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Arizona Slam Metal Outfit Atoll Discusses Their New EP "Prepuce," Next Full Length And Obscene Music Videos

Death metal has never been afraid to push the boundaries. From grizzly murder to Satan and everything in between (and between his legs,) there's always been something to offend, disgust and amuse when it comes to the sub-genre. The human body itself can be a pretty disgusting thing at times and why not use one of its more.... intimate parts for inspiration? Enter Atoll and their new EP, "Prepuce."

Atoll began in 2014 and to date have released three full length albums, the latest being "Zoopocalypse" in 2019 and most recently, a six song EP named "Prepuce." Before Googling what the title means, you'll probably want to read on or watch the video, especially if it's a shared computer you're using! Regardless, the EP itself is a brutal display of Arizona slam showcasing fearsome vocals, pounding rhythms and a wicked sense of humour. To find out more about this release, Metal Underground caught up with Atoll vocalist Wade Taylor, guitar players Christopher Nick & Spencer Ferguson and bassist Cameron Broomfield. You can watch the interview in full below, where you can also find a transcript of the chat.

Diamond Oz: The new EP, "Prepuce" is out now. I looked up the title and then I regretted it.

Wade Taylor: That's what we did too. We did that song, "The Circumcisor" and then thought, "What's another word for foreskin?" and it was "prepuce" and I was like, "That's it!" It was one of those unanimous decisions that happens really fast.

Oz: Yeah, as long as you search normally instead of image searching, you're OK. So I guess the first question is... Why? Why name an EP after the foreskin?

Wade: I guess I'll answer this one. I guess a lot of our other stuff had kind of a serious tone to it. Our first two or three albums did and this one, we just wanted something silly but sounded serious and I wanted people to look up that word. It also just goes with the "Circumcisor" thing and that's pretty much it. It has nothing else to do with any of the other songs on the album, it's just a cool word and I wanted people to look it up and see a wiener.

Christopher Nick: "Prepuce" is kind of like a weird encapsulation of our personalities. We want to give off this serious mantra and play brutal music but at the end of the day, we're just a bunch of immature boys. We kind of just leaned into it a little bit more.

Oz: That's all the more concerning that the record that sums you guys up the best is the one that means "foreskin." It's been three years since the last release, "Zoopocalypse," which was a full length, why did you decide to release an EP this time?

Cameron Broomfield: I think, just to kind of stay active. We knew we were up contract wise with our prior label so we wanted something to shop around and we were lucky enough to land with Unique Leader. Over COVID and everything, everyone kinda lost touch. We didn't lose touch with each other but we weren't jamming regularly and we didn't want to be totally inactive so we had some songs ready to go and thought we'd drop them while we work on the next full length, which is basically written at this point.

Oz: And does the next album follow in the same sort of vein lyrically or will it be a bit more of a serious one?

Wade: There's always kind of a funny, pun style motif that our lyrics have, just because I don't like to take myself too seriously. It's cool to be brutal and stuff but there needs to be some sort of humour there to let people know that I'm not a serious person. I might frown in band photos but some of the other ones I'll be choking down hot dogs or doing dumbass shit. As far as this next album, there are some serious elements to it but I guess it's more funny. Instead of there being funny lyrics inside of it, it's about a stupid funny concept that's just so ridiculous, like for instance a guy that circumcises people against their will. The concept is so stupid that I don't have to put anything funny in the lyrics because it's just ridiculous. Our other single "Cirrhosis For Dinner," is about a guy who force feeds people liquor and then cuts out their liver and eats it.

To be 100% honest, with some of the songs, I would find the samples that I wanted first, then I'd write the song around that. We did a couple of covers too so I'd say it's about the same. There's shtick in there. I don't think we'll ever do a 100% serious album. I can't say that but that's just where it's going in my head.

Cameron: Right and the other ones haven't been 100% serious either, so it's not the first time we've gone tongue in cheek. More over the top. Silly.

Oz: Yeah, looking through the titles, I did have a giggle at "Molotov Cock Tease."

Christopher: "Molotov Cock Tease" is kind of like a double joke. If you read the lyrics it's like a Frankenstein's monster story, so ultimately it ends with the creature getting set on fire and they wrote that song during COVID and the Minneapolis riots and stuff so people were throwing cocktails and setting shit on fire. Then the other side to it is, there's a cartoon called The Venture Brothers which has a secret Russian agent called Molotov Cock Tease. That was also a way to bring in a nerdy fandom of mine. That's kind of like where we go. "Zoopocalypse" was meant to be goofy inside of itself and the next album has just as goofy of a concept behind it but it's still... It's taboo and it's brutal, just in a different way. We don't have to talk about mutilating bodies, we can talk about pooping on bodies.

Oz: Already we've mentioned the title of the EP, mutilating bodies and hot dogs, so there's no other place to go but the music video. This is the most shocking thing to happen to male genitals since Lars von Trier's, Antichrist. It's hard to know where to start to be honest because it's so fucked up. How many hot dogs did you go through to make this video?

Wade: I would say probably about twelve packs of hot dogs and at least a gallon of each condiment.

Cameron: That was pretty much all we did, just bought a bunch of hot dogs and condiments and winged it.

Oz: One bit that stood out to me was towards the end of the video when two of you are pissing and the Circumcisor chops the ends of your "dicks" off and I'm sure it's barbecue sauce that comes out...

Christopher: No, that was fake blood actually. The guy who did the video, Chris Cross, part of his whole set up was he would use fake blood. I was over there for that particular scene. He put in a serious amount of work and made blood that came out looking real.

Wade: It would come out through a rubber tube and stuff, it was crazy.

Christopher: He'd push it through on the other side so that it looked like a constant stream. Practical effects all day long. So that was fake blood although I'll say that I've got a pair of jeans in my closet that's still stained from having that shit on there.

Oz: When you were making the video, obviously you knew that it was going to be pretty grizzly and over the top. Did you have any worries about it being seen since it's age restricted, so it's harder to share the link on a mobile device or something like that?

Christopher: That's kind of like death metal right there. I mean, Cannibal Corpse used to be so censored that you had to go through certain means to find it so I don't know, it's almost like a rite of passage. Good on the kids who go and find it but there's plenty of adults who can go and see it and they don't wanna see that shit either.

Wade: We all know there's plenty of kids who watch shit they're not supposed to watch, that's part of the taboo of it too. This is taken out of context but if I can show a teen their first wiener chop video, then I'll feel like my career is a success.

Oz: What can you tell me about the artwork? It doesn't look like it's tongue in cheek. It looks like a really good slam/death metal cover.

Christopher: Honestly it was one of those things where you still want to convey the brutal nature of it, because there's still an aspect of people wanting to check out your music based on the artwork of your album. Let's be honest, that's one of the major things in death metal, you see the art and think, "Oh shit, that looks brutal! I'm gonna pick that up!" It's the same kind of thing. We still want to be able to draw people in with a visual representation of what we sound like, however we also didn't want to do a typical digital piece of art with some giant wormhole and some alien coming down. We didn't want to do something that had been recreated a thousand times before and it was a little bit of a task until we found the right artist and he did a fantastic job. Wade really had a lot to do with it, it was kind of his baby, he got that artwork in prime position.

Wade: Well yeah, we had shopped a few people. We were looking for someone local to the Phoenix area because I wanted to do something more of an abstract painting like deal that had some brutal elements to it. We found a couple of people and they kept falling through so finally we found this guy Dahmer who does amazing artwork, so we had a look through his catalogue and I said, "I want this." He'd done one similar to that as a commission. We didn't really have a concept for what we wanted the artwork to look like but he let me be creative with it which was cool because he let me look for something until it caught my eye and then we agreed. It was born out of necessity instead of me choosing what we wanted.

Oz: Did you say the artist is called Dahmer?

Cameron: Yeah and he actually is related to Jeffery Dahmer, which funnily enough we covered that Macabre song "Hitchhiker" which is about Jeffery Dahmer, so it kind of comes around in a weird way.

Wade: He's done some artwork for some local bands around here. He does a lot of stuff.

Oz: I honestly didn't expect him to actually be related to Jeffery Dahmer. I thought it was just a case of "This guy's called Dahmer and we have a song about mutilating dicks, so it's the perfect pairing."

Cameron: He's a metal guy too so I guess he knew of us and I've got a friend who's been a friend of his so I've kind of been aware of his art for a while so it made sense. We hit him and he was really excited, so it was kind of a mutual thing where we were both excited to work with one another. He'd pretty much re-worked an old piece that Wade found on the site from scratch and it turned out really good.

Oz: You've now signed with Unique Leader. What was it about this label that appealed to you and made you feel it was the right place for Atoll?

Wade: Legacy, man.

Christopher: Unique Leader is one of those labels that has clout and respect and that's through decades of grinding. I guarantee you everyone's collection has at least one record from Unique Leader in there. It was kind of the next logical step for a band that wants to achieve something, you gotta make a progression in this way. It was the nicest place to be, we had homies on that label already and we brought them our stuff and they liked it. We've been knocking on their door probably since we started. We'd been trying to send them our stuff for years and it was this that got through, they'd seen the work that we'd done so we can just keep putting in that work and make the next step with them.

Oz: As for recording the EP itself, how was the process? Were you able to get together or was there still restrictions keeping you apart?

Wade: There were some restrictions. Cameron lives quite a distance away from where we reside but it was pretty easy. I do all our recordings, I track everything and then send it off to get mixed by Miguel at Demigod Productions, who are amazing. We tracked pretty much everything but the bass here, but it's pretty easy to send stuff back and forth.

Cameron: That's pretty much the way we'd always done it anyway. This one was a little different with tracking. Typically we have tracks for the most part on previous albums too and each individual on our own set ups but this one I actually went first just because of scheduling, which was weird. Usually I'm last before vocals. There's guitars, then drums and then me, but this time I went to the click and then drums went on last.

Wade: Our other guitar player Spanky, he's just moved to Dallas, Texas so there's going to be some challenge with doing it remotely but we kind of have our system down and how we like to do it so we're pretty confident going forward and we don't have to give people blue balls waiting for the next one.

Oz: Just finally to wrap up, what's the plans going forward once this EP is out? Do you have live dates coming up?

Wade: Yes. We've got Washington Deathfest coming up on April 22nd, which is pretty much just after our release so we'll be pushing a lot of that and we'll most likely have copies of our new EP while we're up there. Then we're doing a little run across the south west. We're playing a hometown show in Phoenix, then in a small town called Golden Valley and then Los Angeles, so that's going to be May 27th, 28th and 29th. We're gonna hit the road sometime in August or September and then we have a big festival in Dallas called Gored In The Heart of Texas which is with bands like Brodequin, Incinerate, Regurgitation, there's some big boys on there.

We'll be out a lot on the road, doing a lot of festivals and honestly, I'd expect to see us on the other side of the pond within the next couple of years. We don't know about now, especially with COVID and all that stuff it's tough to get something going, but as soon as that happens, we've all got our passports and we're ready to get something scheduled over there.

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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