Sunday, February 3, 2008

Interview with Chris of DEVOURMENT!

Here it is...the moment we've all been waiting for. We asked Chris about various things and got even more various answers in return! What a good sport.

Greetings Chris. Nick and I are huge Devourment fans so it's an absolute honor to speak with a member of the mightiest!

I’m going by “Captain Piss” now. I’m like Sean “Puffy” “Puff Daddy” “Diddy” Combs, only not rich or powerful.

How was the European tour last Summer? Highlights, lowlights, best party spots? How were crowds?

The tour of Europe was one of the best experiences of my life. Lowlights included losing a job because of the required time off, and finding out that the United Kingdom is a cunt of a nation by flying there, being detained, harassed, and interrogated like terrorists, and then being denied access to the country (a.k.a. forced onto the next flight out to the tune of thousands of dollars, jeopardizing the entire tour and almost making it not happen). I cannot explain the feeling of being a civilized human being flying into an allied nation and getting fucked over beyond all expectation or belief, but I can say that, seeing as my entire view of England is now the inside of the London Heathrow holding/investigation facility, I will never take the Union Jack off the bottom of my shoe. But I must add a short disclaimer that my actual hatred lies with the government, and it’s in no way meant to be against individuals (aside from the customs officials in question and the Queen), so when I say “Fuck Britain” I’m not trying to slag British people, because there are quite a few outstanding people and organizations who happen to have survived being brought up in that cesspool.

Highlights, however, included the feeling of arriving in Frankfurt, Deutschland with no hassle whatsoever and knowing the tour was .. all the doubt rising out of the Britain situation; playing our first cluster-fucked show on a BOAT in Paris, France; drinking delicious Euro beer non-stop like it was Natural Light; meeting the NRW and witnessing how they tear shit up; playing the largest venue I’ve ever played (Fuck the Commerce); hanging out with Shawn Whittaker, James King, Zdenek, and Despise; seeing all these amazing countries (retrospectively, I even have good memories of being perpetually cooped up in a van where you either sleep sitting straight up or get a turn on the makeshift bunk of potential death); finding a GYM in Barcelona, Spain and then partying with Terrence Hobbs and sharing the stage with Suffocation; an even better Suffo/Devourment show in Madrid, Spain; having the venue we played in Bilbao, Spain turn into a dance club with an 80/20 ratio of young girls to guys and acting like kings with James King, Zdenek, and Mike from Despise; Ruben and I taking our munchies out on a lovely tray of homemade Italian snacks; jumping off a two-story balcony in Switzerland and getting caught and crowd surfed… I’m getting tired of listing, but needless to say, it was something that I’d like to do on a regular basis.

You're the newest addition to the Devourment roster; can you explain to us in detail about your work with the band? How do you fit in to recording/writing/playing?

Butcher the Weak was in the can before I joined, so the only songs I’ve worked on fabricating from the ground up with the band have been Deflesh the Abducted and the Cannibal Corpse cover. I handled most of the transcription work for the latter, and came up with a half of a riff for the former. I mainly try and stay somewhat in the background when it comes to creating the material for this band because I think ultimately the executive powers have got to lie with Ruben and Mike, but I try to add stuff, and I certainly want to contribute both lyrically and musically to this new record. I’m very volatile creatively, kind of a tyrant, so it’s best for me to be humble and not get too caught up in writing or else I’d probably end up going to that place where someone points out to me “Dude, back off… of all of us, you’re the LEAST original member. Veto.”

How did it feel being the "new guy"? Was it awkward or confusing at first to learn all the bass sections and breakdowns, or was it comfortable and easy?

I’m no Jason Newstead, I was incorporated into the band very naturally. I learned things very quickly and was up and ready for battle within a few weeks. My personality was a natural fit as well. I think we’re all easy-going with a slight proclivity for violent insanity, but the conflicts we have had go to show that we get along well in the grand scheme of things.

So, of course everyone is awaiting news on the 2008 Devourment album since you guys signed to Brutal Bands...tell us what you know!

I know the artwork is more developed than the music at this point. We’re just now starting to hunker down and write, but that’s a very kinetic process so I don’t think it’ll take too long now that we’re in that stage. We get tight very quickly, so once the tunes are arranged, it’ll just be a matter of post-production delays.

How long does it take Devourment to write new songs? Have the songs on the upcoming CD been in the works for a long time?

Usually Mike and Ruben get together and, Voila, it’s mostly done. Then Eric makes his drums and we practice until it sounds good. I have a foggy concept of time, but it seems like it really just takes a few sessions to get a song completed. As far as I know, we’re starting from scratch on all this new material, but you’d have to ask Mike and Ruben how long they’ve been bedroom jamming on a riff by riff basis. Apparently the riff at the end of “Deflesh the Abducted” was over 10 years old.

I read recently that you guys got invited to open up for Black Dahlia Murder on their tour through Texas. How do you feel about this?

