Cattle Decapitation Vocalist Travis Ryan
Interviewed by Marko Guevara
All pics taken from CattleDecapitation.com and the band’s Myspace page
"Goddamn humans and their stupid ideas
Moronic morality for the weak and full of hope
We’re supposed to think we’re created to serve – when
domination is in our nature?
What kind of god is this?"
– from the Cattle Decapitation song "Unintelligent Design"
I have seen this band live in Mexico City at Chas Metal Attack. On that night we also saw Monstrosity, Marduk and Setherial. We are used to expecting the best from the bands that we already know like Monstrosity, but this Death/Grindcore band really impacted on the face of many… since that day these following questions came to me… keep reading!!!
Hello Cattle Decapitation, thank you for taking the time for this interview…
Yeah well, when existence is shit, what else do we have to do?
Cattle Decapitation has been active for a decade now, so lets skip the bio question and start with the first thing that came to my mind when I think of a Death Grindcore band with Metal Blade….back in time when Metal Blade signed bands more into thrash and heavy metal like Viking, Liege Lord, Heathen and many more, then the genre got a little more commercial. Now with grindcore…will take the same path??
Well, depends on what you consider "grindcore". I’ve heard people refer to Job For A Cowboy and Despised Icon as grindcore and they’re fucking not, not in a million years. I don’t care what kids are into today but they better not go calling bands like that "grindcore". That’s bullshit. We’re not even grindcore. Our first two records (Human Jerky and Homovore) were our stab at making death metal and we failed. It ended up sounding like grind. So we ended up making weird, spastic, grindy death metal I guess. I wouldn’t call it death metal. Look, labels are lame any way you look at it and they’re getting lamer. Even the notion of "deathcore" makes me want to puke and that shit band Impending Doom’s "gorship"? Are you fucking kidding me? Are they just BEGGING for shit to be hurled at them? That’s pretty sad coming from a dude who is in a vegetarian based extreme metal band. Goddamned humans and their stupid ideas (us included, but fuck me… GORSHIP!?!?!).
Bands grow up with the years, having more experience as musicians, as live performers….but when having a style in which the boundaries are set, how do you deal with this musician’s curiosity and keep the genre’s essence?
We’re a weird bastardization of metal, death metal, grind, etc. We can’t be stuck in any one genre. The second we become a "death metal" band, well, we’ll probably do an ambient album. Or a fuckin’ dub album. Haha… Fuck it, I want a "Chopped & Screwed" version of The Harvest Floor. And not to appeal to these fucking posers who act all hip hop yet play "brutal death". No, I want a legit chopped and screwed version with remixes by some fucked up bands.
Lets go back in time again and talk about your "Ten Torments of the Damned" Demo… I think that you start as a Threesome… oops!!! sorry… I mean as a Trio!!! haha! Why did you not continue with this line up?
The band was started by these two dudes that had this guy named Scott who turned out to be kind of flaky right off the bat, so they got me and we really started doing the shit at that time. Ten Torments was kind of like a demo. I was actually in the band right before that came out, I learned the songs from it on guitar. So I actually took over on guitar and then when we all realized that I actually suck at that instrument, Gabe took over on guitar and this other guy switched from bass to drums. Then we REALLY started to move. Its unfortunate that the dude that released Ten Torments made so many as that was really not the direction they wanted to go right off the bat. I mean, I was in the band like 4 months after they started or some shit like that and we right off the bat DRASTICALLY changed the music. Human Jerky was the next record and really set the tone for what people know as "Cattle Decapitation". Ten Torments, in Gabe and that other dude’s own words was "a demo at best".
I know that you are Vegetarian, and I think is a rare issue that a Grindcore band take topics on their lyrics the animal rights and defend these rights… how did this state of mind begin??
An idea comes about. People either are attracted to it or fall by the wayside. We’ve never encountered someone that wasn’t into the idea as far as new members go. It started with those two guys, I definitely was in line with how they wanted to present ideas and images and it just happened. Its always just fallen into place. Kevin Talley I think was the first dude that "joined" up with us for a period of time that wasn’t vegetarian and he was just a fill-in. But honestly, we were just trying to continue what Carcass started, but on a broader scale thematically.
Kevin Talley is a notorious Drummer with an extensive Resume (Misery Index, Decrepit Birth, Dying Fetus, M.O.D., Hate Eternal, The Black Dahlia Murder), what was the reason for the parting?
He’s gay. He tried touching my butt once. It was more like a "pap". You know, like an open-palmed kinda thing… That was a joke, in case you can’t tell by now. There was never any "parting", he was a fill-in for ONE tour. He’s a great guy. He’s not gay. I just made that up because interviews are super boring. If I see a "Kevin Talley axed from Cattle Decapitation for gay connotations" I’m going to sue you, Bori, and Roadrunner Records. Actually, that wouldn’t happen… Kevin’s band Daath is on Roadrunner. No wait, that would create too much controversy and Roadrunner would eat that shit up… ALL labels LOVE that shit… Ok, no, wait… where were we? Yeah, honestly… Kevin’s a GREAT dude. Excellent time keeper. Not a homosexual. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Its a well known fact that Latin American audiences are so extreme… did you expect such a reaction from the crazy metalheads from the South?
