Well I have been spoiling you with more interviews and I am psyched to bring you another, this time with doom trio, Fister. 2012 has been a busy year for Fister what with the release of two acclaimed EPs, Violence and The Infernal Paramount.
In addition they have shared the stage with the mighty YOB and rising doom crew Norska, whom we have featured on this blog before. If you don't know who they are, you're reading the wrong blog. Haha. Anyway Kenny kindly agreed to talk to us and I know you guys have a lot of time for this great band. So enjoy!
Hey Kenny, How are you? I appreciate you taking the time to talk to talk to us, here at the Sludgelord.
KS: Hey You
SL: Where are you guys at the moment?
KS: We’re in St. Louis, Missouri. Right in the middle of the United States. This is where we all live. We have great rivers here, but it’s starting to get a little too cold to fully enjoy them right now.
SL: For those people who are not familiar with your music, could you tell us a little about the history of the band?
KS: We're a rippin' power trio. We play mostly originals, but we've been known to butcher a cover or two.
SL: When did Fister first form?
SL: Is Fister full time project?
KS: I think that it fits in all of our lives just fine. We all put a good amount of time into the band, but it's not like we're all meeting up 40 hours a week to write songs or anything crazy like that.
SL: What are you doing in terms of the band at the present? You have been touring this summer right?
KS: Right now we are writing our second full length. We're calling it Gemini. So far we have about 30 minutes of music written. We're pretty happy with how things are going so far. We did a small tour this summer, and we have a small handful of shows we are going to play before the end of the year. But for the most part we are writing devil music.
|The Infernal Paramount|
SL: What made you start the band? Did you all know each other before you formed?
KS: I've known Marcus (Newstead) for a long time. We briefly played together in another band. We were roommates when we first started writing Fister songs. We didn't take it too seriously at first, but it quickly became a priority project. We contacted Kirk (Gatterer) about playing drums for us and shortly thereafter started playing rock and roll shows.
SL: It is seemingly harder and harder to make money as a band, bearing that in mind, what motivates you as musicians?
KS: Power and pussy. POWERFUL PUSSIES. Seriously, we just really enjoy making mean heavy music and having excuses to buy gear.
SL: Are you big fans of rock/metal, if so what are you listening too at the moment? Any recommendations?
KS: Metal rules my soul. As of late we've been jamming the new records by Norska, Evoken, Haarp, Pallbearer, Deathspell Omega, Inverloch, Conan, Himalayan, The Lion's Daughter… I don't know. We listen to lots of stuff. I love Megadeth, Rush, Darkthrone, and ZZ Top. Music rules.
SL: When you started Fister, what were your hopes for the band?
KS: When we first started we didn't expect much at all. We didn't really take it very seriously. That's changed. It's definitely become a big priority in all of our lives.
SL: If someone was unfamiliar with your band, how would you describe your sound? Has it evolved?
KS: Doom. If they don't know what that is (and they often don't when I'm asked) I just tell them it's really loud and slow with lots of screaming. That usually garners a frown. Then I shred a bass solo in their face and their ass falls off their stupid body. That being said, I definitely think our music has evolved. It's a lot smarter, darker, and meaner all around. Our earlier stuff didn't have a lot of direction. We just pretty much sounded like some dudes that wanted to play stuff that sounded like Sleep and Electric Wizard. Probably because that's what we were doing for the most part. Now I think we have found our sound. I don't think we really sound too much like this or that now. I think we sound like Fister now and I couldn't be happier with the results.
SL: Who would you say are your influences both musically and artistically in terms of the band’s sound?
KS: All of it. Mainly Judas Priest. SAD WINGS OF DESTINY!
SL: Why did you choose the name, Fister? What does it represent, if anything?
KS: We didn't take it seriously, like it was "HAHA silly Fister with their silly loud doom songs". I think with the later stuff we have released, and especially with the new stuff we are writing it has become less funny and more "OH FUCK! FISTER! This hurts like Jesus shoved his arm up my ass, ripped out my soul, and spiked it into Hell."
SL: What is the scene like in your hometown? Any bands we should be keeping an eye out for?
KS: The scene is great here. Tons of great bands. As far as the loud stuff goes, I'd say keep an ear out for The Lion's Daughter, Everything Went Black, Anodes, Overdoser, Blackfast, Sine Nomine, Ashes and Iron, Tyranny Enthroned, Bastard, Jack Buck, Thorlock, The Gorge, Quaere Verum. These are just the bands doing stuff that I can think of off the top of my head.
SL: What are your views of blogs such as the Sludgelord reviewing your records, as opposed to mainstream music magazines? Has your music reached the mainstream mags, at home or around the world?
KS: I think it's great. That's how we figured out that people gave a shit about what we were doing in the first place. To be honest, we owe a lot of our existence to blogs. Namely The Sludge Swamp (which is now defunct) Because of them a whole lot of people got Bronsonic and bought a shitload of merch within a week. We didn't even know they reviewed the record at first. I think that was our first hint that we were actually doing something right and we started to take things a little more seriously. The writers like us, so people listen. People seem to like what we are doing and they wouldn't have found us if it weren't for that.
SL: I recently bought The Infernal Paramount Vinyl and Violence cassette, which are both awesome. Your merch are almost like a collector’s items? Is that deliberate and does it surprise you when people buy your music and merch, because most of it sells out?
