środa, 15 lipca 2015

Human Cull interview by Zsiga Zoltán/ Blast fanzine

Recently I received a copy of Blast fanzine. Unfortunately zine is in Hungarian but I saw several promising interviews with Human Cull, Internal Rot etc. I had the pleasure to meet editor of BlastZine Zsiga Zoltán at the Obscene Extreme Festival this year and as soon as I mentioned to him that I'm going to start my own blog he agreed to forward English version of the interview with UK's Human Cull.

Zsiga Zoltán: I have seen Human Cull at last year’s Obscene Extreme festival (Czech republic) and despite the late night schedule, I was very impressed, and the day after I immediately bought your split 7” with Oblivionized (and later your first full-length on CD). Please tell me, how do you remember that show, and what kind of impressions do you have from the whole festival? Was it hard to stay awake for so late? How long were you stay at the festival and how many gigs have you seen? Which bands were the best from the festival?
Sam: OEF in general was awesome, it was my first time there and I had a great time. Having the opportunity to play it was incredible and definitely one of the things to tick off the list of things we'd always dreamt about when we started the band. The late night slot was interesting to stay the least, I think a combination of excitement, nerves and beer helped to keep us awake. Although saying that I did have a bit of a nap beforehand, then after necking a beer to wake me up it was on to the stage. Unfortunately we missed the first day and quite a few of the bands we wanted to see due to travelling arrangements. Really enjoyed Vallenfyre, Doom, Brutal Truth, Wehrmacht playing Cryptic Slaughter (twice) and Immolation to name a few.

Z.Z.: Let's start with: what appeals to you in grindcore? How did you first get into contact with this type of music? What bands influenced you earlier on? Do you remember what bands or records originally made you want to pick up a guitar / drums / bass guitar or made you want to sing?
Sam: I personally first got into grindcore via the Converge/Agoraphobic Nosebleed split I bought on a whim when I was 15 or 16, not really even knowing what a split was. That later brought me on to Pig Destroyer, closely followed by Nasum, Napalm Death, Terrorizer etc. It was the immediacy and intensity of it all that got me hooked, so much more so than all the other types of dull metal my friends liked at the time. Ever since then I wanted to play in a grindcore band but never found anyone who was interested until I joined Gran Toucher as a guitar player a few years later.

What made you want to start your own band & what do you set out to do with Human Cull? Can you summarize the band’s history so far (including Gran Toucher era) and introduce the other members?
Edd and I were asked to join Gran Toucher by our old bassist Morrish, there wasn't much going on as far as extreme music in our city. I played guitar and Edd was on vocals. It was initially more of a goregrind band by concept. After the first practise Edd and I discussed what kinda stuff we liked and what we thought we could do, and it was then that we decided we should play proper old-school grindcore. The original drummer left shortly after this and it was then we found Jon, who played on the ''Human Cull'' EP we recorded with that band. He then sadly had to leave us, so Edd moved to guitar and I basically taught myself to play drums. It was then we changed out name to Human Cull. Morrish since left and was replaced by Luke on bass duties and that's where the band stands now.

Z.Z.: What is the difference in Human Cull’s style of grindcore, compared to Gran Toucher? How can you describe the band’s music and sound? Which bands have influenced Human Cull’s style? Does everyone in the band more or less have the same musical tastes or have different influences?
Sam: Human Cull is definitely a much more focused sound than Gran Toucher was, Edd and I, and more recently Luke, have basically been able to make the kind of music we always wanted to. Influences range massively from the obvious to the obscure and everything in between. We all have a fairly broad music taste between the 3 of us, and it's more or less mutual. This makes pulling our influences together into our own mixture effortless and helps us really make it our own I think.

Z.Z.: Your lyrics, the band name and many of your song titles (Stillborn Nation, Point of No Return etc.) suggest to me a strong anti-human, gloomy and depressive attitude. Am I right? Can you explain a bit detailed your lyrical topics?
Sam: It's not so much an anti-human attitude as a narrative on the state of human society throughout history and in the present. A comment on how people subject each other to some pretty miserable shit. I guess it's a way for us to vent our frustrations on how people treat each other or how they have done throughout the past. We take these themes and ideas and combine them with themes from films or books or whatever else we find interesting or effective.
Z.Z.: How long did you wrote the songs for Stillborn Nation and how is your song writing process like? Are you pleased with that material? What was the reaction among critics and fans over the world?
Sam: We were very happy with it, we had the intention of making a crusty grindcore album that we ourselves would enjoy and to that end we succeeded. It been received pretty well too which makes us even more chuffed. The song writing process was fairly straightforward, we just came to practise and hashed stuff out 'til we had an bunch of songs we were happy with. Then kept playing them and tweaking them over a few months and getting as solid as we could before we hit the studio for a few days and layed it all down.

Z.Z.: About Stillborn Nation’s cover art: it looks amazing but for me not really clear how it is connected to the lyrics, can you tell it to me? Who’s the artist and who’s idea was that cover concept?
Sam: The cover was draw by Stiv from Visions of War. We gave him the album title and a few lyrics and he came back with what we ended up using straight of the back of that. I think it really captures the ideas of oppression of people through fear and other negative things people use to try and control the populace.

Z.Z.: Stillborn Nation were released on both CD, Lp and cassette. Which format do you prefer and why? Perhaps you are also collectors? Is it important to you to own your favourite records on physical format also?
Sam: I think each format has it's place, but there's definitely more of a sense of occasion with vinyl, the ritual of putting it on the record player and having to actually pay attention to it, because it wont just skip to the next album or whatever by itself. We all have fairly large music collections in all formats ourselves and enjoy having physical formats. It's just the whole package, the artwork, lyrics, notes as well as the music that make it more of a complete experience.

Z.Z.: The last track on the album is a slower one, almost like doom metal. Where is this influence from?
Sam: We've always fiddled about with slower songs right from the start with this band, our split with Canadian grinders Homolka was once 13 minute long (mostly) slow song. We like slow as well as fast so sometimes it's nice to just play slow for a little while, play with different textures and atmosphere within our music.

Z.Z.: You have a split material with Oblivionized, how did this came to be? How do you decide on which bands to do a split with? Only friends you're in touch with?
Sam: We played a few gigs with Oblivionized in the early days of Human Cull and got to be good friends with them through that. We did the split, did a few tours with them and generally had a great time with it all. We have planned for other splits in the future but it's all logistics really. We ended up writing 2 albums and a short EP since then, just because we enjoy writing music essentially, so I'm sure there will be more splits coming up in the very near future.

Z.Z.: The cover of „This septic Isle” was made by Luis Sendon from Nashgul. How did you get in contact with him? What do you think about his work as illustrator, and the music of Nashgul? Do you like other Spanish grind bands?
Sam: We just asked him if he was interested and he said yes, basically. It was all very straight forward. We were obviously aware of him through all his work he's done for OEF and other bands. I think his work is great. I'm not personally aware of enough Spanish grindcore, but what I do know of, bands like Nashgul and Looking for an Answer, are really cool.

Z.Z.: Oblivionized plays some kind of a technical version of grindcore. What do you think about grindcore bands who are playing technical themes, for example Evisorax from UK, or Gridlink, Noisear, etc.? I like them, but is technical playing fits into the grindcore style, or is it a blameworth thing?
Sam: Technical stuff can definitely work in grindcore, it's all about the feeling that it's played with. It when it starts to get a bit stale and showy I get turned off. Grindcore is a mongrel genre anyway and always has been so why not mix it up a bit with some technicality, just keep it fast and pissed off.

Z.Z.: What are some of the bands you'd really wish to do splits with in the future?
Sam: There are so many just in the UK before we even start with overseas so I'm not going to name drop anyone. It's just a case of catching us when we have material ready to put forward or record specifically, which is the real headache. Unfortunately it's never as easy as just writing it and recording it, but the end result has always been worth it.

Z.Z.: Can you tell some words about your other materials? Do you have a favourite recording/release of your own among the stuff you put out so far? Are you satisfied with all of your releases?
Sam: No complaints about any of them so far really. There's bits and pieces on previous recordings that I think I could have done better but I think all the songs are solid enough. Being self critical is important to keep us on our toes, especially when it comes to the performance of it. My favourite release is a tough one as they're all slightly different, so far though Stillborn Nation remains my favourite as a whole; songs, artwork, production.

