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Cory John Rist Looks to The Horizon

Cory John Rist says ‘middle names are for using’, but they’re also a good way to distinguish yourself from Tiger Woods’ mistress. He’s front man of local Indie Grunge Rock outfit Mezzanine who, between Seinfeld references, have released their second EP Vile Horizons and will launch it on Friday at the Rosemount.

‘This is my favourite part of the process, half way between release and the launch, because you get to do these kinds of interviews. I actually enjoy it, the amount of shit that I’ve worked out over the last couple years, about myself and about my music just by doing interviews.  Its kind of free therapy in a way’

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It’s only been a few years since Rist (26) started dealing with his sexuality.

‘At the start, two guys in the band didn’t even know. My best mate Jago in the band only knew about 3 years ago. When it’s your best mate, and we travelled a lot and slept in close quarters a bit, for a straight man to hear that, its maybe a little difficult.’

But the band, and the industry in general were very supportive when he came out.

‘I hate to seem all bohemian about it, but it was only when I came into the circles of musicians, and moved (to the city) from Armadale that I felt a bit more comfortable with discussing it. In high school it was always there, but I just pushed it to the side like so many people do… Now it’s all out in the open, and it’s great.’

There is a raw emotion to Rist’s song writing, and he admits that Vile Horizons is more sinister than their debut effort. The opening track Someone to Abuse is a reference to his own self-sabotage.

‘My brain sabotages things that could potentially be very good, on a subconscious level.  It’s like the whole “Jerry Seinfeld syndrome”, picking the stupidest things and making them a big deal. You know: “she had man-hands!” All these stupid reasons why you would decide someone is not right for you.’

‘Some people write stories about other people, or observational things about aged cheese or whatever, but I can’t do it. It’s like everything has to be about what’s going on in my head…  that fucking dark place you get to at 2am in the morning, when you’re two bottles of wine in, and you’re on your own… It’s never a good place… It never gets happy at that point.  It’s further down the rabbit hole each time…  And it feeds into itself because I end up writing songs at that point.’

Each show is an emotional journey. He’s never played a song so much that he has lost the feeling behind it, and it can be an exhausting exercise.

‘There’s one point in our set where there is a break down and its like ‘I miss you I love you’ repeated like a mantra.  And it just works me up… I wrote that about someone at the time, and every time I sing that it takes me to that place again, and I’m that way for the whole show.’

Rist has bever been one for the ‘gay scene’, he’d rather dance to The Strokes or Motown, but finds plenty of support in the music world.

‘I don’t actually know anybody in any bands that are gay or bi, but having said that it’s a completely supportive community. That’s the strangest thing for me.’

Vile Horizons by Mezzanine is out now, and is being launched at the Rosemount Hotel on Friday June 22.

Bren McGurk

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