While Racebannon has ostensibly
established itself as a noise metal band, it's never been an entirely
That ambiguity will only deepen
with the release of the Bloomington-by-way-of-Indianapolis band's latest
project, Wrap the Body. It's a DJ-styled
12-inch replete with samples, programmed beats and guest spots from rappers
including Bloomington's Stak and Chicago's Kid Static.
Guitarist James Bauman says the
band already has plans for another album, one that more closely adheres to the
typical Racebannon sound. But in the meantime, they finally gave to Karl
Hofstetter's open invitation to release something on his label, Joyful Noise
"He pretty much said he'd do
anything we wanted to do," Bauman said. "We had always floated the idea of
doing a DJ 12-inch."
The single isn't as much of a
departure as it may seem. Racebannon's singer, Michael Anderson, who hails from
the Mike Patton school of demented vocal arrangement, is also a DJ. And the
band had assembled some remixes in the past they thought they'd release over
time. But for Wrap the Body, they
decided to start with an entirely new track.
"We have a lot of friends who
perform hip-hop and a lot of DJ friends," Bauman said. "We thought we'll do a
whole new song, record that and have friends do some remixes."
It began to take shape after
bassist Chris Saligoe devised an old-school 808 beat. They built it up and took
it apart at Bauman's home practice space before heading to Russian Recording in
Bloomington. Anderson turns in a typically aggressive performance on the track,
even when rapping. We Are Hex's Jilly Weiss matches him red eye for red eye in
the possessed vocal department. Guest rappers contribute their own verses, and
the 12-inch, limited to a one-time pressing of 500 copies, includes
instrumental and a capella versions.
Bauman agreed this could be
Racebannon's "Bring the Noise."
"We are more of a metal band, so
putting out a record like this – which is more beat-oriented and has
people rapping on it – I guess is kind of like that," he said. "But
instead of being known as a hip-hop record, we want it to be a dance 12-inch."
Playing it live could be its own
ordeal. The tiny stage at the Melody Inn, where Racebannon have their official
record release show June 25, can be enough of a straightjacket for the
notoriously animated live band when it's just the four of them. Throw in a
couple guest singers and a new PA system to handle their booming new beats, and
Bauman said, "It's going to be a pretty crowded stage, but hopefully we'll be
OK. We'll see how it goes with the setup."
Bauman thinks the song offers a
nice contrast to their bruising style.
"We like to do things that are a
little different," he said. "We appeal to the metal crowd, but we don't only
want to appeal (to them). We like to turn on other fans as well. I know a lot
of metal fans will be turned off by this record. But we don't really care.
We've been going for so long, there's no reason not to do other styles we're
Bauman says Six Sick Sisters, their next record that should be out in late August
on Tizona Records, is "the most accessible Racebannon record we've ever done,"
as well as the fastest and heaviest. Kurt Ballou of Converge served as
"When we were writing the
record, we knew we were going to record it with Kurt," Bauman said. "I've
always been a big fan of how he records drums and guitar. We wanted to make it
really big-sounding and epic. It's sort of along the lines of maybe like
Slayer, which we've always had, but now more than ever."
Nor have Racebannon lost any
edge to their on-stage psychosis.
"We're in the best shape of our
lives," Bauman said. "We put on a really energetic show. We've never slowed
down with that. We've always been known as a band that has a lot of energy. I
think every time we go out and play, it's even more energetic. People are kind
of surprised that we haven't slowed down."
Streaming audio and purchase options for "Wrap the Body" at Joyful Noise Recordings.