Considering that the meaning of the word incantation refers to a series of words that are believed to have a magical effect when sung or spoken out loud, how does something so fundamentally spiritual as ritual chanting corresponds with the word blood, that has primarily physical connotations? What picture one should have in mind while pronouncing your name?
Paul Riedl: Blood Incantation is actually a very fitting name, as the inherently spiritual implication of ritual is ultimately representative of a spell, and it is this to which the name speaks ˗ the spell of humanity, of culture’s indoctrinated hallucinations, this ritual of civilization and society which casts further spells upon you every day through language, media, etc. You believe yourself to be some person, in some country on some planet in some universe of chaos, and maybe you’re right. Maybe you are merely a particle of a shared hallucination, a cell sharing programming code, with cultural organs directing you to consume and participate in this mass cultural hysteria stemming from the ego’s I, myself complex of individual human identity. Humans themselves are the physically represented blood of this spell, as whether you are rational or religious, humanity came about through this automated chaos ritual of evolution or some esoteric conscious ritual of creation. Either way, humans are this adaptive cosmic byproduct, like waste or bacteria. Brute machines can run automatically, advanced computers can generate their own programming code, adapting to errors. A sufficiently sophisticated simulation could absolutely rectify its own internal development errors, slowly pushing ˗ quite a bit of time as the human mind would be able to consider ˗ artificial intelligence further along its own evolutionary path. As far as imagery, I would suggest visualizing ancient alien humanoid reptiles genetically engineering your species in a Sumerian laboratory solely to put the human race to work as slaves and to be human batteries ˗ thousands of years of stored energy within each you ˗ suitable for astral predation. The implication that your many belief systems on Earth and this way of life as civilization are meaningless is perhaps an understatement.
Have you ever thought that incorporating the name of one of the most universally recognizable and influential death metal bands into your own might have been perceived as a lack of creativity and somewhat of a cheap gesture, that could lead people to write you off as just another in the endless line of indistinctive Incantation replicas?
Paul Riedl: I’ve never seen a single person criticize Grave Miasma, or even Miasmal, where one half of their name is legendary in its influence, and still a band, and the other half’s sole album is a $90 CD due to its cult infamy. We all love Dead Congregation and Mournful Congregation in the same day. Everybody loves Darkthrone, Dark Angel, Morbid Angel, Morbid, Angelcorpse, Corpse, Cannibal Corpse, Corpse Molestation, Molested, etc. It’s death metal, dude. There’s only so many evil and scary-sounding brutal words out there. 70% of metal bands recycle words for their band names, album titles and song titles. I don’t consider myself immune to this. If you don’t like our band you can go listen to the actual endless line of indistinctive Incantation replicas. We don’t ape the Incantation style, and anyone claiming we lack creativity better be in a damn great band themselves with that kind of judgment.
To say that your unreadable logo doesn’t do the justice to your refined, idiosyncratic music would be almost an understatement. Do you also feel there’s a massive disproportion between the two?
Paul Riedl: Absolutely not. The logo was intentionally designed to be impenetrable. It is violent and alive, thriving, hovering, glowing like a fiery swarm of evil alien molecular structure, a viral barrier fiercely impaling your mind. Like any occult sigil, if you have not been initiated into the symbol’s workings it will remain meaningless, ideally even indistinct to you. As soon as you have been shown the key, it is instantly recognizable, and immediately reveals deeper levels of intricacy as you proceed inward, with the overall concept getting larger while each refined component gets smaller, like a fractal. Like the name, the visceral nature of alien humanoid manipulation in an occult context is very present in the aesthetic, as soon as you know how to see and interpret them. Why is there a pyramid in the art? What’s with the cuneiform? What do these lyrics mean? Nobody is putting the pieces together, they just look at one element at a time with the name, the logo, the space thing, etc. It all fits together perfectly when you realize it. Another thing is that when people attempt to criticize the logo, they fail to realize that its illegibility was intentional. Every time someone cannot read it, its design elements have won. And to see all of these weird fuckers bragging about how they have failed to penetrate my intentionally impenetrable logo, as if this is some mistake on my part, is truly entertaining. Anyway, our band name is Blood Incantation, we don’t sound like Incantation and our band logo is insane.
