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Our Last Enemy Thunders

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Well, they may not have answered my three famous questions or talked much about what Bizz's former band, Genitorturers, but I think that's only because when it's not said, and there's that slight biting of the tongue where you want to answer, as the nature of the question forces an image, but you know that image is just not politically correct enough to utter from the lips. Sometimes, it's the ones who sit back, fold their hands, like a quiet church mouse, as my great grandmother told me, “it's the quiet ones you have to watch out for. They could be the wildest ones of all, the ones that you would never expect.”

I guess, we will all just have to imagine for ourselves. Having seen Genitortures for the first time in Naples, Florida, at Club Hell – which was only open on Sunday nights, and only lasted for a short time before the old people of Naples shut down the club night at Hurricane Janes – I was amazed. Maybe it was the vertically challenged leprechaun bar tenders, or the guy on silts dancing with a mannequin torso that were regular at the bar, or the Clockwork Orange style dildo usage with an unsuspecting member of the crowd, all the bondage, or maybe it was the band with a stage show that still ranks in the tops of shocks – better than live sex shows in the Red Light District in Amsterdam, better that any of the live sex clubs in New Orleans, better than most touring stage shows that feature girls on high heels that can't move very well and wind up just standing and looking cute, better than most any other stage, including the bands I toured with on Ozzfest, sorry to say, better than any other show as far as just in your face, way sexier than Slipknot, Mushroomhead, even Rob Zombie; it was tops for crowd interaction, as it's kinkier than being pulled on stage at a raunchy big city Rocky Horror Picture Show midnight showing in a gay district, most strip clubs and straight up S & M Bars around the globe.

That was 1998, before I had even thought about becoming a journalist, before I even knew this life was going to turn out the way it did, before my cliff diving accident that left doctors saying I'd never walk again, before I knew that a degree in Forensics wasn't going to do me any good, when I was attending Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Florida, for Laboratory Studies; yeas later, after teaching myself how to walk again and falling into journalism, literally, I would learn in say oh, early to mid 2000's, when I interviewed the band, that Gen also had studied in science (I took my unsuspecting brother to that show in Detroit, and he had met Gen while she was in sweatpants on her bus, thinking she was this normal, sweet girl who may have accidentally left her dildo out, but after the show, he turned to me and was like a deer in headlights, “I thought I was shocking, but wow, I feel oddly normal”). That was a cool image, a girl, who had studied similarly to me, wound up working in the field, had this awesome band with one of the best stage shows that to this day still continues to blow my mind. At the same time, just like Bizz, if I attempted to describe the sexual nature of the stage show, that's just probably best not said; I, too, would have to bite my tongue, so you'll just have to guess what the answers would be, as they're literally a little too much to describe to the average person.

The music from a guy who played with David Vincent, a former member of Morbid Angel, is heavy; ya might just want to check this out. One can only wonder what these guys are up to in the Down Under. This is a world-wide super group, with members from three different continents with an ear for music.

Author Marisa Williams: What is your home town, and is that where you live now?

Our Last Enemy:

Matt: Oli, Zot and my home town is Sydney, Bizz is from Sarasota, Florida, and Jeff was born Lanarkshire, Scotland, and we all live in Sydney now.

Bizz: Sarasota, Florida, USA. I don't live there anymore. I've been living in Sydney, Australia since 2009.

Marisa: How did you get started in music? Did you come from a musical family? What were your biggest musical influences?

Our Last Enemy:

Matt: Music had and has always been around me, so I don’t know when I consciously started. My dad used to work in radio, hosted his own show and was very into hi-fi equipment. My brother is also a bassist in a band. My grandmother was a singer and used to perform for the troops in WWII. My uncle is a sound engineer, who works on movies; he is actually responsible for the sound in those ‘Happy Feet’ kids movies.

