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The Conqueror Worm

This is the original english version of the interview.

Immagine articolo Fucine MuteFabrizio Garau (FG): I think that “Scald” is the perfect moniker for your band. How did the idea come out?

Paul McCarroll (PMC): When we were still doing T.V.P. we decided that it had developed way beyond what T.V.P. was all about which was crusty grind. So we changed the name in 93’. I’m pretty sure it was Big Balls who came up with Scald. It was totally fitting our caustic noise. But here are so many different meanings to the name and it has interesting origins that it’s remained fitting throughout the many-pronged evolution of the band.

FG: Could you present the band to our readers? Could you especially spend some words on Glyn Smyth, just because he was not part of your original line-up?

PMC: The first line up of Scald was Pete Dempsey — Guitar & Vocals, Big Balls — Bass and myself Paul McCarroll — Drums. In 96’ Mick Tierney took over from Pete on Guitar, with Pete just doing vocals for a while until Big Balls left in 97’. Pete then took over bass, which is his true instrument. So since 97’, it’s just been the three of us. Glyn Smyth has been a long time collaborator, having mixing/recording duties and creating the ambient noise tracks on “Headworm”. Because his synth contribution is so great on Vermiculatus it was decided he should be considered a full member for this album. I think he will always be at least a collaborator and we would like to have him involved in most things we do, he’s a really creative guy. I hope he’ll be doing some vocals on a track or two on our upcoming ‘Fluke’ mcd. I’m sure he’ll be working on the mix anyway. The Scald core remains Pete, Mick and Myself.

FG: How did you get in touch with code666? Releasing an album like “Vermiculatus” is an anti-commercial choice, even for an anti-commercial label. So, what do you think about the work of this label and about his “philosophy”?

PMC: I’ve been in contact with the label for some years now and it’s one of the few I respect for its non-compromise approach. Michele Giorgi who worked promotion there was really into what we were doing. He became a good friend and is still a most valuable comrade to have on our side. So code666 was the first label we presented with the “Headworm” album, unfortunately Emi wasn’t 100% into it and we decided to release it on our own Vermitronic label. Since that Emi has been helpful to the band and taken an interest in what we’ve been up to. He asked for details on “Vermiculatus” and offered to release it. We were prepared to release it ourselves but were obviously delighted to have it on Code666 especially since Emi had no interest in messing with our vision of the project right down to the packaging we wanted. He described it himself as commercial suicide (laughs). I’m just grateful that there are a few people in music still willing to take a risk on something that doesn’t follow the scent of trend shit. We do want to work with like minded labels but we consider ourselves a D.I.Y. band.

Immagine articolo Fucine Mute

FG: In my personal collection I have “Born with teeth” and “Headworm”. “Headworm” and “Vermiculatus” are strictly connected. How would you describe this connection?

PMC: Well if you’re missing the two Nematoid discs then you’re probably missing a link in the evolutionary chain. I’d say that Headworm and Vermiculatus are the most closely connected of our releases but that may be because on both occasions we set out to record stand-alone albums. But everything is connected right back to the straightforward grind of T.V.P.

FG: You started your musical adventure being in some ways fast and “punk”. Now you release a 47:28 min. opus. So, what is changed? And what is still remaining the same?

PMC: Nothing has changed and everything has changed (laughs), such is evolution. There are no rules, we know what our next few releases are going to be long before anyone else, and in fact our next new release titled “Fluke”, is actually very much “fast and punk”. Very simple and aggressive thrashing-crusty-punk-grind but it’s also conceptual piece, it just happens that the concept fits this musical bludgeon. It may be the musical antithesis of Vermiculatus but there is no question of anything not fitting Scald. Nothing is a stab in the dark. Scald can point its tentacles in many directions at once because we have no boundaries. Of course this regressive instance doesn’t indicate a circular path, maybe a side step, a nod to our roots or whatever, because future material and projects will be even more challenging and ambitious than “Vermiculatus”.

Immagine articolo Fucine MuteFG: There’s no voice in “Vermiculatus”. Please, tell our readers why, because I suppose that this explanation will clarify a bit the ideas be’ind the creation of the album.

PMC: Pete had written the guts of a composition he wanted to be made as an instrumental track. It was to be like a journey. We discussed it over time and the whole concept developed into something much bigger, but there was never any need for vocals on this. The journey became a compression of a life and the concept is expressed through the emotions in the sound and the visual aspects.

FG: How did you compose the first part of the album? Did you simply follow your instinct or did you traced a path?

PMC: Well Pete composes all of the music for Scald at home. It’s pretty much done when we get to hear it, so the path is already there. It becomes Scald when we work together. This is were the collective instinct comes into play and working as a unit we spend a lot of time working on each individual part and how the whole comes together. He has a general idea of how the compositions should be played but they can change drastically as we experiment and the material evolves. “Vermiculatus” was pretty complex being one track. We rehearsed it for months playing long sections before charting it and cutting it into smaller sections that we would play in the studio then reassemble. We’ve always recorded live in the studio rather than tracking so this was the best option to save time.

FG: This is a quote taken from internet: “Direct inspiration for Scaldic compositions from the beginning to the present: Napalm Death (…) Godflesh (…) Neurosis (…)”. So, if these bands are your “parents”, who are the “brothers” or the “cousins”? Isis? Jesu? Or maybe another code666 band like Void of Silence, because they mix ambient and extreme metal?

