Taking a darkly humorous look at issues both serious and not-so-serious, Germany’s Hackneyed recently dropped a new full-length appropriately titled “Carnival Cadavre” (check out the review here).
In the post release aftermath, Metalunderground.com got in touch with Hackneyed drummer Tim Cox to get an inside look at “Carnival Cadavre” and see what the band had to say about the writing, recording, and lyrical content of the album.
xFiruath: What did you set out to do with “Carnival Cadavre” that you haven’t done before and what sort of atmosphere or sound were you wanting to create?
Tim: Our new album “Carnival Cadavre” is heavier than the two albums before. We added another fine portion of groove and brutality for you and showed once again what Hackneyed is made of! Although it’s definitely a death metal album, we tried to make it as diverse as possible. You will find brutal blast beats and shredding guitars as well as groove parts and a lot of melodic, sometimes almost “spheric” parts. But listen for yourself!
xFiruath: Fill me in on the “Carnival Cadavre” writing process. When did you write the songs for this album and how does Hackneyed write new material?
Tim: We already had the first song ideas for the new album when we recorded “Burn After Reaping.” So we had a lot of time to work with the material. Usually Devin has an idea for a riff or even for a whole song. Then we develop the song starting from that point by jamming in the rehearsal room. Some songs only need some hours, some are played for weeks until everything is how it should be. And if everybody is having a big smile on the face during playing it, we know the song is ready for human experiment!
xFiruath: How did you guys get hooked up with Lifeforce Records?
Tim: When we had the opportunity to sign with Lifeforce Records we didn’t hesitate to do so. We always had an eye on those guys as they really have a very nice roster with a lot of interesting bands. And we are very proud to be part of such a great family now. The guys from Lifeforce we already got to know are really cool and the cooperation works like a charm. Lifeforce gives 120% of support and backup for us. We’re sure this is the right way to go.
xFiruath: What’s going on lyrically on the album and is meant to be a continuing story or individual ideas on each track? Do you want your lyrics to paint a specific picture or do you prefer to have them be more cryptic and open to interpretation?
Tim: The artwork already hints at circuses being the main topic on “Carnival Cadavre,” but the subjects are manifold. Starting in ancient Rome with historic “Bread and Circuses” (Feed the Lions), coming to some actual stuff about paedophilic priests (“Holy Slapstick”) and also some spacy stuff about aliens opening up their own circus for attracting people and eating their brains (“Extra Terroristical”). Black Humour with a wink, fun for the whole family! So the whole album is a mixture of “carnival” which stands for the fun, the laughter, the humorous aspects of the lyrics and “cadaver,” which just brings in all the gory and bloody aspects. But of course there’s plenty of space for interpretations as well.
xFiruath: Tell me more about the artwork in general and how it ties into the themes.
Tim: We had this idea of making an album about circus and carnival and so we asked Björn Goosses from Killustrations, he already did the artwork for our last album “Burn After Reaping,” about designing a “Carnival Cadavre” artwork for us. And as you can see, he did a really great job. The truth or the story behind the “Carnival Cadavre” is only revealed after a second glance at the artwork with bright fairground and circus atmosphere with Ferris wheel and circus tents. But then you see a lot of blood and limbs and guts and this doesn’t really fit into this picture. But it’s a good example for Hackneyed’s very own black humour which you can as well find in the lyrics.
xFiruath: Any chance we’ll be seeing a music video off this album?
Tim: Hmm, it’s not planned yet, but would of course be a cool thing. We will see…
xFiruath: Did you have any particular challenges or problems that needed to be overcome in the studio on this album?
Tim: We decided to go to Corni Bartels and his Weltraum Studios in Munich again, because he’s used to working with younger people like us. And that was something very important for us. Above all we already knew him and so it was a lot easier to work with him. I think time was one of the biggest problems we had every time we entered the studio. You always only have a few weeks to do the whole record. But with “Carnival Cadavre” we had much more time to work on the new songs. Before going to the studio we already did a full length pre-production of our songs. So a lot of new ideas came up when listening to those pre-recordings which could be directly transferred into our new album when we finally entered the studio.
xFiruath: Where will Hackneyed be performing live in the near future?
Tim: Next confirmed shows will be spread all over Germany and also one show in Switzerland. I don’t know yet what more to come, so it’s also a surprise for us.
xFiruath: How has festival season been for Hackneyed so far this year?
Tim: We played several festivals this year, mostly smaller ones but nevertheless really nice ones with incredible crowds, for example Rock Harz Open Air or Dong Open Air. And of course we played Summer Breeze Open Air, where we released “Carnival Cadavre.” All shows were really amazing and we can’t wait to play some more, either this or next year.
xFiruath: How’s your local metal scene these days?
Tim: We have some cool bands coming from our area, some of them having a yearlong history like Mental Amputation, Apophis, and some more. Those guys were really inspiring us and also brought us into this kind of music. But there are also some younger bands like for example our buddies from Necrotted or bands like Vancouver Bus Trip. So there’s a lot of musical energy in our region, especially in metal music.
xFiruath: What music do you personally listen to in your own time and what’s been your favorite album so far this year?
Tim: Of course we listen to many bands like Morbid Angel, Pestilence, or Dying Fetus. But there are so many interesting styles of music both in metal and in other musical genres, too. Sometimes we listen to blues music, some classic rock stuff or dubstep as well. My favourite album this year is Black Dahlia’s “Ritual.” One of the best albums in metal I’ve ever heard.
xFiruath: Have you been to any great shows lately?
Tim: As I said before the show at this year’s Summer Breeze Open Air was amazing. We played at the party tent stage after Decapitated. The tent was full and the crowd was incredible. We had a lot of fun on stage and the signing session after the show was awesome. I think we signed our new CDs for more than an hour. That was unbelievable for us and we really had a great time there.
xFiruath: Anything else you’d like to discuss?
Tim: I hope you’ll enjoy our new album “Carnival Cadavre!” Just keep your heads banging and remain faithful to good music!
Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com