The mind creates

Six Feet Under

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us man, how are things in your world?

Oh, things are going good over here, how are you doing?

I’m doing quite well *laughs*

Where in Holland are you?

I’m near Helmond.

Okay, cool man. Right on!

Yeah, the “hell mouth”, the most metal sounding part of Holland, right? *laughs*

Right man, all parts of Holland are cool with me. I love it there.

Because we have legalized weed as well, right?

Yeah, but not only that man. It always seems like an oasis to me, when I’m around in Europe. It feels like home. Not only because of that. Listen, you guys have legalized weed because you’re open minded and caring people, and that makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I’m in a very warm place, you know? People say that, and it’s like, think about why weed is legal. Because these are compassionate people that know about things, that think logically about the world.

That’s a nice way of thinking about it, absolutely. I think that if you look at the US, it’s what might happen over here if you put it in a pressure cooker and look a few years ahead.

*laughs* Yeah, yeah. Exactly man. And that’s how I’ve seen Europe change over the past 26 years I’ve been touring over there. I’ve seen it from a multi cultural place, going from all these different countries that had their own culture and ways of doing things, to becoming something that’s very homogenized and very much following the global or US view perhaps of doing things, and it’s made me sad, man. It made me kinda feel like some of the traditions of certain places are going away. And I’ve seen that in the States as well, on a different level, in different parts of this country where everything has become homogenized.

It’s the way of the world. We are living in the united states of Europe and we have the United States of America as an early warning system.

*laughs* Yeah, you’re exactly right!

* At this point the line becomes quite bad.

You still there?

Yeah, you kind of broke up there on me.

Yeah, the line is a bit bad.

I guess they didn’t like us talking about the global community man *laughs*

*laughs* oh my god, the NSA.

The globalists tried cutting us off man! *laughs*

That might be it. Let’s stick to band issues from here on out then *laughs*

Let’s! Let’s play it safe *laughs*

Well, you have a brutal new album out, you have a brand new, yet familiar guitar player, and there’s a lot of news for Six Feet Under at the moment man!

Oh yeah. We’re kinda getting some things done, and we’re taking note of it, so yeah. It’s an exciting time for us. We are real happy with the album, and the fans are taking notice. The people that like to criticize us so much, you know, they’re still criticizing us, but it’s not holding any value. And when something holds no value and people still promote that, it makes them look stupid, because they’re not in tune with the actual community that they represent. I feel as though success is when the fans embrace something, that’s all that matters. Then people turn their head and they have to admit defeat. Not with any words but with their actions. And that’s fine with me.

So how is it to have joined forces with Jack Owen again?

Ow man, it’s awesome. I mean, we just released that news today, but it’s excellent. Obviously I’ve done a lot of great work with Jack. He’s excited, and I’m excited, and so are Jeff, Ray and Marco, so I think a lot of cool things will come out of it.

Yeah I bet! Will this be a tour only thing, or are you planning on doing recordings with him in the future as well?

Yeah, he will definitely be touring with us for the whole cycle of this album and then I think we will start writing. Well, we are already writing a bit. We’ve been talking about joining up for a while, so yeah, I think that will happen on the next album.

That’s very exciting news! I think fans of the old Cannibal Corpse will be thrilled with this as well, to see you playing together again!

Yeah, it’s really been cool. Where it comes to the breakup, Jack I had no hard feelings with. He’s just such a solid person. He’s never been about anything other than who he is, and he’s always been a good guy. It will be exciting to be back with him.

Yeah, I can believe that. Would you say that this is as close as you will get to a Cannibal Corpse reunion?

Yeah, I don’t think that will happen, you know? *laughs* I don’t think there will be a reunion, but this is the next best thing I think.

Exactly. And it will bring a bit of the fun of those days into this band.

For sure man, and we will be adding a lot of old stuff to the setlist, so everyone can check out some of that stuff too.

That’s nice. I’ll definitely need to come by to check that out.

For sure!

When I was preparing this interview, I asked our Metal On Loud community what they would ask you, and the question came up a lot whether you would consider touring with Cannibal Corpse ever again, or even joining forces with them again.

I would, I mean, but I don’t think that’s something they would want to do.

Probably not, yeah. But it’s still something that many fans are hoping for I learned.

Totally, I recognize that. And I would never hold back from that. It would be exciting for me, but I don’t think it would be something that they want to do, just out of respect for their current members. But I always kinda keep my options open, so I am always ready for anything.

That’s the best way to do it.

*laughs* Yup.

When we look at your latest album, it really hits you like a sledgehammer. It’s been pounding on my speakers for the last few days, and it’s brutal! What can you tell us about the new record?

