Monday, February 9, 2009

Interview With: SALOME

Black Tides of Destruction: SALOME

Kim Kelly for Hails & Horns Magazine

Once in awhile, if you’re lucky, a band comes along that totally stops you in your tracks, blows your mind, and changes your life in some way. Some unfortunate people go through life without ever once feeling that indescribable rush of emotion that comes with discovering a piece or music that really speaks to them; a piece of music that resonates deep within the marrow and tendons and bones of their very being, and makes their heart stop for one – short -breath. I felt that way about the new Samothrace record, I felt that way the first time I heard Bathory, and I felt that way about Salome’s “Black Tides” the first time I heard it; I still get shivers whenever the song comes on. I’m almost afraid to see them play live…my heart might just explode. We’ll see how I hold up after seeing them twice this month – with Ocean and Batillus on February 15th as part of Brandon Stusoy’s Pitchfork-approved Show No Mercy series, and again at the Scion Rock Fest in Hotlanta. Until then, I’ll leave it to Salome’s drummer, Aaron, to tell their tale.

“There are three of us. Kat does the vocals, Rob plays the guitars, and I (Aaron) play the drums. We started playing together in 2006. Rob and I had played in other bands together previously. We heard Kat sing once and thought she was great. Then, Kat and I met at a music store and realized that we liked some of the same bands and were both interested in doing something slow and heavy, so we did. Kat brought in the name Salome. The whole story of Salome and John the Baptist is pretty awesome. Decapitation is totally metal. “ Salome is…
”Slow and heavy. I think the attempts to break down music into super specific categories and genres and sub-genres is kinda funny. There are just so many, it gets confusing. We don't really think about it. We are interested in so much different music, but I suppose some of the influences on the record would be Black Sabbath, Goatsnake, Boris, Cathedral, Neurosis and Isis.” Vendetta Records released Salome’s self-titled debut full-length fairly recently (summer 2008).

”Stefan from Vendetta heard us on myspace and made contact. We liked a lot of the other stuff he had released so it seemed like a good fit. The response has been great. The songs on the record really developed from the jams we had the first few times we got together as a band. We refined them over the course of a few months and then started recording at a friend's house. Then it became impossible for us to schedule with each other and it took awhile to get back on track. We ended up taking the tracks to another studio to finish up, where we re-recorded a few tracks and mixed it down. So it took us two or three months spread out over two years to get it done. It was totally ridiculous.”

Kat handles all the vocals and writes all of the lyrics for Salome, which she bases on life experience, history and mythology. Her cavernous roar and jagged shrieks complement the monolithic grooves and towering riffs found in Salome’s doomed jams perfectly, and also find a home on the other end of the extreme metal spectrum – spazzed-out grind (her vocals can be heard on the new Agoraphobic Nosebleed album).

In regards to sharing a vocalist:

“It hasn't been a problem so far. I'm sure that when people hear her vocals on the ANb stuff they'll be stoked. If people check us out that haven't heard us before after hearing her vocals on ANb, that's good for us. They're a great band.”

As far as touring goes…

We're still trying to work that out. We would like to play more this year, it's just a matter of working everybody's schedules out. We got an email a couple months ago asking if we'd be up for playing a free show headlined by Mastodon and Neurosis (Scion Rock Fest) and we said, "fuck yeah!" It's really hard to choose who we’re most excited to see, all of the bands playing are really great. I guess it will just depend on the schedule. Seeing Mastodon play some new songs will be pretty sweet.

Parting shots:

What songs on the new record are you most excited to play live?

”I like playing Black Tides. It's really heavy and it's simple and catchy, so it's a lot of fun to play. We're looking forward to playing some newer stuff as well.”

You guys hail from Virginia, which is well-known for its potent metal scene. From what I’ve seen and heard, it’s very tight-knit and supportive, and the bands themselves are killer! What is it about VA that breeds so much high-quality heavy metal?

”It probably has something to do with the traffic”

Can you name a few bands – Virginia-based or otherwise – that you feel deserve some more attention?

”Three Faces of Eve, Horsefang, King Giant. Check out the other bands on Vendetta as well. Black Shape of Nexus, Omega Massif, Mount Logan.”

Have you begun writing any new material? I know you’re doing a split with Thou soon – can you tell me what’s going on with that?

”We'll be recording our side of it in February. It will be one song we've been playing out live for awhile and one brand new song. We've played with Thou a few times and think they're really awesome, so we're looking forward to it.”

What upcoming records are you most looking forward to in 2009?

”Mastodon, Shrinebuilder, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, 16.”

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