Robert Darling, aka “Meddlefan” has gotten himself an absolute cracker of an interview here with Silvester Goregnome from Fondlecorpse. It’s quite the read people, this is one hell of an interesting man. Read on!
So Sly, when did you start doing layouts for cd’s and cassettes?
I have been doing them as long as I can remember really. I went to school to be a Graphic Designer and got my degree when I was younger, so putting shit together was my job. I started just doing my own stuff and helping out close friends. Then word gets out and I pretty much ended helping out anybody that asked really back then in the underground. I have done CD’s, LP’s, Tapes, Shirts, Worked on a bunch of paper zines, Catalogues, it was just fun to me to do a ton of diverse stuff and helping out. Nowadays I am less prolific since free time is more of an issue though.
Did you start out enjoying drawing the artwork or did you start out by doing just the layouts? Is there anything else you want to add about doing the layouts?
I started out just doing my own stuff, I always was drawing and creating things when I was young and then went to school for it and got my degree for graphic design. The layouts I pretty much did to help out friends and people who needed help really. To me it was natural to help people out since I had the skills, I used them to help fellow fiends out.
How many cd’s have you written, what instruments do you play on them?
I’ll try and remember. I jammed with a bunch of bands in the 90s that never went further than a garage and maybe some boombox recorded rehearsals haha. I played in a band called Moronic in the early 90s where we did some demos and a CD “The Dark Crusader” and there is one CD we semi recorded that never got released because the band fell apart. I think i have a CDR somewhere with the roughs somewhere of what would have been the second full length. I released a MCD with the band Slamfist. And with my current band Fondlecorpse we are up to 4 CD’s. From Beyond the Crypt which collects the two demo 7” records, the MCD called Blood and Popcorn, The first full length called Creaturegore and recently we put out Dark Contagion. I only do Vocals really and nothing else, I tried to play other shit but I sucked. Other people can do it better anyways so i’ll just stick with barking out lyrics.
Do you carry a notebook around and just start writing ? Or do you get in a zone?
I have multiple notebooks around the house where I write down ideas and also i have a lot of small cards that belonged to a sort of rolodex kinda contraption. I keep them around to quickly jot down ideas. Especially ideas I get in the middle of the night hahaha so there’s a stack on my nightstand. When inspiration hits I grab a flashlight and jot down the idea and then it is preserved when I wake up the next morning. The little cards are good for small doodles and write ups and easy to put around the house. When they pile up I collect them all and start writing them in my notebook and work out the ideas and start assembling them into lyrics and concepts. I do have to be in the zone when actually writing the full songs and finalizing them so I can lose myself into the writing and start putting together the songs and ideas and end up with a finished end result.
How has your music progressed from your first album to the last? Is part of it just growing with the music?
I guess I try and just make everything bigger and better with every new CD. You try and make the lyrics better, and just grow a bit with your craft and expand the stories you want to tell. But in other aspects like how i record and do vocals that’s always the same really, I do my thing and that is it. You just try and just keep it interesting for yourself and try and challenge yourself to do better and not repeat yourself. But in the end I do shit my own way and it is what it is. I do like shit to be heavy and crushing and if I can figure out ways to make it happen then I will go for it.
What are your plans on a new album? Is the album ready to go or so there still parts to finish?
Basically we take off where we left off with Dark Contagion and continue to grow the sound. We are trying to maybe make the next one a bit dirtier and nastier so we have been experimenting with that. Most of the songs for the follow up have already been written and I am now working on the concept and lyrics and hope to start rehearsing some soon to make a demo for myself. Adam Geyer is working on the cover for the next one so can’t wait to see what he will unleash. Each new album I try and hit another horror aspect. So let’s see which dark wells of inspiration we will dig into for this album…. or what creatures will join our anti-human crusade this time round. We are also working on a second album at the same time which will be Fondlecorpse related but a good way to try out some different things… stay tuned on that. Music for that one is pretty much done and we have been collaborating with some amazing musicians for that one. So at least two new full lengths are in the works and already planning a third. Basically once the finances work out then slowly they will get finished and put out probably. It will all stay DIY self released stuff. Because I enjoy doing it all myself and I like how it keeps things real. No compromise, no bullshit, I can do whatever crazy thing I want and nobody can tell me no or to cut corners or cheapen the end result. It takes longer obviously but I am in no rush these days. But will this year have one or two releases ready to go? I would like to think so.
What is are your favorite band or bands?
