Not only have I recently seen one of my favorite prog/tech bands and also featured them in July as the website’s featured band/artist, but I also got to INTERVIEW the band! The fanboy in me got some questions answered by Cameron Porras, the band’s guitarist & vocalist. Dig in and enjoy this one!
TMR: How did you come up with the band name?
Back when the band was conceptualized I was doing a lot of research on the Tibetan Book of the Dead which is a Buddhist funerary text.(In Tibetan it is called the Bardo Thodol which translates to Liberation in the Intermediate State Through Hearing. This is where the name for our first album comes from.) I was reading around and I saw something about there being two types of existence: Animate existence which would be anything with consciousness, basically humans and animals, and there is Inanimate existence, which is anything that lives and dies but without consciousness basically like plants, trees, or fire. They said that through meditation a human can reach a similar level of consciousness as the inanimate existence by learning to let go of their conscious thought and it would bring you to state of Dharmakaya which is when you transcend the realm of the 5 senses humans are wired to perceive.
TMR: Any progress on the writing for the new album? And can we expect a single before the end of the year?
The new album musically is basically finished. I have been fine tuning little bits and adding lots of solos and layers to keep it interesting throughout but now I’m pretty happy with the way things turned out. Ron is going to record his drum parts in a few days and then I’ll be recording guitar sometime after that. At the time of me writing this Im about halfway done writing lyrics which I also want to spend a little extra time on then I usually do. I wanted to try something new to get the creative juices flowing so I’ve been micro dosing psilicobilin mushrooms everyday while I write and I think it’s having an interesting effect on my writing. Lyrically this album will be much more poetic, symbolic, and very personal to me.
TMR: What’s the story behind Underneath A Melting Sky? How was the recording process for it was it any different than your previous albums?
This was the first album of ours on our new label “The Artisan Era” (shoutout to Mike ‘n’ Malc) and also our first album where I wrote the music in it’s entirety (minus the basslines and some drum parts). I thought of this as sort of a rebirth of our band and really wanted to amplify what makes us unique and create something more mature than our old material but also bring back some of the brutality and dark vibes that people expect when they go to listen to a death metal band. The only problem was we wrote and recorded it very fast which is something I’m trying to avoid with our new album, but still UAMS was our most well received album at release.
TMR: Any tour plans in the works after the Blood Of the Beggar Tour?
No we don’t have much else beside the new album planned out for the band. A few shows here and there but no tours. Unfortunately it’s getting harder and harder to tour because the turn outs are getting weaker and weaker these days. Times are tough and people are being more and more careful of where they spend their time and money. It seems people wait for that one show that has 5 of their favorite bands on it rather than one or two which I understand. It just sucks for us lol.
TMR: Do you guys enjoy being a smaller band?
Well I guess we don’t mind it, but of course we wish we could make a living wage off of our efforts. Like I said its getting harder and harder to get people to care about you in particular because the market is so saturated with good music and death metal is a tiny genre to begin with. It’d be nice to play sold out festivals, tour Europe, get free drugs and mad poon on the reg, but hey, I guess it keeps us humble.
TMR: What was your musical journey? When did everyone start playing and how did you learn your craft?
Me and Ron met sometime between 8th and 9th grade and by that time he was already doing blast beats and I was only able to play like smoke on the water and iron man, but we were both all about death metal and so I got my first shitty electric guitar and started learning cannibal corpse and deicide songs. At first we did a bunch of cover songs, our first song we played all the way through I think was blame it on god by deicide. Then in high school we finally started learning to do originals and we just kept at it and 15 years later here we are.
TMR: What’s the story of Inanimate Existence and how the band came to be?
We played in a band called Flesh Consumed prior to the birth of Inanimate Existence. It was a fun band but it wasn’t ours and we didn’t have the level of artistic freedom that we really wanted. We did a cd with them and after a little turmoil within the members we decided to leave and start working on a group of our own that we would have control over. That’s when we started deciding what exactly we wanted the group to be about and by that time we had outgrown the standard death metal themes of blood and gore which is why we decided to make some more mature music with themes we could actually stand behind.
TMR: The artwork on your albums are so cool! Have you had the same artist for all of them or was it someone different every time?
Yes every album cover has been a different artist. Only on our shirts do we have a lot of designs from the same artist named Parin Cashmony who also did the art for the cover of our third album.
TMR: Favorite show you guys ever played?
It’s hard to say but two shows come to mind. One was on our last tour, we played Kingsman AZ, which is a pretty small town so I didn’t really know what to expect. It was a typical bar scene and no stage, but god dam people filled the place up. Not only that but the crowd was so into every band and just loving every minute of it. People were moshing and head banging and visibly having so much fun and we really feed off that energy and it makes us perform that much better. After us I even joined in the mosh pit for the other bands and by the end I was drunk and sweaty. Everyone was so friendly too, afterward it felt like a big party where everyone was down to shoot the shit. The other best show to me was Lousville deathfest. I know that show gets a lot of flack for the mishap of the bands not getting paid but we get screwed out of money so often it didn’t really mean shit to me. I loved it because there were so many super fans there who really made it special. There was karoake next door too and Scotty and I sang random songs and got wasted in the parking lot with so many friends both new and old until the wee hours of the morning. It all ended at like 430 in the morning when someone handed me an air horn and I just held the button down and emptied the can. The owner of the bar came out and told us to fuck off or he’d call the police. It was all good, we were out of booze anyway.
TMR: What’s the first thing you guys think about before a set starts, and the moment a set ends?
That’s different from show to show. Most the time it’s standard thing like “hey maybe I should warm up” or “better take a dump while I still can”. Some days it’s like “Wake me up when the band before us is on their last song” and “I’m going back to bed”. Sometimes you gotta use your meal ticket before the kitchen closes but you don’t want to be full while trying to rock out. A lot of times we’re just bored and anxious to play.
TMR: What’s your favorite go to drink?
I assume you’re talking about alcohol lol. It depends how far into tour we are. In week 1 it’s definitely beer. Cold refreshing and doesn’t get me over the level too fast. Around week two I’ll start having fun drinks with lunch or dinner, Jack n coke, Moscow mules, margaritas, that kinda thing. Then when tour starts to get gnarly I start getting double shots of whiskey on ice. Then when I start to realize how broke I am I’ll buy a bottle of whiskey and just ask for a cup of ice. That’s when things get fun.
TMR: What’s your favorite memory or event as a musician? What has stood out the most you’ll always remember?
A few years ago we played Springfield Ohio I think, and the venue was this weird nightclub all sleek and new looking and the whole town was just dead. Nobody walking around, no stores open, just the bands at the show. The opening bands were some little kids who were playing for there parents and needless to say after they played they all left. Scotty and I, in the face of feeling pretty bummed decided to drink a bottle of whiskey before we played to the bartender. Once we took to the stage and miraculously plugged in all our gear semi correctly a small group of people, I think it was like 3 people came and watched us. Scotty and I, being way drunker than we should have been started fucking around and doing rock star stage moves the likes of which that town had never seen. They were eating it up which encouraged us to be even more whacky. Afterward we were all hanging out with our new friends who turned out to be juggalos and they were all super high on ecstasy which accounts for why they were so easily impressed. They were lead by a young man named “Batman Strange” (cant make that up). He invited us over to his pad gave us a bunch of weed and ridiculously huge dabs all night and then at like 5am he turns to us and says “So what are your plans for the night?” We were like “uhhh i thought we’d sleep here with yall?” and then B.S. disappeared and made his friend kick us out, haha I guess the drugs wore off. We just went and slept in the van in front of his apartment.