While the pandemic put Heavy Heavy Low Low's anticipated reunion tour on pause, founding members Robbie Smith (vocals), Andrew Fritter (bass), and Chris Fritter (drums) have been staying busy with their new band Bone Cutter (whose lineup is rounded out by Sam Pura, who worked with HHLL as a producer before joining as their guitarist in 2010). Their self-titled debut EP is out today via Twelve Gauge on cassette and digital, with a vinyl release planned for this fall.
The EP is -- in the band's own words -- "like HHLL without the same guitarists," but Bone Cutter have already been working on a full-length which Robbie says is "shaping up to be a sparkling, kaleidoscopic version of that." "Chris and Sam are huge dance/pop fans and we’d like to incorporate that," he adds. "What if Head Automatica veered into grind and death?"
That sounds promising, and you can already start to hear it on the EP. There's plenty of grind and death-inspired fury, and "How to Force Feed Your Children and Friends All of Your Failed Ideas in 10 Decayed Steps" injects all the brutality with a dance beat. It's just as totally batshit as HHLL, but it's largely even darker and heavier. (Heavier Heavier Low Low?) Horror films were an influence on the lyrics too, and, not that the screamed vocals are very easy to understand, but this music is the perfect backdrop for horror.
Stream the full EP and read on for more of our chat with Robbie about the EP, the full-length, some newer bands he's been listening to, and more...
Since Heavy Heavy Low Low were supposed to reunite in 2020, and you mentioned that you still plan to do so when it's safe, can you talk about the decision to start a new band rather than write new HHLL material?
Danny and Chip (guitarists for HHLL) live on the East Coast, while the rest of us live on the West. We did ask Danny to play guitar on the record, but since we had written it without him, he didn’t feel right playing to the songs.
When we toured Australia, we did so with the Bone Cutter lineup, so it felt natural to branch off into a separate entity while keeping the Low Low alive.
What kind of impact did the pandemic have on the making of this EP, and/or the content of the songs?
The only impact the pandemic had on the EP was in terms of scheduling. The absence of hugs and not being able to share joints was certainly a bummer.
In a recent interview, Robbie you called Bone Cutter "a project geared toward broad swings in genre." Can you talk a little more about what you mean by that? Also, what were some of the musical influences on this EP and/or the upcoming record?
While we do plan on keeping a base punk sound, we also plan on expanding on that to a point where we could cross over entirely into other genres that get us off. Chris and Sam are huge dance/pop fans and we’d like to incorporate that. What if Head Automatica veered into grind and death?
Any other details you can share about the upcoming record, or about what people should expect from it compared to the EP?
To me, the EP sounds like HHLL without the same guitarists, whereas the upcoming record is shaping up to be a sparkling, kaleidoscopic version of that.
What were you trying to get across with this EP / what do you most hope people take away from listening to it?
One of our main inspirations has always been to make people feel off. We’re relatively normal human beings, but I think that we all value transgressive art, and we’d like to contribute to that blood pool.
Do you have plans to take Bone Cutter on the road when it's safe, and/or do any livestreamed concerts?
We’ll be filming a livestream shortly after the release of the EP! Really juiced to do that. We haven’t spoken about touring since the lifespan of Bone Cutter has existed almost entirely in the quarantined world. I imagine we will, though.
HHLL put out the first Twelve Gauge release back in 2005, and now that label seems to be killing it more than ever. As veterans of the label, what would you say is special and/or unique about that label?
Jihad is so dedicated to hardcore and his love has never faltered. His passion is conducive and he just gets it. He also doesn’t approach releases and communication like business objectives, more so a collaborative process. That means the world to new and old artists alike.
I know you've worked with some great newer bands on shirt designs like For Your Health and Portrayal of Guilt, and the HHLL reunion tour had some awesome openers lined up like State Faults, Hands of God, etc. What are some newer bands and/or albums that you recommend?
Thin is a fantastic band from NY that Twelve Gauge signed at the tail end of 2020. The new For Your Health has been in steady rotation. There’s a new band out of NJ called Blemish that is absolutely vile. I’ve been jamming Mortal Wound's Forms of Unreasoning Fear - super heavy. Our dudes in Maya Over Eyes are about to start destroying the San Jose HC scene.
Anything else that you want people to know about Bone Cutter that I haven't asked?
Horror/exploitation/cult films are a huge inspiration to the lyrics. We’d love to work with filmmakers in lending our tunes to movies that fit that criteria!