That is a hard question since I have a stack of stuff i listen to all the time on heavy rotation and have done so for years. But I do have a few favorites. One will always be of course Impetigo, and especially Horror of the Zombies because of all the classics on that one and just genuine vibe around the band. I will always be inspired how they ran their shit and always were down to earth and did whatever they felt like. I was honored to be at their one off reunion concert a few years ago and hung out and man was it a great time to never forget. All you need is cheez!!! ha-ha-ha. Then there is Autopsy (and Abscess) because Chris Reifert is a mastermind of sleaze, those lyrics are fucking the best. The man is a wordsmith of filth. Autopsy is on a steady rotation in this house. Then you have a band like Bolt Thrower. I remember getting Realm of Chaos and man oh man that shit blew my mind. The art and the music. The legions of chaos came marching into my living room. Probably the reason why I love putting in as much art as I can in my releases too. Then I have always been heavy into the Misfits and Samhain because how can’t you love horror inspired shit like that. Most my albums have nods to them also. Cannibal Corpse especially the first few albums. That Vince Locke art, man that shit rips. Was a big fan of Deadworld and then seeing those covers and hearing the buzzsaw tunes… So good. Those covers will be etched in my brain forever. Some other stuff that is in my stereo a lot and what is going to be jammed today :
– Hypocrisy – Osculum Obscenum
– Pungent Stench – For God Your Soul…… For Me Your Flesh
– Baphomet – The Dead Shall Inherit
– Dissect – Swallow Swouming Mass
– Slayer albums – Reign in Blood
– Grave – Into the Grave
– Desaster – Divine Blasphemies
– Carcass – Necroticism and the Demo’s.
– Massacre – From Beyond
– Mortician – Zombie Apocalypse
Probably forgetting a bunch but these are just a few of the bands I spin a lot of the time.
What type of comics do you enjoy the most?
Mostly I collected strange comics and a lot of independent shit, I like odd stuff and creatures, the gory and weird shit, the anti hero stuff and the occult. I have a fuckload of stuff from Verotik comics which was/is run by Danzig. So much cool shit came out from there back then. Jaguar God, Deathdealer, Igrat, Satanika, G.O.T.H., Grubgirl. Then you of course have the 2000AD universe which has so many good comics and stories with cool characters, where do you even begin? That magazine/comic fucked my brain all the time with so much cool ass art and stories. Judge Dredd first and foremost ofcourse, Fink Angel, Mean Machine, Judge Anderson, Judge Death, ABC Warriors, The awesomeness of Slaine (so much so that my old band Slamfist had licensed an image from Slaine for the cover by Bisley), Rogue Trooper, Strontium Dog, Nemesis, the list goes on and all the artists had their own wicked styles and every page filled with just glorious art by many great artists that went on to become huge in the years after and most of them I still buy whatever they put out based on their name. A lot of that 2000AD material, pretty much every panel was worthy to be a cover for a metal album hahaha. Bisley I pretty much grab whatever he puts out. You had a company Sirius that did some cool independent stuff like Poison Elves which I loved. RIP Drew Hayes, Animal Mystic, Dogwitch, The Cyberpunk book Empty Zone, Then comics like Nightbreed, Faust by Vigil ofcourse, Deadworld, Tank Girl, Zombie Commandos from Hell, Alan Moore stuff, Moebius his work like the Incal, Metabarons, Lobo, Anything by Berni Wrightson, Corben, Swamp Thing, Conan, Chronicles of the Black moon, Requiem Vampire Knight, Don Lawrence’s Storm, and I dabbled in stuff like Evil Ernie, Vampirella, Hellboy, Freak Force, The Maxx, Super Patriot, Pitt, Body Bags, old Turtles and I have always tried to keep up with Star Wars. I do love the old stuff a lot because it was crazy with shit like Jaxxon in the Marvel run. like the list goes on, I have short boxes full of series still and horror based mini series. And ofcourse all the Creepy style magazines and EC stuff. I grab that whenever I bump into it. But I pretty much bought comics if it had a cool creature, was horror or had bad ass looking artstyle. Hell i still do.
What are your favorite items to collect? I hear you have quite a collection of action figures!
That’s a hard one. My main collections are Horror Movies, Music, Comics, Books and Action figures. I guess I cycle through them so it depends what I am into more from time to time. It is just fun to sort through your collections and organize it.
