Jon Chang talks about new Gridlink LP, his harsh vocal style, writing lyrics, and more
By Doug Moore
Gridlink / Discordance Axis vocalist Jon Chang is one of the most inventive people ever to hop behind the mic for a grindcore band. Between his unmistakeable screech and his fluid, impressionistic lyrics, he’s done more to advance the genre than virtually any other singer in the style. Sadly, his musical career is over; Gridlink are disbanding after their upcoming third album Longhena, and he will move on to other creative pursuits afterwards. On the bright side, Longhena is one of the best — if not the best — recording he’s ever been involved in.
We spoke to Chang at Invisible Oranges today as part of a new series about harsh vocalists. Here’s an excerpt:
You have a very distinctive vocal tone. How did you settle on that delivery?
I’ll be honest: it happened organically. I used to practice and develop my chops by driving around in my car and blast S.O.B. records, and just screaming along with them. During the day, the apartment building I lived in would basically be empty, and I would just turn the stereo up and start screaming along with it. That’s basically how I learned to get to a starting point.
Of all the people who’ve had the most influence on how I started singing, I’ve ironically never met, talked to, or even tangentially encountered Lee Dorian, who’s probably responsible for more of it than anybody. For years, I was really good friends with Seth from Anal Cunt, and I was really good friends with Tottsuan from S.O.B.. We used to talk about this shit all the time. We’d ask: “How do you sing? How do you do this? How do you do that?” And we’d try to figure out how to do it better.
Seth had a whole thing where he’d stick his hand under his arm while singing, because he said that for him, it was basically his positive chi. He never said it that way, of course, but that’s how I would express what he was trying to say. That’s what his body had to do to generate that sound. I did it for a while too, and it really worked.
Read the rest of the interview at IO. Longhena drops on February 19; stream music by all three of Chang’s well-known projects below.