Saturday, April 11, 2015

DRAWN AND QUARTERED: the full interview with Seattle death metallers

Drawn and Quartered
In the state of Washington, death metal band Drawn and Quartered has been making music for a long time, going back to the early 1990s. The band is an important piece of the puzzle of underground metal in Washington. Metal Bulletin Zine’s interview with the band has a tremendous amount of history and information about the band and metal in this region.
Drawn and Quartered was formed in 1993 after bands like Butchery, Infester and Disbelief disbanded. Do you remember when those bands were formed, what was it that inspired you all to join bands in the first place, was it the late 80s? Were those three bands death metal?
(guitarist) Kelly Shane Kuciemba answered.
DRAWN AND QUARTERED was one of several names the band was considering along with a few others such as MASOLEUM, ABORTUARY and SUFFOCATED CORPSE in 1995. The consensus within the band was our current bass player Jeff Smith needed to go, and we weren't going to be called PLAGUE BEARER going forward. Jeff was my friend. He was a skilled musician. But his personality rubbed some people the wrong way. PLAGUE BEARER was my vision. Jeff and I had been working on some projects in 1991-1992. On of them we stepped into became SEPTICEMIA. Although he wasn't asked back, I ended up helping shape some song ideas into what is kind of a legendary 7-song 4-track demo we called 'Eternal Suffering'. Legendary, in that it is so hilariously bad. The music is a bit under rehearsed, and the vocal performance/style has been subject to some scrutiny. I managed to creatively mix it and with a few effects, it is a good representation of our set. The band dissolved, mixes probably got tape-traded a little, but the demo was never released.
In late summer of 1992 I began developing music and lyrics for a new band I named PLAGUE BEARER. I had a background in music, choir, theory, guitar, bass, piano, recording. I had grown up in the late 70s and early 80s. I loved rock music from the BEATLES, HENDRIX and CREAM. Later DEEP PURPLE, BLACK SABBATH. The NWoBHM inspired speed metal and thrash from the East Coast, Bay Area. MOTORHEAD must be mentioned. VENOM spawned from that, BATHORY took things to a new level with 'Under the Sign of the Black Mark'. What inspired me was what early POSSESSED, SLAYER and DEATH were doing. The doom of SABBATH. BOLT THROWER 'War Master' was big for me. The un-holy trinity for me was and still is; MORBID ANGEL 'Altars of madness', INCANTATION 'Onward to Golgotha', and IMMOLATION 'Dawn of Posession. The evolution of metal. I lived it. I saw it. For 10 years I lived for going to every show I could. Now, in 1992 I finally had the vision for my band. Inspired by all that came before, armed with years of music education, experience and devotion PLAGUE BEARER was born!
Dave Procoppio and I became pretty good friends for a couple of years in the early 90s. Dave was dabbling with playing drums in various bands and I first met him at the Jam Box where we had rehearsed for a few months and recorded as SEPTICEMIA. We were hanging out listening to some PLAGUE BEARER rehearsals when his phone rang. Dave asks me if he should book PLAGUE BEARER for a show he was playing with his band DISBELIEF. INFESTER was also on the bill. I said yes.
PLAGUE BEARER had been rehearsing for about two months before our first show. It's January 31st 1993. Superbowl Sunday. The show is at the Lake Union Pub tonight. The band decided to rehearse and then load out before the show. I also decided to swing by my friends Superbowl party. Free beer and food! Our rehearsal went pretty well. But after loading out of our rehearsal shed, loading in at the Pub, the day was starting to take a toll on me. By the time we went on I was a nervous wreck. This was my first full gig as a guitar player! I'd been in singer in high school in 1984 singing Priest, Zeppelin, Maiden and Sabbath. But I was shaking like leaf as Jeff is setting up a video camera on a tri-pod to record our performance. January 31st 1993. Superbowl Sunday. The very first performance of my new band, my vision. PLAGUE BEARER! We were abysmal. My knees were knocking together I was so nervous. I lost 5 gallons of sweat. My mom is there and can be heard cheering us on in the crowd, she has yet to see another of my performances live. Our drummer, Eric Brewer seems to have completely forgotten how the songs go. Of course, there is no stage, let alone monitors. The P.A. system was probably meant for community center bingo. Shalom is the vocalist. I'm not sure he ever had grasp of how the lyrics were intended to be phrased. Jeff seemed to be having fun. I remember DISBELIEF and INFESTER being really good. Odin from Moribund offered to distribute our demo tape. We recorded a demo, played 1 show, but my line-up dissolved a couple weeks later.
(This is from the demo days.)
I went and saw BUTCHERY at the Lake Union Pub. It's spring 1993. Herb Burke is the vocalist, he's got the perfect sound and presence for my new PLAGUE BEARER demo. Danny Hodge is the bass player and...WTF! Eric Brewer on drums! After PLAGUE BEARER fell apart he'd joined BUTCHERY! And they were pretty good. It was their first and only show. After writing some new songs I ask Herb and Danny to help with my new demo 'Bubonic Death'. I wrote the music and lyrics, except 'Winds of Pestilence', that was still just a title. Dave Procoppio had been rehearsing the songs with me for a few weeks. Herb and and Danny rehearsed a few times and we recorded in the summer of 1993. That demo was distributed by Moribund Records. We did few more shows, but ultimately didn't do much until 1994 and Matt Cason was referred to us by Beau Galloway from DISBELIEF. During this time I'd also met Greg Reeves who played bass with us from 1997-2008 and Dario Derna (INFESTER) who played drums with us from 2002-2012.
NOTE: The above is Kelly's introduction to the history of Drawn and Quartered, to set up the context for the readers. Again, there is much more of this interview coming!
(Here's an old song from the demo days that the band also recorded on the debut "To Kill Is Human" [1999])
Mangled Beyond Recognition
Can you give us a bit of a landscape view of the metal scene in the early 90s in Seattle, as you experienced in the metal underground with your band? How was it different or the same as the late 80s? The early 90s are considered the golden age of death metal. Yet, I have never heard anyone explain the situation for death metal in Seattle in the early 90s, but you would be highly qualified to speak about it, correct? What was that like for you?
The metal scene for me went from huge shows at the Domes and Arenas in Washington, as a teenager to smaller more underground shows gradually, to the current level of pretty packed clubs is the best most bands in the underground are doing. As thrash and speed metal pushed aside power metal in the mid to late 80s local bands began to get a bit grittier, like METAL CHURCH. I lived south of Seattle, and was having to work by this time. And try to catch shows. I didn't have a band, really. I jammed a lot, and recorded, went to school, but I never saw grunge or death metal coming. In fact, grunge never REALLY existed. I guess a few crappy bands played in some scuzzy bars who were turned off by hearing power ballads by POISON and WHITESNAKE. Eventually a few them could cobble enough songs, and work long enough and hard enough to get something acceptable together and persevere long enough to become appreciated for getting better at what they were doing, and a lot of people were sick of power ballads, and spandex, and unattainable champagne and sports car rock MTV video era. People watched Friends, Frasier and Seinfeld, and sipped Lattes, pretty soon grunge is being referenced on Friends, and sold at the Bon! One video created an industry, and the rest got lumped in as grunge. Metal was non-existent in Seattle. Everyone was aware of it, influenced by it. But real metal was in the bars and finally small clubs, most with no stage or proper sound reinforcement. By the time I figured out what kind of music I wanted to play, I'd missed the boat. The thrash movement was fading. It was pretty small, anyway. Forced Entry. Nothing was happening. The situation was bleak. We'd go to the few shows that were starting to come through, but it was quite a few years until any of the original death metal bands got to Seattle. We were aware of it, we were writing, recording and performing it. No one really wanted to hear it. Odin [from Moribund Records] did his best, and made a lot of great releases, and some sold good. For me, the early 90s was a Golden Age of Death Metal. It is the time when I combined what I loved about underground music into my own vision, and have been inspired to create and continue for over 20 years. Of course, 20 years later, it is a reference point for underground music. But it is up to someone to preserve, improve upon and continue to evolve a pure version of this art form.
At the time it didn't seem like there were way too many bands doing this already. There seemed to be so many distinct ways of going about it. Nobody sounded the same, for long. Death metal was cool for about 3 years, but if you were cool around here in the mid to late nineties, you were into Black Metal. There were a few good Death Metal bands by 1996 when DRAWN AND QUARTERED began performing regularly. We were never quite with the trend of the moment. We just worked really hard for a long time on what were trying to do. I have some amazing rehearsal tapes. We made the DRAWN AND QUARTERED demo, that we put out from 1996-1997. We had a buddy record it, and only ended up with two rough mixes. The sound is horrible, but we never got to mix it properly before the guy disappeared. We started doing shows at every little dive bar in town. On our 3rd show ever we weaseled our way onto the bill featuring NAPALM DEATH and AT THE GATES in Seattle in 1996! We played an amazing set! The sound was great, we played brilliantly! Soon after we got the Obituary gig. And we opened for lots of shows that came to town in the mid to late 90s.
