While their ethos is equivalent to the chaos of New York City around 1980, No Funeral is positively shaping Minneapolis around now. Through transcending beat guitar and throaty shouts, it’s anything but difficult to close your eyes in the throes of Misanthrope and envision clench hand battles in the lanes while a surrendered distribution center consumes out yonder. With fuel from the enthusiastic depletion that slime typifies, No Funeral does without any grieving customs for lurching ahead. Obviously, creeping down the walkway with your heart dangling from your chest implies strings will undoubtedly get captured in the splits. To take in more about the rebel pallbearers of the Midwest, we talked with No Funeral vocalist/guitarist and Live Fast Die Recordings author Kevin Pipkorn about the hardships of honing melodic cynicism.
So unbeknownst to me, No Funeral really began years back, discharging the incidental extensive single until all of a sudden Misanthrope exploded, which is the point at which I discovered you folks. What did this excursion resemble?
I moved back to Minneapolis from Milwaukee around February of 2011. I had lived here [in Minneapolis] before however I experienced childhood in Milwaukee and returned there for quite a while. I constantly needed to get back up here and in 2011 I did with the objective of beginning a band. I hadn’t lived here in quite a while, so everything was somewhat new. It fundamentally began with a couple of companions similarly as a reason to savor bourbon the evening and make some commotion. That first summer we didn’t consider it excessively important. We were simply sticking and discovering individuals who needed to play and getting a handle on them. I figure by then it was me and the drummer Tim left. We sort of simply did it sporadically until about a year later when his better half, Glen — now spouse — wound up joining on second guitar. At that point we discovered our bass player, Matt, through a Craigslist advertisement.
I companion of mine in Milwaukee — he was dependably on my case to get this show on the road—he motivated me to focus on a celebration he was assembling so influenced me to get my crap together and prepare a few melodies, so we did that. It’s called November Coming Fire Fest. My companion who I grew up with, Jason, set up it together with a group of groups. Dr. Shrinker played, Pissgrave, a bundle of Milwaukee groups. Before that we played our first show in Minneapolis with Mortals sort of as a warm up. We sort of simply played sporadically after that.
Funeral / Livid – Split LP by NO FUNERAL</a>
These seems like unlikely places for sludge and stoner narratives to grow, but then I just remembered that Bongzilla is from Madison; there’s a presence there nevertheless.
Especially in the 90’s there were a lot of cool shows coming through Madison and Milwaukee. I remember seeing Eyehategod, Neurosis, Dystopia, and plenty of others. Back then Madison had two really great labels that were putting out those kinds of records – Rhetoric Records and Bovine Records. Some of what they released are still among my favorites; Decrepit stuff and tons of others.
Speaking of Eyehategod, how did you get hooked up with them live?
The first show we did with them was last winter and it was at a club in Rock Island, Illinois. We had played there with Weedeater earlier in the year and the booker, Jason, asked us if we wanted to come down and do the show, so of course we said yes. I mean, we wouldn’t exist without bands like Eyehategod and Grief and all that shit. We were stoked to be asked. After that show they’ve pretty much been on tour since last winter and they’ve made their way through the Midwest since then so they pretty much kept asking us to play, which is really cool. We’ve tried to do as many of those shows as we’ve been able to.
That’s awesome. It’s cool to watch sludge — whether you identify with that term or not — continue to have its story unfold with prolific bands in 2018.
For sure. For the longest time nobody gave a shit about any of this stuff. It’s pretty amazing to me that Eyehategod is still a band. They’ve been going at it strong for a really long time. I remember going to see them 20 years ago and they were playing to 30, 35 people.
What do you think led the shift to people paying it more mind?
I have no idea! I was just wondering the same thing.
Do you think you’ll keep playing shows for a while or will you take a step back and work on another full-length?
Right now we’ve pretty much gotten through all of our commitments for the year. The plan for right now is to focus all of our energy and write a new full-length and another split, and then get back on the road after those records come out. Ideally what we really want to do is find a European label to co-release a full-length and get overseas to do a European tour. Of course, we also want to tour the U.S. as much as we can.
It’s exciting to hear about the prospect of another split. Your record with Livid is interesting because of course you have your similarities as artists, but you also both have your own points of view and identities within the album. When I think of Livid I think of the spooky fantasy element of doom while No Funeral is more of the real-life grit. What are the ties that brought you together for the project?
First off, Livid are really good friends of ours and also from Minneapolis. After we did the Misanthrope tape we really wanted to do vinyl, but we weren’t sure if we had enough steam behind us to do a full-length. We decided we wanted to a split with a band that doesn’t just sound like us, but whose songs are generally coming from the same place. When I hear Livid I see their songs as bleak and crushing, just filled to the brim with despair. So, it just kind of made sense to do a split with our friends who are from the city and have the same kind of themes through their music.
Jumping back to Misanthrope, that tape and Mankind is Carrion, Fit for Nothing both start out with the super aggressive spoken samples. I feel like those have become the hallmark of sludge and stoner albums. Where do you go to seek those bits out? Or do they just kind of find you?
I watch a lot of shitty old horror movies and trash films. Most of them I just kind of stumble across, but to be totally honest I’m always kind of keeping an eye out for something. In the past I always kept notes if I thought something might fit in sometime. Now I’ve gotten to the point where I just record it and I have a folder on my computer with different samples. When it comes time to record a new album I’ll listen to a rough mix and look at my sample library to see if any are appropriate and take it from there.
Bearing in mind the opening sample of Misanthrope especially, what do you think makes sludge so hospitable to speaking candidly about drug use, especially as compared to, say, black metal or death metal?
I think sludge is pretty much just a slower, heavier, more grown-up version of punk rock. A lot of the bands just stick with themes that have affected them on a personal level. Me personally, I struggled with addiction for many, many years, so for me, this shit is just therapeutic. I don’t have to go to a meeting to let out stress and tension. I try to just get it all out in music. I’ll always be an addict and have this dark bullshit inside of me; I’m just choosing a healthier way of dealing with it. I think a lot of the bands making this kind of music have had similar experiences and used this music as a way to move on after life has put them through the wringer.
It’s interesting you brought up the punk element. I think sometimes it’s forgotten that as a subsect of metal, sludge has such deep hardcore roots. The culture ended up bleeding into it.
Yeah, I mean I don’t think sludge would exist without the B-side of My War.
Expanding on what you just shared about your own life, what do you think inspires No Funeral’s profound sense of misanthropy?
With No Funeral I really just try to channel all of my negative energy so hopefully I don’t have to feel this shit in my day-to-day life. It’s fucking hard, though — it’s hard in this fucked up world that we live in. Sometimes humankind tends to be more and more selfish and destructive. I don’t really trust a whole lot of people. I don’t want much to do with them apart from people who are close to me.
Has that ever made touring or dealing with the music industry difficult?
I mean yes and no. No Funeral, for the most part, operates like a DIY punk band. Most of the folks we’re dealing with are pretty like-minded. A lot of people putting on shows out of town are either playing in bands or played in bands, so we get a lot of fair treatment as that goes. Then again, sometimes you get screwed. I try to be as optimistic as I can with it. If not, we’d probably never leave Minneapolis. Yeah, it can be good and bad