Scald Interview with Michele Giorgi for HM Portal (Italy) 2004

This is the original English version
You can see the Italian translation here >
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Some bands, in their wish for success, change their skin many times, just following audience demand. Other bands try to be part of the most "up to date" trend and betray their inner nature to be fashionable. Some others, on the opposite, still remain loyal to their trademark, trying to prove in the lack of innovation, their being true. It's very hard nowadays to find a band able to evolve their music without losing the original spirit, also remaining inside a proper artistic route.
In this discouraging scene made by clones and plastic releases - a scene supported by a lazy and unpersonal audience - Scald represent a real white fly. Started from a grind-crust background, the Belfast three were able to evolve and contaminate their music without losing their original way. They released, with "Headworm", a complex yet fascinating album: a sort of multi-level concept about anguish and fears afflicting the human race in these times of crisis.
For all those motivations and for many more, we decided to offer some space to the band, just to obtain new info about their future projects. We hope Scald will soon be able to find a proper label to release their music as they really deserve it.

"Scald", in my mind, represented since the first time I heard it, the image of a permanent sign branded on the listener’s soul, like your music can mark with a brand new experience. What is the real explanation of such a name?

Pete: Nicely put. I’d like to think that this is what does happen when our unpleasantries meet a victim’s ear. Scald: A short, sharp, aggressive and to-the-point, crust-metal sounding name, with the violent intention of scalding your brain with a virulent, pyroclastic flow of filthy molten metal, also an ancient heathen war-poet appointed to penning inspiring verses to the warrior caste. We align with such a spirit. Let the mind, body and soul be scalded by musical extremity. Be challenged. Be tested. Be strengthened!

Paul: But mind your fingers.

Scald’s music was always linked to Paul's artworks. In what way do those different aspects interact and could we consider Scald’s world as a whole completed by music, lyrics and artworks?

Pete: Yes, the imagery compliments the lyrics, which is of course ultimately taken to war by the most important aspect, the music. It is important to us, of course, to combine all three. I don’t see why it should be considered any other way than this. All angles of a band’s mission should give the full to all of these elements. It creates a very interesting and absorbing world when experiencing an entire media of aural, mental and visual stimuli. All of the artworks directly apply to the subject matter of the songs and this is driven and dominated by the various intense moods of the music.

Paul: What Pete says is true to a certain extent, certainly with Headworm the artwork is in direct relation to the lyrics and also to the whole concept of the album. On the earlier releases I really painted more randomly in tune with the vibe of the music. There were some paintings made specifically, if somewhat metaphorically for the individual lyrics such as songs like ‘Birthweight’, ‘Recess’ and ‘The Meat Perfect’ but there was never room for them. Hopefully with a retrospective release of all the pre-Headworm material sometime in the future I’ll be able to show all of the artwork from that time including a lot that have never been printed. But it’ll take a hefty booklet.
I think since pretty much everything is done within the band it’s bound to be more tightly linked, it’s certainly been very important, as are the lyrics.

Pete: Apologies for the non-specifics, Mr. Technical, but I was mainly referring to the Headworm material, but anyway, what I meant was, there’s always been some kind of connection, be it musical, visual or lyrical, throughout the history of the aesthetic.

Are you thinking about a more intense relationship between music and images, I mean like a video or a short movie?

Paul: It would seem to be the most logical next step for us visually. None of us have ever been particularly interested in the ‘performance’ style music video, I wouldn’t rule it out as a promotional tool but it seems like a lazy option to me.
For years Pete + Mick have been hassling me to make visuals for live projections and previously I wasn’t confident that I had the skills to make something worthwhile, but with making the animated intro on the ‘Headworm’ CD-Rom it started things moving in my head to make something that would be a genuine extension to the Scald aesthetic. I have some pretty mad ideas about this and hopefully at least one or two of them will appear before we’re all dead. Some things that require outside assistance or any amount of money may never happen but there are things that can be will be done from home.

