Carnifex - Shawn Cameron (Drums) Interview by Patrick Lee
Band Member: Shawn Cameron (Drums) @ Bonecrusher Festival, London 12th February 2012
Carnifex are a Californian Death Metal band that formed in 2005 and our widely regarded as one of the top bands of the deathcore genre today.
They have four full length albums, of which one album (and an EP) were released on This City Is Burning and the other three albums through Victory Records.
Having just finished up their latest album “Until I Feel Nothing” and are currently headlining the Bonecrusher Festival for the first time, which they were a core part of for the last two years, we caught up with Shawn Cameron (Drums) to find out what it’s like being a part of the extreme metal beast that is Carnifex.
Hello Shawn, thanks for your time today!
Shawn: No problem!
You guys have been part of the Bonecrusher Festival now for all three years, what’s it like being the stable of such an awesome festival?
It’s nice! You know, we’ve had to kinda work our way up the ladder and hopefully we’ve been getting more fans too!
I actually first saw you guys on the first Bonecrusher tour with The Black Dahlia Murder and that’s pretty much where I got into you guys and it was amazing just hearing everything stop and the whole crowd shouting “What the fuck?” [From the song “Lie To My Face”]!
*Laughs* yeah everyone seems to know that one!
Seeing as you guys are now headlining, what’s it like headlining the festival you guys have been such a part of?
It’s a proud moment, it’s pretty nice! We’ve toured with all of these guys before so we’re all good friends back over in the US.
We actually toured with Beneath The Massacre on ‘Thrash and Burn Europe’, we did a tour with Molotov Solution on our headliner in the US a couple of years ago, Within The Ruins was also on our headliner and we toured with Betraying The Martyrs on ‘the Discovery tour’ with Born of Osiris and Veil of Maya so yeah, this tour is fun! I think we really enjoy headlining because it gives our fans the chance to hear all of the songs that they don’t normally get to hear.
So it really gives you guys a good chance to play songs that are just for the fans?
Yeah, I mean, usually when we’re doing a support tour, we get twenty-five minutes to play and when you have four albums, that’s only a song off each album basically.
That’s not an awful lot to work with really is it?
Your latest album ‘Until I Feel Nothing’ came out late last year and pretty much cemented Carnifex’s name further into everybody’s heads, what are your thoughts on how it came out and how it sounds?
It sounds amazing, we’re totally happy with how it came out, yeah I just wish people still bought CDs!
I totally agree, digital just isn’t the same...
Yeah, I mean a lot of people downloaded it but yeah, the general response to it was very very good, we are very happy with how the album sounds, we think it’s pretty badass and sound-quality is without a doubt the best album we’ve ever done!
Are there any rituals that you guys go through before every show, or do you guys just get up and play so to speak?
Well we all generally do our warm ups as we have a very physically demanding live show, so yeah the guitarists have to make sure their hands are warmed up. When we hit that stage, it’s pretty fast all of the time. I have my exercises that I have to do before we play, but yeah we never just wake up and walk on stage, we are all ready and warmed up to play our set.
Who would you say are your biggest influences classic and modern?
I really look up to The Black Dahlia Murder because in my opinion, they do melodic death metal the best. You know, I don’t want to be them or anything, but I definitely get influenced by them. I mean, we have the breakdowns and stuff because that’s what we like, we feel that when they are properly placed, they make the song much heavier!
Yeah we like the melodic death metal, we have some black metal influences, Scott [Lewis, Vocals] is heavily influenced by black metal so when writing I take points from different melodic sounds. We’re not so much into just writing grindy riffs we like every riff in our songs to have a point. Any riff that we do has a melody and it helps to add more meaning to the song as a whole
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever had happen to you guys while on stage?
I think the weirdest, most shocking thing was that somebody actually shit in the pit in New Jersey.
No way! Wow that’s rough!
