Cattle Decapitation have captivated the minds of even the most apprehensive of music goers with their spiteful melodies, drenched in irony and intensity. The activists; whose songs protest the mistreatment and consumption of animals, as well as the abuse of the environment, have blatantly formulated this mammoth mental effort to sustain the music and lyrics of Cattle Decapitation. At some stages of their career the band had alienated some fans who chose not to recognise the significance of the band and took it all at face value, this however has not plagued the American brutes as their latest masterwork; Monolith of Humanity is plagueing the world….. Metal As Fuck caught up with Travis Ryan who was enjoying some downtime at home to discuss control, controversy and the latest release, Monolith of Humanity.
Deathgrind ay. Why Deathgrind initially? “I don’t know really [Laughs] I guess we all just come from an extreme taste; labels like Earache were our favourites growing up and we just thought it was natural to head in that direction”.
The name Cattle Decapitation, I am extremely interested to hear how this name was derived “Well it has a double meaning, first and foremost Cattle Decapitation started to carry the torch when Carcass dropped it, the other is our beliefs with animal rights; its very tongue in cheek really”.
The critiquing of humanity is a constant premise with the music and lyrics of Cattle Decapitation; do you find that extreme metal is the best medium to exercise your opinions to the world? “No……” We sit through quite a long pause on the phone as Travis answered with a very stout ‘No’, then erupts with laughter “No, not at all, it’s why it’s all said and done in a very tongue in cheek kind of way, the themes and ideas that the band have on certain subjects; argh! like to truly be activists, it’s not the right platform at all to get these ideas across but it has had some effect I guess [Laughs], I mean this is my opinion entirely but in order to really make a difference you have to get those opinions out to organisations, you know, help with the organisations, get involved to really make a difference”.
Right well, I mean there is a certain degree of critiquing through Monolith of Humanity, it revolves around a central concept ‘The potent distaste for contemporary civilization and the damage wrought in the name of progress’ can you elaborate on this for us? “The album and lyrics explain it very well, the approach we take is nihilistic, I mean we aren’t exactly the poster boys for anything good, we’re not evil but I mean the depressing attitudes towards things throughout the current album and previous albums of the band just take you to the extent of situations”.
What specific themes are being used in the current album? “The way I usually write, I tend to go with an overall theme and pepper it with misanthrope; I deal a lot with word play and metaphors, makes for an interesting read [Laughs]. The themes used throughout the music of Cattle Decapitation are a lot of sociological issues such as right-wing Christian groups pushing into people’s personal lives, the in your face issues of over consumption and the trash that is just raping the planet, the message basically is the brutality of all these situations”.
Have there ever been misunderstandings with certain people, such as the use of the band name with people who don’t bother to read up on the ideologies of the band? “Yeah, but I think like every once in a while you’ll see or hear people talking shit about your band, holding their head screaming ‘this doesn’t fucking make sense’, but whatever its just lost on some people you know, they either don’t get it or they don’t give a shit. Most people don’t talk that much shit to us [Laughs] how hard is it to understand though really, I mean fuck, touring with Deicide (years ago) and Jack [Owen – Guitars] got it and he’s a fucking vegetarian!”.
What was the biggest challenge with the new album? “Getting together to do it, holy shit like it took ages, I hate going into the studio for ages” Travis groans just thinking about it “it was the biggest pain in the ass, the process was so slow and finding the time initially you know like we still all have day jobs, and the cliché little practice place you all meet up to either after work or on the weekends, some nights we were there until like 10 or 11pm it was so boring, so yeah that would have been the biggest challenge for me, that damn studio, but you know I’d prefer the studio – like Humanure was recorded in the backyard and you can fucking tell” I couldn’t help but giggle, just Travis’ flat tone when reminiscing was hilarious, hey I didn’t say I wasn’t an arsehole.
With the themes associated with the music of Cattle Decapitation do you find yourself becoming angrier with society as you write or investigate new themes? I guess grind is the best way to vent these feelings. “Well I think it’s definitely the point you know. It is just so suffocating you know, there is nothing you can do about any of it, there are things just so far out of your control. My lyrics come from a certain dark place where those outside things can’t effect it you know what I mean, like I don’t like to bitch about shit, but fuck”.
The band is faced with a great deal of controversy with album covers, which I find strange as there have been others far more offensive in my opinion. Why do you think this is? “Some of our album covers have been pretty gnarly, yeah I’ll admit [Laughs] but there have been far worse, I agree with you. The thing is metal, grind, whatever is drenched in this sort of premise you know, every band is trying to be the gnarliest kid on the block – we are signed with Metal Blade Records right and I think our stuff is toned down compared to some others, wow. But it’s the game you play you know, and regardless of all the controversy you have to stick to who you are and what you’re trying to say, in saying that we have always had the opportunity to do what we want”.
Ok so enough of the sobering questions, I’ll stop sweating you out and move onto the new material – how is it being received live so far? “Crazy, yeah wow, crazier than anything we have ever given them live you know, you kind of always expect the new stuff to take a while to sink in with fans, I mean in all our previous albums it has been the case but with Monolith for Humanity it’s been awesome, the fans have been responding to the new songs like the second we announce we are about to play them, it has been wild!”. So what trips can we expect from the band to promote this rabid jackal? “We have some pretty sweet tours organised, starting with the US throughout July, through the summer man, the vibe in summer in the states in like nothing else. We are then heading to Europe in August so that’s going to be great getting Monolith out to the fans. Puerto Rico & South America and hopefully we can organise something for Australia and Asia, we really want to focus on our international touring this year so stay tuned”.