Raymond Westland of Ghost Cult magazine recently conducted an interview with bassist/vocalist Jeff Walker of reactivated British extreme metal pioneers CARCASS. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Ghost Cult: Can you talk us through the point CARCASS reformed to the moment you actually started to work on the new album?
Walker: We got together in 2007 when Bill [Steer; guitar] finally agreed on doing a couple of gigs. We didn't play any gigs that year, because I walked away from the whole thing, due to certain business arrangements I wasn't happy about. In 2008, the whole reunion thing came about. It was never meant as a long-term thing. Then 2009 came about and we got more and better offers coming in. Same thing in 2010, including a couple of events and venues we hadn't played before. Last gig we did as CARCASS was in August 2010 with Michael Amott and Daniel Erlandsson of ARCH ENEMY. That was the closure on the whole reunion thing, because Michael made it explicitly clear he'd be too busy with his own bands to even consider doing anything in the future with CARCASS. At that point, we hadn't discussed doing anything beyond the whole reunion thing, so that was quite a relief. At some point, Bill contacted me about whether I'd fancy doing anything with Dan Wilding, who was a member of ABORTED when they toured the U.S. Bill has a thing with drummers and he wanted to do something musically with Dan. As for me, I was really prepared and willing to do more music with CARCASS back in 2009. When you're in a band with Bill Steer, Michael Amott and Daniel Erlandsson, it would be wasting a great opportunity not to. Daniel would have made himself available if we would continue doing music with CARCASS, but when push came to shove, he had to make a decision and he decided to stay with ARCH ENEMY. It wasn't really a matter of choosing for him. If he stuck around for longer, a CARCASS album would have been around sooner perhaps.
Ghost Cult: It's quite surprising that Bill Steer was interested in making a new album. Over the years he's been pretty vocal about his lack of interest of playing anything metal-related.
Walker: That's a falsehood created by the media. In fact, Bill would be quite angry with you if you told him that. He never said anything like that. Those are Chinese whispers, as we call like to call them. He's probably the most metal person I know. The reality is that he got disillusioned with metal back in the Nineties. He still loves the stuff he was into back when he was younger; same as me. I'm not particularly interested in what happened with metal in the late Nineties and early 2000s. That doesn't mean I disrespect my friends' bands or anything. There are some bands that I find interesting, but most of them I couldn't be arsed about. It's a classic case of "seen it, done it, printed it on a t-shirt." There are a lot of people out there who think they have a handle on things as far as CARCASS goes. When I'm stupid enough to spend time on Internet forums and check out what people's opinions are, I can only conclude they're delusional. They don't know us as individuals. They think they know why we have done certain things on said album and what our motives are. I wouldn't profess on what James Hetfield [METALLICA] does, for example, so I wouldn't comment. It's quite stupid, you know.
Ghost Cult: You guys write real songs, instead of a pile of guitar riffs. Was this the whole idea from the get-go?
Walker: That's how we end up, honestly. When you listen to "Symphonies Of Sickness", some of those songs are just a collection of riffs. I really enjoy that mindset. "Necrotism" is a progressive album, in a way. Not in the way that people travel back to the Seventies and relive their PINK FLOYD fantasies. True progressive rock is all about trying new ideas, isn't it? We're not adversed to having strange arrangements. For example, "The Master Butcher's Apron" doesn't have a traditional song structure. It still has hooks and has something you could consider a chorus. When I was younger, I tried to avoid clichés as a lyricist, and there were never choruses as such. There were certainly choruses in the musical sense, but we tried to avoid doing the obvious. We're not against it and we understand that such things in music exist. We write riffs and we write songs, and for some reason, they work the way they do. We don't sit down and discuss how a song is going to be from start to finish. We don't apply the traditional STOCK AITKEN WATERMAN school of songwriting like some boring death metal bands try to do nowadays. It all comes very naturally, and we don't overthink things too much. The songs on the new album all grew organically. What is interesting is what Bill considers to be the crux of a song is totally the opposite of what I think. That's what keeps CARCASS interesting. We're a band that actually writes songs together and not like one person who writes a song in his bedroom, puts it into Pro Tools and goes on with the next one and tells the rest of the band what to play, like so many bands tend to do nowadays.
Read the entire interview at Ghost Cult magazine.