Interview || The One With Adam Wentworth from All Pigs Must Die

All Pigs Must Die is a band that never confined its sound to a sole genre. Formed in 2010, they made a name for themselves playing ruthless music fueled by resentment and rational cynicism. With an EP and two full-length albums under their belt, the band returns with new material and Unraveled had a quick chat with guitarist Adam Wentworth, who discussed the creation of their forthcoming album, "Hostage Animal", the addition of a new member and his views on the current state of the world. 

U: Four years after the release of “Nothing Violates This Nature”, you return with your new album, “Hostage Animal”. How have things been in your camp in the mean time?

Adam Wentworth: There was a fairly steady period of inactivity following "Nothing Violates This Nature", mainly due to people moving around, starting families, being busy with other bands, etc. Now most of us actually live in the same state, we’ve got a new lineup, and are really excited for the release of this record. None of us have become less busy, but there’s a renewed sense of energy and availability with the band.

U: Is there a story behind the title? What is the differentiation point between this album and the previous releases?

A. W.: The title "Hostage Animal" is about not being able to reconcile within yourself. A groundless state produced by fear, paranoia, hatred, etc. Unable to make sense of up and down, you retreat further inwards, becoming a prisoner in your own head. Clarity fades, reason erodes… it’s a feral state, backed into a corner by your own mind where everything becomes purely reactionary. Total mental devolution.

The overall theme is the same as our other releases, but where those songs have focused on the external factors, there’s more that touches upon the the other side of that lens with the material on this record.

U: You also have a new addition, Brian Izzi of Trap Them on guitars. How did that come about? How does the fifth member affect your dynamic in terms of creativity and composing this album?

A. W.: We’ve all known Brian for years, and whenever the idea of another guitar player would come up, he was the only person we ever considered. I think something like the first 6 APMD shows were with Trap Them, he and Kevin were co-workers, etc. There was an almost constant crossover between us and him, so it just made sense. His personality fit with us, his playing style fit with us. It’s been a perfect match.

Having another guitarist has changed the dynamic quite a bit. We always tracked 2 guitar parts on our records, but more and more it was getting trickier to replicate live, and there were a few songs that we flat out couldn’t pull off properly. So now, not only can we faithfully reproduce everything from earlier recordings, moving forward we’re able to step into areas sonically that we really couldn’t before. It’s very freeing. We can pay attention to nuances and dynamics in the live setting and dial in our sound a lot more. Now it feels like flying a plane whereas when we were a 4 piece it was more akin to driving a bulldozer, if that makes any sense.

U: People have been referring to APMD as a supergroup for years. Personally, I’ve always thought that, with such terms, the collective creative effort tends to be overshadowed by the members’ other bands. What’s your view on that?

A. W.: People love labels. I get it - I think ‘supergroup’ is a silly term, but it’s relative and it can mean different things to different people. On the one hand I think it can give the listener a skewed expectation of something based on the “members of” thing, but at the same time I’m not going to sit here and act like we haven’t had advantages because of it. There are pros and cons. We’ll be tagged with that term by some people forever, and that’s fine. It’s all out of our hands. It doesn’t matter. Is the sauce on this sandwich an aioli? Is it locally sourced artisanal free-range craft mayo? I don’t know and I don’t care. But I can tell you if I think it’s good or not.

U: APMD is an angry band that vehemently criticizes the human condition and modern world in general, with a spectrum of lyrics ranging from existentialism to cynicism to nihilism -in this album, the track “Slave Morality” is a direct reference to Nietzsche. Is philosophy important in the tumultuous times that we live in?

A. W.: It is in the sense that some sort of rational and critical thought needs to be adhered to on the most basic levels. So many are operating purely on emotional reactions, in a world of disinformation. No one seems to care about solving anything, they just care about being right. The world is not black and white, but a lot of people like to think it is. We live in an ocean of grey, and navigating that is anything but simple. When the only thing guiding you is emotion, that’s not always going to be a very accurate map.

U: Goethe believed that “none are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe that they are free”, a quote that remains relevant after 200 years, and which can be interpreted in many interesting ways. What is your interpretation regarding the current situation of the world? What is freedom for you? And finally, is there still hope that humanity will change its ways?

