Faithxtractor are a great old school death metal band and here is a interview
with main band member Ash.
Chris Forbes: Have you lived in the Cincinnati, Ohio area all your life?
How is it there these days? Is it a good metal scene with many clubs, fans, etc?
Ash : Yes, I’ve lived here my whole life. Things are fine here at the
moment… still surprisingly cheaper in the cost of living department compared to
other cities. The scene is decent these days. More good bands than say 7-10
years ago, which is nice. Definitely had some trying shit times in the late 90s
through the early 2000s. Much better now.
So early on how did you discover the underground metal scene and what
were some of the first bands you heard? Did you take right to this kind of music
or did it take a few listens before you really got into it?
As far as the tape trading scene, that would have been early 1991. But I was
already into Death Metal heavily by this point with bands like Autopsy, Death,
Morbid Angel, Grave, Entombed, Carcass, Obituary, etc. First demo bands I got
into thru fanzines were Phantasm, Morta Skuld, & Mortal Dread. Great stuff!! I
got into Death Metal right away from when I heard it in I would say 89. There
was no ‘learning to like or understand it’ for me. I always gravitated to the
next extremity, & to me it was naturally progression from say Kreator & Sodom
who I also loved.
Ash your 1st release you did everything yourself. Why was this? Looking
back what are your thoughts on your 2006 demo? Can you listen to it these days?
My main band at this time that I played guitar for was Estuary. This
band had a full line up, & was pretty active during 2003 to 2009. However, I had
a desire play some really stripped down, no frills Death Metal. Estuary
musically was/is more technical & musically involved with heavy Thrash leanings
mixed with Death Metal. I always played drums on the side & in other bands as
well as guitar, & it seemed logical & fun to just write some songs & knock it
out. Yeah, I can still jam it from time to time. The tunes are essentially just
more raw versions of the 1st album tunes.
Before I go on, Ash your in several other bands, Shed the Skin, The
Vladimirs, and Crucified Mortals. How in the hell do you find time to rotate all
Well, I just love to play, & it’s not like all these bands are rehearsing all
the time weekly. The Vladimirs is on hiatus, Crucified Mortals is still just a
studio only band, & for Shed the Skin we all do our homework on our own & just
come together for gigs usually doing a quick rehearsal day of show. Haha.
Now in 2008 you released a split on Hells Headbangers with one of your
other bands your in, Crucified Mortals. You also added another band member,
Marquis Thomas. Where did you find him from and how did the songs for this split
release come together and are you happy with this split release and is it still
for sale these days?
Well, I wasn’t in Crucified Mortals at the time of the split LP. Just good
friends with Craig ‘Reaper’ Horval. He was really into the Faithxtractor demo,&
actually just wanted to use those songs for the split. We did use those songs,
but also wrote 2 exclusive tunes for the split LP for a total of 4 songs. As for
Marquis, he’s my younger brother, so I’ve known him basically my whole life
minus 2 years hahaha. I asked if he wanted to get involved with writing some
songs for the full length, which he did. As for the 2 exclusive split LP songs,
I wrote them, but he did do some vocals & instrumentation.
Now also in 2008, you 2 released a full length on Aphotic Records called
“Razing The World of Myth”. Who put together the killer cover for this release?
How come this didn’t come out on Hells Headbangers? How was it working with
A friend of mine Tony Koehl did the cover art based off a detailed concept I
came up with. He also did the Estuary “Craft of Contradiction” cover art a year
or so earlier. He’s a real standup, good dude. I don’t think the guys at HHR
even heard Faithxtractor until the split LP with Crucified Mortals. Even though
both the 1st full length & the split came out in 2008 the album was finished by
late spring of 2007. It just didn’t surface until about a year later. Aphotic
Records was ran by the same people who ran Blood & Guts Records. B & G had
released some The Vladimirs material, but wanted to do a more Metal devoted
label as well, so they started Aphotic. I sent them the demo, & they offered to
put it out. They were really cool about everything, but things just kind of
ended for the label suddenly and it was dissolved. The only 2 releases they did
were the Faithxtractor “Razing…” & TME (A Swedish Thrash band) records.
How easy did the songs come together for this release? What are your
thoughts on this release these days and is it still for sale? Did you start to
feel that the Faithxtractor sound was starting to come together? “Razing…” was very easy to write. The idea was to make simple, hateful,
catchy Death Metal songs, & that’s what it is. A ton of D-beat & head bangage,
that was the sound & that’s what it is. The only limitation was my drumming
ability at the time. I did just fine for what is was, but I’m light years from
this album as a drummer now.
