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Alex Webster: Kill is the album most difficult to improve upon

Alex Webster: Kill is the album most difficult to improve upon
BANDS : Cannibal Corpse

Not long before their concert in Romania started, I had the opportunity to talk a few minutes to Alex Webster, the bass player of Cannibal Corpse. After a short introduction that is of no interest to this interview (we were supposed to break the ice somehow...), we continued to the more or less important things that you can also read below.

 

 

So… this is your first concert in Romania. How do you feel when having to play in front of a new audience, a totally new one?
Uhm, I mean… we’re used to it because we’ve played a lot of different places, but it’s really something that we really look forward to and we’re very excited about ‘cause there’s not too many countries left that are ok to play that we haven’t played. There’s a few places we’d like to play but because of government reasons or something we can’t go there. But yeah, Romania and Bulgaria (we played last night), there were both places we never played, even after ten albums we never played here so we’re really excited.

So this means that you’re just not nervous before any show anymore?
No, not really. I mean there’s sometimes that we wanna do some parts of the songs, or maybe one of the new songs – "oh, I wanna make sure I play this right", but in general for us it’s more like excitement than nervousness. We’re just excited to do the show.

Related to what you said, what happens if in the middle of a song you just forget one part? What do you do?
You just keep playing something, ‘cause the worst thing is to stop. So if for some reason you forget something, you just keep playing because the mistake corrects itself if you keep playing. I think it happens to everybody once in a while, your concentration is broken by something, maybe you’re playing and then a stage diver hits you or something, so it’s like "oh, what am I doing?" We practice very much, so if you do a mistake you can usually recover very quickly if you practice all the time.

 

 

You’re still touring for Kill now. What songs work the best live? I mean, did you already spotted what are the audience’s favorites?
From Kill?
From Kill, yes.
Uhm, you know, because we have so many albums, we don’t really play so many songs from Kill. Like now we’re only playing three songs. And on other tours we only play five songs from Kill. We’re gonna play tonight Make Them Suffer, Murder Worship and Five Nails Through the Neck. And they are also what the audience seems to like. We were playing Death Walking Terror and The Time to Kill Is Now, but they’re using different tuning and it’s very expensive to bring all the other guitars to Europe, so we decided to try to do everything with just one tuning.

Kill has been released already one year ago. Are you glad with what reactions it got?
Yes, it was really good, people seemed to like it a lot. I mean we’ve had pretty good reactions to all our albums from our fans, but this one’s had a little more than usual.

So how do you see the album in this moment? Today if you look backwards, how do you see it?
I mean for me, and everybody’s opinion is different of course, some people would like one album over the other, but I really feel that it’s our best album. I feel like it’s the best one, I’m very proud of that one and of all the albums we did I think it’s gonna be the one that’s most difficult to improve upon, ‘cause we’re getting closer and closer to making an album that we feel like it’s really excellent.

This is getting me closer to my next question. I mean did Kill’s writing and recording process offer you some information about what to either keep the same or do different in the future?
Yeah, I mean on every album you learn something. There were some few things we learned on the last album we recorded, we’re gonna try to be more prepared for certain things when we gonna record. For example, I’d like to have all of the music completely written out. You know, music is easy to do with computers right now so we can do that and it keeps things more organized and the recording process a little more simple for us. We did that on the last album to a degree, but I want to have even better transcription of the songs for the next album. It really helps to keep things more organized in the studio because then you’re spending more time creating than worrying about stupid things that you could have … if you kept things better organized. You could be wasting your time on something else instead of stupid things like oh, I forgot how to play a part or something.

Will you still work with Erik Rutan?
I think so. I mean, we haven’t confirmed who we’re gonna work with yet, but at this point the plan is to work with Erik again.

How come you chose him to work with you?
He’s a very good friend of ours, for me personally he’s also one of my best friends. I also knew he was becoming a great producer over the years. Of course everybody knows he’s a great guitar player, and he’s a death metal guitar player… Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal, so he has a lot of experience on both sides of the mixing board. He knows what to do as producer and he also understands what a guitar player can and can’t do. And I think that helped contribute to one of our best guitar performance that we’ve ever recorded. He spent a lot of time working with Rob and Pat to make sure that everything is just perfect, so I think he was a good choice because he’s so experienced in death metal. There’s other producers we’ve worked with that are more experienced as producers just because they’re older and they’ve been doing it longer, but the one who’s most experienced with death metal might be Erik. Or maybe I think Scott Burns too, he’s done an awful lot of death metal, but those guys, like Neil Kernon or Jim Morris, they’re very very experienced producers, definitely more experienced than Erik but no so focused on death metal like Erik is.