A. W.: I think that fear is the most effective motivator in life. The more fear one subscribes to, the more willing one is to give up their freedom. Fear can make you abandon logic, act against your own interests, and become controllable. The concept of freedom obviously applies to life in many ways, and I don’t believe pure freedom is possible in our society. But in the simplest of terms, freedom to me is not giving into the fear and not buying into the hysteria. The wholesale subscription to sensationalism is caging people. When you’re not doing what you want to because of fear, you are no longer free. I have little hope humanity will change its ways, at least not in a positive direction. We are inherently flawed, and we’re not going to evolve out of that. Sure, incremental progress is always being made, but we as a species fall back into the same traps again and again.

U: What super power does your music have?

A. W.: Headphones + APMD = the ability to drown out any and all lousy conversations within earshot at all times. (ed. -True. True. So very true)

U: Have you ever been caught doing something you shouldn’t be doing?

A. W.: I got caught egging my math teacher’s house on Halloween in 9th grade. She would cover her house in Christmas lights starting around September, Clark Griswold-style. Everyone in town knew where she lived because her home was basically a 3 story light bulb. But because of that, the house was regularly egged, so her older sons would hide at the edges of her property in the bushes and wait to grab eggists. It was a sting operation basically. Since then I’ve managed to elude capture, but that’s definitely not the last house I egged. The trick is to egg houses in the spring and summer because no one is expecting it. Not a big deal.

U: If you could have a 1-minute phone conversation with a younger you, what age would you call and what would you tell yourself?

A. W.: I’d call 25 year old me when I was moving to New York City and tell myself to do whatever it takes to buy property right away, wait 10 years, and then sell it to some asshole for 15 times what I paid for it.

U: What is the weirdest thing a fan has ever done?

A. W.: The one APMD story that comes to mind I am not going to tell because the guy seems legitimately unstable and has shown up at other shows since the initial incident, so I don’t really want to poke the bear. But here’s another story from a while ago with a different band.

I think this was around 2002, but we were on tour in Alabama and this dude at the show asks us if we all need a place to stay. There are 17 of us (multiple bands and crew). He says he’s got a house with plenty of room. We’re all broke so we jump at a free place to sleep. So we follow this guy way out into the sticks to what we naturally assume is his house. We pull into this weird lot, basically in the woods… decaying kids toys all over the lawn, real Deliverance vibe. We follow this guy into the house, and there’s no threshold at the front door, so the dirt from the yard is blending into the carpet and the place is a total mess. There is no curtain in the shower, there’s a wall missing in the kitchen… it looks like a set from a horror movie. Dude shows us around and says “OK this room right here is locked, so don’t go in there, and you have to make sure you are out of the house by noon SHARP” and he starts to leave. We’re like “uhh where are you going?” and he says “Oh I don’t live here. I am in real estate and this is a house I just sold. There’s a family moving in at 1PM, and all their belongings are in that locked room, so you gotta be gone before they get here. Lock the door when you leave”. The dude leaves, and now we’re just in one. One of the guys in the other band says “We better take a picture of all of us right now, because it’s the last time any of us will ever be seen alive” and then immediately the guy comes back into the house and says “Well you’re gonna need someone to take that picture!” so he had clearly been outside the front door listening. Great. Someone hands him a camera and he goes “Alright everybody say buttfuck!”. Totally standard stuff, not weird at all, right? He hands back the camera and leaves again. Not wanting whatever might have gone down later that night to happen to us, we watched out the window until his tail lights were gone and we got right the fuck out of there. We drove all night and slept in a parking lot somewhere in North Carolina.

U: What’s a song that needs to be played LOUD?

A. W.: The Bob Seger System - Ramblin’ Gamblin Man. It’s the opening track on the album of the same name. If you don’t know this record, and you’re thinking about “Night Moves” or anything, just forget all that. It’s different. Track this record down and crank it (preferably while driving fast).

U: What do you want the band’s legacy to be?

A. W.: That we never phoned it in.

All Pigs Must Die's new album, "Hostage Animal", is due October 27th via Southern Lord Records, pre-order/buy here.
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