Steve Worley fronts Sacrificial Slaughter, a death metal band from Anaheim. Having just dropped their latest record The Great Oppression on Ossuary Industries, they are out on the road, supporting both their new material, as well as death metal legends Master. Outside the Oakland Metro, Steve took the time to tell me about his experience with Sacrificial Slaughter, and the metal community in general.
What was your first band and what did it sound like?
Steve: You mean the first band I played in? Well that was Sacrificial Slaughter, about 12 years ago.
Steve: Yes it was. This was the first band I started, did it in middle school, high school. Just been doin it ever since.
Wow, well have you ever played in any other bands?
Steve: Nope, just been doin this one all the time, working hard.
Wow, lucky guy!
Steve: Thank you. It’s a lot of hard work.
What are you trying to say with Sacrificial Slaughters music? What is your musical goal?
Steve: We just try to write about real life sh-t you know? We don’t get too fancy or try to be all gory or brutal or all this make believe bullsh-t. We talk about real life sh-t you know. We all struggle and live a pretty tough life to make this music happen. We work hard and we reflect that in our music. We talk about just real life sh-t whether it be getting fucked up, or going to jail, or whatever it may be, just being hard as fuck you know?
Who are your big songwriting influences?
Steve: Oh man in the early days you know [Cannibal] Corpse obviously, Obituary, all the old school ones, Master and all that shit. But there’s a lot of bands nowadays that I’m really into, Cattle Decapitation, and a lot of our friends bands that we get the pleasure of touring with and everything; a lot of cool buddies and all that good stuff.
How have you seen the metal community change since you guys started out?
Steve: Well… it’s a tough scene. I mean it’s a cut throat business. You gotta work really hard to stand out otherwise people are gonna cast you aside. We spent the last decade busting our asses and touring as much as possible to keep it going. Right now the scene is alive and well as you can see right here. We’re having a good time out on the street, having a barbeque, lot of good people, lot of good bands. It’s a Saturday night in the Bay Area so we couldn’t ask for more. Metal is alive and well.
Do you guys have any local bands you particularly like?
Steve: In the bay area? We don’t have a lot of bands up here. More in the Sacramento area.
Oh well that’s where I come from, who do you know there?
Steve: Old friends like The New Plague, Kuru, Slaughterbox; a lot of bands that we’ve played with over the years. Even bigger bands like Deeds of Flesh. Stuff like that.
In terms of music, lyrics, vocals, etc, what is the creative process behind a Sacrificial Slaughter song?
Steve: We usually start with the guitars. We’ll get together and just kinda throw some riffs around. The guys will either come up with an idea or share an idea that they had and we’ll just kind of build off of that. Incorporate the drums, and get a good structure for the song. Make it into parts, cut it up, and put it together structurally. Then bring vocals into that situation and I’ll come up with an idea for some sort of theme or whatever have you for lyrics and start hashing out vocal patterns. That’s pretty much how we do it, then it’s just a matter of practice, practice, practice til we’re happy with it.
You guys put out your new album yesterday.
Steve: Yeah! Our new album The Great Oppression street date yesterday in North America, we’re really happy about that, on Ossuary Industries. We’re here out on the road supporting for that.
Would you say it contrasts with your previous material in any particular way?
Steve: It’s definitely an improvement. It’s a step up, as all of our recordings are. We’re always progressing in the music and getting better as musicians, and getting better as a unit. So I’m definitely happy with the way the album came out. It surpasses anything that we’ve done in the past. I think that’s the goal, as long as we keep moving forward, it’s a positive progression, and I’m happy with it, I’m already looking forward to the next one.
Do you feel the increase of technology in the metal scene (webzines, downloading music) helps bring the community closer together or does it actually hurt the artist and the community?
Steve: I’m kind of on the fence about that one. I myself, personally, am a CD collector. I believe in getting a physical copy. If I like the band, I’m gonna buy it. And I’ve heard people say even if you’re gonna download it or check it out online if you like it, go buy it. That’s the whole point, you know? If I’m not sure about a band I’ll check ‘em out on youtube, listen to a couple songs. If it’s badass, I’m buying that sh-t! That’s just all there is to it. You’re not gonna find an album worth of somebodies music on my computer if I don’t own the CD in my collection. I don’t know how a lot of people feel about it. If people are just out there stealing music and not paying back to the musicians that worked their asses off to create it then I think that hurts it. But at the same time, technology is what it is, it’s out there, there’s nothing we can do about it. I think if you use it in the right way, it’s not that bad of a thing.
How would you say the bands vs. the fans have changed in metal?
Steve: That’s a tough one. You know I see a lot of bands come, and a lot of bands go. It’s definitely kind of a war of attrition; it’s not an easy way to live. We’re out here, living in a van, touring weeks, and weeks, and weeks, months at a time; just playing every single night. Living like scumbags, so it’s tough. I see bands that do it for a year or two, then they kinda fizzle out. Maybe they’ll do local shows here or there or whatever. But for the most part, you don’t see too many bands that are, unless they have major label support, you don’t see a lot of bands that are just out there busting ass; which is what we do. That’s what it takes. Like I said there’s so many bands out there, it’s really easy to just get lost, in just a plethora, a huge sea of underground bands. So it’s hard to stand out. I think the only way to do it is just to work your ass off, and FORCE it on people to know who you are. Play in their community, and make it a habit every single month or whatever to tour, tour, tour; and make sure that people know that you guys are here to fucking stay. That’s what it’s all about. Otherwise they’re gonna forget about you. It’s way too easy. There’s just too many bands, it’s too easy to get forgotten. So we’re just working, working, working, making sure people know what’s up.
What about the fans? Have you seen a change in them at all?
Steve: It gets better. It gets better, and better, and better. The kids are crazy. We love seeing all the new kids coming up cause they’re hungry you know? They’re into it, it’s fresh, it’s new. That’s what keeps us going. If it was just the same old people we’ve been playing to all these years it wouldn’t be that much fun. What makes it fun is seeing that the scene is still alive, the music is still alive, and the people are still enjoying it. The new generation of fans is coming around, they’re into it more than ever. I mean look at yourself here you’re a prime example of up and coming fans that are dedicated, and supporting, and keeping us going. We couldn’t do it without you.
Cool! Well that’s all I had for questions. Anymore news? Anything you wanna tell people?
Steve: We’re just out here having a good time on tour with Master. Second show here in Oakland so we’re stoked to be here. We got 30 shows left. Just looking forward to having a good show. We got a new album out, The Great Oppression, go pick it up out on Ossuary Industries in North America, and Hammerheart records in Europe. So, thanks a lot man!
Check out my interview with Paul Speckmann of Master here.
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