but I think that they’re good people. Like Brian Manning – he’s a great guy. Yeah, I love it. I tried to get signed to labels for 20 years and then all of a sudden this label came to us. So it’s pretty nice. And it’s a cool label too, so I feel blessed to be on the Flenser for sure.
Perfect. So you said there are no plans for big touring. So what’s next for Chat Pile?
I can say maybe that we have a split we’re working on with the band Nerver, our friends in Kansas City. Have you listened to them before? Their new record Cash is fantastic. We’re going to do a two song and two song split with them and then there’s another band I think we’re going to be doing something like that with too, probably before we start working on LP2. We’ll be working on that too.
Oh, and then the score maybe will be coming out. I don’t know. But we have it ready to go, but we’ll see about that.
You’ve mentioned splits and you already have a split record with Portrayal of Guilt. Is working on splits different than regular material or maybe more inspiring when you split with other bands?
Yeah, I mean, this new one with Nerver is we’re doing it basically like recording two songs like we would for our albums or EPS, but with the Portrayal of Guilt thing that was weird and different because they’re from Austin and we’re from Oklahoma City, as you know. And so Denton, Texas is like the halfway point between our two cities and they record a lot of stuff with this guy that’s there. So we both went there and spent like all day at his house and we just recorded both songs. So that was kind of different and weird. And yeah, we went last, so I was of course very last and I didn’t have a car or anything, so I was just sitting around for like 8 hours. But yeah, that was a lot of fun. And I’m on background vocals on their song and Matt is on background vocals on our song. Pretty buried in there, but that was kind of fun to do.
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Catch Chat Pile at Roadburn Festival 2023: