Matt Harvey - Exhumed

Has it been hard to keep motivated and to keep the band going after several line up changes over the years?

At times, sure. Like anything else, there are ups and downs, and some lineups gel better than others. When you're as invested in something as I am in Exhumed, it's tough to accept something when you feel that it's not at 100%, which is finally where we are now. Through it all, I think the lineup we have now is by far the strongest, musically, personally, and in terms of being dedicated to doing this full time. It's tough to get all of those aspects lined up, esepcially have them line up with all four people at the same time, so we're in a great position at the moment. No disrespect to previous line-ups, but there was always at least one person present who didn't line up in every aspect. For example, with our original drummer, Col Jones who started the band with me, we (almost) always got along great and had the same musical vision, but his priority was always his education and now his career, which I totally respect, but that eventually led to him quitting the band since we weren't on the same page there. Now we all want to do this full time and take this band as far as we possibly can – however far that is, who knows, but we've been busting our asses the last couple of years all over the world getting our shit out there and it seems to be working. 

How did it come about for Bud to rejoin the band?

Well, with Wes (Caley, our previous guitar player), we just eventually weren't getting along and he seemed really unhappy being on the road as much as we were, which led to everyone else being unhappy as these things often do. As things deteriorated with Wes, Bud was the only person I considered. We didn't audition anyone or try anyone out, in fact, no one outside myself, Mike, Rob and Dylan knew we were considering getting another guitarist. Bud turned us down a couple times, but I finally wore him down and persuaded him to get back in the van and cruise around the world looking for headbangers and free beer. 

Are things better in the band after the hiatus than they were before and do you think you have kinda reached the next level since reforming?

Yeah, things are better than ever, internally and externally. It's been weird, because previously we'd always done better in Europe than in the states, and now it's kind of become the opposite, which is kind of unusual I guess. I don't know about “the next level,” and I've tried to kind of get myself out of thinking in those kinds of terms. But I do feel like we're making progress and getting better offers and shit like that, so that's encouraging. And I do feel that we're improving musically as well, so that keeps it interesting. 

Are you pleased with the reaction 'Necrocracy' received?

Yeah, overall it's been really good. The only issue I had with things is that we recorded the record in September / October 2012 and it was continually delayed, causing it to come out like a month before the new Carcass record. Obviously, we've always been compared to Carcass, so I found that a bit frustrating, simply because it could have been largely avoided if the label hadn't dragged their feet getting the album together. We also did a three month European tour based around the original projected release date of May 2013 so that was a bit frustrating. Obviously, you don't cancel a three month tour under any circumstances other than extreme necessity, but we all felt that our efforts would have been better served if we had the record in hand and in the press. But all that is secondary, because the album seems to have been pretty positively received, which is nice. The main thing is that the kids seem to like it, and know the words to the new songs and such. That's the best indicator that the record doesn't suck. 


How was the writing/recording process for 'Necrocracy' compared to previous albums have have you started to think about a follow up yet?

It was a bit different because the writing was done in bits between tours, rather than in one continuous go, which I think helped the songs stand out from each other a bit more than on All Guts, No Glory, where things kind of ran together into a grindy blur. Obviously the lineup on Necrocracy is different, and we've been playing live for a really long time now, Mike, Rob and I did almost a continuous year of touring when we recorded the album, and I've been jamming with Bud on and off since the late 90s. That kind of steered things, just knowing everyone's strengths and writing to them, which makes Necrocracy seem much more like a “band” effort than All Guts... which feels less connected and a bit less alive to me. As far as a follow up, I'm starting to cobble together some stuff, I have a few songs approaching the place where I would consider showing them to the guys. The direction is still kind of taking shape at this point, but it seems like the new one will be a bit darker, musically. We'll see...

What made you decide on a gore theme to your lyrics?

I always enjoyed gory horror movies like Evil Dead 2, Re-Animator, Toxic Avenger, Hellraiser, etc. even before I got into Metal, and it being “Death Metal” I kind of assumed that the lyrics should revolve around death. If you were supposed to be singing about science-fiction, it would have been called “Sci-Fi Metal.” I also like the shock value and the metaphorical possibilities that the gore them allows, while keeping things from getting too serious. Also, when you call your first album Gore Metal you should probably stick with the theme. If I wanna write about other stuff, I would do it in other projects.

Do you prefer touring in Europe or are the shows better back in the states?

Obvisouly, each one has its good and bad points, but I prefer touring back home, since we have our own van, our own trailer, our own gear, and much more control over our day-to-day than in Europe. Europe is cool because the food / beer is better and more plentiful, but we always make so much less money in Europe, it's difficult to justify touring as much here as we do in America, but we're working on it over here, and hopefully that won't be the case for much longer. Europe is cool for the scenery and the history and stuff, which we actually got to enjoy a bit last summer since we were here for three months, but the states is just a bit easier, because our phones work, our bank is there, we know where to find the things we need, from auto parts, guitar strings, electronics, whatever, which just makes things a bit more convenient. The kids tend to be a bit crazier in the US as well, although that's slowly changing. Eastern Europe is probably our favorite place to play over here though, the shows get pretty insane and the kids are not quite as spoiled with a million shows like in Holland or Germany. 

How would you compare the Death/Grind scene now to when you first started out?

The main difference to me is that the desire to be “extreme” has given rise to an unintended culture of virtuosity that wasn't present in the early 90s. I think it's a pretty lazy conception of extremity to mean “more notes in less time = extreme.” A lot of the spirit and personality of the music has been dissolved in the race to fit more sweep arpeggios and gravity blasts into music, and it's just really gimmicky. To each their own though, and it would be weird if the Death Metal of 1991 and 2014 sounded the same, but it's just not for me. Honestly, I'm kind of surprised that there still is a scene for this kind of music, when I was 16 and saw Cannibal Corpse on the “Butchered at Birth” tour in January 1992, I wasn't thinking they or any of this stuff would be around in 20+ years, so that in and of itself is pretty fucking remarkable and cool. 

There's a strong set of Death metal bands from all over the world especially from America, Sweden and Poland. Which do you like the most?

Ah man, I suck at these kinds of questions... I don't really follow too much of the current scene aside from bands that we play with or bands that are friends of mine. The best newer Death Metal band I've seen in a long time is Necrot from Oakland, they really floored me. I also really like Madrost from Orange County and Seprevation from Britain, both of whom play kind of thrash / death hybrid a la early Death / Sadus / Kreator. I also really dig Mortuous, a death metal band featuring our original drummer Col and our old guitarist Mike Beams. They rule. 

Obviously they have the 'Big 4' of thrash, Who would your 'Big 4' of Death/Grind be and why?

To me... Napalm Death, Carcass, Entombed, and Death. Those are probably my all time favorites. Realistically, it would be Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Carcass, and either Suffocation / Napalm Death / Deicide / Obituary in the fourth slot. The whole “big four” thing is kind of silly, it's just a reductionist thing that the press uses to diffuse a really diverse and interesting movement into a quick, digestible sound byte. Exodus, Voivod, and really tons of other bands have always been more innovative and interesting than Megadeth or Anthrax (both bands I still like a lot) ever were, they just didn't sell as many units, despite being on major labels. The whole obsession with lists (see: every site on the internet) just does the same thing – turns things into a competition and compresses our way of thinking into narrower and narrower channels. Anyway, just my opinion. 

Thanks for your time Matt and I look forward to seeing you in the near future in Europe once again.