Monday, May 28, 2012

Interview with Travis Ryan of Cattle Decapitation by Wheeling Rampage Productions

Monolith of Inhumanity merch

For those who don’t know who you are, what is Cattle Decapitation and what made you pick that as a band name?

Travis: Cattle Decapitation is a rather bizarre and intense band from San Diego, California. Some other guy came up with the name, forgot who. It was either Gabe, Dave or this guy Scott that I quickly replaced soon after they started the band. The idea was to kind of pick up the torch that Carcass dropped lyric wise years ago. Only partially worked out that way, haha. They dropped the band in my lap as they were too busy with the Locust and I ran with it. All they had to do was show up and write songs. A few years later we had a member switch and then kicked out one of those original members when he decided he didn't want to do a band at this level anymore. Asked if we could "just be a studio band" after signing a 5 album deal with Metal Blade with the obvious knowledge that we would be touring. Alot. For a looooong time. We of course said "no".

When did you start Cattle Decapitation and how did it start?

Travis: There's technically no original members in the band. The original members have not been in the band for over a decade now. This question is way too bare bones and basic and I've been answering it for 15 years now. Sorry.

Cattle Decapitation has a super raw grindy death feel to it. Was this always the intent or did the sound grow with you guys?

Travis: Yeah that's how it started and it ended up getting a little more sparse over the years by the addition of melody and other songwriting characteristics that aren't exactly grind. We've always tried to maintain a very intense demeanor soundwise, very raw and abrasive. That's what we've always wanted to do and we've done it since the beginning.

On that note, for a band that has such a unique sound, who or what were your inspirations?

Travis: Napalm Death, Carcass, Terrorizer, Morbid Angel, etc. The old Earache bands. Some Crossed Out, Drop Dead, etc thrown in there. I was always more into gore, death metal and grind, never did I even pay attention to the hardcore, post hardcore or emocore scene at all.

Everyone loves Cattle Decapitation, also because your music means something, its not just convoluted mumbo jumbo. Who writes all the lyrics and comes up with themes for your albums?

Travis: That would be me. I come up with all of it and run it by the guys. I don't really run lyrics by em anymore, they don't seem to care, but I've grown accustomed to it over the years and know what sucks and what doesn't, what's stupid and what's not.

You guys have been around a while now, what would you say has changed the most in the music industry between the time the band started and now? For the better and the worse.

Travis: There's definitely no money to be made now. Never really was concerned with that, but at least being able to break even, pay bills, you know... NECESSITIES while being on the road? Its just getting harder and harder. Its not downloading... its the fact that every idiot out there thinks they can be in a band and are actively doing it and labels are actually paying attention, and MONEY of all things, to them. We're setting ourselves up for NOBODY to be able to do much of anything anymore because the scene is so convoluted and watered down.

What can we expect from Monolith Of Inhumanity on May 8th? Have you change have you played since Havest Floor?

Travis: Its already been released and its doing well. Its much more updated in terms of production and the songs are generally more melodic, catchier, much more brutal and very fast and clean.

There are some slam elements in the new album, I have read that you hate slam. Have you grown to like that style?

Travis: Hahaha... I hate stupid labels that people put on bands and music, especially when the shit has been around so long. Suffocation started that shit in the early 90s and all "slam" indicates is a heavy groovy part usually led into by some sort of breakdown element so I really just scoff at the fact that people have coined the term "slam" to refer to this as a "genre". Its fucking brutal death metal, can we leave it at that? Sure, we used some heavy parts. We don't call it "the slam riff" and nobody said "Hey bro, lets put some br00tal slamz here". Fuck that shit. There's more heavy parts in our new album, sure. Of course. Why not?

You have collaborated with Mike Majewski as guest vocals, how was that experience?

Travis: We did it through email. It almost didn't happen because the file he sent was weird but we made it work. He does that inhaling stuff, I can't do that. I cough everytime I try to do it, haha. He's a cool dude, we did a US tour with them as the last tour of the Harvest Floor cycle.

Its known that you have also collaborated with artist Tom Bunk, what can we expect from this?

Travis: This was possibly one of the coolest things we've ever done merch wise. We basically had our own Garbage Pail Kid cards made and we used the design for a T-shirt bundle for pre-orders for the new album. Tom Bunk is one of the original artists for the Garbage Pail Kids trading cards and also is famous for doing stuff for Mad Magazine. I'm still in awe at the fact that he worked with us. Its all due to our ex-manager being friends with him and a fan of his for years. He hooked that up.

When and who are you touring with this year? Will you be stopping in Canada.

Travis: Yes, we'll definitely be trying. We have a slew of dates for the Shockwave Fest Tour which all starts in Canada mostly and we have to bite the bullet and see if I can get in. Basically, the last time we went there, they told me to not come back until I either got a pardon for my DUI I got in 2001 (which was never really a DUI - it was reduced to a minor reckless driving conviction because I blew under the legal limit for alcohol) or waited 2 years and it will be off their system. Now, that's the Vancouver border officials that told me that to my face. I've had others tell me that's nonsense and not true so I don't know who the fuck to believe. All I know is what they told me so I'm going off that and am going to have all my paperwork on me that is all legally notorized and shows I completed everything that had to do with my conviction. There's really no reason I shouldn't be let into Canada. I haven't been in trouble for anything since and I just want to come perform. Not drunk. Not even behind the wheel as I rarely drive. And I definitely don't drink and drive. Its actually off my record here in the states, Canada has nothing to be worried about. Hopefully the fans don't either!

What do you guys listen to when your on tour?

Travis: Alot of lame prog metal bands and total power metal crap. I personally think it all sounds kinda gay but our drummer loves that shit. He does alot of driving and Josh wears headphones and listens to bluegrass. When I'm on the road I try not to listen to anything and definitely no metal. The less stress the better.

Any last comments?

Travis: Hopefully see you soon! Cross your fingers for us...