Coming back to music, your music was described by me as a "tank playing with psychedelia", meaning by this the two different souls of Scald’s world: the heavy disturbing assault and the experimental attitude, a will to break boundaries and avoid limits to give free space for musicians to express their nature without prejudices. How do you go about approaching the creative process when giving life to a new song?

Pete: Very well described, that image will surely remain in my mind for a long time to come! Well, all of Scald’s music originates with myself constructing various pieces alone on the guitar. When I am writing, my mind is thinking about a mixture of unusual timings and scales with a combination of good straight ahead riffs and discordant chords. It is essential to me to have this experimental attitude in order to further extreme music and to explore uncharted territory for hopefully unique musical angles, both intentionally and unintentionally.
As I have progressed my mindset has built itself musically into the realm of songs, which display a feel for a long journey, mission or quest being taken on. Sometimes there are elements of just letting my fingers do their thing counter-imbalanced by making them go to places which seem unnatural with off beat signatures and numbering. It is a fusion of cold mechanics and flowing soul, which I think reflects my mindset and finds favour with the lyrics.
Once I have created all the basic structures of mood, flow and initial duration, I then set about writing my bass lines and over time both of these compositional structures also evolve shape. As soon as these two instrument elements are ready to emerge the lyrics are strategically placed, I then show Mick the guitar parts and he proceeds to add his own sounds and additional flourishes to the creations. This is then all taken to the practice facility where we all three get down to crafting, twisting and hammering the riffage into it’s eventual final outcome.

Paul: Well, Pete’s developed his song writing to the point where when he brings us songs we know that he’s already worked it pretty hard and removed anything crap or happy sounding, ha-ha. It still takes a fuckload of hammering for us to get it together though and give it the Scald treatment. We know what to expect from each other and this creative process is my favourite aspect of being a part of Scald.

Pete: whaddya mean crap? He-he, yeah, sure it takes me years to ditch all the crap riffs and kill off any happy sounding chords in order to leave myself gloriously depressed by dominant doom riffage. Why do you think it takes us so long to bring out an album, fer fuck sakes?

Is being a trio something that makes things easier or harder for Scald? Never thought to enlarge the line up?

Pete: It is neither one way nor the other really and has never been an issue. Come to think of it, for example, I don’t think I’ve ever been in a two-guitar band where it worked out for very long. We do not need any more members. Every one is comfortable as they are but I suppose if you want to analyse it in more trivial terms it is easier in the sense that I don’t have to teach more people the songs and harder in the sense that each person has to pay more for practices, ha-ha! It is no big deal ultimately, though; the triumvirate has been stable for quite a while now and is sufficiently heavy in sound respects.

Paul: We three get along really well and there’s a genuine chemistry between us as players. Why fuck that up by introducing anyone else? If we need any extra musicians in the future for certain parts then that’s fair enough, but I think the core will remain three.

Ireland isn't exactly the middle of the musical village; still we can number nowadays quite a good number of bands out with cool cds lately. Can we paint a mutual aid attitude picture, or is it just like a "dog eat dog" situation?

Pete: It is not a dog eat dog scene at all. We get on well with most band people we have dealings with and the willingness to help each other out is generally very good. Irish bands that I would consider worthy of note would include, Abaddon Incarnate, The Dagda, Hexxed, Primordial, Mourning Beloveth, Stand Up Guy and Scavenger. The Irish scene as a whole is more vibrant and healthier than it has been in many years.

Paul: It used to be very shit with a few good bands, now there’s a pile of good bands with more young bands popping up every week. The best thing about it is there’s no generic sound, aside from the few bands that take on a slight flavour of traditional Irish music (and fair play to them), amongst the more established bands there’s no bandwagon jumping or real similarity.

How is the situation as regards feedback to your new album, were the people receptive to such a release?