The front cover of Interdimensional Extinction EP is one of those images that leave a lasting impression, very powerful stuff. Could you please explain how it corresponds with the EP title and the lyrics?
Paul Riedl: The cover and EP title are mutually essential, I think. The music is just what the band sounds like, which is ultimately just the manifestation of the type of death metal that we like. The cover and EP title tie in more with the lyrics, which are mostly concerned with human/planetary/galactic/universal death. We take all forms of death in the universe into consideration and just focus on one step further than most, into the interdimensional fields of existence, between the spheres, beneath the planes. The beings which reside in these interdimensional fields take sustenance from human death, and in our themes we explore the possibility that these beings too can be made to go extinct.
The first song on Interdimensional Extinction EP is entitled The Vth Tablet (Of Enûma Eliš). According to Wikipedia, there are seven tablets containing the script of that particular Babylonian creation myth. What precisely is the significance behind the fifth one?
Paul Riedl: The fifth tablet is simply the one with the least amount of recovered, or at least released texts available, which allowed me more room with the lyrics to explore broader concepts. I wanted to do the song about synthetic human origins, but more on a directed panspermia slant, hence the asteroid. I love the Sumerian creation mythology and I wish I had more books about them. Anybody out there with access to these texts, or hi-res scans, please feel free to send them to us via Dark Descent Records. This goes for anything cosmic, esoteric, mystical or morbid.
Despite being dexterous, technically proficient musicians, you never seem to forget that musicianship should always serve the flow and the main intention of the songs. Is it sometimes hard to find the balance between the two, and to deliberately sacrifice your playing ability for the sake of more effective songwriting?
Paul Riedl: Isaac can play anything and Morris is a real shredder, but I am really only as good at guitar as each new Blood Incantation song allows. We just want to push ourselves with the music and make it as awesome as we possibly can at that time. It might sound ludicrous, but in all honesty we just really like to play this music, exactly as it is. This is literally just the exact type of music we want to play and so of course every component is going to be something that we want to physically play, that at all times would be fun and exciting to play based on our mutual musical interests as well as each individual’s abilities. The flow and main intention of our songs are just riffs man. We just love cool riffs and we especially love to play cool riffs. At the time we recorded the EP, which was in July 2013, a lot of those riffs were the absolute hardest we could play, but the music on the EP is not even that complex, the arrangements were harder than the actual riffs, you know? Each of us grows as a musician within the band with each new composition. Playing the old songs now, especially Mephitic Effluvia from 2011, is so much more fun now that we can shred through them even harder. If we had been able to play them then how we can now, the EP would obviously have been better. But as a document from that time we are happy with the material on the EP. As far as songwriting, this is no problem whatsoever. We write the songs exactly how we want them, the song is never in control of the riffs, but the riffs command the song. Which is to say, the riffs dictate the song structure, so the end result of writing is simply the natural progression of the riffs. No limiting or overplaying necessary.
Interdimensional Extinction EP has been highly ranked on many 2015 end year lists and pretty much everyone is on board that there is something special about you. Did you need that external positive feedback to help you put things in perspective and to fully grasp how outstanding your music is or were you completely certain that you are on to something even before anyone else was?
Paul Riedl: Honestly, external opinion is only relevant to the record label, because if people won’t buy the record then his investment is out the window. I mean, we love that people love it, it’s dandy, and why would we not like people to like our band? We want to play awesome shows packed with crazy people who are into this type of shit attending, not a bunch of dicks acting too cool for school because we’re weird and have clean parts. But like I said earlier, we already like our band man. We play this music exactly as it is precisely because we want to be able to hear music that sounds exactly like this when we put on a record that looks exactly like ours, with lyrics and an aesthetic exactly like ours. That’s it, that’s why we made it. A simple pleasure in life, a well-put-together vinyl record. We have fun at band practice and nobody on the internet has any effect on that. A lot of people I guess have problems with social perception, but when I listen to music, I listen to it because I like it, and my favorite bands are who they are because of how they sound and the riffs they write, their aesthetics and how they bring it all together. So I am not unaware of these concepts being scrutinized in my own records, but like I said, this band looks, sounds and is how we like it to be.
