To fully comprehend the intricacies of the underground world of extreme music would be nearly impossible. However, what's even harder to comprehend is the fact that Ireland's fast-rising grind/doom/crust/black/death/etc. warriors, better known as Scald, have not been signed to ANY of the many fine record labels helping to support the underground world of extreme music.
Scald is a band with a ton of buzz around metal forums and metal websites lately. Reviews of their latest full installment, the self-released ‘Headworm’, have been nothing but positive. With proper financial backing, Scald has the potential to reach artistic levels very rarely achieved in today’s corporate metal world.
With that said, I had a chance to talk to Scald’s Pete Dempsey (bass/vocals) and Paul McCarroll (drums) regarding the amazing ‘Headworm’, finding a record label, and cunts.
UM: Scald has been around a while, but you haven’t been picked up by a label yet. How’s the hunt going?
Paul: Shite . . . but not quite as shite. There’s a chance of a Euro license being negotiated, but it’s early days. At least it would be a start. We’re in no rush to sign the first thing that’s put in front of us; we’ve been burned before.
UM: With so many SHIT bands on labels, why do you think Scald is being over looked? Let’s face it Scald is almost unanimously considered a better band than at least 90% of the metal bands on Earth.
Paul: A lot of labels seem to be more interested in releasing the same old fodder that’ll sell just the right amount to make them some cash. I don’t think too many are that interested in releasing something that’ll be hard to market. Let’s face it we’re a risk. There are some great, honest, forward thinking labels that aren’t so interested in the latest fad, but they’re few and far between, and for them I suppose it’s a matter of taste. Of course it would be great to have the support of a good label to relieve us of a lot of the time consuming crap that has to be done and finally to have more time to concentrate fully on the music and the artistic aspects of Scald which are time consuming enough, not to mention the financial burden. But then maybe the world needs another 1000 shit copycat death metal CDs this week.
Pete: Well, thanks for saying. Our style of extremity also takes, I think, a lot of time to familiarize with. This is not ‘instant’ music. The first two minutes from a demo pile might not get you very far with us. Not being easily pigeon holed for ‘accessible’ (Ha!) marketing may also be a factor, maybe they just don’t get it, or, to a lot of them, we just suck, who knows?
UM: Why did you decide to release a full album on your own label, rather than to continue label shopping with another demo?
Paul: I think we’ve done enough demos. We thought it was time that we did our music some justice. We did our best with our limited resources to put out the best package we possibly could. I did send a few un-mastered discs out to a few select labels in the vain hope that someone would see it’s potential and we wouldn’t have to put every last penny into manufacture, but fuck it, it was worth doing. We kept it under wraps for a while and just sold it in Ireland to finance sending copies to labels, but I don’t think too many gave it the listen it deserves. So we’ve now started promoting it ourselves, sending copies for review. Maybe someone will read about it and that’ll spark an interest… which is plan ‘B’ I suppose. Priority is to find some decent licenses for this thing so we can move on to our next projects. Any licensed version of Headworm will be with no slipcase, different artwork and without the CD-ROM. This is our ‘limited edition’ version, so if anyone wants one, buy it now at www.scald.me.uk , there’s only a couple of hundred left (fucking shameless plug there).
UM: What has the reaction to ‘Headworm’ been like?
Paul: Pretty astounding so far. We’ve only been sending out the promos for a while so we’ve only got 6 reviews back up to now, but none are rated lower than a nine. But early days, somebody’s bound to fucking detest it as much as the labels seem to. Punter wise it’s been brilliant, a lot of ‘I don’t know what the fuck it is, it fucks with my head but it’s great’ type comments. It’s nice to get praise; it gives you a bit of a boost when everything else seems to be turning to shit around you, but it does rub salt in those unsigned wounds a tad, haha.
Pete: I’m sick of all these good reviews, and I can’t wait to see our first all-out slagging, Kerrang maybe, he-he, if they could be arsed reviewing it.
UM: Scald is a band of many influences, but the band has a noticeable love of “forward thinking” extreme music. What bands would you say had the most influence on your music?
Pete: 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: For myself I’d add Black Sabbath, Slayer, Portishead and Pink Floyd to that. Since Glyn (from The Dagda who worked with us on Headworm) started taking the piss a bit naming parts ‘our King Crimson bits’, I’ve been encouraging Pete to listen to them ha-ha. Can’t get the fucker into Pink Floyd, though.
UM: I seem to have a little bit of trouble describing your music. Please feel free to offer your own description.
Pete: Well, I usually go with something like, progressive-sludge-grind-doom (he-he), which ends up shortened to just sludge-grind. But I suppose that’s just the guts of it, and doesn’t really do it justice overall. It’s interesting to see what others decide it is. I mean people have gone through the anti-spectrum with us. Over the years we’ve been called a mixture of avant-garde, black, death, doom, thrash, prog, grind, crust, punk, etc. This is not wholly intentional, though, as I just write what I like with whatever tempo and sound I’m in the mood for.
UM: Please describe the early formation of Scald. How did it all start?
Paul: In the late eighties me and Pete were in a weird thrash band called Crisistianity, which was great. In fact, ‘Confusexcremental’, from Born With Teeth, was a reworking of a Crisistianity song, but held back by an incompetent singer and Pete started a crusty grind side project called TVP at the start of the nineties, with him on vocals and guitar. After sacking the singer in Crisistianity, that band slowly fell apart. The drummer left TVP and I joined, after a bit TVP started to evolve beyond its intended state, and in’93 the name was changed to Scald. At that point it was myself on drums, Pete on vocals and guitar and Big Balls on bass. After a bit Mick, who had been in Bleeding Rectum joined on guitar, with Pete just doing vocals. That’s when things started to really come together, and we recorded Born With Teeth. After that Big Balls left and Pete took over bass. Since that it’s just been the three of us evolving a three-pronged din mangle, and I can’t imagine a different line up ever really working . . . even if they are a shower of cunts.
