I sat down to chat with Josh Elmore of Cattle Decapitation last week during their tour stop in Seattle on the bands headlining tour around North America. It has been a couple of years since the band has done a headline tour here so it was cool getting to talk with him about the tour and their music. After the interview I covered the show, you can check out the show review and photos here.
Interview (check out the audio link below for the full interview):
Global Music Mayhem, Patrick Burt: How has the tour been for you so far?
Josh Elmore: It’s actually been really good. The lineup is excellent, and everyone is the bands as musicians and individuals are really cool. I think we’re about a week in and it ends November 22, so we’ve got a good long while to go. So no complaints so far. The shows are going well so with that, full speed ahead!
Has there been any moment that has stood out to you so far?
I don’t know to be honest. It has just been consistently good. So it’s hard to say anything and we as a group are fortunate to be able to not have to say “everything’s been cool but this one show was amazing”. We’ve been lucky and everything has been good but obviously, there will be points where some things maybe a little less than good, but for right now we are fortunate to say it has all been good.
How does it feel getting to headline again?
Well, I think ideally we feel most content to be insulated almost as a direct support band or something like that. But, this is good in the way that it is forcing us to play a longer set to justify headlining. Now there is a lot of blast beats and it can get a bit on the grind side at times and it feels like you made need a cap of 45 minutes because you’re just there going “Okay these guys are done. We get it” but you know some of the songs we are playing are not just from the past couple records. We’re playing some earlier stuff for the songs we’ve chosen and there is a little more space in between them so it can have a bit of a different dynamic within the course of the whole set to keep people interested. Hopefully. So it’s good to be out and extending ourselves more than normally. We’re not just doing the get-in, ferocious blast beat and get out. We actually have to pace ourselves, so it’s good for keeping us disciplined I guess you could say. Plus we can kind of play it by ear you know? Like one night we could add this song, take that one out and everything. Also, we’ve brought a little more production for these shows. Which may sound kind of ridiculous and it’s not like we have flash pots or mannequins on stage or anything like that. So what we are doing may seem minimal but for us, as a band it’s a lot. Like for us, we’ve got a banner, screens, certain lighting things, and smokey things, so it’s a big step for us. We’ll see where that leads and hopefully, people will feel it enhances our live show and adds to our live shows so we’ll see.
Are there any certain songs on this set that you expect the fans will freak out over a little bit more than others?
There’s a couple. There’s one that people have been asking for a lot that we played a bunch after “Monolith Of Inhumanity” came out. Then we just stopped and we hadn’t played it since. So we brought that back into the set because people have been asking for it. There’s a song off “The Harvest Floor” that people had been wanting us to play that we hadn’t played in a few years. But yeah, There are just a few older songs. Not like super old songs from “Human Jerky” or “Homovore” but, we’ve got a little bit more than a bunch of songs off of “The Anthropocene Extinction” and two off of “Monolith Of Inhumanity“. So yeah it’s got a bunch of songs off of a bunch of different albums but we’re playing like an hour and twelve minutes. And I don’t even know if that includes the final song we came back and played or just the set proper but it said an hour and twelve minutes. With that said it’s a good culmination of the last 10 years of the band.
I’m really excited to hear that you’ve brought back some of the old songs and that it’s a good culmination of the last 10 years, because, you guys re-issued a bunch of albums and called it “The Decade Of Decapitation” so it’s pretty cool that we’ll get to hear some older songs from the albums in that collection.
Yeah it’s cool, plus the set has a really nice flow to it so it’s not like us just standing there looking at each other, and hopefully, that will feed into the overall positive response to the entire thing.
Since we talked about some of the albums from “The Decade Of Decapitation” set and such. Is there any word of any new album or a hint of a release at any time?