Is there anything about Interdimensional Extinction EP that you feel could have been done better?
Paul Riedl: Probably the EP production, but it is simply the best that could be made of the initial pieces. We encountered a lot of problems and insane setbacks with the record, and it had to be remixed countless times. We self-produced it, lost a lot of money, and two years of time. It was all right in the end though, the final re-mixing from Damian really brought out the best from those songs. We will have a chance soon to present the band’s true sound, so I would say to anyone who, like us, felt that the EP could have sounded better and been played harder, our new album Starspawn is coming.
Speaking of that new Blood Incantation album, would it be reasonable to expect Spectral Voice to release full-length in 2016 as well? What have both bands been up to recently and what are they going to be up to until the end of the year?
Paul Riedl: Things have been slammed and insane around here as always. In the riff quadrant, Blood Incantation just recorded our debut full-length Starspawn last week and will be cutting the master reels the week after next. It comes out on Dark Descent Records this August. Both bands will be touring all over the country this year. First in June both bands are flying to Canada for Covenant Festival. Then Spectral Voice will crush the entire country coast-to-coast with the mighty Undergang for the entire month of July, then in August Starspawn is unleashed and Blood Incantation hits the whole US in September. October is going to rule as both bands fly out to California Death Fest to party with everybody we’ve ever met and then some. Lastly we are hoping to get Spectral Voice into the studio for the winter to record our full-length, which will be even bleaker and more funereal than the demo. The Spectral Voice/Phrenelith split 7” will be out sometime as well as the vinyl version of Necrotic Doom, both on Dark Descent. We also recorded our tracks last year for the Spectral Voice/Chthe’ilist split on Parasitic Records, but I don’t think they have recorded yet. Anyway yes, you can expect quite a bit from both bands in 2016.
Considering that there is only so many hours and so much energy one can invest into whatever one does, do you think that giving 100% of your heart and soul to both Blood Incantation and Spectral Voice could become difficult at some point down the line, with both bands hopefully getting exponentially bigger in coming years?
Paul Riedl: I give 100% of my heart and soul to these bands every day man, these bands are my life. This is not a hobby for the entertainment of so-called internet metal community, this is how we live. We all have jobs and are slaves to the system just like everyone else, but our entire lives are consumed by thoughts of what we can do for these bands. All we want to do is make these bands. We have all been in bands our whole lives, myself for 14 years, and there is nothing in life I get more enjoyment from or am more dedicated to than playing guitar, going on tour, recording and putting out records. I am always trying to do better than my old recordings, always learning. Isn’t everybody? All of my tapes, all my old bands have been slowly improving on each component over an incredibly crazy and chaos-ridden period of time, so for the metal community to think that their expectations have any effect on how I’ve already been living my life for over a decade, I mean, that just sounds crazy. I love these bands and they are absolutely pure representations of wild human spirit, we are free souls whose hearts are raging and we are here to set your world on fire. We are not in bands to suck, we want all of our bands to rule. People think their weird social media bullshit sets our bar? Our tastes set our bar. So we are going to make each band as good as we can, simply because this is exactly what we like to see in other bands. If you guys don’t like our full-lengths, I can’t really say that’s too bad, but at least I’d like to say thanks for listening and maybe please don’t be an eBay hawk and just give the records to someone you think would like it. At the end of the day, I believe if you like either of the bands already, I think you’ll be happy with what they’re each doing for their full-lengths.
What do you think are the features that separate and distinguish Blood Incantation and Spectral Voice from other death metal bands of your generation, and from each other for that matter?
