Plain and simple, Atlanta’s DEGRADATIONS should absolutely, without a doubt, indisputably be one of the biggest bands in heavy music. Some bands spend a few years honing their sound, maybe put out an E.P., play a few good shows, and it’s curtains. Had a good run, kid. DEGRADATIONS? These fucking guys came out swinging HARD with their first couple releases (find them here) before culminating in the STUNNING album “Graves” which I have been listening to almost daily since it came out in 2017, and they’ve landed themselves on some super-rad shows in the intervening years, all fucking WELL deserved- these guys are the god damn genuine article.
We make rad shit here in the ATL.
From the first notes of track one, the groovy and pummeling “Sine Metu” , it’s clear as fucking day that these guys know their shit. I know their previous vocalist and I’ve seen these guys around for years as a couple of the guys used to work at the legendary Masquerade and I’ve put on, played, and attended countless shows at that beautifully filthy and now-razed to the ground venue. Yeah, there’s a new one but it’s WAY too structurally sound for my tastes. I jest, I’m sure it’s delightful, but due to being in constant possession of toddlers my show attending frequency has experienced a noticeable decline these past few years. All good things though, cause now I get to lurk in my attic and write about shit instead!
So these guys have been around the block, and they’ve CLEARLY put in a staggering amount of hard work and honed their craft cause I can’t stress enough- I listen to more heavy music than the interrogators at Guantanamo Bay, I’ve seen and known THOUSANDS of local/unsigned bands who have come and gone, and I’ve received enough demos in my day to use as coasters until drinks don’t exist because we osmose instead- and I don’t think I’ve ever come across a “local band”s album that is as striking, ferocious, and ORIGINAL as “Graves” from DEGRADATIONS.
Life is short, get STOKED.
I’m not a fucking fanboy either, I’m just the kind of guy who’s STOKED ON SHIT and you should be too. Life is entirely too short to be all ironically detached and un-excited about shit. Life should be pouring out of every orifice on your body, and we should ALL be jazzed about the things we love cause one day we’re all gonna kick the fucking bucket and I don’t plan to do it with fucking regrets. When I find shit I love, I’m ALL ABOUT it and I’m thrilled that I stumbled into DEGRADATIONS because they are what the future of metal needs to sound like.
Raw, visceral, and technical but not in that “musicians only” kind of way- these guys call to mind a million different immediate influences but it all comes together to become something strikingly unique and that MEANS something. I could heap the praise on DEGRADATIONS all fucking day long, but I’d rather let them start doing the talking. Their lineup is solidified and they’re firing on ALL cylinders, and you can FEEL it in their energy which is fantastic. They’ve recently announced, to my childish and wide-eyed excitement, that they’re working on a new album which will come out this year AND- they’re releasing a brand new video for their track “I HATE THIS PLACE” today so in celebration of that I reached out to set this shit up.
We spoke via email over the course of this past week and they decided to tackle the questions from the POV of the entire band, so it’s kind of like a hive of guitar-wielding bees speaking towards the common goal, or maybe that’s a shitty metaphor. Whatever, we had a rad conversation and by the time this posts you’ll be able to check out the video so let’s get into it!
(DEGRADATIONS would like their final lineup to NOT be announced just yet so- if you know them, you know who’s in the band. If not, deal with it. A little fucking mystery is refreshing nowadays anyway. No pics either, cause fuck you!)
AFHGhost1/So I’m gonna fanboy out for a second, “Graves” is a fucking BEAST of a record, I’ve been wearing it out like it owes me money for like 2 years, seriously. Since I’m always five fucking minutes late to the party, and for everyone who is hearing about you for the first time- how did Degradations come to be? We make rad metal in the ATL but your shit is a cut above, my friends.