Nothing is as satisfying to have a neatly sorted collection and have all your stuff nicely lined up and organized haha. I used to go batshitcrazy collecting tons of shit when I got older and got some $$$ to spend. And first you start buying shit you couldn’t have as a kid and did I have a lot to catch up on lol. I was deep into collecting 80’s some 90’s action figures and franchises. It has become a bit less these days since it gets harder to find stuff for decent prices and the ones missing are usually the rare fuckers and I don’t have the space to display fuck all sadly. Back in the day before the internet it was easier to score cool shit everywhere and go to thrifts and flea markets and find all kinds of cool shit. But when Ebay came it kinda killed off a lot of the thrill of the hunt and all the local hunting spots dried up. Click and buy has less of a fun factor too me I guess. But I have a good assortment of figures I collected over the years. My main collection is vintage Star Wars still and I upgrade here and there when I feel like it, but I also have decent piles of Masters of the Universe, Thundercats, GI JOE, Action Force, Blackstar, Bravestarr, Inhumanoids, Swamp Thing, Mighty Max, Turtles, Neca stuff like Gremlins and their horror lines, Ghostbusters and Real Ghostbusters, Transformers G1, Dino Riders, Battle Beasts, Boglins, Monster in my Pocket, My Pet Monster, Sectaurs, Food Fighters, WWE Wrestlers, Aliens, Predator and Terminator Kenner lines, Hell if it had a crazy cartoon then I probably collected the figures of the toyline. Recently I have started sorting my collections and trying to figure out how to display shit properly and store the rest nicely sorted in bins. I still grab figures here and there and at conventions but these days I am quality over quantity.
Lately I am trying to get a full set of Dreadnoks for GI JOE ha ha and I am hunting a Roboskull for the collection. As a kid growing up I already somehow knew instinctively humanity was shit and people sucked ass so I already despised people at an early age and was a mini hermit, so I grew up in my own sanctuary of Creatures, Monsters and Freaks. They surround and inspire me still.
Are you into video games? If so what kind?
Fuck yeah, ever since my first Gameboy hahaha. But videogames can be a time sink though haha once you get lost in them. I don’t play as much as I would like to and I am in need of an upgrade of the old fridge. I am in all kinds of random stuff really but mostly single player. No real genre I stick to though. But I lean to RPG / open World with RPG elements kinda stuff. Of Course all the classic Nintendo/Sega stuff I grew up with I love but we all know the classics. Love all the Baldur’s Gate games. MINSC and BOO are the best!!! Go for the eyes Boo!!! go for the eyes!!! and of course later Icewind Dale and recently got into Pillars of Eternity which has that same kinda style and vibe with it being a spiritual successor, and now hoping to start on Pillars of Eternity 2 soon. And I am into things like Dead Space, what a great spooky game. I am nuts about the Witcher Series and I sank a lot of time into that one. GTA series of course. Man the first time I played Vice City hahaha been hooked ever since!!! Diablo the whole series. The old Warcraft games, Space Marine, Dawn of War series, Fall Out, and much more. Last game I got sucked into hardcore was Mad Max, man that was a fun fucking bad ass game! And now I am pumped to hopefully soon start State of Decay 2 which is a fucking badass zombie survival simulation where you run a community of survivors with perma death. If a member of the group dies he is toast. I played the shit out of the first State of Decay and now hoping the second one will be as great or greater. Just fun to go out into the world to find food and fuel and kick zombies asses and build out your home base. It’s just good to come home after a workday and just kill shit on screen isn’t it?
If you could be any hero, villain, creature etc who or what would it be and why?
I am a Gnome of Gore does that count as a creature? In the ancient myths the fantastical creatures would have secret portals and doorways to places with an abundance of food and merriment and time would not exist. I would be THE HERMIT. The special ability would be to project a doorway to a small pocket universe which contains a small forest with creatures and a log cabin to dwell in so I would be off the grid, invisible to the world. In the cabin I would have all my shit and where I would just watch my movies, play metal and read my books and comics from the library. And it would look like a giant curiosity shop. With everything that inspires me and be alone with all the forest creatures hahaha. Sit outside at night with firepit roaring and looking at the sky, invisible to the world and free of all the human filth haha. Does that count?
What would you have to say to the fans of today about how they purchase and act towards their music interests? What is the main difference you see in the music industry that has changed since the internet and the young fan base? Do you think a lot of people are just like sheep these days?
It is not my place to tell anybody anything really. I would just say the more you support a band and grab a physical cd or shirt the more the band will be able to make new shit. Almost all of us work full time jobs and do this in our spare time so. Every bit of support helps and is very appreciated.
