Poison Headache’s self-titled debut album floored me when I first heard it with its extremely impressive combination of hardcore and metal, channelling the early, nastier sides of both styles. Phil Sgrosso talked me through a few points about the band and their crushing new record…
Introduce us to Poison Headache – how did the band form?
We’ve all been friends since playing shows together in high school. A few years later we reconnected after Andy’s band Internal Affairs broke up and he had new material he had been working on. It started out just as fun and we will always keep it that way but we’re definitely pursuing it more these days.
What are your influences?
I’d say old Entombed and stuff like High on Fire and Crowbar. We have a lot of admiration for those bands.
Where did the band name come from?
Name five things you’ve listened to recently that you’d recommend
Nails “You Will Never Be One of Us”
Thrice “To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere”
Katatonia “The Fall of Hearts”
Author & Punisher “Melk en Honing”
Iggy Pop “Post Pop Depression”
Tell us about your debut album
We did it through Metal Blade Records. I produced and engineered most of it with Taylor Young from Twitching Tongues/Nails engineering the drums and mixing the album. Brad Boatright handled the mastering.
Are you happy with the finished product – is there anything you would change if you could?
We’re very happy with how it turned out and would totally work with the same team again.
What’s your favourite song on the album and why?
I think either Gray Skies or Discloser. Those are songs I wrote all the lyrics and did the vocals. They just touch on some very serious stuff for me and I feel like the vocal performance really took a lot out of me. I think those are also the songs with the heaviest parts and feel like you’re going through more of a musical journey.
How do you think your style will progress on future releases?
Not sure. We can do a lot of different things but I think it could be a little faster, more intense.
Tell us about the album artwork
The art was done by Adrian Baxter from the UK. I found him on Instagram. I thought the themes and elements from the album totally coincided with the sort of imagery he creates so I hit him up and he was totally on board to do it. We’re all big fans of his work.
With music becoming increasingly digital in nature, what’s your take on the digital/physical debate and the current state of the music industry?
I think it will all be streaming and vinyl. Streaming is just so convenient. You have basically the entire music database on your phone that you can take anywhere and listen to at pretty much anytime. Vinyl is just cool to hold and look at. It’s still treated and respected as a piece of art.
What’s it been like working with Metal Blade?
I’ve worked with them for over 10 years so I love the staff and the support they show for the metal scene is tremendous.
Playing live – essential or pointless?
Essential. But it’s hard. It all depends on what you’re trying to do. You gotta be smart with music now more than ever and the older it gets, the harder it becomes. Some bands just play shows as a hobby and that’s cool but I want to make the most out it and make the most out of all the opportunities that come my way.
What are the next steps for Poison Headache?
We’re in talks about doing some stuff in Europe and also some shows in California once my schedule opens up a little. It’s looking like 2017. In the meantime, we’re starting to get riffs for album number 2 going.