Interview with Blood Farmers “You can pretty much go anywhere as long as you come back to the doom.”



The photos taken by Maija Lahtinen

――The Blood Farmers are back, with six deadly pitchforks.
We cannot run or hide.
We’re all just blood sacrifice to the last queen of Sangroids…

Q1. Firstly, Thanks for doing this. and congrats on your album “Headless Eyes” . It has been 19 years from “Blood Farmers” . How do you feeling now?

ELI
Honestly it’s a relief that it’s finally done! I’m really glad that so many people are enjoying it and accepting it. It was a tremendous amount of work, and it means a lot to hear from people that they like it. When you’re very close to a project it’s hard to tell how people will react, but everyone has really liked it.

Dave
I feel good that the album has been well received, and very grateful for the interest in our band after so many years!

Q2. The albums sound is horror-obsessed, blood disgusting doom rock…Nothing but Blood Farmers! You seems still have clear vision for Blood Farmers. Do you think that you should start the new band if you change your style?

ELI
We had this vision for what Blood Farmers would be since we first started it in 1989, before we even started doing originals. It was really Dave’s concept of joining the horror films and the Black Sabbath sound together to create that kind of creepy experience. I think if we were to change the sound it wouldn’t be called Blood Farmers. At the same time, there is a really wide landscape of what you can do musically and sonically within the genre and within our vision. I’d like to think that we proved that with this record. You can pretty much go anywhere as long as you come back to the doom. It’s not all bloody and disgusting! I mean, I guess you could go too far, like if we started doing disco music in Blood Farmers it wouldn’t work. For me, I’ve been in other bands and of course it’s different. I like a lot of other kinds of music and if I had more time I’d make more music in other genres, including disco!

Q3. Where the album recorded and how was the recording process?

ELI
We started recording at Studio 584 in New York City. We did the drums there and basic guitars. Everything else was done at a friend’s studio where we basically had the weekends to ourselves for recording. We didn’t have the money to get a big studio but we were able to use a lot of vintage equipment. We even had real reverb units, which is very rare in studios these days. That really helped give it a more vintage sound. I wanted us to have the chance to explore anything we could think of, and really give Dave the chance to create with an unlimited amount of tracks. We definitely pushed as far as we could and tried pretty much anything we could think of while recording and mixing. It was difficult keeping track of everything in mixing! The downside of this is that it took too long, which is mostly my fault. I’m a perfectionist and so is Dave and if something wasn’t right it had to be remixed or re-recorded. I am really glad we had the opportunity to put in all the work that we did, though. Most bands never get that kind of an open-ended situation for making a record. I am still amazed that we were able to create a new album 19 years later.

“Headless Eyes”
“Blood Farmers”

Q4. David Hess cover “The Road Leads to Nowhere” is surprise in the album. What made you to play this song? This song showed us another side of Blood Farmers.

DAVE
I always wanted to cover the song. It’s the theme from my favorite film! I got to know David Hess when I had wrote a book about the making of Last House on the Left, and we later worked together on producing a CD of his soundtrack music from Last House on The Left. So it’s my tribute to David Hess, I wish he had lived to hear it. The Blood Farmers version of the song is adapted from the opening credits of the movie, but we arranged everything differently. There are specific references to the original but it does not sound the same….I wanted to make it more morose and psychedelic. I had a longer arrangement which brings in some other musical moments from the film & more guitar freak-outs which I would like to do someday.

The Making of a Cult Classic (2000) – David A. Szutkin

Q5. Would you give us comment for other songs?

Gut Shot
ELI
In late 2009, Dave called me and told me he was coming to NY and wanted to record some riffs. At this point I had no thought that there would ever be a new Blood Farmers record. I figured that after we toured Japan in 2008 that was it. I was just engineering and Dave played bass and brought Tad in to play drums. As soon as he played this song, though I knew that there would be a new Blood Farmers record. I just love that opening, the mid-tempo riff and the fast part at the end. It showed me that Dave can write riffs just as well as ever, maybe even better than before.

Headless Eyes
ELI
The idea of having a song called Headless Eyes went back years before. I think it was around the time that we re-issued Permanent Brain Damage that Dave told me I should check out the movie Headless Eyes. It totally had that weird creepy vibe I love, and we both knew it was perfect for a Blood Farmers song. When we finally started recording years later we knew that would be the title track. We would write it, put it together, listen to it, then throw it out and maybe keep one riff. The whole song was written like four different times! I think this is the one of the best things we’ve ever done. It totally captures what the band is about.

