Tag Archive: “Doomsday Student”

Photo by Becky DiGiglio

In the spirit of Providence, Rhode Island’s penchant for odd musical offspring, Made up of members of Arab on Radar, Athletic Automation, Mahi Mahi and Six Finger Satellite, Providence, Rhode Island’s The Chinese Stars were Eric Paul, Craig Kureck, V. Von Ricci (who took over for Richard Pelletier), and Paul Vieira. The band took their music in an upbeat, dancepunk-centered direction with the formation of The Chinese Stars, lasting long enough to produce four albums full of unbridled energy and dark humor. Though the band is no longer creating new music, three of the four members went on to form Doomsday Student, who recently released their third LP, A Self-Help Tragedy.

Inspired by a European Doomsday Student tour earlier this year, The Chinese Stars’ fourth LP, Heaven on Speed Dial, was rereleased by Three One G Records digitally on May 19. The fourth and final album from The Chinese Stars, was a departure from the intensely spastic, discordant sound of a predecessor like Arab on Radar or what would later become Doomsday Student, all of which have the common thread of vocalist Eric Paul and drummer Craig Kureck. This music had a deceptively straightforward, upbeat sound– funky, dance-inspiring and catchy in comparison. This in no way suggests that it didn’t also have bite, though– the tracklist should be enough to evidence this by way of a title like “No Car No Blowjob”. Listen carefully and quickly realize that it is as catchy as it is confrontational. There is a perverse playfulness to it all, which is what makes the band’s music so memorable years later.

Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Paul to discuss the band’s tour with The Blood Brothers, calling it quits, the move to other projects, and their legacy.

What was it that inspired Chinese Stars to take up the weirdo flag in the first place?

Arab On Radar had just dissolved and playing in a band was all Craig and I ever knew — we’d been doing it most of our lives –so we approached two musicians in town that we admired (Rick Pelletier and Paul Vieira) and asked them about forming a new band.

The band was both catchy and confrontational. Is that a spirit that you lauded yourselves on?

The catchiness was a more or less a challenge that we had set for ourselves. After the cacophony of Arab On Radar we were looking to stay within a similar aesthetic but at the same time explore aspects of songwriting and sounds that we were unfamiliar with. The confrontational aspects of Chinese Stars were inherent, in the same way that it exists in everything I’ve been part of.

What were your proudest accomplishments with the group?

Some of my best memories with the band were from our tour with The Blood Brothers. I felt Chinese Stars was in good form and because The Blood Brothers were so popular we were able to play in front of huge crowds in some exciting venues. On top of it, we really connected with them as people and we’ve remained great friends ever since. And I’m really proud of the song “The Drowning.”

When and why did Chinese Stars call it quits?

We stopped playing shortly after Heaven on Speed Dial came out but we never “broke up.”  Craig and I went on to do some reunion shows with Arab On Radar and then Doomsday Student started up. We never returned to writing with Chinese Stars. We are all still great friends — I guess with a few rehearsals we could always play a show or two?

Three of the four of you moved on to Doomsday Student right? And you’ll be touring this Summer?

Yes.  I’m actually writing you from Austria — we play Vienna tonight as part of a tour.  Then we are doing a handful of one-offs when we get home including shows with Lydia Lunch’s Retrovirus and Lightning Bolt.

Is the Heaven on Speed Dial LP out-of-print?

The LP is out of print.

Did the DS tour have anything to do with now being the right time for the re-release?

Sort of. Doomsday was about to embark on a bunch of shows to support the new album, A Self-Help Tragedy, so we thought it would be the best time for a reissue.

What are you hoping that people who hear it for the first time now take away from it?

When I get into conversations with people about the bands I’ve been in –most people make a point of telling me which band they like the best. I enjoy this. I prefer people to view what I’ve done as more of a strange journey than just as a person in a specific band. A lot of the same people continue to go the shows and buy the albums but they just have their personal favorites. So, I’d love for people to look at Chinese Stars as a phase or a point of a career where I was exploring a slightly different aspects aspects of the music  I’m part of.  Whether you like one era better than another that’s great  — I just feel grateful that anyone supported any of it and I am able to still do it.

What are you hoping the lasting legacy of the band is?

More or less what I was saying in the previous answer — I’d love for people to judge it against the background of all the bands, albums, and songs I’ve worked on.

(Purchase the LP here: http://threeoneg.com/archive/digital-only/heaven-on-speed-dial.)

Doomsday Student is Eric Paul, Stephen Mattos, Craig Kureck, and Paul Vieira. Made up of members from bands such as Arab on Radar, The Chinese Stars, Athletic Automaton, and Chrome Jackson, one should not be particularly surprised by the level of dissonance, mania, and peculiarity thoughtfully melded into every layer of the music, from unsettling lyrics to hysteric guitars and irregular rhythms. Obnoxious to those who seek the obvious but beloved by many others, the band has made comrades of and played with Retox, Guerilla Toss, Child Bite, White Mice, Head Wound City, and Graf Orlok, among many others.

The video for “The First Trip” (below) was directed by Planchette and stars J.M. Wyland, A.M. Ticaric, and T. Giles.

