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Negativehate

Interviewed by Gary Hill

Interview with Chuck Scandura of Negativehate from 2018

MSJ:

Can you catch the readers up on the history of your involvement in music – sort of a "highlight reel?"

Negativehate started out as project between two college philosophy majors: my friend Keith Ranalli (bass, vocals) and me (guitar, vocals). We have been making music for almost a quarter of a century now. In that time we’ve endured numerous lineup changes and experimented with many different styles of music - ranging from experimental industrial music, grind core, hip hop, math metal, to what we currently play which is a fusion of prog rock, post rock, and alternative rock  Our current lineup has been going strong for almost a decade now with Eric Stewart – bass, Sergio Sanchez – drums, Mike Stewart – keys, vocals, Freedom Scheyd - guitar, backing vocals and me Chuck Scandura – guitars/ vocals.

MSJ:

If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?

If I didn’t catch the music bug there is a good chance that I would have continued down the path and become a philosophy or cosmology professor.

MSJ:

How did the name of the group originate?

In college I became fascinated with the idea that all things are essentially one. The ideas of hot and cold, light and dark, love and hate are distinguishments derived for semantic codification. So hot is really just less cold, light is less darkness and love is less hate. So from that idea Negativehate was derived. One conjoined word containing two words to express their opposite meaning - love.

MSJ:

Who would you see as your musical influences?

Definitely Godflesh, Pink Floyd, Yes, Tool, David Bowie, Rush, Jimi Hendrix, Katatonia, Beach House, Bob Dylan, Radiohead as a starting point.

MSJ:

What's the best thing that's ever been said about your music?

A few years back we played a Halloween house show. After the show someone came up to me and said “ I’ve seen so many concerts and shows in my life. I never thought that the best performance I ever saw was going to be at some party in a room.” That statement meant a lot to me because I’m the guy in the band that usually thinks the whole performance was ruined because I missed one note on a guitar run.

MSJ:

What's ahead for you?

Part of being a musician has conditioned me to always appreciate the present moment. To listen to what is being played by my bandmates at any single moment and resonate or harmonize with the note the tone or the feeling that is being expressed. When you see a band effectively doing this you can just feel it. It’s not rote orchestration there is something magical... something intuitive is taking place. I believe that if we can continue to achieve this type of musical connection people will continue to want to hear what we are doing.

MSJ:

I know many artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?

Dark ambient progressive, post rock fusion

MSJ:

Are there musicians with whom you would like to play in the future?

I would love to do something with the guys from Junius or Rosetta.

MSJ:

Do you think that illegal downloading or streaming of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?

I think music is essentially an artistic expression through sound. Why would anyone make an expressive sound that they don’t want people to hear? The answer would probably be when they want to monetize the sound by turning it into a product. Sure musicians have to eat and pay rent so it would be great if they could live off of their musical abilities, but sadly most musicians I know have day jobs. Unfortunately it seems that much of the musical economy is centered around a small group of people creating music that is (in my opinion) overproduced, often times un-original, and lyricaly quite dull. But this is what makes people happy and who am I to argue with that.

 

At some point in their musical journey every musician has to make a choice; to follow predetermined musical formulas for success or to follow their heart. Yes sometimes these two pathways overlap and for those people illegal downloading might put a small dent in their bottom line, but since they are following their heart also the small dent is negligible. For a struggling musician following only the path of their heart the illegal download brings that sound of expression into more ears. That person has already made a choice to follow their musical passion so while they might suffer from the loss they are also extending their musical expression into new territory.

 

For me the problem lies more with the sense that the music has been de-valued- since an illegal downloader does not have to work as much to acquire what they listen to. When I was a kid I remember spending a week’s worth of paperboy money on a few cassettes. I was keenly aware of the cold and wet days I had to ride around on my bike delivering papers to get that cassette into my little boom box. The direct exchange of labor for music was palpable and enhanced my feeling of value for the music. I would play those cassettes till they wore thin and know the names and lyrics to every song. I think people are less inclined to treasure things that they don’t have to work for.

MSJ:

In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them or posting them online?

I still believe the inherent nature of music is sound and expression. Why make sounds that you don’t want anyone to hear? So yeah, record away and share if you like. However there is one caveat. If you recorded the audio on your phone and you don’t know how to adjust the input gain so it does not come out distorted it’s probably not going to put the band in a flattering light when it ends up on the internet.

MSJ:

If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?

If I were a superhero I would probably be Swamp Thing and would be fairly preoccupied with trying to stop corporations from destroying the environment. If I could take some time out from protecting the green I would try and destroy the computer algorithm that creates blond girl pop stars and boy bands. Then I would go after dub step and some of the other mindless electronic music that uses human pulse rhythms to hypnotize people into thinking that the music is good. 

MSJ:

If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?

The idea of a Frankenstein band is fun I would love to see Tosin Abasi (Animals as Leaders) and the late Piggy (guitar Voivod), Jimi Hendrix jamming out with Danny Carey (Tool drummer) and Geddy Lee on bass.  Singing over all of it would have to be Billie Holiday and / or  the late Jeff Buckley.

MSJ:

If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?

Dead Can Dance, Beach House, Junius, Gojira. Tool, Bob Dylan, Joanna Newsome

MSJ:

What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?

I purchased the new Quicksand album Interiors and the new Godflesh Post Self. Been listening to The Contortionist Clairvoyant, the last few Katatonia albums as well as the English band Daughter.

MSJ:

Have you read any good books lately?

Yes a Neil Gaiman Book called “The Ocean at the End of the Lane,” also started reading/ re-reading some favorite Lovecraft stories “Mountains of Madness” and “Colour of Space.”

MSJ:

What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?

Sharon Van Etten at the Warsaw in Brooklyn.

MSJ:

Do you remember the first concert you attended?

Yes  this is a little embarrassing to reveal. I was 13 years old. It was Motley Crue and Whitesnake.

MSJ:

Have you come across any new gear recently that you love?

I love my custom Halo guitar with Bare Knuckle pick ups.

MSJ:

Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”

I like the Rolling Stones.

MSJ:

What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?

It was 1998. We were playing a downtown Manhattan club called the “Batcave.” The club had three floors. The second floor overlooked the stage on the first floor like a balcony. We played loud nihilistic industrial back then (think Ministry and Godflesh). At the time we had a penchant for theatrics, and there was weird stuff going on on every floor of that club so we fit right in. That night Keith and I decided to do something easy. He would stand on the balcony screaming dark poetry at me, and I would respond from the stage with lines from that same poem backed by tribal drumming. He would come down the stairs toward the stage screaming louder as he approached until he joined me on stage, and we launched into our set with “Complications of Desire.” That was how everything was supposed to work. In theory it would grab everyone’s attention and draw it to our performance. But that was not how it worked out. We failed to inform the bouncers of the planned theatrics, and they grabbed Keith kicking and screaming and threw him out of the club. Dmitri our percussionist tried to tell them it was part of the show, but they would not hear him until he ran outside and explained it to them after everybody calmed down. So that plan backfired in a very Spinal Tap way. 

MSJ:

If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?

Nicola Tesla, Jane Roberts and Julia Butterfly

MSJ:

What would be on the menu?

Sushi

MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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