February 2005 - BIG YELLOW MAMA
BIG YELLOW MAMA is a relatively new sludge rock band from the south of the USA. Clearly that the the blues has left its footprints in their sound, but that's not all. Unfortunately this band had only released two very rough demos, which has been recorded live, but due to its naturalness both cd-r's are very authentic and unspent. But singer Eric Crowe is an extremely creative musician, and has some other bands and projects on the run, which go partially into completely different direction. Thus we maintained about the life in the Southern States, his other musical activities, electric chairs and everything which life make otherwise still worth living...
Hello Eric, due to the reason that maybe only 5% of the readers will know Big Yellow Mama, would you be so kind to give a short biography to those who are interested! And is it true that members of Molehill are part of the line-up?
Well Klaus, if there is even 5% of readers that know anything about us, I am impressed and very happy. Big Yellow Mama originally began 2 years ago, but was called Pork Rind, which was an idea I had sat on since 1995. At that time it was a 4 piece and lasted through that summer, till tension and thought processes collided, so I hung it up after the "Pride of Dixie" demo. I still wanted to continue the project and was nowhere close to being finished, so I contacted Patrick and we started writing and practicing, without a drummer.
During that time, I was living in Alabama so I would make trips every other weekend to Georgia just to practice. In October 2003 I moved back to GA, found Caleb as the new drummer and started playing shows in the local area and building a small fan base. In September of 2004, Caleb quit and we are still in search of a replacement. It seems as though drummers are hard to find. As far as the rumor of Molehill members, that is true, I am the only ex-member of Molehill in Big Yellow Mama. I played with them while I lived in Birmingham, right before they went down for the final count and called it quits.
A few weeks ago you've sent me both demos. I was surprised about the fact that both were recorded live. "Pride Of Dixie" had been recorded in a living room while the second one has been recorded during a show. Please, tell us something about the sessions and why have you done live recordings? Is this the band's policy or what's the reason for it?
It's definitely not a policy with the band, it's just the cheapest way to get our music out there. With "Pride of Dixie" we hung a mic from a light fixture into a 4 track. The tracks were shitty, but it was raw and dirty as hell, so we went with it. The s/t demo was taken from a live show, I hoped to capture the live feel of our music, the thickness and energy we put out.
I would love to hear you sound with a good and thick production. Have you any plans to release a full-length or a split in the future? Any good label offerings?
You and me both! As a band, we are strapped for cash, so recording isn't all that easy, but talks have progressed with John Ehlders and Chief (ex-Nile) to record in their studios in South Carolina for a reasonable price. We are looking at a full length and hope things work out, with them and a replacement drummer. We haven't had any label interest, mainly cause no one has really heard of us, and the labels I have spoken with aren't looking to add new bands to their roster and/or are busy with other projects.
The tasteful cover artwork of both demos have religious motifs. Are you a person with a strong belief or what do you want to express with them?
I do have strong religious beliefs, but I'm not trying to express that in the covers, that's just something that I have within myself. The artwork were things I pieced together and either found humor in, like the "Pride of Dixie" cover, or just impressed with the image of Christ with the children. It wasn't intentional, at first, but after working with the piece it made sense and just felt right.
What's the story behind the title "Pride Of Dixie"? Are you a proud and conservative southener or is it meant more ironic?
Well, I don't see myself as conservative at all and I enjoy living in the South, I was born and raised here and find comfort here, but I can make anywhere home. "Pride" just came together as a collage with Jesus, drugs and brass knuckles, I thought it was funny as hell. I found an ad for a gun show or something and it was called "Pride of Dixie" so I thought it was perfect for a title. Plus I thought everyone should love us and we are the Pride of Dixie, hahaha.
Well, I really like songs like "I won't miss you" or "Take me from this Earth", but I also dig the song titles. What are the lyrics about?
Thank you, I appreciate that cause I take the time to title the songs and not pull a random word out of my ass and slap it to a song. On 'I won't miss you' the lyrics deal with the end of a relationship and how I couldn't be there anymore. 'Take me from this earth' is about just wishing for it all to end and feeling yourself slip closer to the end.
The second demo kicks off with "First to Fire" and you have intergrated a nice sample at the beginning. Where has it been taken from?
That sample was taken from the movie, Blue Velvet.
Is it true that Big Yellow Mama is a slang word for the electric chair and what do you think about the death penalty in general?
Big Yellow Mama is actually the nickname of the electric chair in Alabama. I can't say that I'm for the death penalty cause killing someone that has killed to show that killing is wrong, is just a twisted thought. Some may argue, but that's where I stand on it.
You use the Sunn emblem for the band's logo. Why?
I use Sunn equipment and it's sound makes up a lot of our sound, so it makes sense to incorporate it into the logo.
It seems as if you're a very busy person. You were also part of Her Name Is Death, Social Infestation and Marax. I have to admit that I never had the chance to listen to one of this bands, although I read a good review about the "Loathsome Christ" CD-R of Her Name Is Death where the band has been compared with Boris, Corrupted and Fistula. Please, tell us more about this release and the other bands where you are involved!
I am a very busy person, but not nearly as busy and productive as I would like. I have to keep things going and work on different projects at once so I don't burn out doing the same thing, but mainly cause this is all I want to do, play music. Besides Big Yellow Mama, I am behind MARAX, a noise project I have done since 1998.
It's sounds vary from Harsh electronics, minimalist, to dark ambient soundscapes. Murder of Crows is a project which is filled dark experimental sounds with a lot of synth work and beats. FULCI is massive amplifier drones, and our first disc, 'Dead Lights | Red Sky' just came out through the Crucial Blast side label Crucial Bliss. Then finally I play in Her Name Is Death, which is slow raw Doom, a lot like Corrupted.
There have been long periods in my life where I've been sick and tired of being alive, and to be honest I'm not really out of this depressive mood, but -hey- fuck it!!! What about you? Are you a content person, living a lucky life?
Depression and suicidal thinking has made up more than 1% of my life. Only recently have I tried to just say fuck it and forget about depression for once and concentrate on the thing that makes me happy, music. I've been in and out of mental hospitals for suicidal ideology and no desire to exist. I self mutilated for years and in 2001, stopped cutting. At times I don't know why I am still here, but as long as I can still create and share the music I make, then I don't care why. I'm just glad that I am.
What are your favourite mind-altering substances?
I actually don't use anything, not even beer. How boring is that? Haha.
Do you have a job?
I work a couple of jobs right now, just trying to keep a roof over my head.
Please, tell us something about your hometown. Where do you live and do like to live there?
I live in Carrollton, GA, and it's about an hour west of Atlanta. It's a college town filled with it's share of Frat Boys, Sorority Cunts, Hippies, Artists, Free-thinkers, Conservatives and Rednecks. At times can seem smaller than it is and a lot of my friends complain about boredom here, but I always have something to do. I record and write music, hang out with friends or go to the shit hole strip club here, where the strippers have to wear tape over their nipples! That shit is so funny!
Ok, Eric, we have reached the end of our interview! Thanks for you time! Any final statementv that you want to make?
Thank you Klaus for this interview and for seeing something in us to conduct an interview with us. Thanks for the support and thank you to the people that take the time to read and are interested in Big Yellow Mama, and feel free to contact us. ampworship[at]aol[dot]com
Harsh | Power Electronics | Black Ambient noise since 1998
400 Northside Drive
Carrollton, GA 30117
To check out more work of Eric Crowe: