Al, Adam, Zach and Darren of
Massachusetts' Goratory has established themselves as a dedicated group of
musicians that constantly strive to push boundaries and limitations beyond
their limit. Playing their twisted blend of Death Metal soaked with brutal
perverse themes, it's easy to be shocked or feel a slight sense of humor.
However, once you hear them or witness Goratory live, it's easy to realize
that this a serious approach that produces some amazing musicianship. I was
fortunate enough to have a chat with these dudes in March of 2004. Upon the
completion of this interview they ventured out to California and recorded
their 3rd studio album entitled "Rice on Suede" which should hopefully be
out in the summer. http://www.goratory.cjb.net/
So you're being interviewed by defy Unlearn. What does our name mean to you?
Al: defy the cock. Unlearn its evil ways.
Adam: I've never actually heard of defy Unlearn until now, so I guess it
means absolutely nothing to me.
Zach: Uhm, to forget about tradition and begin to understand the darker side
Darren: I guess I'd look at it in this way. Two things, first you defy. You
look at the norms, the things that are widely accepted by the general public
and everything that you're supposed to like, and you reject them. You push
them out of your everyday life and by doing so you are seen as defiant.
Second, by doing this, you're basically teaching yourself to stray away from
everything in the norms of music or life. In a sense, you're unlearning what
you always been told is the way to do it. It's strange to think that you
have to defy and unlearn sometimes just to be happy. Well, that's our
What are your influences?
Adam: Musically, my influences deal mostly in the metal genre, anything from
Black Sabbath to Retch. Classic rocks always kicks ass, and I like some jazz
stuff to. Acid feels like it's always influenced some of the music and song
lyrics we write to a certain degree. There's lots of creativity when dealing
with concepts that have no boundaries. I started watching Horror films
around that time I got into death metal which influenced a lot of the
macabre and mayhem involved mostly in lyrics, ideas, or song titles.
Zach: The reaction on people's faces. I'm a huge Claypool freak, but when I
really want to test my self I try to play more Wooten or classical stuff.
Darren: Well, from a drumming standpoint I try to find the highest quality
stuff, it keeps me pushing myself harder. I'm always trying to find the
physical limits of my body and I definitely have not reached them yet. So
currently, Nile - In Their Darkened Shrines, Vital Remains - Dechristianized,
any newer Dying Fetus, the last 2 CDs by Dimmu Borgir, Krisin - Works of
Carnage, Hate Eternal - King of all Kings and Origin - Informas Infinitas
Inhumanitas. There are others, but those are some of my favorites to play
along to and learn from.
Al: Mescaline, old Skinless, Origin, Nile, Retch, too many to think of right
now, brain getting weak.
What is your previous musical experience?
Adam: I used to play trombone in the school band which was fucking years
ago, but that taught me a lot about time signatures and counting beats and
shit like that. Then Twisted Sacrifice came around, a pre-high school band,
we were around for about a year and a half until Goratory formed. Music has
always been a huge part of my life so when I wasn't playing it, I was
listening to it.
Zach: I played drums for about 6 years, then I picked up bass when I was 15
or 16. I learned by watching the best, then I just created my own hybrid
style of bass and technique.
Al: Been in Goratory since I was 15 so my previous experience is limited but
I had a kick ass high school band with a bunch of old Goratory members
called Twisted Sacrifice. I actually found a bunch of copies of those CDs in
a box last month. Bad ass shit.
Darren: Well, I've been playing drums for 13.5 years, pretty much as long as
I can remember. I graduated from Berklee College of Music as a Performance
Major in May 2003. When I was younger I was in many bands, mostly metal and
hard rock and gained a lot of live experience though my high school years.
For about the past 4 years I have focused my playing almost solely on
becoming a death metal machine. Having had Mike Mangini as an instructor for
2.5 years while attending Berklee really helped me discover the types of
things that I needed to focus on to achieve my full potential with speed and
technique. He didn't specifically know death metal, but he knew the real
next level into drumming that I had to delve into. I haven't looked back
since and I now have the knowledge to really just keep on improving for as
long as I play drums.
How did you get into Metal?
Al: I was forced into it by my stepfather, haha. I learned to love it
Zach: Well growing up I used to listen to prong and ministry, always into
Primus dude. Then when I was about 15 I got into Cryptopsy and suffocation.
Darren: Well, when I was younger I started out into rock, like Aerosmith and
then from there, Metallica and Megadeth, and then Sepultura. Going to
Berklee, a big jazz school, kinda pushed me into Death Metal. I was not into
jazz at all and being a metal/rock guy didn't get you anywhere. So that
forced me to kinda do something no one else did. I got huge in Deicide, Once
upon the Cross. That was the first death metal CD I learned all the way
through. Since then I've never wanted to stop learning and playing
technical, brutal music.
Adam: I got into metal around the fifth grade. I think the first time I
heard Pantera was when I was 11 or 12 and they've been my favorite band
since. Metal was a fucking great thing to discover for me, because I'd never
heard anything so out of control. It had the kind of aggression I was
looking for. Soon after singing in a band I realized it was even more
intense playing the music so I stuck with that.
How would you describe your sound?
Darren: Well, I think my sound reflects my influences. But not only that,
I'm really into Dream Theater and some other bands in their genre. What I
like about Dream Theater is how much Mike Portney orchestrates his drum
parts. So I try to be as fast and brutal as possible, while still being
musical and supportive of the other melodic instruments. I don't see drums
as just rhythm, I see them playing a bigger role. That's why I have so many
cymbals and pitches to pick from when I write my parts. So it's a
combination of brutality with musical innovation.
Adam: Our sound is a little difficult to describe. I fucking hate trying to
put labels on shit. All that slam-brutal-groove-core- sludge-polly-grind
shit kinda loses its meaning after a while. To categorize it, I would just
say extreme music because that's all it really is. It's people using their
instruments to create as much organized havoc as possible.
Zach: well me personally I like to fuse jazz and death metal and my playing,
but Goratory its self is just a machine, you cant really describe what its
like blasting at a 1000 beats per minute.
Al: Stick your right index finger in your ass and concentrate real hard, it
will come to you.
What motivates you to be in a band?
Darren: I love performing and I love giving the audience quality. I'm here
to push extreme music as far as it can go, and I'm going to do it the right
way. No cheating, and no bullshit playing! I want people to enjoy our music
and see us being as professional as any other style of music. Just because
we don't sell a million records doesn't mean we don't deserve the same
respect as the pop on the radio. So I have personal motivation as well as
group motivation. I want this to be my life, my job and I want to do it well
until I decide to stop doing it. I hope my band mates are the guys who I can
do that with.
Adam: The thing that motivates me about being in a band is that it separates
me from an average the person in the city. If I can go out on stage and have
screaming fans going ape shit to our fucking music than that's the
satisfaction that motivates me. Also, creating something that other people
can enjoy and feed off of gives you feeling you can't even describe. I want
most to have our band be able to make a difference in this scene, and make a
lasting impression on people. That's basically what keeps me making
music...that and free booze.
Zach: Bass playing is a great release from the bullshit I endure. The amount
that we put into the band is just too much to just throw away or not to take
Al: This is my life. It's all I got man, and all I live for. Death metal is
a very unique kind of music that only certain people can appreciate and
understand. If you are one of those people, then it becomes a way of life
for you, there is no way that you can really explain it. There are so many
fundamentals to death metal as far as speed, endurance, and technicality,
and so on and so forth. Striving to be up there with the best of them is a
What are you listening to as of late?
Al: I've been on an Internal Suffering binge as of lately. I have no CD
player in my car so I've been jamming on the AC/DC tapes.