The Creeper
ELI
This was actually recorded in that first session when we got together in 2009, so I recorded the drums on this one too. It had such a great vibe and great bass playing. I was kind of intimidated by it because I knew that if I played bass on the rest of the record it would never sound this good, because Dave is just a much better musician than me. Since I was recording it anyway, I convinced him he should play bass on the rest of the record, even though I play bass for live appearances. I also really liked what Tad did on this song, and he wanted to join the band so it became natural that he would become the next drummer. We’d never had someone in the band that was as into horror movies as Dave, so that’s a big plus!

Dave
Like Eli said, this started as a live jam…it’s my favorite piece on the record.

Thousand Yard Stare
ELI
Dave came up with the title and the descending riff in the middle first. I wrote the lyrics thinking about what it would be like to have the condition of just being mentally withdrawn from trauma. I thought a lot about that depression, and the lyrics reflected a very depressed person.

Dave

All of our songs reflect a very depressed person!

Night of the Sorcerers
ELI
It’s kind of funny to think that we actually played this song live when we toured Europe in 2011, before we had conceived of what it actually became. We wanted it to have more of a soundtrack kind of feel than an actual song. I’m really proud of the production on this one too, because there was just so much going on. We got our friend Theo to do the keyboards on it. He really added a lot to it, and Dave put in some good keyboard melodies and effects as well. This one is really different for us, but I’d like to think there is still enough doom in there to keep it in step with the rest of the record. We don’t have any kind of formula for writing songs, and this certainly proves it.

Dave
I like the collaboration between all of us on this song, it’s a real epic! Tad wrote the middle part of it.

Q7. I read that David is working for Grindhouse releasing. Do you still digging the obscure horror, exploitation films?

DAVE
Yes, I have been working with Grindhouse Releasing since 1999 and still love the movies. Some of the films I have been involved with releasing to theaters: I DRINK YOUR BLOOD, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, CANNIBAL FEROX, PIECES, EVIL DEAD, MANIAC, GONE WITH THE POPE, MANIAC COP, MANIAC COP 2, THE MANSON FAMILY, ZOMBIE and AN AMERICAN HIPPIE IN ISRAEL. I’ve also worked on the home video releases of some of those and produced the special features for the LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT DVD for MGM Studios. Right now I am promoting the Blu-ray release of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST and continuing to present theatrical screenings at independent movie theaters all over the country. The most recent Grindhouse Releasing Blu-ray titles include CORRUPTION, THE BIG GUNDOWN and the haunting ‘60s movie THE SWIMMER.

Q8. Which bands and artists influenced you as musicians? And what made you start the band?

ELI
When we first met, the common ground for us were Rush and Sabbath. I had a pretty decent collection of what were then kind of obscure albums- like Cactus, Dust, Spooky Tooth, things like that. Dave had Vincebus Eruptum. In 1989, this was all really not considered cool by anyone in the metal world. Dave got some Saint Vitus albums and we were smoking a lot of pot. Dave came up with the idea of playing Sabbath covers with horror movies projected behind the band. I offered to sing. Dave’s cousin Phil was living in NY at the time, and he was already playing bass in bands. One of those bands covered Sabbath, so we kind of had an instant rhythm section. Phil and Eric, the guys who played on Permanent Brain Damage, had played together for a few years. They also had their own band Hordes of Mungo, so we sort of became the little brother side project band for them. It was cool just to instantly have a band. After a few gigs of doing only Sabbath covers, Dave started writing original material. The first song we wrote was Veil of Blood (Scream Bloody Murder). The second one was Bullet In My Head. Once that started happening, I was kind of like, ‘wait a second, this is really good music’. I started to take the whole thing a little more seriously. When we first started it just seemed like a good way to piss people off and let out frustration. I really enjoyed being part of that powerful sound, and was kind of amazed at how cool Dave’s riffs were. I still am, 25 years later.

DAVE
Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, those were the big ones that sparked us and had the direct influence on the writing/playing. Also a lot of the 60s and 70s rock, listening to Hendrix, Blue Cheer, Cactus, BOC, Mountain, Hawkwind, Dust, Grand Funk, Bloodrock, James Gang, Johnny Winter, ZZ Top, Buffalo ? not that we sound like any of them but they were and are our favorites.

Q9. Which bands/ musician albums are you currently enjoying?

ELI
I’m sort of stuck in a perpetual cycle of listening to sixties and seventies music. There’s always new stuff to find from that era. I’m just getting back into Damnation of Adam Blessing. I think the last new album that I thought was amazing was the Gates Of Slumber, The Wretch. The new Ogre album is great too.

