Saturday 17 November 2018

Crystal Math: Euclid C Finder - Interview + Review

I haven't posted too many interviews up over the last couple of months. This is mainly to do with bands/promoters saying "will you interview my band" and then not bothering to respond when I've taking time to send them questions. That's not a moan (even though it might look like it is) but it's taught me a valuable lesson about picking and choosing who to interview from now on.

Thankfully, Baltimore math/grind project Euclid C Finder not only agreed to answer my questions but also sent them back to me, and quickly! A shining example of a band giving a shit about what they do. This interview was set up to coincide with the release of the band's new "Self-Titled" EP, which has been co-released with David Norman's Zegema Beach Records. Thanks to David for suggesting this and ECF for the time and for being awesome. Read on...

Where did the name Euclid C Finder come from?

Euclid C Finder is named after a gun from the video game Fallout: New Vegas, called “Euclid’s C-Finder.” I chose the name for it’s reference to the founder of geometry. I’m currently finishing up an undergraduate degree in mathematics and I wanted to pay tribute to a great mathematician. I modified it slightly to sound more like a person’s name since I knew this would be a solo project.  

Euclid is a solo project. Do you prefer the artistic control of being a solo project and do you think you’ll play live in your current form, as opposed to with a full band?

Being in a solo project of this kind has its ups and downs. The biggest upside is the rate at which I’ve been able to write, record, and release music. I’ve put out more music this year than most other bands I’ve been in have in their entire careers, and that was while being a full time student and working part time. The downside is having to juggle all of the different roles present in a band. There’s no team to divide up tasks among, or to split costs with.

As far as playing live, I hope to be up and running sometime this winter. I plan on keeping it a two or three piece for live shows, but I’m still trying to iron out what those roles will be and how extensively they’ll be involved in the creative process.

I’ve seen your music described as “false grind”. While I hate getting too deep into genre specifics, what does that term mean?

This is a difficult one to pin down. False grind is one of my favorite genres of music. I think the origin of the term is metalcore kids in the mid 2000s not knowing what to call some of the crazier heavier metalcore, so they just called it grindcore. Then, old grind fogies got mad at metalcore kids and started calling it false grind or scene grind. My favorite term for the genre is white belt. To me, it’s a mix of mathcore, screamo, and metalcore that emphasizes dissonance, blast beats, and breakdowns, but could also be more eclectic and contain pop rock passages, jazzy parts, and lots of other seemingly out of place elements. It’s actually pretty broad as a subgenre. When I hear the term false grind, my first thought is The Sawtooth Grin’s Cuddlemonster EP, a very formative album for me. That to me is the definitive “false grind” album. 

Your latest Self-Titled EP has been co-released on tape with Zegema Beach Records. What is your favourite physical medium for releasing music and why?

Definitely vinyl. I’ve only been a part of a single vinyl release before, and it was substantially more expensive than other options, but the end product is so amazing. I love the large surface for artwork and the different coloring possibilities for the record itself, but the best part is the fact that your music is literally carved into the record. It’s such a physical tangible thing, and it forces you to sit down and enjoy a whole album from front to back (or at least a side at a time), and I absolutely love that. Like, you can give an LP a straight up hug. In the future, I hope to be a part of more vinyl releases. That said, cassettes are great too for many of the same reasons. I avoid buying CDs unless that’s the only medium available.

You have a social media presence and your music has been championed on Mathcore Index’s Mathcast, as well as on other sites. Do you find that you’re reaching more people because of this or do you find you’re having to work harder yourself to promote your music?

I owe so much to all of the different sites that have promoted my music. I'm a fairly quiet and private person, and it can be difficult for me to communicate, especially online, so they have definitely helped me reach a lot more people than I could on my own. A lot of the sites that have promoted me are also mediums I use to find new music, and it’s very rewarding to see my music featured on them. 

Baltimore, Maryland has quite a rich musical heritage when it comes to heavy music, especially with festivals like Maryland Death Fest and the like. What’s it like in terms of screamo and grind?

There’s definitely a large scene here for traditional grindcore, but I’m not really a part of it. My favorite Baltimore grind band is Triac. They’ve been around for years, and I have a lot of fond memories of seeing them live and listening to their records. I caught them in DC this past January playing a reunion show for Enemy Soil and they still sound great. As for screamo, I think that scene moves in waves more. A lot of well established DIY venues either closed or got shut down over the past few years, but thankfully some new alternatives are starting to pop up. Overall though I think it’s a pretty solid scene. The past few shows I’ve been too have been excellent and had a great energy. There’s a few releases I’m excited to hear coming soon.

