Judgement day has been wreaking beautiful havoc on the music scene since 2002, creating a hybrid of classical and metal music dubbed as “string metal.”
With three albums under their belt (Dark Opus, Peacocks/Pink Monsters, Polar Shift), the band has slowly transformed from metal into an experimental rock project. Judgement Day is set to open for Pinback at Bimbo’s 365 Club. We talked with violinist Anton Patzner about his thoughts on other string bands, his thoughts on the end of the world and a random musical encounter with Lou Reed.
Where did you grow up and when did you start playing music?
I grew up in Oakland. I went to college at UC Santa Cruz and lived in LA for little over a year. It was cool, but I didn’t like having to spend so much time in my car.
I took private lessons growing up. I started on piano when I was five and took one lesson a week and practiced every day. When I was in fourth grade, I took to violin and went to Crowden middle school in Berkeley where they practice two hours of classical music daily. Since then I’ve been playing in bands.
Your brother (Lewis) plays Cello in the band, have you two always played together?
We started playing together when we started the band in 2002. We’re four years apart in age so when I was in high school he was in middle school; that was kind of a big issue for us.
Did you influence him?
No, our parents kind of picked our instruments for us.
Are they supportive of what you guys are doing?
Yeah, they are pretty great. They’d be supportive no matter what.
Is it true that Cursive recruited you for a tour with Bright Eyes? How did that happen?
We used to play outside of concerts when they were getting out. We did that for Cursive and the band came out and watched. That was exciting because we were big fans of Cursive. We kept in touch and their cello player was touring with Bright Eyes and she recommended me.
The best part about touring with Bright Eyes was the musical lessons that I learned. One time we had Lou Reed join us as a special guest. We didn’t practice, he just showed up for soundcheck and we ran through his song twice. The first time he stopped us after about 20 seconds. One of the chords was wrong, so he showed us the right chord. The second time we played through the entire song and afterwards he said, “Well, I don’t think we want it to sound any better than that.” He was right. That was quite a lesson for a young perfectionist.
For the Album Peacocks/Pink Monsters, you had three artists paint for two hours and at the end of the time that would be the art for your album. You also made a great music video out of this. How did you come up with the idea?
The artists were old friends and they were doing this kind of project for the first time. The idea stemmed from reading about Buddhism. I was listening to a lot of Tibetan music, which is completely improvised. To a lot people it might just sound like noise, but they are actually meditating and channeling the energy of the universe. I was really into improvisation and letting things go where they wanted.
Tags: Bimbo's 365 Club, Bright Eyes, Cursive, Heavy Metal, Judgement Day, Lou Reed, Minushead Records, String Metal, Strings, SXSW