This single is off of Doomsday Student’s newest LP, A Self-Help Tragedy, which was released by Three One G Records on vinyl/digitally and through Skin Graft Records in CD format on December 2.

(Visit Doomsday Student here: http://doomsdaystudent.com/.)

Doomsday Student have returned bearing their traditionally bizarre gifts in the form of the new single, “Angry Christmas.” Here is a tale of birth, life, skin, bones, and caved-in skulls, told with rhythms like soldiers trudging through mud and broken car-alarm guitar wails. Add to this the sound of what seems like a chorus of flies buzzing in beautiful harmony, and you have the band’s first single of 2016.

Luke Boggia’s video to go with this amplifies all of the qualities of Doomsday Student, equal parts hilarious, terrifying, and provocative: a series of vividly colored animations depicting selfie-taking of different sorts with a steady crescendo of absurdity for the duration of the track. It’s not for the easily offended, but it’s also not simple shock for shock value’s sake. There is more to be heard and seen from them in the future, but for now, Eric Paul reminds us that “we’ve just taken our first breath.” Celebrate. This track is from the upcoming Doomsday Student release, A SELF HELP TRAGEDY, recorded at Radar Studios by Daryl Rabidoux and mastered by Golden Mastering in April-August of 2016.

Doomsday Student is Eric Paul, Stephen Mattos, Craig Kureck, and Paul Vieira. Made up of members from bands such as Arab on Radar, The Chinese Stars, Athletic Automaton, and Chrome Jackson, one should not be particularly surprised by the level of dissonance, mania, and peculiarity thoughtfully melded into every layer of the music, from unsettling lyrics to hysteric guitars and irregular rhythms. Obnoxious to those who seek the obvious but beloved by many others, the band has made comrades of and played with Retox, Guerilla Toss, Child Bite, White Mice, Head Wound City, and Graf Orlok, among many others.

 Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Paul to discuss the endeavor and video and this is what he shared.

What was it about Doomsday Student that initially made it a project worth pursuing?

The band came together about a year after a disastrous attempt to reunite Arab On Radar.  Shortly after that Steve, Craig, and I decided to just keep playing without any ambition — simply to play.  Craig and I had not played with Steve since the original Arab On Radar days and being around him, his aesthetic, limitless talent again reinvigorated my desire to make thoughtful and challenging records again. For months we played, just the three of us, until we thought to ask Paul if we would be interested in joining us for a few nights of improvisation — to see how it felt. Paul came in like a tornado of ideas and energy and it all felt perfect.  The connection between the four of us —this is what makes it worth pursuing for me.

What continues to make it an important endeavor? 

As corny as it may sound, I think friendship is why it continues to be important. We are just four fucked-up friends (of twenty years) that dig making music together. It is simple as that.

Do you believe that Doomsday Student is easily digested by a casual listener? If not, what are some of the touchstones people need to be familiar with in order to understand what you are hoping to communicate and accomplish?

I do not! It took a lot of obsessing and a lot of discourse to arrive at where we are and where we have been with our work. For us, it started with our shared infatuation with Six Finger Satellite and then, we quickly devoured all the albums that inspired them.  I would say, start with Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band’s “Trout Mask Replica,” The Birthday Party’s “Junkyard,” P.I.L.’s “Second Edition,” Albert Ayler’s “Live in Greenwich Village” and  Chrome’s “Alien Soundtracks” and “Half Machine Lip Moves” then see where that takes you.

Who came up with the concept for the “Angry Christmas” video? 

The artistLuke Boggia, had creative control over the video. It was his concept and his animations. We always choose to work with artists we admire and try to give them as much control as possible. For us, It adds so much excitement to the process of releasing albums. We know exactly what we are doing with the music but beyond that, we have to trust others to see us through the rest of the way.

Is there a theme or message you are hoping to impart there?

Do your homework. No, wait! There is life on other planets. No, that’s not it either.  Real eyes, realize, real eyes. No, sorry, no message here.

When might did you begin writing and recording A Self Help Tragedy?

We began writing in November 2015

Is there a theme or common idea that runs throughout that record?

I’m sure the others in the band have a common idea they are adding viscerally  to the album. But for me, most of the lyrics are about the birth of my son and the love and chaos that surrounded his arrival. Not all of them, but most of them.

What are your proudest moments on the record?

On this album we experimented with a lot with new sounds and effects.  When writing with these new sounds/effects it slightly altered our direction.   I love the new areas we explored.  My favorite moments are during the songs: “LSD Mom” and “The First Trip” — these two songs had heavy effects and there were points during the songs where all the writing and all the sounds came together perfectly. I felt so privileged to be playing with Steve, Craig, and Paul.

When might that record be seeing the light of day?

If all goes according to plan in late November early December of 2016.

What is next for Doomsday Student? 

We want to spend time in 2017 touring to support the album.

(Catch Doomsday Student live here:

Upcoming shows:

September 17 – Brooklyn, NY @ St. Vitus w/ Head Wound City, Sick Feeling

November 4 – Providence, RI @ Aurora

November 5 – Boston, MA @ Hassle Fest)