Saturday 20 July 2019

Interview with Dom Smith (The Parasitic Twins) + Parasitic Rejects Split Review

(Photo Credit: The Parasitic Twins Facebook Page)

I recently interviewed Dom Smith (Drummer of Hull duo The Parasitic Twins) about the band, his work within the music scene that helps raise awareness for disabled bands members and fans and also about the bands they've played with and admire in the UK's alternative music scene as a while. Check it out below:-

1. You describe yourselves as “the fastest doom metal and/or the slowest grindcore band on the planet”. Do you prefer doom or grindcore and what made you both decide to go down the heavy path?

Dom Smith (Drums) - Man, that’s all Max (Watt, vocals and guitar). He’s a huge fan of metal and hardcore punk, so that’s where the heaviness comes from – his riffs and vocals are insane. The doom thing just comes from my style of playing, I think  - whatever that means! Ha!

The grind thing? I dunno. I like that we are part of that scene though, there are some insane bands about! I like grunge and alternative rock, so it’s always an adventure for me! I’ve found some lifelong friends playing in this type of band though! I’m all about the doom though!

2. You’ve announced that you’re going to be playing Taiwan Death Fest in October. How did that come about and is it your first trip to Asia as a band

DS - It is our first trip, yeah! So, our mates in CxDx applied to play and got on first because they are just mint, Death Fest were looking for more bands, and so we applied and got on, and so did Boycott, so it’s nice because it’s like a mini-tour and we can all hang out again, which we’re proper excited about. I mean, it’s just a holiday for the big lads! We’re looking forward to meeting some cool people, and seeing some ace bands. One thing’s for sure, guys…it’s gonna be MASSIVE.  

3. Are you playing any other shows while you’re out there?

DS - We do Thailand the night before! How freaking cool is that?

4. You’ve recently released a split with The Carnival Rejects. How did you first meet them and what has the reaction to the split been like so far?

DS - Max is in a punk band with James Briggs (the vocalist and guitarist for Rejects) called Rotting Monarchs, and I am also in a drone band with James Briggs called The Trembling Hellish Infernal Nightmare Generator (The THING), so there’s that! But no, we met those guys years ago in our old band, Seep Away. We did our first tour as The Parasitic Twins with them too. They are very sound as people, and I think people are digging the split. Obviously it’s two very different bands, but I like that! It’s…challenging for the listener! Ha! We’re currently planning a little tour to promote it in November, so watch this space!

5. You’ve started an initiative called “Wobbling About & Rocking Out” to help music fans who suffer with disabilities. Can you explain more about this?

DS - The idea behind Wobbling About & Rocking Out, or WARO for short, was formed when I was working at MIT in Boston, Massachusetts as a Storyteller/Journalist in Residence. These young people, the students there were, and still are developing the next generation of robotic limbs and world-beating stuff like that. Anyway, they have a really strong entrepreneurial mindset over there and it’s incredibly intense, but inspiring to be around. So, it got me thinking, is there more I can do in my time?

Most of my projects are about supporting young people, fundamentally - I currently work with Hull youth-led organisation, The Warren Youth Project, for example. Anyhow, when I got back to the UK, I noticed there was a huge gap in the market surrounding mental health and disability awareness in the Yorkshire area. I definitely wanted to do more around these two aspects. This was all inspired by my work on Soundsphere magazine, in that it was an opportunity to tell people's stories, only this time I'd be speaking to individuals that have overcome intense challenges, not just rockstars, and people in bands.

6. From your experience, what else needs to be done by venues and festivals in order to cater for disabled fans?

DS - I think that fundamentally it comes down to people communicating, you know? I think that there are initiatives now like Attitude is Everything doing fantastic work around changing perceptions as well.

For me though, the bigger venues like the O2 Academies now need lifts for access, as well as disabled toilets, and I personally have always had positive experiences with staff who have been more than willing to help me when accessing those. That said, I have heard a few horror stories, and I always say, no matter the size of the venue if managers and staff are not prepared to help, then they should absolutely be called out for that. 

One thing to remember though, as a fan is to pre-warn the venue, or festival when you book your tickets so that you can get an accessible seat, or a spot on the viewing platform. Like I say, in my experience, as someone that sometimes forgets when I go to shows as a fan, most venues will help and support, and find you a chair or space if they can, but like anything it's better to be safe than sorry! I do think more needs to be done to support the deaf community, but I've seen at some gigs, interpreters are now side-stage, which I think is really cool. There's an awesome emerging initiative called Elephant In The Room in Hull that WARO are going to be doing more work with to raise awareness in that regard.

