Following HorrorGeekLife’s early access review of Vinyl Cape’s upcoming album, The Glitter of Putrescence, we talked with the group’s co-creator and vocalist, Jason Cornell – also known as BRZOWSKI. We discuss influences, his vast musical talents, the history of Vinyl Cape and all about the new album. Considering how impressed we were with The Glitter of Putrescence, which will be available September 23rd, and the meaning behind the music, we couldn’t wait to find out more.
Be sure to check our review for The Glitter of Putrescence here!
HorrorGeekLife.com – Thank you for taking the time to talk with us. As a musician, who were some of your earliest influences?
BRZOWSKI – When I was in maybe 3rd grade, I became obsessed with Iron Maiden, mostly due to the visuals drawing me in. I could not get enough of the artwork, and then started buying cassettes with any money I could scrape together. Run DMC, Judas Priest, Sabbath, The Fresh Prince – I actually got hooked on the Fresh Prince due to that song where he’s attacked by Freddy Kruger…I loved the creepy beat.“Nightmare on My Street,” I think it is called – they were all early influences. I never really thought about being a musician in any serious sense until I was about twelve and started playing guitar along to early Slayer and Metallica albums. I discovered Misfits, The Damned, Clash, Discharge, and Ramones, and started a band at fourteen, total DIY. Shirts, tapes, mini-tours. Thrashy, but very punk stuff. We did everything ourselves. In hindsight it was great training for the implosion of the music industry 20 years later.
HorrorGeekLife.com – You listed some fantastic artists from back in the day; I still listen to several. Are there any current artists who help influence you?
BRZOWSKI – Hmm…I’m driven to create in a bubble. If I’m in writing or producing mode, I attempt not to listen to anything but podcasts and talk radio. If I do listen to music for inspiration, I’ll go back to the “classics” shelf of things that continually give inspiration.
I love the old Roadrunner Records catalog, circa mid-nineties. Particularly Type O Negative for their tongue in cheek flirtations with horror and sex+death. The New Orleans sludge bands from the same era (Crowbar, Eyehategod, etc.). I’m a huge fan of mid-period Pink Floyd and early 90’s backpack rap, although those particular influences are indiscernible at this point.
HorrorGeekLife.com – The bubble method must work because your upcoming album, The Glitter of Putrescence, is one of my favorite albums I’ve heard this year. I know that you cover vocals, do you play any instruments as well?
BRZOWSKI – I play guitar and bass, and flirt with digital programming as well. On my solo (post-rap) material, I usually co-produce a few songs and add instrumentation where I feel like a beat needs heft. For this album I only played bass and guitar on “The Severed Head of John the Baptist,” but had a fair amount of input on the instrumentation.
HorrorGeekLife.com – As I mentioned in the album review, there is some serious individual talent within Vinyl Cape. How did everyone come together to form the band? Where did the name originate?
BRZOWSKI – The idea for Vinyl Cape came from conversation C $ Burns and I were having while we were working on his Friends w/ $ album, and my Blooddrive Vol. 3 compilation. Between post-production and hair-splitting, we made lists and talked about how hip-hop and metal tropes had always been mashed together, but not seamlessly integrated. We also have pages of rules: No misogyny, no shock-value content, no overt “hip-hop” slang or references, very little lyrics from the 1st-person, minimal conventional expletives, literary and cinematic execution, mostly down-strokes on the stringed instruments…continued ad nauseum. We set a high bar for our expectations, if for no other reason than to satisfy our pang to do something that had not been done before. Mo Niklz and I had toured many times before; he is a hard working and wildly talented turntablist with an affable demeanor. He proves to be a great foil for our “serious artist” pretenses – I mean, C$ and I DID go to art schools. We’ve toured twice as a 3-piece, put out a 7″ on CT label DIY Bandits and self released a mixtape and EP. We added my friend, Jane Boxall, on drums for a few album cuts and drums on our last East Coast tour. She’s from the UK, but strangely enough I know her through the Vermont punk rock scene.
Vinyl Cape is a very self-aware joke meant to evoke a shoddy Halloween costume – Dracula, Batman, or any other budget-conscious costume Mom might have picked out for you in the 80s/90s. It was primarily a vehicle for us to evoke some humor in our dark theatricality, but I think our humorous elements are delivered so dead-pan, they can be overlooked. The stage banter at one of our shows tends to reveal that angle a bit better. I usually utter nothing serious in between songs, save for the usual pleas to tip your bartenders and buy some of our black t-shirts for your collection. It also acts as a great way to make the bitter pill of difficult music/content to be digested. Carlin or Bill Hicks perfected this approach.
