Cattle Decapitation Interview By Metal Mark!
Cattle Decapitation
will be releasing their new album, “Monolith Of Humanity”, on May 8th (one day earlier internationally) via Metal Blade Records. The highly anticipated follow up to 2009’s “The Harvest Floor” is a record that will defintiely set new boundaries in extreme music. It’s a powerful thing to hear a band push themselves and the end result come out as great as this new record did! Do yourself a favor and Pre-order It Now!

Last week I got to speak with vocalist Travis Ryan about the upcoming release, their fans, touring, band life and much more! Check it out below!
“Monolith Of Humanity” is coming out next month and once again you guys have completely outdone yourselves. After the success and great response from “The Harvest Floor” did you feel any pressure or put more on yourselves when writing this record?

Yea, I hate to say that, but I think we did. The response to “The Harvest Floor” was just so good that we knew we had to step it up this time around. We want to progress with each record anyway, as I think every band should, and I think we did that. Not to sound cocky or anything, but we definitely feel this a step above “The Harvest Floor.” We’ve never really cared what people thought about our music, but after such a positive response to the last album, it kind of pushed us to create something really special with this one. We are really glad that people are digging the new record so far, because you never really know how people are going to react these days ya know.

“Monolith Of Humanity” is the first record with Derek on bass for you guys. How much input did he have on the songs?

Derek helped bring more of a classic metal element to the music. This record has a lot more “metallic” moments, as some say, and I was really happy about that. Change is always welcome as long as it’s a good one. There are definitely more metal moments on the record, but the signature Cattle Decapitation sound is definitely there too. One thing that makes me extremely happy is when I hear people say that once you hear our music you know it’s Cattle Decapitation right away. That’s really cool man, because that’s exactly what I want. It’s our sound, people know it now, and I think that’s great.

Once again, Josh takes his guitar playing to a new level on this record. Personally, I still don’t think he gets the credit that he deserves in the metal scene. Do you agree with that?

Yea I totally agree with you. He is an amazing player who has is own style, so I’m happy he’s with us (laughs). Josh and I both have very unconventional mindsets when it comes to writing this style of metal and I think that’s why we work so well together. We are both into some really weird stuff and drastically different forms of music that a lot of people wouldn’t expect us to listen to. We both listen to our fair share of metal, but we don’t listen to it all of the time. The fact that he is into a lot of country and bluegrass helps bring a whole new dimension to his guitar playing. He just brings a lot to the table in our band that you don’t hear in other metal bands and he really shines on the new record like you said.
Once again you’ve done things vocally that I have never heard before from any vocalist… well ever. So the obvious question is how the hell do you keep coming up with the different vocal approaches?

Thanks man (laughs). That’s funny. I think this was the first time that I really listened to the fans on what they wanted to hear on the next record. “The Harvest Floor” was so well received, so I felt I needed to open my ears a little bit more than I usually do. Usually I don’t care about what the fans would say, which sound horrible, but it’s because I have a direction I want to go and it doesn’t agree with what they are saying. When people come up asking for more pig squeals or showing me their YouTube videos of themselves pig squealing, I mean that’s cool, but I never intended on it becoming anything huge like that. In the back of my mind I might have had that intention, but it kind of spiraled out of control. I don’t know though, I have just developed a ton of techniques throughout the years. I’ve played over two hundred shows in a year in rooms of all sizes, and all of those experiences have opened my eyes to what I like and what I see really fits the band. I just know one thing, I never did this stuff ten years ago. I’m just trying to push the boundaries of what’s acceptable in this extreme genre. There is a lot of separation in the metal scene right now. People may only listen to slam and groove or hardcore or death metal, whatever you want to call it, and we just don’t want to fit into any genre. We are our own style and that’s what we all want with this band.

Speaking of the vocal work, the new video for “Kingdom Of Tyrants”, is a prime example of what I was speaking of with your different techniques . After watching the video a million times, because it’s just that awesome, it seems like an idea that you’ve had for a long time. Have you always wanted to create a “mini film” video and just never had the chance until now?

Totally man. Honestly, we hardly lifted a finger for that clip. All credit for that video goes to Mitch Massie. I sent him the lyrics, the tracks, and a basic idea and he ran with it. I saw some of his previous work and knew he was the only guy that could do it the right away, and I was blown away by the final result. Seriously man, the video is way more than I ever expected from him. It’s unbelievable. He can really turn nothing into something and I really admire people who can do that.

