Scald Interview with Moonfish forShapeless zine 2004

this is the original english version
you can view the Italian translation here> shapeless zine

What does your name (Scald) mean to you? Why did you choose that word as
the name of your band?

Pete: The Scald name has initial and evolutionary meaning attached to it. Initially we thought it was a powerful, short, sharp, aggressive crust-metal sounding name. The intention was to create a sonic barrage, which would scald the black water on any listeners’ brains; Molten metal scalding the surface of the eardrums then penetrating and boiling the victims psyche leaving nothing but mental scurf in it’s wake.
Further down the line we discovered that a Scald was also an ancient heathen war-bard who would pen odes to the troops in order to psych them up for battle. To me this felt like some sort of evolutionary, subliminal, atavistic forces could have been at work in the blood line, he-he, and that is exactly what we were doing; Writing songs about societal and personal battles, etc and using the music to psych up and challenge both ourselves and our listeners to a draining and testing yet cathartic and adrenalised strength through extreme music.

"Headworm" is the title of your first album. Would you please tell us something about your path since your crust origins to the shaping of your
monolithic sound of today?

Pete: In 1993 Scald evolved from a crust / grind-core unit called T.V.P. which I played guitar and vocals for. When the original drummer left, Paulrus entered the fold from an off-kilter thrash band, which he (drums) and I (bass) were in, called Crisistianity, after it self-destructed (the song Confusexcremental from our Born With Teeth demo ’97 is a reworked effort from the days of that band) and the name was changed to Scald in order to fulfil the evolving direction of the general sound and aesthetic. Sporadic live appearances then ensued as time went on.
Further ahead Mick (Ex-Bleeding Rectum – old Irish punk band) joined on guitar leaving me to concentrate on vocals to see how that would improve our sound, then when Big Balls (bass) departed I was left to take up my original instrument, the bass, so around 1997 we stabilised as a trio, which is intact to this day with all elements eventually finding themselves in the musical positions at which they excelled the most.
So, the early Scald sound is what I would describe as primitive crust metal (Rancid Fuckhole demo ’94). This band is all about progression and pushing boundaries in extremity so with a combination of improving skills, equipment and finances we forged ahead into sharper thrash metal / punk and hardcore territorial leanings (Born With Teeth demo ’97) onto doom-heavy and dissonant elements (Nematoid: Specimen Parts I-IV demo ’99) through convoluted and eerie offerings (Nematoid: Specimen Parts V-IIX demo ‘00) into the present day progressive, sludge-grinding discordance and crushing, heavy-thrash doomisms (Headworm album ’03). This was a process of natural and intentional workings from the demos up to the days of the albums birthing.

How come you chose to release "Headworm" on your own label? No one
was really interested?! I can't believe it!

Pete: Well, thanks, but I can believe it, he-he! We figured we had done enough demos and gone through the usual well trodden channels of demos / labels / press / broken promises / incompetent assholes / bullshitters, etc, to no avail for years so we decided that the ‘worm deserved some justice to it’s sound and vision and made plans to release it as a full-on album ourselves. Now we’re back in those same channels but with an album instead of a demo, ha-ha.
Over the years our material has always had predominantly positive reactions opinion-wise so it’s anyone’s guess as to why, up to just recently, label issues have been negative. At present we are in some ongoing negotiations to get something sorted and a few other possibilities have raised their heads. We are cautious men now, though, having been burned before. We all know the advantages of having label backing but ultimately we will still exist, label or not; It is not the be all and end all, of course.

Paul: Not that many labels actually take a risk these days, their so called new and fresh bands are generally just a side step from the latest thing on Relapse. We’ve been around over 10 years now and possibly the musical climate could be coming round to us, but we’re still a marketing nightmare, you only have to look through a few reviews to see the difficulty writers have in comparative description. We could do with some support to help us work a bit faster; poverty is always a stumbling block when it comes to getting things done. But it’ll always be on our terms. We’ve proven now that we can get a quality full product to the pressing plant with no assistance, that’ll get rave reviews, what fucking more do they want? For fucks sake take a risk!


Headworm... Vermitronic... Godworm... You seem to have an obsession with
these creepy little creatures. What's behind that?

Pete: The worm obsession developed predominantly from our ‘Nematoid’ (an intestinal worm) demo days as a disturbing metaphor for the gut feeling / instinct reaction and parasitic human-comparative subject matter involved at the time. This fascination developed into applying the image and meaning of the worm symbolism to various subjects. This also post-evolved from the interest in maggot / insect behaviour being easily applied to the human condition.
The whole concept of the Headworm album revolves around the various mental disorders, which can affect humanity. That’s what a Headworm is… a negative mental condition… something bad burrowing through your psyche, a cerebral, soul destroying parasite at work or even what you might call an evil spirit of nature in full sub-cranial force, what ever way you want to interpret it.
We won’t give away just yet what each song refers to as we want it to be a challenge for others to decipher the vermicular scripts and work them out but I will start you off by saying that Godworm is about schizophrenia… go and read the lyrics later and this might become a little clearer. It describes the sequence of events of a person in the throws of a schizophrenic episode with the usual classic and typical god visions appearing, for us, in vermiform (worm shape).
Vermitronic is a personal combination of the Latin word, ‘Vermis’ meaning ‘Worm’ and the Greek word, ‘Tron’ meaning ‘System’. So the label is appropriately entitled ‘Wormworks’ so to speak. The unholy worm has become our death mascot!

