Interview by Nate of the Living Dead
Bursting forth from the decaying carcass that is the Midwest, Indianapolis blackened doom horde Coffinworm have completed their sludge-soaked full length debut When All Became None (Profound Lore Records), and are poised to drag us all into their pit of hellish despair, begging for more. Having recently returned to Indiana after an appearance at SxSW, vocalist Dave Britts shared the following insights on what makes the monstrous collective known as Coffinworm tick, and take no prisoners while doing so.
-Hi, Dave! How’s it going? Coffinworm has had a pretty eventful week, with an opening slot on Pentagram’s Indianapolis stop and of course a SxSW appearance as a part of the Profound Lore/20 Buck Spin showcase in Austin, TX. How was the SxSW experience, along with sharing a stage with the legendary Pentagram?
Hails. In regards to the Pentagram show, even with their line-up difficulties and sundry problems it was indeed an honor to share the stage with such an influential and legendary band. And we of course always love playing with the mighty The Gates of Slumber, as they are not only close friends, but also one of the most relevant and devastating bands from this state, or any other.We played three shows while in Austin, and all of them were awesome. The first was at Hoek’s Death Metal Pizza, which was fucking killer. We played in the early afternoon to an intimate crowd of folks with bands like Kill The Client, Zoroaster, Landmine Marathon, and Book of Black Earth. We were well received, and the free-flowing Lonestar helped ensure we enjoyed ourselves, even if the show was early in the day and outdoors. We met lots of cool folks and had a good time, and appreciate the time and effort Fred from Brooklyn Vegan and the Hoek’s posse put into this, in addition to playing with so many fresh bands.The Profound Lore/20 Buck Spin showcase was fantastic, and easily a highlight for all Coffinworm members. First off, we played Billy Milano’s club Headhunters, and he was in the building, so that immediately was awesome. When we pulled up to unload, Suplecs were playing, so that also was a bonus. Lastly (and most importantly) finally getting to meet Chris Bruni from Profound Lore, Kim Kelly, Salome folks, Dark Castle folks, et al was indeed a treat. Musically I feel we played one of our most lethal sets to date, and we seemed to be well received from the folks in attendance. What more could you ask for? That show felt like a basement show, even if it was in a bar. We were all smiles when we left, and every single one of us was a one-man drunk tank, so no problems.The final show was at Encore Records in Austin, and we played with Mala Suerte who fucking rule. Plus there was local micro-brewed IPA on tap for free, and tons of treats to tempt us out of our cash. That place is a truly incredible record store, and it’s a goddamn shame there can’t be something like that here in Indianapolis. Their video rental/sale section of the store was so incredible it still seems like a dream. In summation, the trip was worth the arduous drive and the financial stress of embarking on such an endeavor, and surely stands as a highlight of my life to share a “vacation” with some of my best friends.
-The “word on the street” is that people familiar with the band’s Great Bringer of Night 3-song demo will still hear something new in the 2 tracks that also appear on the forthcoming When All Became None full length release. In what ways does the Coffinworm sound differ between the demo and the full length?
They are just two different expressions of the same band. Bob did an incredible job with our demo, and to date I still believe if it weren’t for his involvement far fewer people would have payed attention to us. He believed strongly in the strength of the material and worked very hard to make sure that it sounded as full, destructive, and natural as it could, and he succeeded. The amount of positive press we received from Great Bringer of Night still amazes us. We essentially did it for ourselves, and for, what we thought, would be the 10 people who wanted to hear us. We sent the demo to exactly one label, and solely because we were fans of the label and hoping that they might want to snag 20 demos to sell online, and they signed us flat out. Again, we cannot speak highly enough about Bob Fouts or Basement Rage studios. He truly opened the gates of hell for us. I would be remiss to not mention that Geoff Montgomery (Ensomberoom Recording, Daisycutter) also did a great job of mastering that demo for us, as he helped make an already massive recording sound crushing. Friends helping friends… that’s the type of shit we’re on. Something many people may not realize is we recorded 5 songs total during that session, so no one got to hear Spitting In Infinity’s Asshole and Start Saving For Your Funeral in their original incantations/incarnations. In hindsight this was for the best, because while those songs were in no way “lacking,” they remained live-only songs, save for one song being online to stream. So the main difference is when you listen to Great Bringer of Night you will hear the first assaults of a band trying to capture their live sound onto tape. With When All Became None, you will hear these songs, and others, in their definitive state, road-tested, and at their most deadly. We honestly feel that When All Became None is the absolute best album we could have done at the time, and we are extremely proud of and happy with it.
-Can you describe your time in the studio with Sanford Parker for When All Became None and the band’s work with Bob Fouts (The Gates Of Slumber) on the demo recording? Trials, tribulations, horror stories?
I’ve touched upon our experience with Bob above, and there were no trials or tribulations to speak of. The only horror story was that some dick-snorklers broke into his home and stole most of his recording set-up one day after we finished the vocals. Thankfully Bob was able to replace everything, find our files, and resume Basement Rage operations, so it all worked out. Goat works in mysterious ways…As for recording with Sanford, it was incredible. We were secluded from not only our personal and home lives, but also from most of society, in a concrete bunker with no windows. Armed with only the songs, our equipment, and copious amounts of alcohol, we were allowed the freedom to focus solely upon making the best album we could. Sanford is on some mad scientist shit, and his time management skills are supra-human. He encouraged us to give the best performances we could, and he had the equipment and ideas to allow this to happen. His creative input was also fantastic, and he just made us feel at home. Sure we had some rough parts with certain passages in the songs and shit like that, but that is all par for the course for any band in a studio. As a vocalist, I can say I’ve never had an easier time recording vocals as he has the ultimate setup and touch for making it happen. Also, “The System.” Fuck. In summation, it was incredible, and we can’t wait to do it again.