KS: Yeah. Anyone can shit songs onto the internet. If anything, we are proof of that. If we are going to release a physical package, I want it to be worth owning. I think the physical packaging is almost important as the music. We're all artists in our own way. I want every aspect of our releases to have a strong presence of art involved, always.
SL: One of the things I like most about your band is that you release your own stuff and your DIY ethic? Can you tell us about Pissfork Anticulture, because you’ve also released cassettes by Conan?
KS: Thank you. That honestly means a lot. Pissfork Anticulture is more of a collective of musicians and artists than a label. Everything that has the Pissfork stamp has been an important project to both me, and everyone else involved. I think I approached Conan about releasing Horseback Battlehammer on cassette mainly to expose more people in the US to a band that I love that was already making serious waves in Europe. We've done a small handful of releases that varied in size and budget.
SL: Do you have a fascination with Charles Bronson (I am referring to your Bronsonic record)?
KS: We recorded Bronsonic (and our side of the split we did with The Lion's Daughter) all in one day from front to back. Looking back, I'm surprised we got anything accomplished. The amount of drug and alcohol consumption in the writing process, and in the studio was just unbelievable. The newer stuff is a lot more focused. In fact, the main reason we named a song Deaf Wish since Bronsonic came out was because we felt like it was a mistake to not think of it sooner. If we had, I'm sure one of the tracks would have been called Deaf Wish. I'm pretty sure the blatant Bronson worship of Fister is over. Obviously, Charles Bronson is one of the baddest motherfuckers to ever live, but it's time to move on and let the man rest in peace.
SL: You have been active since 2009 and had 7 releases to your name so far, what have been some of your highlights so far? What are your aspirations for the future?
KS: Honestly, I'm happy with everything we've done so far. Out of the 7 releases we only have one true full length. We've done splits, eps, singles, demos, and all of that good stuff. I think it's time we put out another album already. We move pretty quickly for a doom band I think. Right now our main focus is to finish writing, record, and release Gemini. After that we will be hitting the road again for sure. We're planning on doing a lot more touring in 2013.
SL: Do you have any interesting stories from your tours, favourite places you’ve toured and bands you’ve toured with?
KS: We've only done the one tour. (A blaze in the midwestern sky). We've played out of town a handful of other times as well. Most recently we played the Mutants of The Monster Fest in Little Rock with some killer bands (Red Shield, Sons Of Tonatiuh, Crankbait, Deadbird, Black Pussy, Rwake, Pallbearer, Hull, etc…) Also there were some bad ass bands in the towns we played with on the tour (Ashen, Blue Ox, Myrrh, Tank Destroyer, Artillery Breath, Failed, Hedorrah, and Discerned) We recently played with Yob and Norska in St. Louis. I don't think I need to explain how awesome that was.
SL: What is your agenda or game plan in terms of what you want to write for your releases?
KS: I think we've only recently discovered what Fister needs us to do to keep this death machine satisfied. That is to kill. Expect murder. This new record is going to be a monster. You just wait. We're really excited about this one.
SL: What are your thoughts about free legal downloads (I am referring to bandcamp) and the difference between buying a physical copy? Is your hope that people will dig the free download enough that they’ll buy your record, the problem therein is that much of your stuff sells out. Do donations contribute to the release of vinyl’s, cassettes etc and is it frustrating that people may sell your records for higher prices, bearing in mind that much of your stuff are limited releases?
KS: Whoa… slow down. That's a lot to answer! Obviously we want our music to be available to anyone that wants it. It's theirs. I love the 'Name Your Price' format. I've noticed that most people just download our stuff for free, but a good handful of people have actually given us anywhere between 1 and 20 dollars for downloads on bandcamp. I hate to play favorites here, but it's definitely helpful (and flattering) to see when people actually pay for the music that we put our time and money into. I'm not sure if it's this whole "DIY ethic/steal it or pay for it" and/or the fact that our releases are kind of "collectors items" but we haven't put much thought into people buying it and reselling it for a profit. Both Violence and The Infernal Paramount sold out in under 3 months. We are re-issuing both in new editions. (Violence will be released by Gogmagogical Records and The Infernal Paramount will be released by Encapsulated Records). We aren't really big into people giving us handouts. Our stuff is always fairly priced and we want to keep it that way forever. If people want to download our music for free they will, and that's just fine.
SL: 2012 seems to have been a particularly busy year for you, releasing Infernal Paramount and Violence and touring, What are your plans for the rest of the year and 2013, any chance you'd consider coming to the UK?
KS: Yes. We've been quite busy. We aren't going to be playing too many shows the rest of the year. 2013 we'll be back with a bang. A lot more touring, a new full length. Hopefully (fingers crossed) a split with our buddies in Liverpool. I'd say there is an excellent chance you'll see us in the UK. It's just a matter of when we can make that happen. We definitely plan on doing a European tour as soon as possible. I guess I should get a passport, huh?
SL: Thanks for answering my questions, but one final question, you got anything you like to say to your fans?
KS: Thanks for all your money, suckers. We live in diamond encrusted mansions and ride platinum jet skis over to snort coke with Lars Ulrich every day now. Keep the cash-flow coming.
All jokes aside, I just smoked a blunt with my buddy Adam and don't know how to conduct myself professionally all the time. Please don't sue us Lars. We're broke. JESUS IS MOTHERFUCKING LORD.
Thanks to Kenny for taking the time to talk to us. Another great interview from one of my favourite underground bands. Please show your support and donate some cash when you download their music, which incidently can be downloaded free. Repress of Violence and The Infernal Paramount coming soon, so look out for them.