I have to say a huge thank you to the guys in Cattle Decapitation for taking the time out to answer these questions. They’re on a balls-to-the-wall non-stop tour at the moment, so I really do appreciate it.
MT: You’re billed as “vegan death metallers”, though I note that some sources say you’re now down to two vegetarians in the band (Travis and Josh according to Wikipedia). Care to set the record straight as of the current line-up?
Travis: I’m currently vegan (been vegetarian since before the band started), Josh is vegetarian and Dave and Derek are omnivores or whatever. It was honestly never a prerequisite to join Cattle Decapitation. We just magically were able to keep a solid vegetarian band for many, many years but that proved to be impossible given limited access to kickass musicians and the music has always come first as… duh… we’re a band.
MT: There have been issues in the past with album sleeves (“To Serve Man” and “Humanure” in particular). Did this cause you to tone down the cover for “Monolith”?
Travis: Nope, everything happens for a reason and censorship is not one of em. Kinda pointless in this day and age when everything is purchased or DL’d illegally online anyways. There is gore in most of what we do, but sometimes the concepts do not give way to gore. I don’t believe in being limited which is one big reason why not every song is about animal rights. There’s so many things wrong with the world and lots of stuff to talk about as a result.
MT: Are the sleeve designs something you as a band have much input towards or influence over?
Travis: Its 100% us. Wes Benscoter has a huge hand in it though… I consider him the “5th member” when handing over the ideas to him. The actual artists input is just as valid as your own – that is, if you want something GREAT. That’s the best way to get what you want = putting stock into the artist’s work. Doesn’t work with all artists but Wes is a genius and we are almost always on the same page. The very few instances we haven’t been, I put the ball in his court and I’m confident he can’t miss the shot!
MT: The reference in the design of Monolith’s sleeve is obvious to any sci-fi fan! Care to take us through it from the band¹s perspective?
Travis: The monolith in 2001 references the dawn of technology and our cover shows the end result = the biproduct of intelligence, technology and our “advancements”.
MT: Your message has been loud and clear since your first album. Have you found it difficult to make the same point numerous times over the years in so many songs?
Travis: Anyone that reads our lyrics knows that I don’t rewrite the same lyrics over and over. Although, one thing I have done a couple times recently is making sequels to older songs which is just something I’ve been toying around with and thought was cool. You wouldn’t be able to tell unless I said something though. Again, not all the songs are about animal rights. I also address social issues, our impact on the environment, religion, etc. One thing that does rear its head a lot is the destruction of the human race. And that’s a topic I could go on and on about and don’t mind doing it!
MT: Have you had any fans who’ve listened to the music, read the lyrics and reacted in a very positive way to the anti-meat or other green issues you promote?
Travis: More than one would think. I hear more “thank you”s and “you guys helped open my eyes” than negative comments or comments of the contrary. Whether that’s negative or not is up to them and if its the right choice for them to make. I do hope people across the board can at least embrace the fact that if we don’t INDIVIDUALLY start doing our best to make some sort of difference or lessen our impact, the future is doomed.
MT: On the other hand, have you had any issues with people who’ve not been happy with your viewpoints and perhaps how you express them?
Travis: Sure, but not as many as one would think or what we even would expect. How can you fault someone for just trying to make some sort of difference? Only ignorant dudes that are trying to be that tough badass I-don’t-give-a-fuck metalhead, which, end up only looking like fuckin’ rednecks.
MT: Lastly, what can fans expect when they come to see you on the upcoming tour?
Travis: LOTS of new songs. We have very little complaints about that too because I think most people like our newer material the best anyways. Luckily for us… haha… we love playing the new stuff more anyways.
MT: Checking the dates I notice that you’re touring with a gig every single night from the 12th April until May 5th so I really do appreciate you taking a few minutes out to answer these questions! Keep up the hard work :)
Travis: No problem homes! Maybe catch you next time!