An Interview With Walking Corpse Syndrome Guitarist Bile And Drummer Noktis
“We don't count on getting signed in order to ‘make it.’ For us, ‘making it’ means giving the power back to the fans, playing shows anywhere and everywhere, and putting out a lot of good music.” Says Walking Corpse Syndrome drummer Noktis. Their underground philosophy shows through in their music, which has loads of energy even if it lacks the slick polish of a big name group. Walking Corpse Syndrome released their debut full-length album “Forsaken” back in 2008 and are currently working on a follow up. Both guitarist Bile and drummer Noktis filled me in on the band’s history, how they ended up with two drummers, and the recording process for “Forsaken.”
xFiruath: How did Walking Corpse Syndrome start and what is the current line-up?
Bile: Walking Corpse Syndrome began as a mutation by Matthew Bile (guitar) and Nocktis (drums) from a previous project. We grabbed Mr. Grimm, who is a real life brother to Nocktis, on a whim to play drums, but liked the sound so much we kept it. William Sludge joined the band next to play bass. He comes from a widely eclectic background including playing for area noise bands and even a polka punk band. DJ Erastaroth originally auditioned as singer, filled in on keyboards, and was eventually replaced last September by Meredeath Lachryma. Finally Michael Phlegm joined the band two weeks before a series of shows in November of 2007. He had recently moved back to the area from Spokane, where he had sang for metal band Sinister Grin.
xFiruath: When did you first get started in music and what made you want to be in a metal band?
Nocktis: I originally got into music when I was 14 years old, and I remember seeing other drummers on TV playing heavy metal. It was the highest energy music, I could find and I fucking love it.
Bile: I first got into music starting in the sixth grade, listening to Nirvana. The next big step was Nine Inch Nails. From there, I was hooked on industrial metal. The loud guitars with throbbing dance beats is like a drug to me.
xFiruath: Are you currently involved with any other metal projects?
Bile: Nobody has any real side projects right now. We joke a lot about it, and might even do it this winter. Montana winters suck and we usually end up getting frozen in with way too much free time.
xFiruath: How would you describe the sound of Walking Corpse Syndrome to a potential fan?
Bile: Gothic industrial death folkcore. Or something. After shows we get a lot of people coming up to us saying "I don't normally like __________ but I like you guys." There's usually a different genre for the blank. Our mission statement mandates that we keep it heavy and dark with a good amount of groove.
xFiruath: Where did you record “Forsaken” and did the band do their own production and mixing?
Bile: “Forsaken” was tracked in 2 1/2 days and mixed in 2 days at Habbilis studios, a now defunct studio in Missoula. In retrospect, we probably should have spent more time/money on it, but we figured that it would be a good first effort for our local scene. What we didn't count on is how well people would respond to our songs and live show. We've played all over the Northwest and Northern Rockies based on this demo. That's why we're working as hard as we can to put out a better sounding follow up.
xFiruath: Is there a song on “Forsaken” that you like the best?
Nocktis: That's a hard one. If I absolutely had to pick my number one favorite, it would have to be "Forsaken Abomination." The drums get to be dynamic, toms playing a huge role, before it blasts into the heavier, chunkier elements. It's a great showcase for the two drummers.
Bile: Definitely "Bleed It Out." It was the last song we wrote before we hit the studio. At the time we thought it was our weakest track, but it's the one that seems to hook everyone. It points in the direction where Walking Corpse Syndrome is going.
xFiruath: How is your local metal scene? Do you have much competition or any other bands you play regularly with?
Bile: Missoula has a surprisingly strong metal scene for only having 60,000 people in it. But venues have closed down, increasing the competition. From what I hear, though, we keep it a lot more civil here than other scenes. I enjoy hanging out with the other bands when I get a chance. The bands we play with most regularly from Missoula are Blessiddoom, Universal Choke Sign, Undun, and Mageddon. But Montana is like a scene unto itself. We have a lot of friend bands in Kalispell and Great Falls too, especially At Home in Hell and Switch Off Safety. There's just too much good music to list. We've played all over this region and seen a lot of good bands. But Montana bands would be able to hold their own on any stage.
xFiruath: What will Walking Corpse Syndrome be up to in the near future?
Bile: We're gearing down for winter '09-'10 in preparation for our next album to drop. We already recorded the tracks, but are making sure that everything sounds a lot tighter this time around. When it's done, we're going to have a huge party and then take a victory lap, playing all those "small" places that welcomed us before hitting a huge touring circuit across the west.
xFiruath: What bands and albums have you been listening to most often lately and what do you dig about them?
Nocktis: DevilDriver, Lamb of God, Megahertz, Eisbrecher, Rammstein, and Grendel. The biggest influences of mine for Walking Corpse Syndrome would have to be DevilDriver and Lamb of God. I love Chris Addler's approach. He has a non-traditional take on drumming and goes places you wouldn't expect. I hope to add that sort of element to Walking Corpse Syndrome.
Bile: I've been really getting into the digital hardcore stuff and its offshoots. Atari Teenage Riot, Rabbit Junk, Acumen Nation, Left Spine Down, and Mindless Self Indulgence.
xFiruath: As an underground metal musician, how do you feel about the state of metal today in the overall music industry?
Nocktis: I like what's going on in metal today. There are so many different styles of metal and there's a lot of good stuff out there. Of course there's things in the industry I'd like to see changed, but metal is ultimately about not backing down, no matter the challenge. We'll find our way through the current maze of the modern music industry. We don't count on getting signed in order to "make it." For us, "making it" means giving the power back to the fans, playing shows anywhere and everywhere, and putting out a lot of good music.
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