I personally wanted to do this because I’m an energy junkie and with a “Bigger is better” mentality… bigger crowds filled with un-jaded kids raise the intensity, and a band with that kind of exposure draws, no doubt about it. We ended up declining because of work obligations, but I think it would have been a good experience. We did play the Dallas show of the tour, and it was a good time despite our actual set being a complete cluster-fuck. I know BDM has a reputation amongst underground completists for being “untrue” or whatever, and some people think it would be ridiculous for Devourment to open for them, but you can take “true” to your sausage festival party at your ghetto apartment, make it into a paper airplane, and see if it flies… it won’t. Fuck it.

How does it feel to be a member of the band everyone pretends to be? No slight to anyone, of course, because all slam is excellent!

It’s awesome, because I’m pretending to be Mike, and he’s pretending to be Ruben, and Ruben is pretending to be two guitar players at once. Sometimes I do get that feeling of “How am I standing onstage playing ‘Postmortal Coprophagia’ in between a Devourment banner and a rabid mosh pit?” but then I think about how many hours I spent being socially dead playing metal in my bedroom and how utterly fucked I am in other areas and I rationalize deserving it. In terms of the copycat thing, I personally get tired of that… not just slam, but Carcass clones, Morbid Angel clones, etc. But good bands do arise out of those circumstances, so it’s not like you can make a law stating you must be so original or else you’ll be banned from recording.

Who/what influences you as a bassist? How do you think bass fits into the Devourment sound (should be pretty obvious but we'll bring it up anyway)?

Tone has always influenced me more than technique for bass. Dan Lilker and Peter Steele are two big influences in that way, even though they play with a plectrum and I use my fingers because I like to punch the strings. I think of bass more as a component in a machine than as an instrument to show off on. Honestly, when I hear wanky bass, I think it sucks, and it usually gets punished by being that plunky little thing at the back of the mix trying to force it’s way into the listener’s consciousness with varying levels of success. I like Alex Webster, Tony Choy, the guy from Cryptopsy, and Cynic (even though that’s kind of on a different plane of existence). I used to like Les Claypool, but I haven’t really listened to that in quite some time. For Devourment, I approach my playing from more of a philosophical level than from an instrument-specific technical level – our underlying goal as musicians in this band is to create the thickest sound possible, so I use a heavy distortion and play a lot of chords to make the sound waves look like your shit after an all-you-can-eat buffet and 4 cups of coffee.

You're from the grind band Kill The Client. How was the transition from grind to slam, or did you have experience with both anyway?

I’m well versed in all of the extreme metal arts. The only things I can’t do are play melodic guitar solos, sing power metal or gurgle, or play music that’s going to get me laid. My style of playing is basically the same even though I switched instruments… I have to put myself in pain. My right fingers are always fucked up because I simply cannot play in practice like I do on stage, so I always get these blood blisters, or, like the last show we played, tear the blood blisters open and bleed all over my bass.

You guys should definitely visit the Northeast USA. Just saying.

We have. We played a couple of shows in New York in 2006. I’d like to tour all over the place way more often than we do, but Mike and Ruben have good full time jobs that require them to be there more often than not. Brutal death can’t feed your family.

What bands are you really digging in the brutal scene right now? Care to give us a recent playlist or two?

I’m very thin on the music consumption front these days. For various reasons, I basically just stick to what I’ve already got until something gets shoved in my face and it happens to be fresh, so my playlist is basically three mp3 CDs of stuff I’ve had for years that sits in my gym bag, which is kind of pathetic. I have to say, though, the most brutal work of art I’ve experienced in quite some time is motherfucking RAMBO – I think some death metal festival ought to screen a print of Rambo as a headliner this year.

How did the re-recording of Butcher The Weak go? Both Nick and I see it as a huge improvement over the original.

It went very smoothly. Braxton puts a lot of work into recording to make sure our plumber’s cracks aren’t showing, and he really makes sure you’re laying down something that’s worthy of being copied and distributed for as long as there’s a demand.

You guys looking forward to TDF and CIM? Those should be awesome shows!

No, we’re not looking forward to traveling to Japan for the first time and headlining both days of Tokyo Death Fest. We’d rather be fishing in East Texas, but they asked us, and we felt like it would be rude to say no…

I’m kind of worried about CIM, though. Last year was quite the ordeal and I almost didn’t even play, so hopefully our brains work more efficiently this time and we don’t miss flights or leave basses at the airport while running around downtown Chicago trying to make the last Greyhound to Urbana.

Is there one place in the US that you guys always like to play around because of the crowd?

No place really sticks out above and beyond any others… The crowds in Germany and Switzerland have so far been the most maniacal, but that’s not the US, so it’s not really answering your question. Las Vegas is fun because you can stay out and drink all night and Matt from Guttural Secrete and I have exploding glass thumbtack matches on the roof tops of casinos. Really any place where people are going to party and not just go to sleep when the music is over is good. I think most of my criteria have to do with elements outside of the actual show, because as long as the people don’t stand there looking at you like it’s open mic poetry night, or walk out on you, then it’s good.

Thanks for the interview man! Anything you would like to ask us? Take care and we hope for the new Devourment to be brutal and awesome as usual! Stay sick.

What makes a man? Is it the power in his hands? Is it his quest for glory?

Andy: Personally, I think you have to give it all you got to fight for the top. You know, just so you can know my story (because I'm a real man). Titties are good too, though. However, they are no substitute for balls (obviously).

No comments: