February 2005 - SHITFIRE
Formed in the deep woods of Arkansas, SHITFIRE are another interesting heavy doom band who came up with a diverse musical concept. Instead of just being a lame Vitus or candlemass copy, this four-piece had integrated different influences to their sound and the debut "It Runs Deep" reminds the listener to bands like Rwake or Bongzilla f.e. Here are the usual heavy massive riffs, but the song-structures are full of suprising changes and progressions, and if SHITFIRE continue what they had started with the debut, the next album will be something real promising. So I talked with Alan about what's going on in the future and the short history of SHITFIRE.
Hello, can you introduce us to the band and tell us how you all got together?
Well we all kind of got together at Jay's old run down house in the ghetto called Olive St. Bands have been practicing and playing shows there for a long time. There has been some killer shows at that house. Soilent Green has even played there. He had no heat, no running water, and the roof was falling in but it was near a train yard so no one complained and the police hardly came. We just started jamming and didn't stop.... Jay on vocals/guitar, Berry (Roddy Blackmore) on guitar, Mike on drums and Alan on bass.
Do you all get along socially or is it just like you practice and then go your seperate ways?
We're all good friends and have known each other forever. When we get together to drink, eat, or jam it's always a fucking throwdown.
Were you in any bands before SHITFIRE?
We all have been in several bands in this town for years. To mention them all would take forever. It's kind of like band inbreeding down here.
Some days ago you've sent me a copy of your album "It Runs Deep" and I dig it a lot. What I totally like is the impressive way you've combined different styles without losing that doomy and gloomy atmosphere. You've have used the self-description "stoner-doom" for your sound, but I think it's much more than just a lame rip-off of Sabbath / Grief / Blue Cheer riffs - you're beyond! What do you think?
Everybody in the band brings something different. We all have influences that cross over alot of different styles of music. The key is to bring music that moves people and opens minds no matter what form it takes. Stoner Doom is a generalization, but it's the most common applied to our sound. All we know is that there can be a heavy riff anywhere and in anything but it has to come from the soul.
The album got a real good production - very thick and crunchy. How much time have you spent in the studio and are you content with the result?
Well... we recorded this CD at a studio in a small town out in the woods of Arkansas. It took us four days to record and two days to mix. Amazingly we pulled off a pretty good sound for a recording in this state, but we wish we could have recorded analog because it could always sound better. The studios here are real basic compared to most places, but overall the album sounds killer.
"It Runs Deep" has been released by Hell's War Records. Who runs this label?
Hell's War Records is actually just our do-it-yourself label.
Have you released anything else before this album?
We had a five song demo called "At the Bottom of the Arkansas River" a while back. It was a quick CD we threw together when we first started, but nothing compared to our sound now.
It's been two years ago as CT from Rwake mentioned SHITFIRE in an interview here in this webzine and you told me that he gave you the recommendation to get in contact with me. Nice guy! On New Years Eve, SHITFIRE and Rwake will also playing a free show together. It seems as if you're very good friends of Rwake, and there are also some musical similarities to find. Are they your brothers and sisters and how often have you shared the stage with this band?
We've known them forever....the guys from Deadbird too. We've played lots of good shows with them and consider them all brothers...
When it comes to influences, are they mainly within the doom - sludge - metal genre, or do they extend beyond that and are there any particular outstanding influences?
You know we love the basics....Sabbath, Deep Purple, Rainbow, ZZ Top, Ozzy, Priest, Maiden, Slayer, Voivod....and we love the newer shit like Neurosis, Yob, Weedeater, Mastodon, Sleep, Isis, but we all listen to everything....prog, old country, punk rock, even classical music ....anything that's heavy and rules....
Was 2004 a successful year for the band ? Have you played a lot of shows and sold some CD's etc.?
2004 has been pretty cool so far. We just got our Cd's and shirts in October and had a killer release show. We've played with some amazing bands this year.
What particular gigs do you remember?
The best show we played this year was with Meatjack. Those dudes are mind warpingly awesome. They completely destroy. But the most memorable show we played was with Weedeater, Bongzilla, and Rwake....I guess we shouldn't say memorable because most of that night was a blur.....
What's it like living in Arkansas in 2004? Please, tell us more about your hometown and daily life?
Arkansas is your typical southern, redneck, bible reading, backwoods, dim part of the universe, work everyday of your life just to feed yourself to one day die kind of place. But it's home. The scene here is not the best, it's struggling, and has seen better days....... but it has it's moments.
In the first line of the thanks-list SHITFIRE mention poverty, failure, frustration and death. I guess we have something in common, but no matter how painful life can be I mostly find something that make's life valuable. Well, it's not easy but life is a rollercoaster, isn't it? What about you? How do you handle the ups and downs in life?
We, like most everyone else in this world, have had to go through a shitstorm whirlwind of struggle, confusion, and failure including arrests, poverty, and death. We have to concentrate on what makes another day worth living, from bringing new life into this world to replace those metalheads we have lost, to getting stoned and writing riffs or lyrics to make sense of it all.
Ok, thanks for your time! I hope we stay in contact and best luck with the band! SHITFIRE rules!!!
Thank you for taking the time to talk to some backwoods motherfuckers like us. We all have to keep doing this shit because we have to do our part to keep METAL ALIVE!!!