Cattle Decapitation, the masters of gore/grind/death metal are back with their latest platter of sonic mayhem, The Harvest Floor, out now on Metal Blade Records. Sea of Tranquility Publisher Pete Pardo had the chance to squeeze in an interview with lead vocalist Travis Ryan before the band began their hectic touring season in support of the CD. Read on for the full interview, as Travis talks about the new CD and what fans can expect out on the road this year.
SoT: The Harvest Floor once again sees Cattle Decapitation pushing the boundaries of extreme metal, both from a musical and lyrical perspective. How happy are you with the new CD, and does the band feel that this release is a natural progression so to speak of what you are trying to accomplish?
Travis: We're all very happy with the end result. It was great to have David (McGraw, drummer) involved with the writing. The Harvest Floor is certainly a natural progression from Karma.Bloody.Karma.
SoT: Lyrically, The Harvest Floor covers some pretty interesting, and odd topics, which is usually par for the course on a Cattle Decapitation album-can you talk a little bit about some of the songs and the ideas/stories behind them?
Travis: The lyrics vary from song to song. "Into the Public Bath" is probably the goriest song on the record. It has a lot of word play in it. Lots of filth and disgust involved. A total germiphobe type song.
"We are horrible people" covers a wide range of idicoracy. Granted, the origin of the song title is cominical, the nature of the songs just applies to sooooo many fucking moronic human beings. Just wait until the new tee shirt design for this song is released! It's perfect.
SoT: The instrumentation and vocal lines seem to be getting even more complex these days, yet despite all the chaos there lies some melody hidden underneath. How hard is it to put together manic, technical, and brutal songs, yet carve them in such a way that they will also be memorable for the listener?
Travis: Vocals are a weird thing. There are not any effects on them or anything, so everything you hear is stuff I can and do in a live setting. The vocals lines and approach and delivery just take shape on their own. There's more of a "haunting" type style on "Regret and the Grave", and obviously on "Tooth Enamel and Concrete" it's more low end. It's fitting for the songs.
SoT: Grind, death metal, progressive metal...how do you see Cattle Decapitation?
Travis: Extreme Music.
SoT: Compared to past releases, how has reaction been from the fans and media towards The Harvest Floor?
Travis: The media has been overly responsive to this album, more specifically the European media. It's refreshing that some bigger magazines and publications are on board. I do wish it started happening with Karma.Bloody.Karma, that way the Metal Blade offices over there would have some better leverage for The Harvest Floor, however we will take what is going on now, and run with it.
SoT: "The Ripe Beneath the Rind" and "The Product Alive" are two of my favorite pieces on the CD-which songs are near and dear to the band, and why, and what tunes do you anticipate will join the live set list?
Travis: Pretty much all of them. Some nights you might even hear the title track. When we were in Atlanta, Jarboe was there, and there was a slim possibility of her performing with us. However, it didn't happen, but we did make her a Cattle fan by the end of the set.
SoT: Speaking of set lists, what are the upcoming tour plans for the US and abroad?
Travis: The States will get about 11 weeks of touring. We have some headlining dates that take us into Canada, then we go straight into a tour with Gwar, then that leads into the Blackened Fest w/ Mayhem, Marduk & Cephalic Carnage. After that, we're taking some time off. Unless some Euro festival promoters want to fly us out for some festivals. We will come out there for sure. Hopefully we will be in Europe in the 2nd
half of 09. If not, then first part of 2010, when the airline tickets are cheap.
SoT: Does the band have any plans yet for some of the European summer festivals?
Travis: Fuck yes we do! We're not doing any! hahaha. When the festival lineups were being put together, we didn't have the record out, hence no media coverage. So hopefully Avacado Booking will have an easier time getting us some festivals for next year.
SoT: What's next for Cattle Decapitation? Touring, touring, more touring, then another CD in a year?
Travis: Touring, we have 2 videos on deck, and even possibly releasing a video game......
(Click here to read our review of The Harvest Floor)