The cover for their latest release "Humanure" is banned in Germany, but this interview isn't...
First off, please introduce yourself.
I am Travis Ryan. I do vocals for Cattle Decapitation. I weigh approximately 160 pounds and I am a vegetarian. I have blue eyes and a single dot tattooed on each of my hands. I enjoy watching TV and Sweden’s Eilert Pilarm. I do not own any guns, though I would like to one day.
Your new album “Humanure” is being released these days. How was it, working with the legendary Bill Metoyer? What were the main reasons for you to work with him on “Humanure”?
It was exactly that: Legendary! He’s amazing and I hope to work with him from now on. He was actually going to maybe record "To Serve Man", but that never materialized. I wish he had! He’s a great guy and amazing to work with.
In the beginning some people said you were extremely influenced by Carcass? Would you still say that your music is in the vein of the “godfathers” of Grindcore like Napalm Death or Carcass? Did they have any influence on you at all?
Yeah I think so. We have developed our own sound though and I don’t think it sounds anything like Carcass or Napalm Death, but of course I always list them as being influences. All sorts of grindcore, metal and even hardcore I guess, have helped us carve out our sound.
Your first two albums were released through 31 G Records, a label that is quite known in the Hardcore community. Do you attract more Hardcore people or is it more a Metal crowd at your shows? I heard that in the U.S. there´s no real separation between the Hardcore and the Metal audience as we still have it in Europe (although it´s getting better).
We get a huge amount of hardcore and punk kids at our shows. Mainly they are really into metal or just getting into it and they seem to like us a lot. That’s cool if our music gets kids into metal from say a hardcore scene. I was never really into hardcore at all, mainly metal and grindcore as far as extreme music goes. I will tell you that I REALLY despise the metalcore bands. That shit sucks ass.
I must say that when I first heard about you writing lyrics about animal liberation and stuff I was pretty surprised. Besides Napalm Death or Phobia with their political lyrics most band in the Death/Grind genre have these gore and splatter stories without any message, because – as they say – “brutal music needs brutal lyrics”. Not that your lyrics are less brutal but there´s a certain message in them. So what do you think about the usual Death Metal lyrics?
Excuse the term, but I’m a lyric nazi. I think most bands’ lyrics suck. I think some of mine even suck sometimes. I don’t like to read people’s poetry so I tend to hate reading their lyrics as well. I do kind of take the “brutal music needs brutal lyrics” approach though because otherwise it would look kind of funny. Here’s this brutal ass song and then I’m talking about picking daisies and not eating meat. It’s death metal so the lyrics are going to be very stark and pessimistic.
How does the Metal crowd respond to your lyrics? Do people really think about what you´re saying?
Probably not. Half of them think we’re talking about killing animals and then the other half think we’re pussies for talking about animal rights, which still runs very thin within the lyrics if you ask me. BUT, I do get the occasional kid that went vegetarian cause of our lyrics, which is super cool. Or the occasional kid that thinks the lyrics are cool just because they are so different than what’s out there.
An unavoidable question in this context: What do you think about the Straight Edge movement? Just a bunch of preaching self-righteous kids, a trend or at least a couple of good ideas?
I’m not a fan. If they’re kicking people’s asses and shit like I hear about because their lifestyle is not like theirs, then that’s bullshit. We cannot just go out and eradicate everyone as my lyrics would sometimes suggest. So if you can’t kill it, then there’s no sense in simply beating it up!?!?! BUT, it’s cool that people keep bad things out of their bodies. I can appreciate that. May not be for me, but I can give them 2 points for that.
Is Germany the only country where you have problems with the artwork? It seems like especially Germany is paying more and more attention when it comes to offensive cover-artwork: I can hardly remember when Cannibal Corpse released their last uncensored cover and just recently it was the artwork of the last Exhumed album which has been censored...
Yeah, they’re weird about it. They’ve had too many problems with Cannibal Corpse in the past. This is so far the only place that has had a problem with it. "To Serve Man" was in huge ass, rather conservative chain stores here. It’s weird. You can show pics of naked people or nuns sticking crosses in their crotches over there, but the second we see an intestine or blood It’s all over!!!
Would you say that you´re a misanthropic band?
Yes. Misanthropophagic would be more appropriate.
I heard that on the current Morrissey tour it´s not allowed to sell Hamburgers inside the venues. Do you think that this is really a way to educate people or does it just piss them off?
It’s a way to make a point. If he can do it, more power to him. It’s hard enough for us just to get vegetarian meals supplied to us at the venues when we’re on the road.
Okay, we´re done. Thank you very much for taking the time for the answers! Any last words?
Thanks a lot!!!! And stay gore!