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Interview With The Trenches

Hailing from Bozeman, Montana, metal hybrid band The Trenches has been serving up its fast and hard blend of thrash, black metal, and punk to all those lucky enough to catch them. They talked with me before opening for Hennes Siste Host at the Great Falls stop of the Hostferd tour about how their band started and where they are going now.

xFiruath: How did you guys first get into music and what made you want to be musicians?

Jeff: Gardening.

Shiloh: I picked up a guitar and started rocking.

Pat: It was the drugs mostly.

xFiruath: You figured you were already doing them anyway, you might as well start the whole rock and roll thing, huh?

Shiloh: Marijuana is not only a gateway drug for other drugs but it’s a gateway drug for music as well.

Pat: Yeah I smoked some weed and went “wow, Slayer sounds good!”

xFiruath: Tell me about your band, how did you guys meet and decide to start a band?

Pat: Shiloh and I played in a previous band and a couple of other projects. We started playing and needed to add somebody, and Jeff had just gotten out of prison on a domestic abuse charge. (band laughs)

Jeff: And I’m not fucking scared to go back either!

Pat: And then we stole Zebulon from another band.

Zebulon: They had been playing about six months before I came into the band, and we only had twelve days from the first day I was in a band before we had a show to write the lyrics for all the songs because when they got rid of their old singer they tossed out all the lyrics too. We had to write seven songs worth of lyrics and memorize them.

Shiloh: The original lyrics were mostly about rodents and their reproductive habits.

xFiruath: Well what could be better song writing material than that?

Shiloh: We originally thought about include the rodents in the songs, you know squeeling.

xFiruath: So Montana isn’t very well known for metal, how are you finding the scene here and what kind of support are you getting?

Zebulon: You kind of have to make your own scene in every single town. The bigger bands, and I when I say bigger I just mean they’ve been around for a couple of years, they can kind of choose where they get shows and go from decent sized town to decent sized town on a fairly regular basis, maybe every two months. Anybody that hasn’t been playing for two or three years will have a really hard time getting shows outside of their hometown, so most of the time you just see people playing shows just in their hometown. It’s also pretty impossible to tour if you’re from Montana although the exception to that would be Martriden, and it took them like twenty, twenty-five years of heavy metal in Montana for one metal band to be able to go on tour so that kind of shows you how desperate it is.

xFiruath: The deck is kind of stacked against you there?

Zebulon: Yeah that’s all right though, I think now that they have kind of opened the door I think you’ll see more bands being more ambitious. Bands like Four Horseman will probably be able to do what Martriden’s done in the next few years, but there’s very few that are serious about the metal.

xFiruath: What is your songwriting process like, does just one person do that or does everybody get in on it?

Shiloh: Pretty much we just jam riffs and then just start putting it together.

Pat: Everyone contributes something, like I’ll come in with just drum parts and we’ll write stuff to it, some bass lines.

Zebulon: There’s no set thing, it’s just whatever happens.

Jeff: We just throw out ideas at each other.

Pat: We buy our songs online, I buy all my beats online.

xFiruath: What is the focus of your lyrics and where do you draw your inspiration from?

Zebulon: Lyrically, it’s about war, it’s historically based. I would say more non-modern, most of our lyrics have to do with things that happened at least sixty years ago.

Shiloh: It’s kind of our theme, The Trenches, it has to deal with war and conflict.

xFiruath: Are you currently recording any material or planning on recording an album anytime soon?

Shiloh: It’s in the works with final production.

Zebulon: It has been recorded.

Pat: We’re just waiting to hear back from Relapse Records (laughs), should be any day now.

Zebulon: We’re looking at some recording expenses and production expenses that we need to clear up first and then we’ll putting something out, I’d say within about the next three months. But it’s done.

xFiruath: What album do you listen to most often and what do you like about it?

Jeff: I’ve been listening to the new High On Fire a lot.

Shiloh: I’ve been listening to that Gwar album “Scumdogs of the Universe.” That and lots of Supersuckers, who I saw last night. I don’t know who else do we listen to?

Jeff: Melvins, all the time, they’re so awesome.

Pat: G.G. Alin

Zebulon: Enslaved and Emperor and a lot of stuff nobody’s heard of. I listen to a lot of obscure black metal stuff. We do have some black metal influence but it’s pretty minimal. Most of it’s like a cross between death metal and stoner doom.

Pat: Kanye West and a little Mariah Carey

xFiruath: Heh why not, every now and again just to keep them on their toes! So what do you guys think is the best album to come out so far this year?

Jeff: It hasn’t come out yet, man. July 6th the Melvins.

Shiloh: The new High on Fire, it’s definitely their best production.

Pat: The new Neurosis album’s OK, it’s so-so.

Zebulon: Eh. Neurosis is always good but I think the ‘90’s was their best period. I’m trying to think of a decent black metal album that came out this year.

Jeff: I’m always listening to re-issues that have been out of print.

Pat: Like “Heaven and Hell” Black Sabbath.

Shiloh: Or Stryper.

xFiruath: Actually they just came out with a new single.

Jeff: Are you serious?

Zebulon: Nice. I’ve got “Under the Sign of the Black Mark” by Bathory on vinyl, that’s something I’ve been listening to lately.

xFiruath: As long as were on Stryper and their bumblebee spandex, what do you think is the silliest or most bizarre thing to have happened in the history of metal?

Jeff: I’ve got one off the top of my head, I know its pretty cliché but when Ozzy bit the head off of the dove in front of the directors of the music industry there and then he did it again in the lobby, he had another one. Yeah he like had a spare just in case it didn’t work the first time?

Shiloh: Dimebag getting shot on stage. The night that Dimebag got shot was the night that Slayer played in Billings. I had seen them in Atlanta weeks before and they did the whole raining blood apparatus thing, and I saw it set up in Billings but they never used it because Dimebag got killed.

Jeff: That was fucked up.

Zebulon: Skid Row, Sebastion Bach hitting a thirteen year old girl in the face with a glass bottle. That’s why I do not like smashing bottles.

Shiloh: The reality TV show with Brett Michaels, Rock of Love. He should just kill himself. That was horrible.

Pat: Yeah I thought shot at love with Tia Tequila was way better.

xFiruath: So on your guy’s dream tour, where would you go and who would you tour with?

Jeff: Japan

Shiloh: Yeah Japan.

Zebulon: What’s that good Japanese band, Melt Banana. Have you heard of those guys? Its two guys and two girls from Tokyo. It’s like a cross between punk rock and grindcore.

Pat: This guy has this enormous pedal board, it’s like the size of this table, you could do Dance Dance Revolution on it.

Jeff: I think we sound a lot like Brutal Truth, we should go on tour with them.

Zebulon: Not quite as technical.

Jeff: Not as technical.

Shiloh: We’d tour with the Melvins.

Jeff: Well, I guess we just want to be in the Melvins.

xFiruath: Any parting words for the fans?

Shiloh: Arm yourselves, the apocalypse is impending.

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur splits his time between writing dark fiction, spreading the word about underground metal bands, and bringing you the latest gaming news. His sci-fi, grimdark fantasy, and horror novels can be found at Amazon.

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