We’ve been covering a lot of stoner/doom on this site lately as part of the lead-up to the inaugural Doomed & Stoned Fest, but to misappropriate a line form an old TV commercial: there’s more than doom in Indiana. One of the best bands going in Indiana right now is Handsome Prick, a grindcore unit from the NW part of the state. Their debut full-length Enlarged to Show Texture is one of my favorite grind records of 2016, and will undoubtedly end up on The Listening Chaos’s year-end top-25. Give it a listen here while you check out our interview with HP vocalist Justin “Juice” Wallace. And someone bring the Prick to Indy – they totally slay live.
Indy Metal Shows: Hey, man – thanks for agreeing to an interview. I love Enlarged to Show Texture, and Handsome Prick are a hell of a live band as well. And congrats on being included in Trevor from The Black Dahlia Murder’s August Metal Injection column – that had to be kind of cool.
Justin Wallace: Hey no problem. Thanks for the opportunity! Glad to hear you dig our band. Yeah, our guitarist Zach knows Ryan from TBDM and I think he passed the album on to him, which in turn led to to Trevor checking it out. Pretty cool. Glad he got off on it as well.
IMS: First off, I know pretty much all of you play in more than one band, right? Can you give us an overview of what everyone is involved in? And how’s the bass player search going?
JW: Yeah, mainly Brad (Drummer) and I have/continue to do different projects. I have a punk/doom band that I play guitar in. It’s still very much a work in progress. Brad has his solo project called Pink Machines which is a mix of punk/grind/rocknroll and he’s got a couple of albums worth of material out with that. Really great music that most people SHOULD be aware of and it’s also a one man band. Brad also has another grindcore record with buddies from California called Point of Our Resistance or P.O.O.R. that’s gonna drop sometime soon I believe. It’s their second album and features guys from Stump/Fatalist and Burning At The Stake. Brad and I also have a deathgrind band with our friend Zach Gheaja called Moistened Disciples and we dropped a record called Stop Praying, No One’s Listening last year. We played Mexico and Full Terror Assault last year and we’re kinda on another hiatus for the time being. We were also a part of a little known northwest Indiana grindcore band called Decrypt.
As far as the bassist dilemma goes we’ve put out ads on Craigslist/Facebook etc. and let’s just say that we are STILL looking. For right now we are playing as a 3 piece until some magical dreamboat comes along.
IMS: I have to admit that I was completely unaware of the existence of Dyer, IN before Handsome Prick. As per the Dyer website, it’s the 9th safest city in Indiana and one of the top 100 places to live in the US according to both CNN and Money magazine. So what makes a man from such an idyllic sounding city want to play grind? What first attracted you to extreme metal?
JW: Well first off Brad is the only one that lives in Dyer. Zach (Guitarist) lives in Crown Point and I am from Hobart, IN. We practice at Brad’s so I guess you could say that’s our main base of operations. Dyer is a swell town full of gentle, kind hearted folk but deep within the bowels of this city lurks the Prick!
I think what first attracted me to extreme metal was just a natural gradual progression of my musical taste. Something I think everyone goes through that either plays or really enjoys them some tunes. For me it was just the raw energy, technicality, abrasiveness, and freedom of expression that most genres don’t have. I, or should I say we, listen to all kinds of music, though, and I think that comes out in Handsome Prick. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s good. I hate people in general, but I really hate people that are not open minded. We play grind because it’s who we are and we’re damn good at it (Insert Smiley). Remember kids don’t ever take yourselves to seriously or risk deletion!
IMS: Your vocal range is pretty impressive – screams, mid-range and lower growls, the occasional pig squeal. How did you develop your vocal chops? I’m assuming it took a lot of practice to get to the point where you can do all of that live. Who are your vocal influences?
JW: Why thank you, doll face, for being so impressed. Juice aims to please. I developed my ”chops” from being an angry kid that yelled a hell of a lot and from doing extreme vocals for over a decade now. You got to be versatile in this game, otherwise it can get stagnant and boring. Don’t get me wrong, there are still groups that I love that haven’t really changed or done much of anything different with the vox and that’s great, but I like being able to change it up. I have a naturally loud voice, but yeah, to do it live and sound decent with all the different styles it can be rough and it has taken a lot of practice. I still fuck up and I’ve been doing it for years, but when you’re doing all that stuff you hear on the record as one guy doing multiple vocal parts it gets hard to try and find your breath. Not to mention if I’m throwing myself around or flipping off stage, which at this point in my life is a rarity due to the aging process.
