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.
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.
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.
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:
- 4⁄19 — Thursday @ Ralph’s Diner — Worcester MA w/Engorged, Coathanger Abortion & Demoralizer
- 4⁄20 — Friday @ The Bugjar — Rochester NY w/Abdicate, Othin & Beard Without A Mustache
- 4⁄21 — Saturday @ Mac’s Bar — Lansing MI w/Superchrist, Sauron, & more TBA
- 4⁄22 — Sunday @ The Empty Bottle — Chicago, IL w/Morgue Supplier, Elbow Deep, & Terminate
- 4⁄23 — Monday @ WQNA Radio Show — Springfield, IL
- 4⁄24 — Tuesday @ Ziggy’s — Chattanooga, TN w/TBA
- 4⁄25 — Wednesday @ The Boxx — Virgina Beach, VA w/Led To The Grave, Macerated, & Waiting Mortuary
- 4⁄26 — Thursday @ Strange Matter — Richmond, VA w/Led To The Grave, Ice Fortress, & more
- 4⁄27 — Friday @ Sidebar — Baltimore, MD w/Visceral Disgorge, Illuminations, Bury the Memories, & Condemn the Infected
- 4⁄28 — Saturday @ O’Reilly’s — Philadelphia, PA w/Sapremia, Flesh Engine, Incest Burner, & Solumn Mortum
- 4⁄29 — Sunday @ TBA — Brooklyn, NY w/Led To The Grave, & more TBA
- 4⁄30 — Monday @ O’Brien’s Pub — Allston, MA w/Led to the Grave, Untombed, & 1 more TBA