AMBASSADOR GUN “To The Extreme” 

By Theron Moore

Minnesota has long been a hotbed for music going all the way back to the 70’s with Twin/Tone Records, the 80’s when punk and alternative were raging with The Replacements and Husker Du, when a young upstart Jake Wisely started Red Decibel Records and the First Avenue and 7th St Entry was the premier showcase for both big-time and independent bands.  Fast forward to present day.  Nothing’s changed.  

It’s still a hotbed for music surviving the rise and fall of musical fads and fly by trends, the death of MTV as well as the rise and fall of the modern music industry.  When I listen to Ambassador Gun I hear that spirit of Midwestern rock that defies categorization and marches to the beat of its own drum except in this case the drum beat is intense, war-like, the sound is heavy and fast, no prisoners taken.  Its equal parts punk, grind and thrash, bombastic and loud.  This is Ambassador Gun.

Luke:  Greetings. I’m Luke. I play guitar, bass and sing in Ambassador Gun.

Wormwood Chronicles:  Your new record is amazing.  “Tomb of Broken Sleep” is heavy as hell.  Where does that “heavy” element come from in terms of bands you’re into that had an influence on AG?

Luke:  Thank you kindly.  Tim (other guitarist/singer/songwriter) and I have been playing together for close to 20 years now and grew up discovering bands together. We’ve always had an affinity for and influence from bands like Slayer, Cannibal Corpse, Sepultura, NOFX, Nasum, Neurosis to name a few. 

We’re also big fans of electronic music, jazz, blues, indie, etc. which I think lends to our songwriting in a way where we’re analytical and experiment with how we can make it more interesting for ourselves. We like to step outside the song and whack it up and make it unique. Personally I think Fuck The Facts are brilliant at taking a death metal/grind song and turning it on its head.

WC:  Are you OK with the “grindcore” tag?  It almost seems limiting with AG.  Back in the 80’s grind and death and punk were discernable musical styles and now bands seem to fuze a lot of those elements together into a hybrid sound.  Is that kinda where AG fits in?

Luke:  Exactly. I don’t think we’re a grind band in the traditional sense of the title. I think when were first writing and forming AG we really focused on writing grind music but in every recording we’ve done, there is always off the cuff elements within a song or some altogether un-grindy songs on the record.

WC:  What goes into the songwriting process when you write a record?  Your songs are almost short, bullet type poems, very avant-garde.  Where does the writing inspiration come from?

Luke:  Lyrically we’re all over the place. I mostly write from books I’ve read or I have a natural gravitation towards topics like paranoia, isolation, fear, war.  Usually we write riffs separately, get together to hash some shit out with our drummer, Patrick and fuse our riffs or dump parts until it feels right. Pre-production is our greatest resource for picking apart a song. I feel when you have a rough draft recording and listen to it over and over absent mindedly, you start to feel and see what works and what doesn’t. Is it catchy or confusing in a bad way? 

WC:  Does pop culture play a role in the formation of a record, or a riff, or even writing?  Is it movies, music, etc.?

Luke:  Pop culture is some ridiculously funny shit to make fun of for sure. We have a song called “Chris Brown” which just became something to write about. You got a millionaire dude who smacks around his incredibly hot and rich girlfriend. Why not write a song about it!? 

WC:  With previous releases by Relapse and Prosthetic Records, why go the indie route and release “Tomb of Broken Sleep” yourselves?

Luke:  Relapse only carried our release “When In Hell” on their site and we were never officially signed with them. It was an understanding from Prosthetic that we were in a one-off situation. If we sold enough units then we would talk again. Unfortunately I think they pressed too many CDs and they didn’t move. I think a limited vinyl run with downloads would have been a better release but who knows. I think the CD generation is fading fast.

WC:  Do you think Bandcamp and other related online music sources have not just antiquated the conventional music industry but now made it even easier for bands to not need or even bypass indie labels?  Do you think they’re feeling the pinch as well?

Luke:  I think labels will always have their big bands to carry them and sell records. So many incredible bands are just doing everything themselves because of the technology age we’re in the midst of. You can have a studio with decent equipment and make a solid sounding record and post that shit free online, press cassettes and hit the road all without a label. It’s a lot of devotion and time but can certainly be done independently. 

WC:  I imagine you’re going to tour behind this record.  How tough is it to get time off from the day jobs to hit the road and do shows?  Is it even financially viable in today’s economy?

Luke:  DIY touring is incredibly fun for the obvious reasons of road-tripping with your buds, partying and meeting new people and bands. Money is the problem when you want to do it all the time. If there were opportunities for AG to support a national band then we would very likely be prepared to sacrifice some home lifestyle and hit the road. At this point it’s not a collective interest of ours to DIY tour.

WC:  When does the new tour start and what bands are coming out on the road with you? 

Luke:  Nothing planned.

WC:  What’s the scene like in Minnesota?  What bands do we need to know about?

Luke: The Minnesota scene is pretty great. You’ll have a hardcore punk band, a black metal band, and a dude playing some noise/electronic stuff all on the same show and everyone’s having a great time and truly into it. It’s not a segregated-by-genre scene here. Lots of young and talented heavy bands coming around and doing cool shit. Notable MN bands: False, Zebulon Pike, In Defence, Lungs, Gar, Much Worse, Blue Ox (my other band I play bass in!), Morality Crisis to name a few.

WC:  What does the rest of 2015 look like for Ambassador Gun?

Luke: We’ll play some Midwest shows and just keep on writing as usual. I feel our next record will be a departure from most of our other releases. More experimental, less lyrical. At least that’s what I’m writing these days! Cheers and thanks!