Sunday, July 3, 2011

BLOOD FARMERS : int' with David Szulkin

No real need to present you this exceptionnal doom band, as this is yet the 3rd time I'm posting about them in T.O.P. !!! So if anyone wants infos about their (cultish) older releases, please read particularly the first previous post. For my greatest pleasure, BLOOD FARMERS came back with force in the actuality in 2011, so I thought it was the moment to speak with its talented compositor, guitarist David Szulkin, about the recent european tour, the future split 12'' and new album, horror movies and more...

* You played a reunion show at the Doom or Be Doomed fest in 2007, followed by a Japanese tour with Church of Misery in 2008, then nothing during 2 years, until the Born to be Doomed fest in 2010 and the first real tour this april… So what do you think is the exact date of B.F. ‘s reformation ? ! Have you been just you 3 coming back since the first show ?   
We  did a reunion show for our friends John Brenner and Josh Hart of Revelation in 2007, that was with my cousin Phil, the original bassist, (R.I.P.) Phil's brother Ross from OGRE came in on 2nd guitar so we had all three cousins up on stage. Ross and the drummer from OGRE backed us up again when we toured Japan, but they were never full-time members of the band or serious about it, they basically just helped us out for the tour. Eventually, Eli and I decided to go with our friend Tad Leger on drums, we'd been jamming with him since around 2005. In 2009, I started writing new material and we got together. WIth Tad, we played a second festival for John Brenner & John Gallo (Orodruin) in 2010, and now the European tour & new album as well. So that's the story on the lineup, I'd say we've been most active in the past 7 months or so. Very happy to have Tad in the band, as my friend and a great musician.
·     * So David, how do you feel after your first European tour ? How has it been playing with Black Pyramid and other bands ? Were the Roadburn and Hammer Of Doom particular shows or everything has been equally good everywhere ?
       I feel great about it. Black Pyramid were great, playing with Pentagram and Electric Wizard were longtime dreams come true. Roadburn was one of a kind, just the ultimate gig to play for our style of music, and Walter was so gracious to have us play not once but twice! Hammer of Doom was great because some fans who really wanted to see us traveled to the show such as my friend Glen Gauci from Malta. We had one group of fans who traveled all over to see us, several different countries! I got sick on the otur so I was suffering physically most of the time but it was an amazing experience and I feel really lucky. The last night in Finland playing to a sold-out crowd with Pentagram was a great show, one of the best memories I'll ever have! 
·    * Did you prepare the tour rather intensively or nothing special ? Even if it’s just for pleasure and you couldn’t have much to loose, I suppose you did feel a little bit of pressure before the tour starts, or what ?
      Yes, it was a lot of pressure especially starting the tour with Roadburn. We were living in different states so I came back to the East Coast to prepare for the tour and had to drive 5 hours to rehearse with the rest of the band. Also to work on new material. I wish we could have rehearsed more, and it would have been even better if Roadburn was the last stop on the tour so we could have been playing shows for a couple of weeks culminating in that! 
·     * On your last FM page there’s a photo which is described as the artwork/cover for the forthcoming album, it’s dated from 2009, is it still this one scheduled ? logically,  it’s radically different from the previous ones, there’s a great predominance of black and violet (“the colours of your funeral” like written in the chorus of my fave’s DEATH SS song “black and violet” from 1983 !) … like the old ones, is it a picture taken from a movie ? could you explain the choice ?
     It's from a movie poster I liked. The movie is called Encounter with the Unknown, from the 70s. I don't know if it will be the final album cover.
   * You cite St Vitus and Black  Sabbath as main influences and  are basically categorized in trad  DOOM, there’s a great part of  truth in that but I feel that your  style goes further, being  much  more musical than most  (all ?)  other trad doom bands, I mean  who else does deliver  such  incredible (generally long,  tortured, but so tasty)  solos and developed 70’s psychedelic /proto hard rock touches ? Except Blue Cheer, which influence did give you such a groovy psyche  feeling ?
     Thank you! Yes, Blue Cheer was a big influence up there w/ the biggest of all, Black Sabbath & St Vitus... Leigh Stephens' solos on Vincebus Eruptum. Who else do I like...Billy Gibbons, Jim McCarty of Cactus, Joe Walsh w/ James Gang, Leslie West, Hawkwind albums like Space Ritual, Pink Floyd, I really like David Gilmour's playing. And listening to lots of '70s bands like Frijid Pink, Cactus, Sir Lord Baltimore, Bloodrock, Grand Funk, and so on.
·     * Back in the 90’s you were rather mysterious, no photos or press features;   it’s kind of strange but  when I saw you live at Roadburn, I was first a bit surprised by finally seeing you physically  and musically, sorry for the cliché, but it’s been something like “shit, it’s a fuckin’ dream that finally comes true” , I suppose you heard those comments many times from European fans ?
     That's amazing to hear, I did have a great experience meeting fans who'd has the albums for a long time and never thought twey'd see us play live. Those sort of compliments make everything worthwhile!
·    “thousand yard stare” the new song that you played on the tour sounds  really great, will it be that one on the soon to be released split ep with Solluby ?  any other songs written yet ? Have you been contacted by any other label for a full length album ? What’s your expectations towards the near future of B.F. ?
     "Thousand-Yard Stare" plus one more by us will be on the split with Sollubi. Yes, another half-dozen songs written and counting - we just added two more last night, one by me and another by Tad. I've been playing with Eli for 25 years and he says this is the best he's heard me play and the best material I've written. "Night of the Sorcerers" is another one we did in Europe, "Headless Eyes" is a more recent track. I'm excited to get the record out. We will debut all the songs from the new album live at Stoner Hands of Doom XI in August.
   * Almost all of your songs are usually (from rather to very) long, I feel there’s nothing calculated at all in that, but how can you explain it ?
    Sometimes it's because I would take long guitar solos. And we would set out to do epic songs. "Head" music.
·     * Back in the 90’s you played once at the CBGB with Hole, fans didn’t like it very much… do you think it could be different now ,  are people more open-minded towards doom ?  It’s not a comparable situation but how did you feel playing with Children of Bodom in Munchen ? Did you feel a difference between their audience and doom freaks ?  
      We got good reactions in Europe, much better than what we got back in the day in the U.S. However, it;s not so different. When we did that show with Children of Bodom, the promoter and our tour manager were laughing at us saying no one was coming to see us, all the people were there for a separate part of the club to see Children of Bodom. We only got a few people, but the ones who did show up to watch us LOVED it and we didn't want to stop playing that night! There was a big difference between the two crowds, aside from the difference in the turnout. I like our fans a lot better!