Going back even further in time. What kind of metal did you grow up with, as youth? Were you at all interested in the Seattle bands, like Metal Church and Queensryche? Were your parents into metal music? What kind of music were your friends into?
I listened to the BEATLES, PINK FLOYD, JIMI HENDRIX, CLAPTON, LED ZEPPELIN, THE WHO, BLACK SABBATH and DEEP PURPLE. So That would have been my parents’ era, my dad had many of those records, also THE ROLLING STONES and many others, but they both had other musical tastes for the music of the times. A few years later when I'm into PRIEST and MAIDEN, and heavier stuff I did listen to and have seen METAL CHURCH. I love the first two records, for sure. I also like the first EP from QUEENSRYCHE. I was a singer in cover bands around then. My friends and listened to the SCORPIONS, DIO, JUDAS PRIEST, KROKUS, BLACK SABBATH, IRON MAIDEN, early DEF LEPPARD, ACCEPT, SAXON, DEEP PURPLE, OZZY OSBOURNE, ACDC, LED ZEPPELIN and RUSH. Later in high school came MOTORHEAD, METALLICA, RAVEN, ANTHRAX, SLAYER, MERCYFUL FATE/KING DIAMOND. I saw all those bands. POSSESSED and DEATH as well. VENOM, EXCITER, then DESTRUCTION, BATHORY, SODOM, and KREATOR. My friends were from a different era, they weren't keeping up, so I found new friends.
The band's first recording is the self-titled demo from 1996, and then the album "To Kill Is Human" from 1999. How frustrating was it for you personally to be in death metal bands for so long before putting out an album? You must have been frustrated seeing the high popularity of death metal in the underground in the 90s and you were probably thinking you all need to get it together and put out your first album.
Our poor-sounding demo wasn't really helping get any record deals. Matt and Greg helped spearhead getting the first record done. It was on a 12-track tape deck. We had a set amount of time to record. Instead of focusing on just better versions of 3-5 songs, we decided we are going record all ten songs we had, the final one still be worked out. This is now 1998. We'd done a few dozen shows and rehearsed quite a bit to try to pull off this record in the equivalent of two full days to record and mix. Technically, it was a short session to set up and mike the drums, the next day we recorded everything. In one take, usually the first. Very few overdubs. I didn't really have many solos or many second guitar parts. I was already sick of playing the same songs for 4 years. I was very frustrated. I was ready to record an album back in 1994. I even had the money. But it took the band 2 years to get to the point of doing the 8-song demo. Part of the problem is that Matt and I never really clicked musically. It took forever to get a part or song completed. By 1998 I was ready to revive PLAGUE BEARER or do a side band so I could continue developing my writing, and lead playing, as I was completely dissatisfied and stagnating in DRAWN AND QUARTERED. Honestly, the recorded versions of songs aren't as good as rehearsal and some 4-track demos I had of all the early songs. The versions recorded before Matt were even better, 'The Hills Run Red,' and 'Christian Extinction.' He would never learn the ‘Bubonic Death' material. I think he was overcomplicating things for himself. But it is what it is. I love Matt like a brother. I am proud of the record, and the shows and tours we did. We had a lot of great times. We still do. But the best thing for DRAWN AND QUARTERED in the end is when he left. I was supposed to 'fire him.' Ultimately, we talked and it was decided that he would leave the band, and focus on SERPENS AEON. And they went on to make a great record! Matt did a lot for DRAWN AND QUARTERED for 8 years. He and Greg did a lot to get this band off the ground. It was a very frustrating time. But I never gave up. Because through it all I was finally getting better. It took that long for me to get better, as a performer, player, writer, soloist and recording artist. And with a lot more hard work, and multiple bands and projects, shows and tours we finally became what DRAWN AND QUARTERED became after 2002.
This is "Ministry of Torture" from the 1999 debut album "To Kill Is Human."
Ministry of Torture
As it turns out, your first album came out during the revival of death metal in the late 90s. Nile, Krisiun and Hate Eternal were finally awakening an interest in death metal at a higher level again. Bands like Krisiun had weathered the black metal popularity and now newer death metal bands (compared to Death, Morbid Angel, etc.) had some bands getting some international attention. How was your debut album received in the United States and the Pacific Northwest in general?
