Depravity and Doom from Down Under with Religious Observance

Banner photo credit: Yunis Tmeizeh

Though Kaala strives to provide meaningful coverage of the Japanese Extreme Music underground that is alive and well here, every now and again we find ourselves drawn to other places. Just ask our Glorious Leader Matt, who is now basking in the light and love of the soon to be Glorious Leader Trump back in the United States. Those of you who bought beer at our beer table at Grind Fest 2016 might have gotten your hands on the limited copies we had of Religious Observance's debut full length release. If you haven’t listened to it yet, I recommend that you stop reading and pop it in right now. Do it now. I’ll wait for you.

OK, good, now that we got some mood music, let’s get on with it. If by chance you didn't get a promo copy, don’t worry, there are some samples here and the entire release can be found over at their Bandcamp.

For the uninitiated, Religious Observance is a new Noise Doom/Sludge band that hails from Melbourne, Australia. Their debut full length Boiling Excrement is a hellish journey into the depths of human depravity. It masterfully blends sludgy riffs with noisy film samples and feral screams that arouse the senses while simultaneously being cathartic. To be honest, over the past few months it’s become my favorite album to listen to while drinking alone. It’s dirty and foreboding.

I met the vocalist Wayniac at Obscene Extreme Asia last year through our mutual friend King Bean (check out his Youtube Channel for some killer live footage of extreme bands). Wayniac agreed to do an interview about his time here in Japan through instant messenger. So without further ado, let’s get a glimpse of what’s going on with Religious Observance and how he felt about his time here.

So Religious Observance! Let's kick it off with what are the inspirations for the music? How did Religious Observance manage to form?

Well Religious Observance was the result of a couple of bands mucking around together. X and myself are in a noise band, Colostomy Baguette? and Gooch, Acid Witch and Gnome Lord are in a sludge band called She Beast. We had played 2 or 3 shows together and Gooch suggested we try collaboration. Half a day together jamming and Religious Observance was born.

We wanted to make something sludgy and doomy but with an extra level of heaviness from a wall of noise. Biggest inspirations would be Eyehategod, Corrupted, and Whitehorse, though don't think we sound too similar to either of these bands really.There is definitely a strong urge to play some fast stuff too in the crusty/punky/grindy range, though we have only just scraped the tip of this.

How long did it take to put together the new full length? Any good stories from the studio?

We wrote 3 and a half songs in our first jam. They have evolved a little since then. Each jam we have we generally get another song or at least some riffs written. That first jam was in December 2015, and I think all songs were pretty much finished by May (I think!) this year. We recorded and mixed the album in June and July.

There was an awesome dog at the studio called Squid. Super friendly and playful, he was good value on our breaks and listening back to what we had recorded. Gooch is always amusing too, he seems to get restless very quickly so spent a lot of time playing with random items throughout the day, he took a particular interest in some movie-prop style everyday zombie hands!!

Oh yeah the recording was done over 2 days, forgot to mention that before. We had been through the songs fairly recently with a couple of gigs, and of course rehearsals.

How often are you guys playing out? Any tours in the works?

Not too often really. We launched our album on 23rd September, that was our 4th gig for the year. Well 4th gig ever really too. No tours on the cards as yet. Gets difficult when there are 5 of us, we have had to decline a few gig offers due to one or more of us being unavailable

I imagine so. Speaking of gigs, you helped organize Incestfest earlier this year. How did that go?

Incestfest was our first gig, it was an awesome night. In addition to us playing there was the previously mentioned 2 bands (She Beast and Colostomy Baguette?), plus Maggot Bath, (who also features Gooch and Gnome Lord, and another champion called Ringo). Ringo's other band, The High Drifters, also played. So it meant 5 bands, with only 7 different members between them.

I made up the name as a joke (kind of incestuous lineup with all the shared members) in the group chat but everyone just stuck with it. I was a little concerned it might turn people off but the turnout was really good and people seemed to be enjoying it.

So you and I met last year at Obscene Extreme. Was that your first trip to Japan?

Sure was, my first time leaving Australia in fact. Definitely will not be my last!

How was your trip as a whole? What things were your favorite and what things were maybe strange to you?

