Christian Segerstrom is the current head of Mathcore Index and co-host of the related Mathcast monthly podcast. Mathcore Index is a channel I have been following for many years now, and it has been a go-to source for the latest and greatest in the mathcore, hardcore, and grindcore genres. Christian and I have been corresponding through Facebook for some time now, so it seemed natural to start talking about the history behind the page. After some banter lamenting getting concert photos on shaky smartphones and PowerShots, working with shitty streaming quality, and the saving grace of Instagram filters; we got down to business.
FlightOfIcarus: Well as long as we're talking, tell me how you got involved with Mathcore Index to begin with.
Christian: I had actually met Simon, the founder, on the old Apparatus message boards. The Apparatus put out a number of compilations under the Mecha Organa title (my old band appears on one), and a couple of those compilations were released with the help of Mathcore Index, which at the time was just a blogspot.
During this time I was writing for my own blog, Broken Circuit Monologue, and there was just generally a lot of cross pollination from those message boards. Writers from Svbterranean, American Aftermath, and Keith, The Apparatus founder who now does graphic design for Sheepsxclothing and did the original Mathcore Index logo. Anyway, at some point about 4 or 5 years ago I think, Simon made an actual Facebook profile for Mathcore Index
So he reached out to me and asked me to help manage the Facebook page, I think 4 years ago last month, probably because I actively writing this
What got you started blogging about this genre to begin with?
Originally I just started blogging to share music with my friends. I had accumulated a lot music from just perusing other blogs, like The Living Doorway, that inspired me to do it myself. So I made a mediafire account and just started hosting the links. Mostly bands that I had toured with or bands that were totally unknown, a lot of underground hardcore and grind and screamo and mathcore
So you were also making music at this time?
Yeah, I was in a couple bands of little to no consequence back then, but the one that I’m “known” for is probably Antarctica.
Releasing stuff through Myspace I assume?
Exactly. We were definitely a MySpace era band
Can you pinpoint the band or even moment that got you interested in playing this genre?
Absolutely. In 2002, a friend of mine introduced me to The Black Dahlia Murder, Between the Buried and Me, and that completely blew my mind, made me realize everything I had been listening to before (mostly nu metal) was completely inferior
...THEN, once he had me interested, he gradually started introducing The Dillinger Escape Plan, and later Ion Dissonance, Robinson, Pig Destroyer, other more angular, noisy, dissonant, and technical stuff that wasn’t cheesy death metal and just felt like it had so much more artistic integrity
Ha, BTBAM's 'The Silent Circus' was one of my firsts too.
So amazing. That album especially, along with TDBM - Miasma, really inspired me to be a better player
I came to them from listening to a lot of metalcore and then just browsing that section at a local record store that let you listen to any disc they had. Also Every Time I Die's Hot Damn and actually Symphony In Peril's Lost Memoirs and Faded Pictures. Not to mention Norma Jean…
Hah, that’s how you had to do it back then. Hot Damn is life changing. And Norma Jean has no original members and still plays those songs, that speaks volumes about the album
Ok, so you started playing the music, got into writing about it, and then Simon gets you involved with the Facebook end of things. What was that like?
Well, initially he just brought me on me to grow the actual page, which was much smaller than profile itself which had like 1500-2000 at that time. Eventually Facebook made us consolidate the two. All we really did back then was share links, you know? Then I started the FFO posts, which seems to really bring more traffic.
So traffic goes up, and at what point does this become more of a full time gig for you?
That’s so funny, because I have never really thought of it as a full time gig until you said that. I actually have another full time job. I do Mathcore Index in my free time, but it really does consume a lot these days, to the point I have to stop myself because I can sit for hours corresponding and finding new bands.
I definitely hear that.
But I guess it really started becoming this way when we made the website and started doing video premieres.
So when did Simon drop off and you more or less took over?
Probably around that same time. He also recently had a child, so he’s busy with that full time now
What was the first video premiere?
Our first video premiere for was for Wolf King’s “Deathless,” which is funny, because they aren’t really mathcore haha. They just happen to be friends of mine, had a great a quality video, and sounded enough like Converge that I thought, “what the heck?”
Oh shit, so that was relatively recent. I remembered when you put that up.
Yeah, video premieres and compilations is stuff that’s only been going on for about 2 years or less. Same with the podcast
Yeah, so tell me about that. How did Levi get involved and what ultimately spurred that on?
