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Steve Goldberg & Jawsh Mullen (Cephalic Carnage)

Interview with Steve Goldberg & Jawsh Mullen from Cephalic Carnage
by Katrina Cannon at 31 May 2005, 7:33 PM

In my opinion, Cephalic Carnage is one of the best Death Metal bands out there. They're definitely one of my favorites.  Once I arrived at the venue, I met with Steve \[Goldberg, guitar] and Jawsh \[Mullen, bass]. Before conducting the interview, we joined the other guys, Lenzig \[Leal, vocals], Zac \[Joe, guitar], and John \[Merryman, drums], huddled under a small awning for shelter from the rain, and partook in some pre-show rituals.  And that was VERY nice I must say. Needless to say, it made for a very fun and interesting interview. Throughout the entire interview, they both kept making faces and goofing off into the camera, so conducting and transcribing this interview was a bit hard because I couldn't control my laughter. But I had the most fun I've ever had during an interview, with these guys, and I definitely look forward to hanging with them again.

Introduce yourselves.

Jawsh:  \[In the Slingblade accent] I’m Jawsh, I reckon I play the bass mmm hmmm.

Steve:  \[In the same Slingblade accent] I’m Steve, I reckon I play the guitar too, mmm hmmm .

\[For those out there who don’t know the movie Slingblade, I highly recommend you watch it.]

How’s the tour going so far?

Jawsh: Pretty good, it’s just a few shows including this one.

Steve: Yeah, it’s a short tour, its only 10 days total.

How did the recording go for Anomalies? How long were you in the studio?

Jawsh: It went great. We did 3 weeks in November and 2 weeks in December.

Steve: We had a 2 week break to listen to stuff and change things.

Jawsh: It was like 8 hours a day minus Sat.

Steve: Dave \[Otero, producer] doesn’t work on sat which I think is a bad idea.  Most bands want to record on Saturdays because they have jobs, but Dave’s still cool \[Laughs]

With Cephalic Carnage… you never know exactly what to expect … This album is different than your previous albums in a sense of the Metal that you’re going for… How would you compare this album to your previous album’s and EP’s?

Jawsh: That’s a very good question. I’d say it’s right along the lines of the way you summed it up, ‘you never know what to expect’.  It’s not necessarily the style of music that we’re going for, but the way we kind of mess with people’s heads. \[Laughs]

Steve: That’s why Anomalies is such a good title because it strays away from the norm.

Jawsh: It is an anomaly in itself, plus what better way to end your career than to write that one great albums that in like 6 years, is gonna be real popular. \[Laughs]

Corporate Death  from Macabre is a guest vocalist on Sleeprace. How did you guys come to get him involved?

Steve: \[While he and Jawsh dance to one of their funky rave music phone ringers] Corporate Death was on tour at the time, with Macabre, Napalm Death, Kataklysm, and Cannibal Corpse.

Yeah, we were at that show. I interviewed with Alex \[Webster, bass] from Cannibal Corpse.

Steve: So, we got Barney from Napalm Death and Corporate Death both do come down and both did vocals.

Jawsh: \[sarcastically] I drove Barney in my car.

Steve: He thinks he’s cool because of that.

You have been actually singing a little bit since you came out with the Halls of Amenti EP. Is this something we can expect in your work more frequently?

Steve: Are you talking about the clean vocals? That was actually this dude. \[shakes Jawsh]

Jawsh: I do all the clean vocals. It actually started on Halls of Amenti, because there was a nice pretty part that I couldn’t bring myself to yell over like a jackass over that part, and I did some operatic vocals on Lucid Interval as a joke and it carried over onto this album.

Steve: And then Corporate Death does one of the clean parts too on Sleeprace. Then this guy Brian Hegman, from a band called Black Lamb, did the clean vocals on Ontogeny of Behavior. Black Lamb  is like a Stoner Rock band. They’re bad ass.

Jawsh: They fucking do Metal like it’s going out of style. \[All laughs]

How is the Halls of Amenti series set coming along?

Jawsh: That is actually in the works again. We’re working on the next two and we plan to record both of them at the same time but release them at separate intervals. It’s meant to be like The Lord of The Rings , that’s why we’re taking our sweet ass time on getting it done, besides the fact of money.

Steve: But we’ll git ‘er done.

