This spring Graf Orlock were on a highly acclaimed European tour with Comadre. In Denmark they even made it into the newspapers when they were arrested by the police for the evil crime of looking different in the wrong district of the city aka. parking their van only two blocks away from the freshly evicted Ungdomshuset. Only roughly 48 hours earlier they were having breakfast at Rote Flora in Hamburg where they had played a very great show the night before. After rolls and tofu I took singer and guitarist Jason aside to ask him a few questions.
You are touring a lot with Comadre, not only on this European tour but also in the US. How did this relationship come up?
We were both doing summer tours two summers ago and both our tours ended at the same place in Reno/Nevada. They were sleeping there and we arrived there at four in the morning after a very long drive and went to sleep on the floor. So we both woke up in the morning in the same place and we hung out all the day. A couple of months later we started playing shows together. We did a west coast tour, a summer tour and this is our third tour together. We’ll also have another summer tour this year. We usually tour in one van and there is eight of us. It’s really crazy and really close.
You are using a lot of samples from movies which is obviously copyright violation. So I wondered what your stance is about copyright and intellectual property in general.
You could see it from the postmodernist perspective like we are doing this pastiche thing where we disappropriate things and reuse them, kind of like a situationist thing where we’re turning something into something else. We never really worried about copyright infringement. It’s more like if you take all these little, tiny clips of these really dumb movies and turn them into something different, something very political you can claim thing for your own. It’s really good.
What do you thing about copyright in terms of your own band? What if my band came and stole something from Graf Orlock and reused it on its record, would you be fine with that?
I think that’s pretty awesome. There is several bands in the US that have emailed us about starting cinema grind bands to see if we would be mad. But I think it’s awesome when they do it because it is really ridiculous. We put these dumb elements from bad 80s and 90s movies together, these tiny clips and all the lyrics are from movies too, and turn them into something different. Like “red dawn”, this stupid movie where Cuba is invading the Midwest, that’s really ridiculous, but when you cut it out it just ends up making fun of American politics… So, I would be pleased if someone used our songs.
Most samples you use are from pretty violent movies. You obviously appreciate violence in movies. What about violence in reality, violence on shows? What do you think about this?
I think the violence in these movies is so over the top that it kind of desensitizes people. It’s just so ridiculous. We are all the product of the 80s and the 90s grown up watching all these movies that are pretty shitty. I am opposed to real violence but violence in these movies is just so ridiculous that you can’t take it serious. And if people can’t draw the dividing line between reality and the absurdity of film they are pretty fucked up anyway.
Did you ever have problems on shows with people who weren’t able to draw that line?
Not very much. People are not really fighting at our shows. There is not a lot of violent dancing or moshing because the music is too weird. We don’t have a lot of problems with that. But another thing is that many of these clips we use are not necessarily pc and it throws off some people that are very pc sometimes. We are all vegetarians and politically aware but it helps pushing people that feel too comfortable being pc, reminding them why they are vegan or anarchist or stuff like that. I like the non-pc factor of this thing.
What do you think about people headbanging at Graf Orlock shows?
We don’t get to many metalheads at our shows. There are more hardcore people. I think it’s pretty funny. A lot of metalheads just don’t get it. It goes over their heads.
You are doing a lot of stuff with movies, so I got to ask some movie questions… If you had the chance to be on the soundtrack to a sequel of some classic horror movie like “friday 13th” or “nightmare on elm street” which one would you choose?
[takes a deep, deep breath]Hmmm, we don’t really use a lot of horror movies, we are more into action movies. So right now I’d say “die hard iv” that comes out on the fourth of July.
That’s very patriotic…
Yeah, it’s called “live free or die hard” [laughs]. See, how absurd that is? I’d love to be on that soundtrack.
One last question I have is which movie do you prefer: “escape from new york” or “escape from l.a.”?
I have to say I enjoy Snake escaping from L.A. because we are fundamentally an L.A. band, so I’d have to go with L.A. There is also a pretty good Anaheim joke in the movie…
Any last wise words?
Help keeping cinema violent!
Graf Orlock got records out on vendetta, level plane and dood.