Today Is the Day's Steve Austin on Living in the F#$%ed-Up South and Being 100-Percent Real
Every metal crew strives to be faster (or slower), harder, and more evil than the last.
But is there any bludgeoningly heavy band that's more dynamic than Today Is the Day? We think not.
Since the band's inception circa 1992, its lone constant and chief songwriter, Steve Austin, has been staring aural brutality straight in the eye, demanding it do a dance for him.
That is to say, Austin is not one to rest on tradition. Instead, his highly personalized variant of extreme music references prog, psychedelia, and alt-rock. And on his newest album, he even experiments with outlaw country.
In preparation for Today Is the Day's superexclusive Speedfreek Presents fly-in concert, Crossfade shot the Nashville native some questions about his music's vertiginous history.
Crossfade: Tell us about your progression as a songwriter. There seems to be a narrative that follows TITD as sort a tech-metal pioneer that, over time, became increasingly experimental and/or melodic. What's the difference between writing simply and writing complicatedly?
Steve Austin: Writing a good song is letting it happen. It may wind up complicated or it may wind up simple. It is about feeling, emoting and relaying ideas. We just write what comes to us and we don't set boundary's up as to what is acceptable complexity wise.
What kind of mark did Converge's Kurt Ballou leave on this record?
Kurt is a long time personal friend of mine. He really captured the moment. It was a blast working with him. The record is warm and huge and clear.He had a lot of cool ideas and we used all of them.
What about his production style do you enjoy and where do you hear it on the new record?
He is a naturalist when it comes to sound. Though produced and organized the music is very open and clear.
How was the songwriting process for Pain Is A Warning differ from that of Supernova?
Not very different at all. Three Guys, drums, bass and guitars loaded with alot of bad feelings and harsh ideas. We just jammed and whatever we liked we put into song format. The idea is to not over think what you are doing and try to be yourself musically.
When Today Is The Day started, what were you responding to?
Living in the fucked-up South amongst a large set of close-minded people that treat you like shit.
Back then, who were you trying to emulate or protest against?
No emulation, simply trying to damage peoples ears and psyche with our music.
The project has never really been a straightforward "metal" band. Tell us about the scene you came out of?
We loved Earache, Touch N' Go. We loved Amphetamine Reptile, and Negative Approach.
And who would you consider your peers today? And why?
No one. Maybe King Crimson and Slayer.
Over time the record's are coming out with decreasing frequency. What is behind this?
We are not into just punching out records just to make money off of you. When we say it, we mean it.
Has "This Is You" sparked an interest in pursuing other styles of music?
I would love to make an Outlaw Country record.
If you were to dive into some kind of grunge/outlaw/whatever sound, would that necessarily need to be a new band?
Not really, but I would make it be a new band.
Or could Today Is The Day release an entire album of "This Is You?"
I think listening to "This Is You" 12 times in a row would be kinda cool.
Having employed so many players over the years, and having expressed a desire to have the band produce music that doesn't fit into a cookie cutter mold, what defines Today Is The Day? Where does the band stop and start?
Being 100-percent real, all of the time. You just don't get that kind of shit anymore out of writers, music, or movies. It started in 1992, and stops when I die.
We saw you play Ft. Lauderdale in the early 2000s. If I remember correctly, the turnout was a little thin. What has your relationship with Florida been like up to this point?
Mostly strippers and cocaine. Just kidding. Kim and Khloe have been instrumental in mowing my lawn and I really am thinking about making a sex tape, just so I can try to keep up with them. Florida is cool. It's where the Death Metal scene I grew up with came from.
Roger Forbes mentioned that he was inspired to fly you down because of your set at Maryland Death Fest. What can you tell us about that set?
We fuckin' tore the roof off that place and destroyed. I had a really good time.
Last question: What's your day job?
I am the sales coordinator for a marine company called Hamilton Marine.
Today is the Day. With Maruta, Shitstorm, Orbweaver and Ironside. Saturday, September 8. Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami. The show starts at 11 p.m. and cover costs $10. Call 305-757-1807 or visit churchillspub.com.
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