All three of the bands mentioned were influential, and I got to open for or see. Around this time we were doing some U.S. tours. Despite its flaws, no one beat us up too bad for our debut 'To Kill is Human.' Although we did finance the record, artwork and first pressing, it was originally intended to be a demo. We shopped a tape around a little, but didn't get a deal immediately, so we just put it out. It is a low-budget affair, considering the expense of recording back then. Although we'll probably have the same budget for our next record! It is a different era now, you can make great sounding records much easier now, you just need some good songs if you want to make a good record. Our songs suffered from bad production in the past. As far as how it was received, it was considered an instant classic. It's just that Black Metal was all the rage still. And the bands that did come out like NILE, KRISIUN, and HATE ETERNAL...they were REALLY good! There was a lot of ultra brutal stuff out there, and for a while even guitar solos went away on many records.
Our record was OK, but it could have been produced better. So by this time I had a couple of crappy sounding demos, and sort of underwhelming debut record. I was sick of the style we were doing, and Matt didn't see that interested in my ideas. He and Greg had been working together for a few years, but that working relations ship began to strain, and the band began to suffer. Matt and Greg had other bands going as well. The potential of DRAWN AND QUARTERED is present on the record, and in hindsight it is a telling piece of work, a solid foundation for what was to come. Unfortunately the production, and mix hold it back a bit. We sold and promoted many copies in the Pacific NorthWest and around the country. Most of the reviews were in small print fanzines, so not immortalized in the digital age that we were on the precipice of.
Then, in 2003 there was "Extermination Revelry." Right after that in 2004, you also had "Return of the Black Death." It seems like you entered a period of high productivity. Was the lineup stable around this time, did it have good chemistry? If asked to recall the early 2000s, what types of associations come to mind in terms of the band during this time in the Seattle area? Were you able to play shows in the Pacific Northwest outside of Seattle? What about the rest of the U.S. and internationally?
The first record 'To Kill is Human’ was originally recorded in 1998 and we released tracks on cassettes. We pressed a few hundred copies, two versions. No cover or title, just a promo tape. We soon decided to release the record on CD, and we pressed our own copies. In 1999 we made a deal with MORIBUND to distribute the record, and they pressed their own copies. The original version has color on the image on the disc itself, the Moribund version doesn't. Also our version has a different process for recreating the cover art making it shinier, compared to the higher quality MORIBUND version. After that that tour from 1999-2001 I began writing and rehearsing regularly some new PLAGUE BEARER material. Matt was playing drums in SERPENS AEON, Greg was doing a cover band, and also was involved with PLAGUE BEARER. Herb and I worked on various things, and he did vocals on my PLAGUE BEARER demos. Writing with DRAWN AND QUARTERED was like pulling teeth, but we had put together some things, and did start playing a new song on our last U.S. tour together with Matt in 2001. That song was called 'Incinerated Faithful' and a version was recorded and included on our next record. I completed a 7-song demo called "Defiled by Sodomy" with PLAGUE BEARER. I did extensive mixes, came up art, had the recording mastered, but never released it. But all the work, rehearsals, recording etc., helped bring my writing to another level, and I got some chances to rip out some solos and practice over and over, something I wasn't getting as much out of our DRAWN AND QUARTERED rehearsals.
We'd been doing a lot of really great shows around the region that was getting us more and more experience and local notoriety. We opened for MORBID ANGEL, IMMOLATION, INCANTATION, EXHUMED, IMPALED, THY INFERNAL, MONSTROSITY, DEICIDE and many more. Some of the local bands we were playing with were BLOOD RITUAL (members of DISBELIEF), TASTY GORE, IMMORAL INTENT, FORNICATOR, INQUISITION, LORD GORE, ENGORGED, WRAITHEN, SOL NEGRO and many more. In the early months of 2002 DRAWN AND QUARTERED rehearsals had been reduced 2 twice a week from 3-5 for many years. The writing was dragging on. We had two finished songs since the last record. I had plenty of new ideas, and we finally got serious about completing music for a record. At the same time MATT and SERPENS AEON were closing in on finishing the music for their debut. Things came to a head and MATT left the band. It was a tough time for me. I was fearful, and it was hard to let go of being a road-ready band ready to open for the best in the business to start over and the possibility of failure. Who knew if we'd ever perform as DRAWN AND QUARTERED again? Once again Beau Galloway referred a drummer to us. Dario Derna had returned to Seattle. I'd hear from Odin he was coming back, so that helped with allowing Matt to step away from what he took seriously as a commitment to me and the band. I did contact Dario, who really hadn't played drums much for years. So within a week or two of Matt’s departure we began rehearsing and writing again. In less than a month we had 5 brand new songs. We did a little rehearsal demo, to see how the new songs were sound. It was intended just as a sound test for us, but we sent a copy to Odin at MORIBUND, and it was decided we would promote DRAWN AND QUARTERED Mk 2 with our new 5-song rehearsal demo we called 'Crusaders of Blasphemy'. Hundreds of copies were created, and one version even had a little atmospheric keyboard thing at the end of 'Worshipers of Total Death' that we made Dario take out of future versions! A deal was made with MORIBUND, in a matter of a few months we began doing shows again, and we completed 11 songs for a new recording that began in the spring of 2003.
