Hey dudes! How is Harlots doing at the moment?
Harlots is doing well. We just completed our third tour in support of our newest record 'Betrayer' with bands The Destro and As Eden Burns, as well as a week of shows with Destroyer Destroyer. Right now we are gearing up for our upcoming tour with The Crinn at the end of February, and the European release of "Betrayer" on February 11.
Can you introduce the band to the ignorant Dutch audience?
Harlots originates from the Dayton, Ohio area and has now been around for 6 years. We just released our 3rd full length "Betrayer" on Lifeforce Records. We have released 2 other full lengths, 'This is the Second Death' (2006, Corrosive Recordings) and 'The Woman You Saw...' (2004, Feeling Faint Productions), as well as an EP "The Human War Machine" (2007, Corrosive Recordings). Musically the band is similar to bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge, Isis, and Between the Buried and Me. We play a very technical brand of metal, with melodic slower paced songs to change it up.
First of all, after hearing the new album 'Betrayer' I was very bummed because I had the chance to see you at least twice when I stayed in Iowa City and I did not know you already so I let it pass! Would you recall any of those shows?
Actually I keep track of all of the past shows in a blog on our Myspace. We have played Iowa City many times with the band Law of All Ends, and the bands that formed out of their break up Aseethe and Law is Dead. I think we were probably on tour with See You Next Tuesday or Amora Savant then.
Any chance I will get the opportunity to make up for it soon by buying you guys a beer over here in The Netherlands at a Harlots Euro tour?
I absolutely hope so! I got the opportunity to tour Europe once with Today is the Day, and we played a show in Tilburg I believe. I can't wait to come back!
What do you think about the Midwest metal scene (is there one?) Since you are from Illinois, are you part of the Chicago scene as well (with guys like Sanford Parker and Bruce Lamont)?
We actually are not from Chicago at all! Originally the band was formed in the Dayton, Ohio area, but has since spread apart. Our vocalist Christian Fillippo lives in Bloomington, Indiana, currently I am living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and our guitarist Eric Dunn and bassist Joshua Dillon both live in Tipp City, Ohio. We definitely are a Midwest band. The Midwest I think produces some quality bands, anywhere from Modern Life Is War to Veil of Maya to The Black Dahlia Murder to Mouth of the Architect. The Midwest is definitely where it's at.
Can you explain the title 'Betrayer'? Have you been betrayed by someone in the past? It does not have anything to do about you singing with a bigger record label has it?
The title has to do with the ninth circle of Hell, in which Lucifer is frozen with Judas Iscariot and Cassius are lodged in his jaw. Definitely on all records, a lot of ideas have been inspired by the darker aspects of Christianity. The title definitely has nothing to do with record labels. On an artistic level, I think we were all feeling very angry about things going on in our personal lives that really inspired the faster paced songs. The slower paced songs are about growing up and moving past the anger.
Looking back on the record do you think there is anything you would do different in the future?
I am definitely glad that we got that whole experience on tape and it is over with. I had a lot of things going on in my life that the angry aspects of that record definitely show. Being angry about things is never pleasant, so it feels great to get it out. At this point we're moving past that now and the topics we are writing about for the next record are a lot more epic and have a very uplifting vibe.
Do you already have thoughts about which way Harlots will develop soundwise? (like more or less crazy stuff or more of the dense parts?)
At this point I have a really good handful of songs demoed out for the next record. There is more of the technical metal for sure, and there are more dense parts. The next record is going to be even more of a clusterfuck of musical genres. Like I said earlier, the vibe of the songs thus far is very uplifting. It definitely has a long way to go at this point, but it is definitely going to be amazing. When we wrote "Betrayer" I thought to myself "There is no way I can top this." Now after hearing a handful of new songs, I can definitely say the next record is going to take you on the ride of your life.
Can you perhaps recommend some yet unknown underground metal bands from your area?
There are so many good bands from the Midwest. Some of my personal favorites are Destroyer Destroyer, Veil of Maya, The Crinn, A Second from the Surface, The Body Beneath, After the Burial, Lye By Mistake, Mouth of the Architect, Basilica, Plague Bringer, etc. Like I said, there are a lot of bad ass bands in the Midwest.
What is life like for a band of your size and musical genre to survive in these times of record label troubles and illegal downloading?
I try and stay positive about things. The truth of it is that we play music because we are musicians and will play music no matter what. If people are going to illegally download our record, so what. At least they are listening to it and paying attention. Hopefully they will understand that it is hard to make a band work and it definitely helps when people buy the records. We play heavy music and you have to accept that there is very little money in this.
What is your opinion on illegal downloading? Do you think it has effected your band already?
I understand why people do it. Money is rough, and there are way too many bands coming out. Too many bands and labels are trying to catch on the next big thing. That is more of a problem than illegal downloading. Metal and hardcore are getting very oversaturated with bands that are so mediocre. That's why the fans don't care and download music for free. Who has money to spend on CD's? People have to buy food and pay rent and pay for cars, etc. It would definitely be awesome if every person who downloaded our records came out to a show and bought one from us, but I'm not counting on it. I'm happy that they are at least taking time out of their day to listen to us.
So on to the new album, it is your third record right? Can you tell me a little bit about the period before signing to Life Force?
We were signed with Corrosive Recordings for our second album 'This is the Second Death' and 'Betrayer' was originally scheduled to come out on Corrosive. Things weren't working out between the label and the band at the time. We left Corrosive and all we had was this record. Lifeforce was talking to a band that I was drumming for at the time called Amora Savant. Amora Savant then broke up and Lifeforce and Harlots working together seemed like the logical thing to do.
Some of the tracks really pile out with riffs, how do you write your songs? I cannot imagine those fast technical songs start off as a jam in the rehearsal room do they?
A lot of parts are written separately. While I was playing with Today is the Day, we got the idea to write the drum parts of the songs first. A lot of songs I demoed on drums first, emailed an mp3 to Eric, and he wrote the guitar completely on his own. It was so weird being emailed our new songs and listening to them for the first time. I couldn't believe some of the guitar parts I was hearing.
Since you brought it up I became curious: can you tell me some more about your days with Today Is The Day and how that ended up?
It totally came out of nowhere. I was a fan of Today is the Day for years and I saw a news post on Lambgoat.com saying that they needed a new drummer. I emailed Steve Austin with a link to Harlots. Steve was into my drumming and within a week I was on a bus to Massachusetts to play in Today Is The Day. Over the course of two months we demoed four new songs and I learned around twenty songs. I got to play a handful of shows in the States and do a European tour with them. It was an amazing experience and I now have the band's logo tattooed on my arm as well as the cover of 'Temple of the Morning Star'. The thing about being in Today is the Day is that Steve was literally twice my age when I was playing with them. Steve and Chris were really good friends to me while I was in their band, but I don't think I ever totally saw eye to eye with Steve because of that huge age difference, and not to mention I am from Ohio and had no real interest in living in Massachusetts at the time. I do miss those guys though.
Wasn't it possible to a little Steve Austin guest-feature on the album just to boost up attention or would you rather do everything yourselves this time?
Getting someone from another band to do a guest-feature on our album to boost up attention is not on our agenda as a band. It would be fucking awesome to get to jam with Steve again, but not with those intentions.
What was the worst way someone described your music, and which one was the best?
One review I saw recently said that our record is "too dense to make sense", but that's not totally a bad thing. I think the main negative reaction to our music is just that some people don't understand what we're doing, but I'm OK with that. We have been told more than once that we are the best band that someone has ever seen. When you play in a metal or hardcore band, you have to understand that most people don't like heavy music and will never understand what you are doing.
The music is extremely varied; I can imagine your musical tastes are as well! Can you explain a little bit about your musical background and preferences/inspirations?
Growing up in Dayton, we had a handful of local bands that were all very influential to us, Twelve Tribes, Rune, and Dead Blue Sky. Seeing those bands all the time had an impact on us. I think some of the bands that we have played in, Today is the Day, Eyes Upon Separation, Kenoma, etc. have definitely had an influence on our sound. As far as personal preferences, we listen to all kinds of different music. Some of favorite bands recently are Refused, Beastie Boys, Sepultura, King Crimson, Mr. Bungle, etc.
If you had to agree on one single favorite band/artist with the whole band, which one would it be?
Neurosis is probably the most played band while we're on tour. Christian and I rock First Blood quite a bit. Other bands that are played in the van are Propagandhi, Strung Out, Ignite, Solidarity, Undying, etc.
What are your direct plans for the future?
We have a tour with The Crinn lined up at the end of the month, as well as a one off show with Dead to Fall and With Dead Hands Rising. We're going to keep touring on 'Betrayer' for now, and hopefully by the end of the year we can come overseas and rock some shows.