We met Scott Lewis, singer of Carnifex, on one of the last dates of their latest run with Oceano, Aversions Crown, and Disentomb, to speak about the deathcore scene, the development of the genre, and what the future might look like for Carnifex.
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It Djents: Hey Scott, the tour is now almost over. How does it feel?
Scott Lewis: It was hard. We are on the backside of a long cycle and it’s nice to end the run on a good note. We had some wheather issues in the UK, there was a storm and we cancelled a couple of shows unfortunately, but it was good.
ID: You’re touring with very heavy bands, what do you think about the line-up?
SL: We are always on tour with heavy bands, haha! Last time it was Whitechapel and Thy Art Is Murder. I can’t think of a tour without other heavy bands, honestly.
ID: You’ve been playing “Lie To My Face” for eleven years now, do you still like to play it?
SL: It’s twelve years, we wrote that song in March or April 2006. I like playing it, it’s a fun song anyway. It’s not always about how I feel about this song, because I know it’s a fan favourite, they love hearing it. So when we are playing it, they are having a great time, and when they are having a great time, I also do have a great time. So fuck it, keep playing it!
ID: Is there a song that you don’t enjoy playing anymore?
SL: We don’t play them, haha! *laughs* I mean we choose the songs, if we don’t want to, we don’t do it.
ID: Carnifex is one of the first bands in deathcore music, how do you feel about this?
SL: Yeah it’s kinda weird, I heard a lot of other people say that and when I think back, when Dead In My Arms came out, it was one of the first deathcore records. At the time when you are doing it you don’t realize it because you are living in it. And we still are now. It’s gonna be a great show today, but it’s going to be sold out next door (where Editors were playing – author’s note), we still are trying to build our band, we still are trying to reach more people. Of course I appreciate when people say that and I can deal with it, as we were one of the first bands in this genre. But when you live in it, it’s a bit different. We are not looking to the past, we are looking for the next thing, the record we are writing right now. So maybe when we are really old, we will look back, but for now it’s in the future.
ID: Have you ever considered yourself deathcore then?
SL: As I said before, when we started, deathcore wasn’t a thing. Sean and I started the band in August 2005, there was no deathcore in 2005. We were fans of Bleeding Through, As I Lay Dying but also of Cannibal Corpse and Dying Fetus. And we just mashed them together, and everything came around. It wasn’t on purpose, we just liked a lot of different music. You couldn’t be like Bleeding Through and Dying Fetus, but we did. So we just put those styles of music in one song and there you go; it’s deathcore I guess.
ID: So, could you name the three most important songs for Carnifex?
SL: Probably some old Bleeding Through, from This Is Love, This Is Murderours. Probably “Hammer Smashed Face“ from Cannibal Corpse. And some Iowa from Slipknot. “Heretic Anthem“, “Left Behind“ or “People=Shit“, stuff like that. I would say if you take “On Wings Of Lead“, “Hammer Smashed Face“, and “People=Shit“: that’s Carnifex.
ID: Can you tell me what changed in the scene since you started?
SL: It had its up and downs. When we started it was the hottest thing and everyone was interested, but then in 2011/2012 everyone was about the I See Stars stuff, a lot of electronica in metalcore. That went away and then it was all about djent; it was super popular. When you look back, name the deathcore bands from 2005-08 who are still around. How many are left, barely any. There was a second wave of deathcore, Chelsea Grin, Thy Art Is Murder; those bands all came in the second round of deathcore’s popularity. But All Shall Perish is gone, Through The Eyes Of The Dead is gone, As Blood Runs Black gone, Job For A Cowboy and Suicide Silence are very different now. Winds Of Plague are back I think, same with Despised Icon. But a lot of bands went away because the genre changed a lot.
The 2011 record of ours, Until I Feel Nothing, was our least sucessful album, speaking of the sales and popularity, and I think it’s a reflection of where the genre was back then. Everyone was so sick of deathcore, they talked shit about deathcore bands and made jokes of it because it was super saturated and there were a lot of shit deathcore bands too. We came back with Die Without Hope, Whitechapel came back and also Thy Art Is Murder kinda corrected it again. People realize that it’s not a joke, the genre just got too much attention, and when this happens it starts cracking in.
ID: Tell me Scott, have you ever thought about following a trend and changing your musical direction?
SL: No, we write what we wanna write. We couldn’t do this with Die Without Hope, we had a new deal, we couldn’t write a soft record and the record isn’t soft. The record was very good for us, so maybe on the next one we wanna try to reach more people, but in my opinion Slow Death is even more brutal than Die Without Hope. So obviously we didn’t do this, haha.
ID: And the new record you were talking about, what can we expect?
SL: To me it’s a mix of Slow Death and Hell Chose Me. The songwriting, the atmosphere, the layers and the blackened feel of Slow Death, but also the bare brutality and agression that we had on Hell Chose Me. We merge them together and I think that’s it. We have 3-4 songs written so far and that’s what it sounds to me right now.
ID: Would you say that it will become the best record you have ever done?
SL: Yeah, I do. I know everyone says this, right? But I honestly think this for a number of reasons. Because it’s 13 years of being in a band now and we probably wrote like 60-70 songs in the band. We just got better at it. We are better musicians, we are better writers. We are able to particulate the music that we have in our heads. We are all self-taught musicians, we didn’t went to music school. Everyone figured it out by themselves. It takes time to get good at something when you’re doing it on your own. Album number 7. We learned a lot through this records, that’s why it’s gonna be the best one.
ID: Are you sometimes afraid that your voice won’t do it anymore sometime?
SL: Listen to the show and my voice, I think it’s better than ever, you tell me, haha! Well, I’m fine, touring is something different. Being on the road 200-250 shows in the year…this is going to change. We won’t do another cycle with as much clubshows, we’ll be doing festivals and branded tours, that’s kinda our business model. We won’t be performing as often, we want to do shows, but not to a degree we are doing it right now. It’s more of a special occasion. Think of Converge: they are touring, but not that often. We are moving in a direction like this. We’ve been around for some years now and when the new record comes out in 2019, we are a band for 14 years. It’s time to slow down a little bit. Not because we don’t love the music or playing it. We are playing shows and you will be able to see us, but not as often as in the past.
ID: That sounds reasonable. At the end, is there something you want to say to your fans?
SL: Have some patience. 2019 is a long time. Wait for it and I promise it will be worth it. It’s still 1,5 years from now, but we know it’s gonna take that much time to create a record that is able to stand about the previous record. We are taking it serious, we don’t want to do a flop. We can’t afford a flop. We want our fans to be happy!
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