Reading your lyrics, you seem to have abandoned all hope. Isn't there a way of salvation at all? What will happen to this world in the next years?

Pete: It would be a mistake to totally define the mindset of a band and it’s individual members solely on the lyrical content. Because we choose to predominantly exorcise and study life’s negative aspects through music this does not mean we are twenty-four hour a day manic depressive suicidalists. O.k., maybe just twenty-three, ha-ha, but to me life is an ongoing sequence of fluctuating positive and negative energies and this, hence forth, applies to being in Scald.
Even though the lyrics reek of absolute despair there is also a positive cathartic energy contained in certain areas of the music. The forces are battling each other and it is, to me, paradoxical and contradictory as there is a blackened strength pulsing in the musical genetics also. Constantly and heavily charged imbalances in effect. The whole experience hardens you yet is physically and psychologically draining.
These songs concentrate on different areas of life, which obviously are and at the same time can seem, hopeless, but on an individual basis hope in the general sense of living depends on the context of any given situation and my mood in the day. I mean, one day I could be out watching a great band, drinking beers and having a laugh with good people and the next day be sitting in watching the twenty-four hour news channel taking in all of the negative madness that constantly happens on this insane fucking hell-hole of a planet wanting to throw a rope around my neck.
Even though all artistic aspects of the band deal with serious things there is also a vibrant black sense of humour in Scald. When we get together we can on one hand have a laugh, let rip with the cynical and dark humour and then on the other, scream paeans of hatred against every cunt about having a really shit time. If there was no hope at all there would be no band and we’d either all be dead or in mental hospitals so I’d call it a cautious, sceptical and cynical hope even though all the while we’re laughing all the way to hell.
Having said that, even though there are many things in this life that I love, I honestly hate the universe in the ultimate sense. It’s origins and mysteries disturb and irritate my mind. It’s god concepts piss me off. I find its uncertainties, hostilities and dangers unacceptable. Many unanswered and probably unanswerable questions weigh on my mind constantly. The world trigger, the original mad scientist, God, the seminal natural energy, conscious or unconscious, call it what you will, whatever kicked all this shit off, has a lot to fucking answer for.
Even though it can be mind-blowing and awe-inspiring my opinions of it as ridiculous, insane, pathetic, laughable and worthy of much despise seem always to dominantly cut through. And Salvation? Define salvation. Do you mean living salvation? Again contexts come into play. In one area it is ongoing ups and downs and in another to live on in the mind-set of some of the Headworm’s lyrical victims there is quite simply no hope in the living zone. Can anyone honestly say they feel one hundred percent in a state of any kind of long lasting salvation?
And further on from that if death means death and the end is the end, then is that not in a way a salvation of itself? There will be no consciousness to realise the situation. Where as if there is something beyond death it might only offer another dimension of more potential misery even if it at first seems good. Where there are wills there are evil ways. So it depends on your idea of being saved from whatever.
Even if I were to suddenly have a great life ‘til my dying day it of course could not fully finish without negative influence as the part of my mind that has a social conscience would not allow it. In the back of my mind would always be the thought that anywhere on earth at any given time there is always something that is enslaved or suffering.
Who can say what the future of this world will be? Dust, probably. Judging by the past, if that is an ultimately viable proposition, then there’s plenty more shit to come, maybe worse, he-he, but as long as there’s beer and AC/DC we’ll die with twisted smiles on our faces on the way to Valhalla or nothingness.

Paul: There is hopelessness in the lyrics but it’s still defiant. I won’t add to what Pete has said except to say that to explain most of them would be to kill them.

About Unhinged, tell us a little more about what's behind that
name, please.

Paul: Unhinged was the title of my first painting exhibition years ago, I had used the name before, but it really stuck after that. Like Scald it has duplicitous meanings. Literally, it means mentally deranged, but also to unbalance, to come loose, to remove from the hinges, to remove the door. There are no limitations on the name, that’s what I like about it. It represents both insanity and freedom and open mindedness. Unhinged and Scald have co-existed, fed off each other and aided each-others evolution since the start. There is a triangular balance between the music, lyrics and art that may seem cryptic but it’s very important like the triangular balance between the three members of Scald. To me some parts may be more important than others but if any part is missing it can’t work properly. For those who don’t have a fucking clue what Unhinged is go to www.unhinged.me.uk

Voivod, OLD, Nuclear Death, Lemming Project. These are the names of the
bands I thought of while listening to your work. What do you think of that? Am
I wrong, or did I guess your influences?

