Caley: See, he was living in Maui and he didnít talk to me for a long time. The last time I saw him was at the Murderfest and without giving away any details, he was being a rock star there.
Harvey: [laughs loudly]
Caley: He was like, ďYeah Iíd like to talk to you more but Iím doing my own things, manĒ and being a total rock star. So anyway, he said heíd hit me up and like to jam sometime when heíd move back to California. Northern California, I have to stress. He was like, ďYeah letís jam," so I joked that it would be cool if we started Exhumed again. He said that if I could get Leon and Danny onboard again that heíd be down to do it. I was like, ďWhatever dude, shut up.Ē And then he was like, ďno, dude, seriously.Ē
Harvey: [laughing loudly with Caley] It really did happen that way! Heís serious! It really happened that way. I was at work one day and I had this really shitty job selling TVs in Hawaii. I was at work, well, not really at work because I was just fucking off and not actually doing any work. But it sort of just snowballed into this record that came together pretty quickly. It gained momentum and it kind of took on a life all its own.
Caley: So to make this as short as possible, we got the guys together and were sending the music back and forth using a web space. Iíd do demos and send them to him and vice versa and we were both on the same page. It took very little change to get the record finished. When we finally got into the studio, barely anything changed from what we were doing. There were little tiny things here and there like a break thrown in, but it was just so easy to do. Thatís when you know you have a good record is when it all just flows and comes naturally.
Harvey: Thatís the thing with [All Guts, No Glory] is that it was so natural, so quick and effortless. There was no strain on us. We had literally four rehearsals as a band before we actually recorded it.
Caley: It was extremely visceral. There was little to no thought even put into the record. No thought whatsoever was actually put into it [laughs]. The lyrics, though, there was a lot of thought put into it and thatís where he comes in.
Harvey: Well, yeah, Iíd just sit at home with the word processor.
Caley: Musically it was simple. We have even more songs that we didnít include on the record.
Harvey: We wrote like 22 songs total.
Blistering.com: You guys say it was easy writing these songs. For someone who canít write any music whatsoever, exactly how is it easy to write your songs?
Caley: Well, heís different than me. For me, I just play my guitar and basically donít think about anything at all. So a lot of the riffs are horrible, ridiculous. So what I then do is a process of eliminating the bullshit. The good riffs I then play to a click and add the drums later. I use Drumkit From Hell and it sounds like a real drum kit and it really solidifies the sound. Itís cool because it sounds like a real band but itís not; itís just me. With the demos Iíd send to him, it made them sound like a real band who just recorded a real demo. Thatís what made it so easy.
Harvey: And thatís what made it so easy to rehearse. Iíd use a drum machine, heíd use Drumkit From Hell and it was pretty easy.
Caley: With the riffs, Iíd spend hours on the riffs for some songs and then there were some where Iíd have just four riffs and it came together quickly. But most of the time Iíd just jam. Thatís what you do when youíre a musician trying to write songs. You just keep jamming away until you find something that works and then from there you just start honing in on it and go from there. Whatís your process?
Harvey: For me, do you remember that show Magnum PI?
Blistering.com: Yes, with Tom Selleck and his mustache.
Harvey: Tom Selleck always had this little voice in his that was telling him stuff. Well, thereís this little voice in my head that is always giving me riffs [laughs].
Caley: So is this voice more rhythmic?
Harvey: Sometimes itís rhythmic, sometimes itís more melodies, sometimes itís both. So as long as I listen to that voice more than I listen to my own conscious brain, it usually comes together pretty quickly. Then, once you get one part, it naturally leads to another part. If you know what sounds good to you, once you get that one part it comes naturally. I used to have this saying of, ďLet the riff decide.Ē Whatís the beat? Let the riff decide. Whatís the vocal pattern? Let the riff decide. Itís like the Metallica thing where itís all rhythm guitar and everything else is secondary.
Caley: The songs that I wrote are more linear and then heíd come in with the change. Like the song ďNecrotizedĒ where he came in and suggested a bass break. The song originally was very long and boring. We had the same riffs over and over for a long time and then a bass break for four bars and it was pure genius [laughs]. Thatís what we do is take something and just add things to it.
Harvey: That way it doesnít become monochromatic. Not that Iím actually into the music, but I like to study pop music patterns and stuff thatís in, like, musicals. You take a song that goes from part to part to part and itís like a journey. It ebbs and flows and thereíre pushes and pulls and some modulations and thereís a lot of that in pop songs and musicals. Thatís something that a lot of death metal bands donít do. Most death metal bands will just go with this part, that part, this part and then a break and then another part and it just goes on and on. Itís like theyíre involved in a footrace or some other sort of competition. Thereís really no point in it.
Caley: the whole of what weíre doing here is that weíre entertainers. You can say that weíre musicians, but thatís ridiculous. Weíre entertainers. We make our money by doing what? Entertaining people. If you have songs that have energy to them and have dynamics, and most death metal bands donít do that. Whether itís a drum fill or a bass line or something other than the riff going on and on forever, it needs to be interesting.
Harvey: Whatís funny is that using these little pop devices is actually so much easier and so much less work than doing it the other way. Instead of cramming in like 400 notes when this other band only had 320, therefore itís better! Iím not into the whole Olympics aspect of it. Maybe when I was 15 it was interestingÖ well, no, because back then it was more or less the punk rock era and it was the same sort dynamic.
Caley: I canít speak for the rest of the band but Iím just not good enough to play that way. I canít do Origin yet so we just donít do that.
Harvey: Fuck, we couldnít play Origin if we tried!
Caley: We are trying to write songs that are still heavy and intense but the main thing is that we need to still be able to play these songs live. We donít want to just stand there; we want to put on a fucking show. Like Kiss or somebody where people will remember the show where the band was rocking out, thereís a chainsaw, there was blood leaking out of skulls or whatever. We try to have something different than what youíd see at a typical death metal show.
Harvey: Thereís always something to catch your attention. I donít want to see a band come onstage in street clothes and play 64 arpeggios. I understand the music and how it works, but I canít do it. I donít have the attention span to do it and I understand how to do it but itís just boring. Weíre more like a rock & roll band playing death metal.
Blistering.com: The overly technical stuff just doesnít do much for me. Nile is great and Atheist, obviously are the best ever at technical metal but everything else is justÖ meh.
Caley: Oh, Atheist is cool. Theyíre awesome.
Harvey: Whatís great about Atheist is that theyíre playing jazz, but with death metal.
Caley: Whatís also great is Kelly [Shaefer] is just so awesome. All those guys are awesome and whatís great is they have their own thing going on.
Harvey: Theyíre not trying to be anything or anyone else. Theyíre all about qualitative achievement, not quantitative achievement.
Caley: The ego aspect of it is just not there; itís all about music.
Blistering.com: Speaking of egosÖ
[Both laugh loudly]
Caley: Uh-oh. Here we go. What are you going to ask us?
Watch for the second part of Sloan's chat with Exhumed to post February 28.