This December was supposed to be a time of creative solitude for L.A. industrial-rock band 3TEETH, a month dedicated to completing the follow-up to their acclaimed self-titled 2014 debut.
“We were touring a lot this last year,” explains frontman Alexis Mincolla. “So after our Halloween show in Detroit, we’d planned on just saying, ‘Hey, we’re done for the year — let’s just focus on finishing this album.’ Then in November, I hear from Adam: ‘Hey, we’re going to go out on tour, and we want to bring you guys.’ I’m like, ‘Guess we’re not working on the album right now. …”
The Adam in question was Tool guitarist Adam Jones, and the tour in question was Tool’s first U.S. tour in nearly two years, a three-plus-week cross-country jaunt that begins January 6th at San Francisco’s Bill Graham Auditorium, and which also features Primus on the bill. It was the type of opportunity that most bands would sell their internal organs for — so now, instead of polishing up their new songs, 3TEETH are focused on making their stage show as arena-ready as possible for their opening slot.
“A lot of our show is already built for bigger spaces,” says Mincolla. “But we’re trying to give everything a grander level of scale, since we’re going out with two of the best bands in the world. It’s gotta be amazing, you know?”
Now that the Tool tour announcement has put 3TEETH squarely in the spotlight, they’ve also been doing a lot more press than usual. “We’d been sort of flying under the radar, really doing things on our own terms,” Mincolla laughs. “It wasn’t really until Adam decided to put us on the tour that everybody went, ‘Hey, who the fuck are these guys?'”
Mincolla and 3TEETH keyboardist Xavier Swafford originally met about two years ago through Lil Death, a regular underground party thrown by Mincolla in downtown L.A., which he describes as “this strange sort of cross-section of culture — everything from industrial to Internet culture to dark techno and really strange, dark trap music. It was a really interesting forum or creative space for people to come in and try different stuff.”
3TEETH initially merged Mincolla’s flair for visual art with Swafford’s keyboard and production skills. “The whole project, from Day One, was more of a multimedia art project than a band,” Mincolla explains. “Before we even started writing the album, we sort of had this idea of what this thing could be. It started out with me and Xavier trying some stuff, and it was like, ‘Hey, this is pretty cool.’ And then we met Andrew [Means], who programmed great drums for us, and is a phenomenal musician across the board — great guitar player, great piano player — and then we decided we needed a guitarist, and he knew Chase [Brawner]. It was a real organic evolution.”