Following up last year's dystopian hellscape Nines Mecca, John Toohill's ever-evolving project Science Man is back today with the flesh-annihilating spectacle "Living House," the third part to his forthcoming visual EP Mince's Cane. To celebrate the release, we caught up with Toohill to unravel yet another chaotic layer to his one-man project and the inspirations behind its new cinematic component.
Buffalo's most raging son and hero of a thousand faces, John Toohill has proven time and time again to be one of the most solid pillars tearing it up in the Rust Belt ruins. Striking every sub-genre of punk with his various projects (The Hamitones, Ismatic Guru, Alpha Hopper), Toohill appaears that he's always on the move for another wild sonic assault.
Last month, Toohill announced another voyage into Science Man's dystopian hardcore punk realm: Mince's Cane. The new EP, out April 14th on Toohill's own label Swimming Faith Records, is composed of seven relentless tracks that continue Toohill's deep dive into blistering hardcore that's packed with blood-soaked vocals, disjoined rhythms, and shredding riffs all at maximum speed. Toohill also has a live band that's composed of Buffalo's finest punks — the deranged dual guitar attack of Ryan McMullen and John Angelo, the ferocious basslines of Eric Bifaro, and the possessed drumming of Steve Kerfien.
Today we're premiering the EP's third part "Living House," a video odyssey loaded with Lindsay Tripp's unearthly stop-motion animation and nightmarish costumes. In Toohill's own words, the visuals are best described as, "Ken Russell style green screen madness meets Jodorowsky surrealism with the charm of Evil Dead on a punk budget." To celebrate the release, we caught up with Toohill to unravel yet another chaotic layer to his one-man project and the inspirations behind its new cinematic component.
Paperface Zine: Take me through the origins of your new single, "Living House." How did this track come about and what did you envision when initially composing it?
John Toohill: Man, I wish I could tell you when I have a clear vision of starting any music. It's usually more of an idea vomit that I dig through. I pick up a guitar and start making a completely unintelligible racket until something accidentally reveals itself. Then I just build from there. Though in this case, I think having a 100+ degree fever had a hand in it.
PZ: How would you describe the style to your forthcoming EP Mince's Cane? While it's a another acronym for Science Man, it's a lot grittier and goes beyond the brooding, mouth-foaming hardcore punk from last year's LP Nines Mecca.
JT: Well, I wrote all these songs top to bottom in about six days amidst a bout with the sickness. I basically locked myself in my room to try and spare my roommates. Played a lot of guitar while sweating, snotting, and coughing all over myself. So uh.. I'd describe it as SICK! It’s just faster, shorter, harder, and more complex. I wrote them in this order and it felt complete at seven songs. So I stopped there. Or I just stopped being sick and the good fever ideas ran out. Whichever.
PZ: This is the third part to yet another video collection. Tell us about making the videos alongside your partner Lindsay Tripp and what's happening in this particular visual?
JT: I very foolishly said to Lindz, "We're just gonna make like one video this time. For fun. While it;s at the pressing plant." But the concept of following a mysterious box through seven worlds and various transformations, functioning as the main character was too tempting. We decided to make a complete story, but with only one idea per video. So we could experiment as much as possible within the confines of that singular act. Part 1: Peek inside in the box. Part 2: Bury the box. Part 3: Grow anew — which is this video. So that's what’s happening. Transformation. Different kinds of stop motion and green screen fuckery with lots of plastic wrap, magic crystals, and forbidden apples. Just keep following it. Behind the scenes, the main difference between Mince's Cane and last year's Nines Mecca is that we hopefully got better at doing whatever it is we're trying to do here. Making the kind of videos we want to see and tell the stories we want to tell. Find our own voice and all that shit. What else is worth doing on this burning rock?
PZ: 2022 was a big year for the evolution of Science Man. Aside from this new EP, what are the plans for the project this year and can we expect another tour this summer and fall to go with the release?
JT: Album release show is April 15th at Chemical No. 2 here in Buffalo. We're gonna try to do a lot of short tours because everyone is poor and needs their job right now. I got the Cleveland boys playing guitar for another Midwest rip in early May. I'm bringing Brazil punks Lasso to Buffalo for a show on May 19th. Trying to set up a short run of shows in June too. Playing this fest down in Roanoke, Virginia so July 4th-10th shows. Gonna try to not play in Western New York as much and focus on recording a new album and tour more. Invite us to your town. For real. Hit me up. It's that easy.
PZ: What else is happening over at the Swimming Faith lab? Another Ismatic Guru tape or Alpha Hopper LP on the way soon?
JT: Alpha Hopper just finished tracking drums for a new LP this week. That's cooking. Best shit yet. Hamiltones… in Space! is going to get press right now. Basically a sci-fi themed surfy, instrumental soundtrack for a wild B-movie that doesn't exist. I'm putting out the new Big Clown 7" this summer, which is cool! I also have this ambient, electro-kraut tape Olexi that we just released and it was made by everyone's favorite live photographer Brandon Oleksy. It's excellent dark, beautiful, moody soundscapes. I think you'll see a new Night Slaves and Brute Spring tape by the end of the year too. I'd love to do another Ismatic Guru session. I’ll poke Brandon Schlia about it. Love ya bud. Thanks.
Mince's Cane is out April 14th on Swimming Faith Records. Pre-order the EP + VHS here.