It was an amazing trip, absolutely life changing. At the risk of sounding like an alcoholic, one of my favourite things was being able to get alcohol in 7-11 and drinking in public. So different from Australia, our liquor stores are typically only open from 10am - 11pm, and there are heavy penalties for drinking in public here. And of course Strong Zeroes - the absolute best way to get going the day/morning after a big night hahaha!!

I really liked how friendly people were there too - even though I speak very little Japanese everyone was very friendly and always tried to help in any way.

Something that seemed strange was how pretty much every single building is multiple stories. We have lota of multi-storey buildings here of course but we also have lots of single storey houses and shops. It was kind of a novelty for me knowing that I have to look up at a higher level to find shops etc.

It was also strange to me that almost eveything is done with cash in Japan - many people here in Australia do eveything with card and rarely have cash.

Yeah it took me awhile to get used to that too. It's amazing how much you miss when you don't look up.

For sure! And the cash thing also took me awhile to get use to as well. I was very impressed with the rail system - a lot more complex than what we have in Australia, yet so much more efficient.

What were your impressions of the scene in Tokyo and who are your favorite bands based out of Japan?

Tokyo scene was really enjoyable for me. Everyone was friendly, and everyone was there to have a fun time. In Australia (especially Melbourne) I see a lot of people who are just at a gig to be cool, for a status. I didn't see any of that in Tokyo, everyone was just there because they love the music and want to have a good time. I would love to see some more gigs and get a better viewpoint; see the scene at a typical local show rather than festival.

Favourite bands from Japan would be CSSO (absolute dream come true getting to see them!!), Church of Misery, Unholy Grave, Gore Beyond Necrospy/Noise A Go Gos, Final Exit, Melt Banana. There are So many great bands! PALM, Self Deconstruction, Fuck on the Beach were a few of my favourites that I only discovered from OEF.

How did Obscene Extreme in Japan differ from say a festival in AU? Did you notice any other differences or similarities between them?

It was a little bit similar to the OEF in Australia - utilising 2 smaller venues. We had more than one stage each night though, band changovers are a lot more efficient in Japan!

Festivals in Australia have a habit of bringing a "festival" crowd - people who never go to normal gigs, only when there are some big bands playing, and these people will often be wasted out of their mind "because we're at a festival man, let's go crazy and get smashed!" I guess that could have been the case in Japan too, but I didn't really notice it. But of course I don't know who the regular attendees are. The really big festivals here like Soundwave and Big Day Out(Both now defunct though) have a new level of annoying crowds.

Oh yeah the bands themselves seemed a little more into wathcing all the other bands too in Japa compared with Australia. A lot of bands here play and then leave, or just sit in the beer garden all night.

Any plans to come back in the future?

Unfortunately I can't see myself getting back to Japan within the next 12 months. But I can't wait until I do come back, whenever that may be.

Ok so last few questions: what's next for Religious Observance?

Next up for Religious Observance is just to spread the word a bit more. We did a really small run of discs, and unfortunately we made a typo on our email address!! As soon as these are gone we will repress it with correct email. We have another song partly written and I think a gig lined up for November. Hopefully play some more shows. And at aome point we will write and record some more! A split release would be good to do as well.

Ok last question: Your top 5 bands from Japan and why?

CSSO - for not caring about sticking within typical genre boundaries. They did some awesome goregrind material but I absolutely love the rocky and more exiermental stuff. So catchy.

Unholy Grave - first Japanese band I ever saw. They toured Australia in 2004 and I was absolutely blown away. So fast, so brutal. And the energy and stage presence was better than anything I had seen before

Church of Misery - so downright heavy yet so groovy and catchy.

Boris - again so utterly heavy and again often really catchy. Again I love the fact their sound varies so much. I don't like some of their records that much but will see them live any day of the week and playing any material.

Melt Banana - again so varied. Seeing them live gave me a new level of appreciation.

It's really hard to narrow it down to 5! So much amazing music from Japan!

Well, that's it for the interview. We're certainly hoping Religious Observance can get over to Japan sometime for a tour. Boiling Excrement can be picked up here.