-If Coffinworm had the opportunity to be a part of their idea of a “dream show”, what other bands would perform at the event?
Disembowelment, Deathspell Omega, Ghostface Killah, Goblin, Portal, a reformed Buried at Sea playing Migration, and Entombed playing Left Hand Path straight through, with a séance to summon Lucio Fulci and ODB back from the dead in between every fucking band.
-During the recent show at Indianapolis’ historic Melody Inn with Bulletwolf and Struck By Lightning, Coffinworm’s set was accompanied by a projector screen displaying chaotic scenes from gore films. It suits the sound perfectly! Does the band plan on using that sort of concept for future performances?
We have done this once before, and would love nothing more than to do it at all of our shows. Towards these ends, we are taking steps to make it happen. So no, this was not a one-time occurrence. And this was not an attempt to bolster a lacking musical fortitude, but rather borne of desire to make the music the main focus, not our contorted faces or apparel.
-Can you describe the events that led to the formation of the band?
At the time, 2 of us played in the local band Salvation. 3 more of us played in Black Arrows of Filth and Impurity. We were all friends, and all treaded common ground ideologically, musically, socially, etc. BAOFAI’s drummer joined Demiricous and committed to extended touring. Salvation basically pulled a Challenger and blew up in space. The end result was we met up for drinks, agreed to start a band, discussed practicing, and commenced that shit. It’s literally that simple. We sat down as friends and said “let’s fucking do this.”
-How did Coffinworm’s current relationship with Profound Lore Records come to be?
Scribe Byers sent Chris our demo, a shirt, and a handwritten letter. The day he received it, he emailed Carl and said we should sign with him and record with Sanford. Not being fuckwits, we concurred with his words.
-How was the name of the band determined to the “the one”?
Scribe Manning had been kicking the name/concept/ideation around for some years, and kept it at the forefront of his subconscious. When the time for such talks came, he reanimated it, and we unanimously and immediately agreed. While multifaceted and complex, our origin for the name is in reference to Thelemic magic, the writings of Crowley, the Dweller of the Abyss, and the quest to eradicate the ego.
-I love the artwork for When All Became None! What’s the story behind it, the band’s t-shirt designs and logo?
Thank you for the compliment. The logo and our first shirt design were created by Dusty Neal, a friend of Garrett’s. He gave him our recording, Dusty gave us a logo and art. Both were/are amazing. The artwork for When All Became None was done by Joshua “Chubbz” Shrontz, who has played/plays locally with Wasteland DC, Critical Response Team, Slow Motion Enslavement, What The Fuck?, and Worldeater, amongst others. He and I play together in Worldeater, and I’ve been a fan of the various artworks he’s designed for both Worldeater and his myriad other bands. He is just a very talented and gifted artist in any medium he commits to. Scribe Byers and I conversed about artwork ideation, conversed with the rest of the band, and initiated talks with Chubbz. Tony came up with some Crowley imagery that came to him in a fever vision, and from there it was pretty much set. We gave Chubbz the ideas and general direction, and left to his own devices, he gave us the raw paintings and drawings for the cover. Bob Peele from Deadmen/Long Live Design Labs de/reconstructed the elements and brought you what you see with his eye/attention to detail. Elizabeth Jenkins, our collective friend and my paramour, contributed the sigils for the layout, and all became one. We are very much proponents of working with those closest to us in our circle, and so enlisting the three of them was an obvious and imminent choice. We salute and hail all for their contributions and offerings.
-For those new to the experience of the Coffinworm style of chaos, what are some of the band’s biggest influences and inspirations, in and out of the music realm?
Existence, and the desire to see it either vastly reworked or eradicated altogether.
-As a fairly new band, Coffinworm has gained its shair of publicity in several publications. Some bands have expressed their disliking such a thing for their own reasons. How does Coffinworm view that sort of attention?
Do we discourage people from liking us? No. Do we give two fucks about how people think we look, dress, or what shirts we are wearing, or their current market value in online auction houses? Also no. All we care about is the sum effect of our music. This is why when you see us play live we bathe ourselves in opaque light, or display “chaotic scenes from gore films,” or choose a non-confrontational style of live performance. The music and the music alone is all that matters. Image is transient and transparent. If you need something to look at to make the music make sense then maybe you should s(ch)tick to youtube.
-What has been your most memorable performance to date?
For plus or negative all of our performances have been memorable, but if I were to choose what was my favorite live endeavor I would say either our participation at the SXSW showcase or the show at the Historic Melody Inn that you referenced above.
-What is the story behind the artwork that graces the cover of Great Bringer of Night? It seems reminiscent of the work of Zdislaw Beksinski, am I right?
Scribe Osha found disparate images that he formed into a cohesive whole, along with executive overlord B. Peele’s help. And to me, no, it only looks like the cover of our demo.
-If Coffinworm’s crushing sound took the form of what I’ll describe as say, a bloodthirsty spawn from the darkest abyss of suffering, hell-bent on human extinction, what would the atrocity look like, and what would be its beverage of choice?
Paris Hilton’s cunt, and whatever is cold and in the cooler.
-How do Coffinworm’s past and present links to other Indianapolis bands like Black Arrows of Filth and Impurity, Deadmen and The Dream is Dead contribute to the vision of the band’s sound when all is said and done?
Ultimately all and none. Coffinworm is just that.
-What plans do the band have in store for the remainder of 2010? Any final words for the masses?
Yes. I got one question man… tell me who’s next?