Sunday, July 4, 2010

Terrorizer interview - unabridged

Here's a transcript of the entire conversation I recently had with Terrorizer's James Hoare. Enjoy...

1) What prompted you to get back to work on Exhumed?

There were a lot of different factors, to be honest. I think when the band went into hibernation in '05, I was really wanting to play a different style of music and just was burnt on the whole death metal scene, not to mention the grind of touring, the frustration of constant lineup changes, and the stagnation of the band's growth. But after a while away, my perspective on the band, the scene and everything has really changed so I think things are coming from a much better place. I recently found an old CD from '05 with ideas for what would have been the next Exhumed record, and I know that stopping at that point was absolutely the right decision. Now I feel excited about things again, I think getting away from the "scene" has allowed me to refocus on what I love about this kind of music and to really feel it again. And it feels fucking awesome... I didn't realize how much I missed blasting and all those sliding Terrorizer-style riffs, haha! I'm also stoked that the scene has kind of made a bit of room for bands that play the older style of Death Metal again, because I feel like Exhumed has a lot more commonality with Autopsy than with Annotations of Autopsy, so it's killer that there's bands doing the older style again - as well as bands that continue to push the boundaries and progress the genre as well. And even the weird kid bands with too many words in their names seem like the more they progress, the more Death Metal they're getting, so I think that the whole zeitgeist of things is moving in the right direction. The Death Metal scene now is a much healthier place for us to be than it was in '05.

2) How did you settle on this line-up?

When we started talking about doing a new record and playing again, I had been living in
Hawaii for about a year, and was starting to see that I would be ready to move back to California pretty soon and started contacting a lot of old friends, and a lot of my friends are old bandmates, especially considering how many lineup changes we've had, and Wes (Caley, guitarist) and I started talking about jamming since I was planning on moving quite a bit closer to Southern California that I had been living previously. From there it quickly turned to talking about Exhumed. Wes actually dropped Leon (DelMuerte, bass / vocals) and Danny (Walker, drums) a line and they were on board in about 15 mintues. It was the easiest Exhumed lineup assembly of all time. Everyone was stoked and on the same pages and it just seemed to fall into place.
I really wanted to pick things up where the band had left off, rather than doing a "reunion" thing and focusing on what had already happened. I think if I was working with the "classic" line-up we'd be pretty limited as far as pursuing touring opportunities and really doing this full-on, the way that it has to be. I've been waiting like 5+ years to make a new record with Wes and Danny involved so that really got me fired up. And Leon is a great riff-writer and probably the best guy to have on tour with you ever, from a lot of perspectives. He keeps the rude alcoholic vibe that we all enjoy revelling in going strong, haha!

3) What can you tell us about the new songs? How did the writing work?

I think that the new songs combine the kind of sophistication of some of the bits on the "Anatomy..." record with the more straightforward arrangements and sensibility of "Slaughtercult". The songs are shorter and way more focused than on "Anatomy", I was really frustrated after "Anatomy...", I felt like those songs were kind of dicking around too much - the new stuff goes straight for the throat. It's really fast and aggressive, with bits of melody and dual guitar work, and I think it fully sounds like Exhumed. The writing has been way different than in the past - I've been writing w/a drum machine in Hawaii, and Wes has been doing his demos in California, then we all listen and compare notes on what works, what doesn't etc. But the writing has actually been really collaborative, with both Wes and I coming up with a ton of material, then working together with the other guys to cherry-pick the best of it to make the strongest record possible. I think we both kind of push each other to write more and better stuff - I'd hear one of his tracks and get blown away, so I'd have to get back to the drawing board and come up with something even heavier, so there's a bit of inspiration / healthy competition in the dynamic that's been really exciting. I also recently got to demo all the songs for Col (Jones, ex-Exhumed drummer, currently drums in Cretin, Repulsion, Dekapitator) and the rest of Cretin to get their feedback, which was really positive. They're some of my oldest friends and would definitely give it to me straight if the material wasn't up to snuff. We'll be getting together before recording this fall to rehearse and put all the pieces together.

4) What're your plans for the release? Anything you can tell us about the art?

Well, it should be out in Spring '11, then we'll doing a lot of shows, focusing on festivals and one-offs to start with through the summer. So far Maryland Deathfest 2011 is the first thing we have confirmed. Then we'll be looking at any more extended touring for the fall and winter if things go well and we get offers that make sense for us. The initial shows and the festivals will be shows where we'll focus more on the older stuff for sure, I hate going to see a band play after just getting back together and hearing a shitload of songs I've never heard before, so those will be more "reunion"-ish, and then if we end up hitting the road after that it'll be more like a normal tour where the newer stuff gets a bit more airtime. The art is still in the works at this point, but it will be disgusting, if that's what you're wondering, haha!

5) How conscious are you of new fans discovering Exhumed in the last couple of years?

Not really conscious at all, actually. I have been so out of Death Metal since '05. Playing thrash in Dekapitator and Scarecrow, and doing the occasional Repulsion show is not much of a way to keep your finger on the pulse of the scene. It's usually just a bunch of geezers drinking and talking about tape trading, haha! A good friend of mine out in Hawaii played me the Job For A Cowboy cover of "Matter Of Splatter", which was kind of flattering and weird, but I don't really know if new kids are getting turned on to the band, to be honest. If they are that's great, if not, that's okay too - I do know that everyone involved with the band throughout the years has been asked many, many times at shows, online, wherever, when / if the band's coming back, so it's nice that folks haven't forgotten about it. But ultimately, I've always done / not done Exhumed because it's what I wanted to do, and if other people are on board, then that's awesome - if not, that's cool too, we've never been "popular" or particularly "cool" and that's never been what Exhumed has been about. To quote that old Roadrunner ad back when they used to actually put out cool records - :"Some music was meant to stay underground", dude.

Terrorizer Magazine interview

There's an interview with Terrorizer magazine about the re-animation of the band that you can check out here:
Not sure when the mag hits the stands, but it will also be in the print version. After I get back from the Gravehill tour, which has been really fucking awesome, I'll post an unabridged version.