Gravesend’s new album is Gowanus Death Stomp, the follow-up to their excellent debut, Methods of Human Disposal. Gravesend’s music is a vile concoction of grinding death metal, hardcore and some black metal aesthetics all placed against the worst version of New York City you have thought of since Times Square was less of a family attraction and more darkly solicitous. We talked with vocalist/guitarist A and bassist S about their art style, the allure of the darkest depths of NYC history and since things are so dark and disgusting, we talked about vermin as well. Check out this new album as soon as you can for maximum darkness and dystopian fun.
Tom Campagna: What is the significance behind being Gravesend?
A: To bring forth a barrage of our collective sonic impulses with the goal of capturing urban decay.
Walk me through your relationship with NYC borough-wise, what makes it such a unique and at times grimy place?
S: New York City and its boroughs; whether it’s New York City’s iconic heart and towering skyscrapers or Brooklyn’s hipster haven riviera, or Queens’ cultural melting pot to the Bronx’s resilience or Staten Island’s suburban isolation all have their stark contrasts between affluence and adversity. The glamor often overshadows the challenges of drug abuse, socioeconomic disparities, poverty, crime, and corruption. My relationship, as a native New Yorker, has been to thrive and navigate the veins of this city to make it on top of the food chain. It’s a rat race.
Where did the black and white aesthetic for the artwork come from?
S: Black and white as an idea representing the dualistic nature of existence and the interdependence of opposites, chaos and order, ying and yang, so to speak, is something we are attracted to in all art forms and so it has manifested in our visual aesthetic naturally. We’re fans of black and white photography, monochromatic painting styles and xerox art. We love the grit it portrays and the flaws it hides for a maximum visual encapsulation.=
What is it like working with 20 Buck Spin for both of these releases?
A: Dave is a professional and amazing label manager. We can be very intense as a band and very on top of what we want to do with our music and endeavors. He manages to match our intensity exactly to deliver.
What do you look for to inspire new tracks?
A: Our tracks are inspired by local headlines about the city, old news stories, the city’s history, movies that capture the classic era of the New York of the ’70s and ’80s, mob tales and the explosion in vermin infestation in modern times.
What makes Gowanus Death Stomp different than Methods of Human Disposal?
S: Gowanus Death Stomp, as cliche as it sounds, is a natural evolution of our sound. It’s much darker than Methods of Human Disposal sonically and lyrically. The new record is a progression of breaking out of the song structures we were used to writing for the demo and Methods. It’s much tighter from a technical and engineering standpoint as well.
What is the NYC scene like for you as both a band and fans?
S: We were never really a “local” band despite living here and attending shows. We’ve only played NYC three times in our entire existence as this band, and we’d rather keep it that way. Many local bands we cherish play weekly and overstay their welcome and we steer clear of that as best we can. The scene here is building back up post the pandemic exodus, and though there aren’t as many bands from here as there were, we do have the benefit of seeing the best of the best roll through these boroughs.
What is the most memorable show that Gravesend has ever played?
A: We never knew what our first show would be or look like due to the pandemic lockdowns and never-ending extension of rules enforced on clubs at the time our record was coming out and us being show ready. However, as these rules were being lifted, Pig Destroyer asked us to be their direct support on a show they had coming up in Brooklyn. Being longtime friends with those guys and longtime fans, we knew that this would be the first one for us as a band and also a special one, so we naturally said yes. Considering it was a more high-profile show, and us being very unknown at the time, the crowd response was strong and positive. It was very memorable to us and progressed our name in the game.
What does the end of 2023 and 2024 look like for you guys tour wise?
S: The end of 2023 we’ll hit the East Coast and West Coast in support of the record due out on October 27th. We are working on some regional shows in early 2024 around the states before we take a short break. However, we will be back in full force and hope to make a European landfall at some point in 2024/2025.
Anything else you want to leave us with?
S: Thank you for the interview and support your local rat extermination service!
(interview published October 26, 2023)
Listen To Gravesend – “Lupara Bianca”