Darren: Well, I just recently got an advanced copy of the new Fear Factory
CD, Archetype. It's really, really good. I don't care what people say about
them selling out or not being heavy. I really don't care as long as the band
is still putting out high quality music. The vocals are so amazing, I think
it really helps define their sound. I don't understand why a band like that
can't sell a million records. It sticks in my head all day, it's highly
produced and it's heavy. I also got the new Deicide CD. It's nothing mind
blowing, but I think it's really good compared to their last few CDs. The
vocals are really sick and the overall playing is solid. It's a good listen.
Zach: Primus, Medeski Martin and Wood, Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition, and I've always got some origin in the rotation.
Adam: I've been listening to a lot of Medeski Martin and Wood recently.
They're a nasty jazz trio. The new Vital Remains is fucking brutal, and I've
also been listening to a lot of Hendrix recently.
What was your favorite show you've ever played?
Zach: The Box of Knives absolutely! It was just a massive party. All my
friends from New Hampshire came down and we just fucked that place up,
definitely cool atmosphere considering you could smoke jibba and drink
awesome amounts of alcohol.
Darren: I really don't have one that sticks out to me. I mean, basically any
show that I play well at is great. I mean, the audience and vibe is always
important, but I can't really affect that behind the kit. I have a job to do
when I walk onto stage and the better I perform the better I feel about a
show. Goratory is doing the Fuck the Commerce Festival in Germany in May.
There are supposedly gonna be a few thousand people there, so maybe that
will be my favorite show, who knows. I've never played to a crowd of that
Adam: My favorite show that we've had would probably be the show at Saratoga
Winters in New York. We played first and there was like 400 people there for
us, but nobody knew who we were at the time. Cryptopsy headlined that show,
and they're always incredible to see live. The place was sick for metal
shows and the pits were going the whole time. The whole show was fucking
Al: The Box of Knives. Too bad they got shut down. I had more fun their than
Maryland Death Fest.
Is there any sort of preparation you do before a show?
Darren: I have a lot of mental as well as physical preparation. Usually
before anything else I mentally prepare for the task ahead. I think about
it, visualize it and commit to it. I get rid of any nervous vibes and focus
on playing as well as I can. I then go through a series of exercises on my
drum pad. I bring a metronome wherever I go. So I warm up my wrists, then
fingers. I work with different tempos and like to get a nice burn before I
get on stage so then when I start playing it's not a big a shock to my body.
I always make sure to reach all the tempos that I'll be playing at on stage
on my drum pad. All that just leads to comfort and confidence on stage.
Zach: I'd hate to lie so I'm not going to, getting wasted gets me in the
mood man, soon I'd hope to vomit on my fellow band mates.
Adam: I get fucking wasted before shows. Usually I like to drink whiskey,
its helps loosen up my throat for vocals. I always gotta stretch out also
cause whiplash is such a bitch the next mourning. As far as personal prayers
or meditation is concerned, I'm not really into that. I definitely feel like
I need to get worked up and energized before a show just cause Its so
goddamn boring when your watching a band on stage that could care less about
playing music or getting into it. You pay money to see a show, so you want
to see some movement and enthusiasm.
What is the most misconceived aspect of Death Metal?
Darren: There are so many. But I guess for me, it just comes down to what it
takes to do what I do. The kind of thought and physical work that goes into
becoming a drumming machine, people just go, "oh wow, that's cool, it's
fast" I don't think until they sit down and talk to me or try it themselves
that they realize what it's all about. There's a huge difference between the
average death metal band and a real professional one. It's easy to just hear
death metal and think it's just noise. So I always like to present what I do
in a way that everyone can understand and by making them comfortable with
it, it makes them want to understand it and learn about it. So I think it's
important to not just act all evil and unsociable cause you're into death
metal. I mean, I got plenty of none metal teachers at Berklee interested in
my music and what I was into.
Adam: I think that people who don't follow the music or who are oblivious to
musical technique believe death metal to be a joke. They don't understand
that it takes serious practice and talent to be able to play on this level.
