Brian Carter is the vocalist and leader of The Heavils, one of the strangest bands that Metal Blade has ever signed. Brian designs instruments called "Meanies" that are basically these screwed-up guitar/bass combinations in various bizarre shapes. As a result, their music is hard loud heavy metal, but it also WARBLES and sounds all BENDY and SCREWED-UP. Let's join the interview in progress and find out why! This interview was conducted by email; my questions are in bold and Brian's answers are in plain text.
Could you explain exactly what these instruments look like that make such weird, rubbery music?
The reason they sound the way they do is from all of them are fretless & all the strings are tuned to the same note so it's like having 5 guitars at once with 1 string. Some are tuned to different octaves.
Do you play any of your other homemade instruments on the CD anywhere? (Clitar, etc.) If not, do you plan to do so on later records?
Yes we play all of them live & on the CD mostly the clitar, toilet & the bolt, no normal guitars were used.
How do unsuspecting audiences react when they experience your sound? Confusion? Do they think you're out of tune? Do they even notice that you're playing "notes between the notes"?
We get a reaction all the time, as soon as we are plugged in hear comes the bee's with chainsaws, heads turn & approach the stage the look on their faces is enough to say (what the hell is that), when they see it's a toilet & the 6 to 5 flip is the best part.
Are you guys into any other rock bands that could be called "experimental" like yourselves? Would you say any of your metal contemporaries have created a sound as unique as your own?
I really haven't heard anything like us ever but I don't listen to the radio or any new music, I really don't care for the nu-metal.
Your lyrics seem to focus - not exclusively, but predominantly - on the little depressions of life: failed relationships, the difficulty of attaining your goals, hopelessness, boredom, confusion, etc. Would you say that you're a generally unhappy person? Or do you tend to only write when you feel down?
I write about my life & what is real, the songs came from a time in my life when some of that could be true, but they always end on a positive note, we do have some uplifting songs too, you can hear in the song hard to believe it was written after we got signed to Metalblade, that it has a positive message all of them do. Don't take it too serious we are just having fun with life.
What was it like working with Steve Albini on a few songs? Any good stories about him being a jerk? Did he seem to like your music?
He was a very nice person to work with; he liked our music so that helped, he had a lot to talk about during down time; the way he works is very hands on, I think he could see our vision.
Somebody sent me an email yesterday bringing up an interesting point just in general about aggressive metal bands, so I really wanted to ask you about it. If you woke up one morning with the most beautiful gentle perfect light pop song in your head, would you make yourself forget about it because you're expected to be a "heavy band"? Or do you not set limits for the band's sound? Or, on the third hand, do you ever record music just on your own, outside of a band situation?
Mossy & I both have full length CD's of our own music, we never stop writing, we don't set limits in the band we just play whatever feels right, there is a huge difference between the song Mossy & the song Coldspot. If I wrote a love song today & it worked we would use it.
What would you say to all the people who believe that rock is dead, that everything's been done before and nobody has any new ideas?
Rock will never die it just evolves into something new like The Heavils, we hope to bring back some life to rock, how many (boy-bands) do we need anyway.
Did any members of the band ever have any problem with your non-conformist unique guitar sound? Or have all of you always been really into how different and cool it sounds?
That's the funny part in the beginning I was the one that hated the sound, hearing it enough it rubbed me the right way, but I wanted something very different so I made the toilet guitar after that I couldn't stop I have made 13 or so since that.
What's going on with you right now? What's next for The Heavils?
We are working on some touring & pushing the CD as much as we can. The Heavilution has begun there is no stopping it now.
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