Metal Chris of DCHeavyMetal.com recently conducted an interview with J.R. Hayes, vocalist of the Washington D.C.-based grindcore band PIG DESTROYER. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
DCHeavyMetal.com: What is the “Book Burner” cover art supposed to represent?
Hayes: I’ll be honest with you: I didn’t really think it that far through. That photograph was taken by my friend Chris [Taylor] in Richmond and it was going to be a seven-inch cover for a Richmond band. It never ended up coming out cause the band broke up and I always admired that picture when I saw it, like, seven or eight years ago. It might have even been longer; I’m not sure. I was just hanging out with him one night and I just kind of randomly asked if he still had it, and he did. As soon as I saw it again, I knew that, at least in my mind, that was the cover of the album. I don’t know if I could tell you why. But just something about that image I was very passionate about and [I] felt it was very evocative and, you know, I had Chris dress it up a little bit in his unique style and Pat added some different colors and stuff and I think it turned out really good.
DCHeavyMetal.com: Yeah it definitely stands out, it’s very unique.
Hayes: I think with the cover, you know, me and Scott [Hull, guitarist of PIG DESTROYER] were doing the artwork for this record and we kind of more knew what we didn’t want. We didn’t want just a book burning, you know, like just completely literal with it, you know, ’cause that just wasn’t interesting to us. It wasn’t really all that important what the image was as long as it was a strong image.
DCHeavyMetal.com: How has working with Adam Jarvis of MISERY INDEX been, because he’s a great drummer and it’s pretty exciting that he’s working with you guys now?
Hayes: Yeah, I mean, it’s been great. When we parted ways with Brian [Harvey, former drummer of PIG DESTROYER], that was probably the darkest period that we’ve had as a band. Everybody was really down in the dumps and we didn’t really know if the band was even going to continue at all. ‘Cause you never know if you’re going to find… You can bring in a million drummers and never find the right one. The chemistry has to be right. We were just really lucky in that we already knew Adam as a person and he’s a really driven guy and he wanted the job from day one. I don’t want to say he like forced his way in there, but he was ready when we came calling, and from the first song that we played together with him, I knew that it was right. I was sold from the first song that we played.
DCHeavyMetal.com: Now, “Phantom Limb” came out in 2007 and you had the single-track EP “Natasha” that came out in 2008 and then you guys hadn’t really put out anything until this new album. Was a lot of that because of the lineup change?
Hayes: After “Phantom Limb”, we took a couple of years where we were just playing shows and kind of enjoying ourselves and just kind of supporting the record the best that we could. Then we lost our practice space, so we turned Scott‘s basement into a real-deal studio. We built it all ourselves. We went the full nine yards, and that took us about a year, and then during that time me and Scott were both working on the last AGORAPHOBIC [NOSEBLEED] record [“Agorapocalypse”] and that was very time-consuming and then when it came time for us to record PIG DESTROYER, that’s when everything just kind of fell apart on a personal level and we had like a year where we just either didn’t practice or our practices sounded like shit. It was terrible. It was really awful, and to be honest, I would have rather not done the band at all than kept [it] going like that. When you’re killing something that you love like that, it’s just a horrible experience.
DCHeavyMetal.com: So what was the big turnaround then for you guys? What really got you back into it to the point where you’re now putting out an album like this?
Hayes: Even when Brian was still in the band we had, like, maybe five songs written from this album, and I thought that they were some of the strongest songs that we had written. So I knew that the inspiration to do it was still there, but we just couldn’t physically do it. So we needed someone else to come in and inject some youth and some enthusiasm into it and then once you kick it and it’s going then we’re off. We just needed a kick in the ass, basically, and Adam‘s a really enthusiastic guy. I’m used to Scott pushing everybody in the band, but Adam‘s definitely been pushing us as well. He’s also a very driven individual.
Read the entire interview at DCHeavyMetal.com.