We live in a time when pigeonholing artists into a singular genre is increasingly meaningless. From emo rap, to lofi chillwave pop, to neo nu metalcore, the global interconnectivity of the internet has allowed artists to experiment and create new styles in a way that we have never seen before.
Out of the nexus of Seattle’s underground scene, a new alt saviour emerges. While emo and punk influences have been seeping into the contemporary hip-hop scene, the reverse is admittedly not as common. Not only is their sound a unique blend of trap and extreme deathcore, but their aesthetic combines the cult-like visuals of Odd Future and Pussy Riot with a grotesque, contemporary grunge-vaporwave sensibility. Scythe Gang 666 is an assault on the senses.
I caught up with band member skimask the drumgod to find out their story and the inspirations they draw from to create the unique beast that is Scythe Gang 666.
Who is Scythe Gang 666? Is it a band? Is it a movement? Is it a collective?
At our core we’re a band with defined instrumental roles. Our guitarist Maezi handles the production side of things and for live shows we’re playing instruments. Beyond that we’re a movement, a mindset, a family broader than just the people playing the songs. The visual aesthetic with the masks and everything is meant to let people become extensions of the group.
Everybody in this project is a misfit and we wanted to provide an outlet for other misfits to let loose with the same “fuck it, do what you think is cool” attitude we approach the music with. We had forty-plus people hyped about the project involved with the first video and that’s just the beginning.
Describe your origins. Did you get together to just make the heaviest, wildest music you could think of? Or did it come out organically?
Scythe Gang was born from four people wanting to go all in on something that pushed the envelope more than our previous projects. Most of our previous endeavors felt like by-the-numbers genre work and we were looking to do something different with a hip-hop foundation. Maezi, Zabb and Michael were headed in that direction with a metalcore band they’d been doing for awhile, eventually they brought me in on drums and we decided to go full bore on the aggro trap vibe as a new project.
We’ve heard a lot of artists in the trap world bringing in sounds from more extreme metal/hardcore and vice versa but haven’t really seen anybody walk directly on the line between the two and that’s what we’ve all been trying to find for years as fans of this stuff. Maezi was already doing solo trap production and Michael was taking a lot of cues from artists like City Morgue and Scxrlord so it was a pretty organic shift to start writing songs in this vein.
Who are your direct influences? What does it mean to be ‘extreme trap core’?
Our goal is to make experimental crossover music that we’d want to hear. So far we’ve only showed off one side of this thing but we’re bringing more to the table. One minute we want people to think “why the fuck is Denzel Curry fronting Nails?” followed by “when did Corpsegrinder end up on this jpeg beat?”
If you’re not learning from hip-hop right now you’re fucking up
The music and visuals are obviously very aggressive. What is your philosophy for that?
Everything about this project is supposed to be aggressive as hell. “Aggressive” itself is basically the philosophy behind the whole thing. It’s not humorless though, we’re conveying this larger-than-life persona and then laughing at the absurdity of it.
What’s the heavy music scene like in the Pacific North West?
It’s pretty active but partitioned into mini scenes without much crossover. There are healthy hardcore, black/death metal, grind and “Warped Tour” scenes, they don’t seem to interact all that much.
It seems like music fans are drawn towards hip-hop more than punk or emo in the traditional scene-kid sense. How has that impacted you as musicians? Or maybe it hasn’t?
We’ve all been into rap/hip-hop since high school or earlier. Hip-hop is murdering most rock based artists on all fronts right now, from forward-thinking production to lyrics to genre fusion to visual aesthetics. There’s an insane diversity of sounds happening under the umbrella of hip-hop with an affinity for experimentation that I don’t see nearly as much in a traditional rock/metal settings.
That’s not to say every rock band sucks, there’s plenty of good shit out there trying interesting things (Code Orange and Show Me The Body come to mind), but if you’re not learning from hip-hop right now you’re fucking up.
Is there an album in the works?
We have enough tracks together for a tape right now but currently we’re focusing on pushing out select singles with videos. We’ll put out some form of collected works when it feels like the right time.
What does your grandmother think about your music?
She’s in the AK video, you just can’t tell cuz of the masks.