Hashing It Out With THROAT HASH

THROAT HASH is a power violence trio hailing from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Musically they’re focused on sounding “vile” and “angry” — but their sense of humour is undeniable. Through tears of laughter and technical difficulties I managed to get through an interview with original THROAT HASH members Steve Earle, Keith Burden, and newest member Josh Pelley to get the scoop on the revival of the band, their new releases and plans for the future.

Steve Earle playing at Radstorm 2014. Photo by Vov Abraxas

Steve Earle playing at Radstorm 2014. Photo by Vov Abraxas

 Angela: I guess a good place to start would be the beginning. Why don’t you tell us how it all began?

Burden: It started in high school.

Earle: Yeah, Keith and I met in high school and we used to jam in our buddy Dylan’s garage a lot.

Burden: Is that how it started?

Earle: Yes that’s how it started.

Burden: Yeah, I guess.

Earle: Back then it was just a bunch of like…

Burden: Shit.

Earle: A bunch of shitty noise.

Burden: It was awful.

Earle: We played two shows and neither of them we were suppose to play.

Burden: We probably weren’t in tune then either.

Earle: Yeah, no. It was basically like horrible noisecore.

Burden: Terrible lyrics.

Pelley: As if our lyrics now are any better.

Earle: They’re better now.

Burden: They’re certainly better.

Earle: Yeah, so that’s how we were back then. Then we fucked off for like a year or two.

Burden: Yeah.

Earle: Then we decided to start it back up again a couple years later.

Angela: So what made you decide to start it back up again?

Burden: There was a lack of bands that played this type of music.

Earle: Yeah, when we started back up there was literally no bands in Halifax playing power violence.

Burden: Now there’s like 2 or 3.

Pelley: One.

Earle: Yeah. I like to play fast. I like to yell. I like to get shit done.

Pelley: It’s the only thing that worked for you. Everything else you tried to write sucked.

Earle: Yeah. That’s true. {Laughs}

Pelley: I’m just kidding.

Angela: What is the scene like for playing power violence in Halifax?

Earle: Yeah, there’s no scene for it. We play within the punk scene I guess, but there’s not a scene specifically for power violence.

Burden: Not really

Earle: There’s a really good punk scene here.

Burden: It’s alright. {Laughter}

Earle: So it’s, you know, the usual.

Burden: It’s all we got. {Laughs}

Angela: On that note, are there any venues you might recommend a touring band to play?

Earle: Gus’. Definitely Gus’.

Pelley: If I was in a touring band I’d just play house shows here.

Burden: Yeah.

Earle: Well Gus’ is good if you want to play a bar show.

Burden: But yeah, house shows. {Laughs}. There isn’t really that many good venues. There’s Plan B.

Earle: Gus’ is really good. Plan B is really good for all ages shows and whatnot, and it’s cheap to rent. They’re really good. They’ve put on a lot of good shows.

 Josh Pelley and Keith Burden at Reflections 2014. Photo by: Adrian Bruhm

Josh Pelley and Keith Burden at Reflections 2014. Photo by: Adrian Bruhm

Angela: You guys have recently released a demo tape, tell us a bit about that.

Burden: Well, it’s really short.

Earle: Yeah, we recorded it in Keith’s bedroom with help from our buddy Luke Chaisson.

Burden: I paid him with a sword.

Pelley: I gave him a coffee.

Burden: He was pretty happy with that.

Earle: He’s a really good guy.

Pelley: I would like to dedicate the demo to Dennis Hopper.

Burden: ‘Cause he’s like awesome.

Earle: and *****.

Pelley: I thought we weren’t going to say that name.

Earle: Oh yeah.

Pelley: We pretty much agreed to that.

Burden: Yeah, you can just cut that part out.

Earle: Don’t mention *****… Oh, I did it again.

Pelley: I don’t think ***** would be very happy.


Earle: Yeah, he’s got a fucking baby now.

Burden: He probably has like ten.

Earle: Yeah. {Laughs}

Burden: He doesn’t know about any of this.

Pelley: We’re just going to continue bleeping out his name.


Angela: You mentioned that the new demo is short. How short are we talking?

Earle: The demos’ no more than 4 minutes.

Pelley: Thanks to Dennis Hopper.

Earle: Yeah really. There’s like a one minute long sample… It’s really short.

Burden: One sided tape. Four minutes.

Earle: That’s all you get {Laughs}

Burden: How many songs?

Earle: 5 songs, 4 minutes, a minute of fucking Blue Velvet.