Levi is actually the one who spurred that on. He’s been a long time listener and caller on the Metal Injection Livecast, so he brought up the idea about a year a half ago that we should probably be recording our somewhat insightful, sometimes funny, but mostly stoney ramblings on obscure music. Which is something we’ve naturally done as friends for like a decade anyway. Strangely enough, I have no interest in podcasts myself really, and never really even listened to them before we started this and still don’t much.
That's funny, because I mean it when I say it's the only music-based podcast I enjoy. It's the perfect blend of funny banter and kickass hardcore. What I love about it the most is it just feels natural. You get these people that are clearly putting on the typical "radio persona." With you and Levi it's just two dudes shooting the shit.
That is exactly what we were going for. We wanted it to feel like you were sitting there with us as we listen to the band
Well you've certainly succeeded. My only complaint is that I wish it came more than once a month. Judging by the comments leading up to the last one, I'm not alone in that.
Yeah, I wish we had more time to devote towards the podcast, but once a month is perfect in that we can cover everything that happened that month in between the last episode or even a little further back in some cases. We’re also both busy so it’s hard to coordinate the timing. We would probably also run out of bands to talk about.
Any other future plans to expand, either with the podcast or with other media or projects?
We’re looking at expanding the podcast by adding more interviews and special features, hopefully we’ll be able to start doing livecasts at some point if we figure out how to reformat. Mathcore Index will also continue to do what it does; video and album premieres, and although I’m uncertain if we should continue doing compilations we probably will.
That would be dope. And as a huge The Number Twelve Looks Like You fan, I thought it was awesome that you recently had them for an interview.
I was really excited about that myself haha. Huge fan of the band too, have really admired them as artists
You mentioned way back in the beginning connections to other popular sites and blogs like Sheepsxclothing. Do you work with them at all or is it strictly a "share the community" kind of thing?
Sheepsxclothing is actually only about 2 years old I think. It’s just Keith (The Apparatus), who did the MI logo, does their graphic design now. But to answer your question, I don’t work with them; in the beginning I brought them a ton of people that ended up being on their first 10-15 interviews, but that was it. It really is more of a community thing...I really try to build that between likeminded publications, even though some don’t take to it.
That's been something I've enjoyed the most about writing here. I've gotten to know people like yourself, various cool PR people, other writers like Chris and also Eric from The Grim Tower. I feel like as I've gotten older, what was already a niche community has been harder and harder to find in regular day life. So building this alternate community online has been so refreshing.
Absolutely, couldn’t agree more. At the root of it all it’s still about the same thing: sharing music. Sharing a passion.
Agreed. What else have you got going on these days?
Well I’ve got a new project in the works. It’s called A Waking Grave. I’m sure you can probably imagine what it might sound like haha. I took a long break from writing metal when I moved to San Francisco, and one day I realized it had been like 5 years since I had played a show, so I started working on this stuff. I had a girlfriend at the time who HATED metal, which looking back should’ve been a totally obvious red flag for a diehard fan of the most obscure sort of metal possible
Right, and then yeah you've got the label going too, which with everything we've talked about I managed to forget. That first release, Trepanation, was a doozy.
Yeah, that one came out of left field. I had been trying to get the label off the ground for about 7 month at that time when, as we had 2 other records in the works that were taking a long time to come together, and they were one of the very first bands to reach out to us that I enjoyed. We actually covered them on the podcast previously as well
Anything else on the lineup for 2018? Bands you're hoping to get on the label?
Yeah, 2018 is going to be a big for us. Our next release is actually an 8 label collaborative release, a split 7” with SeeYouSpaceCowboy and secondgradeknifefight, which is out this month. Then we’ve got another split 7” with Arms and Seizures, followed by a CD and probably a small cassette run for OLAM, which is this great hardcore band from Indiana that sounds like Converge if they were influenced by more screamo. Really excited about all of these, especially the Arms / Seizures run, because that is the whole reason I started this label.
Actually, Paul Hundeby of Arms is the reason I started Dark Trail Records. He messaged me basically asking why I hadn’t already been doing it lol. Then we started talking about putting out his next record, because I had really been championing Arms at that time (Blackout was my 2016 underground AOTY)
Your podcast turned me onto Arms. That last album was INSANE.
Yes. Really high quality and inspired stuff. Paul has done nothing but out great music in every project he’s touched, and he actually has yet another secret project in the works that Dark Trail will be releasing late 2018 / early 2019.
That's really exciting honestly. I'm looking forward to hearing and hopefully reviewing all of this stuff. Anything else people should know?
That’s pretty much every interesting aspect of my life compressed into a few paragraphs, so yeah, I guess that about wraps it up haha.
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