Sunday, October 16, 2011

HOT GRAVES interview Scumfeast Metal 666 exclusive

Florida's HOT GRAVES has become one of SFM666's favorite bands in 2011. After reviewing three of their releases (two EPs and their latest full length) it was a simple decision to do an interview to go behind the scenes. Also finally seeing them perform at a local club with MIDNIGHT helped as well.

SFM666: Let's get the obligatory band info question out of the way first. How did HOT GRAVES come about?

Myk: It is known far and wide, but I was in THEE KVLT OV OUROBOROS and also BY THE HORNS, with Matt in the latter, and I had an idea for a caveman thrash ensemble engaged in Punk/Metal alchemy that we could easily get involved with on the side ov our other projects which would be simple and nonchalant and just..... fun. Then, we enlisted Hutch from Secrets She Kept to play bass, which wasn't much ov a stretch given his punk rock roots.

Matt: Once we had a few songs, we were trying to find a second guitar player, and Dustin from BY THE HORNS heard the demos and expressed interest in coming in. We would've asked him before, but we thought he was too busy. The rest is your basic get-some-songs-play-some-shows scenario.

Hutch: Then it just took over.

SFM666: Your band name comes from a MIDNIGHT song which is about necrophilia. So at this time would you like to admit that you're into necrophilia? Just for the record a 'dead fuck' doesn't count as necrophilia.

Myk: We're certainly into MIDNIGHT...

Matt: All I can say is, it's all rock and roll to me.

SFM666: I've been watching the tour blogumentaries on your Youtube channel. Will you be doing one for this tour?

Matt: I'll be taking a lot of footage, and the plan is to make a video, but we'll see what happens. I don't set anything up in advance, so I have to let it come to me.

Hutch: Matt has footage from NOLA, our show with WATAIN, all our recent exploits... And we haven't even seen it. Notice how the last Blogumentary of the Sweat Management tour ends in "Episode 3 coming soon.....".

SFM666: I see from watching your tour blogumentaries that you like dining at Waffle House. Just for the record I like Waffle House as well especially late at night as long as there are no local college kids there making a nuisence, pissing off the waitresses and low balling on the tips. What's your favorite thing on their delicious menu or what would be your usual order? How do you take your hashbrowns? Got any weird or funny experiences there? (hey late night & with alcohol involved, I've seen some funny things at the one here in Raleigh.)

Myk: We've eaten at a WH in Raliegh, actually, but we were probably the funniest thing there. These guys who were traveling with us who were broke, they gave them free waffles and coffee, straight up just being charitable. I respect that. I always get the slam with the hash browns covered.

Matt: Where I come from in the Midwest, we don't have grits and stuff, so I get my hash browns with cheese. I do like the chocolate chip waffle.

Hutch: I get my hash browns fully charged, and it's nice to know there's an ice cold coca cola waiting for me at Waffle House.

SFM666: Would you recommend the Bert's Chili to other bands who plan to tour in a crowded van?

All: NO.

SFM666: One of the videos you have on your Youtube channel is for the song "Madman" by PENTAGRAM from your Necros Mixos Sacrificio covers EP. You use film footage from the 1964 Hammer Horror classic The Masque Of The Red Death. Are you fans of old horror movies?

Matt: I got into a Vincent Price kick one weekend, and I while I was watching The Masque of the Red Death I kept hearing our Pentagram cover to the scenes. So I as soon as it was done, I downloaded the movie and cut it up into that video. I liked House on Haunted Hill as well.

Hutch: Not only am I a big fan of many genres of horror movies and post-apocalyptic films, but I also read horror fiction and Sci-Fi / Fantasy. Basically, I just like Wizards, Monsters, and murder.

SFM666: Speaking of the Necros Mixos Sacrificio EP, was there a vetting process on what songs you wanted to cover?

Myk: We kinda towed the line between doing songs we wanted to reinterpret, and songs that already sound like what we're going for. Half ov them, we had already played live, and just wanted to document for ourselves, really. It usually starts with an idea that I have for a song to cover, and then we see if we agree.

Matt: Like most bands, we've been doing covers for fun since we started playing, and even recorded covers on our first two demos. We even included a cover on our first 7" on Greyhaze records.

SFM666: You did "White Faces" on there so who's the ROKY ERICKSON fan in the band?

Hutchy: We all are. We all like many things that aren't metal or punk.

Myk: Roky and The Devil's Blood are something we've listened to pretty consistently as a band whilst on the road together. We played with WATAIN as mentioned before, and their guitar player was the dude from The Devil's Blood, and we didn't figure it out until the day after. Which was probably good, because we would've fanned-out on him HARD.

SFM666: Is Satanik Records your label?

Myk: Yes.

SFM666: So how did Fenriz from DARKTHRONE learn about you in order for you to appear in one of his Band of the Week blog postings?

Myk: From correspondence with Kat Shevil, I believe. She bothered him about us, he took interest and got in contact with us, and we sent him the unmastered, out-ov-order version ov KIWP and he liked it enough to make us BOTW ASAP, FOAD.

SFM666: When I reviewed your new full length Knights in White Phosphorus I called it 80's Hardcore with blackened vocals and used some of my favorite bands from back in the day (POISON IDEA, the DAYGLO ABORTIONS and BATTALION OF SAINTS) as references. I've seen other reviews were you've been called blackened thrash to d-beat. Do you agree with all of those descriptions or do you have one of your own?

