Today Is a Good Day to Die
CoC chats with Steve Austin of Today Is the Day
by: Adrian Bromley
I like to think of singer/guitarist/sampler/mastermind Steve Austin of Today Is The Day as the "Arch Duke of Madness." His music -- the voluptuous, yet horrific noise assemblages that blast from the LPs his band creates -- is so demonic and out of this world that one might wonder where his head is at. Where do the images and illustrations of mankind come from on the band's fourth, and debut for Relapse Records, record, _Temple of the Morning Star_? Are they just figments of his imagination or his real insight and views of the society and the structure of mankind? His words and music, much like a picture, speak a thousand words. His music is intense and so is his vision for the band.

Unmatched by any musical outfit out there right now, TItD seem to live in the midst of sanctioned ideals and irreverent means of expressing themselves. The trip is a bumpy ride, but the ride of this LP is worth it. Austin speaks to Chronicles of Chaos about the new LP and the ways within the confines of his world.

"The good thing about what we do musically is that we are able to create music that inspires us to go on and keep creating. We tour the music, and if I didn't get off on the music I wouldn't do this," says Austin over the phone while on tour with the band.

Since a whole snowball effect of sounds and images come forth from the record with every listen, I ask Austin what fans who come to the shows get out of it. "The whole live show of TItD is about living it, feeling it, and doing it. We try to make our live shows be a real experience and not just a contrived show. We try to make each show mean something. We get all hardcore and into every show and show people that we are really into this. I usually just let myself go and just come back to myself after it is over with."

On the topic of _Temple Of the Morning Star_ he says, "It is really never easy to write material for an LP. You can't just force it. It has to come out from you and that is when you work with it. I don't force things, 'cause it just don't happen then. I wait to see what I have and other musical ideas to add to it and then I go with it. Most of the lyrics and other ideas of the songs come from life. Just living life and taking note of what is going on with me. What I usually do is sit down with the music I have created and take a pen and write down lyrics as they come to me to fit the music. I get better ideas then with what I want to say and how I will express myself."

"This record is the most perfect thing that we could have put out," continues Austin about the new LP, "I am very happy with _Temple Of The Morning Star_. I have a lot of respect for what we did. We had a lot of good ideas and the momentum is there. I hope we can carry on with this creative process. This is one of the few records other than our first self-titled LP (the others being _Supernova_ and _Willpower_; all on Amphetamine Records) that I have been pleased with."

"This record is a virtual reality roller coaster of your own life," states Austin on how people should interpret the music found within the LP. "This LP is where you get on the ride and get thrown around and tossed off, whereas most bands have you already know what to expect. The ride is smooth and planned. We're unexpected power raging within."

Creativity and complexity seem to radiate from the character of Austin. His music showcases a wide range of personas, but in reality Austin just sees himself as an average Joe like you and I. "I am just an average person. My life is broken down to basics like: girlfriend, mom, dog, and best friend. But when it comes down to what I have been subject to in the past and the way I think is a whole other story. I think I have problems with communication and people sometimes. I'll think one thing and say that one thing, but it will be interpreted as something else and different. It blows my mind. I can't just say it any clearer than that, and then I get to thinking that it is just the way I am. Maybe people have a hard time following with what I am doing? I dunno. I feel free to do and express in my music how I feel. I do it and it comes out the way I want it to be. People can see my music and lyrics how they want. Bottom line: they are my visions and beliefs."

The real power of the band -- rounded out by Mike Hyde (drums, percussion) and Chris Reeser (bass, electronics) -- is that there never seems to be a pause in the music or direction of the band. What they do is indescribable and fucked up. Something is always going on. Austin agrees and likes to keep things that way. "We have just always never wanted to be like anyone else. I don't want to be like that band or that band. It's not cool to be that way when you are trying to survive in this business. We have always wanted to do our own thing. When I sit down and write a riff, I make sure that I have never heard that part before that I am playing. You have to consciously be a critic of what you do and do your best to do what you want to do and maybe what others have not yet done."

"A lot of what we do is improvisational too," notes Austin. "I mean here we are in the studio and making things up on the spot. That is a good thing. I like that. Songs on the new LP like "I See You" and "Satan Is Alive" were made up on the spot and it worked out okay. They seem to mesh well with the other material. This record has a lot of guitar tracks and overdubs to make it fucked up, far from what we have done in the past. I purposely tried to make the music seem to not work, when in fact it does. It's funny... I'll be in the studio working on something, say vocals, and I will do something totally fucked up and think it really sucks but then I'll go back and hear it again and just leave it in. Some of it is accidental but it sounds cool... so I leave it in. It's about keeping it in the same range of what you want to do, rather than go out and follow trends or styles. That is not us. Today Is The Day is about exploring the outer reaches of music and having fun doing it."

(article submitted 5/2/1997)


ALBUMS
7/12/2004 A McKay 7.5 Today Is the Day - Kiss the Pig
3/21/2003 X Hoose 6.5 Today Is the Day - Sadness Will Prevail
10/16/1997 A Bromley 9 Today Is The Day - Temple Of The Morning Star
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