Z.Z.: Do you have any other musical or non-musical projects besides Human Cull? Side projects, other bands, distro, record label, fanzine / webzine and so on…?
Sam: Edd and I play in a hardcore influenced death metal band (we're taking back the term Deathcore...) called Iron Eagle, and Luke plays bass in his weirdy grindcore band Conqueror Worm. I also have a drone/noise project under the name The Vacuum Catastrophe that I often neglect to do anything with. Edd also runs Flesh Ripping Sonic Distro and put on gigs under The Bloated Corpse of Punk in the south-west UK when he can.

Z.Z.: How is the UK scene today? Are there any bands we have to check immediately? Are there good fanzines, webzines, distros (I ordered many times from Grindfather’s distro), clubs you recommend?
Sam: The UK scene is cool and we've played with a lot of great bands all over the country over the past few years. Unfortunately we have to travel anywhere to experience any of it as there really isn't much of a grindcore scene in the south-west. Occasionally some pretty cool gigs happen though. A few bands to check if you haven't already include Atomck, Razor Eater, Fetus Christ, Famine, Godsick and The Day Man Lost.

Z.Z.: How often can you play live at home and how many people visit the shows in the UK? Did you have tours outside your country in the past, or is it planned in the near future?
Sam: We like to play as often as we can, and as often as other things like work etc. will allow. Shows are usually fairly well attended, which is awesome. We did a few dates in Europe last year with Oblivionized, and plan on going back there in the summer for a weekend of gigs with Razoreater. We're also heading to Ireland for the first time in April with Bristol crust band This Ends Here.

Z.Z.: There are many legendary British bands, Napalm Death, Carcass, Extreme Noise Terror, Doom, Deviated Instinct, and so on. Do you still follow their works and new albums? Do you know personally some of these musicians? Do they still visit small concerts and supporting the scene?
Sam: We still follow them, see them live and listen to their albums, old and new, even if it's just to check up on how they sound compared to the old days... Sometimes it's good, sometimes not, but we still love them for their previous works if the case is the latter. We've met a few of them and know them through gigs we've played with them in the past.

Z.Z.: Is there any musical styles outside of grindcore you're into as well? Is there a different genre of music you would have liked to try out (maybe in a new band or project)?
Sam: There's loads outside of grindcore we like, from death metal to ambient electronics to classical and weird arty stuff that doesn't fall into any particular genre. I think of new ideas for projects or bands on an almost daily basis but don't see myself having the time, and in some cases the talent to be able to peruse them. One day maybe...

Z.Z.: What's your current playlist? And can you give me your top 10 releases? Demos, splits, full length, whatever combined...
Sam: I can't get enough of the new album from The Kill. Those guys know how to fucking blast. I also been on a pretty heavy early 90s death metal binge recently. As well as listening to a lot of Fear Factory too. Tough choice on a top 10. Off the top of my head; 10 of my favourite grindcore works (but not necessarily my definitive top 10 of all time), in no particular order:
Insect Warfare's side from their split with Agoraphobic Nosebleed
The first Napalm Death Peel Session
Nasum's side from their split with Warhate
Pig Destroyer – Prowler in the Yard
Assuck – Misery Index
Kill the Client's side from their split with Feastem
Discordance Axis - The Inalienable Dreamless
324 - Customized Circle
The Afternoon Gentleman – Pissed Again EP
Repulsion – Horrified
Ask me again tomorrow and it'll be a completely different list.

Z.Z.: What are your plans for the future, is there any upcoming material in progress? Any last words?
Sam: We're part way through recording another album! We went to The Overlook in Sweden to record with William Blackmon of Gadget and just need to record vocals. This will hopefully be released later this year but you can never tell with these things. We're hitting up Ireland next month and back to Europe for a short tour in the summer, plus a whole host of other UK gigs throughout the year I'm sure. We like to keep busy.

Human Cull contact: bloatedcorpseofpunk@hotmail.com

Blast Zine cover art:
Blast Zine contact: n.zsiga.zoltan@gmail.com

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