Paul Riedl: Personally, I can only guess that, perhaps it’s simply because these bands are real. These are not internet bands. They aren’t art bands. Come see us on tour, we are friendly freaks whose lives are dedicated to filthy, rotten, cosmic, occult and heavy underground energies, not art school or internet weekend-warriors with short hair, fancy clothes and half-stacks. We record and manufacture our musical presentations as is necessary to physically participate in this amazing environment called underground metal. You like cool records in your record collection, right? Try adding one to it from your heart and soul instead of your wallet. It can be quite the process, but it’s an indescribable feeling. Anyway man, we are not casual about this, and perhaps I come off as kind of intense about this stuff, simply because this is who we are and this is what we do. We are not hiding, we don’t obfuscate our names on our records. People seem to think we don’t have facebooks or websites because we’re so obscure, but the reality is we just don’t give a shit man. We don’t have time for that. That’s not what we’re into this shit for, we are here to play metal. There’s no props at our show, no makeup or capes or tough-guy voice between songs, just some bulletbelts, longhairs and huge amps. And you know, some pointy guitars. Man, I hate this whole internet crucifixion, millennial media world we live in, it’s so superficial and fake. I get that technology is just an increasingly prevalent part of modern life, but people spend all this damn time on these screens bitching about and analyzing bands like they have any idea why one band did one thing and another band did something else. They’re just not qualified! Simple as that. If you aren’t in a band that can make a good song, then you have no business analyzing or publicly talking about someone else’s song. That’s the main problem with the internet, it gives everybody a voice. Anyway, we play the riffs we like to play because they sound like what we like to hear when we put records on. The records look the way they do because we like records that look like that. Our merch looks like the kind of merch we would actually buy from a band, which is to say that most bands’ merch does not, at least to us. So there is the pattern. It is this transparency, this tangible reality and personal human touch that I think sets Spectral Voice and Blood Incantation apart from many other bands.
Can a band be truly worthwhile without having a particularly distinctive sound?
Paul Riedl: It really depends. Not all bands are going for that, you know? I mean, what is it to be truly distinctive and original? Demilich just put alien-chromatics into Carcass. Timeghoul played kind of a lot of Suffocation riffs. Disincarnate’s entire thing was the distillation of previously established styles into streamlined perfection. Even Altars Of Madness owes nearly everything to Slayer structures. But what each of these bands has been able to do, and ultimately even in pop music where such an overwhelming amount of the music uses the exact same chord progressions, is show that it is not as much uniqueness that a band needs, but rather distinctiveness, a personal touch, something to let the listeners know they’re listening to that particular band when they’re hearing the same certain beat with a certain chord, even though it’s a big mushy death metal mess, or maybe a tight, clean thrash mess, etc. It’s the same for other genres, too. For myself, while I do harbor some delusions in general of aspiring uniqueness for myself as a creative creature in this universe, I ultimately recognize that everything is influencing everything else and that all the best death metal records were made by teenagers long ago everywhere else in the world, when I was like seven. So, I can deal with distinctiveness as an assistant to style in riffing, since it is hard to be truly unique with only so many frets without going into art territory, which is outside my quadrant. The most arrogant thing I could say would be that our bands’ distinctiveness, even between each other, ultimately rests in riff quality. Riffs are what make music awesome. When you can sing a heavy riff or solo, drum fill ˗ drum fills are kind of like riffs, etc. We combine riffs in specifically different ways for each band, so each band naturally has its own style of riffs within each distinct subgenre, which is ultimately more recognizable to a listener than a more unique riff.
What do you like the most about Matt Calvert as a person and what in your opinion makes him such a successful underground death metal label owner?
Paul Riedl: Is this for a dating profile (laughs)? Well, personally I am a bit of an eccentric, so naturally I gravitate toward and appreciate fellow maniacs, and Calvert is even crazier than me! We are both insane in our own ways, and I think the world will come to see his label and our bands as a powerful partnership. He’s totally on top of his chaos, one step into Dark Descent Records headquarters and it is no wonder his label is just taking over, dominating left and right. He has eyes and tentacles everywhere and his ears to the ground. I think he can take it to the next level too, if he wants.
What are some of your favourite releases by Dark Descent Records?
Paul Riedl: Without a doubt the Timeghoul compilation and the Anhedonist album are my favorites, they are both priceless treasures to me and the presentation for each is just great. I can’t imagine my record collection without them. Morpheus Descends CD box and the Thantifaxath demo are also amazing.
