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Interview with Carl Stokes - Cancer

Interview with Carl Stokes - Cancer
BANDS : Cancer

 

Hello and welcome back in business. Is it hard for a band like Cancer to stay away for almost a decade?

Well, I found it quite hard to stay away, after all Cancer had been my life since I was 21 years of age, so it felt like a part of me was missing, so I had to do it again, also I thought we still had something to offer.

Your first demo was recorded in late 1988. The best feedback came from Vinyl Solution, a label whose affinity for death metal acts was known. What did their offer mean to the band?

We were very pleased that a label was interested, it just meant that our ideas had a platform and that was cool, I don't think the term death metal was invented when we first got the band together.

There is a question that has been on my mind for quite some time. How does an album become a cult album and how does a band become a cult band? I'm asking this because your debut album is considered a cult one.

I don't know either, maybe it's something that defines a new approach or it was a good laugh at the time, people always remember a good laugh.

When an album like To the Gory End has such a major impact on the media, market and public, what advantages does that bring to the band?

It gave us the chance to tour around the world and at 21 that's great, it was the first time anybody took notice of us musically.

Since you have witnessed the metal scene in both the 90's and right now, could you tell the major differences between those periods?

There are many more bands around now and it has watered down the impact of death metal, I think. There are still the odd bands that shine. When in the early early days a new band came out, it was exciting to hear what they were doing new. That's not the case now.  

How did you get to work with guitar god James Murphy? His contribution to your second album was only interpretational or was it compositional too?

James only played lead solos on Death Shall Rise, he didn't write any songs, he came to be in the band by chance really, we were recording in Morrissound and he had just been kicked out of Obituary, so it just happened.  

There are some rumors that he is a wonderful musician but a man with a difficult character and very hard to work with. How much is truth and how much history?

It's all true.

I know that you recorded Death Shall Rise in a studio that produced many death metal works of art. Tell me a few things about Scott Burns and Morrisound Studio.

Scott was the only choice at the time; he was the only producer doing extreme metal in 1989 and Morrissound is where he worked, so that's where we went.

Did this second album of yours bring American recognition for Cancer too?

Yes it did and the tour we did with Deicide for that album.  

Can we consider Live Death, the album recorded by you in 1993 at Milwaukee Metalfest, an official Cancer album too? Are you satisfied with the way it sounds?

It isn't the best we ever played and it was only 2 songs with other bands, but we only found out after the show it was going to come out, so we just thought fuck it.

Why didn't James Murphy continue with you and why wasn't the third studio album recorded in Morrisound too?

He was impossible to work with, end of story and he knows it.

Sins of Mankind was produced and mixed by some guys (Simon Efemey and Pete Coleman) more known for their work with non-death metal bands, Paradise Lost being the best example. Was the result satisfying for Cancer?

It was ok I thought, a little thin maybe, but I couldn't have done any better at the time.  

In 1994 Cancer was already an important name in the death metal scene and many considered that Vinyl Solution was no longer able to deal with promotion, touring, etc. Was that the true reason for parting ways with them?

Yes this is true, the band was very busy all over the world and they just couldn't do the job.

1995 was still a good period for death metal acts and there were a few important labels specialized on releasing that kind of products. Why did you choose to sign with a big record company, East West, one very often linked with the mainstream?

At the time there were no other offers, so we had to sign with them or not release anything.

Now that more than 10 years have passed, do you still think that signing with East West was the best choice you could have made at that time?

No, it wasn't the best choice but it's better to regret something you have done than something you haven't.

Many people think that the reasons for dissolving Cancer were poor Black Faith sales and poor East West promotion and distribution. You have the chance tell us the true story.

It's not true that Black Faith didn't sell, they wanted another record, they just didn't understand the music and how to promote us, plus we were uncontrollable…  

During this 9 years hiatus, besides teaching drums and guitars, you and John played in some bands, Assert and Hairy Scary Man. Were they even metal? Tell us more.

There is life beyond metal but it's not worth talking about.  

In 2003, when nobody expected, Cancer reformed and the Corporation$ EP was released. Do you perceive it as a true continuation of the old Cancer, or the first album of a newborn Cancer?

It was something we had written, while we were writing for an album, a teaser if you like; we knew it would get a bit of stick but we don't mind upsetting people.  

Let's pretend we meet in a bar and I don't know who you are. We have a drink together and, since you are an Englishman and a death metal fan, I ask you to recommend me some albums worth buying. How would you convince me to buy the latest Cancer studio album, Spirit in Flames?

I wouldn't try to convince you, that's a record label's job.  

Looking at the cover of the album I have found out some of the reasons for which the spirit could be in flames. Yes, no, true, false, 123456789, day, week, month, year and some more are all there. What is the concept of this album?

The concept is the rise of spiritualism, especially in England; the cover depicts an ouija board and the flames are a reference to our experiences in the music industry, at times we felt our Spirit has been left in flames. WE ARE STILL BURNING…

Thank you very much indeed, kind sir!

CHEERS FOR THE INTERVIEW, SORRY IT TOOK SO LONG.

Autor: Sake
Vezi galeriile trupelor: Cancer

   January 19, 2006  | 0 Comments  | 7383 Views « BACK

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