San Diego based vegan death metallers Cattle Decapitation just released the follow-up Karma. Bloody. Karma to 2004's Humanure. Karma. Bloody. Karma shows major progress in song-writing and once again the band have taken another turn in direction. Cattle Decapitation 2006 sound far less generic and more experimenting than they've done in the past. I was naturally interested in knowing what made this happen so I once again asked vocalist Travis Ryan some questions about this and that.

Travis Ryan interviewed by PSL

Humanure seemed somewhat generic and one-tracked. Judging from what I've read you didn't seem too happy with it either. Please explain why that is?
[laughs] Jesus. Its really not that fucking bad. It has really classic production, which everyone says is the downfall of that record. The songs were just as death metal and catchy as To Serve Man which in our opinion is a serious piece of shit album in the state it's in now. The drums need fixing and a remix.

Musically you've taken yet another turn in direction. The songs are far less generic and predictable on Karma. Bloody. Karma. Is this just a result of natural progression or did you deliberately work on this? It sounds like you've experimented a lot this time.
We just did what felt right. What felt right apparently was going out on a limb with the material. I wasn't even sold on it until we got into the studio, that's where it really came together. We had certain things we wanted to accomplish and we did that for the most part.

Musically it sounds like you incorporate things from various styles, but particular the more chaotic styles that many Relapse Records artist's play seem to have had an impact. Please say something about which bands and what inspires you nowadays!
The only thing that has inspired me recently is black metal, Death in June/Boyd Rice and maybe the Constellation Records camp in Canada. Josh listens to a lot of country and bluegrass. Troy seems to be really inspired by power metal. Not much of this really has to do with death metal, but somehow this is where we've drawn inspiration from in the past year or so.

You teamed up with producer Billy Anderson this time. Have this changed anything in your approach to the music?
No, not the approach. We're definitely happier with the production of this album than in the past.

What made you pick Billy to produce the album?
He was super into doing it and came highly recommended by everyone and was on our small list of possibilities. His interest in the project was super high so we knew we couldn't really go wrong.

Since the recording of Karma. Bloody. Karma drummer Michael Laughlin have left the band. What happened?
Too many excuses that can simply be summed up by the G word: girlfriend. They get you every time.

You've since recruited J.R. Daniels formerly of Unholy Ghost. How did you end up picking him?
By tragic mistake. We needed someone. His girlfriend told him about it, he hit us up, he pulled it off. That's it. Next...

Now that you've had to switch drummer again. Do you feel you've found the right line-up now?
Fuck no; this dipshit is gone the second we're done with this tour. We have somebody we've been watching for a while lined up and now the timing is right. We may still never find a drummer that will work and be dedicated, until then we'll just keep trying.

With regard to the album title, I can't help thinking of Black Sabbath's Sabbath Bloody Sabbath every time I read it - did that title inspire you?
No, not at all. It would have been more like U2's Sunday Bloody Sunday.

You had Joey Karam from The Locust and John Wiese from Sunn 0))) guest the album. Could you say a bit about this?
They're good buddies of ours and I had the perfect part for Joey's voice and he ended up doing keyboards on it as well. John has an amazing ability for coming up with material in a short amount of time. I needed some good ambience and some harsh noise for some parts.

What's the whole deal with you being a vegan band? Has it been blown up to more than it actually is?
Only in the fact that people think we're crazy straight edge vegans We're vegetarians that could probably drink a lot of people under the table. The public is attracted to bright shiny things.

You being vegan does this mean you're involved in defending animal rights and stuff like that too?
We disagree with the meat industry and its practices. We choose not to bug people and try to change them. They do it on their own. I'll leave that shit up to the Christians.

I read somewhere that 20 artists had made art pieces based on the lyrics to the song "Humanure". What's the story behind this?
I was approached by this guy; he wanted to do an art show based on the lyrics to that song. A portion of the sale of the art is to go to two non-profit organizations that find homes for stray animals.

What is the story behind this Icing By Claire's thing? It sounds kind of odd!
I have no idea what that was about. There was this giant poster outside this shop in every mall in America that had a picture of a girl wearing our shirt. She's sitting there obviously modelling earrings and stockings. With a picture of a cow and human carcass fused together. It really took us by surprise.

Are you going to tour Europe this year?
Yes we believe so! If we don't work it out then next year for sure!

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