February 21, 2021

Exclusive Carcinoma Interview + Full Album Stream.


Interview by Trevor Proctor.

I last spoke with Carcinoma close to three years ago, a few weeks ahead of the release of their split, Apanthropinization, which they shared with Abyssal. With their debut album 'Labascation' just released we felt it was time for another catch-up - many thanks to both Carcinoma and Rat King Records for arranging this exclusive interview. 

Hi, many thanks for agreeing to another interview with me for The Lair of Filth, your time taken to answer these questions is very much appreciated. We last spoke in March 2018, a few weeks prior to your split release with Abyssal – are you pleased with the reception Apanthropinization received, can we hope to see a vinyl release of the split and are there any plans for future releases with Abyssal?

You’re very welcome, thanks for having me back. Yeah I’m happy with the reception, it slipped under the radar a little initially but it’s done well and we’ve had solid feedback from it since. When considering it was the only release we had aside from a demo at the time I am pleased with the results, as far as a vinyl release we’ll have to see, it’s certainly an option if people are interested enough and it’s certainly possible to do another split, we’ll see. 

My only time seeing Carcinoma live was at the gig with Cryptworm and Pale Mist in November 2018, have you had many other live performances since then?

Ulcerate was a special one for us, Primitive Man, Cryptworm and Pale Mist as you said to name a few, we’ve been fortunate to play with some of the best bands in the world over the last few years but 2019 was a quieter year gig wise, we only played some and turned down quite a few as we chose to focus on the album more than anything else, being our first album we really went through everything deeply and thoroughly to make sure we had it how we wanted it.

You sent me a digital copy of your album early last year, I’ve had several listens to it since and am very impressed - how happy are you with the final recording?

I don’t think I could be more pleased with the final recording, I feel it’s the most accurate representation of our sound at present, it was very important to me that we tried to capture a genuine fragment of the music we make and I believe we’ve managed to do that.   

Could you tell us a bit about the writing process, who writes the lyrics etc. and was the album written over a long period of time?

The music is some older songs which we wanted to record and some were written for the album during 2019. I (S.Dean) write all the lyrics and the majority of the music, I’ll assemble the skeleton of a song and usually from there is when we all throw in and flesh it out. I have the song in my head for a long time before I even touch the guitar or write it down so I have an idea of what things should sound like, what mood it should reflect or what the purpose of the section is within the song but it’s the work we do together when they add their touch and style to it which is special to me. 
I cannot play the way they do or add their style to it or think the way they do about the music through their ears; when they add their elements is when it becomes Carcinoma

Where was Labascation recorded, who produced the album and did the recording process go as well as you’d hoped?

We initially recorded a demo of the whole album in D.Couch’s home studio which was just for ourselves really so we could make edits to songs, work out the albums structure etc. but after it went so well we ended up recording the drums and vocals this way and then went to Priory Studios with Greg Chandler for the guitars, mixing and mastering. I feel we made the best choice and the recording process was a pleasure, I think we made a wise choice doing it the way we did.  

What inspired the title Labascation and which artist created the cover?

The title is meant to summarize the album’s sound and mood overall, the album is a journey through the darkness of the human mind and its collapse; the dread and panic from the fear of the human spirit finally breaking for good. 
Karmazid did the albums artwork. He did an incredible job of creating what we wanted, we spoke back and forth for a while about the ideas I had in mind and he really got it, when we got the concept art work back we were elated but when the finished product came it suddenly became very real and alive, the album now had a physical identity.

Are there any bands you feel influenced the writing / recording of Labascation?

There were a lot to be honest, there’s influence from all kinds of things from all over, we certainly don’t want to be limited to whatever silly constraints genre supposedly dictates or try to emulate another band directly, we take all that we like onboard and then we see what happens. 
Sometimes I’ll listen to tiny sections of songs over and over because the melody was cool or the snare drum in that section sounded great, or the bass in that riff was savage, that can be just as inspiring as whole albums to me. Bands like Dead Congregation, Portal, Ulcerate, Impetuous Ritual, Sadistik Exekution, Bolt Thrower, Carcass, Revenge, Blut Aus Nord, Deathspell OmegaBölzer  and so on are bands which always crop up for us collectively as favourites. 

I think this is your best material to date, even surpassing that featured on Apanthropinization, would you agree and do you feel your sound has changed much since the band’s formation?

I think it is, it’s certainly the most accurate representation of our sound. We’ve become more focused since then, a bit more refined and the overall picture is clearer now as to how we want things to be but musically I think it’s as honest and direct as ever. 

Futile Hope is by far the longest track you’ve ever released with a play time of close to thirteen minutes. I think it’s a good measure of a band’s ability if they can hold a listener’s attention for over ten minutes with a track and with Futile Hope you’ve certainly knocked it out of the park as in my opinion it’s one of the standout tracks on the album and possibly one of the best tracks you’ve ever written – do you agree and is it much of a challenge to write a track as long as this in comparison to shorter tracks?

Thank you I appreciate that. It’s one of my favourites and one of the most personal too. 
I’ve never given the length of a song any thought when writing, only after it’s done out of curiosity. If I had to write to a time limit I’d probably struggle greatly because songs for me have an organic development and I don’t know if I’d be satisfied with conveying the right journey the song develops to the level I feel it should have. 
The song will tell you when it’s done as you play it over and over, listen to it and feel it out.  

