Exhumed Frontman Matt Harvey Talks Tour With Napalm Death, New Extreme Metal + More
The 2012 Summer Slaughter Tour may have just ended, but the memories of the all-day assault of metal’s heaviest bands lives on! During the New York City date of the tour, we managed to sneak in an interview with Exhumed frontman Matt Harvey.
During our chat with Matt Harvey, the gore-grind pioneer talked with us about Summer Slaughter, Exhumed’s upcoming tour with Napalm Death, along with the immense respect Harvey has for the British grinders, his views on modern extreme metal + much more.
Check out our exclusive interview with Exhumed frontman Matt Harvey!
You guys have such a wealth of material…
I don’t know if there’s a wealth but there’s a lot of it. [Laughs]
[Laughs] Well in a tour like this you don’t get to play a normal headlining set. With only a 25-minute performance time, how do you go through the process of selecting a set list?
Well, our original plan when we took this tour was we were just going to exclusively play songs from the new album. However, right before this tour, we changed guitar players and we had two days to rehearse with a full band. We also had some other complications that didn’t give us as much rehearsal time, including a death in the family of one of the guys, so we didn’t really have time to put together the set we wanted to put together. So, we kind of just went with the songs that our new guitar player / old bass player knew off the bat, a couple of new ones and go from there. So it’s really just a matter of necessity for this tour. Like I said, if we had time to do what normal bands do or whatever, we would probably have new songs on some of the set.
Are you guys going to be heading out on your own tour so you can play more of that new stuff?
One of the first things we did — we did two headlining tours right when the record came out and then we did a bunch of stuff in Europe. Now we’re just focusing on doing support stuff and also were going to be recording a new album in the next couple of months. So that’s where the real work is. The next thing were doing after this is, it hasn’t been officially announced but people are already hitting me up about getting on the list for various shows, so obviously people seem to know about it. We’re doing a tour with Municipal Waste and Napalm Death.
Holy s–t, In America?
Yeah, America and Canada. So, the set list seems to be pretty extensive from the tentative route that I’ve seen. It’s going to be awesome and there’s going to be some special guests getting confirmed as far as regional bands. It’s going to be great; it’s two of my favorite bands. Napalm’s my favorite all-time grind, death, whatever you want to call it band. We really weren’t going to do anymore touring, we were going to try to record in November rather than in October, but it was the perfect tour for us so we had to do it.
What do you think of Napalm Death’s new album, ‘Utilitarian’?
Oh it’s rad. With Napalm, there’s a couple clunkers in the ’90s, but aside from that I think their whole catalog is rock-solid. They are one of the few bands that kind of recovered from that mid-’90s slump that so many metal bands went through. I think they [Napalm Death] weren’t trying to make industrial records or something. It was so different that when they were able to come back to doing what they do best, they still hadn’t lost sight of it. Those dudes are cool, man, and they shaped our band more than anybody. I mean I learned about most of my favorite bands because of Napalm. It goes from Napalm, to Carcass, Terrorizer, Godflesh, and not only that, but they were always talking about Repulsion and Master, Death Strike, Massacre, Siege and etc, etc.
I love that new record. It’s cool, they experimented a little with it. To me, it’s brilliant.
I think they succeeded at what they were trying to do with records like ‘Fear, Emptiness, Despair,’ which is sort of an over-reach. This is still a Napalm record, but it has this weird, sort of, late ’80s British-type of influence whether it’s shoegaze, Head of David type stuff and then integrating the grind; it’s done really well, it’s a great record.
Since you’re playing so early in the afternoon on this tour, how do you tend to spend your nights?
F—ing wasted, man. [Laughs]
[Laughs] It gives you more time to drink.
Which is usually a good thing. I mean, sometimes it gets a little carried away, but it’s definitely a trip being done with your day at 5pm. It’s got it’s ups and downs; it’s nice to have the evening to yourself. We can’t do it in New York City, but usually in venues with a big parking lot, we and Goatwhore both have tents, so we set up a couple of tents, get a couple of of coolers, we’ve got a heavy duty radio, hook up the iPod and we sit around and listen to Celtic Frost and get wasted.
Job for a Cowboy are also on Summer Slaughter and they covered your song ‘Matter of Splatter.’ What do you think about that cover?
I think it was a trip. I think it was just right before we started talking about getting back together. That’s one of the things that kept me knowing the fact that people still liked our band. I kind of assumed that people would have forgotten about us. It was really flattering hearing them doing it. Obviously, they are a band with a good stature, like a modern band, so the fact that they acknowledge us as an influence is really cool, it’s really flattering. We’re going to get Jonny [Davy] to come up and sing it with us one of these days but he’s like, “Ah, there’s too many f—ing lyrics to remember in that song,’ and I was like, “Yeah I know, why do you think I want you to sing it?” [Laughs] So hopefully, before the end of this tour we’ll make that happen.
What do you think of deathcore in general?
I haven’t really listened to much of it to form an opinion. I don’t really like breakdowns. And it’s not a diss or what’s ‘true’ or ‘false’ or whatever. Even death metal has been around since the mid-to-late ’80s and if the genre hadn’t evolved from ’86 to 2012, it wouldn’t exist anymore. It would be like ‘No Wave’ where it’s like four years of records and that’s it. I don’t begrudge anybody for taking whatever direction they wish; it’s just not for me. I’m old. I’m stuck in my ways. I’m stuck in the ’80s, as far as metal goes anyway, and I’m happier there. I think if we were to try and do a breakdown riff or whatever it’d be just so contrived and so fake. Let them be them and that’s great. I don’t want to sound like every other f—ing band and I don’t want every other band to sound like me either. It’s boring, you know?
What do you think of the current state of very, very extreme metal? Who are doing interesting things in your opinion?
Ah, man, I suck at this question really bad. I used to be really good at it when I worked and labels and stuff, but all I hear are my friend’s bands and they f—ing rule. I mean I think Rotten Sound is great, I think Phobia’s great, Magrudergrind’s great. I just saw Triac a couple of days ago; they’re f—ing amazing. I like Chris [Moore] from Magrudergrind’s other band, Cokebust; they’re not really metal, it’s more like super-fast hardcore To me, I’ve always considered the line to be blurry. We were always playing with powerviolence bands back in the day. Like I said, I don’t really keep track of new stuff I just listen to my friend’s bands. There’s a lot of great records still coming out. though.