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OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — To try to properly define or easily describe the sound of OKC’s Chat Pile is something of an uphill battle. Their music lives in the strange, nebulous spaces between punk and metal, between Indie and Hardcore, even between music and just straight-up noise.

And yet, this weirdo amalgam of sounds has struck a chord with listeners across the country, helping to propel Chat Pile into the national Indie-Metal spotlight thanks to a split EP release with underground hardcore heroes Portrayal of Guilt.

“There’s a strange alchemy to how all our individual pieces come together,” said Chat Pile bassist Stin when pressed about how the band developed its sound. “The blending of genres is a conscious attempt to incorporate the things we like most about hardcore, death metal, noise rock, and indie rock into one distilled package.”

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Even the guys themselves have a difficult time pinpointing the right labels.

“The terms ‘death grunge’ and ‘sludge’ get thrown around a lot,” Stin told me. “There’s also an accidental confluence of each individual member’s personal tastes guiding what ultimately comes together.”

Listeners might be surprised, he says, to find out that half of the band doesn’t even listen to much heavy music.

So how did a band that’s equal parts Bauhaus, Melvins, Minor Threat, and early Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds find their way to national attention, with shout-outs in places like Stereogum, Brooklyn Vegan, and even Revolver Magazine?

According to Stin, it was a gradual, word-of-mouth build that started exploding once they dropped the split with Portrayal of Guilt.

“Matt from PoG hit us up all the way back in early 2020, prior to the pandemic, to play some shows with them on a small tour they were doing,” he explained. “We hit it off immediately, bonding on our mutual love of Korn. We pretty much decided then and there that we needed to work together on a project.”

After the inevitable delays caused by the nationwide shutdowns and quarantines, they finally got together nearly a full year later.

“We met up together in September 2020 to record the tracks in person and we sat in while each band recorded their respective songs,” Stin said. “It was a ton of fun and a much-needed ray of hope in an otherwise challenging year.”

Though challenging, 2020 ended up being a remarkably productive time for the band, as they continued writing, recording, and releasing tracks to acclaim across not only Oklahoma audiences, but newfound fans around America as well, even while not being able to perform live.

Coming home

With venues finally open, and with OKC’s metal audiences clamoring to make up for lost time, Chat Pile is ready to bring their ravenous and confounding sound back home. Their very first post-pandemic show in OKC will be this Thursday, the 18th, at 89th Street alongside Portrayal of Guilt.

“We’re excited about it,” Stin said, “and even more excited to see the underground scene in Oklahoma pull itself together and rebuild after getting wiped out by the pandemic. We hope to see friends old and new show up and have a good time.”

The band is clear that this show will only be the tip of a massive resurgence of energy and productivity, even as the world’s supply chain issues try to throw in a wrench.

“We handed our new album over to [experimental record label] The Flenser this past summer, and we’re expecting a release sometime in 2022,” Stin teased. “Vinyl production issues are slowing the release schedule a bit, but we promise everyone’s patience will be rewarded.”

Chat Pile
Chat Pile (provided)

Beyond that, Stin says Chat Pile is gearing up to be busier than ever, but they intend to keep some things little more than cryptic until they’re ready.

“We scored a movie last winter and we’re in the beginning phases of getting a version of that released to the world,” he said. “We have a couple of other split releases in the works with some very cool artists as well. There’s other odds and ends in the pipeline that may surprise people, and some other secrets that will reveal themselves in due time.”

Chat Pile can be found online on all social platforms, and you can check out their relentless and undefinable sound at chatpile.bandcamp.com.

Tickets for their post-pandemic homecoming with Portrayal of Guilt at 89th Street this Thursday night, the 18th, can be purchased at 89thstreetokc.com.


Last Updated November 16, 2021, 7:52 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor