Conversations with Metal Music Scene Members

In August of 2015, in collaboration with our partners at evenko, a Montreal-based entertainment production and promotion company, and Grimposium, we conducted a series of interviews with musicians who performed at the Heavy Montreal festival. The interviews were fairly organic and semi-structured by nature – they probed musicians’ motivations in exploring darker facets and themes of social import including death, dystopia, loneliness and racism (amongst many others). We present these interviews to you as a way to expose elements of criticality and reflexivity in the scene, especially as members of the scene discuss some of the complex factors impacting the politics and economics of the metal scene.  

Hiran Deraniyagala from Battlecross speaks with Vivek Venkatesh in this interview. Hiran talks about how social issues are addressed in metal including the global nature of metal. He also talks about belonging, metal as an outlet for anger, metal elitism, and Detroit.  

Travis Ryan and Josh Elmore from Cattle Decapitation speak with Natalie Zina Walschots in this interview. Travis and Josh talk about chemistry in bands and changes in vocal style. They also talk about humanity, the environment, and religion.  

John Gallagher from Dying Fetus speaks with Jason Netherton in this interview. John talks about changes to the metal scene. He touches on freedom of speech versus hate speech. 

Ivar Bjørnson and Grutle Kjellson from Enslaved speak with Vivek Venkatesh in this interview. Ivar and Grutle talk about their influences. They also talk how they receive both criticism and support. 

Ihsahn from Emperor speaks with Vivek Venkatesh in this interview. Ihsahn talks about the evolution of black metal. He also talks about freedom of speech and censorship.

J.R. Hayes from Pig Destroyer speaks with Jason Netherton and Vivek Venkatesh in this interview. J.R. talks about controversy and criticism in metal as well as his own strong feelings again censorship.

Scott Kelly from Neurosis speaks with Natalie Zina Walschots in this interview. Scott talks about his creative process, the antisocial nature of what they are doing, and the intelligence of the fans. 

David Davidson and Ash Pearson from Revocation speak with Natalie Zina Walschots in this interview. David and Ash talk about dystopia, the environment, privacy, and sexual impulse.  

Jason Rockman from Slaves on Dope speaks with Vivek Venkatesh in this interview. Jason talks about his core values, gender equality, and the conscientious use of social media. 

Chuck Billy from Testament speaks with Vivek Venkatesh in this interview. Chuck talks about community, policing of the scene, Native American heritage, and social media. 

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