Meddlefan recently got the chance to have a chat with Evan Woolley, guitarist from the mighty Scaphism about all things torturous and much more! Scaphism’s “Unutterable Horrors” made The Great Mackintosh’s Top Ten of 2018, and a lot of us are HUGE fans so read on and enjoy!
Thank you for taking time to do this interview. Let’s start off with where are you from? And where is the band based for those that don’t know already!
I’m originally from Pennsylvania but New England has been my home for about 14 years now. The band is based out of Boston and we all live in various suburbs in the surrounding area.
How did you come up with the name Scaphism?
Back in 2007 when I was starting to put together ideas for a death metal project I had no clue what to call it. It seemed like all the good band names were already taken. Somehow I ended up on a Wikipedia page about medieval torture methods and when I read about Scaphism I knew that was it. Plus it hadn’t been claimed yet, so it was an easy choice.
What can you tell us about your latest release Unutterable Horrors?
It’s the culmination of roughly 6 years of hard work, lineup changes, various ups and downs and lots of personal growth. We’re all very proud of the final product and feel that after all this time as a band we finally have a release that reflects our true sound. I think everyone’s playing on it is top notch and the end result reflects a substantial maturing of our songwriting, musicianship and subject matter. I think it’s a very unrelenting listen, which is what we were going for.
How long have you been making music?
I first started playing guitar roughly 20 years ago when I was 12 years old and as soon as I could understand how tabs worked, I started writing down my own ideas. I started my first band with my brother when I was in middle school and I’ve been playing in bands ever since.
What made you want to play Death Metal?
To me it’s the most interesting metal sub-genre from a musical standpoint. I like that everything goes out the window when it comes to traditional approaches to melody and song structure. As long as it somehow fits with that indefinable death metal vibe, pretty much anything goes. And to me, the more atonal the better. The best death metal in my opinion is the kind that abandons melody altogether.
What bands created your love for music?
Originally stuff like Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Captain Beyond and Blue Oyster Cult. That was the stuff that I remember from my early childhood. Records that my parents would listen to. Around 4th or 5th grade is when I started buying cd’s on my own and once I found Metallica that was it. I was obsessed with them for a long time. That also drove my guitar playing as I really wanted to be able to riff like them. Hetfield is a major influence. But after a while I wanted something heavier…and then heavier…so you have that natural progression to Megadeth, then Anthrax, then Slayer, then Cannibal Corpse, Napalm Death, Deicide, Mortician, Morbid Angel, Darkthrone, etc. and I never turned back.
What other projects you have been in?
Right now I’m not involved in any musical projects other than Scaphism. That alone takes up a lot of my free time and has been my main focus for over a decade. I do hope to do a black metal oriented project at some point in the future though. I’ve been sitting on some ideas for years now. Everybody else has their other bands and side projects. Alex plays in Black Mass and does various live and session work. He’s also played in like a million bands. Check metal archives and you’ll see what I mean! Erik plays in two projects, Perpetual Slaughter and Kontra and Eden works as an arranger and composer and is also currently filling in on vocals for another local death metal band, Angel Grinder.
What was your first band you were in?
Treachery was my first real metal band; back in PA. We did one demo called “There will be Blood” in 2001 and an unreleased full-length “So Few Care to Run” in 2003. We were kind of proggy thrash with some extreme metal elements thrown in.
Are you recording new material now? If so when is the projected release date?
We have almost an entire album’s worth of material written at the moment, so we hope to have some new stuff out soon. No hard date yet.
Where is you favorite place to play live?
I really like playing in gross, damp basements where people are packed in like sardines; fucked up and going crazy.
What is your favourite food?
Pulled pork. Put that shit on anything and it makes it better. Eggs, nachos, beans, rice, poutine, more pulled pork…you can’t go wrong. A close second: oysters on the half.
What are your favourite party favours?
I really like those little popper things that shoot confetti out when you pull the string. I think they’re illegal in Massachusetts though…deely bobbers are good…oh, and marijuana.
Where are your favourite places to travel to?
Anywhere I haven’t been before. I love going to new places and experiencing new things.
How do you feel you evolve from album to album?
I think there’s a pretty substantial evolution from our first album to our second. The songwriting got more complex and everyone’s playing improved but also the production was way better and our lyrical content changed. The first album was pretty heavy on gore and sexual violence but with the second album, Tony started writing lyrics that told dark, macabre stories. I expect we will continue in that tradition with Eden.
Do you have a specific way of creating the music or do you just sit down and play?
Usually I come up with the riffs and basic song structure on my own. Once I’m pretty satisfied with it I present it to everyone at the practice space and we start hammering it out. Everyone is free to throw in their ideas and suggestions and it all comes together pretty nicely. We know a song is done when it just feels right to us.
What feeds your desire to play great Death Metal?
On a daily basis I am forced to endure countless hours of pop radio at my day job. By the time I get home and pick up my guitar, all i want to create is the polar opposite of that type of garbage. Nothing seems to pound the Taylor Swift out of my head better than tremolo picking and blast beats.
What do you think about all the new Death Metal and how a lot of it sounds the same?
Well, I think there is a lot of formulaic death metal out there for sure, but there are always bands that come out of the woodwork that bring something new to the table. Several years ago it was all brutal death metal and slam that dominated the underground, but these days everyone seems interested in that cavernous, Incantation type of approach. Dead Congregation was a breath of fresh air when they first came out, but now everyone seems to want to jump on that style. A lot of it is of superb quality, I won’t deny that (Blood Incantation and Tomb Mold both come to mind) but clearly lots of death metal bands are trying to ride that trend. As great as it is, eventually that sound will become tired and something groundbreaking will have to happen to revolutionize the genre again. What that will be though, who knows?
I love collecting physical releases, what is your preference when purchasing or releasing music? Where do you see the most sales? Cd’s vinyl or digital?
I love collecting cd’s and records as well! I only purchase music in hard copy, be that vinyl, cassette or compact disc. I don’t download anything. I don’t even have a computer, or cable. Our material will always be available on hard copy. I think it’s lame to release something in a digital format only. To me it’s like it almost doesn’t really exist if it isn’t in a tangible format. Plus I like the whole experience of listening to a record, holding it, reading the liner notes, looking at the cover art, absorbing everything as a whole piece, rather than looking up a song on spotify and listening to it on a shitty iPhone speaker. Clearly not everyone feels that way though as we sell about the same amount of digital downloads as we do physical copies.
What are you favourite Horror movies/ characters?
I don’t really have a favourite character but my favourite horror movies these days are Phantasm, Day of the Dead, Bloody Moon, The Toolbox Murders, Zombie, The Boogeyman, Axe and Beyond the Darkness. I love pretty much any horror/exploitation from the 70’s and 80’s and am on a constant hunt to collect and watch as much of it as possible.
Do you have any strange hobbies or collect strange items?
I collect spores, moulds and fungus.
So you have a new member, what can we expect from the new addition?
You can expect more thrashy death metal in the old school tradition. Our sound will be a bit different of course having a new vocalist, but we aren’t going to make any drastic changes with our sound. We’ll keep charging ahead, doing what we do. We’re very excited to have Eden in the band. It was difficult to part ways with Tony after 9 years together but he had to move on with his life and at the time we had no idea what we were gonna do. Once she stepped into the picture it felt right and we’re already hard at work rehearsing new material and planning shows.
Thank you for taking the time out to do this interview. I appreciate it .
Thank you for the questions! Keep supporting the underground! Cheers!
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