Slowly Interviewed Over A Thousand Years: Scaphism



One of my favorite local bands Scaphism has some­thing big coming down the pike — their first full-​length album and a tour to match. (You may remember their split with Boarcorpse and Composted from my Best of 2010 post.) Since they’re all such a bunch of morally sound, stand-​up dudes I asked for an interview…and wouldn’t you know, they answered. Check it out and see them on tour this spring!

So the new album — when’s it out? Where can I get one? What should we be looking for­ward to? I heard there might be Ghostbusters involved…

Our first full length album is enti­tled “Festering Human Remains.” Look for­ward to 9 tracks of gloopy gloppy grotes­queties for your ear drums. It should be avail­able for our ‘Tourpocalypse 2012′ Kick off show, April 19th at Ralph’s Diner in Worcester. As for ‘Ghostbusters’… that sub­ject will be addressed on our next release. The only ‘block­buster’ on this album is about ‘Star Wars.’

What’s your biggest inspi­ra­tion — attitude-​wise, not musically?

Things in life that either piss us off or could be con­sid­ered ques­tion­able by those with morals – you know, like flat beer, harshed buzzes, sur­gical mal­prac­tice, gas, umm can­nibal tribes, etc. Anything that’s gen­er­ally frowned upon in civ­i­lized society.

Your newly-​released song, Encephalopathy, got me reading about the dis­ease, which can, um, eat holes in your brain until you drop dead. So how much of your inspi­ra­tion comes from hor­rific med­ical textbooks?

We have a poster in our band space that is pretty gross. Gashes and infec­tions. At first we played this game called “which one is fatal?” The answer was most of them. Other topics include rape, and being killed after being raped.

Have you expe­ri­enced back­lash due to your lyrical con­tent? How do you put up with it?

Funny you should ask that. A lovely young woman dis­agreed with the sub­ject matter at one of our shows in Jamaica Plain once. She decided to file a com­plaint to Tony’s…eh hem…‘suggestion box’ with her steel-​toed boot. Another inno­cent bystander came across one of our t-​shirts and called it ‘appalling.’ We realize the lyrical themes are bit con­tro­ver­sial but our motto is pretty much — “If you don’t like it, we don’t care. We’ll pull down your underwear.”

How do you guys col­lab­o­rate on song­writing as a whole? Composing riffs, lyrics and tunes, and drums into a song from thin air seems like magic to non-​musicians. What would you say is the toughest step, from inspi­ra­tion to pol­ishing it up for recording?

Whoa, whoa, whoa. LOADED ques­tion. Alright, we’ll let you in on the secret process: First, Evan smokes a bowl and writes some riffs for a song. Then we smoke a bowl and tell him it sucks. Then he writes it better. Then we smoke another bowl and forget how the rest of our songs go…wait, what was the ques­tion again?

Alex also plays drums for Forced Asphyxiation, and Tom is in Hard No. 9. What’s it like bal­ancing life/​work/​another band with a constantly-​touring one like Scaphism?

(Alex) – Being in two bands is kind of like having two girl­friends, they always get mad when you have to go hang out with the other one and they want you all to them­selves. As far as the work life bal­ance goes, I’m con­stantly busy but to me I enjoy having as little down­time in life as pos­sible. If my schedule isn’t filled with music, side projects, recording, and prac­tice i feel as if I’m not making the most out of the time I have while I am still here. I’ve got a full plate ahead of me this year and I’m hoping to keep pushing for­ward with music as much as possible.

(Tom) — I decided a long while ago that playing music is the most impor­tant thing to me in life. There are times that it can get a bit hectic and some double booking mishaps have occurred in the past. But for the most part, it’s been pos­sible to bal­ance both bands’ rehearsals and show schedule without major inci­dent. I also find time here and there to work on addi­tional studio and live projects. The ben­efit of staying busy musi­cally, I’ve noticed, is that I stay warmed up throughout the week and can con­sis­tently improve my chops by doing so.

The full-length album art

The full-​length art

Who designed the album art for the full-​length? Can you talk us through the process of working with an artist to develop the final product?

Mark Cooper (Mindrape Art) did the art for us. We’ve been sit­ting on it for a couple years now. We basi­cally just told him we wanted a bunch of dead bodies rot­ting in a swamp with some boats and insects in there. He just kinda ran with that motif. We also got help from Mitch Fletcher (Soul Remnants) to put the layout together. The won­derful Hillarie Jason also pro­vided some band photos of our ugly mugs.

Alex you’re a very dynamic drummer with a lot of stage pres­ence — can you explain to a non-​drummer (like me) how you broke through the drummer’s stan­dard role of “time keeper” and make us sit up and pay atten­tion to the guy wailing on the drums?

(Alex) — I didn’t realize anyone actu­ally paid atten­tion haha, I just try to give every­thing I’ve got into every show. I have a lot of fun while I’m up there and I believe it’s pretty boring to watch a bunch of musi­cians on stage blandly per­forming their mate­rial with no move­ment or emo­tion. I find it impor­tant to have fun and really give the audi­ence more than just playing the music, but to actu­ally per­form the mate­rial with some pas­sion behind it.

Scaphism @ Wadzilla Mansion

Scaphism @ Wadzilla Mansion, back in the summer o’ 2010

Tony plays bare­foot a lot, what’s the worst thing he’s stepped in?

(Tony) — Allston, I’d say. The whole “non-conformist/I’m-afraid-to-be-unmetal” paradox within metal is so ludi­crous that I take any chance to upset it and give the I’m-So-Metalers indigestion.

If you have a tour/​set story you’d like to tell, stick it here and I promise I won’t send it to the police.

(Tom) — Tour story eh? Well, our first “Tour” was actu­ally more of a road trip up to the Day of Death metal fest in Rochester, NY. We were invited to play and drove up in my Toyota with some of our gear — with the inten­tion of bor­rowing the rest when we got up there (this was before the Bus.) Anyway the whole weekend was a great time and went off without a hitch. On the way back we were blasting the new “Tentacles” album and I was hun­gover and hauling ass back to MA when we got pulled over in NY by a Statie. Bam! $200.00 speeding ticket. We kind of laughed it off saying, “Well if this is the worst that hap­pened it was still a good trip.” You’d think that would get me to slow down for the rest of the ride back. Nope. Just as we made our way into MA (still on the Pike), we got tagged AGAIN with another speeding ticket for the amount. Needless to say, the remainder of the trip was a quiet one. Anyway, I ended up a week later get­ting cited again in front of my own apart­ment for run­ning a red light. If I wasn’t able to weasel out of one of those tickets like I did, prob­ably would have had my license sus­pended, haha. So I guess it’s a good thing the bus only tops out at 65 MPH or else we might not make it back from the Tour.

Clockwise from top-left: Tony, Evan, Alex and Tom

Clockwise from top-​left: Tony, Evan, Alex and Tom

Many, many thanks to Tony, Evan, Alex & Tom for let­ting me (ice)pick their brains! Want to catch the Tourpocalypse? The dis­ease is spreading: see if the tour’s stop­ping near you:

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