San Diego, California’s CATTLE DECAPITATION have attained legendary status as one of the most intense deathgrind bands. With a penchant for gory imagery and making harsh political statements about meat consumption or humanity’s ongoing pursuit to destroy the planet earth, CATTLE DECAPITATION have never failed to produce some of the most brutal sounding heavy metal music known to man. CATTLE DECAPITATION returns in 2015 with a new studio album entitled “The Anthropocene Extinction”. The listener is treated to the trademark psycho-growls of vocalist Travis Ryan raging over forty plus minutes of unrelenting blastbeats and a steady diet of killer guitar riffs that will no doubt leave you begging for more.
THE METAL DEN’s Randy “Rocket” Cody has conducted an interview with guitarist Josh Elmore Of CATTLE DECAPITATION for his loyal Den Headz around the globe.
ROCKET: How’s life been treating you?
JOSH: Not too bad. We are on like the fourth or fifth day of the Summer Slaughter tour. So I am just getting into the groove of things. It’s been awhile since we toured… no matter how many times you do it it always takes a few days before you’re like “Okay, there it is again.” (Laughs)
ROCKET: Do you recall your first rock concert?
JOSH: Yeah, it was the Lions Club Fish Fry Festival kind of a thing… because I am from a small town in central Illinois. Half the time it was country bands performing… the other half it was rock bands.
ROCKET: When did you first start playing the electric guitar?
JOSH: You know, I was bugging my parents… “I want a guitar.” and they said “You play saxophone in the school band!” But I was like, “I want a guitar!” So we went to that one music store.. where you had to ride into town… and they had the big selection on the wall… you know, BC Rich’s… and Jackson’s… and I was just like “Ohhhhh”… so you know you want your first guitar to be something bitching… but they did the smart thing and said “You’re getting the guitar with gig bag and combo amp”. And I think it went for $150. (Laughs) Which is smart for a parent!
ROCKET: Did you ever take any guitar lessons?
JOSH: Yeah, there was a guy at that store who did give lessons. He was in a band at the time… I don’t want to say “Hair Metal”… but you know, more of that fanciful side of the trip. Everyone had big hair… pink guitars, that kind of thing. He gave me lessons for awhile.. a super nice guy. I just found him on Facebook recently.
ROCKET: Who are some of your biggest guitar playing influences?
JOSH: I have the self titled album all the way up to 1984 album for Van Halen. So I listened to that stuff… and I don’t want to say “Oh, Eddie Van Halen. I studied his style.” But it worms itself into your head when you start at that early of an age.
ROCKET: One of my favorite music videos in recent memory is the one that my late friend Tyson Montrucchio of Downspell directed for the CATTLE DECAPITATION song “A Body Farm”. He passed away two years ago from a heart attack at 38. He was such a talent behind the camera, having been well known for years in the skate and surf community – besides being a total monster on the microphone. What was that experience like to work with him?
JOSH: Yeah, he was the whole package on that. He was always busy. Always into something. He always had a million things going on. Yeah, that was a freak thing that happened. I got a call about that and we were just like “You’re kidding me.”
ROCKET: Let’s discuss the new CATTLE DECAPITATION album “The Anthropocene Extinction”, coming out on August 7th via Metal Blade Records. Who produced it and where was it recorded?
JOSH: It was recorded in Denver at Flatline Audio. The producer/engineer was David Otero. He also produced “Monolith of Inhumanity”.
ROCKET: What is the meaning behind the album title?
JOSH: Yeah, “Anthropocene” is a term that was relatively recently proposed by a group of scientists… I don’t know if it’s been accepted… or if it’s on the table to be accepted. The definition of a new epoch… umm… that we’re currently in. The definition is when humankind has made an appreciable impact on the earth and its ecosystems.
ROCKET: How does the songwriting process work for your band?