DRAWN AND QUARTERED was reborn. It had taken from until about 1992 until 2002 for me to really hit my stride as a writer, performer and player. All of the side bands, demos, shows, tours were finally paying off and we were finally in a slightly more modern recording environment. In 2003 we were show ready and could learn as many songs as I could bring in. The band all contributed riffs and ideas as well. We now had a label able to fund this operation and we had a 3-album deal to fulfill. Our music and performances were coming across great and people loved our new songs. Things in my personal life were stable, so I was able to focus writing and recording. I knew I was in a very good, and probably rare situation so I took full advantage and brought a lot of ideas and began writing and recording as much as possible. In early 2004 we had an offer to do a split 7", so we recorded two songs on our own recording equipment, it was fast and dirty and the songs came out great, I felt free to just shred away. Unfortunately, the split didn't happen (as often happens in these things) but the tracks did appear on a cassette album in Germany, and as part of a bonus disc in 2007 for the release of MERCILESS HAMMER OF LUCIFER. I pushed for the recording of our next record and in 2004 we were able to record and release RETURN OF THE BLACK DEATH. Much tighter, cleaner, with even better performances, and some of our more technical music in our catalog, this is one of the highlights of my career. I wrote many of the songs, including the epic AS IDOLS FALL. It received amazing reviews including a nice spread in METAL MANIACS. It was a productive time. I had less of a commitment to a specific job for a few years, and it was often challenging personally. But I had more time to focus on music for a little while.
There was a period of time when DRAWN AND QUARTERED was in a holding pattern while our drummer was getting his personal life together. We didn't waste any time, though. Greg Reeves was our bass player. He had a lot of drive to various projects, and had been working playing drums for a while. We formed a band called WINDS OF PESTILENCE. It featured Greg on drums, Herb Burke played bass and vocals, I played guitar. And Greg's' friend John Fryer was the second guitar player. This was another great opportunity to keep my chops up, and rehearse the lead parts I wrote for myself, work on some new ideas. The music was thrashy, black and death metal influenced I wrote much of the music and lyrics, but Herb started contributing later as well. Unfortunately not all of the songs we had got recorded. From 2004-2008 we played some shows, did a small tour, and recorded a demo that has been mastered, but not officially released. John posted some rough mixes and misspelled some of the titles, so they are out there. Also in 2004 I pieced together some song scraps that became the PLAGUE BEARER EP 'Rise of the Goat'. I had a friend who was playing drums for FUNERAL AGE at the time. They rehearsed down the hall. He was eager to jam. So I threw together some songs and lyrics, we rehearsed for a while, then went to the AUTOPSY ROOM that DRAWN AND QUARTERED had been recording at and did a very quick recording. It cost about the same as the demo I did at LAUNDRY ROOM studio for the 'Bubonic Death' demo back 93! It took a while, but I eventually got the recording released as a vinyl EP on NUCLEAR WINTER RECORDS. Dario was soon back and we did a lot of shows around the region, but DRAWN AND QUARTERED has yet to conquer the international market as a touring act. In fact Dario was never willing or able to do extensive touring.
These two albums were on Moribund Records and the debut was independent. How was the relation with Moribund at this point in time for you? How did that come about? Moribund is a label from Washington, is that correct? In the early 2000s the internet had not yet taken over as such in metal and people still bought cds, right?
Moribund started in the Seattle area, and is based in Washington State. Odin and Moribund has been there since my first show in 1993 at the LAKE UNION PUB. The relationship for me has always been great. I worked as a Moribund employee for a while and was involved with mail order and promoting, including my own records. Odin was a Metal fanatic who worked in local record stores, began his own distro, and eventually label. Unfortunately due to other distributing partners going bankrupt, he took a big hit and had to down size for a while. But he also was the US distributing partner for NAPALM RECORDS, and began Metal Distribution Network. People were buying CDs. I probably didn't even own a computer yet.
