Well, some bands don’t need an introduction anymore. Exhumed is one of them. They just’ve released a new album “Anatomy Is Destiny”, a revolting good album. Things have changed since that time, so it was time for a update with the band. I talked to Matt, and pushed him through a lot of question concerning pretty everything about the band and everything involved. Enjoy this great gory talk!
Hey Sickos! How are things going?
Things are rotting away pretty well. We’re really excited a bout some upcoming shows and, of course the new record.
You just released the new album “Anatomy Is Destiny” on Relapse Records, in my – humble – opinion this is a master killer. How is the rest of the press reacting?
Most of the reactions have been really positive, which is nice to hear. We all think that the record is the best thing we’ve ever recorded, and it’s cool that other people think the same thing.
The sound was incredibly good on this last one, a big step forward, this was also the work of producer of Neil Kernon (known for his works on Judas Priest, Cannibal Corpse and Nevermore). Can you share some of your experiences with us about the co-operation with his guy.
Working with Neil was great. He had a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm. I learned so much from working with him, to be honest. His ear and his attention to detail are pretty damn amazing. A lot of people think that he somehow “made us” get a cleaner production, when in truth, we were telling him to make it as clean as possible- and he was telling us “are you sure it’s not too clean? This is fucking Exhumed, dude!” Working with someone of his caliber was definitely something that has opened our eyes to a whole new level of possibilities.
A step back. Talking about the things on the label; is the situation changed since you are on Relapse instead of the smaller ones? Don’t you miss the more ‘underground’ times of the past?
Yes and no. Mostly no though. I do miss the excitement and newness of being in the underground in the early 1990s, trading demos with bands like Funeral Feast, Embalmer, Excavation, Butchery, Embalmed, Inner Sanctum, etc. That was a great time. Every trip to the mailbox was hotly anticipated! I miss the willingness to try / do anything… As time has gone on we’ve had to pare back some of the things that we would like to do, like split EP’s etc… At the same time, the band has grown so much since then, both in terms of popularity and musically, and the musical development is what keeps it just as interesting. The business side of things is pretty much a drag, but it’s a necessary evil at this point. We still have the same attitude towards our music that we always have though, as well as the same influences that have been there since the beginning.
Are you still as motivated as in the beginning? If you take the situation of today in considering, and compare it to the enormous amount of releases in the past. What makes you not releasing a lot of EPs anymore?
Basically it comes down to time and money. We have very little of either at this point. We are planning some new EP’s by the end of this year. We’re doing a split 10″ with Aborted (which should be out any time now), a split 12″ with Nunslaughter, and two split 7″s, one with Ingrowing, and one with Haemorrhage. We would love to do more, but it’s expensive to get into the studio, and with Exhumed’s live schedule, etc. it’s hard to work consistently enough to have extra money to do those things.
What also changed in the last period is that founder and drummer Col left the band. Do you have any comments on this? How do you see the future without him?
It will be strange without him, as he and I started Exhumed in 1991, but we have just done three shows with Danny Walker from Uphill Battle on drums, and they went really, really well. Col is sorry to go, but he supports the band continuing on, just as we support and respect his decision to focus on his career. Col is my best friend in the world, and that won’t change at all from his not being in Exhumed. I think he’s been a vital part of the band for the last twelve years and we certainly wouldn’t be where we are today without his involvement. At the same time, I think that the next step will be exciting and new and I am looking forward to it.
There are some rumors of Col doing a ‘goodbye’ concert in Germany on Morbid Fest, is that right?
You are correct. His last show ever in Europe- then September 13th in San Francisco will be his last, last show ever.
Besides you lost Col from the band, Bad Burke (bassist) couldn’t get it on the tour. So on the coming tour you have two replacements in the band. How do you see this? Do you consider this a problem?
Yep. I do consider it a less than ideal situation, but we wouldn’t be doing the tour if we felt that the two guys we’re bringing with us, (Danny Walker (from Uphill Battle on drums) and Leon DelMuerte (ex-Exhumed, ex-Impaled) on bass / vocals) weren’t up to kicking ass at the level that Exhumed always has live. This line-up has already played three shows
together that have gone really well, and I think that people will be blown away by it. If it was a step downwards, or a step backwards, we wouldn’t be doing it at all.
There have been so many line-up changes in the past, isn’t this very hard to grow further with your band?
Well, I have always been the main songwriter, so in that respect it hasn’t been that difficult. With Col and I at the core of the band, we have been playing together forever. In the last couple of years, Mike Beams has been taking over more and more of the music, which has kind of shifted the core more towards he and I. I think that the caliber of guys we’re playing with on this tour and will continue to play with will make it easy and natural to continue growing as a band.
Talking about the tours, you first have an North American tour and right afterwards an European one, how do you manage this?
We’re doing a brief east coast tour run with Kataklysm, Diabolic, and Malignancy as support, and then blasting over to Europe. We now have agencies that book us, which makes things a lot easier than they were in the past.
The tour in Europe will be with Cephalic Carnage and Inhume, what do you expect from the tour, the bands and the audience.