Bizz: I come from a musical family. I was surrounded by music as a kid. When I was very young, I took some piano lessons, but at the time, I wasn't disciplined enough to practice between lessons. I eventually lost interest, because I wasn't really into the songs that I was being taught. I learned to play a couple of other instruments at school, but the only type of music they taught was marching band type music, and I wasn't too interested in horns. I wanted to play hard rock or metal. Farting around on a trumpet wasn't my cup of tea, but being in music class was certainly better than being in one of the other boring elective classes that school had to offer. So, I stuck with it for a while.
I remember eventually thinking, "maybe I'll just be a singer," because I figured I wouldn't need to learn an instrument, and I could get started right away doing the type of music I liked. So, I practised singing along to some of my favourite albums. But back then, I just didn't have the confidence to be a lead singer. I was afraid to sing in front of anyone. One day, I found an old acoustic guitar in my grandparent's garage. It only had four tuning pegs on it, and the strings were corroded and sounded completely lifeless. It was like playing on rubber bands. But I didn't care. I was bent on learning to play. The only problem was that the guitar only had four strings because of the missing tuning pegs. So I figured "maybe I can learn how to play bass on this four string guitar,and then eventually get a real bass guitar. But when my family saw how much time I spent with that guitar, I was given a proper 6 string acoustic guitar as a gift. I learned some chords and bits and pieces of songs by bands like Skid Row and Alice Cooper. Then, I asked for an electric guitar for Christmas. The rest is history. Of course, I did branch out along the way and learn other instruments like drums, bass guitar, piano, etc, but my main instrument has always been guitar.

Matt: My biggest musical influences, would have to be the rest of the band, I know it sounds cliché, but they’re the ones I talk about music the most with.

Marisa: Can you explain how the band name involves both the Bible, as well as Tarot symbolism?

Our Last Enemy:

Matt: The name come’s a passage in the Bible “Until the day we meet our last enemy… which is death itself”. We’re not a religious band or anything remotely close to it, but we liked the idea of how the name could be taken in polar opposite ways, both positive and negative. Positive as in - live every day to the fullest – as one day we will all meet our maker, and negative as the band is literally named after death itself.
We’ve always been interested in the occult and different types of symbolism, and we like the idea of the ‘Death’ card in Tarot symbolism, as if you are to choose the death card, it actually means re-birth, which once again fitted into the whole positive/negative idea behind the name.
We also really like the power behind the imagery of the death card, as it shows all-encompassing power, of death with the king dead at the feet of the horse and the bishop begging for mercy. Its quite a brutal little drawing really.

Marisa: What instruments do you play, and how old were you when you learned to play them?

Our Last Enemy:
Matt: Bass, Guitar, Cello (badly), I can hold a beat on the drums, fumble my way around on a piano an can play a few little “tunes” on the harmonica.

Bizz: Guitar (age 15). But I can play a lot of other instruments with varying levels of competency.

Marisa: What kind of a pick did Dimebag have, and who's box of picks was it taken out of; how was it acquired for partial use on the album?

Our Last Enemy:

Matt: Haha, I see you’ve done some research! The Dimebag pick story… So this is what happened.
I was tracking bass with Christian (Olde Wolbers – ex Fear Factory and producer of the album “Pariah”) and the pick I was using was too fat and I just wasn’t getting what I wanted from it. So Christian was like, OK and pulled out a box of different pics and was just going through them and giving me different ones to try, then he said “check this one out” so I just grabbed it and started playing and said cool, let’s give it another shot. Anyway, a few takes later he looks over at me and goes “THAT’S DIMES PICK!!!!” and took it off me. He just meant for me to look at it not to use it. As far as what kind it was, it was a Tortex pic with a big ‘X’ carved into it – So everyone who wanted to know what kind of pick Dime used… there you go Tortex! Maybe they’ll give Bizz and I free picks now??

Marisa: How do you go about writing music? What comes first for you: drums, guitars, vocals or something else? Has the process of writing changed for you over the years at all?

Our Last Enemy:

Matt: We go about writing in a few different ways; generally, what will come first is a riff or a real basic song structure, so usually guitars/bass is what comes first.
Other times, that’s not even first; it may just be an idea that comes into our head. Bizz and I even “record” ideas into our phones using our mouth like “dun dun ddddd, smack, bang dun dun dddd dun dun,” you know shit like that, then go home and turn it into a riff.
The only thing that has changed over the years is instead of someone bringing in an idea to rehearsals and everyone jamming on it, we now record the few ideas we have, send it out to everyone on an mp3, so they have an idea before we get into the rehearsal room, and/or suggest initial changes, then we jam on it at rehearsals, and then start making the song from there. Mind you, Bizz and I can sometimes bring in riffs and just start throwing it out at rehearsals, which pisses the others off sometimes haha.