 

 

How do you think the composing process will go now for Cannibal Corpse, since Jack left and Rob came in again? Will this affect the writing process?
I mean, it will probably be similar to how it was on Kill, maybe it will be getting a little bit more from Rob as time goes by, as he might do more than just one song like he did Barbaric Bludgeonings on Kill. Maybe for the next album he will do two or maybe three. It will probably continue in that way. Who knows? Maybe Pat and Rob will work together for a song or something like that. There’s a lot of different combinations because Pat and Rob seem to work a little better together than Pat and Jack did, even if they were friends, I think it was never as good of a communication between the two of them as there is between Rob and Pat. So the possibilities are better I think for writing, collaboration and that sort of things in the future.

This month you will also reissue Vile, your album from 1996. What details can you give us about this release? I mean, you just re-mastered the songs, re-record them?
Oh, no. Whenever they reissue something it’s never re-recording or even a remixing, it’s just a remastering which is doing… if you don’t know what mastering is, it is really … as far as I know it means re-eq-ing and maybe turning up the volume. So it’s not that much different. It’s something that the record label likes to do to generate some excitement and some more sales of an old album, I suppose, but they also do make sure that it’s a really good new package and there’s something extra, and on this one we have a new DVD. The people from Metal Blade said "ok, we wanna reissue Vile, just like we reissued the other four" - the first four albums - "could you guys find something cool from that period of time to put in there extra, to make it worth people to buy it?" You know, it should be something that’s a good value for the fan. So we contacted our friend name Jesse, we knew him and some of his friends had filmed some shows we did in San Francisco, actually in Berkeley which is near San Francisco. We did two shows at this one place back in 1997 and he had a bunch of different camera angles and he placed them together and made a really good video, I think. So the DVD is really good, I think, it’s a really good underground death metal performance. I think people will like it.

And also Vile was the first death metal album to enter the Billboard Chart. Do you think that Vile Live will do it again?
Probably not. But Kill was our second one that entered Billboard. There’s been some other pretty heavy bands in recent years that have entered Billboard like The Black Dahlia Murder and I think some other ones, but back when Vile came out it was the first pure death metal band to enter the Top 200 in America, so that’s pretty good, ‘cause in America the charts are dominated by pop.
Not only in America :)
Yeah, everywhere I guess. So for us, even if it was for only one week and it was only number 151 of 200…
It doesn’t matter...
It’s still a big accomplishment, yeah. We were pretty excited, ‘cause you feel like we were infiltrating the mainstream with totally brutal music. That was fun.

 

 

When did you last listened to one of your own records?
Probably not too long ago. I listen to Kill once in a while ‘cause I like it. The older ones I haven’t listened to in a while, but every once in a while I will break out like Eaten Back to Life or Tomb of the Mutilated or something. Probably last time I listened to Kill might have been before we went out on this tour. Or actually I got an iPod now, I listen to our cover of RazorsBehind Bars, I have that and I listen to it every once in a while so that was only maybe one week .. yeah, about one week and a half.

How do you feel when you listen to one of your own records? Are you listening to them just as a fan or maybe see them from another perspective?
Definitely it’s gonna be a different perspective. The only time I hear it as a fan is when let’s say there’s a parking lot full of people listening to music outside of a concert and I come walking up and I hear some music and I don’t know what it is right away and then after a second while I’m getting closer “oh, it’s us”. That’s the only time I hear impartially. The rest of the time I know it’s us so I know all the things that I like about the song and what I don’t like. So I can’t … I mean I would never say that we are one of my favorite bands, it’s not possible to say that. You know, when I’m talking about my favorite bands, I’m talking about Slayer, Morbid Angel and bands like that, I’m not gonna say that I’m in my own favorite band, that’s not the way it is. We can’t be impartial when it comes to our own music.

