Cannibal Corpse Interview
Cannibal Corpse is an American death metal band from Buffalo, New York, now based in Tampa, Florida. Formed in December 1988, the band has released fourteen studio albums, two box sets, four video albums, and two live albums. The band has had little radio or television exposure throughout its career, although a cult following began to build after the release of the 1991 album Butchered at Birth and 1992 album Tomb of the Mutilated. As of 2015, they achieved worldwide sales of two million units for combined sales of all their albums, making them the top-selling death metal band of all time.
Grim Magazine: Hi Alex, I’d like to start out by asking you what is the concept behind “KILL”?
Alex: It’s really the same thing we’re always trying to go for: straight ahead violent death metal. This time, the songs seemed a bit more raw and savage as compared to the last couple of albums, so we thought a blunt title like “Kill” fit very well. There isn’t really a unique concept though, it’s just another attempt by us to make the most brutal death metal possible.
Grim Magazine: How does this new CD compare to previous ones?
Alex: I think it sounds a bit rawer, as I said above. It also features a lot of different time signature ideas, which is something we hadn’t done much of in the past. Overall, I think it’s a fairly technical album, but the technicality didn’t detract from the rage we were trying to capture with our music.
Grim Magazine: Do you think you that you approached this project differently than your other albums?
Alex: Well, for my part, I used a tab program to help me keep my ideas organized. Normally, I’d write all of that stuff out by hand, so having a program to do it really saved me a lot of time, and actually helped me to be able to make things even more complex. Also, we were able to do very good demos using my Protools Mobox, and that helped us work out a lot of bugs before we went into the studio.
Grim Magazine: How do you decide which producer/engineer/studio to use and why these particulars?
Alex: We decided to work with Erik Rutan because he’s a great friend of ours, and he also had been making some great records, like the most recent album by INTO THE MOAT. Erik has a lot of experience as a death metal musician as well as another factor that went into our decision to work with him. And of course, the location was very convenient, as it was within an hour and a half drive of any of our houses.
Grim Magazine: Can you talk about the specific tracks and what the thought process was in creating them? Do you favor any tracks?
Alex: Once again, I can only answer for my part of the process. For me, each song has a different character. The short fast ones like “Maniacal” and “The Time to Kill is Now” are songs that came together fairly quickly, where songs like “The Discipline of Revenge” or “Murder Worship” took a bit longer, as they are more complex and involved. Each song was treated as an individual piece, and although all are aggressive, we tried very hard to make them have things about them that would differentiate them from one another.
Grim Magazine: Do you ever get any negative reactions to what you sing about?
Alex: Uh, yes! LOL
Grim Magazine: Music has changed a lot since you began, and I’m sure your influences have changed as well. What drives you to continue playing and what are your current influences in music and in life in general?
Alex: We are driven to constantly improve as a band and as musicians, and since being perfect is impossible, we’ll always have something to strive for. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of newer death metal releases, like AEON’s “Bleeding the False” and SPAWN OF POSSESSION’s “Noctambulant”, but I really try not to take any influence from other death metal bands when I’m writing. In my life, I guess there are plenty of frustrating things in my personal life that help to generate the energy needed to write a brutal death metal song. That never seems to change for me!
Grim Magazine: Do you collect different music when you travel abroad?
Alex: Yes, we like to listen to all kinds of stuff, and we all collect CDs from the various bands we meet while touring. You can learn about some really cool music that way.
Grim Magazine: What inspires you and your writing of the lyrics and music?
Alex: The lyrics are inspired by a combination of violent movies and things we learn about while watching the news, as well as our own imaginations. The music is a little different from song to song. The short fast songs are usually designed to recreate the feeling of “seeing red”, you know, how it feels to completely lose your temper. The slower, darker songs are meant to conjure feelings like guilt, misery, and total despair. As long as the feeling is dark or aggressive, it usually fits our band.
Grim Magazine: How did your band break from a local act to a national act? How did your band get signed?
Alex: Chris Barnes, our old singer, had some connections at a record store that he had worked at, and those folks knew some people at Metal Blade. Metal Blade liked our demo, and the rest is history, as they say.
Grim Magazine: What has been your most memorable moment on stage?
Alex: There are too many to name. I guess playing the Wacken festivals and seeing the great response from tens of thousands of people was quite memorable.
Grim Magazine: What is your favorite piece of gear?
Alex: My Spector and Modulus basses. I also love my Ampeg amps, and recently I bought a Bass POD, that thing is killer!
Grim Magazine: What surprises you most about your success with Cannibal Corpse?
Alex: Really, all of it is a surprise. Everybody around me always made me feel like it would be impossible to make a living playing music that I loved, so when it actually happened, it was hard to believe. It’s still hard to believe, to this very day. We are very thankful to our fans for making our success possible.
Grim Magazine: We know that singing and playing is your life, what other passions or spare time interests do you have?
Alex: I like to read and exercise. I also spend time with my wife and our dogs.
Grim Magazine: What do you feel has been your greatest accomplishment away from Cannibal Corpse?
Alex: Wow, I don’t know. I haven’t done much else! Maybe, once it comes out, my work with BLOTTED SCIENCE will be something I’ll be very proud of.
Grim Magazine: What were you like in high school or college? Any degrees?
Alex: I finished high school, but I only did two years of college before the band started to take off, at which time I quit to pursue music full time. I was a decent student while I was in school…
Grim Magazine: If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?
Alex: Something I enjoy much less, that’s for sure!
Grim Magazine: What do you think of MySpace as a promotional tool for music today?
Alex: I think it’s great. It’s a free way to advertise your music and to learn about tons of other new bands.
Grim Magazine: What are your plans for touring? Any television appearances?
Alex: We will be touring the USA and Europe throughout 2006 and 2007 in support of Kill. We are in the movie “Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey”, which has been played on American TV a few times.
Grim Magazine: Tell us about your experiences touring in Australia this past month?
Alex: We had a great time, and we met some great people. The only thing we’ll do differently next time is to schedule a couple of days off, because dealing with flights every morning and shows every night for 8 days straight began to wear us down a little. But overall, the tour was one of our favorites, and we can’t wait to return.
Grim Magazine: Any last comments to the fans and readers?
Alex: We want to thank all of our fans for the great support! We hope to see all of you on tour sooner or later. Thank you!
Cannibal Corpse’s Discography:
(1990) Cannibal Corpse – Eaten Back to Life
(1991) Cannibal Corpse – Butchered at Birth
(1992) Cannibal Corpse – Tomb of the Mutilated
(1994) Cannibal Corpse – The Bleeding
(1996) Cannibal Corpse – Vile
(1998) Cannibal Corpse – Gallery of Suicide
(1999) Cannibal Corpse – Bloodthirst
(2002) Cannibal Corpse – Gore Obsessed
(2004) Cannibal Corpse – The Wretched Spawn
(2006) Cannibal Corpse – Kill
(2009) Cannibal Corpse – Evisceration Plague
(2012) Cannibal Corpse – Torture
(2014) Cannibal Corpse – A Skeletal Domain
(2017) Cannibal Corpse – Red Before Black
Band: Cannibal Corpse
With: Alex Webster (bassist)
Interview Date: October 31, 2006
Years Active: 1988–present
Genre: Death Metal
Website: Official Website
Label: Metal Blade
Origin: United States
Reviewed by: Grim Magazine
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