Drawn and Quartered - Worshippers of Total Death
As Idols Fall
In 2006 and 2007, you had another two albums in rapid succession "Hail Infernal Darkness" and "Merciless Hammer of Lucifer.” The lineup seems to be same, so the band seems like it was stable at this time, you were still on Moribund. You must have been coming up with songs day and night at this time. How would you describe the period of 2003-2007 for your band? Were those albums financed by Moribund Records; Did that help you guys to concentrate on the music, with some stability? Or, did you guys get into a lot of debt to Moribund Records during this time?
'Hail Infernal Darkness' came out in 2005. [Metal Archives says it was released January 3rd, 2006. –Ed.] This is one of our finest moments. I absolutely loved that record, and wanted to take a slightly different approach with the next record. I was able to secure budgets for our records, and we did some videos for 'Hail Infernal Darkness' and ‘Merciless Hammer of Lucifer.' The whole band was contributing ideas and sometimes even a song for these records. It was a lot of work to do the records and videos. We couldn't have done it without the line-up staying intact. The fact that we had these stabilizing factors helped me push to make another record. I have amazing rough mixes for 'Merciless Hammer....", the final mix wasn't quite how we intended. The record can be played very loud, and with some EQ it sounds pretty good. But by this time people are listening to music on computer speakers, not home or car audio as much.
We never went into debt. We just don't get any royalties until remunerable costs are covered. That includes recording costs, part of the advertising, video budgets and merchandise and monies advanced for tour support. These years 2003-2007 were very important for DRAWN AND QUARETERED. We put out 4 records in the space of 5 years, as well as the videos, bonus tracks, and recording and shows for PLAGUE BEARER and WINDS OF PESTILENCE. It took most of free time and energy to keep up with the projects and various shows, festivals and touring. At one point we did a small tour as WINDS OF PESTILENCE. Dario was not really willing or able to tour. This became an issue, as Greg Reeves, our bass player from 1997-2008 very much wanted to tour. He was getting fed up with the lack of financial return, and was really hoping to be making part of our living with DRAWN AND QUARTERED. That just wasn't happening. We generated money, but not the kind I'd want to try to live on. As far as writing music for the records, that was the easy part. We all had plenty of ideas and riffs for the songs. We started writing a lot of things in the rehearsal room, it was very organic at times.
Did things kind of slow down in terms of activity for you after 2007? Your next recording came out in 2011 and it was the EP "Conquerors of Sodom" on Nuclear Winter Records. But then you followed that up with "Feeding Hell's Furnace" in 2012, again on Nuclear Winter Records. For those that do not live in this area and who associate you with Moribund Records, what have you guys been up in recent years, in terms of record labels?
By 2008, with 'Merciless Hammer of Lucifer' out I had begun booking a U.S. tour I called the 'Assault of Evil' tour with Moribund Records label-mates SATANS HOST. Back then I booked quite a lot of the tour with the help of MySpace! I was able to locate bands and venues. Some people were able to offer some guarantees, and I negotiated deals, rented a vehicle. We had to recruit Steve Fournier from IN MEMORIUM as the drummer, as Dario was unable to tour. We practiced with both drummers beforehand, and we were rehearsing doing shows as DRAWN AND QUARTERED and WINDS OF PESTILENCE, and recorded the WINDS OF PESTILENCE demo that never got a proper release.
I would have to say that the activity did NOT slow down after 2007! We took some time and did the tour in 2008. On the third show of the tour the drummer for SATANS HOST quit. We were in Denver, and he just took his drums and went home after our set. The shows had been sparsely attended so far, in Seattle and Tacoma. The Denver show was kind of a fiasco; being moved ultimately to a dumpy Mexican restaurant. I'm glad we did at least get to perform. I can't really blame people for being discouraged, but the tour got better. Our touring drummer Steve, ended up working with SATANS HOST to help them finish the tour. SATANS HOST had become a black metal band at this time, as opposed to the power-metal-from-the-devil approach they originally had, and have returned to. Ultimately, it was a fun but challenging tour; gas prices were 5-6$ a gallon. That cut into potential profits. I also printed too many shirts. I still have couple left from that 2008 tour, to this day. On the last leg of the tour our bass player had an issue and basically quit the band in New Mexico, and tried to sabotage what was left of the tour. He took his gear and things, and I have never heard from him since; after 11 years! So we finally made it home, I took on some significant debt. I could have made a profit, except for a couple of missteps. It was a great learning experience.
From mid/late 2008-2010 we re-booted DRAWN AND QUARTERED. Herb had been playing bass and doing vocals in our side band WINDS OF PESTILENCE from 2004-2008. When Greg quit, WINDS OF PESTILENCE was disbanded. Herb had to buy some bass gear. And we started from scratch, writing new material and practicing and rehearsing to a click track. There was a period of almost 2 years that we didn't perform live at all. In some ways it was nice to have a break from all of the band activity. I was able to pursue other hobbies a bit. Finally we decided to self finance our next record. I'd had connections with NUCLEAR WINTER RECORDS, and Dario had developed a relationship with Anastasis regarding DRAWN AND QUARTERED releasing our record with NUCLEAR WINTER. The record was done in 2010, but required mastering, and artwork to be completed.
We began performing again in 2010 as a three piece. The band decided to leave off a couple of the songs from the full-length. I was very pleased that we were able to release the "Conquerors of Sodom" 7". We had an earlier recording of the title track that was slated for a split 7' and t-shirt deal with Relapse Records that ultimately fell through. That version of 'Conquerors of Sodom' was never released. The full-length record finally came out in 2012. The band had been doing some traveling to play shows and festivals. The move to Nuclear Winter, wasn't so much of my doing, but we decided as a group to try something different. We had a new logo, we were a three piece. It was fun. We could bust out 20+ songs at any time as a live band, and more if we rehearsed a bit. It was a good place to be, as we'd been together with Dario since 2002, ten years. It was easy, I had a lot of free time. We didn't have to rehearse that much. We had been writing some new stuff, and even demoed an unreleased, unfinished song. We performed our last show with Dario at the Black Circle Fest in Portland, Oregon.
Dario had marital issues, then he got a divorce. Then met a new girl, then they started a family and got married. As this was happening he got a great job offer and moved on with his life. That's what people do. It was the end of an era. But it is what it is. And we weren't sure if we'd continue, do a long distance band, take a break or what. We did continue and with the help of Beau Galloway, I started piecing together songs for another record. Soon after, Simon Dorfman (SHADED EMNITY, INQUINOK) joined as our drummer. We began performing in 2013 and recorded basic tracks for a record by 2014. There was no label we were officially signed to at that time. Due to personal and musical differences that record did not get finished.
We are working on a deal for our next full-length now, we have about 13 songs as of this writing. We have begun tracking some songs for various releases we have coming. And we continue writing and performing at shows and festivals. I have a track for a compilation and a song for a split 7" we are working on. Then I will be releasing a limited edition cassette album. I'm also planning on doing our own 7" record and ultimately a full-length vinyl release. All of that on top of recording our next full-length that would be a CD release with a label. We just got some newt-shirts with the 'Feeding Hells' Furnace' artwork on them.
How has recording your music changed in the case of Drawn and Quartered? It used to be that young bands dreamed of going to a big studio and working with a famous producer, like Scott Burns. How do you go about recording your music nowadays? What are your views about the recording of drums nowadays?
All of the actual CD releases have been in a studio, with people we paid to engineer, record and mix the music. We were always there to help produce the records. There weren't any famous producers near enough for us to work with feasibly, without great expense. At one point there was talk of us traveling or working with someone. We did have James Murphy master our 2nd record. I am doing some in-house production for some projects I mentioned previously, using much less tracks and gear. That last 5 records have been recorded in the modern way with tracking drums to a scratch guitar played at the same time, then going back and recording guitars, bass and vocals. Different effects and gear have been used to record the drums to varying effect. There are many factors and variables.
I want a nice natural sounding drum kit, with punchy but not 'clicky' drums. Herb is definitely against the fake sounding, popcorn/typewriter drum sound. Usually the drummer and engineer are trying things and engineering the drum sound. It all gets a bit convoluted, and it is time consuming and challenging to record and get a good sounding drum performance. There are some many possibilities. It is hard to say much about, as I haven't heard every possible technique, piece of gear or engineering of drums being recorded. I know people try a lot of things, samplers, compressors and editing to get drum tracks. It begins to some ambience with all this.
Sometimes I wonder if just a simpler approach might be best. I would prefer a live sounding kit in a studio drum room. But in the end, I trust the drummer and engineer. I can't do everything, for better or worse, I have to allow them to try what they think is best at the time. I really don't know enough about it to comment. Sometimes even after all the efforts to create the drum track, the mix gets screwed up anyway. Sometimes when dealing with budgets, deadlines and logistics and realities of life things get screwed up. Sometimes a drummer changes their heads right before recording and they end up unhappy with the sound of the heads for whatever reason. There might be a tone or ringing they can't get rid of that you’re then kind of stuck with. All I can say is find a really good drum engineer.
