EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH SALOME’S AARON DEAL
In the past year, Salome – who allegedly hail from a magical land called Fort Awesome, Virginia – have quickly become one of our favorite doom metal acts on the planet. Slow like molasses and heavy like a tumor, Salome’s music is a big middle finger to convention and cliché.
The band is playing a show this Sunday, February 15 at Public Assembly in Brooklyn, alongside Ocean, Batillus, and Riff Cannon (get details here – the show is sponsored by Pitchfuck but don’t let that deter you from attending). In anticipation of the event, I recently e-mailed some questions over to drummer Aaron Deal. After the jump, get Aaron’s thoughts on Sunday’s gig, the upcoming Scion Rock Fest, the influence of The Wu Tang Clan on Salome’s music, and more.
I can’t find Fort Awesome, Virginia on any map. Can you please tell us its exact location and give us driving directions?
Why did you decide to name the band Salome?
Power, deception, sexual innuendo, incest, decapitation… and the death of a major religious figure, it doesn’t get more metal than that.
Do you feel responsible for the deaths of any Baptists?
Look man, that was a long time ago.
What is the songwriting process like in Salome? Since you’re not especially interested in traditionalist song writing, how do you feel out each song? I’m particularly interested in the construction of the 21 minute plus “Onward Destroyer.”
Either Rob or I will show each other a riff or two or the riffs will come from a jam and we’ll take the parts we like and expand on it. Once we have a basic structure in mind, we’ll jam that while Kat is working out the vocals. Then we’ll do the fine tuning. “Onward Destroyer” came from a really brutal jam. We basically put the long feedback parts in to fuck with people. Your ear gets used to hearing that high pitch feedback, when we come back in it sounds and feels really intense. Plus, when we would play it live it was really fun to sit there motionless for four minutes blasting people with this really loud high pitch noise. It’s like a really uncomfortable, prolonged stare-off.
How, in your mind, do the songs “White Tides” and “Black Tides” fit together, musically and thematically?
They made us think of water. Maybe “White Tides” is when it’s eerily calm but you know something bad is about to go down. “Black Tides” is that something bad going down.
Who is Ker, and why does he or she feel vivified?
In Greek mythology, a Ker is a female death spirit that feasts on human blood. They’re similar to Valkyries, except instead of carrying you to Valhalla, they rip you apart and take you to Hades. She feels vivified because there is no shortage of blood.
Your website includes the Wu Tang Clan amongst your influences, but I don’t hear a whole lotta Wu in it. So have they been an influence on your music? Who is your favorite member, current or former, of the Wu Tang Clan and why?
Raw, nasty and minimal. Enter the 36 Chambers is a masterpiece of epic proportions. The beats are so good, there is a lot of depth from simple elements. The RZA does a lot with a little. They bring a lot of different styles with 9 different mc’s and we try to incorporate different styles of sludge, doom and various other metals to our sound. To sum up, we both bring the mother fuckin’ ruckus. It is really hard to pick a single favorite member, but if I had to it would probably be the GZA based on the strength of the album, Liquid Swords, with a lifetime achievement award going to the RZA and honorable mentions for ODB, Method Man, Ghostface, and Raekwon.
The following statement is true or false: “Bass player? We don’t need no stinkin’ bass player!”
True. Seriously, you can’t even hear the bass on most metal records, especially recently in the age of the huge, downtuned, modern guitar sound. It just gets Jason Newstead-ed out of there during mixdown. I don’t think our sound is lacking in low end. A bass player is just one more person to split up beer and drugs with, and we can fit more amps in the van without one.
Speaking as a doom metal band, which of these rules the most: Dr. Doom, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the Doom video game, the cinematic adaptation of said video game, or The Purple Tunnel of Doom?
Indiana Jones. Dude, he rips that guys heart out and it’s still beating!
From which level of hell would you say Kat’s vocals eminate?
Seventh Circle, Inner Ring. Blasphemous violence towards God.
So, like, how totally bitchin’ is the Scion Rock Fest gonna be?
TOTALLY bitchin’. The city of Atlanta will grow one enormous, flowing beard.
You’re playing a show in Brooklyn with Ocean, Riff Cannon and Batillus the night of February 15, which is, of course, the night after Valentine’s Day. Please tell us why Salome’s music is the most romantic music on Earth.
The collective darkness and misery of our music will no doubt send you into deep despair, making the rest of your life meaningless and seemingly never ending. What’s not romantic about that?
There are two other metal shows in NYC that same night. Why should people come to yours?
I guess if they want to see us, it’s the only one that we’re playing at. We’ve played with Ocean before too, they’re awesome.
What’s next for Salome?
We’re in the studio right now recording for a split 12″ with Thou. It’ll be out on Vendetta in a couple months. We’re also contributing a song to the CLONE project on Blinddate records.