How did you come up with your band name and logo? Were a bunch of other
names thrown around? I thought of the name while at work one day. Just running my printing
press, & trying to come up with something that encompassed what the band was to
be about. Basically a “fuck your beliefs” motif…whatever they are. Going with
the X as opposed EX kind of revolved the logo. I was just fucking around with
logo ideas& using the X simply looked better & more symmetrical. It’s funny
these days… People seem to have a problem with the X. Are people more retarded
now than they used to be? Or maybe they relate it the ‘straight edge’ scene?...Something
I couldn’t care less about. Hahaha I like X’s in Metal band names…. Silenxce, X-creta
, plus it has a starring role in tic-tac-toe… You happy now you fucking X!!??!!
Now it took 5 years before we heard some new music from the band why was
this? Ah man, life was just happening. I was taking care of my aging
Grandparents, working a shit ton, & just not sitting down & jamming that much.
It just kind of happened that way. We did do a 3 song promo in 2011, but didn’t
distribute it widely at all. All those songs ended up on “The Great Shadow
Now finally in 2013 we got a new full length from the band called “The
Great Shadow Infiltrator” on Deathgasm Records. How did you end up on Deathgasm
Records? How was it working with them and had your sound changed at all from
2008 till 2013?
Well, Evan is a long time friend, & he was into putting it out. Another good old
time friend of mine, Billy Nocera, was originally going to put it out on
Razorback Records. This didn’t end up happening, because Billy wasn’t into the
original cover art at all. It was too modern & computer generated for him. No
worries…it didn’t affect our friendship at all. But being as I had the cover
art, I still wanted to use it, I hit up Evan, & he was down with putting it out.
As for the sound, I think the songwriting is stepped up from “Razing…”. “Razing…”
has zero guitar solos, where “The Great Shadow Infiltrator” has a bunch. I
definitely progressed as a drummer, & was able to do some better blasting &
double bass stuff. I also recorded the whole thing at my house, which was a
personal achievement. I definitely was living in a bubble & didn’t have a ton of
contact with people during this album’s recording. Weird times…
How did you come up with the title for your album and again who came up
with the killer cover for this release? The great shadow to me is the veil that enshrouds our human existence.
The illusions, the bullshit lies, etc. So, “The Great Shadow Infiltrator” is the
Faithxtractor. Basically, it sees through all the falsehoods. The original cover
art was done once again by Tony Koehl. Has a very sci-fi, modern look to it. A
lot of people really dislike this cover, but I’m cool with it. I should’ve had
him remove the shooting scientist, but it reminded me of the old “Smash TV”
arcade game…hahaha . I did have Mark Riddick do an alternate version of the
cover art, & it’s just more fitting for our sound. Although, they look different
they still portray the same concept more or less. Tony’s is just more modern
whereas Mark’s version kind has an ancient meets future look. That’s more on
point with the band’s philosophy I would say. The cassette version of “Great
Shadow…” has the Riddick art. The CD, Koehl’s art.
This release marked the final release with singer/guitar player Marquis
Thomas. What happened between the 2 of you and was the parting away from you 2
on cool terms? I mean obviously it is your band so did you just kinda wanna go
in a different direction of sorts? Oh yeah, we’re brothers, so we’re good for life…haha. Basically, he
didn’t want to be part of the live stuff, & that’s the road the band was going
to be heading down. I totally understand all that on his part. Up to late 2013
the band was strictly a studio project band.
In 2015 we got a 2 song Ep from you. Who played on this independent
release? This EP has myself on drums/vocals, Zdenka Prado on bass, & Cody Knarr
Now in 2016 Austenitized Records put this out as a limited 7”. Is this
release still for sale or is it sold out? The 7” version is still available. You can still get it through Luke at
Austenitized & Hells Headbangers carries it still as well I believe. I also have
some copies that we sell at gigs, etc. The original cassette version is sold out
Now before the recording of the bands latest album, “Proverbial Lambs to
the Ultimate Slaughter”, Ash you got 2 new members. First off, how did you find
bass player Zdenka? Did you think of her right away as you played in one of her
bands (Estuary)? And then how did you find guitar player Cody Knarr?
