Prison's Zack Discusses Name, Music, and the Future!


Thrash, punk, doom act PRISON who's member Zack, the six string death kneel, forked tongue invocation, discussed the band's matters from music, to namesake, down to the plans ahead.

1. Let’s start off with an icebreaker. If you could describe your band in 3 words, what would they be?

Fake Black Metal.

2. What are your names and what do you do in the band?

Gwen plays bass and gives face. Zack writes lyrics, sings and plays guitar. Kris plays drums and does background vocals about as poorly as can be expected from a drummer.

3. You guys are a newer band so many people might know about your history. Would you be able to delve into it a little?

We've actually been playing together on and off for years. We come from heavy music: Gwen's shit is noise rock and stoner metal. Zack likes punk and thrash and NWOBHM. Kris is into power violence, hardcore, grind/death and black metal and tries to work blast beats or breakdowns into every new song. The three of us are old friends and one of the biggest reasons for us to practice is to get our
regularly scheduled bitch fests in every week. Prison is about getting in a room with our favorite people, loving and supporting each other and writing songs that reflect our collaborative outlook and aesthetics.

4. Where does the name Prison come from?

Our band is called Prison actually. When we started the band, our goal was to have a name that was heavy. Zack thought it up and we all agreed that it was way heavier than the actual music we were writing at the time. None of us have been to prison, but the idea of locking up humans is about the shittiest, worst thing imaginable. Seems like you'd have to assume that at some conceptual level, we
wanted to sound like the shittiest, worst thing imaginable. Kris doesn't believe that that goal can be successfully achieved with clean vocals, but Zack tries to compensate by writing about heavy, shitty things. As a band, we'd like to say fuck the prison industrial complex and the racist, profiteering pieces of shit that perpetuate its daily tragedies.

5. Who are some of your influences?

Collectively it's something like Bad Brains, Burning Love, Karp, Melvins, Sleep, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, early Metallica, Boris, Fugazi and Motorhead. Individually, it's broad as fuck.

6. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

Occultism has offered the clearest through line for us as a band, but with Come, Annihilation Zack expanded that lyrical palette quite a bit. This new batch of songs offers perspective on the inevitability of death, the arbitrary binary of Western morality and the pitiable human condition. Religious and occultist themes show up for good measure as well and everything gets sweetened with the standard Prison sarcasm, although we're probably a little less tongue-in-cheek with this record than we have been in the past.

7. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)

A while back, we played a couple one-off Fugazi covers for a themed show some friends put on, but other than that we've produced all of our own material. That process usually comes out one of two ways: lyrics first or riffs first. Zack brings one or two ideas to the group for refinement and we add and refine our individual parts until it's a song. Sometimes that takes an hour. Sometimes it takes months.

8. What was the recording process like for this new album of yours?

We recorded with Jeff McNulty at Kill Room here in Seattle. Jeff is a friend of ours, he's a fixture in Seattle heavy music and he's played in rad bands that we love (fucking Bloodhag, Android Hero, Cages, etc.), so we trusted him to strike the balance we were after. We had a list of finished songs we wanted to put down, so we talked about what we were trying to accomplish and then did it as fast as we could. It was the best recording experience we've had to date. We're really happy with it.

9. Would you say that you have a favorite song off this album and which is it and why?

Nah. Would you?

10. Why should people go forth and check out this album?

If you like hardcore, speed metal, thrash, sludge, noise rock and/or garage punk, you'll probably like this shit. Prison is a fun, cohesive amalgamation of all of those influences. We think of Come, Annihilation this way: You can dance or pit to these songs or you sit on your floor and think about killing yourself to these songs. If that's not the kind of fun you're looking to have, we can't be friends.

11. What would you say separates you from other bands in the scene?

There are a lot of killer bands in Seattle right now. We share a lot of the same influences, so what makes us different is just how we put shit together. At our shows, Prison is routinely either the heaviest band on a punk bill or the punkest band on a metal bill.

12. How about this next year, what is in store from you guys?

For those of you in the Seattle area, our record release show will be at the ChaCha on March 28th. We're stoked to share a bill with fucking killer bands and good friends in Into the Storm (intothestorm.bandcamp.com), Voycheck (voycheck.bandcamp.com) and Procedure
(standardoperating.bandcamp.com). After that, we've got a few things in the works to promote Come, Annihilation so check in with us on Facebook (facebook.com/prisonseattle), Instagram (@prisonseattle) and Bandcamp (prison.bandcamp.com). Thanks a ton!

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