Well, I’m very proud of it. I think it’s our best record to date. It’s interesting, it has a lot of the same elements that we’ve employed in our albums before but it’s just hyperfocused. I feel it’s an exciting album, I think the fans are enjoying it.

I think so as well, in fact, I know for sure! The drums on this album, they’re absolutely insane. Your drummer did an awesome job there!

Yeah man, Marco is just great. He knows his drums like no other, and he is just very in tune with what he does. I’m very proud of the work that he did on this one.

It’s all natural drums, right? There are no electronic beats there?

No, it’s all natural, and he did all the songs, each of them in one take, yeah.

That’s almost unbelievable if you hear the speed and the diversity.

Yeah, yeah. If you look at the playthrough videos, I know people are kind of like questioning it, *laughs* but if you watch him do the playthrough videos it’s pretty obvious the guy has a sense of meter like no one else does. And it’s super human, so that’s why people question it, but the reality of it is that he’s that good. He’s probably better than what we all think he is, which is kind of scary.

That is scary *laughs*

Yeah, yeah. *laughs* And he doesn’t really know what he’s doing man. He knows what he’s doing, but he doesn’t know he’s breaking the sound barrier of drumming man, I mean the guy’s like Chuck Yeager of the drumset.

It promises a lot of goodness for the future.

Yeah, for sure man, for sure.

What were your goals when you were creating this album, and do you feel like you’ve accomplished those goals?

Oh yeah, I know we’ve accomplished them. Our main goal was just writing stuff that we like, as usual. Just stuff that we like to hear ourselves and we think is cool sounding. And whether someone else thinks it’s cool sounding, or whether a lot of people think it’s cool sounding, that’s not up to us, you know? So that’s why I can’t be too hard on people if they don’t like it. It’s like, okay, but I’m sure I don’t like anything you like either, so… *laughs* I don’t know who you are, but I know that I like what I do, so nothing can take that away from me. I know that the goals that I accomplished are goals that I set for myself on this one. Nothing can change that. I may not have accomplished the goals that Joe Shmoe from Kalamazoo thought that I should accomplish, but those aren’t goals based in my reality. Those are goals based in someone's reality I don’t even know exists, you know? I don’t even know if it’s a real person. I don’t even know if that’s some subform of quantum reality. I don’t know what it is, but all I do know is what I experience myself in this physical form, and those goals have been accomplished. I’m proud of every album I do, but this one, because it’s so new and it’s different, and me and Jeff we had a cool journey on this, it’s been a lot of fun. And it’s fun to see people reacting to it well.

Yeah, I bet! And all the goals that were not met are for your fictional self.

*laughs* That’s right man, that’s right. That’s it.

Where it comes to writing a Six Feet Under song, what are the most important ingredients for you?

Well, I don’t put any barriers on it. I think that people know I’m pretty wide open where we take the band, you know? On each album there are certain ins and outs that you might not expect. I like surprises myself. That’s what keeps me interested in what I’m doing. I think a lot of people don’t understand that, they want things to be the same all the time, but nothing’s the same, you know? That’s just the way it is for me, man.

Yeah, you need to shake things up every now and then.

Yeah, I like that. I like it.

It’s nice to hear how mellow you are. I always think that the bands that play the most aggressive music, are the most mellow people to talk to!

Yeah man, I mean the thing is that  I get aggressive about things too, especially when I get frustrated about stuff. It’s still something I’m learning about, and I can kind of step back and try to understand my reactions emotionally to things, and these are natural things. We all react that way. Just to not get carried away with stuff sometimes, and that’s hard to do in this day and age, when there’s so many things pulling at your psyche from all different levels, and all different sides. It’s balance, it’s a good thing. You’ve got to have balance, and duality is what life and existence is all about, so we must embrace that.

It’s very important in times when there are so many forces trying to piss us off.

It’s true man, but what we can use that to kind of energize ourselves in some way, because it is energy.

Definitely, yeah. You are mostly known for your highly graphic and violent lyrics. Which deep ends of human depravity do you let us visit on this album?

Yeah, I think that my lyrics are always graphic at their face value, and sure, people get it like that. My lyrics kind of deal with that, but it depends on your angle, and what you’re looking for. It’s just like a horror film, it’s symbolic for the duality of man. You can be pointed in whatever direction you want to be pointed in, depending on how you interpret certain art. If you look at things one way, then you interpret it one way. If you kind of look at thing in a three dimensional world, or four dimensional or whatever, you can maybe see some other things that are involved there.

Yeah, I get what you’re saying. For me, your song titles even make me grin, even on this latest album. Exploratory Homicide, it already paints a picture!