Pete: A cunt, as the old saying goes, is a useful thing . . .
UM: As I mentioned previously, Scald has been around for a while. How has the band’s sound changed over the years?
Pete: As Scald, the early sound was, as you would maybe expect, primitive and crusty, as we had just evolved out of the aforementioned T.V.P. This naturally and intentionally progressed through to sharp and thrashy, to doom-like and discordant, to convoluted and eerie, to prog-heavy-epic and dissonant and so forth. The intentional and natural sides of the sound direction continually play off each other as time goes on while more beef is added to the stock with each year’s passing.
UM: What is a typical Scald live show like? Is it hard to carry over the experimental stuff to a live situation?
Paul: Usually half way through the first tune you see about 20% of the crowd head for the door in disgust. A few will attempt to mosh about a bit in a confused badly timed manner, a few girls will start crying and asking their boyfriends to leave, the rest will stand and stare with bewildered expressions. There’s usually a good old reaction between songs, but they might just be applauding the quiet respite. There are a few songs that don’t work too well live because if the sound’s shit onstage it’s really hard to keep it together and that’s no fun. We really need to hear each other with some of the freaky timing, but mostly it’s not a problem. Well it wouldn’t be if we practiced a bit more . . . ha-ha.
Pete: What? They ask their boyfriends to leave so that they can stay and have an “alone in a crowd” moment crying at us? If we get a good onstage sound? Ha! I don’t think it’s hard to carry it over. No . . . you just get the raw, live version in that case.
UM: Has Scald had a chance to play any live shows outside of Ireland? Please elaborate if so.
Paul: Well my situation rules out touring, but I have no problem giving the stool up to a touring drummer if the opportunity comes up. We don’t play live too much. When we try, the Scald curse is usually waiting just ahead. We were due to support Napalm Death in Dublin last November, and after finally finding somewhere to practice for it, I cut my left eyeball to shit breaking a stick off the snare a few days before the gig. There is a very long list of disasters in the Scald history.
Pete: Aye . . . starting with the bit where you joined. Come on, turd-holder, give up the stool!
UM: The artwork on your demos and on ‘Headworm’ is some of the most amazing stuff I’ve ever seen. Sort of H.R. Giger influenced, I guess. How important is the artwork to the overall affect of the album?
Paul: Well cheers. I do put a huge amount of effort into it. I think it’s incredibly important especially now with every fucker downloading everything. The physical aspect of an album seems to be not so important. More bands should make an effort with the visual aspect of things. I got a Canaan CD in the post the other day from Mauro of Eibon Records. The packaging was fantastic, and I really thought that I was holding something worthwhile that a lot of thought and effort had gone into. The point is; I hope people feel the same way when they get our CDs. Why go to the expense of printing anything that’s just flung together thoughtlessly? Before ‘Headworm’ I hadn’t been able to put anything together professionally, and everything was scissors and glue, but we always did our best to make things look good. The pre-‘Headworm’ stuff was all airbrush paintings by me, which are, I guess, in a similar style to Giger. I haven’t painted for years now, except by computer. I’ve been doing stuff for other bands for a couple of years too; you can check out that shit, along with all the old Scald art at www.unhinged.me.uk . . . yay, two plugs so far.
Pete: What? Is this the bit where I’m supposed to tell you how brilliant you are? You get enough of that, y’bastard. Nah, I’ve said it many times before, but I think it’s important for all artistic angles to be covered to a band’s best ability. Music, performance, lyrics, artwork, packaging should be fully maximized in quality where possible. That’s what we expect as fans and that’s what I like to think we give as players.
Paul: Well, exactly, every aspect of the overall album should be tied in and executed to the best of our abilities and resources.
UM: What is the next step for Scald? Where do you go from here?
Paul: Well hopefully we’ll sort out a proper release for Headworm. Meantime, as soon as we get sorted in a new practice room, we’ll be starting to rehearse the Nematoid songs to record them as they should have been as a proper album. We should also be doing a long, and frankly mental, instrumental for a separate release at the same studio sessions. As soon as that’s done there’s a huge monolithic fuck of an album to be learned and recorded and some other secret stuff and a pile of artwork and visual shit to do and maybe a gig here and there within the next few years. It’ll be a while before you’re rid of us yet.
Pete: Don’t like to speculate too much on future possibilities as plans are always there to be scuppered, but it’s giving me a sore head thinking about when the next album will surface. Death begins at forty!
Paul: Well agreeing with Pete, without label support it’s pretty tough for us to fist ahead without any financial backing, being skint and all that. But, things will happen, it’ll just take a bit longer.
UM: Any final comments?
Pete: Stay off the worm tablets, kids and thanks to UM for the interest.
Paul: Thanks for everything Nathan. Buy our album! Even if you don’t like it, it’s better than hearing the same old shit again. Same goes for labels, give us a shout if you want to hear Headworm. And of course, kids! Eat your greens, brush your teeth and cultivate your worms
ULTIMATE METAL - The final word in metal Reviews, Interviews, and Discussion.
Last edited by Russell : May 2nd, 2004 at 01:13 PM.