Last year when I purchased the new SKULLVIEW opus, I expected Heavy Metal with no frills, pure dedication and ass kicking but in no case the violent Metal assault "Kings Of The Universe" represents!! Honestly this is the kind of album that brings fresh air in a world where average releases seems to be the norm these days, so nothing was more natural than to have Dean Tavernier talking about their last killer release. |
Inform our readers about your latest album "Kings Of The Universe" - an album that received praise from many of our writers by instantly entering our playlists. Were you satisfied with the recording budget, studio time and overall band performances?
"Kings Of The Universe" is eight songs of Heavy Metal intoxication, the likes of which frilly shirted posers will never understand!! The album picks up right where "Legends Of Valor" left off. As far as the recording budget goes, I don't know what kind of budget we had, but all I know is that the bill was paid, and we didn't have to fork out a dime, ha ha. In all actuality, I believe the cost of actually recording the album was less than on "Legends..." . The sound of "Kings..." is much higher quality, but that is simply because Sheffield worked on 300 recordings from the time we did "Legends..." to the time we went in to record "Kings..." so his skills improved over that period. That was good for us, because we spent less time, something like 24 hours total to record it. As far as our playing goes on the albim, we were a little tighter than we were when we recorded "Legends...". We were more comfortable in the studio this time, we just cranked up the amps and let it rip, just like we normally do.
Your cover art again strikes the heart of Metal with your barbarian sitting atop a fierce dragon. Did cover artist Kris Verwimp come up with the effort based on his images while submerged in SKULLVIEW's lyrics/music or did you have a hand in the concept?
I had told RIP a concept that I had, and it included the "Barbarian" riding atop a beast with a head in his hand, and wielding a weapon. Kris did his own thing with that concept, and we are very pleased with the outcome. I don't know if Kris was listening to SKULLVIEW or SHUB NIGGURATH while he was creating, you would have to ask Kris, haha. I have never had any direct communication with him, so I have never asked him how he comes up with the ideas. I do know that Kris will be contacted by us to do our future releases. We like his album covers and thihk that his style fits our music perfectly.
At the end of your previous interview in Snakepit #3 you mentioned new songs like "War Beneath The Sky" and "Wrath Of The Sorcerer" - does the latter appear on "Kings Of The Universe" under a new title or did you scrap the song in favor of other songs? Did you write more than was recorded on the album?
The title, "Wrath Of The Sorcerer", never got used, but I think it ended up turning into "Cobwebs And Shadowed Images". If I can remember correctly, maybe it was "Blast Furnace". Some of the music is the same as originally intended, but we refined the song so much, added here, took out there, and Earthquake decided to use some different lyrics he had, so "Wrath Of The Sorcerer" became no more. We still have the original lyrics from "Wrath Of The Sorcerer", so maybe on the next one. No, we didn't write more songs than we recorded. We wrote 7½ songs before we went to the studio. "Gleam Of The Skull Part 2" wasn't finished, so we improvised the 2nd half of that song during the recording. We will probably do the same on the next album. We did it that way on "Legend Of Valor", so I think we will continue to follow that same outline for future releases. You can tell there will be a downfall with a band when they start fucking around with the way they record their albums. Booking huge amounts of studio time, and experimenting with things that they normally couldn't do live simply ruins a band in the end. They lose track of why they are in the studio, and why they are even a band at all. So we will simply continue what we are doing, simply writing Heavy Metal songs and recording the same.
How well has "Legends Of Valor" sold stateside and worldwide - and which countries seem to support SKULLVIEW the most?
Germany is definitely the country that has given SKULLVIEW the best response. As far as sales figures, I don't really have a clue. I don't ask, don't care, and don't worry about it. We could sell 50 copies or 50,000, it doesn't matter to us. We are not here to sell albums. We are merely here to play fucking Heavy Metal??? It is simply a bonus for us that there are maniacs out there that like the Metal we play. In the States, I would bet that there are more questions in this interview than the number of albums sold here in the USA!! We don't have many fans over here, a few friends and old acquaintances from the underground, that's about it.
How did you secure Massacre Records overseas to release the new album - and will this deal continue past this current effort?