When people think death metal, they think no rhythm or no musical groove,
but that obviously is not the case at all! Another thing people think is
that all the music is about killing people when there are so many topics that
people in extreme music sings about, anything from politics to drugs to
media are all concepts that death metal artists use in their songs.
Zach: The bullshit drama of shows, hate to sound like an ass, but playing
shows in front of 30 people sucks ass man and the amount of money that goes
into this sucks.
Al: That we all have 4-foot long dicks. It's not true at all.
Any band that you'd love to play a show or possible tour with?
Al: Retch!! Thems some badass mother fuckers. We've played a bunch with them but why not play some more. That would be one sick tour though.
Darren: Well, any of the bands listed in my influences would be great. I'd
love to hang out with the members of the band, see how they work on tour.
I'm sure I'd learn a ton from them.
Zach: Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition, Cryptopsy, GWAR and Primus, Megadeth tour of acid in taking booze bastards tour!
Adam: Any band that you'd love to play a show or possible tour with? Yea, I
would really want to tour with Cephalic Carnage, its seems so rare when they
come around. I also want to tour with Retch and Skinless. That would be
fucking nasty. Of course huge tours with names like Slayer and fucking
Deicide would be amazing to, but you gotta be reasonable.
What does the future hold for Goratory?
Darren: Well, we're recording our new CD starting in April. So once that
comes out, it's gonna put us on the map with every other death metal band
out there. Other than that, we have a few shows out of the country lined up.
Fuck the Commerce in Germany, and a short Japan tour. I'd love to do an
extensive US tour if we can find the right band to do it with. If anyone is
interested, let us know. Hopefully in a year or so we'll start writing
material for a follow up to this CD and Goratory will begin to slowly engulf
the entire world.
Adam: Hopefully a whole lot of chaos. Were getting out to Europe and Asia
this summer so we're thinking that could do some things for us. Also we got
the third full length and vinyl coming out soon. Hopefully people will dig
the new shit with the new line up.
Zach: Well hopefully the world and 100% control of the scene, I'd like to
fix it a little bit.
Favorite Goratory song to play?
Zach: One of the new ones, "Rice on suede." I really get to fool around in
Darren: Hmm, tough one. I like them all live. I have so many favorites.
Either Mutilate Re-modified, or Rice on Suede I guess.
Adam: Rice on Suede.
Al: Haaa! Yeah dude, Rice on Suede.
Best Krisiun Album? Why?
Adam: Conquerors...cause it's so fucking good!
Darren: Well, I do love Works of Carnage, but I'd have to say Conquers of
Armageddon. I only say that one because of the time it came out and how much
influence it had on me. It was the first CD that really taught me what
blasting stamina was. I mean, I remember hearing it and thinking it was
impossible, now it's just a great practice CD.
Al: Conquerors cause you know it's the shit. No need to ask why although the
new one is really good too.
Zach: oh boy, hmm Conquerors is nuts, hands down a very touching album, but
the newest CD is kicking my ass, they really out did themselves.
Adam: Black Tooth Grin.
Darren: Any darker type beer. I love Killians Irish Red, and love New
Castle. I don't drink hard liquor very much anymore, too dangerous.
Zach: Bacardi 151.
Pick for European Death Metal?
Zach: Dude I don't know man, Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition.
Al: Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition but Cock and Ball Torture and Leng Tche are fucking nasty too!
Black Metal Pick?
Al: Lick my balls, maybe I burned churches in a past life but not this one.
Dimmu is extremely talented but not digging the black scene.
Darren: Dimmu Borgir.
Adam: Yea right! But if I had to, I'll say Satyricon.
Zach: I liked Dimmu Borgirís Puritanical CD, the new ones a master piece
Name two girls you'd love to see catfight?
Darren: Any 2 stupid hot girls will do.
Adam: Briana Banks and Bea Arthur.
Zach: Alan and Darren.
Al: What two girls wouldn't I want to see in a catfight?
Interview by: Josh