Impure Injection: An Interview with the One-Man Grind Godfather on China’s Extreme Music Scene
Over the past 10 years, a new breed of brutal-minded musicians have been coming out of China. The small but rabid community features artists like Rectal Wench, Globularcyst, Sexy Oldguys and Abnormal Infected.
In Zibo, Shandong province, talented grinder Gore Geng created Impure Injection in 2013, influenced by bands ranging from Repulsion to Exhumed and as relentless as an acid splash on bare skin. Often a one-man arsenal live, he sometimes has a few other maniacs helping his cause.
In 2019, Impure Injection’s Genetically Modified Utopia album was a ferocious piece of what was to come from Geng. This year saw the release of the Gore in the North EP, a four-track assault which cemented Geng’s place as a Chinese grind phenom.
Aside from his duties in Impure Injection, Geng runs Gore Geng Promotions, acting as a show promoter and extreme metal community builder (utilizing the Chinese app Wechat to connect fans from across the country). Many of the death metal or grind shows put on in China have direct ties to Geng. We caught up with him to discuss the state of extreme metal in China, its origin and its future.
When you started Impure Injection, what was the heavy scene like in China? Were there any other grind bands?
GoreGeng: As far as extreme bands in China, it started and spread relatively late but began to grow rapidly in 2010, both the culture and the music itself. In those days, extreme metal bands were very abundant in China. There were many old school and new school bands. It started to get strong. But I was a lonely boy, because I lived in a small city.
Needless to say, the bands Cave Have Rod and Rectal Wench, as well as BrutalReign Productions… they helped me change my state of mind. They helped me get in touch with the promoters which allowed people to know my band.
Some other grindcore bands were S.C.O.D (Speak Chinese or Die) from Wuhan and Delirious from Nanjing. There were a few more studio bands but they split up.
You sometimes play alone, but other times you have some helpers. What are the pros and cons for each?
I love having band members with me. Sometimes I miss those days when I have a drummer who is flexible and self-confident on the stage. But my boys need to work or take care of the family; playing in a touring band is a heavy burden. Maybe it’s not fun for them anymore or they don’t want to pursue grindcore.
As a one-man project, I’m free. I’ll go out there and play as soon as I say.
What is your own history with extreme metal?
When I was in high school, two bands changed my life: Yattering from Poland and Suffocation from New York. Before I was into extreme music, Cradle of Filth, Nightwish and Marilyn Manson helped me start my journey and bridged the gap towards the extremes.
Tell me about Zibo. Was there any sort of metal scene there when you started? Did you have trouble finding people to play this type of music with you?
Well, I’ll begin with a sad story. I’ve had a lot of failed bands in my hometown of Zibo. These bands ranged from nu metal to indie rock to hardcore, but I was just a supporting role in these different bands.
In 2013, I decided play grindcore; it’s my biggest love. My hometown of Zibo is a small city in China. Of course, nobody wanted to play this type of music with me at first. Later on though, some people wanted to join my band but I had to refuse them. They just wanted to be a rock star on stage, give the \m/ to fans or show some photos on the internet as a way to show off.
When Impure Injection started, Zibo’s rock music circle was dying. Actually, some local bands killed it. There was a collective unconsciousness but I knew I could make something for the local music scene. Old guys were always nagging about the past and wanted young people to respect them. There was even some chauvinism and they sometimes acted like a gang in prison.
I first became aware of brutal Chinese music through seeing a Gore Feast event in Beijing in 2013. The bands there were Rectal Wench, The Dark Prison Massacre, Ready to Die and Cave Have Rod. Do you feel shows like this set the foundation for the community?
Gore Feast was a symbol in Mainland China. It wasn’t big but it really started the death metal and grindcore subculture in the country. Rectal Wench, The Dark Prison Massacre and Cave Have Rod are really legendary bands now. They have experienced a period of change in the Chinese underground scene and played a connecting role.
Cave Have Rod famously played the Obscene Extreme Festival. Any band who plays here and has their video put on YouTube is instantly known worldwide to the grind scene. What are your thoughts on bringing Impure Injection here (or to other international festivals)?
To play at the Obscene Extreme festival is a dream for grindcore bands on earth. I’ve seen so many videos and pictures and have never been there, but I think I’m very familiar with it and hope one day I can join them.
You put together extreme metal shows such as True Noise Day and Extreme Mind under Gore Geng Promotions. What can you tell us about organizing such shows?
I want to share more about underground music with everyone in China. I used to need help from others, but some well-known online platforms didn’t like us. The right to speak was only in the hands of a small number of people. I then started Gore Geng Promotions when I realized that problem. The most important thing is that I can communicate with many people, which makes me no longer lonely in Zibo.
Is it difficult to bring in foreign bands? Does the government scrutinize violent lyrics or are the bands not big enough for the authorities to care?
I think any band can perform in China as long as they don’t involve political issues in the lyrics. More importantly, I think many foreign bands don’t put China on their tour because they don’t know the Chinese metal scene. But I think some Chinese organizers are particularly good and show something special to fans in China.
Brutal Reign productions put out your Genetically Modified Utopia album. As far as record labels go in China, which are the best for brutal music?
I would like to recommend Graboid of the Ground Records. Boss Roman is a real cool man if he talks about brutal music! Flesh Sclerosis Productions in Beijing have begun to sprout and we’re awaiting some exciting news from them.
Are you seeing more younger people at shows now since you began?
Yes, a lot of young fans have joined the extreme scene. I know a lot of younger people know the history of death metal or grindcore, but the genres which are especially popular are thrash and black metal.
Who are some of the newer, younger bands you feel are waving the extreme metal flag for China?
Haematemesis from Shanghai. They play real brutal death metal and understand the culture and history of the genre and follow the trend. Of course, some bands in China have been working on the mix different styles in certain genres like Rampage Time.
You are active on several social networking sites. Along with the Chinese ones like Douban (which are necessary in China), you’re on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook as well. Do you feel it’s important for young Chinese bands to utilize “Western” social media sites like this to build their fan-base?
Of course, it matters. For a band to build their fan-base is so hard and I think it’s necessary to spread our music. After all, the group listening to underground, extreme music is limited and to let the Western world know about us in China is a good thing. It would be better if the two sides could have better communication.