So what about new bands? Has any new band impressed you lately?
Yeah, probably if you’ve seen any interviews of us lately, we had a very good tour with this band Aeon (points to his t-shirt - author's note) last year and they’re just an amazing band, all of us in the band actually enjoyed their album a lot. There’s a lot of great younger bands that I like, like Visceral Bleeding from Sweden, Spawn of Possession is one of my favorites, it’s really excellent technical band, Necrophagist from Germany is excellent. That’s like from the newer stuff. I like the new releases from bands like Krisiun, they have an album AssasiNation that I like. You know, there’s a lot of great stuff out there. More recent Deicide albums were good, the Suffocation new album that came out last year is excellent, so there’s a lot of great stuff to listen to.

 

 

Most of you have families and kids. Are they familiar with your music, with the concept of your albums?
Right now only Paul has a daughter and George has two daughters, I’m married, Paul’s married, George is married, the other guys just have girlfriends or whatever or actually Rob’s single now. But uhm… so they’re so young that it hasn’t come up yet. I’m not ever gonna have kids so I don’t know, but maybe those guys, I mean… it’s kind of like… it would be the same thing if some guy who made a horror movie or something that was R rated, had children, than he wouldn’t want them to see that until they are a little bit older so they can understand that it’s only entertainment, that daddy’s not a maniac. So we might have to wait a few more years before we really sit down and explain to them what it’s all about.

Ok, now just a funny question. Have you been in touch with Jim Carrie lately? Is he still listening to Cannibal Corpse?
Uhm, no.. I mean I have no idea because he’s pretty busy guy I think, but when we were in touch with him in 1993, we did the movie, we saw him for the two days when we were shooting for the movie ‘cause we actually shot for two days and they only used a little bit, but he was really cool, he knew about our music, he knew about the death metal scene a little bit like, he knew about us and about a couple of other bands.
He said that you’re his favorite death metal band.
That’s what I heard, yeah, but I had never actually seen him say that. But that’s what I heard that he said on some interview or something and he was really cool. Very nice guy. But we haven’t talked to him since because like I said, I think he’s pretty busy. But I’m pretty sure he would remember us.
Definitely, you’re his favorite death metal band :)
Yeah, so it would be cool to see him again. You know, maybe some day? You never know…

Ok, so one last question about what future plans do you still have. I mean except this Vile reissue, what’s next for Cannibal Corpse?
We will start writing another album, actually I have already started to write a few ideas, but nothing in the way of a complete song at this point. We’re doing more tours for a little while, we’re gonna go to South America, Mexico, do some festivals in the summer like the Waken festival, With Full Force, Rock Fest, Graspop, maybe Download festival in UK.. we’re working on.
Metal Camp?
Probably not. Where’s that one?
Slovenia.
Slovenia? You know, I think we might not able to do that because it’s not gonna fit into our schedule, but we’re trying to do some more festivals. We’ve been working on doing more than we normally do. And after that we’re doing another tour in America and then some shows in Brazil and then we’re done. Like midway through October we’re done and probably some time in November once we’ve all taken a little rest, we’re gonna start writing another album. We’d like to have an album out around the time of our 20th anniversary which will be December of 2008. That’s a possibility that it would be coming around that time or maybe early 2009. That’s the plan.

 

 

Well, thank you very much for this interview.
Hey, thank you very much, I really appreciated.
Good luck tonight.
Thank you, can’t wait to play.

 

Video version of the interview is available on Metalfan TV.

Vezi galeriile trupelor: Cannibal Corpse

   March 06, 2007  | 17 Comments  | 35203 Views « BACK

Comment on: Alex Webster: Kill is the album most difficult to improve upon

  • Kill este albumul cel mai greu de perfectionat?????
    Poate imi explica si mie cineva ce inseamna titlul..
    p.s: Urata e Nebelhexa asta

    1. Posted by the_one | 14 Martie 2007 18:54
  • Lasa Danutzo ca tu esti cea mai frumoasa! Fotomodel scrie pe tine! Sa stii ca poti sa scrii direct cu dana_black nu trebuie sa te ascunzi sau acela este nick-ul de 'om de presa'?

    2. Posted by JohnBlack | 14 Martie 2007 20:03
  • "Kill este albumul cel mai greu de perfectionat????? Poate imi explica si mie cineva ce inseamna titlul." - da, poate ar fi trebuit sa pastrez traducerea din text, si anume "cel mai greu de imbunatatit", insa ideea e aceeasi. Oricum, daca doar atat ai avut de zis, inseamna ca e perfect :)))
    Cat despre p.s., nici nu cred ca trebuie sa ma obosesc sa-ti dau vreun raspuns....

    3. Posted by Nebel | 14 Martie 2007 20:26
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