Sunday, April 5, 2015

Symbolic: An Interview with A.R. Mendez of Id:

As I mention in the reviews section of this zine, I don’t care for most tech-death, but whenever a band comes around that happens to do it exceedingly well, I pay attention.  Id is one of those bands who bring a furor to intricate riffs and actually sound like four human being playing complicated music instead of soulless machines programmed to noodle.  I scored an interview with “The Goat of Mendez” himself, bassist/vocalist A.R. Mendez.  Mendez has played and plays in multiple bands, however this interview will only focus on Id.  Think you can shred?  Sit back and get schooled.

1.  Since Id is a relatively new entity in the Texas scene, would you mind giving some background as to how the band formed and got off the ground?

Sure. It was sort of a coincidence with Bert Morin from Belligerency facilitating everything by chance. Most of us actually gigged in bands from the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, but we had never jammed.  Bert and I used to be in a band, and when I moved up he linked me up with his drummer and long time buddy Sterling from Harlingen. We hung out for a while but never really jammed until Bert linked Sterling up with the other RGV transplant Jason. Jason and Mando worked at the same place and started riffing out the Id stuff with Sterling in early 2011 if I recall. Sterling hit me up one day and said "Dude, you gotta check these riffs out. Bring your bass". At the time, I was already in two other band, but I went out anyway to listen. As soon as I heard the first songs, I signed up immediately.

2.  How often does Id practice?  I would imagine pretty often give how precise the band is onstage.

We practice as a band weekly for the most part. Really, a lot of our practice comes from independent homework. We all have self discipline to make progress in our spare time, and that leads to a better workflow that has really made the "work" part flow.

3.  From one bass player to another, do you prefer playing with your fingers or a pick?  Feel free to use this space to discuss any other bass tips, tricks, or trivia you’d like to mention.

Haha. I have a few bands that call for either a pick on a 4 string, fingers on a 4 string, or fingers on a 6 stringer. My "t-shirt and jeans" is playing finger style on a 6 string. I love the tactile connection with the instrument. As far as bass tips: get your compressor working for you! I have spent hours on configurations with my compressors to make sure that I can keep a good balance in violent, digging-in finger playing while retaining dynamics.

4.  All three of Id’s stringed instrumentalists do lead vocals.  Did the band form with that intention, or did Id start with only one singer and evolve to have three?

We all wanted to do them, so we all did! I don't think it was a decision made decisively at any point, but we all had some skill. It was by total coincidence that our ranges spanned across influences. Sort of a death metal harmonizing with highs, lows, and mids.

5.  Your debut album, “Philosofia” was released in 2014 and the reception has been very positive ‘round these parts.  How do you feel about the finished product and its response?

We have all been incredibly happy with the response, and we couldn't be more proud of the outcome. Our producer Mike Garrison is a huge reason the final product turned out the way it did. He is a one man audio engineering army, and his workflow really made the recording process a breeze. We made it from click tracking to guest vocals in under 15 hours total work time, and that is normally an agonizing process in my experience.

6.  You’ve play multiple instruments in multiple bands, what is your favorite instrument and why?

Bass! It is the most fun, if you don't mind getting shat on in every musician joke. I am pretty sure the subreddit r/bass is 50% inferiority complex.  [Guilty as charged – Ed.]

7.  What does the future hold for Id as far as shows (local or otherwise) or touring?

The sky is the limit. We had a successful first tour all over Southwest US with Blast Perversion out of Edinburg, TX, and we are in the works of getting something ready soon. Next up is a show at West Texas Death Fest in Amarillo at the ex-Wreck Room. Jess and Ramon are some of the coolest cats in Texas extreme metal, and they are kindly having us back on that Saturday night. There are some other events that have yet to be announced as of this response, but it will be SICK.

8.  I think it’s safe to say that you guys are the only death metal band that has ever appeared on “The Price Is Right”.  How on earth did that happen?

Oh man! That was one of the coolest things. We ended up with a day off on our tour through California with Blast, and we spent the hangover watching The Price is Right in the morning. Totally forgot it was filmed in Hollywood, but Sterling called that out. Tough luck we didn't come on down, but it was a great time.

9.  What are some of your favorite Texan bands to play with or go see live?

Jeez. The scene in this state is fucking amazing, so it is hard to narrow it down. We loved sharing the stage with Blast Perversion on tour, and might get more of that happening soon. Vex, Clit Eastwood, Images of Violence, Cleric, Giant of the Mountain, ya'll in Morgengrau, Severance, Whore of Bethlehem, Desecrate the Faith, Oceans of Slumber... I could sit here listing the amazing fellow musicians of Texas extreme music for hours.

10.  It seems as if the band Death is a significant influence on the entire band, so please rank your favorite Death albums in order:

 For me, you got your albums with Steve Digiorgio playing, and then the rest. Individual Thought Patterns is my all time favorite but Human is a close second. Everything else, it really depends on the time of day it is.

11.  You have this space to give any shouts and hails to anyone you’d like.  So, shout and hail!

Cheers to everybody that has supported Texas metal! Whether it is going out to a show, buying a disc from a band, or putting a sticker in the shitter of some dive, let people know that local extreme music is alive and well.

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