We… We have to write the thing. Travis (Vocalist) was super on top of it and he got his concept and just the sort of artwork he wanted associated for it. He called up to Wes Benscoter who’s done our album covers since 2002 which was “To Serve Man” era. And Wes was very receptive to it and thought it was a great idea. So on that end, Travis is already hashing it out with the layout of the album and such. He said, ” alright, now all you guys have to do is write the music”. So we are on this tour until literally the day before Thanksgiving and then after that, there is nothing planned for the rest of the year, but I highly doubt we are just going to run straight into the practice room. We just got off a three-and-a-half-week European tour right before we came and did this so we’ve had a big chunk of touring. We already have some riffs, so I would say realistically we will have to really hit it hard. Our goal is to write, write, write over the course of 2018 and try to get into the studio ideally in late 2018 but it may end up being 2019 but who knows?! I could be wrong and I know it will be a long time in between records but we’ve been touring a lot with this one and we’ve been fortunate enough to have people want us to come back. We do have three weeks for the record already confirmed for February and so far that’s it. From there it will be blinders on. This will also be the first record where not every member lives in the same town because Dave (drummer) lives in Seattle and the rest of us are in San Diego. So there will be a lot of dropboxing and face timing and all that crap and sending files to each other with riffs and all that, but yeah we’ll just have to see. It is a new challenge and we will confront it and move ahead.
Are we able to find out or get any hint as to what the main theme of the new album is?
If I was to tell you it would really be me speculating. I have the general jest of it but still kind of figuring it out. I mean for example with the last record (The Anthropocene Extinction) the album artwork tied into the lyrics and from first glance you’re probably thinking “Okay, and where are they going to go from here?” you know? I don’t want to say we are painting ourselves into a corner because I don’t think so, but, Travis has a clear kind of concept for it. I mean I could probably say “the cover is going to have this and this on it” but I don’t think it would serve what the final product will be. Because it’s going to morph a bunch. And I mean that from the conversations he and I have had about the concept and some of his lyrics who knows what’s going to pop up. I would be giving you information that I am barely knowledgeable about. It may be a totally different product from what I am conveying now.
Fair enough. Plus it seems there are almost little as you can say “Easter eggs” inside of everything. Like on “The Anthropocene Extinction” album you can see the towers from “Monolith Of Inhumanity”.
And the refinery machine from “The Harvest Floor”!
A lot of bands recently have been doing a lot of things where they go through their discography and pick out one album to play in full cover to cover. For you personally, is there anyone album you would want to play in full?
We were at one point in time try to play “Monolith Of Inhumanity” live but it almost felt like a too soon kind of thing. Bands are saying “oh it’s the 10th anniversary of such and such album” and “Monolith Of Inhumanity” came out in 2012 so it’s only five years old. So we’re halfway there! We were like “that would be really cool and people would be really into that” but we were really more caught up on the fence about doing it you know? We kind of thought “does this seem tacky because it’s only been five years?” so because of that we decided against that. Honestly, I don’t know but in a few years that would be a good one to play because for a lot of people, that was their introduction to us even though we had been a band since about 1997-1998. We’d been doing Metal Blade albums for 10 years prior to that but probably because of the songwriting and production on it being a little more modern, that’s where we kind of jumped on the radar for them. Even though some people really like a record and hold it holds a sentimental value to them because that was their intro into a band or something. So maybe in a few years, it will be a good one to play for those reasons. Personally though, and it would be a ton of work because some of the earlier songs weren’t recorded to a click it was more of a fell type of time signature like “Humanure” or “Karma. Bloody. Karma” there are songs off of those that people want to hear and for us, it would be more about the challenge because we’d have to devote so much time to relearn those songs. There’s some songs on “Karma. Bloody. Karma” where I’m like “woah!!! I have no idea how to play this anymore” because it feels like I have no idea what the hell is going on anymore. The songs would have to be dissected and for Derek (bass) and Dave (drums) since they’re not new by years anymore but, I mean for them it would be like “okay so we are going to have to figure out this old record and try to figure out what the heck is going on”. It just doesn’t seem like an efficient use of our time. But to separate that question a little bit I would like to eventually start dabbling with some songs from that era and do them live. We did “Success is hanging by the neck” in Europe so that was fun and it’s just a ripper of a song so it’s not super hard or anything. I’d really like to revisit so “To Serve Man” songs with this line-up. You hear the song recorded but I think it would be even more ripping with Dave playing drums. So I think the most realistic would still be “Monolith Of Inhumanity” in a couple of years. Plus when you think about it we’ve basically played all of “The Anthropocene Extinction” already anyways minus like one song. Which that one song we are actually playing tonight.
Thank you so much for your time Josh!
Listen to the full interview below: