Meet The Band: Shock Withdrawal

Brutal Panda Records

The death/grind trio Shock Withdrawal are in this week’s Meet The Band spotlight. Their full-length debut album is The Dismal Advance. Vocalist Mitchell Luna (Noisear) and guitarist/bassist Nick Emde (Nitesoil, ex-The Destro) introduce us to their band.

Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Shock Withdrawal.
Nick: The band was started through riff sharing between Jono (Garret, drums) and myself during Covid lockdown. It took a while for those ideas to become anything real, but once they started to turn from bursts of inspiration into real songs we knew we had to form a band. After organizing in the form of a demo we sent over to Mitch because we figured he would be the perfect candidate and luckily he said yes, and here we are.

Mitchell: I met Nick through mutual friends in the grindcore/metal scene (but lets be honest, 90 percent of my friends I know through that same scene) and he showed me instrumental demo versions of the songs from the EP we released in 2022. While I thought those songs were OK, I saw a lot of potential, so I decided to join the band. I would say I achieved the sort of sonic output that I was hoping for with this upcoming full length, and I am happy as hell that I teamed up with these dudes. Nick and Jono are both really open minded musicians, great people and very easy to work with.

Describe the songwriting process for The Dismal Advance.
Nick: A few riffs in the dropbox and working them out in the jam room. I sent a bunch of riffs out to everyone, and then everyone puts in their ideas on what goes together where, and just fine tune a little bit at a time and chisel away whenever we can get together. Jono and myself both split time between Texas and the East Coast, where as Mitch lives in Los Angeles…so utilizing technology is crucial. These songs are packed with tons of different influences, some parts don’t last long so you will never know where the 80’s hair metal inspiration comes in or goes out into a Morbid Angel inspired riff.

Mitchell: Honestly, we all just gave each other feedback and it was a solid three way collaboration. As a vocalist, I am lucky that these dudes hear me out whenever I have ideas. I definitely pushed for weirder more dissonant riffs to surface, and the incorporation of other genres. I asked Nick to let other influences bleed in and just write straight from his heart. “Write what your favorite band would sound like” is what I would tell him, and you can see the difference between the EP and this record right away. Jono is also super meticulous and overthinks every single drum part and pattern so it’s all locked in and cohesive by the time we go to record. Lyrically, I just made everything really personal this time. With some of my past bands I have written lyrics that are socially aware, but this album is mostly existential. The songs are about life experiences.

What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
Nick: Stressing over the parts. We recorded everything in different places under stressful time restraints so was not the most fun to be honest.

Mitchell: I personally had a hard time as well. Logistically it was difficult since we are all spread out. We all felt a lot of pressure to create something unique and somewhat refreshing. It’s a sound that is rooted in grindcore, but we wanted to create something dynamic with twists and turns while still remaining cohesive. The listener can be the judge on if we pulled it off or not.

What was the biggest challenge in its creation?
Mitchell: For myself: writing lyrics was hard and I found myself with writer’s block in the very beginning. I usually would write lyrics critiquing society in the past, but I shifted focus on writing lyrics that were deeply personal. Everything just started falling into place, after that. The outcome is a bit bleak and nihilistic, but it’s sincere. I think you can still be a positive person even if you have a negative world view… and I guess that’s the type of human I am. -Mitchell

How would you characterize its style/sound?
Nick: A mixture of death metal and grindcore with a flavor crystal of black metal every few bites. Not quite on the forefront of the flavor but you can taste it in there.

Mitchell: Definitely death metal and grindcore, with a heavy emphasis on tight and precise instrumentation. While I love grindcore that leans more noisey and punk, that is not our approach whatsoever. There are riffs and hooks in there, and like Nick said there is a bit of black metal… and I mean, there is hardcore and doom in there as well. We try to go a bit outside genre conventions when it is tasteful to do so.