Dave
Agreed, Gates of Slumber “The Wretch” is a great album, and love the new OGRE “The Last Neanderthal”. I hang out a lot with Robert Williams from SIEGE and Nightstick so I have been getting into his recordings like “Blotter” and “Death To Music”. Grindhouse Releasing just put out the re-mastered soundtrack from the film “Cannibal Holocaust” so I’ve been listening to that great music by Riz Ortolani.

Any recommendations you can give to our readers for bands to check out.

ELI
At this point there isn’t much that I can add. It’s so different today, where everything is instantly accessible. It used to be a really big deal to meet with other people into the old heavy stuff, and find out about bands you never heard of. Now you can download or stream pretty much everything there is. I meet 20-year-old kids that know as many bands as I know, so I doubt I can offer much that’s unheard.

DAVE
If Blood Farmers fans want to hear some other recordings I did, I made two records with a band called The Disease Concept ? an EP called “Liquor Bottles and Broken Steel” and a full-length LP, “Your Destroyer”. I also wanted to mention the Blowfly record “Black in the Sack” on PATAC Records (patacrecords.com) where I had the privilege of playing on a recording of “Black Sabbath” with Blowfly, Tesco Vee of the Meatmen & my friends in the great sludge-doom band Fistula.

Q10. “Blood Farmers” and “Permanent Brain Damage” was re-released by Leaf hound Records. How did it go? I read that David hates “Bullet in My Head”, so he wants to remove it.

DAVE
No, I don’t hate the song ? I wrote it! Where did you read that? ※
Since we recorded it three times and it appeared on two previous CDS, a demo, and a compilation, I probably just said we didn’t need to keep re-doing it!

ELI
Toreno Kobayashi first got in touch with us in like 2001 and said he wanted to start a label so he could release the Blood Farmers album in Japan. I had been working on fixing up Permanent Brain Damage for a few years while working in recording studios. It was sort of my project that I used to learn mixing. It was really awesome to bring that material back to life, and finally have people hear it other than on some crappy cassette dub. After that I went and re-mastered the Hellhound album from the original tapes. I didn’t know anything about recording when we made it and digital audio was kind of new. I didn’t realize that what we delivered to Hellhound was like 4 th generation audio. It was so cool seeing those CD editions come out with the obi strips and bonus tracks and everything. Being on Leaf Hound records was really great. I feel like Toreno is the person that brought our name out of obscurity and helped get the music heard all over the world. I wish him the best and hope that he is doing well, wherever he is. It was very sad that the label ceased operations just as it was starting to take off.. He had just gotten the Rise Above catalog for Japan, and I was helping him negotiate a deal with Relapse for Leafhound in the US.

※ Toreno Kobayashi mentioned it in the interview on “DOOM STONER HEAVY ROCK DISC GUIDE 2008” published by DISK UNION. “Dave hates 1 st album especially “Bullet In My Head.”

Q11. You came to Japan for Doom Age festival with Ogre in 2008. I watched it at Tokyo. Do you have any memories that you would like to share with our readers?

ELI
Coming to Japan was like the ultimate fulfillment of what we wanted for Blood Farmers. I never would have dreamed that 20 years after we started the band that we would be touring in Japan and playing those songs we had written to people half our age. I loved being in Japan so much. It is one of my happiest memories of the band. I still am amazed that it happened at all. It made me feel that all the work we put in over the years, all the disappointments we had were really worth it because seeing those people in Japan meant that on some small level we had some impact. I wish we could come back some day.

DAVE
Great memories of hanging out with Toreno from Leafhound, Church of Misery, Eternal Elysium and Ogre on that tour! I wish I remembered more about the trip but it is a blur! Ross and Will from Ogre were working overtime on that tour playing in Blood Farmers as well as their own band, so I must give thanks and credit to them! That made it a family trip for me since Ross is my cousin. It was amazing just to be there; I was awed to behold a view of Mount Fuji. I loved playing in Tokyo, that’s the one I remember the most for the great crowd and feeling. I was pretty intoxicated! I wish I could go back and do it over again so that I can actually remember more of what happened next time!


Q12. What are the next plans for Blood Farmers? Fans are definitely anticipating a new tour!

ELI
I’d love to return to Japan some day! I’m starting a small reissue label with Resurrection Productions and will be releasing some of my favorite early heavy music, starting with a remaster of Randy Holden’s Population II, reissued in a deluxe package with rare photos. There are a number of other things coming after that, some really great classic and even unreleased material.

Q13. Finally, Would you like to send a message to Japanese fans?

ELI
Thanks to everyone there that came to see us or bought a CD. We appreciate every one of you so much. I’m really thankful that people across the world care to listen to us.

 

DAVE
Thank you for supporting our band! We hope to play in Japan again someday!

※この記事を日本語で読む。Read this article in Japanese.