You’ve released the tracks “A Living, Breathing Piece Of Defecating Meat” and “Lifestalker” to the fans already, and like you said, the response has been very positive. I always like to ask how hard of a decision it is to pick the first song from the record because they are all great tracks?

It was a tougher decision than I ever imagined with these songs. There is a lot of different degrees on this album. We had to pick out what best represents the record as whole and that was hard as hell. Literally, we were in Europe and Metal Blade was like we need a song and I was like fine, here’s “A Living, Breathing Piece Of Defecating Meat”, because I couldn’t think of anything else at that moment. Luckily, I had the song with me, so it worked out well. We knew the video would be for “Kingdom Of Tyrants” and we also wanted “Lifestalker” out there, but it was just figuring out the order of the releases that was challenging part. The full stream should be out there soon too, so I hope people really get a chance to check it out. Honestly, I know the record is already out there (laughs). It’s obvious when people come up to me and tell me how great the record is. It’s like “thanks man, but how in the hell do you have it?” It’s not the download thing that gets me, it’s the fact that some asshole puts it on his blog for hits and it’s not coming from us or the label. Once it’s released, of course there is nothing we can do, but shouldn’t we at least have control of the initial release?! No. Like I said, it’s not the downloading thing that gets me, but those who download it are missing out on a lot with this record. They won’t get the awesome layout that comes with it ya know. They won’t have the lyrics in front of them. It’s a whole package and if they don’t get it, they won’t truly appreciate what the record is truly about.

I totally agree with you on that point. Speaking of the fans at shows, you’ve been playing some new tracks live on your current tour. How has it felt for you to play the new stuff live and how’s the response been?

It’s been awesome man. We have pulled out some older tracks that we haven’t played in the last five years, but the response to the new stuff drastically out ways the response to the older stuff. We’ve been playing a lot of the same songs over the years, so anything new is welcomed by the fans. We get a lot of requests to change up the set list a bit, so now with the new material I think you are getting a whole new show from the band. It shows the newer direction from us and people are really stoked on it, as are we ya know.

You toured for three years on “The Harvest Floor”, so do you see yourself touring for that long on the new record?

Time will tell and it depends on different things, but we are definitely planning on doing more international tours instead of the normal tour schedule that we’ve done over the years. We don’t want to do a tour just because it sounds cool or we need to be on the road ya know. When it comes to touring in support of this record, we want to go for quality over quantity this time around. We shall see.

Cattle Decapitation just passed their 15th anniversary of existence, which is pretty special for a band in any genre. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from all of those years in the band?

Keep your day job (laughs). No, seriously. I mean when we were kids watching a band like Deicide, we were just like wow they are living the life ya know. They weren’t the icons they were now, but we always thought they probably had a big house, cars, everything man. It’s not like that for everybody (laughs)! We’ve always done what we wanted to do with this band, and we make it work. I think bands just have to know how to make it work between your daily lives, family, touring, all of that. If you have kids, I don’t think you have any business being on the road at all. No offense to any of our touring partners, but that’s just my opinion. It’s horribly irresponsible in my mind. I mean, if you are bringing in the big bucks and have a huge bus, maybe that can work, but it’s not like that for most of the bands out here. You just have to make sure everything at home is taken care of before you head out on the road. So yea, keep a day job!

Nice man. For the last question, if someone would have told you back when you started that you would still be releasing albums in 2012 and touring the world what would you have told them?

Good, because that means we fulfilled our contract! (laughs) I remember someone asked me that same question, but ten years ago, and my answer was exactly what we are doing now. We are still doing it, still pushing ourselves, and that’s awesome. Quite honestly, I’m surprised that we’ve come this far and that’s pretty cool to me. If we disbanded tomorrow, we had a really good run. I think our records are getting better and better, and I don’t see any end anytime soon. I can always pull something out of my ass to make it interesting ya know.

Anything else you’d like to say to the fans out there?

As always, thank you for the support over the years. Go pick up “Monolith Of Humanity” in the stores when it comes out so you get the whole experience. I can’t put enough emphasis on the importance of our artwork, lyrics and everything else that went into this record. So definitely check it out and come see us out on the road. We got a new set list and a new energy, so it’s a show you don’t want to miss!

Buy The Cattle Decapitation Discography Below!