What lyrical topics do you cover?
Mitchell: Like I said in the other response, all of the lyrics are rooted in life experiences. Some are a bit blatant, some are a bit more ambiguous. I don’t really discuss all of the details, not even with my band members, but all I can say is that being raw and honest was the only way I was able to write lyrics for this album and keep things on track. I guess I did go through a rough couple of years lately, but I am grateful as hell that I can turn something negative into a musical collaboration that I am really proud of.

A lot of the song titles would make good album titles. What led you to go with Dismal Advance?
Mitchell: Thank you! I honestly like for all of the song titles to have a nice ring to them, and flow well when you look at them all together in order… a good ratio of sentence fragments and powerful sounding one word titles. (laughs) I put a lot of thought into these things, and it very often gets overlooked. As far as the album title, I just pitched a few ideas to Nick and Jono, and that was the one they liked the most.

How did you come to sign with Brutal Panda?
Mitchell: Bob, who runs Brutal Panda, has been a good friend of mine for years. we met back when he was working for Relapse records (my old band Maruta worked with that label). I sent him a few tracks from the EP just as a friend. When he came to visit Los Angeles a few years ago, he offered to release it while we were having dinner at this sushi spot. It’s been a handshake deal and a good time working with him and the rest of the BP team!

What are your goals and expectations for the album?
Mitchell: Honestly, just to be heard. There is so much music coming out at such a rapid pace. We wrote this for all of the weirdos like ourselves that love riffs, blastbeats and short brutal songs. It’s all for the love of extreme metal, and grindcore. That’s it. Getting out there and doing some reasonable touring to promote this thing is another goal, but we are in the midst of trying to figure that out.

Nick: We hope many people have the opportunity to listen to it and potentially enjoy it!

How was the video shoot for “Oblivion Seeker”?
Mitchell: Grueling. I flew over to Texas on barely any sleep, to get into a warehouse with no air conditioning during the hottest month of the year. We sweated our asses off, but no one complained. We just fucking went in there and did it. Creatively: I personally came up with the idea to go handheld and use practical lens filters. We were able to hire a friend of a friend (Justin Paul) to assist in filming, but I handled all of the editing duties. It was all done on a shoestring budget.

Nick: Pain in the dick.

What has been your most memorable Shock Withdrawal live show?
Nick: Definitely the St. Vitus show in Brooklyn with Gridlink! Sounded great onstage and we had a real good time. All of the bands on the bill were sick as hell.

What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
Mitchell: We are currently working on figuring that out. We are all spread out in different cities, so it would have to be a scenario that makes sense. I am personally fucking dying to hit the road and play some shows, mostly for my sanity. (laughs)

How do you balance music with families and day jobs?
Nick: You just make time. All you can do. Make the time.

Mitchell: Absolutely agree with Nick on this. If it is something you love, you find and make the time for it. I need music in my life to feel like a normal functioning human.

What are some of your non musical interests and hobbies?
Nick: Camping, bike riding and general outdoor stuff. Getting into some astronomy as of late as well.

Mitchell: I’m a huge film nerd. I am fortunate that I work full time as a producer and video editor, so I kind of get to do what I like for a living. It also helps the band because I handle all of the music video duties. Besides that, I like to run, create stupid loops on my kaossilator, drink beer and play video games.

What’s the best thing you binge watched lately?
Mitchell: RoboDoc, the documentary on the making of Robocop is probably the most comprehensive breakdown of a movie that I have ever seen. It’s amazing. Fargo season 5 was pretty fucking awesome too.

What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Nick: Lamp of Murmur – Saturnian Bloodstorm, Departure Chandelier – Satan Soldier Fortune, Blackbraid – II, Primitive Knot – Exit Strategies.

Mitchell: Aeviterne – The Ailing Facade, Deterioration/Negative Bias – Split, Afterbirth – In But Not Of, Shitstorm – Only In Dade.

Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Nick: Be excellent to each other.

(interview published March 16, 2024)

Watch Shock Withdrawal – “Oblivion Seeker” Video


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