Bizz: Every song is different. Sometimes, I start out with a guitar riff. Sometimes, I wake up with a complete song playing in my mind (drums, bass, guitar, vocals, keys - everything is playing in my mind at once). Sometimes, that happens to me in the middle of the day; like when I'm driving. Sometimes, I'll program a drum beat and write a song around it. Sometimes, I like to start with a vocal idea and write the other instruments around it.

Marisa: Your new album, Pariah (Eclipse Records), has been described as a post-apocalyptic concept album. Can you explain the process of coming up with the concept and bringing it to life with music?

Our Last Enemy:

Bizz: Our sound comes naturally. We all have different writing styles. Matt is a chaotic songwriter - he loves to use music to fuck with your head. I'm a very structured song writer - the opposite of Matt's approach. Together, we balance each other out with just enough structure to give it hook, and just enough chaos to keep it interesting. Jeff is the sort of guy who will bring an arrangement idea to the table that seems so unconventional when he explains it to us that we all say, "No way. That's not going to work", but then when we try it, it turns out to be the perfect thing for the song, and then we all feel like douche bags for doubting him. Oli is the listener. Sometimes, we'll be working on a song, and he'll appear to be using facebook on his phone or whatever. So I'll start thinking, "is this guy even listening? Is he even interested in putting any thought into this song at all???" But after several passes, he'll come forward with a full page of lyrics, and a shit ton of feedback, and arrangement ideas, or whatever. So yeah, we all work very differently, but I think that's what keeps the music fresh and interesting. Another thing is, we all have different musical influences. Some of those differences in our influences are quite dramatic. Also, Oli and I are horror movie fanatics (come to think of it, everyone in the band likes horror movies - some of us are just more obsessed than others lol). So, some of those elements have found their way into our music.

Marisa: What is your favorite musical technique?

Our Last Enemy:

Matt: That’s a hard question; I don’t know if I have a favorite technique as such. However!! I do enjoy making non-musical sounds into music, even if it only makes sense in my own head, like something rhythmical, or a loud screech, or even a beep I might here on a phone, and think, “Hey, that could work in a song”.

Bizz: I like to use weird sounding chords like flatted 5ths. I think it's a big part of my style.

Marisa: How do you apply glue to save digits?

Our Last Enemy:

Matt: Oh – the fake nails thing!
Ok, so when we were recording the album, I tore my fingernail on my index finger on my picking hand from the bass string constantly tearing away at it (especially when doing triple picking for a whole day) and Christian, being from Fear Factory, who are the kings of triple picking – showed me how to glue an acrylic nail on top of my own fingernail to stop the string from shredding my fingernail to pieces.

Marisa: What was your first concert that you attended, and how did that compare to the first concert that you played?

Our Last Enemy:

Matt: Uhhh, my first concert - I was 11 or 12 I think, and it was to see Silverchair on their Frogstomp tour. The first concert I played didn’t have much comparison to it! Haha. I played at a band night somewhere, where you basically play to like 5 people, and I was nervous all day.

Bizz: When I was a kid, I went with my mom to a Poison concert. But, the first concert I bought my own tickets for was Pantera and Skid Row. I think it was 1991 or 1992. At that concert, I got Dimebag's guitar pick. It's black and it says "Pantera - cowboys from hell" on the front and on the back it has his autograph. This is from back when he went by the name "Diamond Darrell". The pick is also marked with big X slash marks which appear to have been made with a razor blade. I still have that pick and I plan to keep it forever! lol. So yeah. That concert was amazing! The first concert I played was at a lame party in the middle of a cow pasture. I was nervous as hell, I was shaking like a leaf and there were about 10-15 people watching my band perform. There's no comparison lol.

Marisa: What was the first album you purchased?

Our Last Enemy:

Matt: Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” – It was the shit!!!!!

Bizz: Motley Crue - Dr Feelgood

Marisa: Is Faith No More a common bond in the band? Do each of you like the spin-off bands and projects from Faith No More band members, too; if so, any favorites or musical recommendations? Where does opinion vary the most when it comes to musical influences between band members?

