First off congrats on your new full length, but as this is probably your first interview in a Greek webzine, please give us a small bio for Extremity.
Thanks. Extremity is a band that started off as a side project for Aesop and myself, which we were messing around with for six or seven years. We never took it too seriously, but decided a couple years ago to add a couple members, make it a full band, and record something. The Extremely Fucking Dead EP (which came out in March 2017) was the result, and Coffin Birth was our natural progression from there.
Your band’s members have such a rich past career-wise. Before Extremity you all were involved many other well-known bands, so is Extremity your 100% priority?
We all have other bands and other projects; I don’t think anything can be a 100% priority. For me, I try to work on something when it makes sense—when your bandmates are around and/or free, when your other projects are slowing down. Always be working on something, but don’t let one thing consume you.
Tell us more about the writing procedure. I guess it was all recorded digitally still sounding so old school, so how easy was to achieve such a result?
Writing the songs was more collaborative for the full-length. I wrote most of the EP myself, but Marissa and Aesop definitely contributed more on Coffin Birth. As a result I think it’s a little more strange and eclectic. As far as the production goes, we returned to Greg at Earhammer Studios, who has definitely established a “sound” of his own over the course of dozens and dozens of releases. We love working with Greg, since he focuses on capturing the actual live sound of the band so well. He uses ProTools, of course, but understands that the organic recording of the music always comes first. The raw materials are the priority, which means a minimum of digital “polish” is necessary later in the process.
What do you expect from the new album?
I try not to set any expectations for an album. Write it, record it, release it, and move on to either touring or working on another project. Expectations lead to disappointment and/or weird ego-stroking. I choose to focus on creation rather than reception.
Which is your favorite track from Coffin Birth?
I think “Grave Mistake” is my personal favorite, although I think “Misbegotten / Coffin Death” would be the answer for Aesop and Marissa. On “Grave Mistake”, we had a group of about a dozen close friends come in to Earhammer to sing the “angry mob” vocal in the second half of the song, which was a great experience that I’m reminded of every time I hear it.
How did the deal with 20 buck spin come about?
I had worked indirectly with Dave at 20 Buck Spin on the release of Vastum’s Hole Below, so there was a little bit of an acquaintance established. I contacted him to see if he was interested in doing Extremely Fucking Dead, and I guess based on the success Vastum had on the label, as well as Aesop, Marissa, and Erika’s past projects, he was into it. The label is great to work with. Unlike most people that work in music promotion/distribution, Dave is 100% on top of shit, keeps his promises, and hits his deadlines.
As you come from Bay Area and your region gave birth to such great bands in the 80’s and 90’s do you feel as a part of something historical as a musical movement or was it just guys who loved a certain kind of music and nothing more or less?
There is definitely a sense of music living here in the Bay Area, like you can just run into a guy from Metallica at the grocery store. Even beyond that, San Francisco was the home of the Summer of Love, the whole drug/hippie movement, Tower of Power, Santana, Sly and The Family Stone. You can’t escape the pervasive sense of history here, but I don’t think that necessarily makes you a part of it. Oakland is having its own little death metal renaissance right now and Extremity will of course be lumped in as part of that movement. But as part of the bigger picture, I think we are a very, very, very small and insignificant piece.
Why do you think old school Death Metal has come back once again popular among younger audience?
I think the nihilism and aggression of death metal has a timeless quality to it, which will always hold a place with the young, angry, and disenfranchised. I also think the main reason it went out of style in the mid to late 90s was that the artists who initially found success in the genre went in the wrong directions—either too weird or too commercial. The same way glam metal killed thrash, nu metal killed death metal. But neither was ever REALLY dead. There’s an appeal in it that never goes away, and there have ALWAYS been good death metal bands, since the birth of the genre. It’ll go out of style again in a couple years, but the sound will continue on. I don’t know why kids are specifically connecting to it now, but it’s probably no coincidence that the world is presently fucked too.
What do you remember from the late 80s – early 90s Death Metal era, as a young fan and as a young musician?
I’m 39, and didn’t really discover death metal until the mid 90’s. Deicide, Cannibal Corpse, and later, Suffocation and Cryptopsy were my gateways. I lived in a small town with only one or two death metal bands, and I gravitated much more to the punk side of things back then. I liked metal, but didn’t necessarily belong to a “scene”. As a result, I don’t have a lot of metal-centric memories from that era. I listened to the music (which was very difficult to find before the internet), and connected with it, but it wasn’t something I shared with friends until I started playing in a metal band in the early 2000s.
Are you ready for a new studio album near soon? What are the plans for rest of the year and into 2019?
Extremity is nowhere near another album. We were very focused on finishing Coffin Birth and have not yet begun the process of writing for our next release. Our touring situation is complicated, so we’ve been trying to sort that out, without much luck. My other band finished a full-length a month after Extremity, which will also be released via 20 Buck Spin in November. And I’m working on new material for Vastum and another project, so I’m definitely booked solid into 2019. The goal for Extremity is another full-length probably by 2020? Hard to say, but we’re still grinding.
Thanks for this interesting interview. The epilogue is yours!
Thanks so much for your time. Hopefully someday Extremity will set foot on Greek soil and bring you the death in person!