Sunday, January 15, 2012

"We do it because we're fans of metal" - An Interview with Dismemberment

l-r: JD, Luke, Taylor, Jacob
photo by Matt Day Photo, provided by DISMEMBERMENT
Anyone willing to engage me in conversation on music for any more than five minutes has probably heard of Dismemberment. Anyone into the live metal scene in Ohio has undoubtedly heard of Dismemberment. Luke Shively (guitars/vocals), Jacob Shively (guitars), Taylor Emerine (drums) and JD Henderly (bass) provide a blackened thrash assault that is absolutely thrilling and, personally, I'm proud that they're based here in the Buckeye State (out of Laurelville/Circleville, about 40 miles south of Columbus or, in the geography of metal, about halfway between Columbus and Skeletonwitch).

With one incredible EP, The Condemned, under their belts and another on the cusp of release, Dismemberment continue to share the Ohio stages with some of metal's most respected names: Revocation, Havok, Skeletonwitch, Immolation, Jungle Rot and Mayhem, just to name a few, and will feature alongside Acheron, Prosanctus Inferi, The Conquering and Beneath the Sea at Metal Massacre 2012 at the Shrunken Head in Columbus on January 28.

Good guys that they are, Dismemberment were generous with their time this weekend and took a few minutes to answer some questions for gogmagogical and share some insight into what has to be one of the most exciting new bands I've heard in years.

Jacob Shively
photo by James Garvin,
provided by
Going back to the beginning - how did DISMEMBERMENT come together?

Jacob - Well, My brother and I formed DISMEMBERMENT back in November 2009. We started writing some songs, most of which ended up becoming songs on The Condemned EP.

Luke - We jammed around with some people, looking for a bassist, drummer and vocalist. Looked around for about a year and wasn't really finding a good match. We knew about Taylor and JD from high school and their previous bands they played in together. I contacted Taylor to see if he'd want to jam, he came down and we worked on the songs we had. It was a good fit right away, better than anyone we had jammed with previously. Taylor was good friends with JD and convinced him to come down and check it out, it all just kinda fell in place after that. We searched a little longer for a vocalist and didn't come close to finding anyone that fit so I decided I'd take on vocal duties so the band could more forward and it just stuck. I was hesitant at first but now I wouldn't want anyone else doing it unless it was within the band.

Have you guys always lived in the Laurelville area? I know things have changed a lot in recent years with a big shift to online exposure to music but as a rural Ohio native myself it was always difficult as a kid to be a metal fan - from availability of music in retail outlets to lack of radio exposure to outsider status in school. Any elements of your environment that you think have been particularly formative - or challenging?

Jacob - Yea, Luke and I have lived in Laurelville our whole lives pretty much. But discovering metal wasn't really a problem for us. Our dad was a huge Ozzy and Judas Priest fan. As early as I can remember he always had Dio, Priest, Ozzy, Kiss and stuff like that on the radio, so we basically grew up listening to that and it definitely was a big time influence on us, musically.

Luke - I pretty much listened to whatever Jacob was listening to and just checking out bands through friends at school or anywhere I could get my hands on new music.

JD - Basically, I got turned on to Pantera and Lamb Of God in junior high and kept discovering bands through the internet, live shows and through friends, mostly Taylor.

Taylor - Being from Circleville was pretty easy finding metal through friends and other metalheads. The internet also helped, it was really the easiest way to get exposed to new bands.

From my perspective it seems as if you guys are getting a lot of exposure and appear to be featured higher and higher on the bills with well-established acts. Aside from the obvious - the high quality of the music and the performance - what's been the secret or the strategy for this success?

Jacob - Countless and countless hours of getting in contact with various websites/blogs for review, contacting promoters and relentlessly trying to promote the band and get our music out there in many different avenues. We also have a strong DIY approach and I think that definitely helps.

Luke - We're not trying to one-up anyone or thinking we're a big success, we're grateful for the shows we get to play and all the killer support we've been getting. We don't take anything for granted and we don't look at it like it's a competition. We do it because we're fans of metal.