How did you first get into heavy fast music? Most people I know started out listening to chart music and then found bands through friends, etc. What it the same for you?

I definitely started out listening to chart music. When I was growing up, my mom listened to a lot of 90s alternative rock radio, but she would also play older stuff like Black Sabbath, so I was into a lot of that kind of music from a very young age. The first band I was huge into was KoRn, which I think has a lot to do with the kind of music I play today, just from the amount of dissonance in some of their songs. I later got into thrash metal for a while, and eventually got into my first metalcore band when I saw an Eighteen Visions music video. Around the same time, a friend recommended The Dillinger Escape Plan to me. He basically just said that it had the craziest guitar playing he ever heard. I picked up Miss Machine the day it came out without hearing a single song first, and it absolutely blew me away. After that I was obsessed with finding the nastiest craziest stuff I could, and discovered so many adjacent genres through that search, including traditional grindcore and screamo. At that point I started to find most music through the internet. It was a really great time.

I get writer’s block quite often, especially when trying to write interview questions (hence the random nature of the ones above). As a musician and song-writer how do you cope with it?

Usually if I feel really stuck on a song, I'll try to finish it the best I can and let it be what it is. It sounds counter intuitive, but I try not to worry about writing a “good" song when I'm writing and try to just let it be whatever it's going to be. If I end up not enjoying it as much, it won't get used, and I’ll just cannibalize the good parts for new songs. I’m a terrible riff farmer like that. With lyrics though I take a different approach. Lyrics are so hard for me, and I get stuck a lot on them. I think I said it earlier but I have a very hard time vocalizing my thoughts and feelings. To cope, I end up spending more time editing what I’ve already written than writing new lines. Usually I spend a few weeks writing lyrics for a song, with lots of down time. I think the down time helps. Sometimes you need to walk away and forget about something, and when you come back, you might have a new approach you never would have considered before.

Read on for the the review...

Labels:Self-Released/Zegema Beach Records
Formats: Tape/Digital
Release Date: 08 Oct 2018


1. If You Pray You Get Your Way
2. If You Hope The Answer's Nope
3. A Rumination Of Empty Years
4. Dr. Cloudshouter's Secret Weapon
5. Aesthetic Distance
6. Dead Soundboy

I’d just like to say that I don’t condone illegal drug use, so apologies if you think the title of this piece has connotations. I chose it because I ‘thought’ it was clever and besides, who needs illegal drugs when you’ve got music like this. Fast, grinding, dissonant music should release enough serotonin on its own. Opener If You Pray You Get Your Way is exactly as described above. Ridiculous riffs fight for space with fast blasting percussion and incoherent screams. The breakdown/slower section (delete as applicable) towards the end shows Euclid’s hardcore influence in powerful fashion.

The chaotic feeling is exacerbated during If You Hope The Answer’s Nope, as the rhythms and layers of guitar get crazier. That being said, there is a lot of traditional musical structure if you listen intently. For people who tag this stuff as just noise, you’re sadly wrong and feel sorry for you. Euclid doesn’t play traditional grind, instead focusing on something more modern and with more taken from metal and hardcore’s many other genres, as well as the likes of jazz and rock. A Rumination On Empty Years illustrates that with grind passages interjected with alternative sections with spoken-word, off-kilter riffs and breakdowns. It’s all going on.

Repeat listens are most definitely recommended here, as there’s so much to take in amongst these six tracks. Dr. Cloudshouter’s Secret Weapon is brimming with urgency. It’s no wonder that Euclid only works in short blasts, as if these songs were any longer they’d probably burn out. The instant smack to the face of Aesthetic Distance is no relief at all but it does exhibit more of the band’s musical intelligence and song-writing ability, with Euclid going to the effort to place brief interludes and time changes in between the mathgrind, so it doesn’t just descend into something too enduring (not that this is in anyway an endurance test).

Rounding out with Dead Soundboy, the discordant/dissonant guitars finally bury themselves in your head and the infectious release you get from the music is almost overpowering. There’s so many reasons to throw away your prejudices to the modern math/grind scene (of you have any) and Euclid C Finder could open so many doors if you do. Forget all of the genre posturing and have fun. That’s what this is all about. 

Stream the EP and grab it on either tape or as a name-your-price download below:-

The tape version that's been co-released with Zegema Beach Records includes Euclid's first album "A Standard Basis For The Set Of All Discontent" on the b-side.

It's available from Zegema Beach Records via the links below:-

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