Just when you thought things couldn’t get more perplexing and unsettling than A Jumper’s Handbook, Doomsday Student give us A Walk Through Hysteria Park. It’s a frenzy of hair-pulling, nail-biting, teeth-chattering mania, complete with Vietnam War flashbacks (even if you weren’t in the war), incontinence (even if your bladder works just fine), epileptic seizures (without flashing lights), coke shits (without even a single booty bump), wet dreams (while you’re awake)…you get the idea. Doomsday Student is unclassifiable. No wave? Noise wave? Noise rock? No one really knows for sure. The guitar work is frantic, constantly bending, bursting, interlocking and collapsing—kind of what your brain hears when you are on the verge of a full-blown panic attack and you completely snap. The drums are primal and dysrhythmic and knock your brain off balance. As usual, Eric Paul’s vocals are what you’d hear during open mic night in an insane asylum and lyrically just as deranged.
Doomsday Student is predominantly members of Arab On Radar, who were also half of Chinese Stars; Doomsday Student falls more on the Arab On Radar end of things, and as usual, are perverting rock to the point of being unrecognizable. The guys behind these bands have created such a distinct sound and style that within seconds of hearing them you know who it is, which is the ultimate accomplishment.
Rating: 6 out of 6 Doves Prince loved this record so much, that he missed his name being called for his 11th Grammy of the night because he was playing it over and over again in his head. The doves knew to stay out of his way when he got back home. Scariest game of hide and seek at the Prince Mansion ever.
Here is an interview with the Doomsday Student:
What are the themes and influences behind A Walk Through Hysteria Park?
Eric Paul: I wish I could say the lyrical themes explore new terrain. Unfortunately, they are still centered around the theme of mental illness. However, there is a slight difference — on this album, the lyrics are less about my PAST illnesses and more about the symptoms I recognize in others. Now, that I am a self-actualized man, why wouldn’t I point out the flaws of others?
Any upcoming Doomsday Student tours? Eric, are you touring anytime soon with your readings?
Eric Paul: Doomsday Student will be doing a short tour in March. We are going out to play the Beserker Festival in Detroit which is curated by our friends in Child Bite. We’ll also be hitting Chicago, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and few other cites. Our next stop will most likely be Europe and the UK to support the album. I do not have any upcoming reading tours. I’m currently spending all my energy on finishing up my latest manuscript.
Eric Paul: I like this question! I’d say that most sound engineers don’t hate us– they just don’t understand us. You should hear the comments we get when they see our equipment. But, we are very aware of how challenging our sound is to mix so we always try to go out of our way to treat them with respect and show gratitude. As long as we don’t break anything we usually end up sharing a drink with the sound person after. Believe it or not, most are very intrigued by what we do once they’ve witnessed it.
We have a few funny engineer stories. Here’s an abbreviated version of an incident at a festival in Philly. The crowd was acting pretty wild and some microphones were being knocked off the equipment. The soundman decided to cut off our sound – which was alarming considering we were one of the headliners. So, we decided to keep playing – I just shouted all the lyrics. Needless to say, he was very offended by this. So, he rushed the stage and started taking back his microphones and pushing people in the audience away from the speakers. We felt his actions added to the chaos of the set and we reveled in it. However, at one point he tried to grab Craig’s sticks mid-song. Craig ended up grabbing him by the shirt and throwing him off the stage towards the exit. The promoters quickly ran over to the sound engineer to calm him down. Although might sound harsh, Craig’s actions actually diffused the situation because the audience was growing increasingly hostile toward the engineer. By removing him, we were allowed to finish our set — of course, without the PA. Later on, we found out the guy had actually played in Born Against for a bit. This blew our minds. I should note the sound engineer was NOT Sam McPheeters or Neil Burke.
I know that Steve used to be on USA Network’s American Gladiators, and correct me if I’m wrong, but his name on the show was “Fist”? Is this why the video for “Dissapearing” has all the tennis balls in it? I remember “Fist” blasting away on that tennis ball Gatling gun during the obstacle course at the end of every show–way better aim than “Lace”.
Eric Paul: How the fuck did you find that out? That was a deeply held band secret. I’m not sure how Steve is going to feel about this.
Can you tell me about the video for “Disappearing”?
Eric Paul: Oh man, we couldn’t have been more excited about the video. It was created by Ashleigh Carraway and Luke Boggia (whom we’ve worked with before). They made the videos for The Chinese Stars’ songs “Left Brain” and “Body”. Similar to Chinese Stars, they definitely captured the right energy. But I’d have to say even more so with Doomsday Student . We don’t think anyone could’ve imagined a more beautiful representation of our aesthetic. What we enjoyed most about the experience was that collaborative nature. We gave them the album and told them to pick the song and do whatever they wanted. We were blown away when we saw the final result!
Ashleigh Carraway’s solo video project: http://planchettesaysyes.com
What have you all been listening to these days?
Eric Paul: Lately, I’ve been obsessed with The Black Ark by Noah Howard! These albums have also been on heavy rotation: John Coltrane’s Ascension, Witches And Devils by Albert Ayler and The Peter Brotzman Octet’s Machine Gun.
Paul Vieira: I’ve been listening to Jethro Tull’s Aqualung on-stop!
Steve Mattos: I’ve been listening to The Groundhog’s Split, Bad Brains’ Against I, and Fairport Convention’s Liege and Leif.
The dudes that make up your band are a bunch of babes; you’re all pretty handsome and beefcakey. Sometimes when you guys play “Dime Store Horsey” live, all I hear is “Dreamweaver”. Even Kerrang! Magazine says, “Doomsday Student is the Thunder Down Under of noise rock; Wowzers!”. Was this a factor when assembling the band?
Eric Paul: Wow! I’m stunned! That is something we’ve never been labeled before. We might have to rethink everything now.
Can you tell me about the recording of A Walk Through Hysteria Park?
Eric Paul: We recorded the album over two long weekend sessions at Radar Studio with producer Daryl Rabidoux. The studio is wild! It is in hidden in the woods of Connecticut. It closely resembles a large doomsday bunker or fallout shelter — we felt quite at home here. Beside maybe recording Queen Hygiene II with Arab On Radar and Bob Weston the sessions that made up A Walk Through Hysteria Park were among the most enjoyable sessions I’d ever been a part of.
Anything else you would like to share with the world?
Eric Paul: We have been other men!
Get A Walk Through Hysteria Park here!