Terrible Old Man

Can you name one metal band from Maine? I know it’s hard but they are there. You just have to look harder. Terrible Old Man might have taken their name from H.P. Lovecraft but there’s nothing old or dusty about their metal. Anders Ekdahl ©2011

I haven’t decided if the band name is a good one or a bad one. What’s the story behind it?
-Our name is the title of a short story by horror-legend H.P. Lovecraft. It is a wicked story, and a catchy band name. At first it may seem a bit strange, but it definitely fits, and it is easy to remember.

There must be a reason to why you play thrash/death metal and not some of the more trendy metal variants. What is so good about thrash metal?
-We were all born in the eighties, the era of the emergence of death and thrash. We grew up listening to it; Metallica, Slayer, Pantera. Of course, we all witnessed the commercialization of metal in the nineties as well, and we know the awful music that it produced. With Terrible Old Man we play the music that we would want to listen to. It’s certainly modern (this is inescapable), but the influence of classic thrash and death on our riffs, drumming, lyrics, and vocals is unmistakable. Of course, classic heavy metal also has a large influence on our songwriting. We love us some Judas Priest.
-But I think with our new material we have upped the death, and turned down the thrash. It’s heavier, darker, and groovier, with obvious odes to prolific death metal gods Behemoth, Cannibal Corpse, Immolation, and Morbid Angel.

To me there’s a political/social conscious side to thrash metal lyrics that has more in common with punk. When writing lyrics what do you focus on?
-As the sole lyricist, I deal very little with the political or the social. Heavy metal is an escape from reality, and that is mirrored in my lyrics. I prefer to weave tales of fantasy, horror, the occult, witches, extraterrestrials, doomsday scenarios, grave robbing, etc. I am largely influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien, H.P. Lovecraft, Ronnie James Dio, King Diamond, and my upbringing in a conservative Christian household. I have no agenda with my lyrics, but certainly there is an underlying message in these stories, and that is that Religion is a disease that must be eradicated.

I can’t think of that many older/newer heavy metal bands from Maine. Is it such a small state that there’s not really a metal scene with active bands?
-Maine’s metal scene is very small. There are a great number of bands content with remaining ‘local,’ playing the bars on Friday nights, and writing watered-down nu-metal anthems. However, there are also some really fantastic metal bands, including (but not limited to) our friends in Waranimal whom play a crusty Mastodon-meets-Motorhead type of metal, our friends in Falls of Rauros whom play blackened folk metal in the vein of Agalloch and Alcest, and our friends in the progressive death metal act Last Chance to Reason whom recently released a new album on Prosthetic Records. Of course, I also perform in a post-metal band called Dead Sun, Dead Earth, and I have two solo projects: the cosmic doom of Hallowed Butchery and the hate-filled black metal of Vomitus.

When building a following what is the most important thing to think about?
-The most important thing is the music. You can have gimmicks, and gnarly imagery, and ‘a crazy frontman’, and badass t-shirts, but if you don’t have the music to back it up, then you’re nothing. You need to consistently melt your audiences’ faces. Give them a killer live show, and they’ll keep coming back for more. And in this age, building an online presence is mandatory.

Are there any advantages to being from a smaller state in terms of gaining publicity, playing live or just being alone in doing what you do?
-There is less competition, but that also means that there are less bands to play with and less venues to play at. Being so isolated definitely requires a lot of travel, but with the internet, it is much easier for someone in another state, country, or continent to hear your music.

I hear of more and more bands that abandon MySpace as a forum to spread your band’s name. What other social medias do you recommend/use to further the band’s name/reputation?
-Facebook is definitely the big one right now, but a few other great sites are BandCamp, Big Cartel, and Reverb Nation.

What kind of response have you had so far to your demo?
-The reviews were sparse, but it was well-received. Most were really surprised at how well written and how well recorded it was. Many demos tend to be sloppy and under produced.

In today’s music climate signing with a label might not always be the best option. Would releasing an album on your own be an option and what measures would you take in doing so?
-What labels have that bands don’t is money and connections. However, with five members in a band, it makes it much easier to afford recording costs, CD production, online promotion, etc. The more that a band can do itself, the better off it will be. Self-reliance is key. With our forthcoming full-length album, we are recording the majority of it ourselves, doing the artwork ourselves, and probably producing the CDs ourselves, along with promoting it ourselves. However, if a small label wanted to help with the costs, promotion, and distribution, we would be thrilled and very grateful.

If Terrible Old Man was offered a tour with a big band who would you want to tour with and why?
-We all have different ‘favorites’ in the band, but I’m fairly certain that we would all love to tour with DOWN. All the dudes in that band are idols of ours, and their music is absolutely perfect. In fact, our new material has a definite DOWN influence; the numerous sludge metal parts in our new songs is undeniably indebted to their greatness, and to the greatness of all of the members’ other bands. DOWN rule.
-Thank you very much for the interview. Check our official Facebook frequently for information regarding the forthcoming, debut full-length album. And while you’re waiting, be sure to pick up a t-shirt from our official webstore.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/terribleoldman
Store: http://terribleoldman.bigcartel.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/terribleoldman
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/terribleoldmanband
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/TerribleOldMan

Related Links:
Hallowed Butchery: http://www.hallowedbutchery.com

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