HorrorGeekLife.com – Your music is certainly not easy listening, though it is thought-provoking. Are there any tracks on the The Glitter of Putrescence album that are more personal for you?
BRZOWSKI – Well, as I alluded to earlier, we actually tried to divorce the lyrical content from our actual feelings in service of the bigger vision. This was not intended as “BRZOWSKI” talking, this is the disembodied voice of a decaying world with dwindling avenues of escape. That said, I feel personal attachment to “Death By Numbers,” addressing the plight of the artist or creative economy in a time when art is not valued, content is not valued due to the glut and democratization of the internet. Moreover, music is considered a loss-leader. “The Barren Orchard” is actually about Sarah Tillinghast, a reputed “Vampire” (likely tuberculosis outbreak) in Rhode Island during the late 1700s, to whom I’m distantly related. “Sphere of Trash” is about multinational corporations and individual trash-humans desecrating the only planet we have to work with. As a writer, it’s difficult to totally escape yourself, and I will certainly continue that exercise.
HorrorGeekLife.com – Every song on the new album has a story to tell and you articulate that very well. The lyric writing is quite impressive! If you had an opportunity to collaborate with any another artist, who would you choose?
BRZOWSKI – I’ve been really fortunate to share the stage or studio with so many people I’ve looked up to over the years; I have never considered the wish-list of collaboration. I’d like painter Sean Foley to contribute a painting to my album artwork one of these years. I’d like designer Matt W. Moore to do some sort of collaboration with music and another “product” he’s working on. Also, David Lynch to direct a video, Rammellzee (RIP), Aceyalone, and Rob Sonic to do a posse-cut with me.
Strictly through the Vinyl Cape lens, we’d love to do some soundtrack and video game contributions. We’d be interested in asking Lee Dorian (Cathedral), Barney Greenway (Napalm Death), John Tardy (Obituary) contribute vocals, Josh Silver from Type O Negative to engineer/play some keyboards. I’ve never really reached out of the circle of people I already know to work with, but it’s never out of the question. With technology, the world is far smaller than it used to be.
HorrorGeekLife.com – There is no doubt about that. It sounds like you stay pretty busy, especially with the new album hitting later this month. Do you, Vinyl Cape or anyone within VC have any other projects you want to mention?
BRZOWSKI – Vinyl Cape will be releasing two music videos this Fall and playing a few spot dates around Halloween. There are a few non-album songs that will trickle out as well. I will be playing some spot dates in New England and Texas and finishing up a solo record slated for Spring 2017 on Milled Pavement Records. I’m slated to hit France again this year fronting a project with my friends, D-FAZ, from Lyon, France. (Check out D-FAZ here!)
Mo Niklz has a few high-profile hip-hop features and a tour coming up, but nothing I can mention yet…MYSTERY! But he has some great mixtapes available on to stream. (Check out Mo Niklz here!)
C MONEY BURNS has a hardvapour trilogy of EPs under various aliases that he is continuing to publicize: ＫＥＮＮＹ ❖ ＬＯＧＩＮ – FOOD COURT Ａｆｔｅｒｈｏｕｒｓ / C MONEY BURNS – Дьявол в деталях / ＭＡＸＸ ＬＥＧＲＯＯＭ – ＣＯＮ／ＳＵＭ／ＭＥＲ
HorrorGeekLife.com – Great, I can’t wait to check it all out! Lastly, it is a given that you must enjoy watching horror films. Which are your favorites?
BRZOWSKI – I enjoy the classics, particularly the ones that evoke horror or revulsion in what is NOT shown on screen – Susperia, The Exorcist, Deep Red. I want to be able to appreciate the shots for composition as well, not purely what is being depicted. For more recent films, I quite enjoyed Late Phases. It’s refreshing to have an original horror concept, if not stellar acting/writing….blind veteran takes on retired werewolves? Brilliant and ridiculous. I’ve had a bit of an obsession with the more obscure Vincent Price vehicles as of late. He adds a touch of class even when embroiled in abject schlock. I think that is telling of my tastes right there.
HorrorGeekLife.com – Late Phases is such an underrated film, so it’s great to hear it mentioned! Thank you again for your time; it has been a pleasure reviewing The Glitter of Putrescence and talking with you. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Vinyl Cape!
*Featured image photo credit: David Višnjić