We already know the guys in both bands, so we know that we’re in for a marijuana-scented alcoholocaust hanging out with those degenerates! I just hope that the tour is successful and well-attended. We’re excited to be going to some places we’ve never been to before, like the UK, Spain, Italy, and most of France. As far as the audience, we always hope to see plenty of banging heads, stage-diving, and general insanity!
What is the major difference between both audiences from the USA and Europe?
Audiences in the US tend to be more into moshing than Europeans. Both are pretty crazy though. Europeans tend to be more into the old-school approach to concert-going, singing along, chanting, pounding their fists, etc. which is more of what I’m into.
What can we expect from the show? Again a bloody show with skulls and chainsaws? It’s too bad that Bad Burke won’t be there to perform his vomit-act, hehehe.
The show will be as bloody as ever… The set list is a lot more interesting, though. We’ll be doing a lot of stuff from the new album, plus stuff from the first two as well. I think that it will be the best heavy metal show you’ve ever seen a Grindcore band perform!
Something other themes now. What do you think of the grindcore scene of today? New bands are born every week, and the quality seems grow better and better. Do you apply this? And what do you think of the trend of to play gore grind, I talked to several people who are fed up with it.
I think that the scene seems pretty healthy. Right now my favorites are Cripple Bastards and Regurgitate. Those bands both kick major ass. Also 324 from Japan is really good. There are a lot of great bands out there now, Birdflesh, The County Medical Examiners, Pig Destroyer, etc. etc. and that’s great to see. As far as goregrind being a trend, I don’t know. I see Power Metal as more of a trend, or what In Flames is doing as more of a trend. I do think that there are a lot of bands out there doing the same things that other bands are doing, which is kind of lame, but that goes for any scene.
There are also rumours of you have problems with Impaled, what are your comments on this?
There’s not really any problems with those guys. We view it more as a Metallica / Megadeth situation. They tend to do the same things that we do, because we’ve known them for years and years and I literally taught Ross how to play bass and Col introduced him to Metal. I think that musically the bands are growing further apart, which is a good thing, but they tend to keep doing the same kinds of things that we’ve already done, especially on stage, which is kind of annoying to us, and keeps putting them right back in our shadow. I think that they would be better served to do more of their own kind of thing and try to stand on their own merit instead of being Exhumed part II.
Because you put out a lot of – quite limited – stuff in the past there are some things hard to get for (younger) fans, isn’t it an idea to re-release some of the old stuff (7″-es, demos etc.). There are rumours that the split CD with Hemdale will be re-issued, but haven’t heard about that for a while.
“Platters of Splatter” will finally be released next year. It will have most of our demo stuff on it, the split CD with Hemdale, the “Chords of Chaos” 4 way split, compilation appearances, etc. The first 1000pressed will contain an extra disc of further demo stuff, outtakes, and other unreleased material. It should be out next spring.
I hope this won’t offend you, but on your new album I hear some hardcore/metalcore influences. On a song like “Death Walks Behind You” I hear something which in the hardcore scene is called a beatdown. The thing happens after the words “Fuck It All”. Do you apply this, or do you absolutely disagree with me on this?
You’re actually not the first person to make that connection. I don’t really see it, but I also don’t take offense at the comparison. As long as you like it and think it sounds heavy, then call it whatever you want to. I think I’ve only heard one Hatebreed song in my life, so I don’t know a lot about that kind of music. For Hardcore stuff, I’m more into old Agnostic Front, early Sick of it All, Discharge, Final Conflict, Broken Bones, Wrecking Crew, Crumbsuckers, Ganggreen, Cryptic Slaughter, Doom, Deviated Instinct, Ripcord, Gorilla Biscuits, etc. I listen to a lot of that kind of stuff.
There are rumours that you will participate on the No Mercy festivals 2004, is this correct? You are looking forward to this, I suppose?
I think that it should be fun… We always look forward to playing in Europe, and doing a support slot is always better, because it allows more time for drinking!
What are those lovely female vocals on “Anatomy Is Destiny”?
That is my god-daughter, Sakara Birdsong. She’s 10 years old. She only sings in the song “Nativity Obscene”. We were going for an Alice Cooper / Freddy Krueger type of vibe there.
What can be found in your CD player lately?
Ummm… Let’s see:
Merle Haggard- Greatest Hits
The Essential Willie Nelson
Mark Kozelek- What’s Next to the Moon
The Velvet Underground- the banana album
Judas Priest- Sad Wings of Destiny
English Dogs- Onward Into Battle
Siege- Drop Dead
Killing Joke- What’s THIS for?
Beck- Sea Change
Mutilator- Immortal Force
The Church- Under the Milky Way- The Best of the
Cinderella- Night Songs
Johnny Cash- pretty much anything (too bad he recently passes away, respect RIP – Felix)
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds- Murder Ballads
The last words are yours, if there is something you always liked to say, take you chance!
Thanks a lot for the interview, we’re looking forward to seeing all of the Slaughtercultists and Necromaniacs out there on the road, at the bar, or in the morgue! http://www.exhumed.us/
Thanks for the interview, and see you on tour with Inhume and Cephalic Carnage in Europe! All the best…