You can read my review of their album with the link to stream it HERE.
Also i liked the enthousiasm they brought when I asked them if they would do an interview. they wanted to do more than just the usual questions sent, answers sent, then posted. Instead we did it with a few back and forth and they sent not only answers to my questions but also questions for me to answer, making it a two way interview. I think this way we produced something more interesting. You we'll also see that they took care to give detailed answers that are not the usual interview clichés. Also it's good when it's not just one guy in the band answering, here the three of them, Sean, Ryan and Rob, did it.
I really thanks them for doing it and I'm pleased to share it with you. Read it just below (en purple it's me, in blue it's Skullshitter) :
The Blasting days to Skullshitter part :
How did you start the band, did you have a clear idea of what the music would be or what it more something like « let’s form a band together and see what will comes of it » ?
Sean: Ryan and I were working the overnight shift together at a hotel and became friends. We talked a lot about music and had mutual interest in starting a band. We approached Rob about it and he was down. Ryan and I had a general idea what we wanted to do, but Robert had a very clear idea. We came to him wanting to play fast, he said, great, let’s do grindcore: Terrorizer and Repulsion. Pretty soon after that it became clear that we were all on the same page about mixing in proto death metal influences.
Ryan: I grew up in the 80’s listening to punk rock, so that era of grindcore connected with me quickly because it's basically metal and punk together, from the same era as all the bands I listening to as a kid.
what about the making if of the album Transmission : command ? the name of the album and songs the use of samples and the cover artwork give a a feel of unity to the whole, do you think so, is there a kind of « concept » of some themes running through the album ?
Rob and Sean: During the writing the process, the concept came together, along with the song Warship. The idea is that when we come together, we can communicate psychically and sonically, and we want to project that successfully onto our listeners. We tend to use some hallucinogens and we crafted the album to be shaped like a drug experience. The art came from the Warship idea, which could be interpreted as worship as well. Galactic tits because even in the psychedelic cosmos tits and ass rule.
more specifically what about the cover artwork, did you ask the artist for « skullspaceships with tentacles floating in a fog of boobs and asses » ? or was it more « listen to the music, read the lyrics and draw what it inspires you » ? Anyway I think its weidness really represent the adventurous feel of the underground, and it’s a good thing to have sometimes something different than the usual gore or pictures in black and white.
Rob: we approached Needles (@darthneedles on instagram, accomplished tattoo artist currently at Sacred Tattoo and is a licensed Lucas Arts illustrator) with concept and specific element we wanted: skulls, the ship, cyber organisms, tits. Who better to do a psychedelic cosmic warship?
I read somewhere that one of you is a saxophone player, what about using sax in some songs? I think someone like John Zorn for example showed it can be great in an extreme / underground metal context.
Sean: Yea, Ryan plays sax and we are open to using the sax. It just hasn’t happened yet.
Ryan and I are both huge Zorn fans and Masada has a pretty direct influence on Skullshitter, but we are conscious to not let the music end up sounding like jazz. If we wanted to be a jazz band, we’d start a jazz band. But there are some riffs that we looked to Masada for inspiration, such as in “Go Into The Woods…” and “Infinity Extinction.” We make creative decisions primarily based on immediate emotional response, and using a sax hasn’t totally felt like the right thing yet. If / when it does, then we will.
what about your new release, Feral laws, was your approach different for this one ?
Sean: Yes, the approach to Feral Laws was very different. Transmission: Command took a long period of time to both write, and to record. When we finished with that I immediately pushed that our next piece should shorter and simpler. A palate cleanser for ourselves. We worked with a different friend to record and went totally digital (where TC was totally analog). I took to writing and led the charge for getting it done as quickly as possible without sacrificing quality. We’re so happy with how Feral Laws came together. I think we are able to explore some different ideas while maintaining our Skullshitter sound, and take on some simpler tasks while keeping it interesting. “Unpure” is a great example. That song is the most minimal song we’ve ever done, but has been getting extreme reactions.
"The beast" is your longer recorded songs and it’s a great one, I like it’s old school vibe and sinister groove, did you wanted from the start to try something longer and slower or the song just ended that way ?
Sean: We wanted it that way, as I was listening to Coffins more for Feral Laws I wanted to do a Coffins styled song. I wrote the main riff and brought it to Rob, who immediately jumped on it and said something along the lines of ‘I’m going to write a pop song with that’ and he wrote out the rest of the drum parts. Then we wrote the other two parts of the song around his drum parts and that was that.
