Cosmic Atrophy is two guys who are so hardworking, their first album,
“Codex Incubo,” came out in the same year they formed. Impressive, huh? Playing
a very open-minded form of sci-fi Death Metal that has already found its
audience across different discussion boards, you might never hear from these
guys again—remember, “might”—but their frontman sure has a lot to say about
almost everything. Here’s Corey Richards on his music, his partner in crime (one
Juan Garcia), and the meaning of inspiration.
What is it about you that everybody is going crazy over? Is it the band’s
name? “Cosmic Atrophy” has this special ring to it, y’know?
Corey: Well, I don’t know if what I’ve seen can be considered ‘crazy’ just
yet, but there has been a lot of positive response so far. I think mostly that
can be attributed to the fact that we are doing something a bit different from
the rest of what’s going on in death metal today. I don’t necessarily mean to
imply originality, as our influences and inspirations are quite clear… but I
think if you take a quick survey of modern death metal bands, most of them will
be playing very brutal death metal, hyper technical death metal, deathcore, or
some variant on the slam-death Suffocation sound. We’re kind of straying from
Kidding aside, how’s it going? Are you and Juan still getting along? You’re
fluent in Spanish right? Can you converse with your teammate in Spanish?
Oh, absolutely. Juan is an awesome guy; he’s very fun to hang out with and
just a great human being. Unfortunately I’m not ‘quite’ fluent yet, but I have a
rather decent understanding given my time studying. I expect I will be fluent by
the end of the year. I neglected my studies last year but I am picking them up
again, and much progress has already been made.
You know I’m wondering, with just two guys in the band, what do you talk
about aside from music? I mean, when there are four of you then there’s a sort
of round table discussion. But with just two bro’s in the band…I can’t imagine
how you manage a professional heterosexual relationship whose foundation is
Metal. Well, unless you’re Satyricon…Anyway, so what do you and Juan talk about
aside from Cosmic Atrophy and guitars?
We talk about other bands, movies, what we should be drinking later on, and
what the hell we’re going to do for the rest of the day when we’re not
practicing or recording. It’s just like any other friendship except we also
happen to make music in addition to chilling.
going to ask for a timeline next. Can you tell the whole Cosmic Atrophy story
from the moment you came up with the idea for a band, teamed up with Juan, and
then released “Codex Incubo”?
Alright, basically it’s something like this: I met Juan in a chat room of
all places. He was asking if anyone lived in Houston, to which I replied yes. I
came to find out he recently moved here from Colombia, so he was an outsider
just like me (I had recently moved to Houston from Biloxi, MS). So we just got
together at my place and hung out for a while, then talked about jamming
together and seeing if anything could come of it. I had expressed to him my
desire to start a very specific kind of death metal band with a very specific
sound, and he was just fine with that. He’s a big thrasher by nature whereas
I’ve got a bit more of a progressive metal influence, so it’s an interesting
combination. We basically just recorded for about eight months in 2008 from
January to August, and that’s how our debut album came to be.
When you first met Juan in person, did you go “Hey man, you have the same
name as that guy from Agent Steel”? Do you actually listen to Agent Steel?
Actually when I first met him I did not make the connection. It wasn’t until
a couple weeks down the road when I was listening to Agent Steel did I notice,
and I notified him of the face. He also does listen to Agent Steel. If I
remember correctly they are one of his first metal bands, too. Very cool
Let’s now move on to business, meaning music. You released “Codex Incubo” the
same year you formed. Most bands don’t do that. What’s you secret? Did a lot of
the material just come together in a flash of brilliance or were most of the
songs done long before Cosmic Atrophy was formed?
The quick pace in which we record is mostly of my doing. I have a specific
method for writing and recording, and it allows for a lot of efficiency and
timesaving. Basically any time we’d get together on a weekend we would have one
song written, so we naturally work quickly with each other as well.
were the first bands that put music into your life? Is there anything else you
do aside from being a musician?
Hmm, I think I’ll have to name drop some classics here. Iron Maiden, Black
Sabbath, Judas Priest, ACDC and Death were all bands that I listened to while in
my early years, especially the first four on account of my dad being a huge
rocker. I started to get into more extreme metal around 12 I suppose it would
be. It wasn’t until I was 13 or 14 did I actually start playing music, though.
Originally I had aspirations to become a graphic designer or some form of
artist, as art is my original passion (and still I am into it quite a bit).
Aside from music I love to draw and paint, I am also an avid fan of Mixed
Martial Arts both as a spectator and a practitioner. I used to be a big gamer
but in recent years I’ve fallen out of that, but from time to time I’ll play
How did you nail a recording deal and distribution? Trust me on this, our
readers would love to know the details. Tell us how you got in touch with the
right people and worked out the details. Thanks.