We didn't secure anything. It is clear that they somehow secured us. I don't have much contact with Massacre Records. We deal completely with RIP Records out of Chicago-based offices. The few times I have had contact were experiences that I do not wish to convey. The Massacre deal was made with RIP records, we don't know much about it, except that Massacre is releasing "Kings Of The Universe" in Europe. I have no knowledge of their dealings and they do not seem to think that they should do things expediently with SKULLVIEW. So what , we got a few cd's to listen to. It is good for the German fans and all who want to get the album over there, and we are extremely crazy over that. But it is clear that SKULLVIEW will not have any say in anything. That is fine, what comes around goes around. I don't know what is going on after this album with Massacre Records. As far as I know, it was only for "Kings Of The Universe". We are on the RIP label, and that is who we are loyal to. We care nothing for assholes out to take a buck at anothers expense. We are contracted with RIP for three albums, what RIP Records chooses to do is completely fine with us, because we know that RIP is behind SKULLVIEW, because they are metal to the bone!! RIP are Metalheads like you have never seen. They are not a bunch of fags sitting around trying to make profits, they are Hard Rockers trying to release good Metal and recover for their efforts.
Describe a SKULLVIEW live show - what can readers expect when they see you live? Would you ever include props/effects to enhance the Metallic atmosphere?
SKULLVIEW live shows are very simple, loud and drunken festivals!!! Live shows usually consist of ample amounts of alcohol and other good time substances. We play our Metal for the audience to get their heads banging all over the place. Dave thrashes around all over the place like a fucking lunatic. Pete just headbangs in the back usually, as the sounds of his blower bass rumble beer stains off the tables. Joe pounds away at his drumkit and drinks beer the entire show. I'm banging around. Earthquake, I don't really know what he is up to half the time. you never know what to expect from him. He is kinda like Dio in a sense that he will change an entire verse in a song live, do something he has never done before, or throw in verses were there weren't any, just on the spot ideas he has. It always sounds good though. I wouldn't rule out the use of some pyrotechnics, cannons, missiles, or permeating skulls if we ever got to that pont.
How do you feel about R.I.P. Records- does Stan push SKULLVIEW to the best of his ability? I think his label is one of the best at keeping to essential basics of no crap/ pure underground Metal releases that people will enjoy...
Stan doesn't push SKULLVIEW to do anything, that is what is cool about him. He just runs his label, and helps us out with whatever we need. RIP is the ideal label for SKULLVIEW. They think like we do, so we fit well with them. RIP doesn't support alot of people, and alot of people don't support them. RIP are not afraid to offend people in their advertisements, which is definately cool!! They release only "to the point" Metal!! Not bullshit that they think will sell!! They really don't care if people will enjoy it, they enjoy and that is all that matters.
Has SKULLVIEW always been into exploring mythological/ sword and sorcery styled lyrics? Were these topics that intrigued you in school and name some of your favorite writers/ books in the field?
We had to study some of that stuff in school growing up, but I hated doing homework and studying the stuff. So I never took a huge interest. We might have a couple of songs on an album that deal with that subject. But it is just telling a story. I like the mythological/sword and sorcery stuff, but I wouldn't say I'm a fanatic. I don't read anything like that stuff. I read very seldom, and when I do it is usually books about hitmen, true crime, hatred, and Metal zines. I don't know why I write lyrics such as the kind you mentioned. The music we play puts me in that mood.
Would you ever want to take SKULLVIEW to a higher level of audience acceptance or are you content in building a smaller/ ardent underground following that will stick by each release that comes out?
We wouldn't shy away from any higher level of acceptance, but it really doesn't matter to us. We will jam anyway. We like playing together and making the Metal that we do, so if it gets bigger, then fine. If it stays small, fine by us also. One thing that I won't do is try to push this band in a direction where we are trying to take it to a higher level. We will go about our business as usual.....writing, rehearsing, recording.......with an occasional show thrown in from time to time. We are not sending out our resumes to find careers playing Metal, our lives include playing Metal anyway!!
What are some of your favorite songs from Metal's history- songs that no Metalhead should go without hearing?
Trashed", "Holy Diver", "Phantom Of The Opera", "See You In Hell", "Satan's Curse", "Bridge Of Death", "Deny The Cross", "Screaming For Vengeance", etc...
Does each member's day job hamper SKULLVIEW's musical output or is that tension actually used to fuel your raw power and savage nature?
What we do in our personal lives is all a part of what SKULLVIEW is about. We bitch about work, and confrontations with assholes on the jobsites, then we release our stress and frustrations by doing what we love to do, playing Metal!!! If we were to concentrate 100% of everyday on SKULLVIEW...writing, rehearsing, etc...then the outcome of what we do may turn into something different. We write on instinct feeling. We let things flow naturally and our everyday lives and stresses must certainly have an impact. When we write it is an escape.
