(Rules of The Gauntlet: The artist is sent 75 questions from which they must choose at least 12 to answer in whatever medium they choose: written, audio,or video. The questions range from standard to ridiculous.)
Resolution15 from Brooklyn are unique in the fact that their exquisite musicality and crushing brutality both emanate from violins. Yes, this is fiddle metal and it is seriously complex and very badass. The video for their song “Sufferers Rise” is on the bottom of this interview so hit play while you read the words of master violinist and very funny dude Earl Maneein of Resolution15.
1.Why do you play your style of music? Why not polka? Or classical? Or?
Well, since we’re a violin metal band, the real answer is we actually play metal and classical music. And polka. All that shit. C’mon. Thrash metal? Boom chuck boom chuck boom chuck played really fucking fast??? If that isn’t secretly, (or not so secretly) really angry polka by people trying to disguise their inner polka by wearing black and having mean, mean expressions on their face, then what the fuck is?
2. What are you working on right now?
Writing and recording three albums worth of songs in one year. All you motherfuckers think you’re gonna live forever. That’s why there are all these slow assholes on the highway slumped over driving like they have all the time in the world. I know I’m gonna die. Get the fuck out of my way, I have shit to do.
3. Who’s the craziest band member? Who is the most normal”? Why?
Actually, everyone says I’m the craziest dude, but I think I’m the most normal. I have no objectivity here. Everyone thinks I’m crazy because some say I have a bad temper. But I’m really a nice guy. Ask my mom. I don’t do drugs, other than a little recreational green inhalation rarely, I haven’t been in a brawl in like ten years, I don’t engage in weird sexually deviant shit like I saw on this Japanese porno once where I saw this chick eat a shit omelet, or anything else. I was fucked up for days after I saw that. (a shit omelet! WHY??!) I totally think Nick, our singer, is the craziest dude. He’s the one who said to me that he would teach my daughter how to blow shit up and funnel beer, how to hide from me and her mother that she smoked a bunch of weed and which dudes to avoid fucking. As if Nick could tell which dudes my daughter shouldn’t sleep with. He’s no judge. There’s no objectivity with that dude either. There’s shit scrawled about his prowess in the ladies’ room in numerous bars all around New York. My friends have told me all about it.
Why? Have you heard our music? That shit is hard! We practice as a band two to three times a week for four hours. Every time I’m not working (which consists of playing other people’s shit, or teaching kids how to play violin) or taking care of my family, I’m practicing our shit. If you can’t do this shit right, go home. I firmly believe in maintaining a personal level of excellence and quality. It’s difficult to maintain that especially once you get out of school and enter the professional life, but it’s even more important to me that I do so. I wish on some level I could go back to the days when I was in school practicing six hours a day. I had all the time in the world.
5. What’s the band’s philosophy? Motto?
Resolution15 explicitly states: You are not what you think you are. You have the right to think for yourself. You have the right to see through your own lies, and the lies of others. You have a right to the Truth.
6. Who are your influences?
If I wanted to be an asshole, I’d say everything we’ve seen and heard, and everything we haven’t. If I wanted to continue being an asshole, then I would say that this question is flawed on a fundamental level. The correct question is, Who do you think are your influences?” whereupon I would dutifully list all of the bands and music that I like, and hopefully if I remember correctly, the music that my bandmates like too. I’ve totally answered this question that way before. But it’s not entirely a fair question, because if you listen to us, you might come to the conclusion that we’re influenced by, say, Diana Ross, or some shit. Then I’d look at you and think to myself, You’re fucking crazy”, but you’d have every right to think that, right?
7. Do you have a CD coming out? What’s the scoop on that? Where did you record, style, songs, etc.
We’ve just released a CD, Svaha”, which means So be it!” in Sanskrit.
The title is of dual significance to us. The first is in regards to the spirit of how we recorded the album. The album was certainly edited, but it was more or less recorded in a “So be it” fashion with usually the second or third, and sometimes even the first complete take standing as the final cut. The second is in regards to our stance as a socially conscious band. The ideas we bring up lyrically deal with one’s own inner turmoil and how that relates to worldly experience and action. “Svaha” is the last word in the Heart Sutra, and it serves as a kind of “Amen”. So we would like the listener to feel like this is our sincere commentary on the world as it is through our eyes, and also encourage them to find their own awareness, which also reflects our weltanschuung, our motto, or whatever the fuck you want to call it. We recorded it at Spin Studios, with Ryan Kelly and Stacy O’Dell as producers.