Pete: You got one right. Voivod. One of my all time favourite bands. Insane song structures. Great sounds. Lyrically crazed. Truly unique. I keep a list in mind of all my musical inspirations for this very question, here you go > 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(?). Hearing any of these?
I think OLD are great but they were never an influence (it’s the vocals isn’t it?) and as far as Nuclear Death and Lemming Project are concerned, I have never heard these bands but I will be sure to track their stuff down for a listen, now that you have mentioned them. Thanks.

You come from Belfast. Belfast, Ireland or Belfast, U.K.? What's your opinion on such a matter?

Didn’t you read the website address, www.scald.me.uk, he-he? Just joking, well, all forms of imperialist occupations and aggressions are to be frowned upon from whatever quarter in whatever era so you can take your answer from that. As far as the people in the extreme music scene and music scene in general are concerned generally no one gives so much of a shit about nationality and religion that they’d make a major issue out of it or kill you for it. Let me break things down in a bit more detail for you as far as I am concerned.
I don’t know how much attention you pay to the politics of this region but it comes down to a general combination of conflicts of nationality and religion but in certain contexts can be a lot more complex and intricate than that. The way I look at it I am a heathen and I mean that in a ‘not believing in any bullshit religion’ kind of way, though heathen and pagan mythologies interest me in a symbolic sense… a heathen caught up in the middle of what is quite simply a long running, bullshit Christian feud.
I was born into a Catholic background and my mother and father, of Italian and Irish descent respectively, though they were too, are free-minded people and were pretty liberal as regards bringing me up. But as it went then with me, you had to go through the indoctrination of the authoritarian catholic school system to get a fucking decent education from fascist asshole christian brothers and mostly dick-headed teachers who were more concerned about whether you wore the right colour socks, had the right length hair, worshipped the right god, married on the right ‘side’ and genuflected correctly before leaving the school chapel, than if you had an individual thought in your fucking head.
As far as I am concerned I was born heathen, of the earth, where each person is spiritually a law unto their ‘satanic’ selves, he-he, and they failed miserably to convert me to their sycophantic, brainwashed, god-sucking, weak-minded, alien religion. Thanks for showing me how to read and write but you can shove jesus and the bible up your pseudo-holy asses. The kind of people I have just described have been involved in a centuries long power struggle with others, in fact a rebellion within itself, much the same in the previously described respect as them selves, only fucked up through different rules, otherwise known as Protestantism. Belfast, Ireland or Belfast, U.K. is the reason for years of fucking misery and death, not being able to get a job where you want, walk through an area you want or tell a stranger where you’re from without fear of getting your ass kicked, etc, so the sooner the pricks in power get some sort of reasonable solution together then the sooner we can all move on and forget about what city is in what country. Wishful thinking, I know, ha, we will see; having said that though it’s likely that there will always be some sort of shit happening in whatever form.

Paul: It’s all a big pile of stinking hypocritical shite. I reserve the right to love, hate, respect, condemn, support or judge people not based on any religious, social or racial grounds but based upon their value as humans. I take no part in any of this weak-minded allegiance to any tradition.

How does your audience react when you play your songs live? Does Scald have some followers?

Paul: We do have some followers, some of whom are incredibly supportive and enthusiastic about the band. We’ve always been a band of extreme positive or negative reaction; to me this is a good thing. We’d never want to walk the middle ground. Live we get a lot of dumbfounded ‘what the fuck is this?’ type of looks, which is amusing, there are some that really get into it and some that have to leave, but generally between songs the reaction is good.
Even though we play to a load of blank faces sometimes, the same faces will be there after with handshakes and grins.

There must be something in this world that makes you smile!... What??

Pete: Something that makes me smile?
How about these few things… the thought of the look in a hungry lion’s eye as it devours the christian lie… the thought of the look on the face of any paedophile priest should one of their victims somewhere in the world ever get and take the chance to stab one of the bastards in his stinking heart… or how about the thought of the look on the face of the brainwashed king sycophant pope as he agonisingly and slowly but surely, bent-over-rots away from his disease while still insisting on spewing praises to his tyrant, so-called god, that would see him fall fucked from his throne of shit onto the corrupted Vatican floor as part of some almighty benevolent plan? I’m grinning from ear to fucking ear at the thought of that one…but though these thoughts are in the world they are just mere thoughts in the world of my head so aside from that just gimme some Motorhead and you’ll most likely see a smile…

Paul: I’m pretty grumpy much of the time and I do get depressed and I’m filled with despair at the state of human existence but there’s no point going through life with a super grim nekro black metal scowl on twenty-four hours a day. You need to laugh and find joy in the simple good things in life otherwise you may as well just kill yourself and stop being a burden on the planet. Life sucks, get used to it, stop whining, have a beer, watch The Simpsons or something.

Any final words to our readers?

Pete: Things aren’t always what they seem…the Headworm wants you! Ave vox diaboli et vae victis!

Paul: Buy our CD because we need the money and you need the despair. www.scald.me.uk