As far as the industry? There is a reason I do shit on my own these days, I want no part of it. A lot of it is motivated by greed and bands wanting to be famous at any cost no matter who they have to fuck over. Everything being monetized, bands getting nickled and dimed to death, or turned into streaming shit and run by corporate shitheads that laugh at all the small bands. The industry knows there’s a huge demographic that lives on their phone and streams everything and anything of youtube or whatever other platforms just like movies. Just too bad streaming sucks for bands because the big streaming places pay a band an insulting percentage of a cent per play so that is bullshit. At this point I would rather give a kid a free digital copy instead of being on those big streaming platforms that fuck small musicians or jamming ads in peoples faces. Personally if I buy a cd or movie on a physical format then I know it is mine. If my collection is on some server somewhere then you are at the mercy of that streaming service and many will even dictate what is on there like already happens with movies and the whole video games as a service thing. Basically they would love you to pay for shit your entire life instead of having a cd which you own it for life to do with as you please no matter what. Maybe you become a member and its just 10 bucks a month now, then when all cds and physical media is dead and they figure well now its 25 bucks or more a month, take it or leave it. I also do not like a corporate entity deciding for me what is available to listen to or what to watch. But then again I guess some people like not having any clutter or owning shit so for them this streaming life is best as a preference which I can understand I guess. But usually easy shit comes at a cost. I’d say grab a cd and rip it, and hell, usually you get a free download anyways at the same time. But maybe I I I am wrong and things won’t be led by more greed in the future…. Internet can be a blessing and a curse but lately it seems to be getting shittier than being more helpful. I do feel that now with the internet it should be easier than ever to look for cool new bands and find obscure bands. But it seems a lot of people are lazier than ever these days for some reason? Those that just support and like what they are told to like and what is hip at the moment. It seems it isn’t about the actual music anymore but about being able to post a picture on social media with the item everybody else is posting on social media to belong to the group and give each other a pat on the back and get that like fix, yeah we all got the same band that we got told was the in thing to support like some kinda circle-jerk. Fuck that shit.
Metal for me was and is always for the outcast mutant motherfuckers not giving a shit and never conforming to nobody That is what to me the underground means to me. Not giving a flying fuck about anything and going your own way even if everybody tells you not to. Find the shit you love and dig around for the good stuff. But that is just me. I know in the old days I would flip through the big mags at a store and look at reviews and I would buy the cd’s that got shitty reviews because usually those were the real cool and sick sounding cd’s. Then again not everything is bad you always have the other side of kids diving into the deep end looking for obscure old shit or surf the bandcamps for bands that fly under the radar and that are hardcore into supporting the underground stuff and now getting into crate digging and hunting the weird releases and hunting for harder to get cds. But they seem to be less prevalent these days. But the ones I do meet are bad ass motherfuckers usually and interesting to hang with too. Meeting a bunch of them on instagram and having cool interactions with them and showing off collections and exchanging cool bands that don’t get enough attention and shit. That is one of the cool parts of the internet that it is easier to connect to people once you find them. There are always two sides to a coin in the end.
I would also blame the post office bullshit round the world for today’s crappier industry. The real killer for physical media has been the postal rates. Even for small items you pay more than the item you are shipping and that has been killing off a lot of labels, bands, and shit the last few years. Each time I sell anything, the real winner is the post office that makes almost twice as much as I do on a sale. I miss the ability to just send around huge parcels of crap for decent rates. It made trading and hooking people up with cool stuff way easier and more fun. Now I have to have a scale to measure the weight so I don’t go from like 8 bucks to 15 bucks postage because I added one flyer too much. The fun of the old days was trading tons of stuff and hooking up people and sending out big parcels of fun shit. And it was always cool to get stuff in the mail.
But hey I am amusing myself and been going at it for many many years. And since I self release I can do whatever I want and not have to care about anything and anybody out there. So whatever happens, I will be out there putting out my own weird ass shit on my own terms as I have always done. No matter if people give a fuck or not. I know I am enjoying myself and to me that is all what matters isn’t it. And the industry will be what it is. I am no part of it anymore so what do I care. And maybe my shit is harder to find nowadays but isn’t that the underground too. Our stuff isn’t in shops, isn’t available at a local Walmart as a censored edition. You have to make an effort to get your hands on it and show your dedication to the music that lives in the dark and on the fringes doing things on their own terms.
Anyways thanks man for the interview, I tried not to ramble too much. Or sound too grumpy because I am still having a lot of fun doing this shit. And these days starting to have more fun again. Ever since I started running all my own shit and went DIY, total freedom is refreshing and creativity is bubbling to the surface!
Another great interview from Meddlefan, and many thanks to Silvester Goregnome as well. You can check out Fondlecorpse right here. Get on board and give em a shot, you honestly don’t know what you are missing out on if you haven’t!
Find em right here!