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In Extremis

Buckfast Is Good For You: An Interview With Drugzilla
Toby Cook , November 2nd, 2011 09:32

Toby Cook meets one man noise machine Drugzilla, aka Conchúir O’Drona, to chat metal, fandom and uber-caffeinated alcoholic beverages

The hulking, intangible mass that is time marches inexorably forward, leading us all to our worm infested demise and the horrible realization that Scientology was the right answer all along. Still, the discerning metalhead can at least draw solace from the fact that, until that time, extreme music is only going to get more and more and more extreme, right? Back in 1968 The White Album’s ‘Helter Skelter’ must’ve sounded pretty menacing, at least until some miserable hippies in Birmingham released Black Sabbath. By the time the 80’s rolled around Venom were releasing Black Metal and trying to make your own dog attack you. Then a few years later Godflesh came along, and released in Streetcleaner something that sounded like the gaping yawn of a suicidal, mechanised god about to crush humanity. And yet, given the choice, you’d still rather play any of these at your baby niece’s tea party than Pig Destroyer’s Prowler In The Yard.

As science will tell us, though, there has to be a tipping point. Things will undoubtedly keep getting heavier and heavier until a natural equilibrium, a plateau of heavyosity, is attained - at which point the whole thing will collapse in on itself, and we’ll spend the next 2000 years or so with flowers in our hair and Rumours on endless repeat.

Doing his best to hasten our inevitable arrival at the peak of the extreme, though, is Buckfast-powered Irish electro-mentalist Conchúir O’Drona, or Drugzilla as he’s better known. If you’ve ever wondered what pigs fucking to the noise of a pneumatic drill whilst some drunken Irish people talk shit in the background might sound like, then look no further. Drugzilla have been churning out slabs of deranged speedcore designed to destroy your mental hegemony since 2009’s Alcoholocaust and having released its follow up Siamese Beashts this year, Siamese Beashts, we thought it was about time that the Quietus caught up with him to talk extreme music and angry caffeinated booze.

Hi Conchúir , can you tell us a little bit about how this Drugzilla thing got started?

CO'D: Originally it was just me and my best mate, we’d just record ourselves talking shit when we were on the piss and then I started to put ‘music’ behind it. I don’t know if it’s to do with the accents, or just because we’re Irish, but people seemed to love it – and it’s just sort of spiralled from there.

Literally just two people talking utter bollocks?

CO'D: Well, yeah, but the music at first was more ambient. It was a bit extreme, but nowhere near as extreme as it is now! About a year/two years ago my mate just couldn’t handle it anymore and left – I carried on, obviously, and started doing raves and stuff and the name just started getting out, funnily enough!

How about the name ‘Drugzilla’, where did that come from? Is it self-referential in any way at all?

CO'D: It’s not really anything to do with drugs to be honest, it was just me and my mate trying to make up a name. Drugzilla came up and we thought ‘Yeah, that’s perfect, it’s a great name, so let’s just go with it.'

And what about your musical background, is it more heavily rooted in electronic music than out-and-out metal?

CO'D: Well I genuinely listen to everything, which is part of the reason my music is so schizophrenic and all over the place – I just love extreme music, although it is mostly metal and shit like that that I love most. Although saying that, I’d have to say that my favourite band of all time is probably The Prodigy. Anaal Nathrakh have been a big influence too. They’re one of my favourite bands, and I’ll be honest and say that I do try to rip them off to a degree, but I try to show it in a different way, you know.

Buckfast I suppose is a pretty big influence too?

CO'D: Oh yes!!

I was under the impression that it was strictly the preserve of people on council estates in Glasgow that wear tracksuits?

CO'D: [Laughing] Well, it is and it isn’t – it’s basically a fortified wine made by monks in Devonshire, but there’s so much caffeine in it that it just drives you mental. But it’s fucking good fun.

There’s even a song on your latest album titled ‘Buckfast Gets You Fucked-fast’ – what is this obsession with it all about?

CO'D: It’s just a fantastic drink. I mean, it just drives you mental though; you have a glass of that and you’ll be talking shit within about three of four minutes – it’s a mad drink, it really is. That’s why all the tramps drink it!

On the new record there seems to be literally thousands of different samples – everything from Blazing Saddles to indecipherable grunts – where do you collect them all from?

CO'D: Well to be honest, most of the time I’ll just hear something I like and I’ll go to YouTube and rip it – like with Blazing Saddles – that had to be in there somewhere because that film’s just amazing. But there’s also a news report type thing that actually a friend of mine did for me, and then there’s just shit that comes out of playing around at night.

How do you go about creating Drugzilla tracks? I heard somewhere that you just start fucking about and record what comes out?

CO'D: Sort of. I’ll generally get an idea into my head and just go with it – see what happens – but as I said it’s really schizophrenic, I don’t really have the patience to just sit down with one thing, so that’s why it’s so all over the place. Someone actually told me after a show in Manchester that it sounds like Aphex Twin on crack – I kind of like that.

So if you were to come up with something that was comparatively more chilled out, would that go in? Or do you limit it to just the fast, jarring and extreme stuff?

CO'D: No, I think that as that’s what I’m most into, the extreme, that’s what comes out. I do occasionally have nice, dark ambient bits but then I speed them up and morph them into the even more extreme bits.

So it’s more like ‘what’s going to send people the most mental’?

CO'D: Yeah, right – exactly.

There are several guests on the new album, like Ken from Abigail Williams, and you even got Russ Russell to produce it – how did those collaborations come about?

CO'D: Ken is actually a friend of mine and we’ve been wanting to produce something together for a while. His vocals are absolutely ridiculous as well, so this seemed like the perfect thing to bring him in on. And Russ, he actually contacted me, out of the blue, he got in touch and said 'Oh, I’m a massive fan, I really like your stuff', and I was like ‘Are you serious?’. What’s funny is that Napalm Death are one of my favourite bands of all time, and shortly after that, after a gig in Birmingham, Danny from Napalm and Frank from Benediction came up to me and were like ‘Can we have a picture with you – that’s the most metal thing we’ve ever seen!’, and I was like a kid – like ‘Yeah, sure, you’ve made my life!’

As I understand it the place you’re based in Ireland – Lisdoonvarna – is pretty much the arsehole of nowhere. Does it surprise you that your music, which is pretty niche, has travelled so far, so well, and was it a real challenge to get it noticed?

CO'D: I realised that no one was going to do it for me, you know? I knew I was going to have to do things for myself, like I released the record myself and I also really took advantage of MySpace. People gradually became aware of it and knew the name and it all went from there really. And it helped that I was doing something that is so different from everything else.

When you’re on a live bill that’s more ‘band’ orientated, shall we say, do you ever encounter any hostility from people that wonder what the fuck it is that you’re doing?

CO'D: Not really, if anything I prefer gigs like tonight in front of a load of metal heads that think they’re into extreme music, some of them always end up being offended by Drugzilla – it’s kind of funny.

What frame of mind should one be into most enjoy the ‘music’ of Drugzilla?

CO'D: I don’t really know, but probably being a bit pissed would help! I mean, its total chaos so a lot of people might be a bit angry by about halfway through the set too. I don’t know, a mixture of half pissed and half angry would be good.

Finally then, beyond getting fucked on Buckfast, what does the future hold for Drugzilla?

CO'D: Hopefully do a few more tours. After this one a few more doors have opened up to be honest – a lot of people have been exposed to a level of extreme music that they perhaps otherwise wouldn’t have been, and to be honest I’d want to continue that. So yeah, just more gigs, and to put out another record at some stage. My longer term dream is to play Supersonic in Birmingham at some stage, so hopefully that’ll happen too.

Drugzilla’s current LP Siamese Beashts is out now via D-Trash records.