D/The band started back in 2012 with a majority of the members at that time working at the original Masquerade location. It was a Down show, one of last with Kirk in the line up. We were very inspired after the set, with a few of us freshly parting ways with previous musical projects, we decided to get to together and released our 1st album within a year. Since that release we have been through a handful of changes in our line up. We recruited a new guitar player/vocalist and drummer ( Ryan and Ryan ) and wrote Graves in 2017. In the past year we’ve had Bryan join us and Patterson dropped the guitar and now focuses on vocals. We’re all really motivated and excited with how things have been coming together musically. Hopefully we can continue to put out music that people are still listening to years later.
Well, I’ve been listening to “Graves” for 2 years SOLID so I’d say your chances are good! Also, I knew I recognized you guys from somewhere- the fucking Masquerade, mystery solved!
Down is one of those bands that does their own thing no matter what and that’s something that hit me about you guys when I first heard “Sine Metu”- it’s no “metal by the numbers”, you guys really take your influences and go your own way. We need MORE of that now more than ever, everything is getting so fucking recycled. How do you guys write? Is it everyone in a room fucking going for it or are you the kind of band where one dude is hashing shit out on his laptop and presenting it to everyone else? My money’s on option A, but both can have their merits.
Our writing process has evolved to the point where we have a healthy mix of the two. Riffs get recorded to programmed drums so we can hammer out a structure. We spend a good deal of time in the room working through songs organically to make sure the drums match what we’ve demoed and to have everyone’s input on the music. Each of us brings a different catalog of influences but heavy music is what binds us. We can also be pretty critical of what we’re working on so by the time each song goes through the process it’s the culmination of all of our approvals. These new tracks are no exception. Writing for the next album has been pretty challenging but we have a lot of momentum going. We cannot fucking wait to start playing some of these live!
So NOBODY’S heard these new songs then? I’m impatient as shit so I’d probably be the one trying to convince everyone to drop a song or two into a set before release day, so kudos for keeping the cat in the proverbial bag. What’s everyone in for with this new shit? You guys have played some really rad shows, it’s been two years, the world is falling the fuck apart around us- you must have PLENTY to say in 2020.
The video that we put together for I Hate This Place really sums up a lot of what we’re feeling right now. As a group of cynical bastards who aren’t the best public speakers, we rely on our music and messaging to project our perspective. Expect more thoughtful songwriting and lyrics. We are extremely proud of the previous releases and want make sure that people who have followed us since the beginning can see how we got to this point and that they can still enjoy what we create. Everything feels so imminent now. Doom and gloom. We want to reflect that without being too cynical but it’s fucking tough…
It IS fucking tough, and I think heavy music is the perfect place for us to get this shit out. We’re all walking around right now carrying the burden of these apocalyptic visions around every corner. It can really start to fuck with a person’s head and having an outlet is essential to keeping yourself sane in 2020. Your music has a pretty fatalist tone to it but I can sense that you guys are holding out that same shred of hope that I am- I mean, we’ve GOT to figure this shit out at SOME point right? Or do you think we’re just gonna run this planet into the ground and kill each other til there’s nothing left to care about?
I guess that depends on how you choose to perceive your surroundings and your attitude towards yourself. We all feel pretty strongly that making creative decisions instead of destructive ones is how to get out that frustration. Even if nobody listened to us we would still be in that room figuring out how to evolve our sound and evolve as people. And being a band allows us to be part of a unique community like the Atlanta metal scene. Notoriously fickle with its taste but fiercely loyal to it’s people. I guess there’s some hope in there somewhere.
See, there it is- the fact that you guys would be doing this no matter if anyone heard it or not, THAT’S what we need more of ESPECIALLY in heavy music. One band gets successful and you immediately have like 12 more that sound like less-original versions of the one that started the whole thing. In the arts in general, we need more people doing it because they are passionate, and because they NEED to be doing it- so it’s rad to see it when a band comes along that lives their shit and MEANS it. On Atlanta, it can be an especially tough scene to crack because there’s so much diversity that it can take a while to find your audience BUT- on the other side, the really great thing about Atlanta is that once you DO find your people they’re loyal as fuck. Like “ride or die” fucking loyal. It seems like you guys found that pretty early on, which to me is a testament to how hard you guys must have worked in those early stages of the band. What did you guys do to get yourselves heard back then? Were you guys stuffing demos into people’s guitar cases backstage at the Masquerade? Cause I most definitely would have been doing that shit. Annoying the fuck out of people works about 63% of the time too.
