Sunday 9 December 2012

20 Questions w/ Coffinworm

Not content with giving you just one interview this week, I am pleased to present an interview I did with the mighty Coffinworm. 

If you can remember I reviewed the excellent Hell Come Homes mail order 7" compilation a few months back.  It was always my plan to interview as many of the bands as I could on that package.  Previously I interviewed Fistula, Pyramido and Fight Amp to name but a few.

I contacted Coffinworm a good few months ago and it has taken me this long to get my arse in gear to prepare this interview for you guys.  Carl, guitarist with the band was kind enough to talk to me and discuss his bands most recent split with Fistula, working with Sandford Parker and their plans for the future, which includes the prospect of new material seeing the light of day in 2013. 

I personally love this band and their split with Fistula is one of my favourite releases of the year.  So I am excited to present my interview with Coffinworm.  So, Enjoy and see you soon with more 20 Questions.  thanks for reading.

Q) Hi Carl, how are you?  I appreciate you taking the time to talk to talk to us, here at the Sludgelord.

CARL: Thanks for getting in touch and taking the time to do the interview, Aaron.

Q) Where are you at the moment and what are you doing, in terms of the band?  Are you writing a new record, touring?

CARL: We’re functioning the same way we have since the beginning…writing new material and playing a handful of shows occasionally. Touring is not something that we’ve really been able to do unless you count an extended weekend, although if personal schedules lined up for everyone in the band to tour we would do so. Right now getting a new body of material written is the focus.

Q)  I recently reviewed your split 7” with Fistula, which is an insanely heavy disc and an exceptional package; however for those people who are unfamiliar with your music.   Could you tell me little bit about the history of the band and some of the bands you've played with? Where you’re from, when Coffinworm first formed? Current band members?

CARL: Thank you for the kind words about the Fistula split. We formed in late 2007 and played our first show in February 2008 with Unearthly Trance and Racebannon. The ‘Great Bringer of Night’ demo was recorded in the winter of 2008 and self-released in spring of 2009. In the interim between recording and releasing the demo we were in contact with Profound Lore and made plans to work with Chris to record and release a full-length for his most excellent label. The rest of 2009 was spent playing a handful of shows and preparing for the recording session at Semaphore Recording Studios with Sanford Parker in December of that year. Just prior to the release of ‘When All Became None’ we travelled to Austin, TX to play an official Profound Lore Records showcase at SXSW 2010. A few months later Tony departed from the band and I moved from drums to guitar. Our good friend Josh (who did the cover art for ‘WABN’) filled the drum spot and more than upped the ante.

Q) Is Coffinworm a full time project, or do have other bands?

CARL: It is a full-time project and some of us also play in other bands.

Image of Coffinworm/Fistula split shirt
Coffinworm/Fistula T-Shirt
Q) Probably a stupid question, but are you or would you like to be full time musicians? Presumably you work jobs too, right?

CARL: Playing music doesn’t give me a paycheck, which I’m fine with. Some people work very hard and then are lucky to catch the right break to be able to do it for a living, but it’s not something I necessarily aspire to. I wouldn’t turn it down, either, as long as it meant not having to sacrifice a few of the other factors in my life that are important. I continue to play music because I love doing it. Everything else as a result is a perk.

Q) Are you big fans of rock/metal, if so what are you listening too at the moment?

CARL: Currently listening to: Blessure Grave – ‘The Flashing’ EP, Martyrdod – ‘Paranoia’ LP, Eyehategod – ‘New Orleans Is The New Vietnam’ 7”, Swans – ‘The Seer’ LP, Boddicker – ‘Mitch Is The Bastard’ and Kata Sarka split cassettes, Grave Upheaval/Manticore split LP, Serpentine Path – ‘S/T’ LP, Nachtmystium – ‘Silencing Machine’ CD, Anhedonist – ‘Netherwards’ LP, Old Man Gloom – ‘No’ LP, Winter – ‘Into Darkness’ LP, and the usual suspects in my listening rotation (Celtic Frost, Motörhead, Black Sabbath, Ramones, Cianide, Darkthrone, Craft…)

Q) When you started Coffinworm, what were your hopes for the band?

CARL: Nothing in particular other than making some heavy music with good friends, playing some shows, and maybe recording some demos.

Q) If someone was unfamiliar with your band, how would you describe your sound? Has it evolved?

CARL: I hate the sub-genre tagging game, so I would just say ‘metal’. We have most certainly evolved since our inception, but I think that’s true for every band. In our case, small refinements in the writing process have led to better/more interesting results and execution. The new material still sounds like us, though.

Q)  Why the name, Coffinworm?  Wheredid the name come from? 

CARL: It’s a reference to Choronzon that Todd (bass) suggested. It fit the vibe of the music and was unanimously liked by everyone in the band.

Q)  What is the scene like in your hometown?

CARL: Flux, but cool. It tends to ride a wave of activity and then drop off a bit periodically. There are cool bands in Indy and shows are happening pretty often, especially right now. There are lots of great new bands in Indy these days.

Q)  Do you view yourselves as an underground band, if so, Is it a struggle in your hometown and is their camaraderie within the scene?

CARL: I most certainly consider us an underground band, although I think that term has a different connotation anymore. Basically, we as individuals make no money from doing this band and we book our own shows, handle our own merch and mail-order, etc. There has always been a DIY aesthetic to how we operate. No, it’s not a struggle within our musical community to get along. The majority of people are supportive of each other.

Q) Listening to your music, I felt there is an influence of perhaps black metal, death metal sludge metal?  What would you say are your direct influences musically and artistically? Did those influences contribute directly or indirectly to the type of music you write?

