After mentioning his love for Genghis Tron on a previous podcast, clown and founding member Hamilton Jordan connect for a conversation about music, art, and the importance of taking a break to reset.
The latest edition of clown’s Electric Theater is a shining example of the organic reach of the podcast.
During a previous episode, clown happened to mention his love for the band Genghis Tron, particularly the band’s 2008 album, ‘Board Up The House’. That mention eventually got to the band directly who were excited about the praise. Just a few episodes later, clown and founding member of Genghis Tron, Hamilton Jordan, connected for a conversation between musicians that was rooted in mutual respect.
Dissecting the forward-thinking aggression of record that introduced clown to the band, Jordan revisted the era and discussed the band’s earliest days when students in college in Upstate New York bonded over their mutual love of death metal, grindcore, and electronic-based music like Squarepusher and Depeche Mode.
Detailing the evolution of the band, the need for the drum machine, and the development of their sonic identity, Jordan also explained that the project far exceeded the minimal expectations they had when starting the unit. However, Jordan also shared that the grind of the touring cycle for a working class band eventually led to a need to take a break so as not to create resentment. What was supped to be maybe a year away, resulted in a 12 year hiatus that saw lots of life happen in between albums.
Coming full circle, Jordan also discussed the fulfillment of the band’s first effort back in ‘Dream Machine’ and how the band was unsure how they would be received after being gone for so long. Jordan also shared how at 15, he watched Slipknot on their first ever North American tour and how witnessing the hype set him on a path that has ultimately lead him here.
Stream the complete conversation with Hamilton Jordan of Genghis Tron on the Electric Theater below.
1:09 – clown explained how many years ago he discovered the importance of “shuffle mode” when it comes to music and shared how he allows music to find him. Music seems more meaningful that way. For context, he explains how that was how he came across Genghis Tron’s ‘Board Up the House’ and fell in love with it. So much that he listened to it for a year straight.
3:09 – clown continued to profess his admiration for this particular Genghis Tron record and explains that his fascination was further affirmed when he finally got his hands on the album art. Sharing that album art has always been important to him, since he was a kid, the visual translation coupled with what was going on in the music sort of affirmed that he had discovered something worthwhile.
4:40 – clown shared that the songs on the record that hooked him where “I Won’t Come Back Alive” and “Relief” and detailed how those tracks in particular were strong enough on their own to reel him in for good.
7:55 – Before bringing clown up to speed on the progress of Genghis Tron since their 2008 LP, ‘Board Up The House,’ Hamilton Jordan thanked him for being so genuine about his love for the record and the opportunity to talk to him. He also shared that with clown discovering the band some five years ago, that was in the middle of 12 year hiatus for Genghis Tron. Jordan confided that he would be surprised that anyone was still discovering their music.
9:14 – Jordan discussed the inception of Genghis Tron back when he was 19 years old. He talked about moving to go to school in upstate New York and meeting Michael Sochynsky. He said that he was someone who was into all the grind core and death metal stuff that he loved but also loved stuff like Squarepusher, Aphex Twin, and Depeche Mode. That laid the groundwork for the band in that they thought to combine the aggressiveness with some of the ambient that they both loved. The band started in 2004 with no ambition to do anything more than play some shows and by 2005, they have been signed and released their first EP, ‘Cloak of Love’
12:16 – Jordan explained that the programmed drums was twofold – one, at the time the guys didn’t know any drummers so he handled the drum machine. Also, the members of Genghis Ton all loved that kind of synthetic percussion sound derived from their love of electronic music. Hence why the band started with no drummer.
15:45 – Jordan detailed why the band ultimately decided to tale a break. The grind of the touring cycle for a working class band can wear on the relationship between the members and rather that strain that connection and ruin the creativity, the guys opted to take what was suppose to be a six month, year long break. That break lasted 12 years.
20:47 – After gushing about the genius of ‘Board Up the House’ a bit more, clown discussed his admiration for the drum machine and talked about his use of similar programs to record demos. Though the program he uses features programmed drums played by an actual drummer. He goes on to discuss how most bands use technology to be efficient but end up being too linear, whereas Genghis Tron worked on the fringe in a great way.
26:54 – Referencing the crescendo of the album, clown talked about how much he enjoys ‘Relief” again and felt like it was such a powerful ending to an album.
27:40 – Getting into the grind core and death metal background, clown talked about how Paul Gray, Mick, and Joey introduced him to the heavier side of music. He also talked about how he loves Skinny Puppy and loves that Jordan is influenced by that band.
30:35 – Jordan shared that after Genghis Tron put out the ‘Board Up The House’ album, he went back to school and became a lawyer. Now established in his career, Jordan shared that he has the mental bandwidth to get back into the swing of making music again.
32:50 – Jordan explained that on the side he helps criminal litigants that are looking to appeal their cases who cannot afford legal counsel.
34:15 – Jordan discussed that with members of Genghis Tron spread across two countries and everyone having their own lives and careers and families, they prospect of touring is something they’d like to do but it’s tough to make those kinds of plans. He also confide that with this return, he had no idea how they would be received after being gone for so long.
35:50 – Jordan laughed when he recalled right when the band was winding down how the offers for tours were becoming more and more enticing.
36:25 – clown shared his understanding of how the grind associated with music can burn you out. He confided that early in Slipknot’s career he was in tears when he thought about the prospect of being gone from home for so long. Clown described those times were especially rough because there was no money and though the band was blowing up, the future wasn’t certain.
38:00 – Advocating for the idea of taking an extended break from the grind of music, clown shared that it takes him a good year un between album and touring cycles to just recover physically. It then takes him an additional six months just to get adjusted to the reality of home. It’s about the year and a half mark that he begins to get mentally ready to go into art mode again and begin creating for the next cycle.
41:28 – The guys again find common ground in their love for the band Big Black. While clown cited that band as one of his top 5 of all time, Jordan shared that the one and only cover Genghis Tron has ever done was the song “Bad Penny” from Big Black.
46:35 – Jordan discussed how one of the overarching goals of the new record was to create a world that the listener can get lost in.
47:55 – Clown discussed that while he is involved with so much, music has always been the one constant for him always. In that regard, he thanked Jordan for contributing to that.
50:19 – As the conversation closed Jordan talked about seeing Slipknot twice in the same year when he was 15. He saw the band in Atlanta with Coal Chamber and again for his first Ozzfest in 1999 and said that the performances certainly left a mark. He thanked clown for being formative in ushering him towards the darker, heavier side of music and said how surreal it was to be talking to him some twenty years later.
53:00 – clown shared that as he gets ofder he loves that he is finding music the way that people found him- organically. Echoing the idea of being connected, clown talked about that Coal Chamber tour that Jordan caught at The Masquerade in Atlanta and discussed one of the supporting bands in Impotent Sea Snakes, really detailing how vivid the memory was.
‘Dream Weapon’ from Genghis Tron is currently available via Relapse Records – HERE