The Red Chord’s Guy Kozowyk: The Gun Shy Interview

Guy Kozowyk

Last week, Gun Shy Assassin had a heart-to-heart with The Red Chord’s Guy Kozowyk. We spoke by phone as the band raced towards Florida for the next stop on the “To Catch A Predatour” with the Acacia Strain, Terror, The Contortionist, and the mighty Gaza (a band you need to check out if you haven’t yet…for real); the trek runs through November 20 in Holyoke, Massachusetts. As we were talking about his label, Black Market Activities, and the next Red Chord, I kept hearing this recurring dinging sound. I figured — to myself — “Hmm…I guess these dudes make a lot of stops. That ‘car door open’ alert keeps going off.”

But I was wrong. The band’s Ford van doesn’t stop until they get to the venue. The van just makes that noise.

“We’ve had a lot of problems with Fords,” Guy laments to Gun Shy Assassin. “We had just gotten our van all serviced and everything like that, so we’re on our way out to Summer Slaughter — which started out on the West Coast — when it started. You have all these alert lights, the seatbelt bell. But when you’re engine is actually overheating or something crazy is going on, all that really registers is a light on your dashboard. Something weird happened with our ABS system something so this sound…it sounds like a seat belt alert. But it’s really some weird sensor that’s off, and it’s literally gone off every five minutes. Whether the van is running or not. Every five minutes for the last 40,000 miles.”

Unfortunately, it costs $1,500 to fix the sensor, and that’s not exactly pocket change for a band like The Red Chord. “It’s a sensor that doesn’t mean much, but will go off every five minutes and be so much more obnoxious than a seatbelt alert,” says Guy. “We can’t even pull fuse for it, because it’s connected to all this other stuff. It is the bane of our existence. But we opted to live with the noise. You don’t get used to it. Its like a friend that keeps you up when you’re on overnight rides. It’s still maddening. In case you’re every nodding off, it wakes you up every five minutes.”

For The Red Chord, this tour will be their last before they start writing material for their next record. The band does need to get overseas at some point to make up a tour that was postponed by the volcanic eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull, but otherwise, they’re working on new music.

“Gunface just started preparing some new material,” Guy says, adding that he’s also mulling lyrical ideas and concepts. “We have a lot of ideas floating around, but we don’t actually have a single song constructed for the new record. So it’s sorta just getting to that point where we know that we’ll have a few months off over the winter, and its good to start putting that into motion. It just depends on how everything flows. I don’t know how long that will take. It could be something where we get home and it just starts flowing and we’re ready to track a record by March, or it could be something where, its like pulling teeth and the next thing you know, we’re going to be continuing this album cycle for a minute longer while we’re preparing our thoughts.”

As if that’s not enough to keep Kozowyk busy, he’s also running a record label that’s got two acts that are gaining a lot of notice: The Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza (an old fave of GSA) and Gaza, which Guy says are “one of the few truly original and mind-blowing things that I’ve heard in a long time.”

The label just released the new Sweet Cobra LP, and signed Today Is The Day. In the next year, Black Market will release new stuff from Ed Gein, Engineer, Khann, and Fit For An Autopsy. There will even be a new album from Backstabbers Incorporated, Guy promises.

He’s really psyched for the new Today Is The Day disc, though. He has been a longtime fan of the group, and has enlisted Converge’s Kurt Ballou to engineer the disc at his Godcity Studios. Having his own label have given him the chance to see all of these ideas he’s had as a fan to fruition, he says.

“[Today Is The Day’s] Steve Austin recorded [Converge’s 1998 LP] When Forever Comes Crashing, and now its going to be Kurt’s turn to record this new record, which doesn’t have a title quite yet,” Guy explains. “The guys are up in Maine right now, working on the material. As a fan, you look at the history of a band like Today Is The Day, and you say, ‘I wish they’d do this, I wish they’d do that.’ I always wondered what Today Is The Day would sound like with Kurt’s set of ears on it.”

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