ZT INTERROGATION: PSYCHOMANCER FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS WITH NEW LINE-UP
Duston Bullard of Michigan death metal skullcrushers Psychomancer tells ZT’s Paul Castles about the return of his band and why this time they’re here to stay.
Q: Hi Duston, many thanks for taking time out to talk all things Psychomancer! You released Inject the Worms, via Orchestrated Misery, quite recently. It’s a really impressive EP, how’s the reaction been to it?
Duston: So far really good… it’s been doing a lot better than I thought it would, to be honest; being that it is just a 6-song EP. With the time gap since our previous release we really wanted to get something out there while we work on a full length. So far we have been really happy with the results, and reviews.
Q: It was your first release since the 2007 album Butchered by Me. What’s been happening over the past seven or eight years with the band?
Duston: Oh well… it’s been crazy…lol… to say the least. There has been a massive line-up change since then, obviously, and a bit of a hiatus leaving me now as the only original founding member, taking over full vocal duty, along with playing the bass as I had done. I had only done backing vocals in the past. It’s a new and different realm for me, all the while keeping it together…. but here lately I have done more with this name than ever and accelerating. Ya know, when I believe in something, I keep at it no matter what little stones the world throws at me. I turn around and hurl bricks back! We love what we do and we are doing good and having fun doing it, that’s what’s important. Keeping the name, it’s been a fine line of balance to walk, being that I couldn’t just ignore the history of Psychomancer although many people don’t even know there was a history until they read it in the bio. I couldn’t just leave that out because there are a few in the cracks that actually know the people that were involved, and do know the history, and would be like “da’ fuck?”… So you know it is a game of re-establishment not just riding a name for the most part, because mostly it is a new band, and people never heard of Psychomancer before, so I have started it all over again. Nobody out there gives a shit until they hear something! Now they are hearing something. Believe me, it hasn’t been easy, up until now… now things have taken shape, and smoothed out, and are a lot more relaxed, and easy going.
Q: Not surprisingly considering the title, Inject the Worms possesses a certain kind of earthiness, with a real rumbling sense of evil. I detect a certain maturity in the songwriting.
Duston: Thank you!! Yeah you ain’t gonna find no emo, teeny-bopper shit here that’s for certain…lol… Death/Black/Thrash/with some melodic atmosphere here and there, and the lyrical content to be deep dark and clear in a sense of understanding that’s what we aim for in the aspects of the song writing.
Q: I know Corey Blackstad (drums) and Curt Hutchison (rhythm/lead) are new recruits following some line-up changes. How did they hook up with original Psychomancer member Duston?
Duston: Well to make a bit of a long story short I met Corey at a bar. He came out to audition and was hired on the spot. Curt is a friend of his and Corey introduced him to me as a guitar player. Recently we added Bradley Heidorn, who was at first someone who came out to jam nights, hanging around and we really didn’t know that he actually played guitar… lol… all the while we were looking for a second guitar player and he was standing right there!! So we heard him riffin’ out one night and asked him to try out, and he fits right in and is doing a hell of a job and adding a lot to the new song writing so we are now a four piece. But in between all that we had other try-outs that were here for a short minute but didn’t quite cut the mustard.
Q: Some great artwork on Inject the Worms – who’s responsible for that?
Duston: Thank you. That would be the work of my fiancé, Melissa Grantham; she is an artist that can draw, paint anything you describe real, or fantasy and she also does some work for other bands and promoters doing logos and flyers and graphics etc… but the art on this we wanted to be kinda cartoonish cause we like cartoons and so does she… lol… especially the old classic heavy metal cartoon where the characters looked rough and miserable; so that was the feel we were trying to get from it. Even though some people don’t like it, or get it really then they need to watch more cartoons…lol
Q. Duston, how well do you feel your new bandmates have gelled?
Duston: Great! We are all on the same page. We are serious and get shit done without any arguing or disagreements on song structuring. We all throw our ideas on the table and write together and make sure we agree on what we are doing. If someone don’t like a part then we don’t use it that way nobody leaves here butt-hurt with poop in their pants cause someone don’t like how the songs came together, and/or they didn’t orchestrate the entire album themselves. Because, if you have poop in your pants when it comes time to go into the studio, the smell will come out and cause a lot of problems…lol…just sayin’. Then after all that work we goof off, drink beers, cook out and have bonfires or play video games, hang and be friends not just band mates.
Q: Have you got a good feeling now about the future for the band?
Duston: YES!! I do believe we are on track to doing good stuff in the future
Q: Do you see the Psychomancer sound altering in any significant way from first time around?
Duston: Oh yeah! Well, with new members comes new influences. Myself, I have evolved as a musician and I have got a chance to incorporate ideas I had that I didn’t get a chance to in the past. What we are doing now is how I have always wanted it to sound basically. I am not saying the early stuff is bad or anything, we did some good shit then, ya know… it was what it was then, and it is what it is now to say it simply. For a while I had a lingering thought of just changing the name cause let’s face it… it is a different band now except me. Then I was told by many to keep it, because I brought the name to the table in the beginning. I know a good handful of bands that have done the same thing so, hey… if it sounds good and people like it then roll with it…
Q: I know you’ve been busy on the live scene around Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. Have you had the chance to take Psychomancer a little further away from your Indiana home?
Duston: Um yeah… we have been scooting a little further away. We have been trying to find venues all over really… but the thing about some venues is we will not EVER!! pay to play and sell tickets again!! Cause pedaling tickets ain’t our job nor do we have time to. You always end up eating most of what you pay to be on a bill with bigger named bands so these pay to play gigs and places ran by carnies can CRAM IT!! We do get on some really good shows, without paying to play here in the Big Windy City Chicago and surrounding area but we will travel anywhere if it is affordable. We aren’t trying to get rich playing shows we just don’t want to run out of gas on the way home…lol
Q: Have you already started work on the album and will this be through Orchestrated Misery, like the new EP?
Duston: Yes. We are five new songs in to the new writings, we want to put an eight to nine, maybe even ten songs on the next, and make a full length album. We even, for the future, are talking about doing a 6-song EP in between full-length albums to keep things moving and fill the time, cause sometimes it takes a while in between to make a full album. Given what we do in between; our lives and playing out as well. Every day I or we do band related stuff, designing shirts and merch, album arts is another whole other thing besides writing and playing so we are always busy doing something band related…
Q: Where will this be recorded and have you got a producer in mind yet?
Duston: Same place at Iron Hand Audio produced by Dan Klein in Chicago. We really liked working with him, he knows metal and he’s very patient…lol
Q: I’m impressed with the Psychomancer bottle opener! Cracked open any good beers lately?
Duston: Oh Yes! Beer Talk! We drink only the finest of craft beer…Skull Splitter, Schlafly extra stout, Golden Draak, Cleveland Brewing co., makes some good, good shit…Vikings Blod, Ommegang Abby Ale, and their Game Of Thrones inspired beer line, Hard Root Beer, Occulto witch is a Tequila infused beer; for which I don’t like Tequila at all, but is really good beer, The Four Horsemen brewing co. products, Nitro witch is a coffee infused stout, Saw Tooth, Belles, just to name a few, for me the darker and bitter the better, and of course some good IPA and Irish Reds are always nice. And sorry Budweiser you’re not the king of beers and Miller products taste like rotten bananas and gives me the shits and a horrible headache…
Q: Do you get much time to hang out in Michigan City, where’s the cool dives?
Duston: No, not really all the cool dives are gone pretty much. We all still morning the loss of a place called the Cedar Tap here where we and a lot of the local bands and big namers stared out at but now nothing but a bunch of yuppie scum bars really. The way we look at it is we play at a lot of cool bars and we have our own bar here at home we like to call The Lost Souls Tavern there are no rules here… lol… the rule here is members only and friends only. Don’t bring shady mother fuckers around and leave the bullshit outside the door!
Q: On the live scene, how much have you enjoyed your recent shows, any particularly memorable ones?
Duston: We have enjoyed them all really. Even if it sucks we still make fun of it. I mean you’re there, so fuck it get drunk and have a good time. As far as the most memorable one is when we got to share the stage with Vital Remains, that was an awesome show and there was some other good ones as well since and we have some really good ones coming up here for the summer… it’s gonna be a blast indeed.
Q: Many thanks for taking time out to sit down and chat with Zero Tolerance. Any final message to your UK fans?
Duston: No problem man and thank you. UK if ya’ll like what you have been hearing from us there is a lot more on the horizon. The new album is being written as we speak and we promise that it will be everything and more… demon-tempered, dark, rumbling, evil, chaotic heaviness guaranteed!! We hope in the near future we can make our way over there and meet ya’ll in person! We thank you all for your support! m/