Soul Remnants serve up their dark and obscure death metal

interview with soul remnants death metal

Soul Remnants from Massachusetts blew me away with their second album ‘Black and Blood’ recently, this is authentic US death metal with some influences that travel really well, especially across the pond. With this is mind, I was eager to hear some thoughts from Tom Preziosi the guitarist of this band. 

Hi Tom, well what can I say, "Black And Blood" is a great release, I was really impressed by it when I first heard it, how do you feel about the finished product?
Hello Paul, I have to say I couldn't be happier with the finished album. We put a lot of work into making exactly how we wanted it. I can't have any regrets after putting an album out, you don't get a second chance to redo the record, so we made sure to get it right.

How long did the recording take? What was the hardest part to record and why?
The actual recording didn't take that long. Drums were done in about two days, rhythm guitars bass and vocals all went pretty well too. The hardest part of the whole thing was the prep work. We write all out songs out in practice, and really scrutinize every last beat. Getting all of our tempos and finalizing any variables in the music can actually be kind of grueling, but if you don't put in the time, you're going to be screwed when the tape is rolling and you're spitting out take after take of garbage.

Beside the serious part of recording there should be laughter too. What was the funniest?
I don't even know, we are all good friends so there's plenty of booze flowing and it is an all around good time. Even our producer Pete Rutcho is a friend so it's more like we are just hanging out and making a record at the same time. I don't have any great story about something funny that happened in particular though.

Did you take songs into the studio with you or did you write as you were recording?
99% of the album was completely done and demoed out before we entered the studio. There's plenty of nuance stuff that comes into play when we finalized everything on the recording but we had a clear vision of what we wanted well before we started.

The production of "Black And Blood" is very strong and all the levels are in your face. Did the band or the producer have an influence here?
Yes, going into the album I specifically told Pete that I wanted it to have that wall of sound effect. I am a huge Hypocrisy and Strapping Young Lad fan, among many others with this sound, but two albums that I really wanted to kind of emulate in that regard were Hypocrisy's “A Taste of Extreme Divinity” and Strapping Young Lad's “SYL.” Definitely not looking to rip them off, but I love the power those records have in their production, and it's awesome that you picked that up!

Is there a main songwriter or a duo etc for the music and lyrics? What are the inspirations you dig from?
When it comes to Black and Blood, I wrote all of the music except for the song “Incinerator” which our drummer, Colin Conway, wrote most of the riffs to, and I wrote the middle bridge section. Lyrically, our vocalist Mitch Fletcher wrote the majority of the lyrics, and I wrote some as well. We are working on our third full length already and what's very cool about this new one is that I am not the sole writer anymore. I still wrote a bulk of the material, but everyone is contributing more to the writing process and the songs are coming out insane. It's making a more dynamic album, which is how Soul Remnants always is going to be, we can't write the same album twice. For inspirations, honestly there are too many to list. The brief version would be, all the old school original black metal bands from like 1987 to 1992, classic Floridian death metal, a fair dose of the Gothenburg sound before it became redundant, and pretty much anything else that is just top level metal of any genre.

Do you embrace modern technology for writing? Do you think with better online communication, it helps out bands a lot more with passing ideas back and forth rather than waiting for band practice etc? (Sorry – I am not sure of you all live in the same area!)
Yes, we do. We all live pretty close and have a central location where we get together to practice regularly, but we also have home recording setups as well. When one of us has an idea for a new song, we don't have to wait until practice to share them. So it's great for that, and that way we can be more productive at practice and all be on the same page with our ideas.

Who did the artwork for the album? What is the concept behind it and is the coloring referring to the title?
Our vocalist Mitch Fletcher does all of our artwork. He made the images, and designed the layout for both of our full length cd's, and other merch. The concept of the cover refers to the song “Cauldron of Blood” which is depicted. It also fits with the dark and obscure theme of the music and lyrics. It is meant to get you ready to experience the mood of the album, and yes the colors are a reference to the title. It is almost a concept album, but it doesn't have a singular underlying story.