Zdenka has been in the band since we decided to go live with the band in 2013.
Cody joined in 2014 after the drummer & other guitarist decided it wasn’t for
them & left the band. Zdenka actually helped generate the idea of taking the
Faithxtractor material live. Estuary had gone on hiatus, & we both just wanted
to do something& play live. We met Cody here in Cincy through his old band
Unkured. He was a cool kid, & into much of the same stuff we are into. Zdenka
asked if he wanted to join, & he was into the idea.
Now you stopped playing guitar and are just playing drums and singing.
Is it hard to sing and play drums? Did you ever give the thought of having
Zdenka sing at all as she has sang in the band Estuary in years past? I started playing drums live out of necessity originally, because
drummers are always the hardest to find. I do enjoy it though…love it actually.
Surprisingly, for me, playing drums & doing vocals isn’t that difficult…I
actually find playing guitar & doing vocals more challenging at times. For
whatever reason, the body to action separation is easier when playing drums&
doing vocals.Now how soon when you got the 3 of you together did you start to put
material together for your newest and killer release on Hells Headbangers called
“Proverbial Lambs to the Ultimate Slaughter”? Did any of them 2 help with any of
the music or lyrics at all? I had been writing “Proverbial…” during the first incarnation of the
live band, so I had a lot of material already. Most of the music& all the lyrics
are my creation, but Cody did write the riffs to “The Slaughter Ultimate” & came
up with a ton of killer guitar solos. Everyone’s input was invaluable, & helped
shape the album.
Speaking of lyrics, what are some of the things that you write about and
are lyrics easy for you to write? How about music is music easy to come by and
how do you decide what is a Faithxtractor song and not a song from one of your
other 3 bands? Faithxtractor lyrics reflect my life philosophy, my outlook on the
world, my thoughts of loss & death, & good chunk of them are based on conspiracy
theories that interest me. Whether you’re in to that sort of thing or not is one
thing…regardless…I find many of the concepts behind conspiracy theories very
interesting & song worthy. Lyrics sometimes are easy, & sometime take a bit
longer for inspiration. It’s just depends on how I’m feeling at the time. Riffs
are always coming, just from sitting down & playing guitar. Faithxtractor is the
main band I write for these days, so there’s no question of whether to use a
riff or not for this band anymore. My role in the other bands I’m in is to do a
good job with my instrument & help convey the ideas of the main writers in those
So was it easy to hook back up with Hells Headbangers after the band
being away from them so long? Craig Horval helped a lot with that, & the solid release that was the
“Total Death Illumination” EP also got the rest of guys at HHR into putting out
the “Proverbial…” record. I love the label. They are great people.
Now Ash, are Zdenka and Cody full time members of the band now? If not
what do you consider them then? Yes, they are definitely full time members.Now you recorded this at your own studio, Frequenscream. Did Hells
Headbangers give you a budget or did the recording come out of your pocket? How
long were you in the studio and did anybody else produce it or did you produce
it yourselves? I tracked everything here at the house, which is Frequenscream. The
deal was we would handle the entire recording, & HH would handle all the layout
& manufacturing costs. We had a local friend named Luke Sackenheim do all the
mixing & mastering for the album & that was a great choice. He was able to get
such a way better result than I could have achieved with this release. It’s nice
sometimes to have someone else’s input to get a different/better vibe. In the
case of “Proverbial…” it was huge!
For those who have never heard of the band, what would you say the band
sounds like? Who came up with that killer cover for your new album? The band’s sound is dark & haunting Death fucking Metal. The cover art
for “Proverbial…” was done by Mark Riddick & dates back to 2014. I had him work
this up, so long ago & we just recently were able to use it. I love it.
Has the band played live much and do you hope to do any type of touring
behind this release? Have you ever had 2 of your bands play on the same show in
one night? Yeah, we’ve played a lot of gigs since 2013. Definitely hope to do some
kind of touring for this album even if it’s just small runs. And yes, I’ve
definitely played shows were 2 of the bands I’m in play the same night. I’ve
done that quite a bit actually.
Ash, thanks for putting out your amazing latest release. Horns up for
the chat and any last words, the floor is yours? Thanks for the interview!!! And thanks for the kind words on the new
album!! To everyone else, check out our newest album “Proverbial Lambs To The
Ultimate Slaughter”. If you’re into total death, you won’t be disappointed.
ONLY RIFFS ARE REAL….