·    * You ‘re from NY just as Winter who had about the same history as you (just a bit earlier, but released one album, had problems with their label, then splited up, then reformed, played at Roadburn too this year…) , do you know them and had the opportunity to see them live (not at the Roadburn cause that day you were in Germany) but  one week  before in NY for the very very first reunion show ? 
      We met the guys from Winter at Roadburn, Walter introduced us. I had Into Darkness on cassette from a long time ago, but I never saw them live and unfortunately we had to play a show in Germany while they were doing their set in Holland. Very nice guys, and it turns out a friend of Eli's from NY named  Tony Pinissi played keyboards with them.
·    * Sure there’s been some Italian bands too and even before you , but are you conscious that you’ve certainly been an influence for some actual bands in introducing a weird occult 70’s movie touch to your music ? Any new band that you particularly enjoy ?
       I know we influenced some of the younger doom bands cause I hear it from them, it's always a great feeling and very flattering to hear. New bands I like, Sollubi, we're doing a split vinyl release with them. I like the Swedish band Graveyard-we are are all big fans of theirs and unfortunately we missed seeing them in Europe several times by no more than a day while we were traveling. 
·   * Speaking about that, one got to know  that you work for the important   GRINDHOUSE RELEASING, could you  explain     exactly the vocation of this  company and the nature of  your job there ?
     Grindhouse Releasing is a film   distributor based in Hollywood,   dedicated to the preserving, restoring   and releasing horror and exploitation   movies. I run the theatrical division of   Grindhouse Releasing. I supervised the   North American theatrical releases of   EVIL DEAD, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST,   Duke Mitchell's GONE WITH THE   POPE, PIECES, Bill Lustig's MANIAC,  and more. I feel it's important to keep these movies alive on the big screen the way they were meant to be seen, it means something to me, so it is really a labor of love I share with my friends at Grindhouse. I've been responsible for booking and promoting screenings all over the country, as well as abroad, at film festivals, midnight shows, colleges, at major theaters. Other titles I've booked include CANNIBAL FEROX (a.k.a. MAKE THEM DIE SLOWLY) and Lucio Fulci's THE BEYOND, which was rediscovered and released thanks to my friend Sage Stallone of Grindhouse. GONE WITH THE POPE was a first-run release, a 1970s movie our company finished and released for the first time in theaters in 2010, I booked the theaters and handled all the publicity... GONE WITH THE POPE was written up in VARIETY, the LOS ANGELES TIMES, the VILLAGE VOICE and many other places.
      I am now working with Bill Lustig and his company Blue Underground on a big theatrical release of Lucio Fulci's ZOMBIE which will open October 21 & 22 across the U.S. and some theaters in Canada, as well. 
       Working for the Oscar-winning editor Bob Murawski (THE HURT LOCKER, SPIDER MAN 1, 2 &3) of Grindhouse, I co-produced the DVD of I DRINK YOUR BLOOD, the great U.S. horror classic written and directed by my late friend, David E. Durston. On my own, I produced/directed all the extra features for MGM's LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT DVD, a project which I pitched to them based on the success of my book on the making of that film. Another project of mine finally coming to fruition is the DVD release of the late, great Texas horror film director S.F. Brownrigg's SCUM OF THE EARTH, a.k.a. POOR WHITE TRASH PART II. 
·   Are you more or less exclusively interested by old horror/occult movies from the 70’s ? Is there    any new film makers, which for example could give a new breath to the genre,  that you dig  ? 
Y      Yes, I pretty much just watch '70s movies, I must admit. My friend Jim VanBebber...I hope he gets to make more movies! I am also working on a script for a proposed U.S. version of the Coffin Joe movies. That is very exciting to me so again, I hope it happens.

Thanx a lot David !

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