With the advent of CD's album lengths have grown longer- but your albums clock in around 35-40 minutes apiece. Where's your stance on albums- as you obviously prefer "all killer" over "filler"?
We record what we write, and we write what we intend to record. When we have enough material to put it on a full length album, we head to the studio. Simple as that!! Alot of bands try to impress by showing that they can write "quantity", but we simply want to write eight songs per album that make us headbang. Why put out albums that drag on with 12 or 14 songs that are boring and overdone. Personally, albums like that don't get listened to very frequently by myself, and when they do, it is usually not in its entirety. I want to sit down and be able to listen to an album in its entirety, without searching for the good parts and weeding through the tripe!!
Has there been much bad press towards your band- if so how does SKULLVIEW handle criticism?
If SKULLVIEW does get bad press, it is usually from Metal come lately's who are looking for the flavor of the month. We have been slagged for not being as melodic as one might expect from a "Power Metal" band, but that shows their ignorance. We are not a Power Metal band!! Never claimed to be! We are simply a Metal band!! We are not limited to melody. We don't care about fags who give us bad reviews, because we know who we are and what we can do to them when we get in their face. Bad reviews inspire us to keep offending these fags. If a review comes out telling us that we don't do enough solos, or Earthquake screams too much, then we know that we should probably cut down on the solos even more, and have Earthquake scream twice as much!! If the poser doesn't like what he hears, then we don't want a fag like him to give us a good review, EVER!! Many reviewers, not all, but a good number of them, I've found, don't know anything about Metal, and usually give good reviews to the trendy garbage.
Describe your website and how it's helped to further the cause for the band?
A dude by the name of Markus Stalder from Germany created it for us. He knows what he is doing, and made a killer page for us. There is information on releases, bio, news, etc..... We have come in contact with some real Metalheads around the globe because of the webpage, and introduced them to the music they were looking to hear as well. It is an easy way to get in contact with us.
Where do you view the American underground Metal scene versus the overseas underground- any hopes for the future to make the scene even stronger?
There are good bands in the underground scene, but most of the American Metalheads seem to be looking overseas for their music. The true Americans don't care where a band is from, as long as they are into Metal. It seems as though the European Metalheads are into music from all over the globe, and they are diehard about obtaining it, they buy zines, demos, send mail, etc.... I have never been to Europe to see what it is really like, but I get enough mail from overseas that it sure seems like Metal is much more serious there. In America, we have our share of diehards that are like this, but there are 10 times as many people calling themselves underground when they really shouldn't be. They claim they are udnergorund because they bought the new SIX FEET UNDER at Best Buy. That is in underground, and it definitely is the mark of a weak scene.
Have you begun to write for the third album- and will the songs stay in a similar vein as the first 2 efforts or will you try to mix things up a bit in the future?
We are well underway with the new album. We have been doing nothing but working on new songs. We have five songs written, and one in the works. We need to write one more song, then we will make an appointment to record the songs. Some tentative song titles are: "Seek The Old Man For Knowledge", "The Palace Of The Boundless Cold", "Time For Violence (Metalvolk)", "Leviticus", and "The Darkness Speaks". People that have heard the material have told us that the music is as good as any of our other material, and that it still is identifiable as SKULLVIEW. I've said before, we don't strive to play a song in a certain style. What comes together naturally ends up being a SKULLVIEW song.
What are your likes and dislikes about the music business?
Music shouldn't be a business. When you throw the business aspect into music, then it is no longer something that comes from your gut. Businesses are in it to make money, that is the entire reason for their existence. As far as the business aspect of music, it is a joke and has ruined many a great band. I could list them forever here, but there is no point. I don't like dealing with record labels, except RIP. The bands usually get screwed if they don't play by the rules of the label. Fuck the labels, they are the false ones!!!
Any thoughts to add that we didn't cover in these questions?
First off, I enjoyed this interview. Thank you for letting me ramble on a little bit. Look for a new album from us this summer. You know what to expect, we aren't going to surprise you. You will assuredly hear Metal again!!! Keep the mail coming and do your part in the underground. We hope to get a vacation to come to Europe and play some of our stuff live, and we will see you eventually. Until then, tear up the frilly shirts, smack someone in the teeth when they look cross at you, and keep intimidating those who aren't like you and I!!! Blast Your Fucking Face Off!!!
Contact: Dean Tavernier, P.O. Box 2364, Valparaiso, IN, 46383, USA