Yes, they took a dump in the venue, in the pit. That was…..well I don’t know what else could really happen after that, that’s just a whole new level there!
It really can’t get any more brutal than that!
*Laughs* somebody literally shit while we were playing!
A lot of fans and musicians alike tend to have a lot of issues with the deathcore genre as a whole, what are your opinions on this?
I think if we’re going to be labelled, then people should get the label right, you know bands like Emmure, I love the guys, but they’re not deathcore simply because there’s nothing death metal about them. The thing about it is essentially it’s death metal, with breakdowns.
If there’s no death metal in the music, it’s not deathcore. A lot of people don’t really like deathcore, because a lot of people don’t really know what deathcore is. For me, we’re the definition of it. We’re death metal, and the only reason we’re not “Straight death metal” is because we like doing breakdowns. You could say that or, you know modern death metal because death metal started in like, the mid 90’s- late 80’s and we just took the stuff we like, and made it our own basically.
So you guys just formed your own kind of Carnifex sound?
Yeah! We take the stuff about metal that we really like and just make it our own
Awesome! So are there any, you know unsigned/ unknown bands that you think deserve a lot more recognition?
I don’t know, because it seems like it’s almost so easy to get signed by any kind of record label nowadays just because the internet has made it so easy. Most of the time kids are hitting me up on Facebook and going “Oh, check my band out” and I do but it’s never anything to write home about you know?
Nothing that makes me wanna go “Oh my god these guys are so awesome” but at the same time a lot of it is still really good! I think that the bands that work hard are the ones who deserve all of the recognition.
So what have Carnifex got in store for 2012?
After this tour we have three weeks off and then we’re doing direct support for All Shall Perish in the US. After that, we may be doing a regional headliner, I don’t know, we’re still talking about that. We’re going to do a little festival run around the end of June maybe beginning of July. The line-up for the Never Say Die! Tour in Europe looks like it’s turning out really good, so we’re kind of trying to get on that.
Is there anywhere in the world that you’ve never been before, but would kill to play?
Well, I don’t know if I’d KILL to play there but we haven’t played South America yet, we’d love to go to Japan, other than that I don’t even know, like we have the option to go and play in India, which we’re still talking about, I don’t know, the only place that really scares me is Africa.
Yeah, dude there’s like no rules there! *laughs* even like in South-East Asia, with the little rules they have, at least they still have rules. Our bus driver on the tour bus we’re on he was telling us that he was driving around with a Jamaican band in South Africa and he was sleeping on the bus while they were doing a show and the guys robbed the bus and he got stabbed!
Wow, that’s rough, so no direct rush to get to South Africa then I take it?
Yeah I mean that’s the thing, I don’t know how many promoters are like, trying to book bands out there. We’ve played quite a few places where I’m not really like “Oh my god we HAVE to go back there” although there are plenty of places I’d love to go back to, like I’d love to go back to Australia, that was really cool, like I said, we’d really like to go to South America. We played Ecuador’s Quito Fest in 2010 and that was AWESOME! There was like ten to fifteen thousand people.
Amazing! Okay final question from the drummer of my band, he wants to know do you like monkeys?
*laughs* as in the animals?
Yeah, or possibly the band The Monkees?
I used to watch that TV show when I was a kid *laughs* but no, I mean, I guess I like monkeys. Actually that movie that Clint Eastwood did…..
“Any Which Way But Loose”?
Yeah that’s it! I really wanted an orang-utan after that! I just watched that movie “Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes” recently and I didn’t really think it was going to be that good because all of the apes are actually CG, but they did a really really good job on it you know?
Awesome, I may have to check that out! Well, thank you so much for your time Shawn and good luck with the show this evening, though I’m pretty sure you guys are going to completely eviscerate the crowd tonight!
Thanks very much dude, No problem!
Catch Carnifex headlining the Bonecrusher tour over the coming days and weeks, and who knows maybe they’ll be back here again before the year is out! For more news and information about Carnifex check out!