According to Encyclopaedia Metallum website, you currently play in five different bands and have been engaged with at least twice as much over the years, in one way or another. As a man of considerable experience, what would you say are the most common relationship problems between members of a metal band?
Paul Riedl: I am always in bands, it’s all I do. My whole life revolves around guitar, I’m either playing it, thinking about it, listening to it, or dreaming about it, at all times. The only thing I want to do in life is be in bands and make music. Being in bands has brought me the most satisfying and exciting moments of my life so far and I don’t expect it to stop. As far as your question, there are endless problems bands are doomed to face man, both inside the band and out. Humans are complex. Band drama is even worse than relationship drama because you are dealing with three, four, sometimes five other dudes’ individual versions of crazy, sometimes all at once. It’s weird because of the creativity I think, there’s an underlying sensitivity, an emotional, artistic vulnerability when it comes to shared songwriting, presenting riffs or ideas in general, engaging design, etc. It’s more so for something you really believe in, just jamming for the sake of jamming isn’t the same. I mean, when you go through all this trouble and make a band, songs, all the stuff to make a record, you have literally created this weird artistic group-child thing. You have brought something immaterial, something intangible and nonexistent from the inner world, directly through the body as psychic energy and utilized the human vehicle to manipulate the external matrix into carving out a physical manifestation of this concept, and archived this transmutation into a material relic for all to listen to and see, to judge and critique and worship or destroy, etc. So people can get weird when there’s kids involved, so to speak. Anyway, you learn to interact in a constructive way, or you start having problems. You have to learn how to communicate effectively. I used to be really bad about making plans that involved other people prior to consulting them, for instance. One thing I think that is probably most important is for everybody in the band to be completely on the same page. This goes for musical influences as well as stylistic intent, band aspirations, aesthetics in general, how you want to go about dealing with external stimuli, merch, everything. This is called vision and a 100% shared vision is literal power. Most of the really powerful bands have been locked-in, at least during their most intense and productive periods. This is totally essential for a band to make real progress. It isn’t just a matter of being well-rehearsed, it’s about focus. I have been in dozens of bands each experiencing various degrees of this threshold of dedication, and I can tell you that shit is miserable when everybody’s not 100% into what the band is doing at each level of operation. I have been the one not into the main dude’s ideas as well as the dude whose ideas are what’s upsetting people. I’ve been in charge of the aesthetic as well as at the mercy of someone else’s. I’ve toured as a session member, joined and quit bands, had people join and quit my bands, written music for other people’s bands, had people write music for my bands, everything man. I’ve been the dealing hand in finances as well as been on the receiving end, been paid to shower at venues that fed me on a nightliner as well as slept sitting upright in a broken down van in the desert, and everything in between. Multiple friendships, vans, and gear have died along the way. Blood Incantation and Spectral Voice are the first bands I’ve been in where everybody is able to be 100% on the same page and totally dedicated to very specific goals and a mutually shared vision, and look what’s happening with each. Also, we all share this feeling that all of our old bands were just preparing us for these bands, even bands from ten years ago. But yeah, I would say lack of communication and transparency within the group is the most common problem, and that being totally on-board and locked-in with the vision is most important. It is also good to have goals, to have specific things to focus your energy toward. These can be simple goals like I want the record to look like this, and you gradually refine the art until it does. Or we need to have more parts like this and work toward finding more of these riffs in your styles. Larger goals could be we have to open for this band or tour with that band, you see what I mean? Something my friend Nate from Mania says is he who focuses on completion, completes the focus, which is intentionally silly but nonetheless Zen.
Would you say there is a sense of solidarity and tight camaraderie between you and other US death metal bands of your generation?