We put ourselves in front of anyone who would listen. We’ve shared the stage with bands from just about every genre in rock/metal. It has never been our intention to have a specific crowd to cater to or only play shows with certain bands. Sure we may have thrown a few t-shirts and demos to some big names who came through the old Masquerade. Networking is huge but you also don’t want to be that obnoxious dickhead who never shuts the fuck up about his own band. Be humble, make good music, and people will want to be around you.
It’s still weird to say “the old Masquerade”, I’ve played a ton of shows there, I’ve put on a ton of shows there, and I’ve SEEN a metric ton of shows there. I know it’s in a new location but it’s just not quite the same. And all jokes about stuffing demos into guitar cases aside, you’re absolutely right- it’s just about getting out there to anyone who will listen. THAT’S who becomes your audience and if you’re lucky it ends up being everyone.
Let’s get nerdy for a bit- “Graves” sounds fucking fantastic, like a full-on, label-backed album. Where’d you guys record for that one? Same for the new record? Those guitar tones are fucking NASTY.
Thanks for the kind words. “Graves” was split between two locations with two producers. Drums were recorded at Espresso Machine in Athens with Mike Albanese and Bradd Schlosser and the rest was done at Bradd’s personal studio, at In Motion Recordings, in Atlanta. We recently recorded a three song demo with Aaron Hendrickson at Standard Electric Recorders Co. Both experiences taught us a lot of different lessons and we feel made us better musicians in the end. As far as the next record goes we’re still undecided. Since the music is still being written we want to see how polished or unpolished we want it to be in the end. Regardless we won’t take the decision lightly and you can be damn sure we won’t release anything we aren’t 100% proud of.
No thanks necessary, thank YOU for making rad music. You know, I could really keep this going a lot longer but the way you answered that last question feels like a PERFECT spot to end this thing and drop that new video. Tell everyone what they’re watching, where they can listen to it, and anything else you wanna plug. When’s the next show? When are you hoping for the album to be done? All that shit. Go!
The re-release of “I HATE THIS PLACE” was not only to refresh our sound with new members but is also an outlet for how we feel now as a band. The song may be old but it’s never been more relevant. The idea for the video literally wrote itself. Regardless of political views, the things happening in this video are happening, have been happening, and will continue to happen until we say no more. The song will be available for download next Friday (Valentine’s Day) but until then the only way to hear the song is to watch the video. “I HATE THIS PLACE” will be a digital single and will not be on our new album due this summer. So you’ll have to listen to it on Spotify and download it from there. We have some shows in mind and many other things in the works. Everyone will just have to wait and see what we have in store for them. All good things come to those who wait.
A little mystery, I dig it. Guys, this has been fantastic and we’re gonna need to do this again soon. Maybe I can catch a show and we can do something backstage and we’re DEFINITELY gonna need to do something when the album drops so let’s keep in touch. Thanks a TON, guys- you’re a killer band and a breath of fresh air and you deserve ALL the best!
Dude… thank you, thank you, thank you so much for all the kind words. Its people like you who make this stuff worth it!
There you have it, Ghosties- DEGRADATIONS are a fucking class-act and let this serve as your PSA for the day: GET ON BOARD. Big things are ahead for these guys so keep your eyes and ears on them and play their shit for everyone you know, your dog, your mom- whoever, just crank it loud and fucking rage on.
And here’s the brand new video for “I HATE THIS PLACE”. Thanks for reading and for supporting The Ghost Generation. Happy Fucking Friday indeed. 🙂
A blog/website where these happily married, 30-something parents of 2 little minions rant, rave, and speak in tongues. Raw, honest, and riddled with profanity. Get on board and let’s make The Ghost Generation awesome together! http://theghostgeneration.com Twitter.com/Gh0stGeneration