Pete: The general reactions to the Headworm album from those who have been unfortunate enough to hear it, ha-ha, have been predominantly positive.

Paul: It’s been for the vast majority very good, a few people despised it but were able to see the value and a couple just despise it. It doesn’t seem like a new album anymore. I’ve got to the point were I can stick it on as a music fan and just listen to it without analysing it and I’m still very happy with it. So I really don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks of it now.

Less easy is to reach a label's interest, it being nowadays more difficult to produce an interesting "out of the pack" band instead of the usual clones of big names or true- to-a-style acts. What is, in your opinion, the real role of a lazy audience (not to say media driven) in creating such a situation?

Pete: Moving on from general reactions, the interest from labels is another situation all together in the sense of signing possibilities but we shall see, there are a few things on the cards, which might or might not come to fruition…time will tell and as I always say, it is not the be all and end all. Scald will be Scald regardless.
As far as audience demand in relation to labels is concerned, well, that is a situation, I suppose, combining different factors. For example, people who want instant music, generic rehashes, straight ahead ‘easy listening’ extremity and conveniently pigeonholed genres of sound are out there in abundance. Many people, in certain cases, maybe do not want to be musically challenged so much and like to settle for the next conveyor belt produced, tedious death metal band. No sense of fucking adventure, ha-ha!

Paul: Pete’s pretty much summed up my feelings on the matter too. It would be great to have some support and some of the time-consuming stuff lifted from us to allow us more creative time, but frustrating as it is, it’s not like we need a label to exist. I’d like to see Scald material widely available and promoted before the death of the band (not for some time) but we bear too many scars to sign the first piece of shit put in front of us. We’ve proved what we can do on our own; if the right label wants to take a risk all well and good but let’s face it, most of them play safe.

Are Scald somehow interested in political matters or is it just a rock n roll thing?

Pete: Some of our earlier subject matter dealt with issues of anti-religious, anti-system and anti-censorship issues and has since evolved into more cerebral territory, politics of the mind you could call it, with more of an emphasis on inner battles which can be the symptoms of outer battles. Coming from where we are based (Belfast) obviously we have been brought up in a scene of political turmoil. It would be hard not to be affected by this and it plays a large part as a contributing factor to my personal anti-christian ethic and anti-religious and anti-herd mentality attitude in general.

Paul: It’s a raised in dirt self-mangling psychological art thing.

The usual crap about influences. Not so original but helpful to paint a complete picture about a band. I'm talking not only about music but also about movies, books, paintings...

Pete: Yes, but people find it interesting and like to know these things so, the usual suspects > Direct inspiration for Scaldic compositions from the beginning to the present, in large and small amounts (even just from one riff in one song in certain cases) has come from the following bands: Extreme Noise Terror, Napalm Death, Carcass, Deviated Instinct, Nausea, Godflesh, Neurosis, Ministry, Rush, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Voivod, Metallica, Radiohead, to name but a few(?).

Paul: Every thing you hear or experience must have an effect on you to some degree. I think we’re more inspired than influenced by most music. Can’t think of too many movies that have influenced me in respect to Scald, except maybe ‘The Elephant Man’ and ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’. The lyrics are more inspired by reality, both personally and empathically. I’m as much inspired by sympathy as loathing, so I’m going to get much more inspiration from the news or a documentary as I am from a movie. Pretty much the same for art, I like weird stuff that reflects something of life. Bosch’s ‘Garden Of Earthly Delights’ is something I can look at again and again and it continues to amaze me.

Future steps in the life of Scald?

Pete: We are presently in creative mode, working on the incubation of new generations of the worm and it’s blacker descendants. We have much work to do…

Paul: Learn new songs, do more art, experiment a bit, try and put together a double CD of our old stuff and get it re-mastered and find some mug to put it out. Try and convince people to buy the special edition of ‘Headworm’ at and remember to keep holding our breath as we wade through the troughs of shit that goes along with being an extreme metal band that will not conform.

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