Paul Riedl: I think metal in general is pretty into camaraderie. Ultimately metal is about sweet riffs, and headbanging to a sweet riff with your buddies is fuckin’ tight! We are friends with tons of bands, since most of our friends are into this lifestyle anyway. Most people I know or at least hang out with are in bands. We have friends literally all over the world, but since you’re asking specifically about young US death metal bands then check out Bladecatcher, Cauterized, Ascended Dead, Scolex, Vastum, Of Corpse, Ritual Necromancy, Sempiternal Dusk, Emptiness, Necrosic, and never forget about Anhedonist.
Speaking of the US death metal bands, do you also have a soft spot for Swedish death metal and all the bands that have been tirelessly recycling that sound over the last couple of years?
Paul Riedl: I mean, Nihilist are top five status man, they are literally perfect. Not even Left Hand Path was able to replicate it. In general I prefer the Finnish sound to the Swedish sound though, it’s gloomier, more morbid. The Swedish style is more punk. I love plenty of bands from both countries, as well as the US and the rest of the world. As far as Blood Incantation, my personal riffing style is more influenced by the US style of Death and Morbid Angel than the Swedish sound, although I can’t deny my worship of Nihilist, Crematory, Dissection or Grotesque, early At The Gates. But as I’ve said before, we just play the death metal that we like man. It’s got lots of different styles and elements inside the sound simply because we like that many things. Spectral Voice is more reserved, and only allows certain types of riffs for instance. It is very specific. Considering Morris and I are soloing fairly constantly in Blood Incantation, you can see what I mean in that Spectral Voice has no solos at all. But back on topic, I am not a fan of rehash bands or bad riffs whatsoever. I have no interest in them and unless they are absolutely fuckin’ killer at it like Repugnant, or Zombi for instance. I would rather just listen to the same classic albums they’re listening to. All elements of culture flow in trends, metal is no different. Right now it’s old school death metal, it was stoner doom for years, before that everybody was art black metal after they’d quit being retro-thrash, and so on. Soon it will be cosmic/technical/ambient conspiracy metal. But then it will just keep going. It doesn’t matter, only music played from the heart is real. Some things last and some things don’t, and if your music is real then hopefully people can recognize that, but oftentimes they don’t care until a band has passed on anyway. Again, what’s the point? There isn’t one! So just be yourself.
What is your favorite Morbid Angel album and, now that Vincent is out and Tucker is in for the second time around, do you think they will find it in them to finally get it right and deliver with their next album?
Paul Riedl: I am a Morbid Angel maniac and to ask me this question is opening a portal into the psychotic world of passionate obsession. Without a doubt Morbid Angel are one the most important bands in the history of music. To say that I love them is like saying you love breathing, or blinking ˗ this is not a choice, but a biological necessity. Every single person into death metal, the underground, or even extreme music in general owes them a part of their hearts, and to think there are actually people out there who simply aren’t into Morbid Angel! Like these people have ever done anything to impact the history of the riff. But anyway, the simple answer is that I have a trinity of favorite albums, but there are several ties and/or group wins. First is absolutely Altars Of Madness as this is simply a masterpiece of metal music. I bought it on LP for $13.75 when I was 16 and my life was changed forever. I honestly only listened to that one album for ten years. I occasionally tried a later album, but could never feel the power and the madness the same as on Altars Of Madness or Thy Kingdom Come, which I’d also gotten early on as a bootleg. It took me years to give another full-length a chance, which is Formulas Fatal To The Flesh, my second first favorite album. Fuck, what a crusher! At the record store where Eli from Spectral Voice and I work, it had been laying down in the overstock bins for like a year when I found it. I was skeptical because of my love-hate feelings to the cover art, but the album and song titles were just so sick, I had to hear it. Needless to say, it is such an amazing record, full of heart and raging distinctiveness in the midst of classic, in-your-face brutality. Invocation Of The Continual One is so epic, so awesome and to think it was recorded in 1998! How many people just dismiss a death metal record because it wasn’t from 1987-1993 period? Admittedly there were few truly great albums from the late ’90s in death metal, but Formulas Fatal To The Flesh was absolutely one of, if not the heaviest death metal album of 1998. For second place is actually a trinity of Abominations Of Desolation, Blessed Are The Sick and Covenant, as these three are each immediately what comes to mind when I think of my second favorite, and