Pelley: Good movie. Good movie.

Burden: Yeah, I thought we were doing pretty good.

Earle: Yeah, I thought we were too.

Angela: On top of that, I hear you have a new LP coming out?

Earle: It’s a 7”. I have no idea. Josh knows.

Pelley: So we’re releasing a single sided 7 inch split with Bungus from the west coast. They’re just straight up grindcore. I know Graham, the vocalist takes a lot of influence from old school Plutocracy which is why he has demos like Dank Daddies, or Dank Dads.

Earle: “Dank Daddies.” {Laughs}

Burden: That sounds really stupid.

Pelley: Yeah, Dank Dads, which again is just a throwback to Plutocracy.

Earle: You’re suppose to talk about us… so…


Pelley: Well if you want me to talk about the split… I can just leave.  {Laughs} So again it’s just going to be a one sided 7 inch. The other side is probably not even going to be playable. There’s absolutely no point. Not that there’s even much point to a single sided 7” split.

Earle: Well don’t talk it down.

Pelley: I’m not talking it down. It’s going to be fucking awesome. Just a lot of people are going to be like “Oh, what a waste!”.{Laughs} Regardless we are completely done recording. Bungus is all done. Just waiting on Graham to finish the artwork, and I have to get around to mixing it.

Burden: There’s no real set time.

Earle: Have fun fucking finding it, because you wont. {Laughter}

Pelley: It’s going to be through American and European labels so we actually may not have it. […] Hopefully if we’re lucky in the next 2 – 3 months we’re hoping to have a couple labels in on it. I’ve got a couple in mind but I’m not going to bother saying them in case they’re just like “no…”

Burden: Yeah, I don’t care, I’m down for whatever.

Pelley: That’s your response for like everything. Want to make out?

Burden: Yeah, sure.


Burden: Ask about the name…

Pelley: Oh, by the way we’re THROAT HASH.

Angela: Alright, alright, so where does the name THROAT HASH come from?

Burden: An anonymous man.

Pelley: So there’s this guy in Dartmouth, who uh, he kind of uh, hawks lugies onto his wall after smoking like, y’know, copious amounts of weed. Yeah, he just hawks lugies onto his wall, scrapes them into paper and then smokes that.

Burden: Yeah, he’d put it in like pipes and he just happened to call it “throat hash”

Pelley: I don’t know how you two got the name from him.

Burden: I think we made that up.

Earle: No no, I swear to god, we heard it from Lee. He told me this story. This guy hung out with his brother when he was a kid, and then he smoked the bong and spit lugies onto the wall and let it sit for like a week. Then he would scrape it off and he called it “throat hash” Now he has a baby.

Pelley: Not sure where the baby comes into play, but yeah.

Earle: Yeah, whatever.

Pelley: But, it was pretty coincidental that I knew who they we’re talking about before they even told me.

Earle: We had the name THROAT HASH before Josh joined the band.

Burden: This was the name that we came up with in high school.

Earle: Yeah, and then Josh joined the band a few months ago.

Pelley: Like, years later.

Earle: And it just so happened that he knew that guy.

Pelley: Yeah, ’cause I was just like “where did you get the name THROAT HASH from?” and they were like “from so-&-so.” {Laughs} Seriously, like I’ve been best friends with him since grade 2, until he broke into my house.

Earle: {Laughing} For ‘scrips.

Pelley: Yeah. {Laughing}

Earle: This is not going to get printed. {laughing}

Burden: Sure it will. I have faith in this.

Pelley: I have total faith in this.

Burden: I think it’s pretty entertaining.

Pelley: I don’t know if Angela is going to survive.

Burden: Not going to be able to hear anything over her laughing

Earle: It’s just going to be Angela giggling “he he he ha ha ha”. {Laughs}

Angela: {laughing} I’m crying.

You mentioned earlier that your lyrics had improved. Why don’t you talk a bit about your lyrics now.

Burden: Oh, okay.

Earle: Uh, there are none.

Burden: Well…

Earle: There’s some base lyrics but like…

Burden: Mostly syllables.

Earle: Exactly. Kind of more, sounds.

Pelley: Keith has never said any actual lyric in any song.

Burden: I never said anything.

Earle: {Laughing} You never said anything.

Burden: I said “fuck”.

Pelley: That’s pretty much it.

Earle: Yeah, I try to make it sound different but most of the time I’m just yelling like “fuck” or “dirt”… FUCK! DIRT!