Mexico City is by far the craziest place we’ve ever played. There and Toronto probably. Mexico City is WAAAAAAAAY far up above sea level and was a challenge to play. There were people, like families and shit, selling our stuff as bootlegs. I went and purchased our own boot stuff while I watched on as certain other members of other bands we were playing with go walk up and shake down the people that were selling bootleg items. Look, if a country doesn’t have laws regarding that stuff and you’re on their soil, is it wrong? And yes, your stuff is being manufactured and sold without you knowing or getting a cent in a foreign fucking country that doesn’t have the money to import your shit, is that wrong? If you’re a total pussy I guess it is, but I got off on it. I walked up and purchased a fucking bootleg shirt by my own band. I thought that was the coolest thing. I’m old. I’ve been around the block, I still think its cool. I’ll always think its cool. I want to go to more countries down there because those people fucking LOVE this shit. That’s all that matters. Death metal = NO MONEY. Remember that. There’s absolutely NO reason to act like a rockstar in this "business".
How do you see Cattle Decapitation in 5 years?? Still playing??
HAHAHA(x100). I don’t know. Maybe. Let’s "hope" so?
If you have to choose to share stage with any band in the World, what band would be?? (Sorry ABBA is not available!!!)
You are aware of my Abba fetish I see! They will never get back together as you can learn for yourself in the film "Super Troupers". Its a documentary about the reuniting of Abba for a night. Agneta Faltskog would not show up to the show because she is deathly afraid of airplanes and refused to travel to the unveiling of "Mamma Mia", that bullshit play that Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus created years ago. Their composition "Chess" was much better but still kinda gay. I’m a huge Abba fan. So, if they’re not available, then too bad! Abba was offered One billion dollars to reunite and they passed on it. Now THAT is integrity.
Basic Questions… Do you have a favourite band? and Influences?
No. I have about 3,000 pieces of physical media in my personal collection. That is almost an impossible to answer question for me and always has been. I think one of the greatest bands in my lifetime is Godspeed You! Black Emperor, if that answers your question.
When you are on tour… what things you take with you?? Books??? Movies? Cd’s?? Favorite porn magazine??? (Cheri Rulz haha)
Cheri is only ok as it is kind of a biproduct of Jill Kelly’s Club magazine. They seem to always have the same kind of features and share models using different photos from same photo shoots which gets annoying. Anyways, to answer your question, a laptop is of utmost importance and a phone such as a T-Mobile MDA, Sidekick or a Blackberry are insanely important. They become your best friends on the road. I’m ADHD+ so I’m one of those guys that gets to the bottom of a page of a book that I’m reading and go "wait, what did I just read?". I can’t retain too much short term memory. Everything is a flash in the pan. In, processed, gone, forgotten.
Which tour was the longest in your whole career…??? Any weird Comments about this one?
Ugh. I don’t know. There’s been ones that I knew were good for us and SUCKED because the bands and crowd sucked… One that was really lame I though that should have been amazing was the Locust tour. There was some bullshit politics and we basically had to open the tour, opening for a band that, look – I’M SORRY, OK? but they were just… inferior? Man, I’m a dick. Anyways, they were horrible and we had to open for them. Locust was last. Should have been the other way around and everyone knew it but favours are favours (that’s complete speculation on my part and I just don’t care anymore. period.) and it became utter shit. I hated that tour and should have had a much better time. Bands are lame dude, trust me on that one (again, us included).
What is the response of the fans about new session instruments on your new album?
I’m surprised that people seem to be really responsive so far, in a positive way. EVERYTHING is branching out nowadays and we’ve been trying since before Humanure so its all kind of falling into place. It’ll be a good run. Its a great record… finally.
How much time did it take to record this new album and where did you record it?
Just over three weeks to a month and we did it at Sharkbite Studios in Oakland, CA. We were forced to eat at like 2 places, a newly implemented bratworst & frites restaurant – YES, we had the veggie brats cooked on a separate surface, conveniently, and a Nation’s burger joint – again, the motherfuckers actually cooked garden burgers on a separate surface! It was miserable. I hate recording. Its the biggest test of nerves EVER. I slept in the studio every night on the same lame ass leather couch. Super uncomfortable. Hate. Shit. Genuine shit.
What up next for Cattle Decapitation???
Gore. Sodomy. And really gory sodomy. No, seriously, touring, alot of it. All over the place. We plan to branch out and destroy the populace. We have a very neat set ready for everyone. We are sick of everything and ready to throw some very carefully crafted feces against the wall to see if it sticks.
Once more thank you for this opportunity to be inside of your mind for a few minutes… Cheers!
Just as long as its not my ASS like last time. I’m still spotting!