PMC: The three bands mentioned earlier In that statement I’d say, have each had some sort of influence on us. Maybe those sonically rather than compositionally but that list could be extended to everything we’ve ever liked. I don’t think there is one definitive influence on the Scald sound or style. You could add Voivod, Rush, King Crimson, Carcass, Dead Kennedys, Discharge, Zappa. But we’re probably more inspired by the individuality of these artists than influenced by them. Pete has periods of writing were he doesn’t even listen to music so it doesn’t clutter his path.
As for cousins in the current scene…I don’t know really. I’m sure there are a few on our wavelength to some degree but I can’t think of any off-hand.

Immagine articolo Fucine MuteFG: Talking about inspiration, I would like to focus on the ambient side of “Vermiculatus” (a reconstruction of the instrumental part). What is your relationship with electronic and ambient music? Are you into Cold Meat Industry or are you into first industrial acts like Throbbing Gristle or SPK? Are you fascinated by some Warp Records artists or maybe from pioneers like Tangerine Dream and Brian Eno?

PMC: I’ve been listening to a lot more of this stuff since making that part of “Vermiculatus”. Beforehand, I guess things like KK Null, Control, Nordvargr, Deathpile, Atomsmasher, Painkiller and lot of sample tracks from labels like Eibon & Neurot have really interested me. I’ve always been into electronic and industrial bands like GGFH, Skinny Puppy, Swamp Terrorists, Einstürzende Neubauten, Front 242 etc and I also really like Tangerine Dream and I’m a massive fan of early Pink Floyd so all that’s bound to rub off a bit. In reality I’d say the main influential factor was Glyn’s ambient noise tracks on Headworm and my own messing around with cut ups and sound design on the Headworm cd-rom. I’ve been experimenting since that and the idea to use the source recordings from the studio sessions to make the ambient version just seemed like a normal progression. I’ll certainly be experimenting a lot more in different ways in the future.

FG: Scald seems to become a multimedia project. Just talk about the artwork, the video and Unhinged art…

PMC: Of course the music is always the most important aspect of Scald. You can have the best art & video work possible but if your music is shit it’s just a shit record. No artist will save it. That’s the position we have to take. But that said I think the visual can alter the perception of the music. To us the visual aspect of Scald is an essential an integral part of the whole, same with the lyrics. Unhinged is the name I work under as a visual artist, illustrator, designer or whatever. It has grown alongside Scald like a siamese twin from the earliest hand drawn graphics to more technological aspects today. I have a certain detachment when I work for other bands, it’s their project and although I can become deeply involved, more so if they give me free reign, ultimately I am interpreting their material. I do enjoy the challenge of that too of course. With Scald I am completely immersed to the point were it can become torturous. At the minute I am thinking of a number of Scald projects and their concepts and how they evolve and relate to each other. I have artwork and sketches at different levels of development for releases that may not happen for 4-5 years (the music and lyrics are written but unrehearsed). One thing I can say there is something very special in the next couple of years that if we can get funding for it will be unlike any other release and will be billed as a Scald / Unhinged project.

Immagine articolo Fucine MuteFG: You use often a Latin vocabulary. Is this related to the “biological” and “clinical” content of your albums?

PMC: That’s usually down to Pete, he has a fascination with the language. I’d say that Latin terminology adds an aesthetic air to the clinical but also we don’t like to make things too obvious.

FG: What do you think about the work of David Cronenberg? His movies are often a description of psychological mutations caused by an initial state of physical disease. And in “Shivers” it all starts from a worm…

PMC: Interesting question. I do like the aesthetic quality of Cronenberg’s movies, he has a definite style visually and psychologically. I’d say Scald and even Unhinged would be fairly well aligned to the Cronenberg psychological wavelength. A favourite of mine was “Deadringers”, I also liked “Naked Lunch”, “Crash”, “Scanners” and his more ‘horror‘ movies. I recently watched “Spider”, which was a bit arduous, very depressing but worthwhile. Actually it would be great to do a soundtrack to one of his films.

FG: You are also a live band: how will you present “Vermiculatus” to your audience?

PMC: We won’t. We haven’t played it in over a year since the studio sessions. We toyed with the idea or playing sections between other tracks but it seemed wrong.

FG: As a journalist, I should finally ask you what is your relationship with religion, especially because you come from Northern Ireland.

Immagine articolo Fucine MutePMC: As you say we’re from Belfast from different religious backgrounds, being 3 heathens, that really wouldn’t make much difference in most countries but it does here. Where you can go, what you can say etc. I read a poll recently where Northern Ireland was named as the most racist and bigoted place in the world and I can believe it. To tell the truth the whole religious / political divide in this country makes me fucking sick. On a human level it’s just wrong. I’m not going to get into the history, traditions and reasons for this mess. People are indoctrinated from a very young age into hating people that are supposedly ‘different’, because they are a ‘different’ religion. On the most part people are peaceful and just get on with their lives having more sense than to be sucked into it. But scum breeds scum and on both sides there is a hardcore of arseholes who just won’t let go of their stupid fucking traditions because it’s all they have, existing basically to make things shit for everyone else. An over simplification of course, greed, political power, criminal networking all play their part too.
As far as the Scald view of the church goes you’ll have to wait for ‘Fluke’. It should make things pretty clear.


Un commento a “The Conqueror Worm”

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