TM - Hi this is Elizabeth and Amelia; we are here with Scott Lewis from Carnifex. Thank you for having interview with us today.
SL - Thank you very much, I appreciate you having me on
TM - So how's everything been going for you?
SL - It's been up and down to be honest with you. I think having a year and a half off for a band, that was really a challenge for us, but we were but we were able to get an amazing record out of that time as good as we could. So I guess it's been kind of a mixed bag to be honest with you, some good stuff and some not so good stuff.
TM - What can fans expect from your new album Graveside Confessions?
SL - For us; we recorded our first record as a 4 piece and we're back here 15 years later doing our 8th record as a four piece, so for us really I think the theme of the album was just embracing and expressing our musical influences and just being ourselves. I would say this is one of the most real records we have put out in that were really exposing ourselves. We did the record ourselves we didn't really hire any producers or anything like that, we just recorded here in our studio. Lyrically the theme of the record is it's pretty much just saying you can't leave things unsaid. You need to express them, even if they're negative or even if they’re truths about yourself that people might not want to hear or know. For us I think it was just us trying to accomplish that, just trying to be honest and ourselves as much as we could be.
TM - What was your writing and recording process?
SL - As I mentioned; we did the record ourselves. We were here in San Diego California in the lockdown, and it was very strict, so the only option available to us instead of nothing was doing the record ourselves. Thankfully our drummer Sean, he is also the main songwriter of the band, he has been doing production for the band since 2009, so at this point he's a pretty skilled engineer himself and Nick does the mixing and mastering for us. So it's pretty much in house you know.
TM - I love San Diego it’s one of my favourite places in America!
SL – Mine too!
TM - It has a very Australian vibe to it
SL - Yeah it does, I think we have a lot of similar landscape and topography and all that. Also, the beach culture is really big here
TM - What was the inspiration behind your album cover?
SL - That was Godmachine, he has done two other album covers for us. He did "Slow Death" and “Die without hope” cover but going further back then that he's been doing designs for the band since 2007/08 somewhere in there. So, I think it's a natural fit, our whole goal on this record was to really be ourselves as much as possible. I think Godmachines artistic style blends really nicely with ours, and I think there are a lot of parallels in cover as it relates to the music. I think at first glance the cover seems fairly bleak and kind of straightforward but if you take the time to look at it very closely, there is a lot of artistic intention in it a lot of detail and I think it's similar with the record for the listener at first it may seem fairly bleak and straightforward but if you sit with the record front to back you will realise there is a lot going on.
TM - You also did a comic book called Death Dreamer, can you tell us more about that?
SL - Death Dreamer came out in 2018 and I had written that story as a television pilot initially. I really love writing, I have been writing since a young age, expressing my writing in the band is awesome because it's just a great way to express it through lyrics. However, lyric writing is a bit demeaning on how far you can take a story, how much world you can build and how many characters you can have. So, for me, I wanted to create a story that has a longer narrative, a format to work, and give me more time to develop characters, and give them an ark, and give them some humanity. I shopped it around as a television pilot for a while and couldn't get any bites, it's pretty challenging to get a green light on a television series. From there I didn't want the story to just go of the script that not many people read, I wanted it to live in any medium possible! So, I landed on the comic book as a way to Bridge the gap between no one hearing the story and it being on television. So, it was my way to independently get the story out there and step into the world of narrative fiction. A lot of the story direct from my experience as a funeral director prior to Carnifex, so it's set in a world that I'm pretty familiar with.
TM - I heard you had the song Bury Me in Blasphemy was supposed to be in the soundtrack of a reboot of the movie The Crow, so is there anything coming up that might be in movies?
SL – No, production kind of came to a holt this past year and a half. Not a whole lot of things have moved forward but really that opportunity was a fluke in itself to begin with, just because it came from a connection with a friend who was working on the film as a screenwriter honestly. Ultimately it never came into production, they wrote a script and then they cast Jason Momoa. Then they couldn't agree on a budget and that was it, it was exciting for a couple of months. We thought we might have been on a pretty badass soundtrack, but ultimately the movie never happened
TM - If you could pick any song in any movie what would you choose?
SL - I don't know, I think anytime the music is used to elevate the emotions the film is trying to capture. I think that's a good use of it, so we will probably work well in any horror or action movie, but I think that's kind of why The Crow was perfect. When we heard that they were rebooting it, and we heard some friends were working on it, it was kind of like this was the perfect scenario you know? If we are ever going to have an opportunity, this is it. Ultimately like I said, the movie never went into production like I said, but I think it would have been a great fit if it had of happened.
TM - You are touring with Black Dahlia Murder soon, what can fans expect from that?
SL - They can expect one of the best line-ups that anyone has seen in a while to be honest! I think it's pretty stacked so, where you have a tour where all the bands are bringing something to the table that's all a little bit different that's about as good as it gets for live shows. The fact that it's the first tour back and things are slowly starting to reopen here and we are getting these shows going again, I don't know, it seems like the perfect way back! It seems like the perfect way to celebrate to me.
TM - You must be excited to go back on the road.
SL - Absolutely yeah! The road is where we live. I've been a full-time touring musician since November of 2006, to not tour for last year and a half is a bit alien to me. I haven't been home for a year and a half in 15 years. It's just not real to the way my life is set up, it's been a really challenging time for all of us and the band, because we have all been touring for that long. Getting back to it has surreal but it's also much needed.
TM - Yeah definitely.
TM - You had a hiatus and then you signed to Nuclear Blast in 2013, how did this come about?