are literally the ABCs of death metal learning. For third place we have a tie between Gateways To Annihilation and Heretic. I know a lot people hate on Heretic, and it took me forever to even give it a chance ˗ I actually had to go in reverse through the Bonus Levels instrumental tracks ˗ but if you can get past the strange production, especially the drums, the riffs are actually quite unusual and a lot of them have a very ambient death metal thing happening similar to Trey’s more beautiful moments on Formulas Fatal To The Flesh. I am not saying it is a great album, but I do not agree that it is a bad album. Similarly, Gateways To Annihilation is perhaps a little top-heavy, but there are definitely a few classic Morbid Angel tracks in there, and Erik Rutan is my favorite second-guitarist (even though Brunelle is great), since some of the best non-Azagthoth-written tracks were written by him, especially on Domination, which by elimination would be my least favorite, but again I do not think this is a bad album. As for Illud Divinum Insanus, I think it sucks and the only passable tracks were written by Destructhor. With talk of a new album I am of course excited, but at the same time do not worry whether it is bad or good, as no matter what they do they can never take the magic of their old albums away from me. I will listen to Morbid Angel until the day I die, and if they put out twelve shitty albums till then, sucks for them! I also would not be surprised if it was a ripper, as I love the Steve Tucker era albums, so if they’re going to bring something like that style back to the table I think it’d be great.
Since you obviously eat, sleep and breathe death metal all day every day, how does that lifestyle and value system translates into normal ongoings of daily life that are unrelated to music?
Paul Riedl: If you are asking how I deal with bullshit normal life at my slave jobs that I am required to attend in order to keep a roof over my amps, the answer is that I hate it and constantly want to be jamming instead. Everything in my life, including my work schedules, is centered around jamming. I’ve quit multiple jobs who wouldn’t let me tour. Society is a lie and 90% of people in the world, underground/alternative people included, are mindless tools with no concepts of greater realities than their own, who consume endlessly and believe going to work, hanging out on the internet, being in debt for your education, and breeding more useless parasites are what they’re supposed to do in life, to be a grown-up, professional person. Normal people, these weird fuckers! I have nothing in common with most people beyond relative anatomy or physical proximity on this planet. My entire life has been dedicated to the underground since the first day I saw an underground band from another country playing a show in a basement in my small town growing up, with self-released vinyl and shirts they screen-printed themselves on the merch table. As soon as I found out about this amazing network of music I have been obsessed with it, so for you to ask me to somehow separate my music from my lifestyle, or assuming I even have any daily ongoings that are unrelated to music, is honestly even more ridiculous than asking my favorite Morbid Angel album.
How often do you allow yourself to be a lazy slob and don’t do absolutely nothing?
Paul Riedl: Honestly, I don’t even know what this means. I work 60 plus hours a weeks between two jobs, I have practices ideally four but at least three times a week, I try to work out a lot, I drive way too much, I get home at 5AM every night, I write shit-tons of riffs, often when I’m not even near a guitar, I have hours of backed-up songs for a half-dozen other bands just stuck in my head buzzing around all the time, I do most of the layouts, I have to design merch and plan all this shit out, constantly thinking of refinements. I try to run four different tape labels and have a bunch of solo projects, but that shit is even more time-consuming than a full-time band. I still manage a few tapes a year, though. Interviews are time-consuming even though everybody asks the same questions, there’s endless emails, people write me letters. Like anybody else I have to eat, I try to sleep or hang out with friends, but these are usually the last things I have time for on any given day. Normal people look at band practice as some meaningless hobby, or your band’s tour as a vacation. They have no idea what it takes to make a band succeed, and even for us, we are not even that successful. We are talking about bands who are selling maybe a thousand of any given release and that’s nothing. Both bands toured for just two weeks last year which, again, is nothing. We need to be able to practice more, to tour more, to release more records but life just gets in the way. If there was ever a day where I didn’t have single thing to do, I’d do absolutely nothing and just chill and listen to records. Maybe I’d get to clean my room or read a book, go for a hike or something. But those days are few and far between, man, around here there’s always something that needs to be done.
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