A few weeks ago, we had covered the recent re-release from The Whorehouse Massacre, out on Transcending Obscurity, titled ‘Altar of the Goat Skull / VI’ (read here). This release perfectly showcases the band’s ability to write grimy, down tuned riffs that can make the listener uncomfortable just with the music. The writing on this album was so interesting and entertaining that talking to the people behind the music became a must for me. Now, thanks to Transcending Obscurity, we got the chance to ask The Whorehouse Massacre a few questions and here’s what resulted..
Metal Gallows: Hey guys. How are things in the great white North?
The Whorehouse Massacre: Not bad. Hope you are doing well. Thanks for the interview.
MG: We loved your recent re-release on Transcending Obscurity, ‘Altar of the Goat Skull / VI’. Could you tell us how these records came into being and what made you guys want to re-release it?
TWM: Thanks a lot. The ‘V.I.’ part was recorded first. Those songs were the bulk of our live set for about a year. We recorded ‘V.I.’ in a local studio and I mixed and edited the music myself. The ‘Altar’ recordings were recorded in our band space using various different types of amps, cabinets, speakers, guitars, fuzz pedals, and microphones. It was a much more experimental approach to recording different guitar tones to see what different equipment would produce what kind of tone. We also down tuned the guitars further on ‘Altar’.
MG: You guys are known to use stage names. Why is that? What is the reason behind these stage names?
TWM: We use initials only because this band is about music and not about individuals.
MG: You were recently associated with another project titled Deadly Sin and you had a release last year called ‘This is the Title’. Could you elaborate on that? And how is this project different from TWM?
TWM: Deadly Sin (Sloth) was formed out of mutual admiration for the band Sloth from Northeast Ohio. It features the dark criticisms of J.S. on vocals. The aesthetic is very dark but in a different way. We usually use very dark representations of early cartoon characters for artwork. We use depictions of early cartoon characters reaching a dark nadir brandishing weapons, drugs, covered in blood, or as homeless, downtrodden people.
We approach the band in a way that we are aware of what Sludge is and we relate to the world through the perspective of people who live and breathe Sludge. We often acknowledge ways of life that seem to be a common thread throughout the Sludge world in the lyrics of the songs. We acknowledge a type of lifestyle that can be found in the personal experiences of Sludge musicians and fans, the commonalities in lyrics used by various Sludge bands, and our own lives. We don’t write songs about murder as much as I would in TWM.
MG: Coming back to TWM, I could notice subtle differences in the style on ‘VI’ and ‘Altar of the Goat Skull’. Is this something you try with all your releases?
TWM: Yeah definitely. Sludge is a genre of music that has very deep historic roots that can be drawn from. Sometimes I draw more from Heavy Metal or Hardcore, or even the influences of those two genres. Sometimes I will even use influences that are a result of Sludge or related to Sludge.
I also don’t generally use the same production approach on more than one album. I like to experiment with the guitar and bass tones using different, mics, speaker cabs, amps, fuzz pedals, and more. I don’t think I will ever settle on using one production approach because different production can bring different dynamic to the songs. So in these ways TWM albums can sound different while still hovering within the Sludge or Doom Death genre we claim.
MG: The songs by TWM include both short jams and long 6 minute tracks. As a band, which would you say is more fun to write?
TWM: I don’t know that one is more fun than the other. It just seems to me that a good song is a good song. I am open minded when taking different approaches to different songs.
MG: On the recent album you had covered a track by Sloth. Given the choice to make a pure covers album, what other artists would you like to cover?
TWM: Good question. But I don’t want to spoil any surprises of covers I am working on.
MG: I hear an album is in the works. Have you guys decided on a name and release date yet?
TWM: No release date yet. I’m working on an LP and a bunch of EPs at the moment. One working title I am working with at the moment is ‘Always Has and Never Has Been.’
MG: What direction does the sound take on the new album? Can we expect more sludge metal grime?
TWM: ‘Always Has and Never Has Been’ is more Weedeater inspired than any of the previous releases. There are some other songs I am working on that are very grimy, very heavy, lo-fi experimental type songs. There are some other releases I am working on where I am experimenting with some of the early approaches I used for production. I am always searching for new and heavy ways to express evil, hatred, and darkness in music.
TWM: Kunal flew us into India and sent a limousine to pick us up at the airport. The limousine took us to his castle where we danced Bollywood dances all night. Then in the morning we drank fresh Canadian maple syrup and played a game of ice hockey. At the end of the trip we agreed to a recording contract. The contract was worth many millions and it was signed using a pencil made from one of Wayne Gretzky’s hockey sticks while using the soft underbelly of a live Royal Bengal Tiger as a surface to write on.
MG: Haha. Thanks for taking the time guys. It’s been great talking to you. Is there anything you’d like to add?
TWM: We are thankful to be a part of the Indian metal culture. As a student of History and Anthropology I have a great interest in analyzing metal’s development and its many stages, environments, peoples, countries, idiosyncrasies, strengths, and diversity. Being part of such a wide reaching, global, label based in India as Transcending Obscurity has been an honour and a learning experience.