Scald Interview with Bato for Metal Revolution 2004

Interview with Pete & Paul

This is one of the longest interviews I've ever done while writing for Metal Revolution Webzine, so I guess no further introduction to the work of Scald is necessary. All you ever wanted to know about this Irish unit can be read bellow. Once again my thanks go to Jon (Midhir Records) and Pete Dempsey (bassist/vocalist) & Paul McCaroll (drummer) for being so nice and patient answering on my many questions.

MR: Hey guys from Scald. Please at the very beginning be kind to introduce your mighty band.

PD: Greetings, Bato, how are you? Cheers for the positive review and thanks in advance for the interview. Scald reeks of Pete Dempsey, bass/vocals; Mick Tierney, guitar; Paul ‘Paulrus' McCarroll, drums; and honorary conspirator, Michele Giorgi, spoken word (for the latest release, Fluke ).

MR: What is the secret behind the band name? Who and why came up with Scald?

PD: Well, according to the legendary Vermystix, this information has now entered into the realm of myth and grindlore, as I vaguely remember it being suggested by our old bass player back whence, as a short, sharp, aggressive, crust metal sounding name for a band of our kind; the meaning/relevance to our concept has evolved over the years, e.g. the definition of the word as harsh criticism and other references to ancient war poets, etc, to name but a few things; we are modern day battle bards penning anti-odes to the actions of enemies within and without.

MR: Now introduce your new MCD to our readers who've not had a chance to listen to it yet.

PD: Musically speaking, the Fluke MCD is a general nod/homage to our old grindcore/crust, punk/metal origins, without which we wouldn't be the unit we are today but with a modern essence; the songs are initially, in Scald terms, short, sharp, full steam ahead, virtually relentless batterings that take no fuckin' prisoners but there is also a sprawling industro-element incorporated into its latter sonic ethos and in another sense it was also an opportunity to cut loose from the main complex Scald thread and rattle out some merciless, brash yet eloquent, honest to Satan punk tunes…

MR: Is it a concept story behind it? I mean, it is all about religion, esp. Catholicism and its corruption, hate, manipulation etc?

PD: Those who know Scald, know that the symbolism of the (parasitic) worm features greatly in our material and this time it is given almighty appliance to the actions of the Catholic Church over the black ages of its rotten reign; obviously this is the core critical target but the themes could be applied to Christianity and religion in general though, inclusive of broader theological thinking and encompassing in its aesthetic, the wider issues of existence, man's/Christ's place in the universe, etc…

MR: For how many years have you played together? Are you friends in a band or only band mates?
PD: As Scald, we have been going for almost fifteen years now but the various members have been connected via other bands since the mid-eighties. We are originally friends in a band but the level of social connection has varied over the years with us generally only meeting in band circumstances to a greater extent for a long time now due to life's present standings.
PMcC: Scald are the only humans outside my immediate family I make a point of talking to.

MR: What's life like in a Catholic Ireland and esp. what does metal scene looks like over there?

PD: For those who do not know, we are based in Northern Ireland, which has a close Catholic/Protestant ratio as opposed to the south, which is predominantly Catholic but all of this has been fluctuating over the years with a greater all-Island ethnic and cultural mix appearing over relatively recent times due to higher levels of immigration, etc, more so recently in the north, which adds to the feeling in Belfast, depending where you are for any given amount of time, of course, of a city probably akin to many others across Europe and to a greater extent the world, at the minute. The political situation is generally steady enough at the moment but of course, like many other places in the world, depending on its circumstances, you sadly must still be wary of where you are going and what is being said in certain situations; having said that, in a social sense, religious issues have minimal bearing on general every day life here but one that in for e.g. a musical/political/ philosophical subject matter sense, must have an eye kept upon it when the need arises to switch to that mode of thought, if you see what I mean? The (underground) metal scene here is small but vibrant and ever-evolving, as opposed to the larger scale south and over many recent years the scenes both north and south have connected to a greater extent, boosting the well being of metal in general in these territories.

MR: What bands do you listen to? Any other bands you look up to? What were your main influences while growing up?

PD: We listen to a vast plethora of various music but I grew up listening to (and still listen to) The Beatles, Kiss, Iron Maiden, the main Thrash bands, then into more extreme material including all sorts of hardcore, punk, etc but direct inspiration for Scaldic compositions as a collective, from the beginning to the present, to a greater or lesser extent, has come from the following bands/artists: Extreme Noise Terror, Napalm Death, Doom, Discharge, Crass, Carcass, Deviated Instinct, Nausea, Godflesh, Neurosis, Ministry, Rush, King Crimson, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Voivod, Metallica, Radiohead, Motorhead, Black Sabbath, Slayer, Portishead, Pink Floyd, Gong, Tangerine Dream, Frank Zappa and various classical music.

