A History of Nomadic Behavior

A History of Nomadic Behavior

With their sixth album, New Orleans sludge lords Eyehategod are making a comeback of sorts. During the seven years that have passed since their last album, the band’s hard-living vocalist Mike IX Williams became gravely ill and underwent a liver transplant—an event that he’s remarkably nonchalant about today. “Yeah, I almost died, so it seems like a comeback,” he tells Apple Music. “But I don’t really look at it that way. I mean, I was in the band the whole time. I was just in the hospital, too.” Caustic and grinding, A History of Nomadic Behavior revels in all the usual Eyehategod themes—desperation, depression, poverty, addiction—but, as Williams is quick to point out, the songs aren’t necessarily about anything. “The lyrics are all over the place,” he explains. “It’s more about a feeling and how the words sound together.” Below, he offers some insight into a few of the album’s key tracks. Built Beneath the Lies “All of our songs have the same feelings—desperation, depression, poverty, and addiction. And then there's love and hate. Looking at the song now, I see that it could be about prisons or something like that, because there's a reference to a maze made for rats. Something about ‘execute this drug warrant.’ It could be something like that, but—like I said—it's more just the feeling.” Three Black Eyes “You definitely need at least two people to have three black eyes. That could just be a rough night out or something, but even saying that, it generalizes it and people are going to go, ‘Play that song about a rough night out!’ But they’re all about that, kinda. They’re about a rough life out. I’m not comparing myself to any famous artists or anything, but if somebody goes, ‘What’s this abstract painting about?’ it’s hard to say.” High Risk Trigger “This is a play on words—‘high risk reward,’ which is something I actually say in the song. The trigger could be something that sets you off or the trigger of a gun, but I’m thinking of it as being triggered as an addict. Anytime I’ve been to rehab or AA or NA—any of that stuff—they always talk about triggers, which can be anything that makes you want to use again. In that way it’s almost the same as a trigger on a gun, because it’s just as dangerous.” The Trial of Johnny Cancer “I didn’t know what to do vocally on this song at first. It’s kind of a strange song for Eyehategod, so it ended up being a spoken-word poetry kind of thing. ‘Cancer’ is just one of those words that comes up in my writing a lot. It’s just got that severity to it. I think I was going for a Nick Cave kind of Americana thing, like it was some mysterious trial that took place in the 1840s or something. I don’t know what happened at that trial, but maybe someone can figure it out and tell me later.” Circle of Nerves “I think this is just about life beating you down. There’s a line in there, ‘Living by the dirty mattress.’ That could be about living on the streets or something—not necessarily me, but somebody. That’s happened to me in the past, though, so maybe it could be a throwback to that. I also say, ‘I live in a hole in the ground,’ which is just a phrase I use often. Living in a hole in the ground would be a pretty strange life.” Every Thing, Every Day “This is the one song that's actually kind of got a theme to it. We’ve been doing it live for a few years, just kind of ending the set with it. Sometimes it was instrumental. Sometimes I would put words over it, depending on the night. It had this Black Flag feel to it, so I was just thinking about one of those Black Flag songs about going to work and how much they hate work—and how much I hate work. Then I start saying ‘kill your boss’ over and over, which is a feeling everybody has probably had at one time or another.”

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