Whether it was Shai Hulud, As Friends Rust or Morning Again, Damien Moyal has been screaming his lungs out for as long as I've been a part of the hardcore scene. He's back now with a new band called On Bodies. They just released their first EP on Eulogy Recordings... it's called "Planet Hospice" and you should own it! Read on to see what Damien had to tell us.
PRT: I read in an interview from a couple of years ago that you were completely done with hardcore, which I guess is where the Damien Done project came from. What made you want to start a new band and get As Friends Rust back together again?
Damien: After quitting As Friends Rust I was ‘done’ with hardcore – but only in the sense that I was burnt out, tired, and so sick of playing. I always knew that I’d be back. It’s in my blood, for better or worse. Damien Done did emerge from that - not because it wasn’t hardcore, but because it was nothing I’d have to play live. I really just wanted to hole-up in my house, write songs, and record them with zero obligation to hit the road or whatever.
To me, the ‘true’ As Friends Rust was the “Coffee Black” era line-up. True, we didn’t write very much material in comparison to the last line-up, but we were all heart. We were a fucking mess… The best of friends, the worst of enemies. We slaved to make shit happen. We lost jobs, apartments, girlfriends, teeth and tons of money for the sake of touring. We toured sometimes just because the meals were guaranteed, which was more than we had going for us at home. So getting those guys back together was an easy decision.
PRT: When and how did ON BODIES come to life?
Damien: ON BODIES was kind of already happening when I jumped into the picture. Rich, whom I’d played in Culture with (on and off between 1993 and 1997), was demoing songs, playing every instrument himself, and trying to gather some folks to join and play it live. He sent me the stuff, and I loved it. Two weeks later I dropped some vocals onto the tracks, and that’s what we’re releasing… essentially a demo. It’s fun, and very easy and low-pressure. The recording really captures the rough spontaneity of the project.
PRT: You just dropped your first release called “Planet Hospice”, a short but intense EP. That’s not really a question, just a compliment.
Damien: Yes, we did. And thank you.
PRT: You’ve already been a part of quite a number of influential hardcore bands. Do you feel that when you start a new project, it comes with certain expectations from people? And do you give that any thought at all?
Damien: I do feel that there are inevitably going to be expectations, comparisons and excessive amounts of snobby scrutiny. I do not give a fuck. Here’s what I know: I’m fucking old, and I’ve treated myself like shit. I’ve abused my body and absolutely destroyed my throat. Why? For hardcore.
It’s about sincerity and questioning. It’s about being confused, not knowing a fucking thing in this world, and trying to get some answers... even if it doesn’t feel like there are any. I will be yelling until I have no voice left, which may be coming sooner than I think.
PRT: Today a lot of hardcore seems to be aggressive just for the sake of sounding aggressive rather than spreading a positive message in a pissed off way. Do you agree with that and how do you propose we set the record straight?
Damien: I do agree that so much of today’s hardcore is very fabricated and stylized. It’s a whole lot of style-chasing and emulating. It’s long, profound band names with scratchy, drippy logos. There’s not whole lot of substance, and it’s very… packaged.
Here’s how ON BODIES promotes positivity: There is no meaning, no greater purpose. Life is fucked up. People can be awful. There is no god, and the future does not look promising... But still we persevere. Why?
Because it shouldn’t mean anything profound in order to be worthwhile. Because - even in the absence of eternal consequence - we still govern ourselves and we love and we give to those around us. To me, this goodness that is unsolicited and not born of fear of eternal damnation is the truest, most pure positivity. I’d encourage everyone to embrace the pointlessness of their own mortality, and then to applaud themselves for being good people in spite of it.
PRT: You’ve been venting your frustrations through music for quite some time… does it ever feel like preaching to the converted? And if so… what keeps you going?
Damien: If the songs were about straightedge, veganism, being stabbed in the back, fucking shit up, beating motherfuckers down or whatever… yeah, any of those ‘hot’ hardcore topics would make for some tired, redundant, overkilled lyrical content, and would certainly feel like preaching to the choir. But I’d like to think that, at least with As Friends Rust and now ON BODIES, my stories and perspectives (finally, hopefully) elevated to some less traditional, less exhausted subjects.
PRT: “Planet Hospice” comes with a couple of great one-liners. Asking a guy who has written a song like “Ass-Crack Is The New Cleavage” if there is room for humor in hardcore seems a bit superfluous but at the same time you renamed Rubbers To Damien Done because you felt it would be too goofy. Where do you think the line is between having fun and having to worry about not being taken seriously? Wow, that was a long question! Next one will be shorter…
Damien: I think the line, if it exists at all, is constantly moving. For me, the test is whether or not I think I’ll regret something (not be amused by it) in a year or five. I write a lot of silly shit. Some of my lyrics (AFR’s “Coffee Black” or “Temporary Living” for example) are fucking laughable on paper. Silly, and somewhat stupid. But will I hate them or be embarrassed by them in a few years? Nope. Would I have grown to regret keeping the name ‘Rubbers’ for a band? Probably.
PRT: Is “Planet Hospice” a one-time thing or will there be a sequel?
Damien: We’re already writing new songs for another EP, tentatively titled “Megachurch”. We’ve been tossing around a couple of offers to do split EPs with some other bands, as well. I think we’re sticking to EPs. Fuck a full-length. There’s no point.
PRT: Any touring plans with ON BODIES?
Damien: Not yet.
PRT: Seems like 2012 is gearing up to be a busy year for you with not only ON BODIES taking up your time, but also the Culture discography and a new As Friends Rust album as well. Can you tell me a bit more about those two releases… how are they shaping up?
Damien: The Culture discography was sort of put on hold for a while Rich and I focused on ON BODIES. We’re starting to figure it all out again now, but are not set on any particular release date.
As for As Friends Rust… we’re a weird animal. We move like cheetahs at times, and slugs at other times. We’ve made huge progress and have a stash of new songs, but no next steps lined up. We’ll make it happen, but it’ll happen when it happens.
PRT: You recently posted all of the Damien Done songs on your Bandcamp page. That was like “Chinese Democracy” all over again… how come those songs never got a proper release?
Damien: Edward Goodlife. I love him, but the answer is Edward Goodlife.
PRT: Why did Damien Moyal cross the road?
Damien: That’s just where he parked.
PRT: Any last words for our readers?
Damien: Love your people, they’re the only ones you’ve got. It’s a long short life, and soon we all will rot.