Carnifex are about to release new music with their sixth album. Photo Contributed
Carnifex are about to release new music with their sixth album. Photo Contributed Contributed

The Hard Word speaks to Carnifex

Californian based metal outfit CARNIFEX, will release their new album entitled Slow Death on August 5 via Nuclear Blast Records.

The record was produced and recorded by CARNIFEX and Mick Kenney (ANAAL NATHRAKH, BLEEDING THROUGH), and co-produced by Jason Suecof (DEATH ANGEL, CHELSEA GRIN, JOB FOR A COWBOY).

'Slow Death' was mixed by Mark Lewis (THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, WHITECHAPEL, DEVILDRIVER, DEICIDE) at Audiohammer Studios in Sanford, Florida. Cover art for the album was created by renowned artist and longtime collaborator, Godmachine.

What really makes CARNIFEX stand out from the throngs of other Hard Rock acts currently scouring the planet, are their savage live performances.

Their declaration to make every night an experience for fans rather than just a show, has proven to be the most appreciated trait of the band among fans. But you can keep your pyrotechnics and other special effects at home as CARNIFEX relies solely on the power of their music.

"Every night, we strive to play extremely tight. Sometimes it can be difficult to make such an intense show so interactive, but we make sure that everyone is getting involved," says Lewis.

We spoke to vocalist Scott Lewis and got the low down on the latest album.

Mare Stapelberg: Hi Scott, thanks for chatting. Your new video 'Drown Me in Blood' sees you in a pit slowly drowning in blood. How long were you in the pit for during the making of the video 'Drown in Blood'?

Scott Lewis: I guess for about five hours.

It wasn't an actual pit but yeah it was about five hours.

When you are shooting you are doing it over and over, different camera angles, getting different performances and we had to let the tank fill up.

It was 2500 gallons of blood so that took a bit of time and the prop and makeup people come in and they sort of reset things.

It is a little bit of a tedious process, you get tired and the prop blood tastes horrible and hurts your eyes.

Because of the quantity we needed it was a mix - if we were to go just prop blood we probably would have spent our entire budget on that .

It was made of stage blood, food colouring and water kind of a blend of the three.

I came up with the concept 3 months before we shot, and I thought it would be real cinematic.

The song always sounded big and theatrical and we wanted the video to match that.

And we knew this was going to be the first impression that people had of the album and we really wanted to hit them hard with something big and I think we did. I think a lot of people really liked it.

It's the most we ever spent on a music video.

MS: How much exactly did you spend?

SL: It was about US$15000.

MS: What is the mood in the Carnifex camp at the moment?

SL: It is good but we are very busy. We are getting ready to go on tour. The Summer Slaughter tour is for six weeks, we are doing a lot of merchandise, set lists, lot of press for me during the last couple of weeks, and trying to promote the album online.

The feedback has been great and pre-orders are way up from the last album.

There is a sense of excitement but there is also a little bit of dread.

There is a lot of expectation on the band.

You are only as good as your last album, but until we get those sales numbers in you don't really know how you will do.

Right now I am focusing on the tour and looking at what we can control.

MS: How was the recording process?

SL: It was really great.

But you always have obstacles in the studios, trying to get the right tones, the right performances, juggling all that equipment.

We really gave ourselves a lot of time. We put 28 months between the two records because we know how we work, we know our process is a lot of rewriting.

There are ten songs on the album but we probably rewrote each one of those songs ten times.

So you have essentially eighty different songs that we went through to end up where we are with the versions we have on the album.

It was a long process and we found that's what works best for us.

The big gaps are what we need to really put out an album that satisfies us as musicians.

Now it's just seeing if we wrote songs that people actually like which is always the challenge.

MS: How do you relax?

SL: It's something I could do better.

It's been non-stop.

We were on the road right out of the studio, we had video to shoot, filmed a of content for the label for YouTube, and we are getting ready for a six week long tour.

So honestly I haven't really had a chance to relax.

MS: Tell me about the cover designed by God Machine - who obviously designed the previous cover?

Yeah absolutely.

God Machine and I have been working pretty close for the last five years.

He does a lot of merchandise for the band.

Obviously he did the last cover.

By the time I saw the first sketch from him we had discussed the concept pretty thoroughly at that point.

He really captured what we wanted.

We didn't want to do the overly digital covers.

We wanted something that looked hand drawn and looked like it was created by a human and had that human element to it.

And all that falls in line with what the cover is trying to convey - this bleakness, this singular being in this void.

And I don't know that it would have really conveyed the same rawness or authenticity if it had that very digital or photoshopped look.

Godmachine does everything by hand, so it was completely hand drawn.

It is very different and much like the music when you get to the end of the album and you kinda of go 'What other band sounds like this?" and if you look at the cover it is not really a style that you are seeing on covers these days and that was completely intentional.

MS: What do you think it is about this music that is cathartic?

SL: I think the biggest thing I've noticed from fans is to relate and to read something and hear something and to connect with it on a level where they can say 'I'm not the only person that feels like this', 'Im not the only person that have these emotions and ask these questions.'

For me growing up - a huge Nine Inch Nails fan, huge Manson fan - and one thing I always connected with on those albums was the lyrics.

I connected with them and I related to them, even though I was alone physically and didn't really have any friends or real relationships growing up, I had these relationships with the artists I never really knew, and I connected with them through their lyrics.

And I am just try to bring that into my writing and I hope I can do the same thing for whoever is listening to us and that they see that connection and they realise they aren't completely alone in that feeling.

That can be the light at the end of the tunnel.

At face value the songs can seem very negative and they are, but there is subtext there of connecting with people and letting them know someone else feels the way they do and having someone to commiserate with.

MS: What do you think of the music coming out of Australia? You have toured with Parkway Drive and Northlane.

SL: "I think it's awesome.

I think there are a lot of fantastic bands out there.

Parkway are great.

We have toured with them twice now.

They write great records which is cool but that is not what makes them great.

What makes them great is there attitudes.

Obviously in Australia hugely popular, in Europe hugely popular, here in the states they do very well, but they don't have that attitude, they don't have the rock star attitude.

They are just really nice humble guys.

It is really refreshing to tour with a band that doesn't have that attitude.

As a fellow musician it makes you want to have that attitude to.

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