Brett Hoffman Interview
Interview by InfamousButcher
Photos by SheWolf
Interviewed on March 6, 2015
at the Malevolent Creation show in Brooklyn, NY
When you think of great death metal vocalists, Malevolent Creation’s Brett Hoffman immediately comes to mind. His vocal range is amazing and his freakish lung capacity enables him to hold growls and roars to superhuman levels. With a new album in the works and upcoming touring, 2015 promises to be a big year for Malevolent Creation. I was lucky enough to catch up with Brett in Brooklyn at the Paper Box before Malevolent Creation’s first gig of the year.
Infamous Butcher: How did Malevolent Creation come together in the late 80s?
Brett Hoffman: We had a cover band doing Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and we just wanted to keep it going and do our own songs. We just started in Jimmy Nickles’ basement and came up with Malevolent Creation. Wrote a song, needed a title for it, came up with Malevolent Creation, and that is the name of the band.
IB: Was the band originally Resthaven and then it became Malevolent Creation?
BH: Yes the cover band was Resthaven.
IB: Do you still perform as Resthaven now?
BH: Yeah we only play once in a great while now. We all played together at one time or another as kids growing up but we’ve got our own bands now. We still like to get together and do the old Ozzy and Sabbath and all the stuff that we did back then.
IB: Who were your main influences?
BH: Old AC/DC with Bon Scott, Old Kiss, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Priest. Then we got into Slayer and that was a major influence on Malevolent. Although all of it really was. It’s all the good shit.
IB: I can definitely see the Slayer influence. You guys are like Slayer on steroids.
BH: Oh yeah we heard REIGN IN BLOOD and HELL AWAITS and we were gonna take it and go a little heavier. HELL AWAITS is a great album.
IB: Tell me about the Buffalo metal scene in the 80s.
BH: It was pretty good. There was a band called Tirant Sin. And we had like Humongous. Those were really good shows we had good shows back then. We did a handful of shows as Malevolent Creation and those were really good shows too. But we got sick of the cold and we all went down to Florida.
IB: Do you consider Malevolent Creation to be a New York-based band or a Florida-based band?
BH: It’s still got like a NY edge to it. A little bit of a NY feel to it, the hardcore feel to it. I grew up watching Agnostic Front too. We had a different kind of edge than other death metal bands, we weren’t like extreme death metal. We’ve got that kind of NY hardcore style edge to it. It’s not like right there but you can hear it in there a little bit. Now, well Gio (Geraca) he is from New York. Jay (Blachowicz) and Phil (Fasciana) they’re still New York, I’m still New York. But we’ve got DE, Philadelphia, so we’ve still got that more NY style.
IB: I get into arguments with people about whether you are a New York-based band or a Florida-based band. I always say you are a New York-based band.
BH: Well yeah we have a Florida edge to it also, but I’d have to say more New York style myself.
IB: Your vocal style is very unique. How did you develop it? How are you able to hold growls for such a long period of time? I’ve timed you holding a growl for 14 seconds.
BH: When I grew up, I knew I wanted to sing. I was playing bass at first and I kind of sucked at it. I tried singing and sucked at it. So I went into my room for like two years and practiced singing old Judas Priest and Iron Maiden with Dickinson. I practiced those screams and could do them pretty good. Then when I transitioned over to death metal it worked because I learned the right way how to do those screams. It worked.
IB: Your voice has held up really well. Do you do anything to maintain it?
BH: When I’m home I only go out once a week. I only drink once a week. I’m not out drinking every night. I go out on a Friday or Saturday and that’s it. I try not to drink too much. I tend to drink beer on tour but I can’t go party every night. I just have a few beers. Not fucking fifteen or twenty.
IB: Drummer Justin DiPinto recently rejoined the band. How is that working out?
BH: Having Justin back in the band is really awesome. The boy kicks ass. Nothing against Gus. He was a good drummer and he had his own way. Gus would kind of do his own thing, nothing wrong with that. Justin hangs with us and we have a good time. His drumming kicks ass. Justin is more of what we need in the band.
IB: Malevolent Creation has always been consistently brutal. What does the new album sound like? When will it be available on Century Media?
BH: It’s done now. It’s all recorded. Just working through the mixes and the mastering and shit right now. It’s fucking good man. It’s brutal but it’s got a lot of hooks in there. No way is it pussyed out at all. You’re gonna dig the album. We are hoping it will be out early summer. We might push it off until the end of summer because Century Media just got bought by Sony. They might wait to release it.
IB: Will there be a release party?
BH: I’m sure there will. I’ve got the latest mix CD with me so we might play some of it later tonight at the afterparty at Duff’s.
IB: Tonight is the first show of 2015 for Malevolent Creation. Will you play any of the new material, or do you have to wait until the record is released?
BH: We have to wait. But when we do the tour for the new album, we are going to do a lot of songs off the new album. So we are going to get together for weeks and rehearse that and get the songs down tight. We haven’t had much time to get together and rehearse. We wanted to do one new one tonight but it didn’t work out so it’s going to have to wait.
IB: THE TEN COMMANDMENTS is recognized as one of the best death metal albums of all time. It turns 25 next year. Any chance it will be re-released? How about the RETRIBUTION album?
BH: Well we’ve always tried to buy the albums from Roadrunner. We want them. But I think they might re-release them. I will be on it and see if there is something that can be done to re-release them. People keep asking for them and we don’t have any. We can’t really get them. But I do want to talk to them and see if we can’t re-release them. I will be on it.
IB: What are your touring plans, and will it include featuring tracks from THE TEN COMMANDMENTS since it turns 25 next year?
BH: Oh yeah we will always play songs from those albums. There is going to be a lot of touring coming up. It’s all gonna be about the new album and what’s going on with Century Media. There will be a lot of new songs, but there will also be a lot of TEN COMMANDMENTS songs. That will always be part of it.
IB: Any chance you could get added to the Metal Alliance tour with Deicide?
BH: You never know. Anything could happen. Right now we are just trying to get the album out. We love the songs. We just have to get the mix right. You never know what’s going to happen. When we get the green light that they are done in the studio there might be some things going on. That is what we are waiting for right now.
IB: What other bands do you sing in?
BH: Just Resthaven. That’s all I do is Malevolent and the Resthaven thing. There might be some other great shit coming up but I can’t say anything about that right now. There might be a little side thing happening down the road but I can’t say anything about that yet. When I found out, I’ll let you know. You’ll be the first to know.
IB: Thanks very much for the interview Brett. See you out there bro!
BH: No problem bro!