The technical American deathgrind band Cattle Decapitation recently put out their latest album The Harvest Floor. The band has continued to become better and better with each album and it's no different with The Harvest Floor. A little while ago I sent some questions to vocalist Travis Ryan who replied promptly. Unfortunately he was not that elaborate in his answers, but nevertheless the result of the short exchange of words could have been a lot less thrilling.

Travis Ryan interviewed by PSL

It seems you've taken a slight turn in direction again. Where do you hear the biggest difference between Karma. Bloody. Karma and The Harvest Floor?
The biggest difference is the production for sure. Billy amassed a ton of knowledge in the few years since we did Karma. Bloody. Karma He promised us this time that he could deliver exactly what we wanted and he definitely did! Everything is much more precise and updated.

How do you go about writing the songs - is there a certain way you write?
They write the music first and then record it and give it to me on a cassette. Then I write the lyrics. Been doing it the same way the whole time we've been a band! Musically, it's all pretty much equal. Even our drummer wrote a few riffs and that's a first for us!

You mix many different genres together - does this reflect your personal taste?
Yes, pretty much. We don't go out of our way to do it, it just happens naturally that way. We're all into different kinds of music. We're trying to create a genre-specific form of extreme music.

You also have quite a few guests on the album. Could you say something about whom and what they contributed with?
Jackie Perez Gratz did some cello. Jarboe formerly of Swans laid down some vocals as did Dino Sommese from Dystopia / Asunder and Ross Sewage from Impaled / Ludicra. They all did stellar jobs!

How prepared are you when you go in the studio? Do you try-out different ideas when you record?
We were probably more prepared this time than usual. I know I was. I was more on top of writing the lyrics on time this time around. Usually we're not that prepared as we have strict deadlines to work with. This time was no different, except for that we are used to this way of doing it and knew more of what to look out for this time.

In terms of the production did you approach things differently compared to Karma. Bloody. Karma and does the result go with the ideas you had?
We had Zach Ohren do the drums because Dave was really into his drum production. Billy Anderson did the rest. He loves the band so we were really able to get the most out of him. He puts in 110% when he works with us and has plenty of awesome ideas and loves to experiment and so do we.

Lyrically you've always dealt with misanthropy, gore and animals. Is there a different angle on the lyrics on The Harvest Floor or are the subjects pretty much the same?
[Laughs] that's an extremely loose way to put it, but I guess so, sure. The concepts get more and more "out there" but come back to those main sources eventually. This record is more of an extension of Karma. Bloody. Karma, but with more of the humour that Humanure embodied.

It's said that you have quite a fanbase in the animal rights/vegan/vegetarian community. Besides being vegetarian is this a movement that you're involved in?
We're grown men living in San Diego, CA with real day jobs so we're lucky we get to even get out and play music. We're not involved in much direct action movements other than our personal lifestyles of abstaining from meat and purchase of animal biproducts.

Again Wes Benscoter did the artwork. It seems he's not that widely used anymore - what made you pick him?

Good! He's not under exclusive contract, but as long as he's willing to do album covers, we're down to use his awesome art! We've developed quite a relationship since we started with him on To Serve Man. His opinion means just as much as ours, to the point where if he's not feeling my ideas, I'll be open to whatever he has in mind. Like Humanure, that was his idea.

You've had your share of difficulties with the line-up. Do you feel you've gotten a stable line-up by now?
Yes, but we felt that way going into Humanure too. That worked for a while. We love Dave and he's perfect for us. We're very happy with where we're at right now.

I read on that The Harvest Floor sold 1.700 copies in the US during the first week. That appears to be very good?
Yeah, I guess so. It was more like 1.900, but there were a couple hundred that weren't counted by Soundscan because they broke the street date. But yeah, for our kind of music, being a non-metalcore MySpace act, we're doing ok.

What's you're view on the state of the music business. It seems to be an industry struggling to survive or how do you see it?
Yep, it's sure going to hell in a hand basket. It's all part of the evolution. Get in or get out.

How much will you be touring in support of The Harvest Floor?
The usual five or so US tours and hopefully getting the fuck out of the country more. We'd like to hit Australia, Eastern Europe, Japan and South America.

What is the craziest shit you've experienced while on tour?
Oh man, all sorts. That's a hard question. Witnessed a really bad accident which ended up with the kid in the passenger side dying. There was a 12 person human pyramid in one of our pits once and the kid on the top had a homemade blow torch. Pretty crazy I guess.

Anything you like to add to finish the interview?
Hopefully we'll see you soon! Stay gore!

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