Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Interview with Ryan Fairfield of Hallowed Butchery

These past few weeks or so I've had the pleasure of getting to know the wonderfully talented and humble Mr. Ryan Fairfield of Maine's "Hallowed Butchery," whose new split with Batillus was reviewed here rather recently. Through his music and words, Fairfield has revealed himself as a deep, well-spoken individual whose passion for music is outshone only by the love of his wife and daughter. I will continue to expect wonderful music and interesting, meaningful conversation from my new-found friend.

Where do you think Hallowed Butchery fits in this new scene of US metal, if at all? Why?

I can't say that I'm sure I know the answer to this question. I have become rather detached from modern music. There was a time when I cared to check out new bands, but now I'd just rather listen to some Sabbath or Priest. Where do you think I fit? Do I fit? Maybe fans of my music are like me, and spend their time listening to old psychedelic metal and folk LPs. You tell me.

Hallowed Butchery was formerly known as Hallowed Butchery of the Son, a black metal/grindcore project. How did the immense shift in style come about? Did the move from Las Vegas to Maine help any?

The shift probably appeared to be drastic, but I had been planning and writing doomier music soon after releasing some of the early grindcore stuff. I thought that it wouldn't be received well, so I constantly scrapped anything sounding too drastic. I started dabbling in black metal... recorded a couple of EPs (lost one in a computer crash), and eventually decided to do what I wanted do, regardless of how people would view the change. I recorded "Funeral Rites for the Living" while living in Las Vegas - which was a fitting place to do so. Everything there made me desire doom. I realized how absolutely disgusting mankind can be; from its negative approach to nature and the environment, to religious mind control and corruption, to the monotony of the 9-to-5 cubicle life. I had never had such a misanthropic world view, as I did when I was living there. I never saw anything redeemable about that place. And for it: I desired doom.

What influences you and your music?

Musically I am influenced by classic and obscure psychedelic, progressive, and heavy metal music. I'm constantly looking to Pink Floyd and the Far East Family Band for guidance in writing progressive epics; Black Sabbath and the Flower Travellin' Band for monster riffage; Comus and Broselmachine for psychedelic perfection; Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young for the ultimate Americana. However, I'm constantly listening to bands like Autopsy, Candlemass, Dio, Down, Eyehategod, Judas Priest, Obituary, Pantera, Slayer.... and no matter where I go, I always return to the heaviest of metal. Nothing feels better than a good head-banging.
Beyond music, I find solace and influence in nature, and the aspiration of a future immersed in the glory of its embrace. To have a small farm, a small house in the woods, and to be self-reliant... to be able to spend every waking minute with my wife and child. These are the things that influence me, and that keep me strong.

Now that you're in a full band (Terrible Old Man), how do you feel the creative process differs between the multiple person dynamic and your solo efforts?

In Terrible Old Man, I do very little song-writing. My role is as the lyricist and vocalist. It is definitely "funner" than writing solo music, but it's not always as rewarding. I suppose each has its own pros-and-cons. Ultimately, being in full-control is a great feeling, but being able to work with others is humbling.

Do you have any big p
lans that you haven't told anyone yet concerning music you're a part of?

I am in the beginning stages of writing and recording my sophomore full-length album. So far, it's less doom-y, and more folk-oriented, but I am sure massive doom will find its way into the song-writing sooner or later. There will certainly be a noticeable change in my approach to the lyrics of the new material. It will be loosely based on the concept of hope, trading optimism for my tendency to gravitate towards pessimism and negativity.

What brings about the change in lyrical themes? Going from "Funeral Rites for the Living" to "hope" is a very drastic, yet intriguing, change. Does this transformation coincide with anything happening in your life?

It's most certainly an intentional change. It mirrors my shifting world-views. I have always been a "cup half empty" kind of guy; I always see the negative. However, over the past year I have been forcing myself to look at things through a positive eye. It is so much easier to point at the all of the things that are wrong in your life and others, but it is a thousand times more rewarding to seek out the good and to cherish every ounce of it. Life is too short. There is no ever after. I want to live like that. I want to be hopeful - to believe that every day is the best day of my life, because it is.

If you could live in any decade in any location, where would you live and why?

I would live in the 1970's USA, to experience both the music and culture, and to be a part of the intriguing back-to-the-woods movement.

And finally, I have to ask this in all of my metal interviews, what can you say to the modern metal listener?

Listen to Black Sabbath.

Expect new promo pictures, courtesy of Mrs. Fairfield, soon.


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