Can you choose a song you especially like in Transmission : command and one in Feral laws and comment on why it is special to you, how it was written and about the lyrics?
Sean: For Feral Laws, the special song to me is definitely “Sacrifice of Shared Experience.” Musically, this is mostly a riff that Ryan had written a long time ago and we could never make it work in a song. We ended up using it on Transmission: Command on “F.P.O.S,” but in a very truncated, short way. One day I palm muted the riff and it was just like “Oh, of course, that’s how we use it.” It felt good to flush it out and see it fully realized. Lyrically, I wrote about how people have trouble entering communities. Looking at the music scene as an example, people come to shows and don’t talk to each other, or make new friends. Instead they take a picture or a video on their smart phone and put that up on social media, and it appears like they are a part of something. But they miss the opportunity to truly connect with a person, a group of people, a community.
Ryan: Some background on Escape from War (note the lyrics in this song are a small part of a larger body of lyrics that are used in different songs from the future.) Escape from War is a disruptive title. One should think that to be heroic is to not seek escape but to stand and fight. This is also true, but in this case we are looking in bigger cycles, fighting many times until the war is finished. This also is what means to escape the war. Let me explain. In early times the only form of communication was to fight. In time before words there was only movement even sound is a form or disruption to stasis, disrupting the air, water. The fluid in your ear is beat like a drum head. After the invention of language, fighting continued to be the main form of communication between different bodies of people. Different tribes communicate through fighting for lack of a transferable language.
Over time, peoples advanced the science for fighting in the interest of surviving each other. In the east particularly, the art of war was linked to the science of the unknown, or the spiritual world. They began to decode the language of the natural world by changing the frequency of the body, specifically the mind at first, to the frequency of different areas of nature. They did this though diligent practices of meditation, altering the thought apparatus to tune itself away from the human area where language controls thought, allowing the vessel to empty, and then tune to the individual frequencies of nature. These people were taught directly by nature in this way. The Universe master teacher.
The human world at this time has no escape from war and currently the only final law on earth is death. Scientists learning under the teaching of the universe often were generals and warriors out of function and necessity. To better themselves in the art of survival – the goal of every living thing – they applied their learning to warcraft. Through these developments fighting styles in the east disciplined their bodies to become like nature, to move like nature. To become superior in areas of fighting, warriors trained themselves to become like apex predators, the commanders of different areas of the ecos such as tigers, panthers or eagles. Also they imitated the sun moon stars and elements such as fire, water or wind. They practiced moving their bodies in diligent repetition sequences until they could move in the nature frequencies they learned from. As religious people repeat prayers to become more like their gods, these warrior disciples practiced these sequences like prayers to become more like the aspects of nature they wished to imitate. In this way, they became superior fighters and survived like the apex predators. Surviving even like the windstorm that destroys a city. The city is gone, but the wind continues to exist.
The art of war has continued to advance past the area I describe into many different formats, which I will not get into. Escape from War is the name of a shaolin set of movements designed to train thebody and the mind to move and think quickly enough to escape the war. The goal of all war is to end the war. This can be accomplished through superiority in war craft or by eliminating conflict. The ultimate superiority in war is to preclude all war.
This is one of the many paths on the cycle that evolves out of the world of war and into the next chapter. We have yet to ascend this cycle as a planet, but we must continue elevate and evolve as that is the final universal law of all living beings in this planet. This is what this song means. It describes this practice of learning the universal technologies that elevate the frequency of the human to allow entry into strata outside of the age of quarrel.
only to be actualized in painful and diligent
repetition prayer sequence link step to brake manacle
physical ritual builds spiritual weaponry
physical ritual builds spiritual weaponry
Since the release of Feral laws have you written new songs, do you have a general idea about what will be the next release, will it have a concept like Transmission : Command ?
SEAN: We have started writing and we do have ideas…. But as the ideas aren't fully formed yet it wouldn't be right to try to talk through them. We are looking at a couple older songs and we may rerecord some. We are looking at our favorite riffs that we’ve written and trying to reimagine them. We are all looking at death metal.
Do you think of something sound / interesting about Skullshitter that is never mentionned in reviews or interviews?
SEAN: Sure, our focus on education and experience. We want to educate people. This is a multipart mission. We know we aren't lecturing people. We must connect with people and so we do our part by coming together and fusing our energies to become one unit. We try to forge a connection with the audience to become part of our of performance. From there that audience member, if they feel it can research us, learn more about us, hopefully they will talk to us in person. We are not a pornogrind band. We are not a goregrind band. We love women. We love life. We seek to experience the world and beyond. What is experience if not education? Knowledge is power and every new experience is coveted and studied until it can be translated into our work. We hope to engage with and inspire others to continue learning, through music, language, actions, books, the Internet, combat, friendship, through LIFE.
