Interview With Scott Hedrick of Skeletonwitch.
Ross Gnarly: You are noted as one of the bands responsible for the “Thrash Revival.” Your thoughts?
Scott Hedrick: Sorry about that! Hahaha! Just kidding…….. We really don’t consider ourselves a part of any “Thrash Revival,” if such a thing even exists. We just play music. A lot of the bands that get mentioned as part of the “thrash revival” are intentionally 1-dimensional. I get bored with that very quickly. Why pretend it’s the 80s and try to make a record sounds like it could be a long lost Nuclear Assault record? You’re not going to do it better than they did. Why not learn from what the classic bands did create your own thing rather than attempting to BE them?
RG: What would you say is your best tour memory?
SH: Touring with Danzig is going to be hard to top. It was pretty fucking incredible
RG: I loved all of your albums. Has there been a favorite for you?
SH: Not really. I’m proud of all of them.
RG: Who are some of the bands who have had an influence on SkeletonWitch’s sound?
SH: Overkill, Death, Immortal, Motorhead, Deicide, Kampfar, Danzig, Amon Amarth, Demolition Hammer, Judas Priest, Dolly Parton, etc..
RG: What were you doing before SkeletonWitch?
SH: Nate and I were in college. Evan was working for an environmental non-profit group, Chance was working in Columbus, Ohio, and Mullet Chad was 10 years old.
RG: Is it hard having brothers in the band? Do they get on each others nerves often?
SH: Nate and Chance are brothers so they’d have to answer that one……but I think they get along great. It’s a positive thing. Mullet Chad and I probably argue like brothers more than Chance and Nate do. Hahaha!
RG: Your songs have been on video game soundtracks as of late. Do you think you are reaching a more commercial audience?
SH: Possibly. Depends what a “more commercial audience” is. I know some pretty weird black metal fuckers that play video games. But I certainly wouldn’t call them “commercial”. But maybe our songs will reach some more casual metal fans who appreciate this style of music but don’t dig as deep in the record bin as a metal fanatic. That would be cool
RG: Any plans for an upcoming tour?
SH: We’re doing a headlining tour with support from Withered and Landmine Marathon in November then we’re supporting on a tour in December. After that making the next record is our top priority
It was great interviewing Scott. Skeletonwitch is one of my all time favorite bands, so this was kind of a big thing for me. Hope to catch these guys on tour! (See home page for dates.)
PRE-ALBUM INTERVIEW with Mike Thompson of Withered.
Ross Gnarly: How do you feel about Dualitas?
Mike Thompson: We feel very confident about this album. As always, we have pushed our boundaries as writers and musicians to accomplish what we set out to achieve with this album. Conceptually, it’s much deeper and more focused than ever before.
RG: Do you see this to be Withered’s best album yet?
MT: Of course. The day our new music does not surpass our previous albums in the quality of song writing (at least in our minds) is the day we move on to a new project.
RG: The name “Dualitas,” can you shed some light on the name and it’s meaning to the band?
MT: Dualitas is a neo-latin term coined by St. Jerome when he was translating biblical scripts to ecclesiastic latin for the church. He used to specifically describe spiritual duality. I wanted to use this because it is the general concept behind the album. Dualitas is a call to exploring the depths of one’s being in attempt to familiarize oneself with all conceptual, moral, and emotional possibilities throughout and beyond rational approach. It’s an exercise in which you discover what particular sets of circumstances will justify a particular position or perspective and justify that perspective as a potential reality for you no matter how obsurd or ridiculous it may seem initially. I think that too many people are too far removed from who they really are in attempt to conform to society’s general guidelines. It’s about KNOWING who you are and embracing everything that you are capable of. Then rebuilding your approach and outlook on life from the ground up.
RG: Are there any new elements present on this album than the previous?
MT: Well, first off, we have a new guitarist/vocalist on this album. Dylan has a notably different vocal styling than Chris did so that will be the most evident I think. Beyond that, we constantly strive to introduce new, maybe subtle, musical stylings to keep things interesting for ourselves. Some may notice a slight touch of progressive black metal approaches within the longer songs and some slight black n roll elements. Our approach to blending extreme metal stylings is a direct parallel to the album’s concept.
RG: What are your thoughts on the upcoming tour with SkeletonWitch and Landmine Marathon?
MT: Well, we can’t wait of course. Both bands are great and we’ve done a number of shows with both. So, if anything, we’re going to have a great time with our friends!
Be sure to catch Withered’s new album when it hits stores 10/26!
Interview with Brian Werner of Infernaeon!
Ross Gnarly: Florida has been called home to some of Death Metal’s legends. Do you ever feel that it will be hard to live up to the hype?
Brian Werner: Ohh definitely!! We could NEVER compare ourselves to the other Tampa legends they laid the ground work for the rest of the world to follow. It’s more of a badge of honor to say that we came from the same scene rather than to compare us to them because in my opinion as a fan we could never live up to the standard that bands like Cannibal, Morbid Angel or Death have set. Those bands developed everything that death metal is and has constantly re-invented themselves time and time again, Death is a perfect example of this no 2 Death albums sound alike at all. All we as a band can do is add to Florida’s already LEGENDARY history and it’s a dream come true to even be lumped into the same category as those other bands that we as fans grew up listening to!!