JOSH: What we will usually do is myself, Dave the drummer and Derek the bass player, like we will all have the riffs we’ve been working on… on parts, for things that will go together, which is kind of old fashioned today with everyone working from different states and laptopping everything. Yeah, we get together and present stuff to each other and give a ‘yay or nay’. We get a song about 75-80% where we want it.. and then we will record a demo of it. Usually we’ll bring in the laptop, mic some stuff up, do a couple condenser mic’s… and then Travis will leaves comments on it “So you think this is done?” (Laughs) Yay or nay, and then we all come to a sort of agreement. Travis starts writing lyrics next. And with his writing, he mostly has all these song titles… and you know, loose ideas for the songs. And then he’ll pick the song title, and the song.. and then start writing lyrics.
ROCKET: What kind of guitars are you currently playing live and in the studio?
JOSH: The brand is called Cardinal. And the guy who makes them is Sam Evans out of Austin, Texas. He’s come up with a guitar that is extremely reasonable. I love it. I play it every day. It’s a valuable guitar. It’s all handmade. His shop is behind his home. So he’s right there 24/7 if he needs to be. He does a lot of work with his father, doing the sourcing of the wood, and stuff like that. It’s a family operation.
ROCKET: What kind of amp rigs?
JOSH: For years and years, since 2002, I had a big rack. Two heads. I had a Bogner… and an Engl Fireball. I had that for 12 years… and I was like I wanna change things up. You know, I wasn’t unhappy with things by any means, but you just get the itch to try something new. I always checkout Youtube videos, playthroughs on different amps.. umm.. there’s a lot of smaller builders. One of the guys that stood out to me was Baron amps, owned by this guy out of Wichita. So you know, I watched a few of the videos and thought they sounded great… umm.. they are pretty reasonable, for what they are price wise. You can do all these different configurations on them, the different models… and then I had this friend I was talking to about them… and he was like “I got two of them.” He invited me to go over to his house and bang away. I played both of them and could not decide which model I liked more. So I went on the Baron site. Sure enough he had an amp that had both gain channels. It was like “Boom… SOLD!” (Laughs)
ROCKET: Do you play with any effects?
JOSH: I’m not a very heavy effects person. The only thing I have is a Morley Wah. And Volume pedal. I been using a Boss DD Delay in the loop… for certain octave oriented passges and a couple leads and that’s it. I used to have a whammy pedal, but it took up a lot of space. For some of the songs from ‘Harvest Floor’ and ‘Monolith’… that had this pitch shift… it was two octaves up, which is like super piercing.
ROCKET: How do you get warmed up before a gig?
JOSH: When we get there we will load in. Get everything situated. And everyone is like “Okay, we’re good to go?” Then maybe I will pick up my guitar for a little bit. You know, play the more difficult parts of the song. And you know, do scales..
ROCKET: CATTLE DECAPITATION recently played the Bay Area Death Fest. How did that go?
JOSH: We had a great time! One of the guys that put it on, I think he was 19, he was really well spoken. I mean when I think back to when I was that age and having that kind of undertaking… I wouldn’t have been able to do it. (Laughs)
ROCKET: CATTLE DECAPITATION is currently out on the Summer Slaughter Tour with ARCH ENEMY. How have the crowds been so far?
JOSH: Yeah, we played in Denver first. We really do well in Denver. That is one of our stronger cities. Not representative of the whole tour. It was a great show. The second show was a day off. We had a show with just us, Arch Enemy and Veil of Maya… and Beyond Creation. It was a really good show.
ROCKET: Which of the new songs seems to be the crowd favorite so far?
JOSH: “Manufactured Instinct”.. that we released like a month and a half ago. The chords. People always react to that. We’re doing “Mammals In Babylon”, that one always gets a good response. And we do “The Prophets of Loss”, the one that Philip Anselmo did the spoken word on.
ROCKET: Thanks for rocking this out with me. Best of luck with your music. Any last words for the fans?
JOSH: Thank you for keeping on checking us out. Having the faith in our stuff. (Laughs) And continued interest. We appreciate ‘Cattle Fans’!!