I have a number of vocal influences like Henry Rollins, Lord Worm, old school Chris Barnes and Zach Gheaja. Those are all guys I’ve taken things from for my ”extreme” vo-kills and there is a laundry list more, but those are my four horsemen of the apocalypse!
IMS: Being that you guys are in a small town, do you find it more of a challenge to book gigs? Both times I’ve seen you guys was in Valpo (the Deicide and Goatwhore shows). Are you able to get on many shows in Chicago? Also, I’m curious as to what your opinion is of that Valpo scene. I’ve been to a few shows out there, and it seems like kind of a tough city for metal.
JW: I think that it’s not really a challenge but it is. It’s all about how much you go looking for gigs and where you’re willing to play. We have friends in many a bands that have and continue to hook us up, but I personally have tried to get on some awesome shows that I know we would fit in with and I’ve had no reply. I don’t get that. We tear it up everytime we play, and if people have heard the record or seen us before then they know that, but sometimes I feel like we are too much for even the underground metal community lol. We’ve played Chicago once with H.P. at the Livewire Lounge and we’ve played DeKalb at the 7th Street Space but I feel like there is plenty more in our future out that way so be on the look out! People can follow our gigs on Bands In Town. I know the booker at Big Shots and although it is a ”pay-to-play” scenario, I feel like we’ve had great opportunities there to have a decent amount of people see us and play with bands like Goatwhore/Suffocation/Deicide etc. We have only been playing out live since December of last year, which is shortly after I joined the band.
To answer your question about the ”scene” in Valparaiso….. There is NO scene! Big Shots brings in a variety of acts from Rap to the fucking guy from Creed to Cannibal Corpse, but it’s not like there is some scene going on. They are the only ones out there booking any kind of extreme metal. The rest of the bars and shit out there got the hipster thang going on and they’ll have like college radio type bands or maybe some local ”punk” rock or cover bands but they dare not book a band like Handsome Prick. That’s just how it is. A scene would involve a lot of people/venues giving a fuck, and lemme tell ya Valpo don’t give a rat’s ass about metal. Maybe somebody who reads this will get butt hurt and correct me if I’m wrong. If so, kudos to them.
IMS: I know you’ve released Enlarged on CD. Any plans for a vinyl release? That cover art would look totally sick on a record sleeve. Who did the art?
A- Not as of right now. We would all love to see it on vinyl but we have to find somebody that would be willing to press that and the right business deal would have to be in place for that wet dream to come to fruition. A guy from DeKalb, Illinois named Mike Miller did the artwork and he’s a beast! He’s done covers for Pink Machines and for Sick/Tired.
Check out his stuff on his website. Great artist!!
IMS: Finally, we’ve recently started running a pro wrestling column. From following you on Twitter, I know that you’re a TNA-Impact fan. Have you always been a TNA guy? What do you think of the current state of their product?
JW: Hahaha yeah, I’ve been a wrestling fan since I was 5. I’ve been watching TNA since like 2004. It’s had it’s ups and downs, but I think the direction the product is headed in now is way better then the last 4-5 years of programming. I love the ”Broken” Matt Hardy gimmick. I went to Bound For Glory in Chicago with a buddy in 2008 and it was a drunken hell of a good time! You can see me wearing my Decrypt ”Fuck Your Opinions” shirt during the Sting vs. Samoa Joe World Title match. They came right through our aisle. I also attended Wrestlemania 8 at the Hoosier Dome back in the day and I’ve been to many house shows. I will say that I am a huge fan of all the promotions like Lucha Underground, NJPW, ECW, NXT, CZW, ROH, HOH etc. I’m a dork for that pro wrasslin’ shit, so if you guys ever need anyone for your column I’m your guy, if ya smell what the Juice is cookin! I have a great story about an experience with the suicidal, homicidal, genocidal Sabu but that is for another time.