It's been fun to follow the progress on the upcoming EP on your Facebook site as well as the studio's blog. What's the very latest update? Got any titles, track lists, artwork you're ready and/or willing to share?

Andrei Bouzikov's cover for
The Condemned

Luke - Well, the new EP is gonna be titled Denied Salvation. There's five all new songs and I'm pretty stoked on them. I think we really all came together on this one, The songwriting has definitely stepped up.

Jacob - I am really excited about how everything has turned out with the new EP, can't wait for everyone to hear it. Andrei Bouzikov will be doing the cover art again for us, he also did The Condemned EP artwork, he's in my opinion, one of the best artists out there, his stuff is incredible [check out his recent Decibel magazine cover - gogmagog]. We're gonna release a single from the EP sometime in February with artwork by Tony Karnes, who is another incredible artist. Also, Dan Randall (Ghoul) at Mammoth Sound Mastering is doing the mastering again for this EP.

Dismemberment - Perpetual Malice - Black Metal by papertigerstudios

As I mentioned earlier, it seems as though you've got a strategy for world domination in place - what's the plan for the next year? Next five years?

Luke - We're just gonna keep carving a path and getting our name out there, putting out out new music, getting out on the road and getting some shows outside of Ohio.

I recently noticed that Chance Garnette tweeted high praise for an advance listen of your upcoming EP. What's the band's relationship like with Skeletonwitch and how did you guys originally connect?

Luke - We talked with Chance a little bit through Twitter and then not too long after that, I seen the Witch at the Ravari Room in Columbus, so I passed along a copy of the The Condemned to Scott. A few weeks later, Chance hit us up and said they dug the songs and offered us a show with them at The Union in Athens. We've kept in touch ever since then. Those dudes are all great guys and without a doubt the hardest working band out there. Worship the Witch!

JD Henderly, Luke Shively
photo by James Garvin, provided by DISMEMBERMENT
You have been on the bill with some stellar names - who have been your absolute favorites with whom you've shared the stage, both smaller local acts and the big, big names? Any noteworthy words of wisdom or guidance passed along by any of these peers?

Jacob - My favorite bands we've played with are definitely Skeletonwitch, Mayhem, Immolation, Jungle Rot, Havok, Kingsblood, hell, all of 'em really, ha ha. Definitely gotten some good advice from Chance Garnette and Mayhem kinda made us aware of the dark side of touring and it's not always fun and games and smooth sailing out on the road.

Luke - If I had to choose I'd say: Mayhem, Immolation, Skeletonwitch, Revocation, Skullbomb. But, yea, like Jake said, all the bands we've played with have been awesome. As far as advice, definitely Chance and Dave from Jungle Rot, "Keep fightin' the good fight." It's cool playing with these bands and some of them actually acknowledging our band.

JD - Definitely got a lot of good advice from Skeletonwitch and Mike Corns from Skullbomb, He's really helped us out a lot. It's nice to see bands acknowledge the music as well, it makes it worthwhile.

Elements of your influences come through in your sound and yet you definitely have a unique sound. Who are some of your absolute bedrock favorites that feed into the DISMEMBERMENT sound and, at the same time, what do you do differently from most others?

Jacob - Too many influences to name, there's so much good music out there its hard to not get inspired from all of it. As far as our approach, we really just play what comes out. We don't pre-plan anything, we never sit and say "let's make this thrash or let's make this death metal." We just get together and jam ideas and connect the dots from there. I definitely think the influence of Black Metal ideals of staying true to ourselves musically and always playing the music we want regardless of what the trends are at the time is what sets us apart.

Luke - A big influence on me was Death and Chuck Schuldiner. His songwriting definitely influenced my own writing. Not just trying to write brutal lyrics, but leaving something to be interpreted by the listener. Also building an atmosphere in the song to help it stand out and be memorable when you hear it. His vocals patterns combined with his guitar playing really opened my mind to singing and playing guitar at the same time.

Taylor - Bands like Cannibal Corpse, Slayer and Pantera really got me started in wanting to play more aggressive music and really made me want to search out all kinds of different music. I think that's one thing that sets us apart is that we have influences from all kinds of different of genres.

