SOS Q&A: Carcass
“Everyone in the band enjoys Austin”
By Michael Toland,
3:15PM, Thu. Nov. 3, 2016
These Liverpool extremists made their mark in the mid-Eighties as pioneers of both grindcore and death metal. Bassist/vocalist Jeffrey Walker and guitarist Bill Steer resurrected the act in 2008 after a 13-year hiatus, scenery-chewing thrash intact. We emailed the principals as Carcass rampages across the U.S. on the way to Sound On Sound this Sunday.
Austin Chronicle: The last time you were here, you were headlining the Decibel magazine tour at the Mohawk with the Black Dahlia Murder, Gorguts, and Noisem. Seemed like the first time in Austin in a really long time.
Jeffrey Walker: We last played there at the old Emo’s in 2008. Before that, well, I bet you’re much better at Googling the info than we are. I myself have also passed through a few times over the years with another band I’d been playing with.
AC: Were you glad to be back?
JW: Yeah, Austin is cool – a nice oasis of bohemia (of sorts) in Texas! Joking aside, it’s a very nice city to visit.
Bill Steer: Everyone in the band enjoys Austin. So that’s one thing we have in common.
AC: How did you feel about that show?
JW: I enjoyed it. I recall we ruined a wedding party that was occurring on the hill behind the venue with our racket, ha ha.
BS: Yeah, that didn’t feel too good. But how were we to know?
AC: Are you looking forward to playing Sound On Sound?
JW: Well, looking at the billing, it will be interesting, to say the least. Hopefully I’ll get to catch Bob Mould. No, that’s not an STD.
BS: At least it’s a little different from the type of festival we normally get invited to.
AC: One thing I remember vividly about that Mohawk show was that Carcass was the only band that had an actual groove to the music.
JW: Wow, I think that’s the first time anyone has ever used the “G” word in relation to Carcass!
AC: Do you think groove is a lost art in metal, especially death metal?
JW: It’s there if you care to look for it. Unfortunately, it’s not the main priority for a lot of musicians or, dare I say, the listener in this particular genre.
BS: Yeah, I’d agree to an extent. It’s all in the ear of the beholder.
AC: Though considered the liberal oasis in very conservative Texas ...
JW: Damn, I almost said that above verbatim!
AC: ... there was still a resolution passed here to allow the open carry of guns on the University of Texas campus. And, of course, this is an open carry state. You come from England, which has laws against that. Does it bother you to tour here?
JW: Not in the slightest.
BS: It’s a toss-up between getting stabbed at home or shot in the U.S.A.
AC: Is there a perception in England that we’re all a bunch of pistol-packin’ nut jobs and gun obsessives with overly permissible gun laws?
JW: Not really, but whenever there’s some mass shooting or massacre, it’s pretty obvious to us that it’s going to happen with so many firearms per populace. And with all the pressures of 21st century U.S. living.
AC: You’re also coming right before our presidential election, the results of which impact the countries with whom the States are allied as well. Do you ever look at the current election cycle and shake your head at American insanity?
JW: Not really. It’s amusing.
AC: What do you think of a potential Donald Trump presidency?
JW: At first I thought it would be a disaster for the U.S. I now think it’s absolutely hilarious and I hope he wins. There’s a lot of fear about what people perceive he can do based on the diatribe he comes out with. The bottom line is his hands will be tied like all politicians. They say whatever the populace wants to hear to get elected, but there will be no wall if he gets in. Sadly, I don’t think he will be elected now.
AC: How do you feel about Great Britain’s vote to leave the European Union?
JW: I’m over it. A lot of people cut off their nose to spite their face by voting out. It’s those very people at the bottom of the pile who voted out who are going to feel the economic impact the hardest.
BS: Both camps embarrassed themselves with some laughable rhetoric and questionable statistics. It seemed that – as usual – nobody had sufficient answers. I voted to remain, but that decision came from a fairly primitive motivation, rather than any heartfelt belief. Basically, I like Europe and didn’t want us to annoy our neighbors any more than we already have. But it’s understandable why so many people have a problem with the European Union, as it is currently.
AC: How does the Brexit affect you as a band and as an artist?
JW: It doesn’t at the moment. The UK had a unique situation anyhow. We’re not part of the Schengen agreement, so travel will probably remain the same. In order for the UK to have access to the single market, we’re going to have to submit to so much of the status quo anyway.
AC: You’re currently touring with Deafheaven and Inter Arma, and, as mentioned before, your last tour here was with the Black Dahlia Murder and Noisem. It seems like most bands of your vintage tour with other bands from or close to their era, but you choose to tour with younger bands inspired by the noise you and your peers made. Do you prefer touring with younger acts?
JW: I don’t think that’s a contributing factor. When you say “younger,” you mean the age of the band members or the age of the band? It’s not something we’ve considered, to be honest. If you mean hip and happening, then yeah, we need to try and seem relevant.
BS: You’ve somehow avoided mentioning the acts of our “vintage” that we’ve toured with – Obituary, Napalm Death, etc. – as well as those who predate us by some years, like Slayer, Voivod, and so on.
AC: Do you take any inspiration from what they’re doing?
JW: Yeah, I do. With Deafheaven, for example, they’re quite divisive to a trad metal audience. I like the fact that they provoke a reaction and get up some people’s noses. Just like Carcass does, or at least used to, when we were younger!
AC: When will there be new music?
JW: Maybe we’ll keep you hanging?