Rather than worship solely at the altar of Amphetamine Reptile, Memphis’ Pressed choose to navigate the realms of noise rock in their own unique way. They weave together noise rock’s affinity for groove and grimy tones with sludgy guitars and dissonant, more metal adjacent characteristics, which results in a raw, undoubtedly vicious and pissed sound. The band’s 2017 debut EP, Anxiety Dream, showcases this sound throughout five venomous tracks that will pique the interest of noise rock enthusiasts of all shapes and sizes.
Svbterranean recently caught up with 3/4ths of the band to discuss their introductions to noise rock, their new EP, and more.
Could you please introduce yourselves and your roles in Pressed?
BA: My name is Brian Anderson. I am the vocalist in Pressed.
BF: My name is Buddy Forbess. I play drums for Pressed.
ML: My name is Matt Leathers. I play guitar in Pressed.
How did Pressed come to be?
BA: Matt and Buddy started working on stuff together about a year and a half ago as a two piece. Buddy and I had known each other for years and been friends, and Matt’s girlfriend is one of my closest friends, so she had a big part in hooking the three of us up to start this. From there we worked with a bassist that ended up falling through, so we contacted KP to fill in on bass, and haven’t looked back since.
BF: Matt and I started kicking around ideas around January 2017. Matt’s band at the time had dissolved and I really wanted to make music again. I’ve been in bands since I was 16, mostly as a guitarist, although I was raised playing many different instruments. Up until we started jamming, I hadn’t been playing with anyone for quite some time. So, I decided to dive back into my drums and see what would happen. We enlisted my long time friend Brian on vocals and in my opinion there was never a second choice for that position. As far as bass, we worked with a few people that filled the position but never really became concrete as a song-writing member until we found KP.
ML: The last band I was in ended. I played bass in that band but I was really wanting to get back into playing guitar again. I had a few riffs written so, in January last year, I asked Buddy if he wanted to jam and see what happened. I think we both really liked what was starting to take shape so we decided to try and start filling out the rest of the band. We got Brian in on vocals and clicked with him pretty quickly. We pretty much had the EP written before we actually found a bass player. The first guy didn’t work out but now KP is in the band and we aren’t letting him leave even if he wants to.
What was your first exposure to noise rock and what continues to draw you to the genre?
BA: My background musically is more black metal and doom rooted than the other guys. Raw black metal and D-beat are usually my heavier genres of choice. But as far as noise rock is concerned, bands like Unsane, and KEN Mode are huge influences. The genre of noise rock really has very few limitations, as opposed to most heavier genres, and I think that is a huge benefit to Pressed.
BF: The guitarist of my first band got me into bands like Hum, Failure, Far, and Shudder To Think back around 2002. That was my initial introduction to anything noise rock. What continues to draw me in is the raw energy and the genreless obligations when writing. There’s no formula, no trend to follow. Noise is just noise, man.
ML: I think my first exposure to noise rock was probably through bands like The Jesus Lizard, Unsane, Melvins, Helmet. All the big ones. Actually, I guess really my first exposure would be Bleach by Nirvana. That’s totally a noise rock album. Really. From there I guess I dove deeper to find more bands. The genre is kind of limitless. So many of the bands sound nothing alike. Some are super heavy, others aren’t. There’s something weird for everybody.
How do you feel Pressed approaches the noise rock genre differently than others?
BA: Due to the fact my background is more so black metal, D-Beat, and doom more than anything, it is prevalent in my vocal style. It gives a different dynamic to Pressed, being a noise rock band. I try not to go too overboard, but the influence is obviously there. I think it helps in setting this band apart from other bands in the genre.
BF: Our influences set us apart. Personally, I was raised on blues, classic country and seventies rock until I got older and fell in love with hardcore, alternative, punk, grunge, metal and noise rock. I literally listen to everything, which can be an advantage and sometimes a disadvantage when writing. As a band we come together to create a more aggressive style of noise rock that’s almost verging on metal. We don’t really go for any certain kind of sound. We just want to be loud. haha
ML: We obviously aren’t doing anything revolutionary. But I think we are maybe a little more on the aggressive side. I think Brian’s vocals give us a different sound than a lot of “noise rock” bands. Maybe we are a little more riffy. I don’t know. Like I said before, the genre is really wide open, so who cares.
How has writing and performing in Pressed pushed you as musicians?
BA: Pressed is unique for me because there aren’t limits. My songs go from topics ranging from my struggles with depression and addiction, to automatic writing pieces about puppies, and everything in between. Whatever has heart is accepted in this band. Hell, they even let me write an entire song in Enochian (an ancient Angelic language).
BF: When I was younger my idea of good drumming was “how fast can I play these kick drums?” haha.. In writing with Pressed, I decided to go back to my roots. Single kick, fill-based grooves, no real flashy shit. I wanted to take it back to almost a John Stanier (Helmet) or Bryan St. Pere (Hum) style of drumming.
