Thursday, April 7, 2011

Interview with Matt Harvey of Exhumed/Dekapitator!

For the latest addition to my blog, I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Matt Harvey, the man responsible for two of my favorite bands, Grindcore masters Exhumed and Thrash maniacs Dekapitator. Anyway I hope you all enjoy the interview, and can hopefully forgive me for my epic fuck-up.

SFM - First off, as far as I understand your thrash band Dekapitator is still active but aren't doing any shows. Are there any plans for another Dekapitator record or some live shows in California in the near future?

Matt - Well, we're not exactly active yet, but we will be getting going in the very near future. We have almost half of a new album written which I'm really excited about. We are hoping to record late this year or early next year depending on how busy the Exhumed schedule gets. In the meantime, our first album, "We Will Destroy... You Will Obey" will be re-issued by Relapse this year with a couple of bonus tracks from the first 7". Once we start rehearsing, I'm sure we'll book a couple of shows to get a taste for it again. I miss thrashing with those guys!

SFM - That sounds great! I can't wait for some new Dekapitator material. Now your other band, Exhumed is also set to release a new album, "All Guts, No Glory." You also have a show planned for August 7th in Hollywood as well as numerous European dates. Are there any plans for more shows in the US?
Matt - We're doing a western North American run with Cephalic Carnage, Macabre and Withered throughout the end of July and the beginning of August which will be a lot of fun. We're hitting a lot of places like Denver, Minneapolis, Illinois, Milwaukee, Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Phoenix, Albuquerque, and lots more. It'll be a great time getting to rage with old friends and make some new ones hopefully. We've toured a lot w/Cephalic and those guys like to have a good time, and so do we, so our livers and lungs better watch the fuck out!

SFM - I will most definitely be making out to see you guys tear Hollywood a new asshole, that's for sure. Now what are your biggest influences when it comes to writing music for both Exhumed and Dekapitator?

Matt - Well... Metallica is probably my biggest overall influence, with Repulsion being second, but there are a bunch of bands and shit. For Exhumed, pretty much the first 20 Earache releases, any British Grindcore stuff, early Swedish Death Metal, Autopsy of course, Exodus is a big one for me as well, as well as German Thrash. Records like "Consvming Impvlse", "None Shall Defy", "Darkness Descends", and some of the more extreme thrash bands like Devastation (TX), Incubus (LA), Massacra (France), Razor (Canada), Merciless (Sweden) all made a big impression on me. I love all the early Death Metal stuff, Massacre, Death/Mantas, Insanity, Possessed, Celtic Frost / Hellhammer, Master/Death Strike, Devastation (Chicago), Obituary/Xecutioner, Amon, early Morbid Angel, Incubus (FL), Vomit (Norway). Also a lot of Hardcore stuff like Mob 47, Anti-Cimex, Shitlickers, Discharge, Ripcord, etc. All the Poweviolence stuff from the 90s like DespiseYou, Spazz, Man Is The Bastard, Crossed Out, Rorschach, Infest, and all the old HC/Crossover stuff as well, like Cro-Mags, Cryptic Slaughter, Final Conflict, Crumbsuckers, early Agnostic Front, D.R.I., Siege, Deep Wound, Negative Approach, fuck man... all kinds of shit really. I mean we talk about AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, and Van Halen as much as we talk about Terrorizer and Carnage and stuff. There's all kinds of obscure stuff we riff off – from Molly Hatchet and Blackfoot to Robin Trower, to Slayer to Assuck.
Dekapitator is a little narrower, as far as influences go. Definitely the whole German and Bay Area thrash thing is primary – but also a lot of Canadian metal, Exciter, Anvil, Razor, Voivod, Soothsayer, shit like that. Plus a lot of older Heavy Metal, Priest, early Scorpions, Iron Maiden, Diamond Head, Angel Witch, Tank, Jaguar, all the NWOBHM stuff really. Dan Bulldoze is big into Hardcore, all the old NYHC stuff, and we all dig Kiss a lot.
And beyond that, we all listen to a lot of different kinds of music, not just metal. Right now, I'm listening to the soundtrack for a cop show from the 50s called M Squad – has that kind of Mancini sound, but very "spy" sounding and suspenseful – great horn section.
SFM - Wow, that's a lot of influences, but you can never listen to too much music! You've also played with one of your biggest influences, Grindcore pioneers "Repulsion." How was that experience?
Matt - That was awesome. How many people get to play in their favorite band? I feel incredibly lucky to have gotten to jam with those guys and I just had such a great time getting on stage and playing songs I love. I wouldn't trade that for anything.

