When I heard Slut Vomit’s release "Swarming Darkness” I knew I had to get them an interview for Pest so I emailed singer/guitar player Mike Larson and here is what he said to my questions:
Have you always lived in the Seattle, Washington area and were you around when the whole grunge scene broke out and whether you were or weren't is some of that stuff still popular in your neck of the woods?
I've lived in Washington my entire life and Seattle for the majority. Everyone in the band has, with maybe a few minor relocations during childhood.
We are all still fairly young (mid-late twenties) so that was some of the first "harder" music we'd ever heard. I honestly can say I haven't willingly listened to it in over 15 years and would just as soon Cobain myself than throw on any "grunge" record.
I am sorry to say that the shit is timeless here.
What sort of kid were you growing up and at what point in time did music start to really enter your life and what bands did you like?
I was always a hell-raiser. Ran with the wrong crowd, etc. etc. …And Justice For All was my first experience with Heavy Metal music when I was 9-10 years old. I really became obsessed with it about two years later when some older kids I hung out with showed me Slayer and Venom.
When did you decide to pick up and instrument and after that how long was it that starting up or joining band bug hit you?
I think I was 13 when I got my first guitar. Basically taught myself from Black Sabbath tabs and the like. Worked my way up to Slayer and went from there. I have always been a song-writer, though. I gave up reading tabs and playing other peoples songs after about two years. Eventually, I was able to learn most stuff by ear.
So take me through what led to the 3 of you getting together to form the group. Was their instant chemistry with all of you and were you all on board as far as what you wanted the band to sound like?
Polander (drummer) and I have been buds since we were in middle school. I basically turned him on to Slayer, Venom, Morbid Angel and the like. He had some drumming experience so we were destined to start a band once we acquired a slightly higher skill set. About a year later we started our first band, Metalstorm. I think we were 14. Thinking back on it, it wasn't too far off from Slutvomit, just far worse song-writing and playing ability and many more Slayer covers.
When Slutvomit was conceived, Po' and I had not spoken in a few years. I called him out of nowhere to see if he was interested in drumming. Kevin, was playing in the band Sanctum, before he joined Slutvomit. His band mate told him to come check out one of our early gigs and he was really into it. When Sanctum broke up, he called me immediately and I convinced him to join. The three of us are very close friends outside of the band and are on the same page 100% musically. I see them as invaluable to this band. We've had a hard time securing a second lead guitarist, until now. Our good friend, Patrick, is filling the place very well and the line-up is the strongest it has ever been!
So what were some of the early practices like? Did just fool around with some cover tunes and throw ideas back and forth?
As far as the early Slutvomit, we've only dabbled with the likes of Tormentor (Hun) and Sodom. The style was set from the beginning and will never be strayed from.
How did you come up with your name and were any other names thrown around and how much shit have got over it and who designed the cool cover?
The name is open for interpretation and of course, there is a story behind it, but what's the fun in unveiling that? The name is our biggest obstacle in dealing with new fans, reviews, etc. People either hate it or fucking love it. Not that it matters either way, to us, as it embodies us perfectly as individuals. I'm guessing you mean the logo (as you asked who designed the album cover in a latter question), I drew it.
So how long had the band been around before you decided to write some of your own tunes? How does a song come together and same with the lyrics?
We wrote original tracks before we decided to cover. I am my own worst critic, by far. For every song we have, I've discarded at least ten! I'm very slow and meticulous with the writing process. We make sure every song ages like cheap beer, rather than fine wine, before we allow its release. I can guarantee you this; Slutvomit will NEVER be a band that releases an album every year. We make damn sure the quality will be there and whether we regress or remain, the objective stays the same. Slutvomit will NOT let you down in delivering the filth!
What did your parents think of the band and have you played live and if you have has a parent ever gone to a show?
Jacob's mother came to a show once and left with a DUI.
Now in 2007 you released a demo called, "Satanic Slut Metal”. How did the recording for that go and looking back were you happy then with and how about now?
That recording conveys everything this band embodies then, now, and forever. I love it.
Did you send it around to various webzines and stuff and if you did what was the response like?
Mailed quite a few tapes to various labels. I think a few magazines reviewed it. Probably around 5 offers to officially release the tape. A couple to release the tape and EP on CD. We decided to just stick to the one press of cassettes, at the time, which very few were spread. Parasitic records, has since, released it on 7".
In 2009 you released an ep on Iron Bonehead Productions. How did you hook up with them and since it was 2 songs, was this a 7” inch release? How did you come up with the title for it?
We contacted Patrick for this release. He was into it. Since I did the entire artwork/layout myself, it took me a little while and with usual delays it didn't come to form until 2011. The material is from 2007 and recorded very soon after the demo. I consider this to essentially be a second demo. Any Heavy Metal can figure the origin of title.
Now did you go anything different the 2nd time you were in the studio?
The demo and EP were recorded by myself as "producer." Two mic's.
We fast forward to 2013 and you have a new release called ‘Swarming Darkness”, which I like a lot. Tell me about the recording process of this and how did you end up hooking up with Invictus Productions? Were any other labels interested in the band?
We had quite a few label offers at even the first demo stage of the band. Invictus were the clear choice and I honestly, couldn't be more happy with it! A truly honorable Heavy Metal label, ran by a true Heavy Metal maniac. What more could we ask for?
This was my first time entering an actual studio and I had no idea what I was in store for. I am happy with the recording, but I feel like a few things I was very adamant on, were blatantly ignored, and there just wasn't the time to take any steps back. Live and learn.
Who did the excellent cover art and have any places refused to print any of your stuff due to the name?
Marald Van Haasteren. No, but they should. I've tried to get new merch printed on three separate occasions and have been ignored three times after sending the specs. Fukk 'em!
How has been the reaction to it so far, as I said, it is a great album.
Thanks. The reaction has been so far as expected. Almost, all has been very positive. However, some seem to think the material is…. get this, UNORIGINAL? (what planet are they on-chris).
For someone who has never heard the band, what would you say you sound like and do you feel you are an original band?
To put it simply, we play Heavy Metal music the way we like Heavy Metal music. There was never one set band we tried to emulate and never attempted to be a "throw-back" band or retro at all. All of our influences play a role in the sound and I am nothing but flattered to hear people think we sound akin to classic-era Sodom, Possessed, Morbid Angel, Slayer, and Sarcofago. Hearing that right there would be enough to perk my ears as a Metal fan!
Is there any set plans as far as the band goes these days? What are some things you like to do when you’re not doing band related stuff?
A split EP with Finnish Obscure Burial is our next release. If you've yet to hear their demo yet (Invictus), do it! Some of the best Black/Death Metal I've heard in for-fukking-ever!! Material is written and being worked out currently. Expect more of the same. But better!
Polander (drums) lives about 100 miles north of us. So practice is limited strictly to weekends, if we're so lucky. However, he will be relocating this winter/spring and we will begin intensive practicing for a west coast and beyond tour! 2014 will finally bring us to be an absolute fully functional band, so look out and beware!
I enjoy drawing/painting outside of playing Heavy Metal. Art is my life, one way or another.
What are some things you love and hate about the underground metal scene?
I'm certainly not as excited with the current underground Metal scene as I used to be several years ago. There always was a LOT of bands, but it seems nearly impossible to keep up with it these days. I really enjoy discovering obscure Heavy Metal from the 70's and 80's, more so than any bands nowadays.
What are your thoughts on black metal these days?
I have minimal thoughts on black metal these days.
Dream concert line-up is:
Metallica, Megadeth, and an extremely large explosive device…. In all seriousness, I'd have Judas Priest & Mercyful Fate play the aftermath.
Favorite concert you have seen and favorite band you have not seen live yet?
My favorite concerts have all been Judas Priest shows of the last several years. Halford may not be all he used to be (guy is in his mid-60's, cut him some slack!!), but the band is fucking flawless and I love hearing my favorite songs played live. Seeing KISS for the first time a couple years ago BLEW my mind. Never have I seen such a dedicated performance! I just saw Black Sabbath for the first time this summer and that was phenomenal, believe it or not! Seeing the hooded demons, BLASPHEMY, a couple weeks ago was too fukking killer! Too many damn shows to mention.
I have never seen Mercyful Fate OR the King, so that's number one for me. Probably the only band I feel it imperative to see before my death. His music has had the utmost influence on my life. Hail the KING!
When can I expect a Soundgarden cover song to be recorded?
Bonus track on the LP version of Swarming Darkness.
Please plug any websites and where can my readers buy your new release and is the ep still around at all?
Invictus productions, of course. You can get ahold of me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to get it state-side. I'm sure it'll be around at all the big Black/Death distro's soon enough. Both EP's should be easy enough to find. For starters the label's that released them (Parasitic and Iron Bonehead).
Any last words horns up for the interview.
Questions by Chris Forbes
Answers by Mike Larson (g./v.)