Intrinsic is one of the more interesting bands I have met in my career. They don’t fit a particular genre, when you first hear them you think of nirvana during the Bleach album. Not exactly grunge, but not punk or rock either. When I interview someone usually the interview just turns into a conversation, with the interview question becoming a side note. The interview with Intrinsic no different. we ended up talking about music for four hours when the interview only lasted about half an hour. What you get here is only a tidbit of their view of the music scene. Enjoy.
How did Intrinsic get started?
Mike: Intrinsic formed, in November of 2009, from the ashes of another band, Xanthium. The one band broke up when our bass player, Kevin, left and about three days later we started Intrinsic.
So this upcoming album coming up will be the first from this line up?
Mike: We have one album prior to this called “Before The Violence”. It is more of a compilation than an album. Half of the songs were Xantheon songs that we recorded as Xantheon. Instead of throwing away all of theses recordings we brought them in to this band and released them as singles. That album came out in September of 2009 so this will be our first album in a long time.
Phil: This will be our first album as just Intrinsic that we have dedicated a ton of time into.
Your music does cross a lot of styles to the point you created your own style called Subvert. How would you define Subvert?
Mike: That was because everyone would try to put us in a genre. “You’re grunge”, no grunge died in like 95. “You’re punk”, no punk is long dead. No disrespect to anyone, but there are a lot of punk revival bands popping up recently, which is cool, but that’s not what we are. The term, subvert, means that we like a variety of music but we don’t let outside music influence what we are doing.
Al: We try to define Subvert as punk with a brain. Instead of being completely against the government all the time, and being anti establishment all of the time, we just want to go out an create our own sound and make good music.
Skyler: We are kind of like that, punk with a brain. Subversion in itself, the literal meaning as far as I know is out with the old and in with the new, because I personally hate the main stream music scene in Rochester.
Al: Subvert means to take down the leader or the king. So who ever the leader is in the music scene right now we want to take them down. It is really just our opinion on what music should sound like. We think that’s how everyone should play, instead of just playing a genre. Subvert is your own opinion on music rather than copying what is around you.
Skyler: God created Intrinsic in his image.
Mike: No Intrinsic created god in our image; when you see god, its four human faces on one neck. (Laughs)
So that was my next question, what do you guys think of the music scene?
Skyler: I fucking hate it
Mike: I think there are a lot of good bands in the area if you look for them. There are a lot of bottom feeders, like us, who raise their hands and try to be noticed. Horseface, The Results, Keaton is very entertaining live, Endangered Youth as well. There are great bands out there; you just have to dig to find them. There are a lot of bands that kids are into and I don’t really think that kids know why there are into the music they are into they just follow the crowd.
Phil: The 31st show, at the Brew House, I got a chance to witness a lot of awesome bands that fall under the style of Subvert. Horseface and Endangered Youth played and they are just incredible but not known on a larger level.
Mike: I think Horseface had the best performance that night. Endangered Youth played an awesome show as well, they destroyed a microphone.
How has the band changed from when you guys first started to the upcoming album?
Phil: The style has changed over the years but our mindset when we approach music is the same.
Skyler: We all have facial hair now.
Al: the big change was when we started out we were very new musicians. Our guitar teacher was Bud Scerio, he taught us blues. So when we started out we wanted to be very blues based. Over the course of multiple bands we went from a more bluesy, psychedelic feel to metal and punk, to grunge.
Skyler: Actually I met these guys with my old band, Skin Trap. We wanted to put a show on and have Intrinsic in on it, which never panned out. But Bud Scerio, who taught me bass, also taught these guys. It turns out that he was trying to get them to take my phone number so we could get together and jam. So this line up was inevitable, I was stuck with these fuckers either way.
Al: I guess Justin (an old member) shaped the next level of our sound. One he came in we got more into a Misfits’ style of music. He really pushed that sound.
Mike: Justin was the only one like me in the sense that he listen to Rob Zombie, Judas Priest, Heart, and all of these bands that weren’t like each other and he didn’t look like a metal head. So that was the foundation of Intrinsic.
Skyler: From an outside view looking in, Xantheon had a metal edge to it but it was really simplistic. It sounded like a bunch of teenagers making music in their basement, which essentially that’s what it was. When I heard it for the first time it was real punk really high energy stuff. The old bass player Kevin used to do the craziest antics on stage. So when I saw them play I said “that’s the band I want to play with”.
Al: We used to call the old bass player Angus Young because he would do the kicks and antics on stage.
Skyler: This is the third generation of bands just in this basement.
Mike: Basically anything Greek related we had a band named after it. But Intrinsic is probably compared to Xanthium the most because both Al and I were in both bands.
Skyler: This is like Intrinsic 6.0 at this point.
What is Ghost Film Production?
Mike: Ghostfilm Productions is Phil’s Uncle’s business
Phil: Ghost Film is my uncle’s business. He does music videos, weddings, and photography, in a ton of different venues. He told us when we were on the radio that we needed to name drop. So out of the blue mike started name dropping Ghost Film Productions.
You guys have a favorite place to play in Rochester?
Mike: We really just like playing where ever, basement or big venue. It doesn’t matter if there are ten or ten thousand we just like to play.
Al: Probably our current favorite place to play is The Meatgrinder.
Phil: Meatgrinder was awesome.
Skyler: I was playing a show with Anatomical Gift a while back. I played a show with them, Assbeer, and Chillum at a punk house out in Cornhill they called it The Corn Hole. It was a really cool it was a duplex they turned into a venue.
Mike: The Corn Hole was a duplex? There was two ways into The Corn Hole? Did you like it in The Corn Hole? (Hysteric Laughing)
Skyler: I just couldn’t get enough of The Corn Hole. The only thing negative about it was that they only had Genesee Cream Ale to drink. No water or anything, it was just Cream Ale, the sink didn’t work, just a fridge of Cream Ale.
Mike: I’m just glad you didn’t ask us what bands influence us. That’s always the stupid question that everyone asks. Personally we have influences, I love a whole bunch of different music. But just like you leave your stress at the door, we leave our influence at the door and what ever happens happens.
I used to ask that question when I first interviewed artists but all I ever got was a list of music they listened to.
Skyler: Every band that had been and ever band that will come has influenced Intrinsic!
Al: Any Myspace band page you just end up with a page of band names under their influence section but then their bio is like two sentences and there is no music.
Mike: I think if we had to sum up an actual influence. The actual inspiration would be…
Skyler: BOWSER! (holds up Mario N64 game)
Mike: Actually yes. We all played video games when we were younger. Al will make melodies that sound like they have been ripped out of Tetris. It sounds like I’m racing in Mario Kart. We are just a bunch of geeks.