Kurushimi (aka ‘ViA: Kurushimi’ or ‘苦しみ’) is a new project from Serious Beak bassist Andrew Mortensen.
The group plays a mix of completely improvised grindcore, free-jazz & experimental rock/noise.
It comes under the umbrella of the Violence In Action splinter* groups.
* [bands formed by members of ViA collective that utilise ViA manual rules or variations on rules]
• Andrew Mortensen – bass, conductor, turntable
• Simon Dawes – guitar (Instrumental, (adj.))
• Chris Allison – drums (Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt)
• Kim Lawson – alto & tenor sax (Sonic Mayhem Orchestra)
• Lachlan Kerr – conductor (Godswounds)
-with additional appearances by:
Dave Edmonds recently chatted with Andrew about the project and how it came about.
Hi Andrew. So tell us a little about the project and how it all came about?
Well, I’ve been wanting to do a metal-based improvised project for many, many years. Ever since I discovered free-jazz in high school, and being a ‘metal-head’, I wanted to have a band that improvised grindcore and other heavy music genres.
In highschool I had Death Breath, which was a ‘punk’ band put together with good mates. We played punk covers like Black Flag, Toe To Toe etc. Slowly I began to steer it in a more experimental/noise-grind inspired improvisational direction. As horrible and silly as it was, I loved improvising this stuff and we had a lot of fun doing it.
Some years later, I formed Billy Liar which was also an improvised project, but it was more funk-rock/jazz based. It had metal elements now & again, but nothing like what’s going on in Kurushimi.
So what lead to Kurushimi forming?
A while ago, good friend Simon Dawes put together a Violence In Action splinter, titled ‘Poseidon’. The idea of his was to have numerous bassists and drummers all together and play the games from the ViA manual.
For those that aren’t aware, Violence In Action is a collection of games designed to manipulate elements of musical improvisation. Lachlan Kerr of Godswounds founded it in 2010. [See short documentary posted below about Violence In Action]
I was involved in the first coming together of it, and played turntable for a few shows. I then dropped out of it, mainly due to my schedule and as well as losing interest a little in ‘noise’ music.
Fast-forward to 2015 where Simon asks me to be involved in his splinter. At first I declined. Then I asked if I could do turntable, but Simon said he wanted basses only and then he finally convinced me to be involved.
Well, the recording session was so much fun. It was also the first time I had been involved in ViA on my primary instrument. Having Lachlan and Simon conduct me, and with their amazing ears and understanding of my playing style, a spark went off in my mind. I immediately knew I wanted to do a ViA splinter and have Lachlan conduct. While driving home that day from the session, I had Napalm Death on and suddenly I knew exactly what I wanted to do – the improvised grind/jazz I’d been wanting to do for all these years, and have it manipulated by select ViA games.
So the idea had sparked, what lead to it and the line-up coming together?
Well, basically I knew I wanted Lachlan to conduct, Simon on guitar and Chris on drums. Lachlan really understands my vision and manipulates the music perfectly. Simon & Chris are monster players, and share in the understanding of my vision, as well as being into the same mix of genres as myself.
Sax took me a little while to think about. There were a few players that came to mind, but I decided to ask Kim Lawson for the debut gig, as I hadn’t played anything like this with him before (funk/disco/pop was what we’d done together in the past).
Kim tore it up & really immersed himself in the whole vibe and games. I was so happy after the debut show and also had great feedback from the audience and friends.
What’s planned for the future?
We did two more shows at The Record Crate which were also great and a lot of fun. For one we had Ian Pieterse, who I’ve worked with for years in various projects, and the other was James Ryan, who I’d also worked with for a number of years in a funk covers band.
To my delight, we’ve been asked to play NegFest, a mini-festival celebrating underground-Australian intense, heavy music. I am so excited for this show. It’ll be great to play on a large stage with a powerful PA – really bring-out the heaviness of it!
Also, a little while ago I organised a recording session, in the hope that a studio recording would come together as great as it does live. It went really well and it did capture many of the elements that happen live. It’s currently being mixed and I hope if it all works out, we’ll have an EP or LP available in 2016.
We’re ALWAYS looking for gigs, so hit us up if you’re interested in having us open-up for your act, haha! We’re also looking into the possibility of some interstate shows, so hopefully that comes through and we can take this crazy stuff to different scenes in other states.
A short documentary on Violence In Action, which explains the whole collective.
You can catch Kurushimi at NEGFEST,
24 October at 3pm
- Space Bong (SA) (album launch)
- Diploid (VIC)
- Frown (QLD)
- Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt
- Funeral Moon
- Gvrlls (EP launch)
- Narrow Lands
- MSV BCP
$25 entry. Bands from 3pm.