RG: The band started in 2004 and has already gone through numerous line-up changes, especially guitar. Has it just been disagreements or something else?
BW: It’s been different with every member. Sam Molina who was in Monstrosity with me, in his words his heart just wasnt in it anymore and he didn’t want to hold us back because he felt he could give 100% that the band deserved. Brian Magley flaked out and joined an emo band then we tried to bring him back and it wasnt the same especially when it came to his work ethic. Erick Leider just started causing internal and unnecessary band drama plus all the material he wrote was bland and generic and given everything else it was best to let him go. Scott Tomacelli was just a touring guitarist in Brian Magley’s absence same with Chris Defoe. Our old drummer Nick Augusto as many people know joined Trivium so we dont fault him for getting paid, same thing with Fabian ended up joining Malevolent Creation and we wished both of those guys the best of luck in their careers with no hard feelings at all. It’s like any other young band you have to keep trying until ALL of the peices come together which it has now, and the line-up we have now is the hands down the strongest, most solid and dedicated line-up Infernaeon has ever seen and I wouldnt be surprised if you see every current member still in the band 10 years from. Looking back on everything I’m glad shit happened the way it did if it didnt we never would have got the amazing members in this band that we have now like Steven, Dave and Taylor!!
RG: If you could describe Infernaeon in four words, what would they be?
BW: Violent, unadulterated fucking hatred
RG: Do you feel “Genesis to Nemesis” is a step up from “A Symphony of Suffering”?
BW: Ohh 100% no doubt. we really put a lot of time and effort into this probably more than what was needed but we wanted to make sure that everything here was perfect and to also make sure that the started to mature as a whole which is obviously difficult with new members. But these guys came in know everything that we had in front of us and once they got we just clicked so well both personally and musically we all knew that this release needed to be stronger than the last with out changing the core of the band. Religion has always been a reoccurring theme with us but we dont want to be defined by that because we all come from different religious backgrounds but this is metal and metal is meant to be pissed off violent, evil music and thats what we’re here to do to but that evil essence back into metal which bands have left out of the genre for far to long with the obvious exception of bands like Goatwhore, Dimmu or Behemoth. There is a darkness in this music that must be acknowledged and in my opinion needs to be more prevalent in metal today.
RG: Tell me your thoughts on your tour with Gwar.
BW: In one sentence “A dream come true” never would I have imagined when I was 10 years old listening to The Road Behind would I ever have thought my career would have come this far to get the opportunity to share the stage with them every night for 3 months straight. And it never would have happened without the huge amount of support from Dave Brockie, we owe him a debt of gratitude like none other. This is a dream tour for us and the Casualties and Mobile Deathcamp too, it’s such a diverse tour everyone brings something different to the bill and I cant recall anytime in recent history ANY tour with this diverse of a tour package this is going to be really fucking fun!!!
RG: What are some things/bands that have influenced you as a musician.
BW: King Diamond nothing else needs to be fucking said!!!!!!
RG: How did Infernaeon come to be?
BW: Thats a tough question, I used to play for another band and at the very very early stages we shared a warehouse with these guys and both bands ended up swapping members and I ended up coming into this band at a King Diamond show of all places. At the time it was Kevin Gibbons who contrary to other reviews and other press releases is and always has been our bass player. Mike Poggione was a session bass player that we hired due to Kevin having to temporarily deal with some personal demons so we hired Mike to sit in for him. As soon as the album was done Kevin was straight and ready to come back the timing just couldnt have been more unfortunate. He did in fact play bass on the Creeping Death cover though. So back to the point the band as a working unit was Kevin, myself, Brian Magley Zach Brown and Nick Augusto filled in on drums to help us out when we needed him for shows or recording. I took a breif stint in Monstrosity for a while then came back to Infernaeon full time and brought Sam Molina back from Monstrosity with me. Nick’s other grind band Maruta before he joined Trivium was busy touring so we grabbed Fabian to fill in on drums till he was called up to Malevolent Creation. Sam as I said split and we fired Zach Brown because SHE was a talentless loser and a whinning little baby who always had sand in HER vagina, and that was a group desicion not my personal one. Brian then cut his hair and started playing some bullshit pop screamo shit and left to pursue that, hey whatever makes you happy I’ll support him but you’ll never catch me or Kevin playing that gay shit. Chris Defoe who was one of the guys that we swapped members with back in the first days we brought back but after that Vital Remains tour he got a huge promotion at Guitar Center and couldnt jeopordize his job for touring. Then at which point we got Jeramie Kling formerly of The Absence and 90 min Reflex to play drums for the last 2 years but the man has kids and a family and he cant go out on the road and not make money which I totally understand, family first. We’re still the best of friends and see each other all the time and as a matter of fact we knew this was going to be the scenario and we still wanted him on the new album because in our opinion he paid his dues with us for the last 2 years on the road and he earned his spot on the album even if he was going to leave after it was recorded. Eric and Scott were brought in to help the band tour Erick was considered as a permanent member unfortunately it didn’t work. This entire time myself and Kevin refused to let any of this distract us from what we wanted to keep as the integrity of the band and what we want it to sound like. Thats why we only surround ourselves with people that understand musically what we are trying to do and thus far everyone we’ve had has also thought the same as us so it’s always worked very well. Keep the violent pissed, fuck you, eat shit and die american attitude and sound then just try and make it as dark and evil as fucking possible, and thats what Infernaeon is and WILL ALWAYS FUCKING BE!!!