With DIY punk venues like the ones my band(s) perform in, it's gotta be about conversation and educating. For me, in these smaller venues I don't mind climbing on stage and dodging wires! Unfortunately not everyone has that luxury, and or ability! For those venues, I would say that music fans, and bands need to be speaking to the venues as early as possible when booking a tour, or show and building that rapport - mentioning to the venue that you have these needs a band coming to play, or a fan coming to watch, so that the venue can then prepare to give you the best experience that it can. 

You might say that venues and/or festivals should already have that awareness as we are in 2019, but as far as I'm concerned, unless you (as a manager or gig promoter) have someone in your family, a friend or a partner who has a disability, then how are you going to understand what it's like? It is then, up to the people with the disabilities, wherever possible to start a conversation and educate these spaces on what needs to be done, to help future performers, and fans - whether that's a digital, or physical conversation is down to preference. Equally, I would encourage venues wherever possible to approach people with disabilities at shows to see if they might need support, but this does happen a lot of the time, in my experience. 

7. As a very active band on the domestic underground live circuit right now, what other bands have stood out for you?

DS - Oh, man. There’s so many bands that we’ve met through our time in Seep Away and TPT across not only doom, grind and punk but metal and indie too. So, let me think about some we’ve played with, and some we just really dig: Fenland Hardcore’s Throatpunch, as well as Pak40, NEWMEDS, Saltwater Injection, Bone Cult, Henrietta Lacks, Sellsword, NOUR, STILL, Mastiff, Three Day Millionaires, Battalions, Snakerattlers, Manscreams, Fidget, Negative Thought Process and Morass Of Molasses, alongside our families in Victim Unit, Boycott The Baptist and Clunge Destroyer that have helped and welcomed us into this scene.

Worth a mention are some cool indie and proper alternative bands too though - we’re friends with bands like Bull who are turning heads in York and all over, Witch of The East in Leeds, LIFE and Low Hummer in Hull, as well as Birthmarks, Pretty Addicted and Ventenner in London. There are a few for you to be on with, anyway!

Labels: Man Demolish Records
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 29 May 2019


1. The Carnival Rejects - Disengage
2. The Carnival Rejects - Seize Control
3. The Carnival Rejects - To The Bone
4. The Parasitic Twins - Autopsy
5. The Parasitic Twins - Feel Nothing
6. The Parasitic Twins - Spaceman (Babylon Zoo Cover)

With both The Parasitic Twins and The Carnival Rejects having such a close friendship as mentioned above in Dom's interview, a split release makes complete sense. It's also the first release to come from new Hull based label Man Demolish Records. It was released digitally in May.

Three quick-fire songs from both bands and The Carnival Rejects are up first with Disengage, which is a fast paced and melodic punk song in the vein of old-school bands like Bad Religion and Pennywise. I wasn’t expecting that! Seize Control flies by with awesome drumming that’s not complicated and riffs that borrow from rock/stoner as much as they do from punk. Final song To The Bone is a noisy affair with feedback and a definite heavy metal vibe, along with harsh vocals. Powerful and fun in equal measure. There’s a lot more to The Carnival Rejects than is apparent on first listen, so give yourself enough time to truly enjoy them.

The Parasitic Twins take the music down a doomier path with Autopsy. Dual-screamed vocals, scathing riffs and full-power percussion are all present and the mix of fast and slow tempos show you exactly where they’re coming from. The mood is equally as foreboding on Feel Nothing, as the filthy undertones of sludge break through the recording and fill the room with rumbling feedback. As duo’s go, The Parasitic Twins are amongst the heaviest you’ll hear. The song ends abruptly and leads straight into what could be described as “the most random cover of 2019”. A dubious title but The Parasitic Twins cover of Spaceman by Babylon Zoo is so far removed from the original that it’s almost unrecognisable yet it works perfectly with their sound. 

This is definitely a split of two halves but both work really well together. More reasons why the UK’s underground, independent alternative music scene is so goo. Out digitally at the moment, hopefully if enough of you check it out it’ll get a physical release. 

You can stream "Parasitic Rejects" and grab it digitally via Man Demolish Records below:-

You can also find out more about Dom's initiative Wobbling About & Rocking Out (WARO) and interact with him here -

Thanks Dom for your time too.

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