CARL: Of course anyone will take influence from things they like, whether it’s writing, visual art, music, etc. I think we’ve addressed this in several other interviews, but the crux is while Darkthrone, Craft, Eyehategod, Celtic Frost, or Autopsy may be held close to the vest, we don’t aspire to sound like anyone or to stay within a specific sub-genre classification. All that matters is whether or not we all like the end result when we’re writing material.

Coffinworm/Fistula Split 7"
Q)  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?  Is the mainstream something you aspire too? 

CARL: It’s appreciated that anyone would take the time to check us out and write about our music, whether that’s a blog or a print publication. I don’t have an opinion either way about mainstream media vs. ‘underground’ media. Both equally have flaws and strengths.

Q) Your split 7” with Fistula is possibly some of the sickest I’ve heard this year, and the Hell Comes Home mail order package is brilliant, will some amazing bands on there.  How did that come about and what are your thoughts about it looking back?  Is the song on there, representative of the direction of your new material?

CARL: Thank you! We are very happy with how that split came out and to share a slab of wax with the mighty Fistula! As for how it came about, our friends in Unearthly Trance suggested us to the label and the original plan was to do the split with them. This was shortly before their Japanese tour with the Melvins and High on Fire that the earthquake and tsunami brought to an end. After UT returned home they went on hiatus and their involvement for the split was out. Joel from Hell Comes Home asked us if we had ideas for another band and we suggested Fistula. Within 24 hours everything was confirmed with Fistula and that was it. As for the new material, yes, I would say that ‘Instant Death…’ is indicative of our current direction with the new material.

Q)  I heard a rumour your vocalist could be laying down some growls on an upcoming Fistula Record?  Any truth in that and are you fans of those dudes?

CARL: I’ll let Dave speak for himself on that, but yes we are fans of Fistula and are very excited to be playing a couple shows with them in October. They’ve been going for so many years and deserve to be far more known than they are. Excellent band!

Q) You re-released Great Bringer of the Night earlier this year, what was the thinking behind that? 

CARL: The simple explanation is from the time we recorded ‘Great Bringer of Night’ we had always wanted to see it released on vinyl. The original release of the demo was less than 300 copies on CD-R that were only sold at shows or through mail order, so it didn’t have a widespread physical release. We’re happy things worked out with Flenser Records to give ‘GBON’ a proper release and the remastering job that James Plotkin did is incredible.

Coffinworm - When All Became None
When All Becomes None
Q)  It’s over two years now since the release of When All Becomes None, what are your thoughts about the record looking back.  How was working with Sandford Parker? He’s an amazingly talented guy; you got plans to work with him on the next record?

CARL: I’m still proud of what we did with that album. It was a learning experience in many ways and I think the next time around we’ll make an even better record. Sanford is the man and was super easy to work with. The plan is to do the second album with him, for sure.

Q) Does it surprise you when people buy your music and merch?

CARL: I think that goes hand in hand with the fact that we’re always surprised when people connect with what we create musically. That’s a gift and something we don’t take for granted. We’re always grateful when people buy our music and merch, especially these days when people have less expendable income than they may have in year’s prior.

Q) You’ve released 2 albums and 1 split since the bands inception, what are some of your highlights so far? What are your aspirations for the future?

CARL: Just to keep doing the band, keep writing new material, put out more releases, and hopefully get to the west coast and overseas.

Q) You’re signed to the awesome Profound Lore label, were you fans of the label before you were signed and how did that come about? 

CARL: Most definitely, as we’ve stated in previous interviews. It was as simple as having been in contact with Chris at Profound Lore prior to the formation of the band and leading up to the demo recording session. I had mentioned that we were recording with our friend Bob Fouts who was in The Gates of Slumber at the time. Bob and the TGOS dudes said some nice things on our behalf and Chris said to send him a copy of the finished product.

Q) Do you have any interesting stories from your tours, favourite’s places you’ve toured and bands you’ve toured with?

CARL: This last trip to NYC was epic. Getting to see our friends out there is worth the drive alone, but NYC always treats us well and playing on the same show with Winter and Repulsion is a lifetime highlight in my musical cap. Fuck! Anytime we’ve gone out of town is a good time, though.

Q) How do you feel about the digital era of music and people downloading music for free? Would you or have you ever considered releasing your music for free or ‘pay what you like’ to raise the profile of the band?

CARL: I’m fine with it as long as it isn’t considered the ‘new normal’ and the push is toward digital replacing physical formats for music distribution. As another choice of formats digital downloads work fine for some people, I guess. I think a platform like Bandcamp is a giant leap forward for independent musicians, though. We did release our music for free with the ‘Great Bringer of Night’ demo in 2009. Since it was a limited physical release that we did ourselves, we also offered a free high-quality mp3 download for anyone that wanted it directly from our blog. Had we not done that I don’t think the number of people that were exposed to our music would have been otherwise. It’s a good tool to reach a mass audience, but I don’t see any reason why it should replace the need for a physical format.

Q) What are your plans for the rest of the year and any chance you're coming over to the UK?

CARL: To finish writing the next album and then some. We have a few shows on the books right now. Otherwise, no other plans for this year. Getting new material finished is the most important thing right now. We’d love to come over to the UK and mainland Europe, so hopefully everything can line up with that sooner than later.

Q) Thanks for answering my questions, but one final question, do you have anything you like to say to your fans?

CARL: Thanks for your support!

The End

Thanks to Carl and Coffinworm for being one of the sickest bands around.  More importantly thanks for answering my questions.  Support this amazing band.  Check out the links below and buy their merch.  Thanks to you guys for reading.  Aaron