Do you think that the DIY way of action could be a global alternative or do you see it more as a practical way of growing for an underground band?
RK: I think the world’s technological advances are making everything more DIY. Everyone has a computer, you have have your own home recording studio for quite cheap. Everyone can make music and art or whatever and get it on out into the world through the internet.
Which evolutions would you like to see happening in the underground scene?
RK: MORE ROCK AND ROLL SPIRIT
What are your favourite french bands? (I'm french so that explains the question!)
SEAN: I really enjoy Aluk Todolo. I find there music to be enjoyable in many ways, I commonly listen to them as background music but I also find them thoroughly engaging with big pay offs for their long themes. I also really liked that band Amesoeurs, mainly for the female sing songs. My favorite songs from them were the straight rock / pop songs. She has a beautiful voice and the songs had a great feel to them, even when somber in mood. Like some of the great Madonna songs from the 80’s like ‘Live to Tell.’
Which other bands from your area would you recommend?
SEAN: Our scene in Brooklyn is wide and varied. It reminds of that early grindcore documentary that featured Bolt Thrower and Godflesh, two bands that you wouldn’t think to put in a grindcore doc, but they were all the people banding together around a similar spirit and scene. We like Indignation (dbeat made up of some of the guys from Nomad, one of our all time favorite dbeat bands), Trenchgrinder, Belus, Krallice, Geryon and Anicon (who are putting riffs back into black metal) and Hasj (who are really pushing how psychedelic heavy music can be). For non local bands, we’ve got to talk about how incredible Necrot is, as much as possible. For grindcore, when we were on tour we played with a band called Sewage Grinder from Cincinnati that are really spot on. Total rock and roll spirit.
The Skullshitter to Blasting days part :
Here are the questions Skullshitter asked me (Dennis, the guy doing Blasting days), my answers, and their reactions to my answers (in bold it’s Skullshitter the rest is me) :
-What prompted you to start Blasting Days? Do you have a goal for the website?
I started Blasting days in january 2012 after the metal radio show I was doing then stopped (because of tensions between me and the guy I was doing it with). Blasting days was a way to keep on sharing the music I like, because I like doing it and also I’m pleased to give back, in a way, what the music bring me. I liked doing radio shows by I wanted to try something else, with which I would be more independant. Never had a specific goal for the website, I’ll keep doing it as long as I like doing it and have enough time for it. And if bands I review / interview benefits from it, and people enjoy discovering music they like through it, then all the better.
Thank you for doing this, we appreciate it. We encourage you to set some goals though. It’ll feel good.
-How did you find out about Skullshitter? How did you find out about John Zorn?
I found out about Skullshitter through the Nerve Altar Bandcamp page, I visit it from time to time because I often like the music they release. I found out about John Zorn something like ten years ago, through an interview in a jazz magazine I think (I was discovering jazz at the time, I still listen to free jazz and be bop on a regular basis), I like his more metal related music like Naked City or Painkiller but I also listened to Masada a lot and I also like some other music he’s doing, or releasing through his label Tzadik.
SEAN: Nice, I found out about John Zorn from my childhood local music store, called Wild Rufus, the owner, Byron, talked to me about jazz and basically forced me to buy a lot of Zorn. He would order the Masada CDs in from Japan specifically for me. It was awesome and I am eternally grateful.
-What is the music scene like where you live? Do you have access to see music easily?
I live in Montpellier, a medium sized city in the south of France, we have a few good local bands, like Verdun, Ofo am or Mudweiser, although not a lot doing death or grind. But we have a few small places, like The Secret place or The Black sheep to name a couple, where many good bands are playing.
Fuck yea, if we get to France next year, we’ll hit you up.
-Can you describe to us what the experience of listening to Skullshitter is for you?
I often listen to music, even extreme music, while doing something else, and the music is often there but as background music. But Skullshitter is not music I listen while doing something else. There’s enough intensity and imprevisibility in your songs to really grab my attention and keep it. I can really get into it. A lot of grind / death metal music is quite standardised and highly predictable and fe w albums can keep my attention throughout. But one thing I like with your music is that there’s always something interesting happening, while keeping the raw straightforward aggression and speed of grind / death that I like.