HEALTH break down every track on collabs LP w/ NIN, Lamb of God, Poppy & more
HEALTH's new collaborations album comes out this week, featuring songs with Nine Inch Nails, Lamb of God, Poppy, The Body, Ho99o9, and more. Pre-order it on limited red vinyl and read on for our discussion with the band on all 11 of its collaborations. Tour dates are listed at the bottom of this post.
LA experimental outfit HEALTH have been pushing the boundaries of rock since their 2007 debut self-titled record, where they took noise rock to new heights and began showing signs of what was to come. The next year, they started their DISCO series: a collection of songs they’ve made that were then remixed by electronic artists, including names like Crystal Castles, Pictureplane, Nosaj Thing, Tobacco, Salem, Pink Skull, and Gold Panda. DISCO (2008) and DISCO2 (2010) were well-received records, but -- according to HEALTH bassist John Famiglietti who we interviewed for this article -- the interest in remix albums started to fall, and DISCO3 (2017) turned out to be more trouble than it was worth. “At the time the first two DISCO projects came out, there was more of an interest in remix albums.” Famiglietti told us, “Going onto DISCO3, making it was such a pain in the ass. It was like pulling teeth, and it seemed like the interest in remix albums was completely gone by this point. We were wondering if we even wanted to continue making the DISCO projects.” In that same year, they would unknowingly plant the seeds for what would bloom into DISCO4.
“The song with Nolife (“HARD TO BE GOD”) was a one-off single back in 2017, and we had a few more collaborations that weren’t related,” John reminisced. “However, it seemed both our audiences and the artists we were collaborating with’s audiences were receiving these singles well. Once Covid hit, we decided we didn’t want to work on a new record if we couldn’t be in the same room, so why not hit up other people remotely and send over ideas?” This ultimately led to the creation of DISCO4, with which they rebranded DISCO from a remix series to a collaboration series, further breaking musical genre borders in the process.
The first part of the DISCO4 record was released in October 2020, featuring singles that had been out for years like “MASS GRAVE” with dreampop icon Soccer Mommy, and newer tracks like “FULL OF HEALTH” featuring modern grindcore legends Full of Hell. There's a track with experimental rock legends Xiu Xiu and one with the infamous deconstructed duo 100 gecs. This is all to say that HEALTH jump from genre to genre on these tracks, but remain consistently themselves as their featured artists remain so themselves, which is their objective in these collaborations. “We didn’t want anyone thinking we were just genre tourists or anything of the like,” John exclaimed. “We wanted to find a good middle ground between the artist we’re working with’s style of music and our own and ultimately make good music in the process. We also don’t mind getting out of the way when making these songs and having the featured artist take the spotlight.”
With the pandemic ongoing, HEALTH continued to collaborate, ultimately making the second part of DISCO4. “When we finished with the first part of DISCO4, touring still wasn’t open yet,” John noted. “We didn’t want to make a fifth record without touring, so we made another part for DISCO4. We wanted it to come out at the end of last year, but there were some complications with what the artists we collaborated with were doing, and we realized releasing a record in December is never a great idea anyway. So why not just wait a few more months to make it perfect and allow people to digest it more properly?”
As such, they are now ready to broadcast the second part of the DISCO4 saga to the world. Releasing digitally on April 8th (and available to pre-order on limited red vinyl), it's another 12 tracks with collaborations ranging from underground legends The Body to massive alt-rockers The Neighbourhood to metal giants Lamb of God to industrial giants Nine Inch Nails. There's also a single solo song to cap the project off. All signs point to this being yet another record that will further challenge genre norms, and bring forth a new generation of listeners who aren’t guided by something as claustrophobic as music genres tend to be. Given the reception and the number of artists who continue to hit them up, HEALTH imagines this is how the DISCO series will continue. “We’re blown away by the number of people who’ve said yes to creating these collaborations with us,” John humbly spoke. “Even now, we have some artists hitting us up to do some collaborations with them, and why not? Unless there’s a shift in the music scene, it’s hard to see the DISCO projects going any other way.”
“Hopefully, it can just be released as one part, though,” he joked. “Having DISCO4 in two parts is a bit awkward.”
Track-by-Track Rundown of Working with Each Artist on DISCO4 :: PART II
Poppy on “DEAD FLOWERS”
We wanted to work with Poppy for a while. The first piece I sent her, she had a hard time singing on, so she sent us a demo she just recorded on her phone playing guitar and singing a verse. That would become the main guitar riff and verse of the track, and then we just added our input around it and asked what she thought. She added a bit more to the track, and then we finished it up.
