INTERVIEW: JIM SANTILLO AND RUSS MARTIN (ANTHROPIC)

Jim Santillo (drums) and Russ Martin (bass) are the backbones of Buffalo grindcore machines, Anthropic. Since 2016, they’ve released a number of demos and albums, solidified themselves as front runners of Western New York extreme metal, toured the states with other insane grind acts like Violent Opposition, and have opened for such reputable bands as Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Immolation, Phobia, and the list goes on…

1. Obviously, there is no replacing Brian Pattison, but things seem to be going exceptionally well for Anthropic in the wake of the pandemic. How has Matt been taking to the material and have you been writing new songs with him?

J: He’s been doing fantastic! We started with a few older ones to get the feeling down! We have an entire new album written and we’re scheduled to record in January, so he’s learning news ones along with the older ones.

R: We miss Brian everyday. The band has stayed active throughout the whole pandemic, rehearsing and playing livestream events as well. Matt has adapted well and is doing a great job. We have not created anything new but the new album is written. About 20 or so new songs.

2. How long have you guys been playing your instruments and what was the first gear you ever owned?

J: A LONG time!!! I started playing drums in 8th grade!!! So I was 13/14. Man, I’m old!!! I had an old Kent set that I would bang on! Once I knew I liked it I bought my Pearl set!!

R: I’ve been playing for over 30 years. Oh my god, my first gear was a Mark2 bass and a Garnet head. I had a Fender speaker I think.

3. For those who don’t know, talk about your past bands and your respective histories in the local metal scene. Jim, I didn’t know you at all until Anthropic’s first show in 2016 (I believe), but I remember seeing Russ play live for the first time at LaSalle around 20 years ago or so with Stemm.

J: I was in Arsenic Disposal, a punk metal band. Eventually became Buffalo’s first grind band, Immortal Terror! Then, a 15-year hiatus to be a sailor and dad. Then, a short stint in Source of Relapse before Anthropic!!

R: I gotta take a breath (laughs). Fried Alive, Grotesque Infection, Putrefest, Organism, Headstone Missionary, Stemm, Evil Eye Virtue, Three Minutes of Hate, Blast, Darkapathy, and ANTHROPIC. If I’m not playing shows I’m going to shows. Love the scene here in Buffalo.

4. You guys have already hit the stage a bunch since shows are back. What have you guys been up to? Where have you gone? Who were some great bands you shared the stage with recently? What awesome shows do you have lined up?

J: We’ve played a few outdoor parties (never played outside, so that was a bucket list) then a weekend in VA and SC with Mafia!! Coming up is shows with Soulfly, Internal Bleeding, and Malignancy!!!

R: We recently shared the stage with Debrained, Shallow Teeth, Surrender The Hope, Gutterance, Spiral Fracture, Dreams of Atrocity, Valar Morghulous, Angel Massacre, Might Makes Right, Thrash Gordon, The A-nots. We have an awesome show lined up for next year in NYC. Proud to be playing Armageddon Fest once again. Hopefully the show isn’t compromised from the virus.

5. WHEN IS RUSS GETTING A BASS SOLO?! Furthermore, WHEN IS JIM GETTING A DRUM SOLO?!

J: Russ is a wizard and has a solo in almost every song!!! We have a few bass and drum only parts!!! Do blast beats count as a solo?

R: I fool around a bit, tinker with the idea but you guys might have to wait on a solo. Jim does solos in between songs at practice (laughs).

6. Who did you guys grow up listening to? What were the bands that first inspired you both to start playing metal? Follow-up: How did you guys come to pick your instruments? Why bass? Why drums? What were your catalysts?

J: I am a huge Ozzy fan!!!! Then my step father was a singer in local metal bands. I would go to rehearsals and hear Judas Priest and other hair bands!! I tried guitar, too many fingers needed!! My father had a drum set I would bang on. I guess it was the normal progression and felt right!! Of course the music got heavier until I heard terrorizer and it was grind from then on!!!

R: I was influenced by all the good shit, from my grandfather’s Frank Sinatra to all the hair metal bands: Judas Priest, Motorhead, King Diamond, all the thrash bands: Metallica, Megadeth, Kreator, Slayer, SOD. Once I heard the English wave, it was over. I was all in. Bands like Napalm and Carcass, then Obituary, Morbid, Terrorizer. My best friend Justin Hilts and I wanted to start a metal band. He played drums already so I was gonna be either guitar or bass. We went to Grizanti Music in Niagara Falls. I picked up a guitar and strummed it but it seemed little small on me. The strings were close together and thin. I picked up a bass and was like, “Oh yeah, this just feels right.”

7. Describe the rush of being on stage again at a legit venue for the first time in over a year.

J: Being on stage is completely surreal. The adrenaline! The rush!!! I love people not knowing what we’re about, then a few songs in you see them lose their minds!!! Completely missed it!!

R: Performing on stage in front of a live audience is the best feeling. It’s my favorite place to be. All their beautiful faces, the energy. It’s so great to be back.

8. We need to know everything about the next Anthropic album that we’re allowed to know. We can’t wait for you guys to bounce back and hit fucking hard with your next extreme grind release!!

J: Ah yes, it’s completely written, 18 songs. Brian was very thorough, so we have recordings and tabs of every song. Just a matter of learning them all!!

R: I can’t wait to unleash the new record on all you guys and girls. There is a little bit of everything on the new one, a couple hardcore songs, a couple songs that just have that old school Terrorizer feel to them, some good shit. It will be dedicated to Brian and his memory.

9. Name the first grindcore bands you ever listened to.

J: TERRORIZER!!! Carcass, Napalm Death!!

R: Same as Jim. (laughs)

10. Put together the perfect grindcore or otherwise extreme metal lineup you’d love to either see live, or open for with Anthropic.

J: Insect Warfare, Phobia, Terrorizer (LA), Napalm Death, Gutalax!!!

R: Cannibal Corpse, Meshuggah, Phobia, Nile, Carcass

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