Interview: Alex Walstad – Nothingness

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Our good mate Robert ‘Meddlefan’ Darling had the opportunity recently to shoot the shit with Alex Walstad, guitarist extraordinaire from Minneapolis based Death Metal maniacs Nothingness, and there isn’t really much more to say apart from the fact that Alex is a really excellent kind of dude, and you should read on and find out why! Maybe grab yourself a Hamm’s to further enhance the experience!

Hi there Alex, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions.

Thank you for having me dude! Stoked!

First and foremost, where did you grow up?

I grew up in Independence, Minnesota on a dirt road. It was sick. 

And where do you live now?

I live in Hopkins, Minnesota now and it’s also pretty sick. I can walk to like 4 different bars which is very convenient for heavy drinking. 

What is your one of your favourite hobbies if I may ask?

Collecting and listening to music all day everyday is what I enjoy most, besides just writing tunes. 

Do you like to hunt or fish?

I grew up on a farm so I got my fill of hunting and fishing as a kid. I haven’t done either in a long time but I remember having fun! 

Who is your favourite horror character?

My favourite horror character is easily the Hash Slinging Slasher. Period. He is hard as hell.

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What made you want to write Death Metal?

Death Metal is the sickest, heaviest shit. I’ve always been a riff fanatic and Death Metal is just loaded with the gnarliest riffs. I feel like it’s just kinda naturally my home. Death Metal is just what comes out of my dome piece when I pick up a guitar and start playing.

How long have you been playing music? 

I’ve been playing music since I was 12. I got disgustingly obsessed with playing guitar hero and rock band drums so I built this Frankenstein drum kit with the rock band drums and a huge plastic container and duct tape. I programmed it to act like a shitty electronic kit plugged into my dads computer and I would just pound away on that by myself for hours. I’d also just hole up in my room for hours at a time and learn different Metallica songs on my guitar until my parents forced me to come out and eat food. 

Where would you like to play live?

Honestly anywhere. I just want to play these tunes for as many people in as many places as possible! It’s fun as hell to get up there and watch how people react to music I wrote intoxicated as frick in my moms basement. 

How do you write your music? Can you give us an insight into the process?

The writing process goes like this: I come home from work, crack a Hamm’s, light a green plant on fire, and then sit down with my guitar and let my fingers do their job. I don’t really have control most of the time the music kinda writes itself. For the new stuff I have been spending the night getting lit up and putting together a song and then I send it over to the rest of the dudes for feedback and ideas for what could be better/changed. For this record our vocalist Clay and I arranged the chaos and riff piles that I hashed together. A couple songs were done before we needed to change anything but most needed to go through multiple rounds of edits and smoothing. 

Do you like Conan the Barbarian?

I don’t know too much about Conan the Barbarian other than he is YOLKED and that’s sick. I do know that the band Conan is heavy as hell and you should listen to their record “Existential Void Guardian“. 

Do you skate?

I used to longboard all the frickin time when I was younger but now I’m getting old and fat and lazy. I wish I could skate though I’ve always wanted to learn but never had the time or energy. 

What is the best live show you have seen?

The best live show I have seen in recent memory wasn’t probably Inter Arma at 7th Street Entry a couple months ago. It was so god damn heavy. Their new record “Sulphur English” is insane. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. 

I know you like Hamm’s beer. What other beer do you drink?

Hamm’s is the greatest beer on the face of the earth. 4.7% alcohol, 50 cents a can, and it tastes like liquid gold. The price is right, the taste is beautiful, and it’s stylish as well. Toppling Goliath makes some great beer though, I love their Fire Skulls and Money beer! 

Where is your favourite spot in Minnesota to go on vacations? 

North Shore for sure man. The north shore is amazing. The air is seriously a treat to breathe. It’s gorgeous. 

I love the North Shore in Minnesota. It is one of my favourite places. What do you say about Northern Minnesota? 

It rules. I was just up north camping with my homies a few weeks ago and we were jumping off cliffs into the river and exploring around and DRINKING HEAVILY! It’s sick up there. 

Can you tell me what you have lined up for live shows?

The next show we have lined up is September, 27th at Mortimers with Changeling, Cell, and the insane dissonant death masters Sunless! Their record “Urraca” is a masterpiece. Check that shit out! 

How did you come up with your band name?

I was parked in my car outside my aunt and uncles house on the phone with our Vocalist Clay aka ‘The Big Orange Bastard’, and we were trying to figure out a name that encompassed everything. Something one word and that was ubiquitous, we went with Nothingness because it is sort of the opposite of that ha ha. 

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Do you like to read? If so, who are your favourite authors?

Honestly I wish I read more, I never read books and haven’t since school. 

What’s the craziest thing you have done that you can talk about?

Let’s see, there’s a lot. It’s hard to remember most of the crazy shit I do to make my friends laugh but setting bottle rockets off out of my my ass, shooting diarrhoea out of my ass into the shower in slow motion, a lot of stuff seems to involve my ass. My friends are sickos just like I am. 

Freestyle question. Tell me something you want in this interview that I didn’t ask.

Hmmmm. I’ll just let everyone know that you should listen to the following bands immediately: Suffering Hour, Void Rot, Sanguisugabogg, Fluids, Mortuary Punishment Aziza, Sunless, Blazar, Phobophilic, Swallowed, Ossuary, and Siege Column. I should stop now or I will just keep naming bands to listen to. 

What is your favourite food?

Favourite food? Easily chilli cheese dogs from Walkin’ Dog in downtown Minneapolis. Best chilli dogs in the country hands down. Get two with onions and then a small nacho with jalapeno and you’re set baby. 

Do you like fantasy or superhero stories?

I love some fantasy stories for sure! The real world is fucked! 

Well, that’s a wrap I’d say.  Thanks so much for being a good sport!

Thanks again for the interview man! You rule.

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Fantastic stuff, and so is their debut release “The Hollow Gaze Of Death“, which you can find through the link right below! May I suggest you check it out!

https://nothingnessmn.bandcamp.com/album/the-hollow-gaze-of-death

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