– Hello, thanks for answering to our questions. What are you currently up to? How does it feel having your new album almost out?
A: Actually, our album came out on May 8 here in the US (e.d: yes, we actually sent the interview 3 months ago…). It was great to get it out as it is always hard to bottle your anticipation between getting the album completed and it being released. It’s been very well received thus far, so we are thrilled about that. We recently completed a tour with Origin, Decrepit Birth, Aborted, Rings of Saturn and Battlecross and will head out with Fear Factory, Voivod, Misery Index, Revocation and many others starting July 6. After that we are in Europe to play several festivals. As you can see, we have quite the schedule.
– This new record is entitled “Monolith of Inhumanity”. What are your expectations? And are you guys pleased with the final result?
A: Of course we hope it is well-received, but it is impossible to predict the reactions folks will have to the music. Regardless of what we do some long-time fans will claim we’ve changed whilst others will be pleased at the evolution of the band. I think we have a very eclectic and strong group of songs in this record. There are elements of Cattle’s sound that will be constants in any release we do and this one is no exception. However, we always try to add new facets to the music to keep ourselves and our listeners excited and interested. The combination of the traditional Cattle approach with a sprinkling of new textures is what we have been trying to do for the past few records. We are happy with the songs and very pleased with the recording.
– To start getting a bit into this new opus; what meaning does the name of “Monolith of Inhumanity” hold? I guess it has a certain link to the lyrics on the album so, could you please shed some light on them?
A: The monolith on the cover image and in the title refers to the elephant in the room that is human failure. The lyrics have concepts that all point to that conclusion. Looking at the lyrics and song titles, they all feature a single facet of human failing and absurdity. Put all the songs, lyrics and individual concepts together and you have the whole that is a criticism of humanity (yes that means us too) and our behaviour to the outside world and to us.
– This is your first full-length album with Derek Engemann; how has everything been with him so far? What has Derek brought new to CATTLE DECAPITATION?
A: Derek comes from a black metal and brutal death metal background. His writing contributions are definitely appreciated and his style is a good resource for the band to have. If anything, I think his riffs helped diversify the record and keep us firmly on a path to being more dynamic. Live, he is a really good performer with a commanding stage presence.
– There are several things that really stand out on this brand new “Monolith of Inhumanity”, one of those things I think is the great songwriting. It seems like is really well-cared, even every small twists have its meaning. Did anything change during the writing process?
A: We wanted every second of the songs to count. and tried to be very conscious of arrangements. There was kind of an outline for what we wanted to accomplish with each song and through that we tried to be as efficient as possible when writing. No bullshit excursions, just the desire to dispose to any riff or passage that was not necessary. We’ve improved as editors, so being able to ax a part for the sake of the song became a bit of an accomplishment. Haha.
– In fact is a really ambitious and risky album, very diverse. Was this something you were striving for?
A: I think we let whatever changes or additions to our style occur naturally. There was not a conscious effort to include elements that might seem more accessible. If we wanted that we definitely wouldn’t have allowed 95% of the record to be screeching insanity.
– Anyway you haven’t lost your essence and you’ve kept your trademarks intact. How easy is to “renew” your sound still sounding 100% CATTLE DECAPITATION?
A: I think the frantic element of our music has kind of become our trademark. This gives us freedom to incorporate disparate styles into the music and still have our vibe. Song structure, note choice; these are both things that contribute to this trait. For better or worse this is something we have to offer listeners. Lots of bands can supply speed and heaviness and we do that as well, but with an added air of chaos and uneasiness. I choose a lot of my riffs based upon how it will add tension to the part immediately previous to it. I think the tension and release dynamic helps this record sound more complete than others of ours.
– I personally believe you have evolved since “The Harvest Floor”, in many different ways, and even gone a step further but, what does this new album mean to you? How could you say you have guys evolved as a band since your previous album came out?
A: I think we finally got the album we’ve wanted out of ourselves. Harvest Floor came very close (and I’m sure in two years we’ll say the same of ‘Monolith’, haha), but with this record I think we have all the components together. It is just a more realized and honed version of where we have been heading. I hope we always will evolve. The last thing I would want to do is make ‘Monolith’ part 2 for the next record. Evolving, to us, does not mean that you abandon your original mission; you just have to try to perfect what you set out to do. There is always room to move forward and no matter what, there is always room for improvement. Regardless of people’s reactions, there is always a space for us or any band to improve.
