ZT INTERVIEWS: MEAT TRAIN

“The best way to treat an ear is to sprinkle it with paprika and give it 20 mins in the oven. The second best way to treat an ear is to play it some violently aggressive metal.” We did the third best thing: head to The Dev (Hobgoblin). Zero Tolerance Magazine sat down with Chaz, the creative force and founding member of the new grindcore force Meat Train and chatted about the band, the album, the band’s live future and thoughts on the music industry.

You can get Meat Train’s debut album, ‘Flesh Made Man’, for FREE from Their Website!

Zero Tolerance Magazine: Thanks for coming down!  So, when did Meat Train actually begin?  What was the impetus?

Chaz: Well, it’s a year old.  We pretty much started this time last year.  Me and Mike Pearson really wanted to do something because we hadn’t worked together for ages – we worked together seven/eight years ago – and we wanted to create something really, really heavy which sums up everything that we like. You see, I love a lot of extreme metal, but I also love a lot of chug. We wanted to bring the extreme, extreme metal – grindcore and stuff – together with a lot of a downright chug to make something really big.  Think train, Meat Train.

ZT: Yeah, I wanted to ask about the name. What does it mean?  My first thought was a reference to the NAZI death trains.

C: Actually, Mike’s just come back from Auschwitz; he was horrified by it actually and it’s really inspired him to write. The next album’s going to be about stuff like that.  But it’s actually a Clive Barker book, ‘The Midnight Meat Train’.  It’s off the Books of Blood, and it’s also a horror film with Vinnie Jones in it.  The Horror Film isn’t like the original, we’re more about the original book which is dark and nasty; it’s where the song Meat Train is from.  It’s about a guy who’s on a train and who kills people for meat to give to these demons who created the human race just so we could be their cattle.

ZT: That’s a really cool concept actually.

C: It is good. The book is brilliant.

ZT: So is that the concept for the whole album?  I was looking on the website and some of the images were really transhuman.  Did you explore this concept?

C: That artwork was created by a mate of mine.  It’s…   Mike is very… he doesn’t like people very much.  He’s a nice guy, but he doesn’t like humans at all. Me, I’m just more about the gore, the horror, the fun.  You can actually tell the difference in the songs.  When it’s more about cannibals and horror, that’s me.  When it’s more political or religious, that’s him.

ZT: So, how has the album been received?  What are people saying about it?

C: It’s been positive. People are liking it, but we haven’t got around to much.  It’s really early days.  We’ve had 40-50 downloads so far in about a week.  This is our first real chat with anybody.  We’re going to aim to be gigging a lot after May, but we decided to do it the other way around.  For years, there’s the thing where you rehearse week after week and you get fed up.  We decided to write an album, record it in the studio and release it, see what the reaction is like and then we’ll get out there and gig.

ZT: The title track, Flesh Made Man, was awesome.  It was the one I listened to first and I loved it.  Like, with a lot of extreme metal bands it’s easy to just hide behind distortion, playing sloppy, but you guys seem to actually be talented musicians.  Did you have much training, or just experience?

C: Well it’s very kind of you to say that.  Mike is Old School, he’s a really great rhythm player.  Everything he does is down-picking, which for something that fast is pretty cool by my mark.  He tells me off, he calls me a girl if I don’t do everything downpicked.  I did study music, I went to the ACM, the Academy of Contemporary Music. That was my thing.  I did do it professional for a while, but it’s why I hate the business so much.  People trying to make money sucks the life out of it.  All of our takes are real, we don’t do any chopping and cutting and editing down; the luxury of owning the place.  We take our time.

ZT: What made you decide to give it away for free?

C: I think that music, if you go back in time… album sales weren’t about selling.  It was all about getting people into a band.  We were MU, I was Musician’s Union when I was younger.  For us, it’s all about the live show, not about making money.  If we were interested in making money, we wouldn’t be playing heavy metal.  We don’t need the money, we paid for the recording ourselves.  We decided “fuck it”, we’ll give it away.  If people like it, they’ll come to the shows.  It’s all about getting people into the venues.

ZT: So people actually know you and your songs before they go in?

C: Yeah!  That’s one of the reasons we wanted to give it away. We wanted to build a fanbase before we go out to the gigs.  It’s about the music.  You don’t write for yourself, honestly, you write because you want to see the pit.  You write because you want to see a groove.  It’s all well and good writing on your own. But if you want to do that then just play the album to a handful of mates, convince yourself you’re great and never do anything.  To me, it’s all about getting up on stage, just standing there rocking out.  I love being on the stage.

ZT: With your shows, what is it that you bring that makes it worth getting out to the venues?

C: Well, we haven’t actually gigged yet.

ZT: Surprising.

C: We’re booked to play here [The Hobgoblin, Camden] in May.  We’re going to be on the Terrorizer Stage.  That was sorted based on hearing our first lo-fi track. What our stage shows are like… well, if you base it back on what we did with our previous bands… Mike’s intense.  He shouts a lot.  He really does things full on intense.  I think the thing we do that is different from a lot of the other grind band is we do have a big chug. So like the groove of Hypocrisy maybe with some heavier blasts from Mortician. It’s gonna be good.  We’re gonna headbang, there will be a lot of pitting ‘cause we have a lot of blasts.  But we also have a lot of groove, something to get into before going crazy again.

ZT: Well, for your first gig this is the place to do it.

C: It’s gonna be awesome. I hope they take the chairs and tables out, all I can say. If they don’t, then there’s gonna be trouble [laughs].

ZT:  Haha, you said you owned the studio, where is it and what is it like?

C: At my house.  I’ve got a studio in my house.  It’s in my attic which I converted.  It’s a bit scary for the neighbours because I haven’t soundproofed it.  Because of this, when Mike sings, it’s fucking intense.  It’s bloody loud.  The neighbours on one side are mellow, but we think the ones on the other side are illegal immigrants so we don’t really give a stuff.  We’ve had a few complaints, but we just bang back on the walls and tell them to fuck off.  It’s a cool old thing.  It means we have infinite time, we can do as many takes as we like.  We spend most of the week just sitting around in the studio, jamming out.

[Shows a picture of the studio, with a rack of guitars on the wall]

ZT: Damn, are they all yours?

C: [Laughs] So along the wall here we have the racks of all the guitars, computers and shit.

ZT: Is that a Warlock?

C: Oh yeah.  All my lead work is done on the Warlock. Most of the rhythm work is done on the Les Paul.   The Warlock is the one I always wanted, ever since I was a kid. Long before I could play… when I was about nine years old.  I would go through my brother’s copies of Terrorizer and Metal Hammer and Kerrang and I’d see Kerry King and the real thrash people with Warlocks and I said “I’m having one of those.” So I learned to play just to get my hands on a Warlock.

ZT: I can think of worse reasons.  You mentioned you’re a bit like Hypocrisy and Mortician, but who would you say is your single biggest influence?

C: Well you have to say Slayer don’t you?

ZT: Damn right you do!

C: But the Hypocrisy, I only mentioned them because they’re one of the few bands I can think of that are extreme but also groove.  I like a bit of both.  Mike’s all brutal, he just wants to write brutal, brutal riffs all the time.  I want to write smooth, grinding riffs.  Which is why together we get this nasty mix of this really heavy, blasty – spastic blasts – with a really slow, chunky chug.  I love Mortician.  I know a lot of people can’t stand the fuzz, can’t stand the noise because it’s so fucking extreme, but I just love them.

ZT: So like some of the early Anaal Nathrakh stuff too?

C: Yeah, the early stuff.  And we also love Carcass.  But it would have to be Slayer.  We’re older school.

ZT: So is it just you and Mike?

C: Well it’s just the two of us who do the writing, but we’re a full band.  The problem is when you add a bass player… when there’s a bass player, there’s more people to divide the beer between!

ZT: This is a problem.

C: Our bass player only drinks rum, so she’s fine.

ZT: She?

C: Yeah, she.

ZT: There are so many bands that push the “LOOK!  WE HAVE A PAIR OF TITS!” to cover for a lack of stage presence.  I’m assuming you’re not like that.

C: We’re not that kind of band. She’s somebody we drink with anyway; she’s the obvious choice.  We get on.  And the best part, being a rum drinker, she leaves my beer alone.

ZT: Exactly.

C: It’s my beer!

ZT: Finally, have you guys considered doing Bloodstock’s “Metal 2 The Masses”?  It’s like a battle of the bands and winners get to play the New Blood Stage.

C: [laughs] We will now!  For any extreme band, a serious goal has to be to play Bloodstock.  That would be it.  Although Damnation would be good or Hellfest in France.  I didn’t like metal festivals in Britain until Bloodstock.  I used to go to Download back when it was Donnington, but since it became Download with LiveNation and all of these people who try to take heavy metal and make money out of it… you shouldn’t be making money out of heavy metal. Do metal because you love it, do another job for your money. That’s my thought, and anybody who tries to make money out of heavy metal ruins it.  And so Download is… well, you brought up concentration camps first.

[Laughs]

We’ll do Metal 2 The Masses because when we started, we said one of our goals was to play Bloodstock.  Another would obviously be the cover of Zero Tolerance, but that’s further down the line.

ZT: Just a little bit. Anything else you want to add?

C: Check out the download. It’s free, so give it a shot and if you like it, come to the gig in May!

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