JD - Some of the bass players that really turned me on to aggressive style bass and shaped my tone was Lemmy Kilmister, Evan Linger from Skeletonwitch, Jeff Matz of High On Fire - and then as far as playing style, obviously David Ellefson showed me how to use layering and harmony to expand the music, shaping an actual bass line instead of just following the guitar. Steve DiGiorgio was another big influence on me as well.

Taylor Emerine
photo by James Garvin

What kind of gear do you use onstage and in the studio? What's on your wish list?

Jacob - I use a Marshall VS100 head and an old 1960 Marshall cab, my Washburn Culprit. As far as a wish list it'd have to be a new Blackstar rig or Marshall KK 2203 head.

JD - Basically, the rig I use now on stage and in studio is my Traynor TS 50 B head, a Peavy 4x10 cabinet, a single 15 cabinet with my Ibanez ICB 400 bass. And I use a Boss Tuner, Noise Suppressor, and Compressor Sustainer. As far as a wish list goes: my rig I got now is basically it, the only anything I could wish for is for these companies to re-release this gear.

Luke - My gear on stage and in the studio I use Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 100, Marshall 1960 cab, I run a MXR Classic OD pedal and boss tuner. I use a Aria Pro II ZZ Bladerunner with a Gibson 500T bridge pickup and a Kahler, I also use a Dean V X with a Seymour Duncan Dimebucker. My wish list is is definitely a Gibson V with a Floyd Rose and a Marshall KK 2203 head, a Blackstar rig, or an Orange Dark Terror.

Taylor - I use Tama drums, Sabian cymbals, Evans drum heads and Vater drum sticks. That's what I use live and in the studio. My wish list would be: a new Tama Bulbinga drum kit with all new cymbals and hardware.

Answer as quickly and honestly as possible:
If I could see any band, past or present, it would be:
Jacob - Pantera or Death
Luke - Death or Immortal
Taylor - Pantera
JD - Death

The first record I ever bought was:
JD - Led Zeppelin - Houses Of The Holy
Taylor - Rush - Retrospective II
Luke - Randy Rhoads Tribute Album
Jacob - Kiss - Destroyer

The last record I bought was:
JD - World Under Blood - Tactical
Taylor - King Diamond - Fatal Portrait
Luke- Cannabis Corpse - Beneath Grow Lights Thou Shalt Rise
Jacob - Prosanctus Inferi - Pandemonic Ululations of Vesperic Palpitations

The last book I read was:
Luke - Hell's Angels by Hunter S. Thompson
Taylor - A Clockwork Orange
JD - Bass Grimoire by Carl Fischer
Jacob - The Art Of War by Sun Tzu

The last movie I saw was:
Luke - Captain America
JD - Shutter Island
Taylor - The Sitter
Jacob - Commando

The first live show I ever saw was:
Luke - CKY
Taylor - Rush
JD -  Muse
Jacob - Red Hot Chili Peppers in like '98

The last live show I saw as a fan was:
Taylor- Goatwhore/Havok/Skullbomb
JD - Goatwhore/Havok/Skullbomb
Luke - Black Cobra/The Sword
Jacob - Black Cobra/The Sword

I refuse to be embarrassed that _____ is in my music collection.
Jacob - U2 - 'Sunday Bloody Sunday'
JD - Hatebeak
Luke - Caninus
Taylor - Elton John

If you started my car right now, ______ would be playing.
Jacob - Acheron - Lex Talionis
Taylor - "Baby Killer" by Devourment
JD - Arsis
Luke - Absu - ABZU

Many thanks again to Dismemberment for their time and generosity with their insights. I am looking forward to hearing the new record and checking them out live again soon. Anyone interested in metal should waste no time exploring Dismemberment's music - they're all over the web at the sites below:



  1. KILLER 'view! Many cheers. Always great to see great writers and great metal come together. \m/ - RT

  2. Thanks, Mack. These are good guys and I'm humbled they took the time to contribute to the blog. Cannot wait to hear that new EP!