You had a new guitarist for "Black And Blood", how was Chad Fisher introduced to Soul Remnants, was it through the connection with Armory?
Chad and I have been good friends since we were in high school, and we have been playing music together since a month after we met. We used to play in a war metal band when we were about 14 years old and that lasted up until he formed Armory, at which point I formed Soul Remnants (around 2002). I was also in Armory, so we never lost touch musically. So fast forward to a few years ago, I actually was a room mate of Chad's and I had a Soul Remnants gig coming up that our bass player wasn't going to be able to make. As a favor Chad learned all the songs to fill in on bass on very short notice, so he was going to just do that one show. A couple days before the gig, our bass player says he can actually do the gig, so I say to Chad, “why don't you just play guitar instead.” He agreed and learned the guitar tracks, and stuck around ever since.

What are the band’s musical influences that relate to the Soul Remnants sound, for me I found everything from Death, Nile, Suffocation and Cannibal Corpse. There are also a few darker influences usually associated in Scandinavian black metal; would that be a good account, or do you have something completely different to say!?
You know what, you are exactly correct! I also like some classic stuff like Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy and Led Zeppelin which maybe just gets to me from a songwriting perspective. Of course, we are also big time thrashers, so I have to add the usual Megadeth, Slayer, Sodom, Celtic Frost, Metallica, etc. and also NWOBHM stuff.

I found "Black And Blood" refreshing, simply because of recent times in Europe, all bands are recording the old school Swedish sound rather than what I term the US sound which is often a lot more technical. How do you approach integrating clearly a varied range of influences into the Soul Remnants sound?
The most important thing is to not think too much about it. We try and make stuff that we want to listen to and make it as best as we can. When I sit down and write a new riff or idea, two things are always important to me. First off, you can't fall in love with an idea just because it sounded cool once. You have to let it sit for a while and make sure you really like it. I think some bands just write something and it automatically becomes part of a song, even if it doesn't fit. You have to trim the fat! Secondly, there's no need to be technical all of the time. I am very conscious of not overdoing stuff just to be flashy or fast. Don't get me wrong, I love plenty of insane over the top music, but it has to be tasteful. We can't be anybody other than who we are, and if we try to sound like someone else, it's never going to be as good as the original so there's no point in that. I like variety in music, this record is for people who like an album where each track stands out.

What is the death metal scene like in Massachusetts? A few years back there was a small US scene developing, I am curious about the Northern States currently?
The death metal scene in Massachusetts is strong right now. I feel like a lot of the local bands are really stepping up their game and weeding out a lot of the garbage that was there before. The people that go to shows have higher expectations now than ever before because these bands are going out there with all pro gear and sick chops. There's still a lot of lame bands in any scene, but there's a lot of good to be found at local shows. Check out Forced Asphyxiaiton, Abnormality, Scaphism, Coffin Birth, Wereguild, Untombed, Sexcrement, Boarcorpse, Nocuous, Parasitic Extirpation, Composted, Living Void, and of course Revocation for just a few awesome Massachusetts bands.

Do you have any plans to come to Europe to play some shows? And what can we expect when attending?
We would love to come to Europe and play and have received plenty of requests from our fans, but at the moment, we don't have any plans to make it over there. Someone would need to fund it, basically, and right now we don't exactly have anyone looking to fly us over. We aren't ruling it out completely, but I think unless we got a major label backing us we are going to be stuck in North America. Sometimes a band will get flown out by a festival promoter for a one off gig, and that's going to be the only way we make it out. On the plus side, we have already booked studio time for our next album to get underway, so who knows what the future holds. I feel like we will make it over there someday. In the meantime, any European fans, feel free to come see a Soul Remnants show in America, we will buy you a beer. (laughs)

Apart from other musical projects that you might be involved with, do you have any hobbies or interests outside of music?
I am also into painting and drawing, which was my main passion until music took over my life. I spend a lot of time with my family, I have a one year old son, and that takes up a lot of my time when I'm not working on music or going to my “pay the bills” job.

Finally, in your words, what can death metal fans expect from Soul Remnants and "Black And Blood"?
A mind bending, soul crushing, face melting, heart freezing death trip.

Thank you so much for your time. Best of luck with the release, I wish I had heard it earlier than I did as I would have included it in my top ten albums of 2013 for sure!
Cheers! You are welcome, thanks for your interest in the band. Anyone reading this can go to our new website to stay up to date on what's going on. You can also buy both of our cd's and shirts there!
Interviewer: twansibon
Jan 13, 2014

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