Chat Pile and the Founder of No Coast Fest Interview on Noise Rock’s Current Moment, Dream Reunions and More
Oklahoma City sludge/noise rock/post-hardcore band Heap of talkthe first LP of God’s country quickly became one of the best-loved heavy albums of the year, and one of the band’s upcoming dates is Denton, Texas’ noise rock-heavy No coast party in October (10/27-30) alongside Young Widows, METZ, Protomartyr, KEN mode, Child Bite, Child Abuse, and more. Prior to this festival, Chat Pile bassist Stin and No Coast founder Jeff Helland interviewed for BrooklynVegan. They talk about the moment noise rock is having right now, the possibility of a TAD reunion (unlikely), Jeff’s dream booking, Chat Pile influences, and much more. Read on for their cat…
Chat Pile’s Stin interviews Jeff Helland of No Coast Fest:
Stin: Organizing a music festival is clearly a massive undertaking, especially when it involves a high concentration of drug addicts and anti-social freaks. What drives you to keep this festival going despite the many obstacles, and where exactly do you fit in the DSM-IV?
Jeff Helland: If you ask me the same question during the festival, I’ll just do a wide arm sweep and smile. But right now, when the stress is at its height, I couldn’t answer you without a broken voice and a bit of a gargle. But I guess it’s the promise of seeing fans and bands in a small venue enjoying each other’s company.
I haven’t read the fourth volume of the Digest of Spiritual Margarine. But I suspect I would find that I worship butter.
Stin: Noise rock seems to have a bit of a moment in the air, in which No Coast certainly plays a part. Is there anything else you attribute to this? Quality of groups? Cycles of nostalgia? The decline of civilization?
Jeff: I hope it’s not just a moment, but I’m with you. I’d like to think No Coast has something to do with it. There have been a lot of noise rock bands since the 80s; it’s just that there hasn’t been a way to see a large group of bands in one place, in a while. Yes, there were the AmRep bashes (but those have largely died out and were mostly limited to the label), AmRep and Skin Graft had showcase tours in the 90s and, that’s a bit of a stretch, but the first Lollapaloozas had very good bands on the secondary stages. But nothing like what we’re trying to do. There are hotbeds of noise rock all over the world. I’m just trying to hook them up somewhere that’s cheap and has decent stops on the way down.
Stin: The names attached to the festival become more impressive every year. Is there any chance we might see one-off reunion gigs, “play a classic album in its entirety” sets, or some other form of music geek stunt booking? I guess this is my way of asking you to please implement some sort of TAD in 2023.
Jeff: I typically send a handful of Hail Marys each booking cycle. In fact, I emailed Tad Doyle in 2021 and received a respectful confirmation that the group would never reunite. Meetings aside, I’d really like to mix some “stunt” bookings into the festival. But with that sauce comes financial support and/or greater confidence in ticket sales. Once there, I can book Shellac under a pseudonym to reward lifers.
Stin: Chat Pile would like to personally thank you for bringing the festival to Denton rather than Dallas, the most dystopian city in America. How was this decision made and do you plan to change regions in the future?
Jeff: First and foremost, Denton offers rubber gloves. Without Rob, Chad and their team, this festival would not have happened. Second, the city is full of exceptionally well-run small businesses. Like, Recycled Records – it’s within walking distance of the festival and you can get lost for hours leafing through their trash cans. There’s a classy guitar shop across the street and a dozen restaurants of all flavors. And here’s the thing, you won’t have to drive up an elevated road, pay a toll, or drive an hour to your hotel. Dallas can suck it.
Stin: Finally, it’s obvious that No Coast is a true labor of love curated and operated by a hardcore fan of the genre. What’s the dream group you wish you could book assuming money, location or mortality weren’t an issue?
Jeff Helland from No Coast Fest interviews Stin from Chat Pile:
Jeff: Congratulations on the 4th pressing of God’s country. Do you plan to limit the number of pressings? Or do you just want to put it in as many hands as possible?
Tin: Thanks! I think the plan is to print as many as people are willing to buy. God knows we don’t need to clutter up Discogs with $300 copies of our disc if we can help it at all. Those patient enough will have a field day to find copies in used bins across America once we officially run out of hospitality (which according to my schedule will be in about two months).
Jeff: You have an East Coast tour coming up. Can you describe a typical day in the van? Sounds like it could be pretty normal, or punctuated with stops at the pawnshops and in-depth discussions about snacks. Which may be normal.
Tin: A typical tour day begins with our groggy life grab at around 9am. Dinner food is a must in the morning as it is relatively cheap, plentiful, and versatile enough not to offend the dietary preferences of party members. Then back to the van where Mad Cobra’s “Flex” will be played as loud as our rental vehicle can handle. So far, all of our tours have traversed the vast expanses of the Southern Plains and Midwest. So there’s usually no time to do anything but take pee breaks as we traverse God’s mighty highways desperately trying to fulfill our share of the arbitrariness of place. charge over time. We kill hours mostly by talking about food, infuriating ourselves with musical opinions, or drowning our thoughts in our heads with podcasts. Inside jokes develop rapidly and reach a climax of delusional fever the moment we are close to home. Second-hand bookstores are a must if time permits. The day usually ends with someone begging to go to McDonalds at three in the morning on the way to where we sleep.
Jeff: There’s been a lot of talk about one of your stated influences (and we won’t go into that here). What are some bands or artists that are less “obvious”? Or some that are potentially more polarizing?
Tin: Well, we wear our influences loudly on our sleeve, so I don’t think there will be too many surprises for people. The most obvious are Jesus Lizard, Big Black, TAD and David’s head. But we also like to tap into thinner extreme groups like Godflesh, Gorguts, Demilich, DISEMBOWELMENT, Morbid Angel and other wonky OSDM bands. Raygun is a great Father Ubu and Xiu Xiu fan. lively youth could literally be the only group everyone in Chat Pile can agree to like. We’re all in our 30s and grew up in rural Oklahoma, so we’ll never draw influence from ’90s alternative rock radio (the only cultural lifeline that existed back then).
Jeff: When people ask me for new music recommendations, I always take your releases. What songs do you think best represent the band? Are there any songs that point to the future sound of Chat Pile?
Tin: The band always talks about Rat Boy being the penultimate song from Chat Pile, but it’s algorithmically our least popular, so who knows! We’re wrapping up a separate release right now with a few songs that lean into the more alternative rock side of the band, reflected in songs like “Anywhere” and “Pamela”. The songs we’re starting to prep for LP 2 are slipping hard into kick ass territory. We’ll always try to throw a few surprises into the mix, if only to entertain ourselves.
Jeff: I met the band a few years ago and was thrilled to see you play. This is one of the strengths of No Coast. What were some of your favorite performances?
Tin: Thank you for the kind words and thank you for welcoming us to No Coast. You are in fact one of the first people to have contacted our group and to support us in a structural and meaningful way by inviting us to play – we will always appreciate it! Tongue Party set in 2020 is something that comes back to Chat Pile HQ all the time. It was so relentlessly intense, but in the most joyful way. It really impressed us. Bummer is also still fun to watch and we were all watching Psychic Graveyard’s set last year as well. No Coast is such a great experience all around except for an old dude stuffed with noise rock scenes from Minneapolis focusing on Raygun the second he walks in the door ha ha.
Chat Pile’s upcoming tour dates include two sold-out joint shows with Scarcity at Brooklyn Bar Saint Vitus on October 21 & 24with psychic graveyard also on dates and couch slut the first night. All dates are listed below. Full No Coast lineup and tickets here.
God’s country is now available through The Flenser.
Chat Pile – 2022 Tour Dates
September 10 ICT Fest Wichita, KS
September 11 The Whittier Bar Tulsa, OK with Nerver, Big Hand Big Knife
September 15 The Sanctuary Oklahoma City, OK with Glassing, Alumnus, Speak Memory, Grandpa Vern
October 22 Karl Hall Wilkes-Barre, PA with funeral planning, The Scoleri Brothers
October 23 Underground Arts Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with burial planning, orphan donor
Oct 21 Saint Vitus Bar Brooklyn, NY with Rarity, Psychic Graveyard, Couch Slut
October 24 Saint Vitus Bar Brooklyn, NY with Rarity, Psychic Graveyard
October 30 No Coast Fest Denton, TX with KEN mode and more