My name is Cory John Rist, I believe middle names were invented for a reason, they are not tits on a bull, use them. I am the singer and apparent guitarist in the band Mezzanine. I am 25 but feel 60. I really think I was born in the wrong era, so much of modern life holds no appeal to me.
I would quite happily live without a mobile phone or even electricity for that matter. Some of the most fun and adventure I have ever known has been without either. I don’t think we should define ourselves by what we do for a job, I tried this for a while when I was unemployed (read: every year for about 3 months), i would get asked every now and then “so what do you do for a living” and I replied “I’m a musician”, it felt good to say this but ultimately led to more questions and confusion.
I am very consumed with my own thoughts for better or worse and am stubborn and often not very nice to be around, but as an onion becomes essential after all the crying I also have an inner layer that is good to be around after the peeling.
Give us a quick brief rundown of who you are musically and what you try and do differently.
Musically I am also an onion. The outer layer is pretty shit and probably does not need to be heard or seen by anyone but deeper a river runs wild with pretty neat ideas and riffs which I bring to the public at large. Seriously, you should hear some of the crap I come up with. I once wrote a lullaby about a spider spinning a psychedelic web in a vague pink floyd stylee, more corned beef than fillet steak sauce. I walk a pretty diverse line though, Mezzanine is my rock layer...I do ambient unease under my own name and also do a spot of theatre sound design when called upon.
What do I do differently? Well all I’m really trying to do is create an atmosphere or mood, which is almost certainly one of dread/pain/longing/fear/desperation. This is my forte, my palace of deadpan. I don’t think we should be different for the sake of it, art for arts sake. I write and basically live in the same way; my lyrics mimic my daily existence, fuck the happy place in the clouds, if you feel it, write it.
Who would be some key influences are that people wouldn’t expect?
Well in this re-blogged clusterfuck of a world one can lose ones cred pretty quickly, if you don’t care about any of this its easier, not perfect, but easier. I have no problem admitting Achtung Baby is my favourite album of all time, or that Tina Arena live at the concert hall was my first ever concert. Quick fire influences here we go: Morrissey, Sonic Youth, Ken Boothe, Simply red, UB40, U2, Beck, Phillip Glass, ABBA, Scott Walker… I’m not sure how much actually bleeds into Mezzanine song-writing but in the spur of the moment any of the previously listed can have an effect on a melody or a guitar part.
In “Almost Famous” honour, “do you have to be sad to write a sad song, do you have to be in love to write a love song?”
In short, yes. I can’t write a song about being a poodle-show-jumping-champion-parent because I’m not. Some folks might try and write the poodle song without actually owning a poodle but the poodle people know he’s talking shit. The reason he’s writing about poodles is because he has a poodle and he loves it and he thinks other people should hear about how awesome and cute his poodle is.
I write about feeling and not feeling and love and not love and anxiety and paranoia because that’s what I own, not because it sounds appealing or because that’s what will sell some records, because that’s my life, and that’s pretty shitty some times but what else can I do? Let the poodle man write the poodle song.
If you had to put together your dream gig with any 5 bands from history + 5 local bands who would they be?
OK the five bands of all time gig...Well you would want to start the show off on a nice quiet note so id say opening would be Neil Young circa 1974, after Neil we would want some crooning so lets have Scott Walker, performing Scott IV in full. After that lets give the thumbs up to Talking Heads, G-Up the crowd a bit after the thinking music, they would obviously be performing ‘Stop Making Sense’ in full.
The crowd is now getting pretty excited, enter U2 playing a ZOO TV era set, including such gems as Dirty Day and Until The End Of The World (my 3rd Favourite song of all time), in full costume. Now the headliner…. Has to be danceable, has to be poppy. ABBA gets the nod. Nothing more to say...the best pop group in history tearing melody holes in your face.
...And local gig of all time… Firstly, I should preface this by saying I’m far too young to remember the ‘Glory Days’ of the 90’s, so this will have to suffice. Opening would be “The Bank Holidays”, I love that twee shit. “Mile End” would ramp up the intensity next, followed by the “Ferris Brothers” playing the hits of INXS, with me on vocals. 2nd headliner would be “Tengo Tuego”...“I Can’t Get Hard’ Era…. Headlining would be Mezzanine...at The Hydey, circa 2009.
What is the most annoying/difficult question to be asked in an interview?
I don’t believe in annoying/difficult questions. One of my favourite things in life is to take something meaningless and bland and turn into something fantastic. I think it’s lazy to admit defeat when someone throws you a bag of dicks. Be a man, take the bag of dicks and make a cock sandwich. I’ll talk to a lampshade till it’s turned on man. When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed, that’s not very often though.
What are your plans for the next 6 - 12 months
I plan to dig deeper to find the exact thing I want to say. As always it feels like it’s on the horizon just out of reach but I hope to catch up and get it onto paper. I have an unquenchable desire for what is just too far out of sight and torments me from a distance. I want this to be the year I catch up and throttle it into a song. I don’t hold any grand plans as far as life is concerned, the way I live only lets me be a step ahead and then takes me two steps back. I want peace on earth, if peace on earth is a distortion pedal in tune with my brain and a hangover remedy I can believe in.