Hallowed Butchery Interview

At this very moment while I write this,I am listening to Hallowed Butchery's debut full-length,and my mind is blown.In the short span of three years,Ryan Fairfield has taken a "for-fun" grindcore project,and turned it into a full-fledged warhorse of doom,with a sound that is way beyond its years.

With "Funeral Rites For the Living" set to drop very soon on Vendetta Records,I figured now was a perfect time to talk to Ryan about the long process of getting the first Hallowed Butchery release spread to the public.

Hammer Smashed Jazz:Ok,you started out as Hallowed Butchery of the Son,playing super fast grind.So you shortened the name,and turned to doom metal.But I've heard that you still don't really like the band name,so why not change it when you changed styles? (personally I love the name)

Ryan:I think maybe it crossed my mind to completely change the name, but in the end I just shortened it. By that point I had already managed toget some sort of following, and I didn't want to try and start fromscratch, with a new name. Besides, it was hard enough coming up with aname for the project the first time around... I didn't want to do that again. All the good band names are taken already anyways.

HSJ:About the change of style,was there a specific moment you remember where you said "Fuck it.I'm doin something different"?

Ryan:Well, like you mentioned, I was originally doing electronic grindcore,and for awhile I was content with that. I never took it seriously, and musically it was comparative to pressing a bunch of random keys on a synthesizer, while a drum-machine blasts at inhumane speeds. It's fun,but there isn't any depth.

I began to take the project more seriously, and started to incorporate real guitars and a darker, more black metal approach to song-writing.It was at this point that I decided to drop "of the Son," it's meaning was no longer relevant to me, and I wanted to symbolize that the old was dead... and that this new stuff is the direction that I had found myself heading.

I started writing and recording some songs for a split with a fellow,local black metaller called Bothildir. By the end of 2007, I had completed my side of the split, and was waiting on Bothildir to finish up his side. (Soon after, my hard-drive died and I lost all of the material for that split.)

Meanwhile, I started toying with material for a full-length album. The black metal just wasn't coming to me... and what was coming just wasn't satisfying. It felt forced. So rather than try to force a certain style upon the project, I simply recorded what came to me...and that's how "Funeral Rites for the Living" came about. It's a product of me sitting down in my apartment, and putting to music, what was floating about inside of my head. If it happened to be doom...then I recorded it. If it was folk... I recorded it. I had no intentions and no agenda.

HSJ:I know you guys weren't rockstars or anything,but there had to be a few fans who gave you shit about not being grind anymore.

Ryan:To this day I still receive emails asking me to put old songs up on my MySpace page and such. But for the most part, old "fans" have been really enjoying this new sound, often saying that they hadn't listened to me in a couple of years, and that my new stuff blows the old right out of the water. Besides, the gimmicky grindcore shit had a tendency to attract scenester scum, and I have no desire to cater to that crowd.

HSJ:So tell me about your time in Vegas.God damn I hate that town.Sounds like you had similar feelings being there.

Ryan:Essentially, my wife and I moved out there to be close to my family.It was certainly an experience... and it's helped me to be more appreciative of the "little things." I originally come from Maine,where nature is in control, and man takes a back seat. In Las Vegas,nature is non-existent. They give no fuck about environmentalism. It's a total wasteland. And while it's sad, it's also very frustrating. My year out there I definitely learned that I wasn't "fit" to live in a big city. I'll take my backwoods town over that shit any day.

HSJ:The tracks I've heard from the new CD sound really,reeaally heavy.What was> your initial reaction when you heard Plotkin's master of your music?

Ryan:I was really stoked. I burned myself out on the album. It can become extremely tedious having to listen to your own music over and over again, in order to try and perfect it. So when I got the masters back from Plotkin, I was really blown away. He definitely breathed some life into it.

HSJ:Sounds like it was quite an odyssey to get this thing out there.I'll bet you're dying to see it released.How long was the overall process of getting this done,from when you started writing,to the release date (which I'm assuming is any day now)?Also,were you ever close to just self-releasing it?There is a self-released demo version of it,isn't there?

Ryan:Technically the writing process was 3 years, but that's not totally accurate. I had decided to come out with a full-length around 3 years ago, and came up with the name "Funeral Rites for the Living." But at that point in time, I was planning to take a black metal approach tothe album. I got burned out on black metal, and started exploring other genres - constantly writing and trashing songs. The "FuneralRites for the Living" that is to be released on Vendetta Records was written and recorded throughout 2008, while I lived in Las Vegas. So really it took me approximately a year to write and record.

I was determined NOT to self-release it. I was running my own record label at the time, and was at the point where I had to go on a hiatus.I had no money. So it wasn't really an option to self-release it.

There's no self-released demo that I know of. It's possible that an unmastered version is floating around on the internet. Who knows?

HSJ:So,the awesome Vendetta Records stepped up to release the new LP.How'd you hook up with those guys?There roster is sick,and seems like a really great home for HB.

Ryan:Honestly, I really liked what Stefan was doing and so I dropped him an email to see if he'd have any interest in releasing "Funeral Rites for the Living." I sent him out an unmastered copy, and he fell in love with it. I feel honored to have him release my music, especially alongside other great bands like Salome, B.SON, and Thou.

HSJ:Slow heavy music has definetly experienced a renaissance this decade.Do you think that makes it easier to be heard,or harder because there's soo many bands out there nowadays?

Ryan:I think if it is good, then people will listen. If it's original, and fresh-sounding... then even more people will listen. It doesn't seem like it's that hard. The underground doom scene is great. It has its elitists, but for the most part everyone is extremely supportive.They're still willing to spend their hard-earned money on your music,and that's fucking dope.

HSJ:Favorite Sabbath song?

Ryan:"Black Sabbath" - evil and slow... just how I like it.

HSJ:So once we get past the release of the new full-length,what will be the> plans for HB this year?Are you set up to do live shows?

Ryan:I'm already writing/recording music for upcoming releases. I'd like to do a few splits, and another full-length. I've already begun writing up the concept, which details a fictional story of the overthrowing of God from his throne by humanity, after they realize how God has acted selfishly and as an oppressor throughout history. It is tentatively titled, "I am Satan; Satan is Dead."

My wife and I are expecting our first child any day now, so I'm pretty sure it's going to be a busy year. And as much as I'd like to get out there and do some live shows again, it's all going to depend on my ability to scrape together enough cash to get myself a decent setup.When I start performing again, it'll definitely be sporadically. I like it like that. Call me old, but I like to be in bed by 11, and with my hearing still intact.

Thanks a bunch Beau.

For all that are interested, "Funeral Rites for the Living" cd/lp is currently at the pressing plant.

An official release date will be available shortly. You can check the official MySpace page or Vendetta Records' website for more information.

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