- Hello, Dustin! Alright, let's start with some of the origins and your main influences: when did you decide to start your own band and what were your main intentions, at least at first? What was the first line-up?
- Greetings and salivations, Tough Riffs!!! Church of Disgust started in 2010 with the desire to play heavy, no-frills filthy death metal. We were (and still are) inspired by bands like Cianide, Morbid Angel, Rottrevore, Bolt Thrower and Slugathor. The founding lineup was myself on guitar and vocals, my friend Tim Duffie on lead guitar, and programmed drums, since it was impossible to find drummers into death metal in small town northern Texas. We eventually moved to central Texas(San Marcos) and started jamming with Joshua Bokemeyer. Only Joshua and myself continued with the band, and after some time rounded out our lineup with Dwane Allen on drums and Travis Andrews on bass.
- How did you come up with that name? Did you have any other versions on the list too? Did you already know about Church of Misery band?
- Well, my friend Tim and I would often get drunk/stoned and blast Nunslaughter albums, so when we were seeking a name, we settled on Church of Disgust, finding it pretty fitting for our particular brand of filthy rotten death metal.
I was aware of Church of Misery at the time of naming the band, but obviously wasn't too concerned with there being any confusion. I haven't followed them much over the years, but did hear that Scott Carlson is now fronting them, which is pretty sick. Interesting fact, Stevo from Impetigo also had his own doom band named Church of Misery in the early 90's....not sure if the Japanese band was familiar with them or not.
- That would be interesting to see you on tour together with Church of Misery and Dead Congregation on top of that)) What do you think about that idea? Would you add any other band to fulfill the whole concept?
- Well, I doubt Church of Misery would have anything to do with us, but we'd certainly be honored to tour with the mighty Dead Congregation! Could maybe add Chapel of Disease to fit the theme, heh.
- Back to your band. How did it happen that you had to renew completely the band members? How and where did you meet Joshua? Could you remember your first rehearsals? Was there any kind of chemistry between you?
- The band was initially started in 2010 by myself and my good friend Tim Duffie. We eventually moved from the wastes of north Texas to San Marcos(central Texas) with a few other friends to get more serious, and eventually met Josh, where our mutual love of death metal quickly led to us jamming. Those first rehearsals were rough, but we quickly noticed that we were onto something and ran with it. Eventually, only Joshua and I continued with the band and recorded the first demo.
- In 2012 you released your first demo, released by 23 Tapes label. How and where did you record it? Say, was this label something that you came up with together? Because it has only one your release and that's it. How did you distribute that tape?
- We recorded the original self-titled demo ourselves on Texas Independence Day in our rehearsal room with very crude recording equipment/methods, hence the very crude sound, hah! The label was our good friend Mike's idea, as far as I know he did not do any other releases using that name. We xeroxed the covers I hand-dubbed every tape, and I mostly mailed them out to labels and musicians that I respected. The rest were either sold for a few bucks or handed out at shows.
- The following demo was released by the Spanish label, Filthy Cave Records. So, why Spain? Did you have anyone interested in releasing it in the States?
- Edu from Filthy Cave Records (which later became Equinox Discos) saw promise in our very crude demo and offered to do the next release. He did a great job with it, as did Torturdod with the cover art. At the time, we had no one stateside expressing much interest or replying to my snail mail.
- By the way, it was David Torturdod, from Undergang, who did your logo. How did it happen? How did you get in contact with him?
- I began writing to him, first through email, and then through snail mail in 2011 after seeing Undergang at the Chaos in Tejas fest with Acephalix and Hooded Menace, and after a bit of correspondence sent him our first demo, which he seemed to enjoy. We were in need of a proper logo, as I had drawn the very crude logo on our first demo, and I was a fan of the art he did for Undergang, as well as some other bands, and asked if he'd be interested in doing our logo, as well as the cover for our second demo, Invocation of Putrid Worship.
- Your first full-length came out in 2014, and was recorded by only you and Joshua. By that time you already had Travis and Dwane with you, but why didn't they participate? And what can you say about the recordings, how did it go?
- The timeline may be a bit mixed up here, as Joshua and I were the only members in the band when we did the first full-length, Dwane and Travis joined soon after, before the recording of our Dread Ritual EP. The recording itself was a bit rushed, recorded under time constraints at our rehearsal room in Joshua's old house. The recording process went smoothly, for the most part......lots of whiskey involved. I wish we could have had a bit more time to work on the songs, in retrospect....add some more dynamics, leads, etc. However, the recordings were then sent off to Spain to be mastered by Javi Bastard at Moontower Studios. He did a killer job, and the record came out heavy for sure.
- After that, how did the things go? Did the band got some recognition around the world or did you still have to work on it? Was the response to the record like you've expected it to be?
- Memento Mori did an excellent job getting the album out there, we were very happy with the reception. It didn't get us famous or anything, but it did get us some attention, and some opportunities were presented that gave us the ability to play some really cool shows across the USA. We weren't expecting much of a reaction at all, so I'd say the reception exceeded our expectations.
- The second full-length, "Veneration of Filth", was released in 2016. So, how different was it to work on it and record already as a quartet? Was it easier at some point?
- It was quite different when compared to the first album. It was easier in that Joshua and I weren't having to pull double-duty, and easier in that everyone was contributing. As a result, I feel like this is a much more focused and developed album, less bare-bones. I also feel that we're not trying to reinvent the genre, but our sound is much more refined and representative of what the band is about than our previous work.
- You wrote all the lyrics, so could you please develop a little bit on the main topics in your songs? And how do you think, are the texts in Death Metal songs so important to the listener? Are they important to you?
- My lyrics are mostly inspired by the literary world, my primary influences being the modern horror master Brian Keene, and his own Labyrinth Mythos. For those interested, many of his books reference thirteen ancient beings who survived the destruction of an old universe, and now dedicate themselves wholly to the destruction of ours, by infiltrating various worlds/realities. Another big influences is the work of H.P. Lovecraft. If you're reading this, I highly doubt you need an introduction to his work. Other influences include classic horror films and in a few cases, dreams I've had.
As for the importance of the lyrics, I place great importance in them myself. On the new album, I've definitely focused much more on lyrics than in the past, both to tell a story in each song and using different techniques to fit the mood/direction of the song.
- On that record you've got some guest vocals, and Mike Browning was one of them. How did you get them involved? And what was your choice based on?
- Yes, the album does feature some guest vocals...."Ripping Decay" has an appearance from Tobi Zama from the very sick Australian band, Sewercide. "Plague of Punishment" features Jamie Stewart from Disevered and The Absence. Both are close friends of ours, and their vocal styles differ from mine quite a bit, so we felt it would give the songs that extra touch. Mike Browning appearing on the final track, "Sunken Altar of Dagon" was something that we had discussed after we did some shows with Nocturnus AD. He knew we were huge fans of his work, and I mentioned that we had a song on our new album that fits his style perfectly, in both lyrical content and vocal delivery. He came to where we were recording, checked out the music and lyrics, gave input on the vocal patterns and then nailed the recording in one take-total pro!
- Putrid Matt did that sick cover for you. Were you involved into the process of its creation or was it his own vision for you?
- We wanted to give Putrid a lot of artistic freedom with the piece, because he's the master! We actually had him in mind for the next album right after Unworldly was released, as we had spoken briefly and he had expressed interest in doing art for us. For the cover, I only gave him a general idea of what we had in mind, and most importantly, it had to be FILTHY! He put a lot of work into it and we couldn't be more honored to have it on our album. Just wait for the upcoming vinyl release, it's gonna look nasty on an LP jacket!!
- Say, how often do you get to play live? Do people in States still go on the bands not with "big names" only? How is the local underground nowadays doing?
- Save for a few tours we've done, we don't get to play as often as we'd like, as the band is currently split between Texas and Florida. We've played a few shows with bigger bands, namely Nocturnus AD, Obituary, Macabre and a few others, but mostly stick to underground shows. As for the current state of the underground where we're from, Texas is definitely a force to be reckoned with.....the fans are true diehards, and the bands are diverse and fucking punishing! Blaspherian, Steel Bearing Hand, Morgengrau, Sacrocurse, Birth AD are just a few that come to mind, and of course legends like DIVINE EVE and IMPRECATION are still out there, still crushing. Since half of us live in Tampa, Florida it bears mentioning too....the scene here is cool, but don't expect to re-live the "glory days" of the 90s here. Some of the old guard bands are still together for the right reasons, and there are some really sick newer bands like Koroidia(south FL), Tyrants of Hell, Disevered, Sorcerer, Promethean Horde and Caveman Cult(south FL) that are definitely sick.
- You shared the stage with Nocturnus AD, Morta Skuld, Napalm Death and many others. What can you say about that experience? Any specific moments you liked the most? And is there any particular band you'd like to play/tour together with?
- Unfortunately, the fest that was to feature us and Morta Skuld never happened, the promoter was a flake, drug addict or some shit and cancelled.....but my favorite of the bigger bands we've ever played with was definitely Nocturnus AD. We did a short run of shows in Florida with them a while back, and it was a blast! Great guys, and it was a pleasure to watch them every night!
As for a particular band I'd love to do shows with, I'd have to say Morbid Angel, my favorite band. Cianide would be unreal too! We're actually playing the Destroying Texas Fest pre-fest in June, and they're headlining the actual fest, so that's pretty close I guess. There are also several bands that we're fans of that we'd love to tour/do shows with.....Torture Rack, Cemetery Filth, Ectovoid, Blaspherian, Anatomia....I could go on for a while!
- In the end, would you like to share with us some of your future plans? Will there be any European tour any time soon?
- We actually just got back from playing Famine Fest in Portland(very very sick fest)....up next is the Destroying Texas Fest pre-fest in June. A US tour is being discussed as well. We will also be releasing a split with Germany's Cryptic Brood(any labels interested in a 7" release please get in touch) in the near future as well, possibly another band as well. Also, the plans we've had for releasing Veneration of Filth have no panned out, so we are actively seeking a label interested in putting it out.
When it comes to playing Europe, we would love to, just waiting on the right offer! Any promoters reading, let's make it happen!
- Thank you for this interview, Dustin. Would you like to say a few words to our readers and all your fans?
- Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, thanks to those reading. WORSHIP RIFFS, ROT AND TOTAL DEATH, LET THE FILTH FLOW!