SFM - That's definitely a great experience to have, I'm sure everyone would love to play with their heroes! Around the time that Dekapitator first released their debut album, the thrash scene was very stagnant and because of this, Dekapitator are seen as one of the key bands that spawned the NWOTM. Was there any intent on trying to bring thrash back to the forefront of metal or were you guys just trying to play the music that you wanted?

Matt - We never really thought about bringing back Thrash Metal en masse– I don't think we were that ambitious. At the time there were a bunch of Scandinavian bands doing the retro-thrash thing, like Guillotine, Aura Noir, Gehennah, etc. and we thought we could do it at least as well, if not better than those guys. At the time, Col and I weren't really getting along with Ross in Exhumed, so it was a good outlet for us to cut loose and have fun, where Exhumed had become a bit more serious or something at that time. We also felt that the Bay Area should have a thrash band, it seemed weird that there was a period of time where there were pretty much no bay area thrash bands at all.
SFM - Now aside from Dekapitator and Exhumed you played in quite a few other bands. What would you say is your favorite moment on the road as a member of several different bands?

Matt - Oh man... there are so many funny and weird stories from being on the road. Most of them start with, "this one time we were in ______, and I was so wasted..." Really I love traveling, I love playing music, and I love hanging out and partying with my friends and that's why I love touring. We played in Germany once and Col kept giving me shots of Ouzo and making me go up to every chick in the venue and try and hit on them, supremely drunk – that was pretty funny. We perfected the art of diving off tables face-first into pies in Rochester NY while on tour with Mayhem, and we got Hello Kitty towels and photo albums as gifts in Japan. We played on a boat in Sydney Harbor, then hung out and watched a rugby game and strippers came over during halftime and did their own halftime show. We did drugs, posed for pictures with a naked chick and bough beer from the mob in Vancouver, and swam in the ocean and barbecued in Northern Italy. We served ourselves copious beers and knocked over tables in Belgium until the police came, right after we got cut off by the flight attendants on the flight to Europe. We swam in hot springs and ate a wonderful lamb dinner and terrible burritos in Iceland. So many weird, fun irreplaceable times.
SFM - That's definitely a plus when you're on the road all the time. Now both Exhumed and Dekapitator are signed with Relapse records. How has it been working with that label?

Matt - We have a great relationship with Relapse. I'm so happy that we've been able to have one label for 13 years now, and it makes my life easier. They are totally supportive, and don't bullshit me, so what more can you really ask for from a label. I consider them an integral part of how we get things done, and everything we've accomplished so far.
SFM - That's great to have a label like that, especially when labels will at times try to influence your music for a sound that they want rather than what you want. You are obviously from LA. What are your thoughts on the current metal scene in LA? Do you have any particular favorite bands?

Matt - Ummm... I don't want to be a dick, but I'm actually from San Jose (Go Sharks!!!!), about 40 miles south of San Francisco. Although I now live about 200 miles from LA and 250 from San Francisco, and I'm in LA and Orange County all the time, rehearsing with Exhumed and Gravehill. I'm not too hip on the scene in LA, aside from my friends bands, but Fatalist, Intronaut, Murder Construct, DIS, Gravehill, Winterthrall, Evildead, Destroy Judas, Anger As Art, Fueled By Fire, Warbringer, and Bad Acid Trip are all killer bands that you should check out.
SFM - Wow... That was an epic fuck up. I want to thank you for your time (Even though I don't even know where you're from!) and lastly, do you have any words for your fans?
Matt - Cheers, man, thanks for the interview, I appreciate the support! Thanks to everyone throughout the years who dubbed a tape, bought a 7", reviewed us in a fanzine, came to a show, bought a shirt or an album, and most importantly, to anyone who bought me a beer! We can't wait to get out and party with all you fuckers this summer!

Be sure to check out Exhumed at all of the following links to stay updated with tour dates and news on the new album!

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