8. What was the last song you listened to before this interview?
That Bruno Mars tune where he unabashedly ripped off the Police. I couldn’t help it. His sex is a message in a bottle that takes me to paradise. At least I don’t own that shit. It was on the radio.
9. Any tours planned?
YES. We’re planning a five week jaunt in mid-July all along the West Coast, and a three week thing in mid-October. We’re in tentative talks right now with the booking agent, so I don’t really want to get more detailed than that, but I will say that we’re fucking stoked and hungry for this to happen.
10. Why should people come to your shows?
Why should you breathe? I promise you that we put on a show that you’d be hard pressed to beat anywhere. And if you come away with the idea that we suck, well, all I can say is that you’re probably a person who cries himself to sleep at night holding his limp prick in one hand and a rusty Severin coffee can in another trying to catch your uncontrollable tears of self-loathing. That goes for if you’re either male or female. Also, we offer free cookies and milk at every show. And a dancing pony.
11. If you were facing unbeatable and fatal odds, what song would you check out to?
The recording of J.S. Bach’s Chaccone in D minor” recorded by Christoph Poppen and the Hilliard Ensemble. It’s the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever heard. And if you’ve never heard it, it’s basically one of the rare examples of theoretical analysis made concrete that actually works. The German musicologist Helga Thoene specializes in seeing the inner architecture in baroque music, (at what point in your life do you decide that that’s your specialization? Although I actually wondered the same thing about the woman who ate that shit omelet) and her theory is that Bach’s D minor Partita for solo violin of which the Chaccone is the final movement is full of hidden references to death, riddled with quotations from his own chorales, the most primary being Christ Lag in Todesbanden”, ( Christ Lay in the Arms of Death”). So according to Thoene, and borne out by this ridiculously fantastic and sublime recording, the Chaconne is a meant as a testament and memorial for Maria Barbara Bach, (his first wife that died suddenly while he was away on business- this piece was written shortly afterwards) as well as a meditation on death, and on this recording, Poppen plays the written Chaccone while the Hilliards sing the chorale quotations, showing how they fit with the solo line. It’s brilliant.
12. Where did your band name come from?
Resolution15 was named after the last resolution passed by Ho Chi Minh in 1959 that changed their intentions from Political Struggle” to Armed Struggle”. This led to involvement of American forces in the Second Indochina War, or, as Walter Sobchak puts it, “˜Nam. At the time I started the band, I was very radical in my political consciousness. I was devouring the writings of Guy Debord, Emma Goldman, Noam Chomsky, Marx (not Groucho), and Slavoj Zizek, and I wanted the band to reflect this. As my consciousness has evolved, so has the driving force of the band. We realize that any true change has to come from within before it reflects from without and that any revolution is useless without introspection within.
13. Are you artsy or are you fartsy?
Did you even read my fucking answers? ALL THAT SHIT SUNNNN. Ask my wife. I’m really farty too. She’ll tell you about the first (and only) time I Dutch ovened her. I can’t believe she’s still with me and agreed to have sex with me long and often enough to produce a kid. Blows my mind. I’m all artsy fartsy. Believe me, I’d prance around in a red beret, a fucking white scarf and penny loafers tossing off snarky Sartre quotes in charmingly appropriate situations if I didn’t want to take an aluminum bat to the head of all those assholes that do that already.
14. What are some of the unwritten rules of touring?
DON’T EVER SLEEP IN SOMEONE ELSE’S SLEEPING BAG WITHOUT WEARING ANYTHING. That was the last time I kicked the shit out of someone. I was in a jam band years ago (don’t ask) and the roadie/merch dude and I were both trying to get with this chick. (She didn’t get with either of us- she got with the singer- figures) So he tried to take his disappointment out on me by sleeping in my bunk, in my bag, naked. He was also incredibly rude to my repeated requests to remove himself from the aforementioned sleeping bag and to put on some clothes, finally saying If you want this sleeping bag, you’re gonna have to come and get it yourself.” I fucked his shit up good. The other hippies had to pry me off of that dirty fuck because my fingers were tightening around his neck for maybe a little longer than I should have let it. That bitch looked like he got worked over by five angry four year olds. Speaking of which…
15. How many unarmed but very angry 4 year olds would it take to kick your ass?
Five. Five angry 4 year olds. I actually think that’s the number for most people. One kid trying to gnaw each limb, and because those four are distracting you, the last kid actually nails you right in the junk. Then you’ll crumble to the floor, and then it’s all over. They’ll consume you like all those army ants.