Matt: We agree, and we kinda coin ourselves D-Beat Deathrash, but it's all a mash-up of these elements that make what we do.

Hutch: We're gonna print HELLBEAT on all our merch and see if it sticks. I'm also thinking" fuschcia-loving genre whores" should end up on some shirts as well.

SFM666: As far as your new full length Knights in White Phosphorus, some of those songs have appeared on a few of your early releases. Was this just to get all of your best or favorite material all on one release?

Myk: Our early releases were just demos, aside from the D-Time 7", but even re-recording Desecration Time was necessary to us to make this album what we envisioned it to be as a crystalization ov our sound at that time. Some songs had evolved somewhat, some just had to be there for our own continuity.

SFM666: I see that James Murphy has been getting around lately as far as working with new bands on their releases. How did it come about with HOT GRAVES getting him to do the mastering for your new full length Knights in White Phosphorus?

Hutchy: James Murphy has been doing a lot lately. He did my old band Secrets She Kept newest album as well last year. I had nothing to do with getting Murphy for that album though. It is, however, quite awesome to have him work on two of my releases so far. He does great work.

Myk: I actually talked to Andrew from The Atlas Moth when they were on that big tour with St. Vitus and Helmet, and at the time I was in a twist about getting it mastered, so he suggested James. Then I pursued it, and now it is so.

SFM666: What about Northern Horde Records, how did you get involved with a Canadian label?

Myk: They approached us and wanted to put out a full length, and I was in contact with a member ov Skagos (who they put out as well) who had great things to say about them. They have been awesome so far, and they put out plenty ov other great bands, so it's been a pleasure.

SFM666: Since your music is Punk/Metal combined do you see that type of cross section of fans in your audiences?

Myk: Absolutely.

Matt: We get our share of crusty punks, but otherwise it's mostly a metal crowd. We are definitely a metal band with punk influences, and not the other way around at all. That's just me maybe.

Hutchy: Fuck you Matt, we're a D-Beat band with metal influences.

SFM666: Have you ever received a backlash from either group of people ie: punks who don't like metal/metal fans who don't like punk? What about the opposite effect, people walking up after a show thanking you for the performance as well as turning them onto something they haven't heard much of?

Myk: We've definitely had crusty types who don't cotton as much to the more metallic elements ov our songs, they'd rather we just blast full-on d-beat charge outs perhaps. The same people walk up and ask me "Who is this?" when we play The Accused tape before we go on, so who knows?

Hutchy: I'm continually confused by the desire to keep punk and metal so far apart. I love when I listen to a band and I can't tell whether it should be tagged "punk" or "metal" in my iPod. Hell, Saint Vitus covered Black Flag in the 80's. Punk and metal have been copulating forever, it's awesome, and I don't care if you don't get it. To answer your question though, no I can't recall either of those scenarios playing out.

SFM666: Since making a living off of one's music/art is rare I'm sure you guys actually have day jobs. Would you care to share what exciting occupations you have when you're not performing?

Myk: Pizza Pimp. DJ.

Hutchy: Service industry. I've been working in restaurants for about 13 years. I have two kitchen jobs, one in a real restaurant and the other at bar where I'm all alone in a one man kitchen. I get a lot of Hot Graves business done in the one man kitchen.

SFM666: For anyone out there who's in a band and plans to do weekend or short regional touring in a van, what tips/advice would you give them?

Matt: The weekend warrior tours are great if everybody in the band still has day jobs because you can travel pretty far and not have to take more than a few days off work. No matter how kick-ass your band is, you still need time for word to spread...

Myk: Just keep doing them, I'd say. Build any momentum you can.

SFM666: So this tour starts off on October 7th with a CD release show in your hometown, Gainesville, FL and from there you're working your way up the east coast starting on October 12th (I'll include the tour dates in the post) and then coming back with some gigs in Asheville, NC and Atlanta, GA. So will this be your longest tour so far?

Myk: I think last year's Sweat Management Tour was our longest, and even that was only a week and a half. We're playing with MIDNIGHT this go around, so we are fuckin' amped even more than usual.

SFM666: Since you've been putting out releases on a fairly quick pace (I've reviewed three in 2011) what's next on the release front from HOT GRAVES? I read that you're working on a all covers full length, is that true?

Matt: No more covers for a while. We have been kicking around the idea of releasing a compilation of all the covers we have recorded (and a few new ones probably) along with a DVD of a bunch of videos from our Youtube channel as well as "preciously unreleased footage."

Myk: The all covers thing became Necros Mixos Sacrificio, although we'll probably do another volume ov that sooner than later. We have ideas for more covers, but really we're about finished up writing our new album (and then some) and getting into the demo phase for that. We did begin demoing, but we had problems with our recording equipment. So now we'll probably do that after we return from this tour, and then we'll be heading out in November to play both the Forward To The Apocalypse Fest (which includes a bonus all-ages matinee mini-fest called Rasing Hell Fest that we are also playing) in Savannah, GA and also the Goregrowler's Ball in San Antonio, TX, which is an amazing 3 day event that we are super stoked about. So the rest ov our year will be quite busy, and I personally am quite pleased. We also have tracks in the can for a split we're planning with the awesome Aussie riff pimps WHITEHORSE, so hopefully that will happen sooner than later as well.

For more info on HOT GRAVES check out any of their sites

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