1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?Billy: We have been focusing on writing songs for a new album lately. It's been tough because Josh and I are in other bands, Travis owns a recording studio, and we all work day jobs on top of that. I'd say we are about half way finished with a new record. There's not a shortage of ideas, we just have to find the time to construct those ideas into cohesive songs.Josh: We also just recorded two cover songs that are going to be released on 7" and limited cassette very soon. One is a cover of "Gates of Steel" by Devo and the other is a cover of "Milk It" by Nirvana. We kind of did our own take on them. It was sort of a way of us paying homage to two bands that we love, but also a way to rediscover what made us excited to play music in the first place.
2. How would you describe your musical sound?Billy: Dense and dark with a heavy groove. Oh, and loud.Josh: Cathartic and often times aggressive, yet simultaneously graceful.Josh: There has always been an underlying theme of self-discovery and really at its core, the basic elements of Witchcraft and Paganism in our lyrics. The lyrical content on our most recent album "Howl and Filth" is very autobiographical. I realize that to the average listener, the words may seem abstract and vague, but if you really pay attention, a lot of it is there laid open for all to see. "The Misery Coil" for example is very much about my struggle with substance abuse and depression that I had kept hidden from my friends and family for a LONG time, which I have been in therapy for for quite some time now. "Ritual" was inspired by an extremely tragic and life altering event that the three of us experienced and lived through together that I will not go into, although a lot of people close to us that know what we've been through could probably pick that out. The words for all the songs on the album have a deliberate and central theme to them and that is discovering and trusting your primal instincts and distilling all fear into something pure and beautiful. It was a very honest and cathartic experience writing and recording these songs and a true learning experience for me personally.
3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?Josh: The band name is and always been a statement about the search for the elusive truth. It symbolizes the journey for true honest connection and communication with other human beings over deception and falsities. We are bombarded every day with meaningless filler and distractions that prevent us from communicating with each other on an intimate human level. I feel like the masses in general have forgotten how to interact with one another and everything gets smeared and obscured with things that have no real significance to our daily lives. If what we put forth as a band can in some very small way, show people that there are still free thinking individuals out there on this planet such as the 3 of us that strive to connect in a genuine way, then I feel like we are doing what we set forth to do when we started this whole thing.
4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?
5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?Billy: One of my favorite shows we've played was a couple of years ago with our friends HULL in Brooklyn at Saint Vitus. It was just a great experience. That venue is incredible and we had a good turnout. Not to sound cliche, but we're all 3 heavily invested in our music in many ways. From all the hours rehearsing/writing, to monetary investments and being emotionally invested. When we play it is a cathartic and therapeutic experience for all of us. However that translates on stage may vary from night to night, but it's always intense.Josh: I don't have any particular shows that stand out to me personally off the top of my head. I do feel like our stage performance is rarely affected by the turnout though. Whether we are playing to one person or 100 or even 1000, it doesn't seem to make a difference with the amount of intensity and energy that we put forth. We all 3 tend to be in our cocoon when we play. There is an overwhelming energy between us that is hard to quantify really.
6. Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?Billy: All we have scheduled right now is this European tour for September, and a show with our friends Windhand when we get back home. After that, we really want to concentrate on writing and not play any shows until we have a new record.Josh: Yeah right now the Euro tour and the one off show with Windhand as Billy had mentioned, are the only things on the horizon at the moment. When we return home, we'll continue writing for our next record probably through the end of the year I would imagine. That's our main focus right now.Josh: We haven't seen the finished product yet in person, but the Golden Antenna pressing will be a little bit different than the U.S. pressing which is really cool. The packaging is different and more in line with what we wanted to do with it originally. We're really proud of it.
7.Recently Golden Antenna records re-issued your 2011 album, what are your thoughts of the final product?
8. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of sludge and post hardcore?Billy: The response has been very positive overall, particularly for Howl and Filth. Oddly enough, a vast majority of our fans seem to be in Europe. Most of the positive feedback and online orders seem to come from European countries. Hopefully that will translate into a successful tour next month!Josh: I agree that most of the correspondence we receive is overwhelmingly from European countries. We do seem to have a loyal and steadily growing fan base here in the states as well though. I personally would hope that fans of ALL types of music could look past the aggressive nature of our sound and find something to take away from it. I love punk and metal music, but I also love sound in general. I study everything very intensely no matter what it is and I hope we can attract those like minded people in our vision.
9. What is going on with the other musical projects these days?Billy: I also play drums in A Storm of Light and we have a new album coming out in September on Southern Lord. It's definitely the strongest Storm album to date and was recorded by our very own Travis Kammeyer at his Fahrenheit Studios. Josh and I also play in U.S. Christmas (USX) and we have been playing a few shows in the southeastern United States, including a show with Mastodon and ASG in Asheville, NC.Josh: I also play bass guitar in U.S. Christmas as Billy mentioned. I am currently working on the artwork for the vinyl release of our last album "The Valley Path" and hopefully that will finally come out in the near future on Hyperrealist Records out of Savannah, GA. I stay very busy with my art and graphic design work these days, so it leaves little time to do much else.
10. What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?Billy: I see us becoming a down-tuned, insanely heavy Parliament/Funkadelic.Josh: I have no idea in terms of what genre one might try to categorize it in. I just know that whatever we do, it will be honest and pure and full of intensity, much like everything else we've done. It will sound like us!
11. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?Billy: I think we all are influenced by the early to mid 90's heavy music scene. Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Hum etc. Also everything from Black Flag to Devo to Killing Joke. We all listen to different stuff. I personally don't listen to much heavy music anymore. Over the past few years, I've been getting more into jazz, particularly the classic John Coltrane Quartet, McCoy Tyner, and pretty much anything released on Blue Note or Impulse! in the 1960's.Josh: I totally agree with Billy. I love heavy music a lot and I grew up on a healthy diet of bands like Ministry, Prong, Minutemen, Melvins, Black Flag, Devo and a slew of other stuff similar to that. I still listen to a lot of aggressive music, but I really keep an open mind and enjoy listening to and am influenced by a very wide variety of sounds. Old country, bluegrass, classical, jazz, surf music, hip hop, whatever it is, if it sounds good, I'll listen. I am a fan of sound in general first and foremost. I actually really hate when people tell me that there is nothing new being done in music. There are so many amazing artists out there producing incredible work! You've just gotta be willing to dig a little for it!
12. Outside of music what are some of your interests?Billy: Music takes up a majority of my time, which is perfect. Other than that, obsessively watching TV shows on Netflix and hiking is always good.Josh: I'm a documentary fanatic and can't get enough of them. I also do a great deal of graphic design work, painting and print making that takes up a considerable amount of my time. I like to write a lot as well and am always working on that.13. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Thanks for the interview and thanks to Timo at Golden Antenna and Mike from Persil Booking for all their hard work and making this tour happen. We are truly grateful.