Alexis Mincolla talks about 3TEETH


3teeth - pic by Baba Vanga3Teeth is an industrial music act from Los Angeles, USA. During the last few years, since their debut album 3Teeth, the band has become quite successful and unavoidable name of the industrial music scene. Their music expression followed the footsteps of some industrial titans such as KMFDM. However, the band has the distinguishable and unique sound; they emerged as the new force of the industrial music genre. I saw their live act in 2016 at Infest festival and on 10 May this year in London. Their performance is fuelled by explosive energy and raw power, which put the audience in frenzy. After the show I approached the frontman Alexis Mincolla with the interview request.

1. Alexis, thank you for joining us. Since this is our first interview, I’d like to start with basics. How did you, Xavier, Chase and Andrew meet and start working together? Did you have the special chemistry and understanding from the start?

Alexis: Xavier and I started working on music, as he lived down the street from me, and we shared similar taste in music. We then met Andrew at a weekly underground music party I was putting together at the time, called LIL DEATH and we all, sort of, just hit it off. There really wasn’t any impetus aside from creating for the sake of creating and having fun, but as we were putting songs on the internet it started to gain some traction so we continued and decided we wanted to write an actual album. This is when we started looking for a guitarist and Andrew had grown up with Chase, so we auditioned him and voilà.. we became 3TEETH.

2. It didn’t take long for you to release the debut album, 3Teeth. When you look back on it, can you share your feelings about it from the perspective of a more experienced band?

Alexis: I think we worked on that album on and off for about a year. It was basically whenever we had free time because we were all working jobs still. We really had no expectations of what we were creating and it was a really enjoyable process of just making stuff with friends. It’s not that we didn’t take it seriously, but when I look back on that album, I just hear a million things that we could have done better or things that we left out. But, all in all, I’m proud of that record, as it was the primordial black ooze that formed the band in the first place. 

3teeth - pic by Aaron Proctor3. How does the band function regarding the composing, lyric writing, idea sharing and decision making?

Alexis: Being that there are 3 producers in the band and we’ve since expanded to being a 5 piece. Our process has evolved a great deal and it’s hard to explain with any absolute detail, as we don’t like to constrict ourselves to any particular formula. That being said, as of lately we’re all writing in the same room and fleshing out jam sessions with Xavier engineering, Chase on guitar, Justin on drums, and Andrew on modular synth.  I write all the lyrics and concepts and generally take lead in decision making. 

4. What got you guys interested in this particular sound and where does the inspiration for lyrics come from?

Alexis: I think there is a lot of various influences between the 5 of us as bedmates and sound will continue to evolve, but the common thread is that we all like heavy dark music. As far as the inspiration for the lyrics goes, I like to think of it like I’m sucking the poison from a mass production society and spitting back in its own face. 

3teeth - pic by Michael Mendoza5. Since your first release, you have played a lot of shows, toured with Tool, played festivals. How do the live shows and touring experiences affect your artistic drive and creativity?

Alexis: Playing a lot of shows does a lot of things for a band, but mainly, it makes you tighter and more confident in what you’re doing. I also think perpetually touring helps you better connect with audiences and helps you maintain a certain present mindedness, as opposed to sitting behind a computer screen and becoming infobese on second hand information.

6. Your concerts are rather energetic and require a lot of stamina. How do you prepare for the live shows? How do you feel on stage while performing?

Alexis: I like to hike a lot before touring, as it helps with my general stamina on stage and in California we’re fortunate enough to have some really beautiful hiking spots. 

Alexis Mincolla - pic by Michael Mendoza7. How do you feel about the USA underground music scene, as opposed to the European one?

Alexis: I think it’s hard to generalize the scene as a whole, as my observations are more city by city. Some cities have really great underground scenes, some cities not so much. I think USA and Europe are similar in this context. As for their differences, I think European audiences do a little less social media, while at shows i.e. they aren’t filming as much on their phones. 

8. I believe that your expression sounds more European than American. What do you think about my opinion? How do you feel about it?

Alexis: It doesn’t make much of a difference to me. 

9. <shutdown.exe> was released a year ago. Your sound definitely evolved and I can feel that you expanded your horizons musically. How do you feel about the album in general?

Alexis: I think we wanted to write a heavier album that was more conceptually focused than the first album and that’s what we did. I’m proud of the record but it’s far from what I think our potential is.   

10. You released <shutdown.exe> on your own label, OMF Records. What was the reason behind that decision? How is it to run your own label? What are the pros and cons of releasing an album that way?

Alexis: It’s not like we’re running a label and releasing other peoples’ music. OMF records is more of an idea than it is a functioning business. We actually did a distribution deal between OMF and Cleopatra records, but I don’t want to bore you with the details of this and as far as pros and cons, it doesn’t matter how you release you music as it’s almost impossible to make money off recorded music anyway. It mainly comes down to what the goals of your music project are.   

3teeth_WGT - pic by Aaron Proctor11. Your European tour has just finished. Can you tell us about the WGT experience?

Alexis: I really enjoyed playing WGT this year, as I thought the crowd was amazing and I really felt we connected with them. The stage crew was also very professional and the festival felt well organized. Also the artists’ catering was excellent, which is always a big bonus. 

12. I saw you as a five member band in London. Will you keep the five member line up in the future?

Alexis: Yes absolutely and who knows, we might even end up a 6 piece. 

13. You send your message through the visuals as well. Where do you find the inspiration for the visual aspect; design, promo materials and videos?

Alexis: I had been an art director for the better part of the last 10 years and visual arts were my focus before starting my band, so it was a natural progression for me to use this language to express our message.  

Alexis Mincolla - pic by Geoff Smith14. I read on Facebook that you studied Political Science. Is that correct? Did your formal education affect your artistic expression in any way? If so, how?

Alexis: Yeah, I majored in political science with a minor in economics at John Cabot University in Rome Italy. I think my formal eduction affected my artistic expression in a few ways. For 1, I think it allowed me to approach it with a certain sense of calculation and discipline, which many may think is counter intuitive to art, but I will happily disagree. And for 2, I think it provided me with an understanding of how fucked up the world is, which certainly serves as a great deal of inspiration for my expression. 

15. If you could share the stage with one of your personal music idols, who would it or they be?

Alexis: I really wanted to share a stage with Till Lindemann of Rammstein, but that already happened last summer. We really hit it off and would love the opportunity to do that again. 

3teeth - pic by Jon Reino16. There is a question I love to ask. What do you feel is the greatest reward for an artist?

Alexis: I really enjoy connecting with audiences all over the world. I feel very fortunate to be able to do this for a living and would never take this for granted.

17. What can we expect after <shutdown.exe>? Is there already something new in the pipeline?

Alexis: We recently signed a record deal with Sony Century Media and have big plans for the 3rd album which we are currently recording right now. Stay tuned… 

London show gallery pics: