Mike Kimball interviewed by PSL
Since the release of Stop at Nothing in 2003, it appears as if you've been laying low. How come it has taken so long to get War of Attrition down on tape?
We definitely agree - four years is too long! Two or three years would have been expected - we have been quite busy since Stop at Nothing with tours, and of course we like to take our time in writing a new album to be sure we get what we want. We lost an extra year in searching for a new drummer, and even though we were able to continue writing with the help of software such as PC drummer, it was a very time-consuming process.
The new album has being compared to Destroy the Opposition. Do you find that comparison fitting or how would you describe the CD yourself?
I think it is a fitting comparison since in many ways we used a similar approach, particularly in terms of production. We also went back to the classic guitar tone from previous releases - we've used my gear for the last two albums, but since the rig I was using for Stop at Nothing blew up while we were in Europe in 2004, I eventually decided to get the same old Ampeg head John has always used along with some Marshall 1960's. I think for the next album I will want to take out some of the brightness to the tone but for this release I think we got the classic yet aggressive sound we wanted.
Do you see limitations to how much you can evolve within the musical framework of the band?
Not really, I think any limitations can only come from ourselves and how much energy we put into the writing. We want to keep evolving yet maintain the same style - meaning keep the balance of groove riffs and brutal and technical riffs. Of course, the balance itself will shift a little bit as we grow in skill, but we hope it will be a natural progression that will make us happy as well as keep the fans interested.
What must a song contain in order for you to find it interesting to play?
I think every song should have at least one riff that pushes your technical limits, one section that has a strong groove, and plenty of purely brutal sections that are somewhere between the two extremes.
Again you've recorded at Hit & Run Studios. Many bands tend to tryout a new studio with each release, but not you. Is there a simple explanation to why that is?
We considered the idea of trying another studio but only briefly. Hit & Run Studios has always worked for us, and each time we go there we see many improvements with the process or the equipment. I'm sure the convenience of recording locally is also a consideration, since we still had to find a way for the 10-hour days in the studio to work around our day jobs.
Dying Fetus has previously been very involved in the process of producing and recording the music. How much of the production work have the band done this time?
It was about the same as always - the band works together with our recording engineer Steve Carr to complete every aspect of the production apart from the mastering. Of course there are days when the whole band may not all be in the studio, but it is always Steve along with at least one or two of us.
Since Stop at Nothing you've had to make some changes in the line-up. Has this affected the music or how the band work today?
Line-up changes are always a bit unfortunate, although sometimes necessary. Vocally I think the change has been a profound improvement - John and Sean compliment each other well and being a four-piece band again feels more natural somehow. I think the change to the drums had less of an effect except in the sense that we had to write much of the drums on the new album without an actual drummer.
Your lyrics often appear a bit different than the common type of death metal lyrics. What inspires you today?
There is plenty going on today that inspires lyrical ideas, mostly it's things in life that piss me off. It can be anything really - I think some of the subjects I usually write about are clear enough, such as war, politics, the legal system, or excess commercialism. We definitely like the freedom to write about many different themes, and we enjoy being different not only from other typical death metal lyrics but also different from the focus on politics that the band had previous to the latest two albums.
We wanted it to be open to interpretation for different people. You can certainly see current events in it, but we didn't make it that specific, since we don't want the album to become dated when whatever latest big mess that's going on now finally passes. I've wanted to use the idea of "attrition" for many years - I like it as a military concept, but also as a social statement about how we are always being worn down by outside influences that want us to buy something or change our point of view.
A lot of bands put out DVD's nowadays. Is this something you have considered doing too?
We have wanted to put together a DVD for years. It's just a matter of gathering good footage, and of course we also wanted to feel more confident in our line-up, both visually and musically. I think we are at that point now, so we shall see how much footage we can gather that will be good enough to release.
You founded Blunt Force Records back in 1998 and have since put out various Dying Fetus releases. How important is Blunt Force Records to Dying Fetus today with you being signed to Relapse Records?
Blunt Force is really John's baby for handling the band's older material, so it is separate from what we are doing with any material on Relapse Records.
You're going to tour Europe in support of War of Attrition in May. How extensive is this tour going to be?
From what I have heard it will be very extensive and will cover much of Europe, although it is always too short for me personally! I think we will have to plan another tour besides the one in May to make sure we cover all of the areas where people have asked us to come back.
Anything you wish to add to conclude this interview?
Thanks again and always for the support and all the loyalty over the years, we appreciate the enduring faith in us through the hard times! We hope you will find the new album well worth the wait, and we look forward to seeing you live sometime in the near future!