Drawn and Quartered Hail Infernal Darkness
Sickness Redeemer
How difficult is it for you (financially, time-wise, work/job, family, health...) to continue making your metal as you get older? When bands are young they'll travel across the country in a van and come back home with nothing, but if someone offers you a gig all the way across the country and you're going to sleep in someone's house on the sofa, how appealing is that to Drawn and Quartered at this point in time?
Honestly it was always difficult. Instead of relaxing with friends and family, doing regular activities, enjoying hobbies and down time, all of your free time goes into writing, practicing, rehearsing, recording and doing shows. And making money to pay for gear, rehearsal rooms, travel and whatever else you have to invest in. It takes a certain amount of drive, dedication and discipline to consistently do even more work. And the work environment is a challenge, I work really hard to make as much money as I can sometimes multiple jobs, side businesses and whatever you have to do to survive and thrive and finance your dreams and goals.
Having never stopped, and after doing multiple bands and projects, at this point it isn't that hard at all. We currently rehearse in my house. I've had to work very hard to create a lifestyle for myself and create the financial and personal situation for myself to be able to do this. You have to have your shit together, and that can be harder the doing the music for sure. Most people eventually quit. They get sick of it all. You have to absolutely love it. It can't be just for money, because you might not see much of a profit for a long, long time.
It doesn't make as much sense to just drive around in a van playing shows and sleeping on couches. I've done plenty of that. It's about utilizing your time and resources to the maximum effect. I'd rather fly out and do some shows. Why do I need to cart guitar cabinets around anymore, there are plenty to use. It seems silly for 3-5+ bands to all bring cabinets and each move them on and off the stage for a show. I'm going to do shows and make sacrifices when I get to play for new audiences, at promising shows and festivals. And I expect some money to help defray expenses. It's is not very wise as a business person to take a loss year after year. You're doing it wrong. Being metal doesn't mean you have to be broke and stupid. It means you're a warrior and you'll do what it takes to make progress. I have to be more critical about what shows and projects I agree to. I am getting older, and to me that means I don't have time to screw around. I expect a guarantee usually, especially if I'm traveling. I'm already going to take a loss from not working. No amount of guarantee can make up for that. But I'm not going into debt as well, so I can be more metal!
Running around doing random shows is a waste of time, if you could stay home make some records that are going to reach more people. Then maybe it would be worth traveling and doing shows, you have to do both. You just have to be careful with what you commit to. I have to turn down shows every week. We just can't do them all, some just don't fit with other band and personal plans we might have. I like to take some vacation time NOT doing shows or work.
How do you see yourselves as a band in metal? Would you say that you feel a certain connection to bands like Incantation and Immolation, and Sadistic Intent, Blaspherian and Funebrarum?
I think we have potential to take this band to another level. It will take hard work, travel, making some more great records; improving our performances and recordings. We will always be an underground band. We have a connection to those bands because we have performed with, met and toured with these guys. We have finally carved our names into the scene, like the bands mentioned we continue to create the darkest most malevolent music we can come up with. The best is yet to come, as far as I'm concerned. The industry is evolving, and the fan base continues to expand worldwide.
What metal bands in the local scene in the Seattle do you think are making metal that is interesting to you?
Off the top of my head I'll name some bands I can think of. FUNERAL AGE, TREPANANTION, SLUT VOMIT/ WARP VOMIT, are a few. There are quite a few people and bands excited about underground death metal right now. Our local scene is a strong as ever with good turnouts to local shows.
Can you tell us what your plans for 2015 are? How was Famine Fest in Portland? My phone says that you will play a show at Highline with Antaeus. Anything else you would like us to know about Drawn and Quartered for 2015 and 2016?
2015 has been busy so far. I put together a little recording studio at home where we rehearse, and we have been writing and rehearsing as well as doing some shows. We've done a couple Seattle shows, the FAMINE FEST in Portland, Oregon was excellent. We have a show with UADA and INFERNUS in Portland on April 18th, in May we have a couple of slots at the MARYLAND DEATH FEST to play. In June we are headlining a festival in Bend, Oregon. We'll also start tracking for our next full-length CD as soon as we secure the deal/budget, and I stop booking shows for us for a bit so we can record. I hope to at least have completed the record this year; hopefully, it will also get a release date. After all that I hope to focus on some high profile festivals, and there has been a mention of a world tour that may eventually come to pass! I will be selling some new merchandise on our Facebook page for now until I can get some distribution again, or my own webstore, so stay in touch, everyone! THANKS! HAIL INFERNAL DARKNESS!!!!
Drawn And Quartered - Stabwound Invocation

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