A few years ago, a new ‘wave’ of bands blending Death Metal with Hardcore started coming out. However, this new crop had fuck-all in common with the skinny jeans and mascara deathcore bands before. Bands like Nails, Xibalba, Black Breath took the HM-2 sound of old Swedish Death Metal and fused it with their roots in the Hardcore scene to create a completely fresh, and musically authentic sound that pleased metalheads and hardcore kids alike. This was stuff you could circle pit, headbang, and mosh to. Enter Skinfather from California, a band that takes its name from a Dismember song and plays some crushing death metal while being relevant in their local hardcore circuit as well. I heard their Atheos demo last year and was instantly hooked – I was listening to them in my car and in university every day. They got signed to Life and Death Records (who put out the new Goldust record) and further cemented their place in my playlist with an EP “Succession/Possession” that further developed their unique take on old school death metal. Imagine my elation when they agreed to answer my interview questions!
– Hello, and thanks for the interview! Which member of the band am I speaking to and what role do you play in Skinfather?
My name is Scott and I play guitar.
– Not much is known about the band’s initial history. How did you guys come to form, and what was the initial purpose?
The band was formed by our drummer and our first singer who wanted to create a band which paid homage to classic Swedish death metal. I actually joined the band after the release of Atheos, and since then Skinfather has continued its growth into our current form.
– Skinfather plays a curious mix of styles. Though the name stems from a Dismember song and the music armed with a classic Swedish style production, the band’s roots come off as being in the hardcore scene. Even now you share stages with bands like Nails, Alpha/Omega, Soul Search, Xibalba and the like. How does that affect the music you create?
We all grew up going to hardcore shows and playing in hardcore bands, and I’ve been booking and working shows for some time, so that’s how we all know each other. It’s just a part of who we are. Musically we are a death metal band, but I think that coming from a hardcore/punk background gives us a certain sound. Playing live is the most important thing for a hardcore band, and that brings a certain energy and a level of intensity to the music which I think you can hear in Skinfather, even if we’re not a traditional hardcore band.
– 2013 heralded a bit of a change in your sound from the Atheos release. The coming of your 2nd EP “Succession/Possession” on Life and Death Records brought with it a musical evolution, with the Old School Death Metal side becoming more apparent. The logo and artwork also came off as being more ‘Metal.’ To top it off, an Unleashed cover was thrown into the mix as well. Was this a deliberate, conscious change or did it come naturally?
Both. It was the only logical direction for the band to take, really. Me joining the band definitely had a big impact on the songwriting, and I think that the 7” is much more in tune with Skinfather’s original intentions as a band. That old school death metal element was there on Atheos but it just needed to be fleshed out and brought to the forefront. We were very pleased with how the record turned out.
– Tell us a bit about your relationship with fellow local Hardcore/Thrash band “Creatures.” I believe the two of you shared some members in the past and continue to do so; often performing in the same gigs.
We have a very close relationship with Creatures, we played our first shows with them and they’re close friends of ours. As for shared members, our drummer Taylor started Creatures, and Stephen (vocalist of Creatures) recently took over vocals for Skinfather and he has been crushing it. Sadly they’re no longer a band but you haven’t heard the last from those guys…
– You guys recorded both your EP’s at “The Pit” – Taylor Young’s studio. I’ve always been a fan of his production work and his ability to take a band to the brink of ultimate heaviness. How was the experience of recording with him on either occasion?
I love working with Taylor and couldn’t imagine working with anyone else. He’s a hardcore kid and a metalhead who likes and understands the music on a deep level. He really knows his shit when it comes to dialing in the right sounds for a record and can bring out a band at their best. He also won’t hesitate to tell you if something you’re doing sucks, and I appreciate that level of honesty.
– Considering that the new EP has been released on a German label, what are the chances of you guys taking your hate-drenched riffs outside North America into Europe soon?
I hope so! After we release our new record there will be more touring, and hopefully we make it to Europe sooner than later.
– So, two releases and two appearances on compilation albums, one of which spawned a cover of Dismember’s Casket Garden. But what’s next? Another 7″? A split, perhaps? What about a full length?
We will have a full length record out first half of next year.
– Favorite releases from 2013?
Nails, Inquisition, Grave Miasma, Magic Circle, Carcass, Tribulation, Hatred Surge, Impalers, Power Trip, Warmaster, Portal and Acualli.
– Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Any parting words?
Thanks for the interview. Listen to Disgrace.
– Hassan Dozakhi