Pelley: On the demo, there’s one song that I just say “I’m from Dartmouth” 3 times in a row.

Burden: But it sounds like you’re saying something different every time.

Earle: Yeah, exactly.

Pelley: Yeah, something like that.

Earle: It’s all a joke.

Pelley: On this new release there are actual lyrics.

Earle: They’re never going to get printed so no one’s gonna’ fucking know what they are.

Pelley: Yeah, ’cause we’re not going to remember them anyway.

Burden: Yeah.

Pelley: We’ll probably throw them out.

Burden: It’s like, not important.

Earle: {Laughing} Yeah, that’s exactly it. They’re not important.

Burden: Yeah, we don’t have like a real message.

Earle: Yeah, we don’t have anything to say.

Burden: Not really any point.

Pelley: No, we just play really stupid angry shit.

Burden: It’s like the first thing that comes to mind is “fuck” and “dirt”… “dirt fuck”

Pelley: Or “fucking dirt”

Burden: “Dirt fucker”

Earle: {Laughing} “Dirt fucker”

Pelley: The lyrics we do write are just about…

Earle: Mostly about Keith.

Burden: And how handsome I am.

Pelley: And his beautiful short-shorts and how he’s the only person I know who can rock them.

Burden: It’s because of those awesome dancers legs.

Pelley: He does have pretty nice legs.

Burden: I saw you looking. {Laughs}

Pelley: But it’s like, when we do write it’s all about how vial everyone is.

Burden: Yeah.

Earle: Yeah, to an extent, but I mean, more so like “fucking dirt”

Burden: Fuck Dirt.

Earle: Yeah, a lot of dirt fucking.

Pelley: Keith has really nice legs.

Burden: Yeah, let’s talk about that.

Earle: This is good.


Pelley: I mean, how long can we talk about lyrics for when no one’s ever going to know what they are?

Earle: Yeah. For the new EP there’s some lyrics, we might put em’ up but uh..

Pelley: I say you don’t.

Earle: Probably not, yeah.

Pelley: I mean most of the time we’ll just write parts that don’t even really go together. I mean they’re all really pissed off sounding but sometimes it’s like the 1st part of the song has nothing to do with the 2nd part. It just happens to, I guess flow.

Steve Earle at Reflections 2014. Photo by Adrian Bruhm

Steve Earle at Reflections 2014. Photo by Adrian Bruhm

Angela: With all of the new releases, do you have any plans for touring in the near future?

Earle: Yes, hopefully next spring. That the plan. Going to save up some money and Josh can sell his civic and maybe get an SUV.

Pelley: Yeah, that’s the plan. Unless I buy an escalade.

Burden: That’s what I was thinking.

Angela: Anywhere you’d like to go?

Earle: Oh, you know. We would like to go to Ontario and back, and then maybe Newfoundland too.

Burden: Montreal.

Pelley: I’d like to get to Montreal and someday to Vancouver. If I don’t die before it happens I’d like to see the US.

Earle: Probably not, I don’t want to go there.

Burden: Yeah, it smells down there.

Earle: Sure, we could go down and play New Hampshire. No tax; that’s pretty good.

Pelley: Why would we want to play in New Hampshire?

Earle: My family used to go there on vacation. No Tax! We went to the Old Navy down there before they even had one here. {Laughs}

Pelley: Okay, I want to play Flint Michigan.

Earle: Yeah, fuck no. Fuck Flint.

Pelley: Well that’s what everyone there thinks of it too, so it would be sweet to get that influence of pure hatred and violence.

Earle: If you want to pay to go to Flint, we’ll go to Flint.

Pelley: Once I get my Cadillac.

Earle: Yeah, next May, we’re touring down to Flint in a Caddy; stop in on New Hampshire and that’s it, we’re going to call it quits. The scene sucks. We’re moving to Truro.


Angela: If you could sum up THROAT HASH in one word, what would it be?

Pelley: Dartmouth.

Earle: Uh, uh, uh…

Burden: Awesome. {Laughs}

Pelley: For me it’s definitely going to be Dartmouth…or Tacoma.

Earle: Can I use 2 words?

Angela: I s’pose.

Earle: Pretty good.

Since this interview took place, the THROAT HASH / Bungus Split has been released online. According to Steve Earle, they’re waiting on word from a German label for the release of the vinyl. Earle also wanted to make note that touring bands should definitely check out Radstorm when heading to Halifax.

Check THROAT HASH out on bandcamp

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