Jawsh: The next one is called Babylon and I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the subject matter of Halls of Amenti, but it’s a place alleged to have the records of the true history of man. Then Babylon is the second song which is gonna be our inevitable self destruction. And the third one will be called The Trauchlin Hall, which is alleged to be a hall of records of the future of man. It’s pretty deep, but then so is my love. \[All laughs]

What is your most challenging song to pull off live?

Steve: The ones we don’t play.  Gracias is a tough one to play live.

Jawsh: The rest of the set list is difficult to get through.

Steve: Pretty much anything we don’t practice is really difficult to play live.

Jawsh: And we don’t practice that often \[Laughs]. We try to, we all show up at the same time.

Steve: Sort of.

What are some of the band’s musical influences?

Jawsh: That is an amazing question. That’s one of those questions when you get it in an email, you just go fuck.

Steve: You should just write one out and then just copy and paste it every time.

Jawsh: That’s a great idea! \[All laughs]

Steve: I’ve been listening to a lot of Isis and Estradasphere lately, a band called Farmer’s Market, and the new Queens of the Stone Age.

Jawsh: I’ve been listening to a lot of Crotch Duster, Fantomas, a lot of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings.

 Janel:  My mom was big into Waylon Jennings. He called her on her 50th birthday.

Steve: My mom was all about Neil Diamond. She’d dance in front of the mirror with headphones, singing horribly out of tune.

Jawsh: My mom was really, really all about Barry Manilow. She used to belong to his fan club. She got me into Barry Manilow. I was probably the only 7 year old listening to Barry Manilow hits right along side Black Sabbath. I didn’t understand why, it was just good music, that’s all I can say. Barry Manilow Live, check it out, it’s a double LP, its fucking stellar!

Are there any plans for a possible box set?

Jawsh: You know, we’ve never even really thought about doing something like that. We’re trying to do so many different projects. We’re not really a box set band anyway, we’re more like a paper bag set band with like 4 cassettes with no labels \[All laughs]. We’ve got so many things in the works right now, we’re still trying to put together the DVD.

I’ve always liked the abstract artwork that you guys have, especially Exploiting Dysfunction and this new one. Who does the work for you and where do the ideas come from? Is it mainly band influenced or does the artist have freedom of creation?

Jawsh: The Exploiting Dysfunction art, we just got the layout sent to us by Relapse. They commissioned a guy named Wes Benscoter, he does like Cattle Decapitation, and he’s done one for Slayer. We gave him a concept, we had a demo called Fortuitous Oddities that had primarily physical retardation as the main focus. So the guy just went through and created a bunch of freaks.  

Steve: For Anomalies this guy Orion at Relapse did, he’s their house graphics guy, he did really good.

I’ve always been curious. Where did your name, Cephalic Carnage, come from?

Jawsh: Drugs \[All laughs].  Seriously, as we get older, we start learning that there are other means of recreation out there.  The name has taken on different meanings, but originally it was see how many drugs you can do before you blow your head off. \[All laughs] And now it means listening to a type of music that just destroys your brain.

A long time ago I saw you guys play and you were wearing Black Metal makeup. What the hell was that all about?

Jawsh: We wrote a Black Metal song and in order to perform it to its utmost you have to have the Black Metal regalia on.

Steve: We had spikes too.

Jawsh: It just takes so fucking long to paint your face, so we just bought some clear masks and lined them with duct tape, Sharpeed them up and they looked like Black Metal people.

Steve: But somebody stole our Black Metal stuff, so no more of that.

Jawsh: Yeah, some fucker in San Francisco right now has got our Black Metal box and I swear to God if I ever find them, they will be so out of it!

Any last words?

Jawsh: That always makes me feel nervous. \[Laughs]

Steve: Hey, you guys have a long drive tonight, do you have any last words? \[Laughs]

Jawsh: What do you want on your tombstone? Pepperoni and sausage. \[All laughs] How long do you have on your tape?  This is the Last Words section, we have to milk it for all its worth. \[Laughs]

Steve:  \[to Jawsh] Is there anything that you want to say, but just with expressions, no words, what would you say to the Metal community?

Jawsh: I would say…

Steve: No words, through expressions.

Jawsh: I would say…

Steve: No words!

\[And then they both just give a blank stare to the camera for like 5 minutes.]

Jawsh: That’s a really big community. \[All laughs]


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