Nine Inch Nails on “ISN’T EVERYONE”
The biggest advantage we had with DISCO4 is that we knew pretty much everyone was home and straying away from doing much of anything. Jake had the idea of hitting up Trent Reznor. I was surprised when he mentioned it, but of course, I was down to work with him. To our surprise, he and Atticus (Ross) were down! We had these conference calls where we shared our ideas and talked through the concept. It was very hands-on. We sent the first beat, and then they sang over it, so we would add in some more elements, and then we continued this circular process while speaking about what belongs where. It was an in-depth process, and given our schedules, we sometimes had long breaks before we went back to working on the song, but we got the completed version together.
Ada Rook (Black Dresses, Crisis Sigil) and PlayThatBoiZay on “MURDER DEATH KILL”
I pitched the beat to a few artists, but no one could make much of it. We wanted 12 songs for the project, and it would be a massive shame if we missed it by one. We got PlayThatBoiZay to get on the track, and I was interested in Ada Rook after hearing her on the Backxwash record last year, I Lie Here Buried with My Rings and My Dresses, and was stoked to hear she was down to work with us. I didn’t even know Black Dresses yet, but after hearing her screams I knew I had to look into her stuff more.
Maenad Veyl on “IDENTITY”
I’m a big fan of Maenad Veyl and am stoked to bring him out on tour in the UK. He’s an Italian producer that does this cool 100bpm dance music that has this cool dark vibe, especially on his track “Bleak” which I was obsessed with. He was supposed to be on the first part of DISCO4, but we lost communication along the way. During the recording for this part, I hit him up real quick if he had anything, which came to making this song.
Lamb of God on “COLD BLOOD”
This is another one where I was shocked that they were down to work with us. It was some chance occurrence if I recall correctly. We talked with Willie Adler over the phone, and he was super cool about working together. We weren’t quite sure if it was going to be a collaboration with the band or working with him, but we started building it from the ground up. He was sending us some guitar riffs, and then I would Frankenstein them up by slowing them down and chopping them up, and then we just kept sending each other ideas until we built this track. Eventually, the band just happened to tag along!
The Body on “AD 1000”
I’m sure our fans predicted this was going to happen. Especially because The Body has done all these collaborations with other bands in the past, from Full of Hell to Thou. We were trying to get them for the first part of DISCO4, but it’s very hard to come in contact with them. They don’t even have social media! We tracked down their phone number after we worked with Full of Hell, and then after that, it took forever for them to text back. Once they did, we were able to make a sick track.
Backxwash and Ho99o9 on “PAGAN ICONZ”
Backxwash was on the obvious list of artists we wanted to work with. I was honestly trying to copy her style a bit with some of the instrumentals, so why not work with her? Ho99o9 was another one we’ve wanted to work with for a while, but couldn’t agree between the concepts we shared with each other. We showed them the Backxwash track to see what they thought, and they loved it! They wrote this whole other song that we decided to just Frankenstein into the mix. The song is all over the place, but I feel that in this setting, it works.
Street Sects on “THE JOY OF SECT”
We started working with them to have the track done in time for the first part of DISCO4. In fact, the song was about 98% done, but then they went on hiatus and we didn’t want to put out a track that wasn’t finished. We’re very fortunate that we were able to pull together with them and finish the track this time around. The song they shared with us was supposed to be used in this sort of narrative play project they were working on, so it doesn’t sound exactly like a typical Street Sects song. They essentially wrote all the music on it, though. We punctured ourselves in the mix here and there, but this was made by them. Very happy that they’re back, and excited to bring them out on tour with us and Perturbator later in the year.
Ekkstacy on “STILL BREATHING”
Ekkstacy is a 19-year old kid from Canada whose career grew in the SoundCloud hip hop era, but he absolutely loves indie rock. When we were creating this track with him, he was asking us if we knew about genres like slowcore. He’s been making his music using these beats he finds on the internet, kind of like the bedroom pop mentality back in the day. We were also able to do this one in person, and it was cool that he didn’t just kiss our asses or anything. We’d show him a beat, and he’d go “Nah, that’s wack.” So we started from scratch until we made something that worked for both of us.
The Neighbourhood on “NO ESCAPE”
This is probably the biggest curveball on the record. The Neighbourhood is such a massive band that exists in a completely different world, but we’ve known them for a super long time. We did all these shows with them, and after that, we were kind of able to figure out exactly how to work with them on a track. They never really did anything like this, but they’re a great band and even better friends, so we were able to make this work. It helped that we could do it in person as well since we all live in LA.
Perturbator on “EXCESS”
This was a last-minute decision after seeing we only had 11 tracks. We covered “Excess” on the EP he put out where a bunch of artists covered the song, so we basically just took that and put it on the record. In a perfect world, we would have just made another song with him, but we were on time constraints and honestly, this song works in the context of the sequencing. To sequence the record and make it more coherent, this version of the track chops the intro out. So technically, it’s a different version!
DISCO4 :: PART II is out digitally on 4/8. Pre-order on limited red vinyl. It looks like this
And catch HEALTH on tour now:
HEALTH - 2022 Tour Dates:
04/06 - Los Angeles, CA @ 1720
04/18 - Glasgow, UK @ Stereo
04/19 - Manchester, UK @ The White Hotel
04/20 - Birmingham, UK @ Castle and Falcon
04/21 - London, UK @ Studio 9294
04/22 - Tilburg, NL @ Roadburn
04/26 - Vilnius, LT @ Kablys Club
04/27 - Tallinn, ES @ Sveta Baar
04/28 - Helsinki, FI @ Ääniwalli
06/09 - Bucharest, RO @ Control Club
06/11 - Budapest, HU @ A38
06/12 - Vienna, AT @ Arena
06/13 - Poznań, PL @ Klub U Bazyla
06/14 - Krakow, PL @ Zaścianek
06/15 - Kosice, SK @ Tabačka Kulturfabrik
06/16 - Bratislava, SK @ Fuga
06/17 - Zagreb, HR @ Klub Mochvara
06/18 - Ljubljana, SI @ Kino Siska
06/20 - Dortmund, DE @ Junkyard
06/21 - Zurich, CH @ Bogen F
06/22 - Wiesbaden, DE @ Schlachthof
06/24 - Clisson, FR @ Hellfest
06/29 - Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
06/30 - Seattle, WA @ Mechanismus Festival Stronghold
07/01 - Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret
07/12 - Utrecht, NL @ De Helling
07/13 - Esch-sur-alzette, LU @ Kulturfabrik Asbl Cultural Centre
07/13 - Ostrava CZ @ Colours of Ostrava 2022
07/15 - Athina, GR @ Death Disco
08/24 - Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
08/25 - Tucson, AZ @ 191 Toole
08/27 - Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater #
08/28 - Austin, TX @ Elmo’s #
08/30 - Tampa, FL @ The Ritz Ybor #
08/31 - Orlando, FL @ The Plaza Live #
09/01 - Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade #
09/03 - Baltimore, MD @ Baltimore Soundstage #
09/04 - New York, NY @ Irving Plaza #
09/06 - Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre of Living Arts #
09/07 - Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club #
09/08 - Montreal, QC @ Club Soda #
09/09 - Toronto, ON @ The Danforth Music Hall #
09/11 - Detroit, MI @ El Club #
09/12 - Chicago, IL @ Park West #
09/13 - Minneapolis, MN @ Skyway Theatre #
09/15 - Denver, CO @ Gothic Theatre #
09/17 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Belasco #
09/18 - San Francisco, CA @ August Hall #
10/06 - Lille, FR @ Aereonef %
10/07 - Paris, FR @ Olympia %
10/12 - Bordeaux, FR @ Krakatoa %
10/13 - Toulouse, FR @ Bikini %
10/14 - Madrid, ES @ Sala Cool %
10/15 - Barcelona, ES @ Razzmatazz 2 %
10/16 - Nantes, FR @ Stereolux %
10/18 - Lyon, FR @ Transbordeur %
10/19 - Strasbourg, FR @ La Laiterie %
10/20 - Lausanne, CH @ Les Docks %
10/21 - Munich, DE @ Freiheiz %
10/22 - Vienna, AT @ Arena %
10/23 - Budapest, HU @ Akvarium NagyHall %
10/25 - Prague, CZ @ Lucerna Music %
10/26 - Wroclaw, PL @ Zaklete Rewiry %
10/27 - Warsaw, @ PL Progresja %
10/28 - Berlin, DE @ Heimathafen %
10/29 - Göteborg, SE @ Tradga’n %
10/30 - Stockholm, SE @ Bern %
11/01 - Helsinki, FI @ Tavastis %
11/03 - Oslo, NO @ Vulkan Arena %
11/04 - Copenhagen, DK @ Pumpehuset %
11/05 - Hamburg, DE @ Uebel & Gefährlich %
11/06 - Utrecht, NL @ Tivoli %
11/08 - Cologne, DE @ Kantine
11/09 - Esch-sur-Alzette, LU @ Rockhal
11/10 - Bruxelles, BE @ Ancienne Belgique
11/12 - Dublin, IE @ Academy
11/13 - Bristol, UK @ SWX
11/15 - Glasgow, UK @ St. Lukes
11/16 - Manchester, UK @ Academy 2
11/17 - London, UK @ Electric Brixton
# w/ Street Sects
% w/ Author & Punisher