SL - We were on Victory records from 2012 or 2013, somewhere in there. It was very challenging for us, the way they deal with structure meant we had no chance to take in any revenue till this day. We never even received one single royalty payment from Victory records even though we sold over 90,000 albums for them. So that transition of getting off Victory was a kind of sink or swim moment for the band, if we had to continue under that contract I don't know if we would still be around because it's not sustainable and just doesn't allow us to be a functioning business. Getting off that deal and onto Nuclear Blast, we had a hiatus that was orchestrated by us and for our journey. They play their games we play ours, that's what we have to do to survive. Even though we were on that hiatus we really weren't, Sean and I the entire time were writing "Die Without Hope". That's why as soon as we were out of our deal with Victory and that whole ordeal, they (Nuclear Blast) expressed interest in signing us and presenting us the new offer. We had a record already ready and we went forward with Nuclear Blast and we have kept the pace ever since.
TM - You also covered 9 Inch Nails and Slayer in the past, what inspired you to pick these bands?
SL - We just like to pick bands who we love and their songs are important to us. Slayers Angel of Death is the first Slayer song that I ever heard. I was in 4th or 5th grade and it was the first time I heard Slayer, up until then I had heard Metallica and other rock bands, but I hadn't heard any real metal. I was 10 or 11 and I heard Angel of Death, and it's almost like watching an R rated movie when you are a kid. I almost felt I was going to get in trouble for listening to this song. That was the first time I ever had these feelings, do you know what I mean? So that was a huge impact on me, and 9 Inch Nails, I can honestly say that band saved my life downward spiral, kept me alive. So, for us going back to that song and learning or the lyrics and doing the Korn cover, or Slipknot Cover its our way of letting people know who we are. We’re having fun with it and then when we play those songs live it's kind of a great time, because it's a chance for us to be fans because it's not our song we just have a great time playing it. It's a good chunk of the fans favourite to because it's probably from a song that the fans love but they get to hear it in our style. It's kind of our way to express and embrace our influences and also have a good time.
TM - If you could have any band play one of your songs, what band would it be, what song, and in your style or their style?
SL - I would say Slipknot doing our titled track but adding all there extra stuff, the samples and the extra percussion, I would go with that because it would be impossible for Slipknot to do a carnifex song. Obviously it would never happen, but if I had to pick one I would go with that.
TM - What's your favourite memory watching someone else perform live? Can you tell us a story?
SL - Yeah here's my favourite memory; it's October of 2000 I'm 16 years old, I drive up to the palace in Hollywood with my (at the time) girlfriend. We were both metalheads and the lineup was Cannibal Corpse, Dimmu Borgir and Lamb of God were opening. They were the one off, you know this was 2000, and I just remember it's kind of like what I was talking about earlier The Black Dahlia Murder, every band on the bill is a little different but every band on the show was awesome. They all brought such an intense real performance, and this was still when Randy was still doing drugs and drinking, he's on stage super fucked up with a cigarette and a beer in one hand and a mic in the other and he's just losing his mind! That was the first time I've seen Lamb of God and they hadn't blown up yet, it's pretty amazing and Chilean is a legendary death metal band that I had never seen before from south America. I have been listening to them a lot and to hear them live was just awesome to me, this was way back when, so access to international bands wasn't as easy as it is now. You could buy shirts at a show, but you couldn't really buy shirts from an international band back in 2000, and to see Dimmu Borgir and Cannibal Corpse, a black metal band and a death metal band back-to-back on the same bill. I think that's why I ended up in carnifex, I always loved it when two different genres came together. So Dimmu, super big Superman logic and a lot of atmosphere to have Vortex singing for him back then, very different from Cannibal, but absolutely amazing! When Hannibal was on it was like a freight train! I was in the pit, I was young, I was 16, and I was a skinny kid. I just remember hanging on for dear life when Cannibal was playing! I think it really left an impression on me, the power of a live performance, the individuals on stage really were larger than life, because they were more than the sum of their parts. All the members putting in 110% made it feel new and different as far as far as what the band was putting out, and that live performance was one that drove me to perform myself.
TM – Awesome! My favourite video from Lamb of God is Redneck.
SL - What year did that come out? ‘04 right?
TM - Not sure, but its hilarious!
SL – Yeah, that was years after I saw them, but that is a funny song! A lot of satire in that one
TM - What's your favourite memory from playing Hellfest?
SL - I’ll give you the memory of playing Hellfest because it's pretty funny! We were driving from another show but the drive was so long so we were on a tour. We were doing a package tour in the summer. You play festivals on the weekend and we were coming from a club show, but since the drive was so long, even though we were the headliner, we had to open our own headlines show so we could leave in time to make the drive because we were playing at 9.30 in the morning at Hellfest. So we played first at our own headline show, the fans were crazy confused and though what's going on? Why are you playing first? We sound check, we play, we drive to France to get there. Basically, we got there at 9 in the morning and had to be there at 930, but the cool thing was the stage was basically full, so it was one of those things where it was a mad dash but when you finally get to the show and pull it off its all worth it!
TM - It’s the best festival in the world!
SL - It's great I like Summer Breeze as well, its great
TM - I haven't been there it’s on my list
TM - Anything else you want to say to your fans?
SL – Yeah! Listen to the record anyway you can! The full album will be out on September 3rd so stream it, listen to it front to back, take time to sit with it, and hopefully if you connect with it get on our website to buy a T-Shirt or to buy a copy of the record that would be a big help to us!
TM – Awesome! Thank you for having this interview with us today
SL - Thank you, I appreciate it