An Interview With 16 Drummer Jason Corley
Band Photo: 16 (?)
Los Angeles based down tempo metal act 16 have recently signed with Relapse Records for the release of their upcoming album "Bridges To Burn," which will be available on January 20, 2009 in the U.S. Two songs from the album are currently being streamed online and can be heard on the band's MySpace Page. 16 Drummer Jason Corley recently answered some questions for Metalunderground about the new album and the band's upcoming shows.
xFiruath: What originally got you into drumming and made you want to be a musician?
Jason: My Father is a drummer and taught me to play when I was very young. Playing drums alone sucks so I never pursued it after the age of about 13. One day I was at Bobby's (Bob Ferry, guitarist for 16) house in about 1990 and he was playing a guitar and I mentioned I had an old drum kit in my garage. We just got together one day in the den at my Mom's house and jammed one day for hours on the same riff basically teaching each other how to write songs or what you could loosely call a song at that time. After that I found a way to vent the daily bullshit from life and do something I love, playing drums and making music.
xFiruath: Does the name "16" have any special significance or does it refer to anything in particular?
Jason: It refers to the age of a few of our girlfriends at the time we started playing together. We were in our early 20's and we had 15 year old "girlfriends" at the time. We decided to call the band 15 but some band had that so we just did the simple thing and upped it one number. Plus Cris's girl had a birthday so it made sense at the time. There you have it.
xFiruath: A lot of genre labels get thrown around in the metal world. I've heard 16 described as everything from hardcore to groovecore to post-sludge-rock. How would you describe your music to someone who had never heard it before?
Jason: You know that is a tricky one. I always think of 16 as a drop tuned, hardcore band with mid to slow tempo changes. There is a definite groove and head banging aspect to what we do musically which is a reflection of how we feel the day things are written or what emotions and experiences cross our path on a given day. We have had songs that are totally slow while others are fast ones always using a single bass drum pedal. What an answer huh? I guess we make mid to lower class underground metal. There.
xFiruath: How do your songwriting processes and practice sessions work? Does everyone work on a song together or is it more of a deal where everyone comes up with something and then you put it all together?
Jason: Each song is a different animal. It usually starts with Bobby emailing me a riff he writes at home. Sometimes it is just one riff, other times it is basically a concept for a whole song. Once we get into Bomb Shelter Rehearsal where the whole new record was written it morphs and shapes its way via input from Tony (bass player for 16) and variations of what beats I play. When Tony writes a song it is close to being a whole song with some areas for input from us all that has it take the shape it becomes. We record the song on a 4 track in the rehearsal place and make a CD for Cris (Vocalist for 16). He shows up a week later with words and ideas to see how they work into what we have. Most of the time Cris will have us make certain parts longer or shorter to accommodate his words. In the end it winds up being a collective process. Before hitting the studio, where we record 3 songs in a 2 day period there is a lot of reworking and ideas for intros and such that manifest themselves when we record the songs.
xFiruath: What sort of subject matter do your lyrics usually deal with?
Jason: Cris writes every word so that is his area. I interpret what he says in my own way but it is more of what Cris has delivered subject matter wise just with a more concise process going into what he does.
xFiruath: What is different about your upcoming album "Bridges to Burn" from the other albums you have done?
Jason: First off it is on Relapse and you will actually be able to find a copy. We have been doing 16 for 17 years now and it just reflects the growth we have as men making music and our increased ability to relay what we are trying to accomplish musically. The artwork on the vinyl and CD versions is truly amazing and we have Florian Bertmer and the guys at Relapse for handling the graphics side of things. "Bridges To Burn" is clearly a 16 record with what you would expect us to deliver.
xFiruath: Where did you record the album and who did you work with for the producing?
Jason: We recorded the record at Doubletime Studios in El Cajon, CA just outside of San Diego. 16 have recorded every record there minus "Blaze Of Incompetence." We started recording there in 1992 when the owner and engineer Jeff Forrest had the studio in his garage. Jeff handles turning knobs and knows what 16 are about and what we are going for. As far as producing the record, it's Bobby, Cris, Tony and I.
xFiruath: With the new album about to be released will you be doing any extra shows or touring?
Jason: We have a record release party in Los Angeles and January 24th, 4 days after the record comes out. After that we embark on a 10 day West Coast tour with Giant Squid playing shows with Will Haven, Intronaut, The Kept, The Family Curse and some other great bands. The shows are going to be great as there is a complete mix of music every night. No bands on the bills sound the same. I appreciated that back in the day. I hate seeing a show with too many bands where every band sounds the same all night. After that we are working on tours that make sense, hitting the East Coast, The South and eventually getting back to Japan and playing Europe.
xFiruath: Do you have a favorite live show memory or venue that you've played at?
Jason: Our shows with Slayer in 1994 were unforgettable. Three of the shows during our 1994 Japanese tour were unlike anything we ever experienced. I could go on forever about shows back in LA that sucked or were incredible. Los Angeles is a joke for any band that isn't doing the corporate acceptable music these days.
xFiruath: What do you think is the most ridiculous thing about metal today or what is the one thing about the metal scene that you like the least?
Jason: Every magazine I see with all these bands and there "costumes" and 90% of them trying to have some image. Barely anybody looks like real people as they all have on black outfits, everyone is wearing a band shirt or they are doing these gestures with their hands reaching out like they are wizards holding the magic orb of their favorite role playing hero.
xFiruath: What is your favorite band or album to listen to when you aren't playing music?
Jason: Honestly I listen to mostly Grindcore and Underground rap music. Daily I am playing Mumakil, Eminem, XXX Maniak and Outlaw Order. I listen to more 16 than anything.
xFiruath: That's all my questions, so do you have any parting words for the fans?
Jason: Turn up, Tune Down, Give Up.
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