Southern Front Interview

After recently reviewing ‘Death Throes’, the second full-length offering from Texan metallers Southern Front, our Cassandra had a few questions… so she asked them!

Who would you consider to be the main influence on you, or the reason you picked up your chosen instrument?

Jon:    “Miles Davis”

Eric:    “My dad was a professional bassist for a long time, which is what got me into it at first. I suppose at this point I’m pursuing Alex Webster’s particular skill set, but I’m a ways off.”

Zak:    “Family

Jason: “For me it was a mix of family, friends and musical heroes. I have a lot of musicians in my family and grew up listening to a lot of guitar driven music.”

Payton:“One of my main influences starting out was probably Joey Jordison from Slipknot. Hearing Wait and Bleed for the first time blew my mind and I had to learn to play like that.”

Individual players/vocalists aside, who are your greatest musical influences?

Jason: “Slayer, Pantera, Death, Testament, Exodus, Black Sabbath, Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ozzy, Van Halen, Alice in Chains, Acid Bath and many more.”

Eric:     “Disavowed, Deeds of Flesh, Suffocation, Decapitated, Pig Destroyer, etc.”

Payton:“I started out listening to a lot of punk like Bad Religion, Pennywise, Blink 182. Then I moved on to the heavier music like Mudvayne, Slipknot, Devil Driver and Lamb of God.”

‘Death Throes’ has been out for a while now. We can all read the critical reaction, but how has it gone down with the fans, from your viewpoint?

Zak:     “It’s gone great. People seem to love it… but people lie all the damn time.”

Jason: “Seems like a great reaction so far and the songs are going over incredibly well at our shows. It’s just almost impossible to gauge how much people are listening to it these days outside of the shows. There are too many outlets to keep track of and many more that you can’t. We really just want people to jam it and enjoy the tunes.”

Eric:     “Everyone seems to love it. It’s all heavy and intense. It’s definitely the best release so far.”

Payton:“We’ve had great feedback on the new material. It’s been very humbling. I can’t wait to start working on new songs for the fans.”

There’s quite a bit of symbolism in the fascinating artwork of the ‘Death Throes’ cover. Who created the cover? What medium did they use and how does it connect to the album?

Zak:     “Jon Zig did the artwork for the cover. It is Death Throes.”

Jason: “He’s a well-known guy in Austin and an integral part of the metal scene here in Texas and abroad. He does a lot of great work. I think he captured the concept perfectly, a person in the throes of death. I’m not sure the medium used but I’m fairly certain he paints his art. We’re fans of H.R. Giger and that biomechanical style and Jon Zig is obviously a master at that stuff as well.”

 

How long had you been working on ‘Death Throes’, and how did it feel to get that first pressing in your hand?

Jon:     “Over a year, and many long hours. Feels goddamn great to have it finished.”

Zak:     “Fina-fucking-lly!”

Eric:     “I jumped in at the ass-end of the project, recorded it as fast as I could learn it, and then it was out.”

Jason: “The material was originally intended to be 2 separate EP’s, but we got sick of sitting on it, picking at it, and whatnot. We just put it all out at once and it feels great…. very proud of the material. A lot of hard work went into this one and excited to start the next one.”

If you had to pick one song, from the new album, to represent ‘Southern Front’ to the uninitiated, which would it be, and why?

Payton:“I’d pick ‘Butchering the Bloodlines’. I feel like that song has a lot to offer musically. Something that people would listen to and think of as straight heavy metal.”

Eric:     “Obstacle of Forgiveness’ because it’s fast, brutal, and meaningful.”

Zak:     “Face Down.”

Jason: “I would likely pick ‘Face Down’ because it has speed, groove and precision but I could really say any of them except “The Void” because that one is really just a short interlude.”

With a full album and an EP already out there, is it more of a challenge coming up with fresh material, or easier as you become more accomplished? 

Jon:     “No, it’s natural progression.

Payton:“I feel like we’re just now starting to tap our potential of writing as a band. We’re very comfortable playing and jamming. We’re familiar with each other’s individual style and can utilize it.”

Eric:     “For me it’s easier, since I’m new to the band. I’m used to playing brutal death metal, but this style is a new one for me to work with; it really opens a lot of doors.

Zak:     “It gets easier as everyone learns each other’s ways.”

Do you consciously feel the need to progress, from release to release, or is there a subconscious natural progression to you work?

Eric:     “We definitely feel both. We know we need to evolve and change; we don’t want to release what is basically a clone of a previous album. But we also don’t want to force anything just for the sake of being original. We just want to take everything for face-value; there’s got to be a balance between classic quality and originality.”

Jon:     “Progress, progress!!”

Zak:     “Yes. You have to or you’ll be fazed out.”

Jason: “We continue to grow and expand as individual musicians, and that helps us evolve as a group and expand our capabilities and ideas. I don’t feel like anyone is ever truly fully content with where they are at as a player. There’s always a hunger to improve and learn more. We have no boundaries but we do want to make sure it sounds like Southern Front. In the end it just comes together and happens.”

Payton:“I think it’s very natural for us. As time goes by we become better musicians and always feel the need to challenge ourselves.

Could you please tell us about your preferred writing process, and the production of ‘Death Throes’? 

Jon:     “Remotely, file sharing, rehearsal, record.

Eric:     “We use all the tools modern technology offers. We can just put ideas down in tabs and share ‘em online so we can freely and clearly collaborate on anything. That and our guitarists and Payton are really good about just jamming new stuff out in the practice room whenever they feel so inspired.”

Payton:“It’s a mix of jamming and sending riffs back and forth. With today’s technology, we can create an album without stepping foot in the same room, but jamming has a certain energy that you can only get from jamming.”

Jason: “We don’t really have a set process. It happens in all kinds of ways and just depends how busy our lives are at that moment in time. We prefer to jam and create that way but it’s whatever works really. We do put a lot of time and attention to detail and song-writing in general.”

What inspires the lyrical themes contained within the songs?

Zak:     “Life. The trials and tribulations, the shit I need to get out. I can get it out in this form without going to jail.”

With your shows currently being based around Texas, are there plans afoot to spread the Southern Front word wider in the near future? 

Eric:     “As far and wide as possible. Our hopes are to jump on to a tour with a bigger name for starters.”

Jason: “That would be ideal. It all depends on the situation.”

Jon:     “Funding!”

Zak:     “Give us money and we will be there. We all work, have families and that shit gets expensive paying all out of pocket.”

Payton:“We hope to do some more touring out-of-State soon. If anyone wants to help us get to Europe I would certainly appreciate it.”

Elevator pitch: What’s the best reason for picking up a Southern Front CD?

Eric:     “It’s brutal, groovy, and you won’t want to quit spinning it.”

Jon:     “It kicks your ass into gear!”

Zak:     “Because you’re not a pussy!”

Jason: “Because your parents fucking hate it! (or maybe because they don’t!)”

Payton:“Seriously though, if you like metal in general you will like our music. We are different enough to intrigue, while still being familiar.”

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us.

\m/

“Thank YOU!”

‘Death Throes’ is out now and available via the bands website

Interview by Cassandra Irving

Photograph by Scott W. Coleman

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