The Underground Sounds of America: HEALTH
Welcome to the latest installment of USA: The Underground Sounds of America, our series that shines a spotlight on the most underrated rock, metal, punk, and hardcore bands in the United States. Each week, we ask one band member to answer five unique questions so you can get to know them better. Because if you aren’t already a fan of the artist featured below… you should be.
Los Angeles, California’s HEALTH are one of those bands that are nearly impossible to describe — but if we had to take a stab at it: imagine a supergroup of baby-faced serial killers hell-bent on fusing their love of poppy ’80s dance music and apocalyptic industrial metal used to torture prisoners of war.
Interest piqued yet? It should be, because HEALTH is one of the most intense and electrifying bands in the U.S. — one that’s toured with artists as varied as Nine Inch Nails, Deafheaven, Ho99o9, Purity Ring, and Interpol. Their blend of industrial riffs and booming beats with beautiful hooks and sweetly crooned vocals is enough to trick your grandmother into paying attention before bludgeoning her with a sonic assault.
Their newest full-length release, Vol. 4. :: Slaves of Fear, takes their greatest strengths to new heights: it’s both heavier and more melodic than anything to precede it, as evidenced by the album’s latest single, Strange Days (1999).
If that video weren’t creepy enough, HEALTH has just debuted a brand new true crime mystery webisode for the track — one which coincides with a Facebook Messenger game that allows fans to act as detectives sleuthing for the truth.
(Yeah. We’re telling you: this band is terrifying.)
Produced by longtime collaborator Lars Stalfors (Lil Peep, St. Vincent, Bob Moses), Vol. 4. builds upon HEALTH’s earlier work — rooted in post-punk and noise rock — and incorporates elements of thrash metal, Soundcloud rap, and even classic rock (“secretly our biggest influence,” the band tells us).
We decided to ask bassist John Famiglietti a few burning questions in the hopes of getting to know him and his mysterious bandmates (including vocalist/guitarist Jake Duzsik and drummer BJ Miller) a little bit better. Check out our conversation below:
If you had to play a newcomer one HEALTH song to introduce them to the band, what would it be?
STONEFIST, I suppose. I don’t know if we have a song that summarizes our whole bit.
What are you most excited for people to hear on Vol. 4: Slaves Of Fear?
The album in sequence. Not the most fashionable concept these days but we still very much care about the album experience… that and people hearing some of our new sounds/noises.
How was working with Lars Stalfors in the studio? What’d he bring to the table?
Its really easy to work with Stalfors — we come from similar musical backgrounds growing up in Southern California, so we have a musical shorthand with each other. Stalfors is extremely artist focused as a producer, which is why he’s able to work with artists in completely unrelated genres. He basically wants to help you realize whatever thing/idea you’re trying to do — but his greatest talent is that he will get you to finish what you’re working on.
Who would be on HEALTH’s dream tour?
Assuming I can choose anyone from any time: a Mozart and Beethoven B2B set. Bringing anyone back from the dead — much less a classical composer — is gonna be the biggest deal ever. HEALTH is direct support.
What’s the worst experience you’ve ever had on tour?
I’d been partying for several days straight — no sleep — and we had to take a red-eye flight to LA to show our faces for the screening of a short we did with Pablo Ferro for Sundance Next. I was walking to the bathroom, and felt this incredible calm like I was floating, and went totally dark. I awoke with people looking down on me like a movie scene where they wake the guy up after he gets knocked out, and some dude was screaming in my face. Anyway, I successfully convinced not to make an emergency landing.
Other than music, what hobby are you most passionate about?
I have a powerful passion for all things high fantasy. Dungeons and Dragons… shit like that.
Be sure to pre-order Vol. 4 :: Slaves of Fear, and catch HEALTH on tour throughout all of North America this spring:
09 Oakland, CA – The New Parish
10 San Francisco, CA – The Independent
12 Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
13 Vancouver, BC – Venue Nightclub
14 Seattle, WA – Neumos
16 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
17 Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater
19 Saint Paul, MN – Amsterdam Bar & Grill
20 Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge
21 Cleveland, OH – Grog Shop
22 Detroit, MI – El Club
23 Toronto, ON – Velvet Underground
25 Brooklyn, NY – Elsewhere The Hall
26 Boston, MA – The Sinclair
27 Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts
28 Washington, DC – Rock N Roll Hotel
30 Atlanta, GA – Masquerade – Purgatory
01 Baton Rouge, LA – Spanish Moon
02 Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall
03 Austin, TX – Mohawk
04 Dallas, TX – Club Dada
06 Santa Fe, NM – Meow Wolf
07 Phoenix, AZ – Valley Bar
10 Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom
Live photos: Jen Rosenstein
Art rock powerhouse Daughters will hit the road this winter with HEALTH and Show Me The Body along for the ride.
According to the band’s Instagram, the exchange appears to be all in good humor.