– As I said, you have gone a step further on what you did with “The Harvest Floor”, using a bit more those “crazy” and “epic” parts. Will you keep on exploring this a bit more on future releases?
A: Each new Cattle album contains trace musical elements from past albums. Going with that pattern, the successor to ‘Monolith’ will most-likely have the “epic” and “crazy” parts you mentioned. We just try to incorporate all influences, both past and present, into an album that feels natural and flows. I would love to have a record that people put on and can listen to beginning to end and not feel compelled to skip songs here and there. Each track should have a logical place in the song order and play off the previous and following track in a logical manner. The more fat we can cut, the better.
– The doses of melody you have added have also brought an interesting edge to this new album, I’d even dare say it has created a more extreme album, maybe because of the contrast between that melody and your usual brutal basis. What are your thoughts on this? Now that the album is done, how important could you say are this kind of contrasts for “Monolith of Inhumanity”?
A: Great question. I think that in hindsight certain songs have a lot more weight because of the dynamics contained within them. On ‘Kingdom of Tyrants’ there is a middle portion of the track where the strings are playing a droney two-chord progression as a backdrop to Travis’s epic vocal approach. The entire rest of the song has been an exercise in speed, intensity and heaviness, while the drone segment is very bleak and dream-like. These two dynamics butted up against one another just enhance the parts individually and as part of the song. Other melodic elements on the album operate the same way. I would like to be able to (in the future) employ melodic passages as seamlessly as possible. Nothing should seem forced or contrived, just a welcomed addition to the song as a whole.
– Anyway I could say this opus mixes everything you’ve done before; all the elements you have used in your past so are you still shaping your own sound? Is there always room for this?
A: There is always room to evolve and I think when it comes time to write the next record there will a further stretching of the boundaries of the music, our abilities and vibe. Stagnation is death. There are bands that write a great record and then try to rewrite it x amount of times by using the same formula over and over. I would rather take what we’ve learned that is successful, apply it to new songs and then carefully craft what new aspects will make their appearance in a song. Our sound is constantly evolving and progressing, yet the fundamental elements and vibe that Cattle have had since the beginning are still present. Have we become better songwriters over time? Yes. Have we become more technically proficient over time? Yes. The hectic and tense vibe of the music remains though, despite whatever advancements we make.
– All this being said; how could you describe “Monolith of Inhumanity” in just 3 words?
A: Frantic, Emotional, Intense
– Once more Wes Benscoter crafted the artwork. What does it represent?
A: The cover depicts the devolution of man and the rapid transformation back in to our previous ape form. The scene is set in a landfill, which the devolving humans have created.
Wes did a great job again. He has a knack for taking our cover ideas and turning them into something we could not have even imagined.
– On the album you’ve had several guest artists as members of DEVOURMENT or CEPHALIC CARNAGE. How did everything start? How did you come up with the idea? And what have they brought with their cooperation?
A: We are friends and past tour-mates with both bands and had talked of having them as guests in the past. Travis has sung on a couple Cephalic records and this time (since we recorded in Denver) their entire line-up past and present was available to do backups on one song and Leonard contributed his signature vocals on one track as well. Mike Majewski from Devourment appeared on the song ‘Projectile Ovulation’ during a clincher segment where his super deep vocals just enhanced the heaviness of the riffs. Mike recorded his parts remotely, but the entire Cephalic crew was in the studio for this session. They are good buddies and hilarious to have around.
– You have always stood for animal rights, so I can’t help you asking something in concern. In Spain a lot of people are still fighting, after so many years, against horrible bull fighting (in fact have been banned in different cities). What are your thoughts on this shameful act unluckily considered part of the Spanish “culture”?
A: Just south of the border here in San Diego, they have bullfighting in Mexico. I have coworkers that are enthusiasts and every season go down and watch the bullfights. A lot of the interest seems to be in the drama and ritual of the event that unfortunately has to end with the death of the animal. As a tradition, it seems these type of events are the hardest to abandon. The crowd participation becomes something that people can experience together and therefore enjoy. Despite the obvious cruelty of the «sport» people will hold onto it for the sake of tradition and for camaraderie with their peers. Fortunately, younger people seem to be moving away from these practices. It might take a few more generations for these type of things to go extinct.
A: TOUR, TOUR, TOUR! We will hopefully see you in Spain on an upcoming tour or at the festivals we’ll be at in August. As for the US, we will be on the road off and on into 2013. Internationally, we will be hitting South America, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
A: Thanks for your time and come out and see us on tour!