When we spoke last in 2018 you stated, “For us it's about crafting smothering soundscapes to reflect the human condition with all its ugliness exposed.” I feel that with Labascation you have managed to write music that’s both dense & smothering – do you agree and are you confident you’ll be able to match or improve this high standard of writing with future releases?

Absolutely, every time we’ve recorded we learn so much and the goal is always forwards and on to new things, I hope this is the first of many releases which can capture our sound and hopefully people will enjoy it. 

Rat King Records has just released Labascation on vinyl & digital formats, how did you come to select Rat King Records to release the album and are there any plans for a CD release?

We’ve known them for a while, they’ve got a good back catalogue of work and are moving forwards. I’ve always felt they’ve been on the ball; they’re good people, easy to work with and fair. It’s about the music first and foremost, that’s what is most important. 
CD will hopefully be coming soon too; I can’t say anything 100% yet, but soon.

Last year was a year like no other with Covid having a significant effect on most people. Did the pandemic affect your personal lives in many ways and what effect did it have on Carcinoma - had you many gigs cancelled in 2020 and did the pandemic delay the release of Labascation in any way?

It delayed the album significantly, we actually aimed to have it out last year but as soon as we were ready to go, England went into the first lock-down and everything came to a halt and went silent. 
We haven’t been together physically as a band for a long time but we’ve been in contact the whole time, the band's as strong as ever regardless of this pandemic. We had started gathering bookings and had some really special stuff planned but as far as I know they are now being re-booked for the near future, I hope they can be announced as soon as possible. 

The writing and recording of Labascation was complete well before lock-down was introduced in the U.K. One of the few benefits from lock-down is that many bands wrote or recorded new material – did this happen with Carcinoma and are there plans for future releases?

There’s absolutely new material coming, completely new and never played live so we’ve not been stopped by anything. I can’t give any dates or anything yet but it’s coming. We won’t release anything unless it’s good to our ears so sometimes it takes time, we all work full time jobs and have responsibilities like anybody else does so sometimes that gets in the way, but when it’s ready we’ll release it.  

With your fantastic debut album just released what do you hope the next few years hold for Carcinoma?

More music and more gigs, as long as we can create music I’ll be happy with that. I hope we expand and grow making better and better music.  

We’ve met several times at gigs over the past few years – what shows have been your personal favourites and how much have you missed gigs over the past year?

I can safely say for all of us that we’ve really missed gigs, playing and going to them. 
It’s amazing how much they were taken for granted, the idea of them going away just never seemed imaginable. Andavald, Ulcerate, Grave Miasma, Spectral Voice, Vacivus, Dead Congregation and Bölzer were some bands that really stood out for me when we’ve seen them - performances to really aspire to.

There has been a surge in popularity for extreme music in recent years and an unfortunate side effect of this popularity is infiltration by posers/hipsters and those who wish to control or censor what we listen to - what are your thoughts on this and the current state of the underground in general? 

Censorship is a real tragedy of the times, the irony of it can be very funny but ultimately it’s doomed, this behaviour is unsustainable and I’m not worried about it. The more you censor the stronger it becomes; it becomes more desirable for whatever reason and just does the opposite when you impose prohibitions. 
If you don’t like something you can turn it off, stop listening and ignore it, it’s much easier than trying to become the ministry of musical truth. I don’t care about the people who see extreme music as a fashion accessory or even try to impose their opinion on music - it’ll outlast them, the wind will change and they’ll move on, people will make good music regardless of the behaviour a few clowns.

How healthy do you think the UK underground is at present?

There are lots of great bands in the UK but I think the real issue is getting viable places to play and the culture of gig promotion in the UK isn’t as good as it could be. For us in Plymouth, like many places, we have a few torch bearers keeping it going but it’s hard work and inconsistent. Our town has been gentrified extensively over the last decade or so and it’s erased a lot of the best venues, there aren’t many places to play left. Bristol is the nearest place we go to for gigs regularly which is about 2 hours from us. 

I’m aware A Forest of Stars, along with Adder who in my opinion is one of the U.K.’s most promising U.K. black metal bands, is due to play in Plymouth in May 2021 – do you intend going to the gig and have you heard much of Adder’s music?

That’s been on our radar for a while, we’ve known Damien especially for a while now and I like what they do so I’ll be there if it goes ahead. 

What were your favourite releases from 2020 and what releases are you looking forward to this year?

Visitations from Enceladus by Cryptic Shift is seriously good, Melinoë by Akhlys as well, I loved The Dreaming I so this was great to finally hear. Mestarin kynsi by Oranssi Pazuzu, Rzeczom by Odraza, Abscess Time by Pyrrhon, Almyrkvi / The Ruins of Beverast split and Descending Pillars by Void Rot were some stand outs - there's probably a load I’ve forgotten too, but this year I’m just looking forward to any good music that comes out, I’m welcome to it all. 

Thanks again for the time taken to answer these questions; any closing comments are all yours…

Thank you again for your time and support, it's been a pleasure speaking with you as always and I hope we can cross paths again soon.

Labascation tracklist:

01 - Paroxysmal
02 - Verminous
03 - Inner Tyrants
04 - Senescence
05 - Bloated Parasites
06 - Rectify
07 - Futile Hope
08 - Occupier.

Labascation by Carcinoma is currently available from Rat King Records by following this link.

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