"No Until It Works" - An Interview With The Organizers Of Austin Terror Fest
Austin Terrorfest has come, seemingly out of nowhere to have one of the best lineups in underground metal festivals this year. The lineup includes heavy hitters like Yob, Exhorder and Agoraphobic Nosebleed as well as nerdier and more granular picks like Gnaw.
Organized by Texas metal scene vet Dusty Brooks and his 17-year-old business partner Dorian Domi these guys are crafting one of the most exciting events happening in the US this year. Perfectly conceived and with the appeal and funding to seemingly last for years, Austin Terrorfest is a fitting addition to the brand, and I am extremely stoked to see where it goes next. In this interview we talk about how the guys became the 'odd couple' of the Austin scene and how they are planning to develop their unique event!
How the hell are you guys?
Dusty Brooks (DB): Tired! We have a showcase for my company Worshipper Cabs on Friday at the Lost Well with Medusa and Josefus. Saturday is the Terrofest show.
Dorian Domi (DD): With Gatecreeper and Spirit Adrift among others, it will be sick!
Dusty, how does your work with Worshipper inform your work with Terrorfest?
DB: I guess really – Worshipper was my way in to Terrorfest. We started backlining Terrorfest in 2015 in Arizona and from then David Rodgers, the organizer, realized that I booked and he asked me to help start the Austin Terrorfest and working with all these bands and networking with different people made it easier to book and get my feet wet. Especially since meeting Dorian since he flew out the gates, I was like, “Man this kid is hungry I need to work with him!”
You guys are kind of the odd couple of the Austin metal scene, Dusty you’re an old head and Dorian you’re still in high school – how did that happen?
DD: I messaged him to meet up. I noticed we were kind of wanting to book a lot of the same shit. We are both kind of music nerds and I think that we both wanted to put on the same type of shows and have a sense of exclusivity to everything. We wanted to create something that not only matters to us but other people and to create a special experience with our shows.
What makes a show experience special?
DB: The venue. Especially with the Lost Well, the stage is just a foot tall. Yob will play here in June and that will be insane. Seeing a huge band in a tiny club is awesome. I saw Earth in a tiny club in Dallas and I’m still talking about it, and that was five years ago!
DD: Intimacy is key and also getting bands that don’t come to Austin as often as other bands. We have 40 Watt Sun coming this year, they have never played Texas, and only did a handful of US shows like 8 years ago. That sort of thing is key for us.
The kind of music you built the Austin Terrorfest lineup around has no real mainstream appeal, so how did you build the lineup? It’s so diverse!
DB: That was intentional. We wanted to make it an experience and part of the experience is being exposed to something you might have never seen before or heard of and mixing mingling with people in different communities. When you have doom, sludge, punk and whatever all on the same bill, in my head it can’t help but to build and strengthen the community. That’s why I got into booking in the first place, it was a little selfish. I wanted to see these shows happen so it was up to me to make them happen. Six years later I’m working with this guy, and it’s awesome! All this stuff is coming together. Since working with Dorian and doing the fest together that’s the key to strengthening the community.
DD: It’s all about the people you know and ever since I started working with Dusty I think we are a power couple. Terrorfest is a special billing because there are a lot of legendary bands like Exhorder, Agoraphobic Nosebleed who shaped grind, Yob created their own style of doom, Acid King are godfathers of doom and stoner rock. Even Come To Grief!
DB: Some of those bands are ridiculously influential! Come To Grief were on the first bands we wanted to book when we started working together. It happened! This is their first Texas show since ‘95, their first show here as Come To Grief. This is Agoraphobic’s first time in Austin.
DD: Even with Exhorder it’s been years since they played here. Having their first Texas show here is an honor. I think it’s great! It’s very special.
DB: A lot of these bands are special to me because I thought I would never see them much less book them. It’s a humbling experience. Little old me and little young Dorian and this roster of awesome bands!
It’s one of the best lineups in America this year! When you look around – in that granular nerdy metal crowd you’re hitting what lineups do you think are better than yours?
DB: Hate to say it but Psycho getting Indian is pretty fucking sick!
DD: Migration getting Bongripper is pretty cool. I’m a huge fan of them. I think we’ll hopefully get them in the future! I think our festival is a well curated event with a lot of bands who respect each other.
DB: Lot of bands who influence other bands on the festival too! It’s going to be awesome at least for me. If nobody comes I’ll still have a good time!
DD: Until after! (Laughter)
What’s the long term goals of Austin Terrorfest?
DD: We’ve talked about the dream bands we want a lot. There’s multiple bands we want to bring. The long term goal is to create a memorable experience and shape it into an experience that is perfectly curated.
DB: We want it to be for people who want to be here. They will trust us to do it right. My end goal is that when the festival comes to a close they are bummed because they have to go home but they immediately get online and reserve their tickets for the next year. That’s from a spectators standpoint as well as somebody who has wanted to do that. That experience that I felt in the past, I want to let other people experience if they haven’t, and what better town in Texas to do it in than Austin?
DD: Also Godflesh! (Laughter)
DB: If we are talking about bands we dream of booking in the foreseeable future, I want Burning Witch. We have Gnaw this year which I’m stoked on, but Khanate has always been a bucket list band. I recently got acquainted with their frontman Alan Dubin online but he seems like a nice person and I look forward to meeting him.
DD: We’ve talked a lot about Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats.
DB: Noothgrush need to come to Austin as well.
DD: The Locust – they were a big one for us. Also Teeth Of Lions Rule The Divine.
DB: The list could go on forever but those bands especially – we always bring them up!
What festivals have inspired you?
DB: Emissions of the Monolith, Roadburn obviously, I really dig and respect what the people at Migration Fest have done and it is classy and well put together. That’s another thing for us – for the aesthetic to be classy. Bands that make sense and could have an appeal to the general person who may be here but also appeal to the snootiest of metal gurus.
It’s really easy to bend to the will of an agent and you haven’t done that…
DB: It’s easy to say “No we are not interested. Please message us again!” It’s okay to say no. It happens. I get told no all the time, why can’t I say it? It’s business. Part of being a good businessman is knowing when to say yes and no and when to accept no for an answer. No until it works out!
What band are you most stoked to see at Austin Terrorfest?
DD: There’s a few. I’ve never seen Primitive Man which is huge for me. 40 Watt Sun is great too, Warning are one of my favorite bands and Patrick Walker is a genius. 40 Watt Sun is a band I never thought I would get to see. Also Gnaw since they don’t really leave New York and also Krallice, I’m stoked to see them.
DB: Come To Grief. They were the first band I wanted to book I want to see them really bad. Gnaw is my other one. I’ve seen Yob a few times but seeing them in a small bar is going to be sick. I’m so excited for that!
DD: The Lost Well is a magical venue and seeing any of these bands in the Lost Well will be cool.
DB: Pinkish Black, Bell Witch, Yob all in one night on a small stage will be great!
DD: Sixes will be great too!
Any final words of wisdom?
DB: YOLO? (Laughter)