Our Last Enemy:

Matt: Yeah, everyone in the band loves Faith No More, not that we sound like them, but it is definitely a band we can put on and everyone enjoys it as much as the next person.
I liked some Mr. Bungle stuff as well – But Oli (vox) is the real Mike Patton fan.

Bizz: Yes, we ALL like Faith No More. I have heard other projects (and thought they sounded cool). I just never really owned the albums that were done outside of FNM. Which suddenly makes me feel incomplete lol.

Marisa: Your song 10,000 Headless Horses was featured on the video game Rock Band. How did that come about, and when you wrote the song, did you envision it being on a game?

Our Last Enemy:

Matt: That came about by us also developing a relationship with Raymond Herrera (also ex Fear Factory), as we were recording a lot of the album in his and B-Real’s (Cypress Hill) studio, and he always kept an ear on what we were doing. Cut a long story short, he loved the album and told the guys at Rockband about us, and it went from there. No, we never envisioned a song from our debut album getting onto Rockband… that was crazy!

Marisa: From imitating a train to getting a rhythm with triple picking and keyboards, in your opinion, what's the coolest thing on the latest album, and what can people expect in the future?

Our Last Enemy:

Matt: The coolest thing from the latest album is how people have interpreted it differently; we’ve been compared to everyone from Alice Cooper, to Nine Inch Nails to Children of Bodom and how many people said they thought they wouldn’t like us, then turn around and said how much they love the album. As far as to what to expect from us in the future, I’m thinking the same, with everything turned up a few notches.

Bizz: My favourite thing about the album is the way we approached Devour The Sun. There are so many cool elements in that song. But if you're expecting me to choose just one little piece from a song, then I'd have to choose the guitar solo in Low, because it's just weird. I intentionally made it that way and had a lot of fun doing it.

Marisa: Bizz was once in the band Genitorturers, a band known for outlandish stage antics (Gen had mentioned scrotal inflation when I interviewed her for the New Orleans New Year's show), so I am curious to know what is the most shocking thing he experienced with that band, and and what has been the most shocking moment for everyone else in Our Last Enemy?

Our Last Enemy:

Matt: The most shocking thing he experienced was seeing us in the crowd at one of their shows and thinking, “I gotta move to Australia and be in a band with these guys!” It was like a religious experience for him.
I don’t know if we can go into details about our shocking moments.

Bizz: OMG! It's actually so bad, I'm not willing to say it on any public forum. Nothing illegal or anything, but holy shit was it just...like WOAH! So keeping in mind that anything I say on the internet can (and probably will in this case) come back to haunt me, I'm going to plead the 5th amendment.

Marisa: What is the scariest thing about being on the road?

Our Last Enemy:

Matt: I don’t know if its scary as such, but people driving when tired or when they’ve had a few drinks, or driving on black ice and someone drives through a stop sign, ORRR when our fucking plane can't land at the airport…

Bizz: Sleeping in a moving vehicle. Some friends and I were involved in a severe automobile accident years ago. We were hit head-on by a drunk driver who was driving south in the northbound lane on a Florida highway. One of my friends was asleep in the back seat when it happened. When I regained consciousness, I heard him screaming out that it was getting harder to breathe, and he didn't want to die. He died, and my other passenger was paralysed from the waste down. So, every time I sleep in a moving vehicle, I can't stop thinking about my friend who died and my friend who became a paraplegic. I can't stop worrying about what would happen if we were to have an accident like that one. Needless to say, I don't sleep well in a moving vehicle. It's even freakier sleeping in a bed on a moving tour bus, because there are no seatbelts in the beds.

Marisa: Best or worst tour moment?

Our Last Enemy:

Matt: Best tour moment would be when we get to stay in a top floor apartment together in a city we don’t know that well, and then we have all these different people come back after the show.
Worst tour moment, would have to be when Oli and I saw a truck driver dying on the side of the road…

For more information on Our Last Enemy, visit www.facebook.com/ourlastenemy and www.ourlastenemy.com. Marisa Williams is the author of more than 100 books, www.lulu.com/spotlight/thorisaz. Follow Marisa at www.twitter.com/booksnbling.

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