MR: What's spinning in your stereo these days?

PD: New Rush, old Metallica, new Type O Negative, new Primordial, old Kiss, new NIN…
PMcC: Deep Purple, Voivod, Sleepytime Gorrilla Museum, Nordvargr, Beyond Sensory Experience, Venetian Snares, Public Enemy, Zorn, Zappa, old Slayer and a bunch of ambient, industrial, electronic stuff.

MR: Do you know anything about Danish scene?

PD: Nothing. Lars Ulrich and King Diamond don't promote it enough!

MR: What about our zine? Btw. wanted to ask about your honest opinion on my review of your new material?

PD: This is the first time I have heard of the zine called Metal Revolution! ( Laughing ) so you want us to review the review? Well, ok, you asked for it, so to be honest and without sounding too harsh, it is workman-like at best and significantly lacking in structural merit and technical depth (but correct me if I'm wrong, this is maybe due in part to the element of the language barrier?). It is also suffering from a scarcity of the journalistic craftsmanship you would generally expect when speaking of a piece of artwork so painfully toiled over and is more borrowedly and generically descriptive than idiosyncratically opinionated, yet it is very positive, which is of course appreciated. Am I taking the piss? Maybe a bit…

MR: No, I absolutely understand what you mean. There're numerous reasons for that, but let me just mention language barrier and my lack of the knowledge on your band/music prior to listening to this material. You've released Fluke through Midhir Records. Why exactly this company and are you satisfied with the support so far?

PD: Apart from all the external shit we've been experiencing, Jon's the daddy for sure.
PMcC: Midhir is a small label but I'm very happy with Jon's attitude and enthusiasm for the project. It's much better to have people on board that understand and actually care about what we do. It's much more important to have that integrity and attention to detail that we demand than to be with a label with money.

MR: Can you tell us more about the closing track "Larva"? I find it interesting but also complex?

PD: I'll presume you meant “Passera”?

MR: Yes.

PD: Paul?
PMcC: The idea was to approach the whole concept from two different angles. It is covered in tracks 1-5 (Act 1) and also as Passera (Act 2). I'm not going to over dissect or simplify it. One of the reasons for creating art, in this format or visually, is to convey a message, atmosphere or emotion that I find impossible or uncomfortable through speech or other medium. I'd rather just put it out there for the individual to enjoy, or more likely endure. All I'll say is that the source material comes from the original tracks thoroughly mangled with some additions and the lyrics are the same but carefully translated and narrated in Italian.

MR: Do you presume a certain level of intelligence on the part of your listeners; there's a pretty complex concept behind this MCD?

PD: I don't presume anything from anybody at all but having said that I would prefer not to have idiots listening to our unholy teachings and would like to think that those who choose Scald are prepared to open their minds to an all encompassing and fully immersive musical, philosophical, visual and comprehensive artistic experience; people are of course free to take from it what they will though, be it positive or negative – Disclaimer: “Scald assumes minimal responsibility for any collateral damage inflicted upon shallow minds and can only (de)compensate said victims with a harsh lesson in verbal defence mechanisms.” The Verminati.

MR: Are you working on anything new? Do any of the members have side projects?

PD: We are always a long time in advance of ourselves as regards newly written material. The structural entirety of the next release has existed in its skeletal form for many years now (as it is with all of our works) and the first song has recently just received its initial fleshing out process at rehearsal; as a whole, this neo uber magnum opus threatens to outstrip everything we've ever done before in terms of scope and magnitude – may the wyrm gods be with us… please.
PMcC: I don't think there is any real need for 'side' projects as we have created a band without any singular set path. That said, recently Mick's been doing some gigs with his old reformed punk band, Bleeding Rectum and I've contributed some drum samples to Hollow Branches (USA). I am becoming more interested in the ambient, industrial, noise side of things but there is plenty of scope for this work within Scald. Also Scald is a lot of work that requires a lot of time and dedication and I don't want to be squirreling away the best ideas for a solo project.

MR: What are the band's tour plans?

PD: None to speak of… virtually ever, we are above such anti-necro sentiments.

MR: Any final message for the readers of Metal-Revolution?

PD: Happy New Year and may the peace of the lord be with you… always.

Interview done by Bato

* MR: Still hungry for more details and thoughts from these two crazy Irishmen? So don't hesitate, go and read ‘quick five' with them, right here .