RG: What do you see in the future for the band?
BW: Hopefully a shit load of touring our goal right now is to do 250 show sin the next 12 months!!! other than whatever happens, happens. It’s been great so far and if it all falls apart tomorrow we have no regrets, but we’d obviously like to see the back reach its full potential.
Awesome interview with an awesome guy. I really hope I get to see them in November!
Interview with Ryan McKenney of Trap Them!
Ross Gnarly: Are all of your albums inevitably leading up to something, since every song on every album starts off with a day number?
Ryan McKenney: The albums are simply leading up to better albums. There is a certain lyrical approach I’m using throughout this band’s existence, which explains the numbered days, etc., but it’s not something I feel I need to explain to readers/viewers/listeners. There is a linear subject matter throughout every song and album we make, and I take the liberty of expanding it to a point where I feel the lyrics are more than just a quickly executed idea.
RG: Trap Them started as a side project. What led it to become a main priority?
RM: It became a priority when everyone around us couldn’t get their shit together. Instead of bathing in self pity and boredom, we said, “Well, fuck all of you, then…..we’re doing this.”
RG: What are some influences of your music?
RM: It’s literally spread across the board. As this band has progressed, all of us have realized that we’re pulling influences much varied from each other. We’re all music lovers, but I think our attempt is to love others’ music and, at the same time, try to distance it from what we create ourselves. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. We’re just trying to keep it rolling in places seldom visited.
RG: How is the metal scene where you are from?
RM: I live in Seattle, so this week it’s pretty good. Wait about a month and it’ll be considered shitty again. Who knows? Scenes are scenes….I’m just concentrating on the music I make and the music I like to listen to. I will say, however, in Seattle there is never a dry week of loud music….there’s always something going on.
RG: What are some recurring lyrical themes present in Trap Them songs?
RM: Depression, desperation, unhinged violence and a very small glimmer of hope.
RG: You took your band name from a 1977 film. Any particular reason?
RM: Any reason?!!! Have you SEEN that film? How could a band not name themselves after such a perfect vision of exploitation? It’s everything right and wrong in the world wrapped up in a film under two hours.
RG: Who is the best band you have seen live?
RM: Top 3 current:
1- From Ashes Rise
2- Young Widows
3- Rotten Sound
Top 5 of All Time
2- Die My Will
4- The Hellacopters
RG: When can we expect the next full length album?
RM: Early 2011.
RG: How about a tour coming down around the Arkansas way?
RM: Dude, I don’t care if you live on fucking Antarctica….in 2011 we’re going anywhere and everywhere. You’ll definitely see us.
Well, I never have seen that movie (Trap Them And Kill Them), but you can bet your tighty-whities I will be looking into it. Ryan is an awesome dude. I can’t wait ’til I get to interview him again.
Interview with TJ Cowgill of Book of Black Earth
Ross Gnarly: Where did the name Book of Black Earth come from?
TJ Cowgill: It’s another name for the Necronomicon. After a bunch of really bad names that we had at first, that was the only one everyone agreed upon.
RG: Seattle used to be known as the grunge capital of the world. Was there much of an extreme metal scene there while you were growing up?
TC: Well there was Queensryche… I listened to a lot of punk and hardcore growing up and really didn’t pay too much attention to local metal bands.
RG: Who designed the band’s logo?
TC: I did!
RG: Is the musical writing a group or individual process?
TC: I write 95% of the music and the rest of the band then throws in there other 5%. Everyone has equal say in what they play and for the most part people write their own parts. But as far as song structuring goes that’s pretty much my job.
We were at an awkward stage when we started writing the new record as a band, Ricky and Rob were pretty new. I bet on the next record after this they’ll contribute a lot more to song writing.
RG: What are some things/bands that serve as influence for Book of Black Earth?
TC: I’m influenced by a lot of different things, from the occult science to religious history, and tend to write the lyrics about that stuff. As far as bands, I love a good swedish punk band and these days anything with a d-beat.
RG: When can we expect a new album?
TC: January I think? Sometime next year. It’s done we just have to wait for the artwork and label stuff…
RG: Out of all of the bands you have played with, who has been the best to perform live?
TC: For me it was seeing Repulsion at Murderfest a few years back. That made me want to keep playing as long as they have!
RG: What was life like before Book of Black Earth?
TC: I was really bored!
RG: If you could create a roster to take on tour, who would you take?
TC: The Devil’s Blood, Ives, and Fukpig.
Thanks to Mark from Prosthetic for hooking me up with this interview. TJ is an amazing musician of a phenomenal band. If you haven’t heard these guys yet, don’t wait any longer!