*laughs*, Yeah, right man! I love that title. It kind of spoke to me. I’ve had that idea for a bit. I try to be a little bit sideways about things, you know? It makes you kind of think hmm, what’s that *laughs*, you know?

*laughs* Yeah. Another one that stood out to me was The Separation of Flesh From Bone. I think in pictures *laughs*

Yeah man. It’s tough to get an idea like a storyline, that would maybe be a whole story of a movie condensed into four minutes or less, so it’s fun to try and do that, for sure.

Did you ever have ambitions to do something larger, like for instance, write a script for a movie?

I have a few treatments that I’ve written that I have stowed away for a rainy day. I do have ideas for stories, sure man. It’s just the idea of sitting down and writing a book, that’s going to take months or a year to write, and that just baffles me *laughs* I don’t know if I want to sit down and do that! I’ve got other things going on *laughs*

Well, you can always talk into a recorder and let some Indian type it out *laughs*

You know what man? I thought about it, because you can just use it on your phone and just talk to it and stuff, but everytime I try to talk a story to myself, I just… I just have to sit there and physically write it or type it, to be able to access that part of my brain.

Writing, it’s a very different type of creative process.

It is man, it is. It’s still the same like, within you, but it may not be within you. Your mind exists outside of you as well, so it maybe outside of you where this is going on. But for me right now to dedicate time, it’s kind of difficult. I’m sure I’ll write something eventually, when I’ve got some money to sit on so I don’t have to do anything else *laughs*

*laughs* I hear you. You do draw a lot of inspiration from the Horror scene. What does Horror mean to you, and how important is it to you?

I think it’s more about duality to me really, than Horror. The fact of physicality of horror creates emotion of sorts and invokes a certain energy, and that’s interesting to me. But Horror itself, as far as real life Horror, like someone killing a family or driving a car into a group of people, I find it pugnant and I don’t find any redeeming value in it. I don’t value any of the people that commit those acts. I renounce those people, in fact. What I write about is based in symbolism. I feel as though the only way to get people to think about certain things within their own minds, is to slap them in the face with certain things that they are too afraid to think about.

I think that the use of Horror, it accesses fear, and fear is one of our most primal emotions, and it just hits you that much harder.

Yeah, I agree with that man. Totally. It hits you hard and it makes you feel. It makes you think about the different levels of realities of situations, especially when they affect you first hand. Those are eye opening moments that make you realize certain truths about your existence. Whether or not these feelings fade, depends on who you are and how you approach your reality. The simple fact remains that they don’t go away, you have to see the way things are accepted, whether you like it or not.

Deep stuff man!

*laughs*

Where it comes to your music, you’ve done four cover albums so far, with Six Feet Under, Graveyard Classics, paying tribute to many of the bands that influenced you. How important were those bands to you?

They were all great bands. Bands I saw live, I bought their records, bought cassettes, I was a fan of ninety percent of the bands that we’ve covered. They were all very important, because I never really wanted to be in a band, until we started goofing around, and I thought it was even more fun than listening to music. It was important because I paid attention to a lot of different facets of the music industry. It was like schooling to me, I was learning so much from all of those bands in the early days. It’s just a part of who I am, I guess.

It proofs there are many more sides to you than show on your records I think.

I hope so. I think that many people that have an idea about me don’t think so. *laughs*

*laughs* Well, opinions are like assholes, right?

*laughs* That’s right. Everyone can’t love you, so it’s okay with me man. I know that the people who are important understand, and the fans you know, so that’s a good thing. It’s gotten me to feel great about what I do, so I don’t think they can bring me down, as far as that’s concerned.

Yeah. Do you still have heroes left, are you still up for a fifth cover album?

Well, I don’t know. It’s a strange time in the music business, as you know, as we all know. Just doing one more album of anything depends on a lot, so I think that we will see what happens, you know? We kind of have to take it day by day now.

Where it comes to the younger generations of Death Metal bands, the ones that perhaps see you as their heroes, do you keep an eye on that scene?

On the new types of bands and stuff?

Yeah, the new types of bands.

I do, I do. I am not like someone who follows bands and buys albums and all sorts of stuff like that, but I stay fairly well informed and aware of what’s going on out there. I can assess things, and I can see who the stars are, and who think they are *laughs*.

*laughs* yeah, that’s also important to know.

*laughs* I won’t mention any names, Randy, but you know… There’s a lot of that going on out there. I’d like to say that he fans know what’s up, but there are certain bands out there, that I can’t believe that that they have such… *laughs* I’m sure there’s people that say that about us, but there’s some real fake phoney bullshit going on out there, that a lot of people think is Death Metal, but it’s not. You know, it’s the way things are now. I just look at things and kind of smile, like okay, well…

*laughs* Are there any bands out there that you would say are worth listening to? New bands?