ML: I have been in bands since I was 14 but until the last few years had taken a very very long break from playing music. So some days I still feel like I am just getting used to playing guitar again. Being the one guitar player a lot of the song writing kind of naturally comes down to me. But I don’t really feel any pressure from that. Playing music means and does something totally different for me now than it did in the past, so there is no pressure. I think we are just trying to write songs that we like and don’t get sick of playing over and over again.
How do you feel the Tennessee music scene has had an influence on you?
BA: My first experiences playing local shows go back to when I was 14. I am now 35. I absolutely love this city, and the majority of the people involved with local music. For 21 years I’ve watched this scene grow and shrink with the times, but there are still so many gems and just great music held within. I will be honest, and say, you cannot please everyone. It’s a hard fact to accept sometimes, and I’ve made my fair share of mistakes as well, but when you readily put in the hard work and heart, it is noticed. The support we receive is plenty of motivation to keep pushing on.
BF: That’s a long story. I’ve been involved with the local scene here since I was 17, I’m 33 now. There’s a huge amount of support for music in this city, of any kind. No matter how many bands pop up, people are still so hungry for it. The vibe in this city is constantly evolving and growing. I love it.
What can you tell us about the creation of your debut EP, Anxiety Dream?
BA: The initial set of songs we wrote ended up being the core of the EP. In the beginning we would average writing about a song a month, until enough songs were compiled (some thrown out, others reworked) until the EP was complete. Bornless was the last song to be written, and if memory serves me, I did a lot of my decision making for that song in studio. Alyssa Moore at Move The Air Audio recorded the EP, and is hands down one of the best engineers in the city. She understood us, and the sounds we were going for. We ended up knocking everything out in about a day and a half.
BF: We really wanted to make something very in-your-face aggressive. The songs sort of just happened, without really setting a completion date. Once we decided we had enough material that we were all happy with, we brought it to Alyssa Moore at Move The Air here in Memphis. She was super easy to work with and on the same page as us through the entire process. Tracking everything took about a day and a half. We are very happy with the results.
ML: Once we threw out the shitty songs and had 5 that we liked enough to record we got in touch with our friend Alyssa Moore at Move the Air Audio here in Memphis and booked some studio time. Working with her was great. We wanted something a little gritty sounding. I love how when you’re listening to an Unsane record sometimes you feel like you’re in an alley about to get stabbed or something. We wanted something kind of dirty like that and I think Alyssa did a really good job capturing it.
What are some of the themes explored on the record and how does the title of the record tie into those themes?
BA: I am bipolar schizophrenic, and a recovering alcoholic. My lyrics are one of very few outlets I have to deal with some of my issues. So the titles deal with issues relating to such, depression, my interests in esoterica and occultism, the expansion of consciousness, and honestly just trying to make it day by day as an addict. The title is a direct result of many things I deal with daily, and I think the other members also.
BF: Lyrically that’s Brian’s department. Musically, I feel the name “Anxiety Dream” describes the tension we create. That moment before everything around you collapses and falls apart.
ML: Lyrics are all Brian. But I think everyone experiences anxiety and that anxiety can manifest itself in a million different ways.
How does the artwork tie into the album thematically?
BA: From my knowledge of the photo, very little. From what I know, this photo is of a friend of Matt’s. Just a random photo of a kid using newspapers as blankets, watching TV. I’m sure some deep meaning could be glued onto it, but in reality we just thought it was a cool photo for an EP.
BF: Ask Matt haha I love the cover, but I don’t think there’s a real theme involved.
ML: Haha. That is a picture of my friend Amy from when she was a kid. She showed me that picture a long time ago and something about it just stuck with me. I told her I was going to use it for an album cover long before Pressed was even formed. So I did. It works.
What is next for Pressed in the near future?
BA: We have quite a few local shows coming up with some great bands. Including Tongue Party, and KEN Mode. Along with newer local bands like Overstayer. We are just about done compiling songs for our next release. Having KP on bass now has been awesome, because he comes from a different musical background than all of us, and the different influences have helped with writing dramatically. The plan is to record again early next year, and hopefully do some small tours to support. As much as we love Memphis, we do also look forward to playing other cities as well.
BF: We have some really fun shows coming up too with Tongue Party, Pretty Please, Birds In Row, and KEN Mode in the months to come. Also, we are in the midst of writing our next record. With having KP in the band we are ALL bringing something to the table. The writing is progressing nicely and I can’t wait to show everyone what we’ve been working on!
ML: We are currently writing for our next release. Hoping to record early 2019 and do a couple small tours. In the meantime we’ve got a bunch of cool shows in Memphis coming up before the end of the year playing with bands like Tongue Party, KEN Mode, Wrong, who are all a lot better than us. Go listen to them.
Any final words or thoughts?
BA: I just want to thank this site for the opportunity to answer these questions. We try and support the people that support us 200% if not more. Our fans are the best, and without their love this band would be nothing. So thank you to everyone that has come to a show, listened to a song, bought a shirt or tape… It means so much to us, and we will have their backs no matter what.
BF: Huge thanks to Lane here at svbterannean for wanting to talk to us. Also we couldn’t do this without the support of our city and everyone that finds us on spotify, bandcamp, facebook, or instagram. Thanks guys!
ML: Thanks for listening to our band!