To be frank it was much simpler than someone would probably think. All I did
was contact as many small extreme metal record labels as I could, presenting
them with our material and our desire to have a distribution deal. Eventually we
got a couple that expressed interest in working with us and that’s how it
happened. I’d say the most important thing is to ‘just do it’ (Don’t sue me
please, Nike). Instead of worrying about whether you’re too small and unknown,
whether your demo isn’t as perfect as possible, you should just give it a shot.
Of course you *should* make sure your material is rather presentable, but beyond
having decent music and production, don’t fret over every little detail.
Now how did you actually learn about taking care of the details surrounding
albums and music? Did you spend hours on the internet chatting with people on
discussion boards to learn how to become your own producer and all those other
stuff about hardware and recording studios?
That’s a good question. I went to college for a degree in audio engineering,
so I was already qualified to produce my own album from the start. I still do
talk with other engineers and producers however as you can always learn
What’s going on in the cover art for “Codex Incubo”?
The cover art is a picture I drew some years ago. I have a rather decent
sized collection of these ‘aliens’ that I’ve crafted and I thought this one was
very suitable to represent our album. It’s essentially a “star-spawned tyrant”
alluded to on track number three.
Which songs from the album have listeners taken a liking to the most?
The three most well-liked songs, it seems to me, are “Prelude to
Phantasmagoria,” “Cydonic Adulations,” and “Doomed by the Cancer Domus.”
Does Cosmic Atrophy plan to tour or do shows in support of “Codex Incubo” or
are you too busy with the follow up album at the moment?
At the moment we have no plans of doing anything live. Right now is a hectic
time and we also just don’t have the manpower. I’m sure I could find talented
musicians that could join us on the road but as it stands, I wouldn’t count on
it. Maybe in the future.
When you listen to “Codex Incubo” are you totally satisfied with everything
or do you notice small details that could have been tweaked and changed? Do
these things annoy you?
Oh, absolutely. There are things that I don’t like about the album. In
retrospect I have made most of these errors in the production. It could be a bit
heavier and grittier, and it could also do with some better level management. I
was just very excited to release an album, I think, and so I rushed through it
to its detriment. The next one is being crafted much more carefully and will
address these issues.
How soon can the world expect the new Cosmic Atrophy to be ready?
I’d say probably three to five months depending on how much time we have to
record. It all revolves around our schedules.
Will there be anything new on it or will the same sound of “Codex Incubo”
This is another excellent question, here. The next album will be somewhat of
a shift from the Demilich-influenced tunes on “Codex Incubo”. If you’d take a
look at our myspace page (
www.myspace.com/atrophyhouston ) you can listen to “2009 Teaser Track” and
get a pretty good idea of the sound we are going for. It’s more elaborate,
gloomier, and sinister. We will not completely ditch the strange, angular riffs
that have made their debut in “Codex Incubo,” though. I don’t think fans of the
debut will be disappointed at all.
there a strong desire in you to try bagging a record deal with your music? Do
you believe in Cosmic Atrophy enough to one day see it embark on a tour? Or will
it permanently remain a bedroom project?
I would in fact like a good record deal for Cosmic Atrophy. If it doesn’t
happen, that’s no big loss to me though, as we will continue to make music. I
just think it would be very beneficial to us and our fans because there would be
an increase in the quality of sound (we could buy better gear and such) and the
quality of the artwork and design for the albums, and the distribution would be
much more widespread. I do believe that Cosmic Atrophy would be successful as a
performing band, but as I answered earlier I just don’t see it happening in the
very immediate future, maybe some day.
Do you know how to take criticism? What if all of a sudden the reception to
your music broadens and naturally, the more people listen to it, the more
variety there is in their reactions, and some of them are bound to be negative.
So this goes back to the initial question—can you take criticism from any
I like to believe so. Like any person that is passionate about their own
art, they can perhaps get a bit too involved in the opinions of others and I may
be guilty of this. However I also know how to evaluate critique as a sensible
person and so far everything has been going good. We’ve had a few negative to
average reviews (in relation to the rating) so far. What I do is examine what
the person has to say, cross-reference it with my own opinions of the music and
see if I think it’s a big enough issue for us to look into. On major things such
as musical direction and style, I don’t think we will change that. But minor
issues concerning production, or technique… the reviewer really might be on to
something. So yeah, I really do think we’ll handle any form of critique well
What music do you listen to when too much metal is giving you a headache? Do
you just switch everything off and stare out the window. Seriously now man, I’m
not kidding. When listening to too much metal my brain starts to throb so I take
a break. How about you? You pop anything to soothe your battered ears?
Well, I listen to metal most of the time, but as you say there are periods
when I just need something else. When those times come I listen mostly to psy-trance,
ambience (dark or otherwise), orchestral music, chant, folk music from all over
the world, and quite a lot of video game music and film scores.
It saddens me to say this but our time is up Cosmic Atrophy. But let me ask
you one last question: How many hours of practice, sweat, and musical immersion
did it take for you to reach where you are right now?
No problem Miguel, thanks for doing this interview with me. We really
appreciate the time you’ve given us. To answer your question; however many hours
21 years is. Cheers man, take care!