Grind is protest – well all know this. But sometimes, other than a vague sense of “society is bullshit” style slogans, it can be unclear exactly what a band is protesting against. That’s not the case with Olivia Neutered John. The London-based project focuses it rage on how society treats women, flipping the typical gendered dynamic of death and goregrind lyrics on their head. Ahead of the release of Complete Castration – a compilation that will bring together previous releases The Toxic Orgy, Transphobia Annihilation Squad, and Kill All Men (Starting With The White Ones), and will include several new tracks – we asked mainman Dick Weeks about the five biggest influences on the project. Some might be what you’d expect from a death-grind band, but some are perhaps a bit surprising; yet, within the context of Olivia Neutered John’s sound and lyrical aims, they all make complete sense. Here they are, in the words of the mainman himself.
It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see Cannibal Corpse on this list. They are the masters of death metal riffing. I can’t name another band who balance brutality, groove, and hooks so perfectly as Cannibal Corpse. Lyrically they are also very influential on me – Just look at ‘Cucked With a Knife’!
Corpse was one of the first death metal bands I ever heard. We used to play tracks from Bloodthirst on Dalhousie University radio back home back in the day. The grotesqueness of a song like ‘Raped by the Beast’ has stayed with me from the very first listen. One of my lyrical exercises I do to try and dream up new songs is to take CC titles and flip them though the woman is the killer. Maybe ‘Raped by the Bitch’ will be on album two!
Ahh Castrator. A band I have so much respect for. They are doing the ONJ thing live with a full lineup of musicians. Absolutely brutal band. No Victim may be only four tracks, but it is so tight, grotesque, brutal, and unrelenting – it’s otherwordly. The first time I saw someone comparing Castrator and Olivia Neutered John my eyeballs almost fell out of my head – shocked, humbled, but so happy to have my work compared to someone so awesome.
Fun fact: ‘High Octane Perpetual Emasculation Machine’ was originally titled ‘Emasculator’, but after realizing that was a Castrator title, I decided to change it. There is a fine line between homage and ripping off!
Fuck the Facts
It wouldn’t be a list of Bands That Influenced A Richard Weeks Project™ without at least /one/ Canadian band. I was introduced to Fuck the Facts in a similar fashion to Cannibal Corpse – back on our Dalhousie University radio show. There is this thing back home called “CanCon” – Canadian Content. Any radio or TV channel has to have X% amount of Canadian Content during operating hours. We used to play a lot of Fuck the Facts during our CanCon segments.
Sonically, Fuck the Facts probably is the biggest “no shit” entry on this list. Churning intense riffing, momentary blasts of aggression, shifting and transforming riffs, super political lyrics. Fuck the Facts can pack more riffs into one 70 second song than most bands can in five.
GLOSS and their album Trans Day of Revenge was a huge turning point for ONJ. Kill All Men was a very “yo I’m a white dude angry about white dudes” album and I got a lot of great comments from the LGBTQ community about it. After hearing Trans Day of Revenge, I wanted to incorporate some songs that were more “I want to defend this” to sit along with the “I want to murder this” songs on Kill All Men.
The Transphobia Annihilation Squad EP came directly from the influence of GLOSS. The title track, ‘TERF Genocide’, and ‘Graves of the Butterflies’ are especially influenced by the band. Because of GLOSS, ONJ’s lyrical concept expanded its scope and honed its direction.
A lot of people have asked me if Olivia Newton-John is a direct influence on the band. These same people are often let down when I tell them I am not a huge fan of her work! Maybe surprisingly, a huuuuge influence on Olivia Neutered John is Stevie Nicks. I listened to a lot of Fleetwood Mac as a kid and while as an adult I maintain that exactly 50% of their songs are pure garbage, they have a good 50% that is killer – and almost all of those songs involve Stevie Nicks.
Stevie was probably the first woman artist I ever heard who was very outspoken about the power of women. I’m 36 years old now and Gold Dust Woman still gives me goosebumps. Every time I hear her sing “SHE’S A DRAGON” I am filled with this feeling I cannot describe. Her voice is phenomenal, her persona is incredible, and her songs… are so influential.
Complete Castration is due for release in late July/early August on CD, digital, and cassette, via Blackened Death Records and Astral Noize following a successful Kickstarter campaign.