Bands that I would listen to? Yeah man! There’s bands I like. I like this band Windhand a lot, and I like this Black Metal band from Seattle a lot called Inquisition, there’s a lot of bands man! Just a bunch of cool stuff. It’s like, you can pick through it, and you can see what’s real, and what’s just like offspring type of stylistic type stuff. And I don’t like that. There’s a lot of people that like that kind of stuff in America, because there are a lot of stylistic people, but that’s okay.

The iPhone people *laughs*

Yeah man. That’s cool, that’s cool.

It’s always nice to get good tips from real people, I think.

Right *laughs*

When I asked my community for questions, one of our members who calls himself Dark Morok, he asks what your views on life are, and what your life philosophy is.

Ow, okay, wow, that’s a deep question. Well, my life philosophy is, live each day to the fullest. And it’s a silly thing, and people hear it a lot, but the truth is, you have to, because that’s all that exists. The moment you are in right now. Do whatever you can to accomplish whatever you want to accomplish, because, this goes into my philosophy of life, the mind creates. That’s a scientific fact. That’s the only thing that exists. The only thing that exists is your mind’s energy.

That’s deep, and very beautiful. Good answer!

*laughs* Thanks man.

Another question from a fan, something that multiple fans ask for their own regions, I have an Ozan Tuncer here. He says you are his idol, but you never play Turkey. He wants to know if you would consider playing there again.

Oh yeah. There’s a lot of places, and it’s hard for fans to understand, but it’s just a matter of the business of it all. A band like us, we are not a huge band. We are kind of caught in between. We don’t have a huge management company or giant booking agencies working for us. And we’re not selling millions of records. It’s different for everybody, and for this band solid offers from reputable booking agents are just a security type of thing, and we haven’t been able to get to certain places like Turkey or Greece even, and feel like we’ll be able to perform the show after not being able to come to a place for so long, at the level we want to. It’s kind of like, do you go somewhere and risk things going wrong and not being able to play a full set of the songs that people want to hear, because things aren’t arranged properly, and fall apart halfway through a set, or not happen at all? Or do you wait until things can be done the right way, and you can bring your music to people that have wanted to hear it for a while and have them satisfied to the fullest? I’m the type of guy that doesn’t like to do anything halfway. It’s either do it right, or don’t do it at all. That’s kind of how I’ve always done things. When we can come there and do things the way the fans deserve them to be done, then they will see Six Feet Under there, with our best performance.

Once again a very good answer. I think it’s very hard these days in the music industry, to be a touring band.

It is man, I don’t like to compromise. I think that people that know me, know that I don’t like to compromise too much *laughs*. It’s hurt me, and it’s helped me. One thing it’s done, it’s made me feel like I’ve stood by my philosophy about what I believe is what this is, what music is. It’s mythical to me, and I don’t want to make it something that’s common.

Yeah, I get that. If you had carte blanche, where in the world would you go on tour?

If I wanted to go somewhere on tour?

Yeah. If they said, we have a plane for you, hop in, where do you want to go?

Antarctica.

Antarctica? Cool.

Yeah. I want to go basically 5,000 miles inland, to the continent of Antarctica, or what they say the continent of Antarctica is, and I want to play a show there.

That’s very cool. Have you ever seen the footage of Metallica playing there?

No, I never saw that, but I don’t if they were actually there *laughs*

They were, there’s a video, you should check it out. They had to play in a tent, and all the audience had headphones on. It’s very cool.

*laughs* Right on!

Speaking of touring, what are the tour plans? Where will we be able to see you in the next few months?

Well, we’ve got some things being set up right now, so I’m hoping we’re going to be able to come over there for some summer festivals, maybe two weeks of touring in between for some club dates in August sometimes, but I know we will be back over in December. Like I said, hopefully the album is going to be selling really good here for the next month and there will be a lot of booking agents that will want to pick us up, and get us on some extended tour dates for everybody.

Yeah. Do you hear that, readers? Pick up the album and we’ll see them live! *laughs*

*laughs* Right on, that’s how it works! Yeah!

Absolutely. That leaves me to my final question, and that’s do you have any last words for our readers?

Well, I just like to thank everybody that’s enjoying what we’ve done in the past, and everyone that’s enjoying the new album. Thank you for picking it up, if you haven’t already, please do. Torment is one of our best albums, so I think all our fans will enjoy it.

I think so as well. Thank you very much for talking to us, and I hope to catch you on tour this year!

For sure man, We will see you over there.

Randy Gerritse