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29/11/2007 – Interview with SHATTER MESSIAH

SHATTER MESSIAH (official website) is the new band of ex-NEVERMORE/ex-ANNIHILATOR guitarist Curran Murphy. Last year the band released their debut album, "Never To Play The Servant", which got lots of positive reviews. The gigs to promote the album spread the name of the band on a larger scale and certainly didn't stop them from working on their second album, "God Burns Like Flesh", which came out in October. The review can be consulted at this location.

Sometimes it's better to wait for a next album to send a couple of questions for an interview and that's what I did: waiting and then sending the questions. Curran loves his Metal and is very determined regarding SHATTER MESSIAH, as you can read in his answers below. If you haven't checked out the band or their albums, and you like what NEVERMORE and ANNIHILATOR play (or anything in that vein), I urge you to make haste.

Shatter Messiah logo

Several months ago you built the loud room for the drums. This was probably done to save on expenses and time, so you wouldn't have to do it all in another studio, right? In addition, will you leave it at that or will you do the same for guitars and vocals?

I didn't save a dime on expenses; I actually spent more on the loud room than we got for the second record recording budget! *laughs* BUT, since I run the studio and make a living recording bands when I am not on tour with SHATTER MESSIAH, I had to get it all done. So it is all good in the end, the room sounds great and I was able to make a better sounding record for SHATTER MESSIAH. I had actually already built the isolation rooms for guitars and vocals before I built the loud room for the drums.

Shatter Messiah band"God Burns Like Flesh" has been out since a couple of weeks. "Never To Play The Servant" was a very decent debut album, the new one continues that path, but also sounds... I won't say 'more complete', but it's obvious the gigs the past year made the internal connections between everyone in the band tighter and that makes the songs obviously better. How satisfied are you of the overall result and would you have changed something if there was more time?

I am very happy with the results of "God Burns Like Flesh", it is exactly the correct kind of album we wanted to release for our second record. If I would have had anymore time, there would have been two or three more songs on the record. *laughs* And yes, I think it does sound more complete and focused, but that was also the original idea even from the first record: we wanted to cover all of these bases on the first record and then marry all of those elements into one powerful wall of sounds and harmony.

When did you start working on the new album, i.e. songwriting and recording? And did you use a different approach compared to the first album?

The big difference between "Never To Play The Servant" and "God Burns Like Flesh" is that we were able to get together and write big parts of the album as a band, instead of me just sitting in the studio coming up with riffs and making songs on my own, so there was a lot more input and vibe from everybody on this album. It was great! I am not really sure when we started writing this album because I am always writing and Bobs and I where able to get together a few times to work on music and also to get all of the other guys in the room and make noise and see what was really floating our boat. But I think it really took a combined timeline of two months to write, record, and deliver the entire album. Don't quote me on that because there has been a lot of wine and madness during and since the making of "God Burns Like Flesh".

The songs are again (anti-)religiously inspired, like before. In an interview with Chronicles of Chaos you mentioned having read the bible, the koran and what not, but if you look at the song titles, you're 'attacking' Christianity and not the other religions. Many other Metal bands that have anti-religion lyrics go for the same thing, while there are many other kinds of religion out there. Is it because it's easier to target Christianity, because there's not so much to find about the others to tackle it in the lyrics? Or does Christianity count as an example and what is expressed in the lyrics counts for the other religions too?

They are only anti-religious on the surface. Read a bit deeper and take out the words like God and Christ, put in a different word like Bush, or Putin, and you will see what is really going on in the songs, for me at least.

What is religion (or spirituality) for you? Or what 'should' it be?

Religion should be burned from the face of the earth. It only brings misery and division among people. It is purely a hypocrites' format of control. But then again, I am a hypocrite too, so who is to judge? Keep the fuck out of my life with your make-believe bullshit and I will let you worship any invisible thing in the clouds you want to!

Shatter Messiah - God Burns Like FleshThe cover art again is very clear when looking at the album title. what's happening this time? And is there a connection with "Never To Play The Servant"?

There is no connection beyond the meanings behind the art for me and my life and what my choices have brought for me in this life. The cover for "God Burns Like Flesh" shows demons AND angels being burned alive by the stupid rotting zombie masses, for being nothing more than demons and angels for being what they are.

Who made the cover art? And did you give specific details or was he totally free to come up with something?

His man is Filipe and he RULES! He has done work for ICED EARTH and also for George Lucas as well! I gave him an idea for what I wanted and he came back worth a few different versions of what the cover is today. I told him I basically wanted to insult every kind of belief structure out there. Even the moron devil worhippers get shit on by me. Fuck'em all! Worship yourself, not some statue or book or gold or sports star, or guitar player. They all shit fuck and screw up like you do, so why worship them?!?!?!?!

The music is still very much like NEVERMORE and ANNIHILATOR. Since you played in both bands, I guess that experience and influence cannot be ignored. Is this how you wanted SHATTER MESSIAH to be/sound like or is this only a first step in searching for an own identity, so to speak?

SHATTER MESSIAH is the music I want to write and hear through the speakers, really really fucking loud!! *laughs* The style of those other two bands is in my style of playing, because I played on both of those bands for so long. I take it as a compliment that people think they hear that in my music. It means I took good lessons to heart from those bands and I am making it my own in SHATTER MESSIAH.

Speaking of gigs: how was it to present your first songs? Robert and Curran have known each other from their time in Annihilator, so they sort of already have a chemistry. How was it for you/the other guys?

We all get in a room and start making noise. When the other guys get cozy, they start to fire off riffs and whatever gets my dick hard or excites the rest of the guys we start to work on and try to turn it into a song. It is an open deal for everyone in the band, but the ideas have to be killer or we decide not to use them.

How did the public react? I take it your popularity is rapidly increasing? And do you have a view on sales?

The reaction has been awesome so far, lots of new fans and returning fans for "God Burns Like Flesh". Everything is getting better and bigger, we have more shows soming up in the next three months than we were able to get all last year, so I am happy with the progression of what we are as SHATTER MESSIAH.

What are the touring plans for "God Burns Like Flesh"?

To get out on the road as soon as possible and beat the living shit out of everyone with SHATTER MESSIAH's music! We want to tour for as long as we can and then get back in the studio and make another record.

This is your second album via Dockyard 1. What's it like working with them? Do they give you total freedom? In addition, for how many albums are you still under their wings?

They are very cool with us at DY1. They just want us to make great records, so they pretty much just let us do what we want and they seem happy at the end of the day. I think we owe them like 40 or 50 more records. I could be wrong on that number, maybe more like 20-30 - not really sure?!?!?! *laughs* Can you tell I am dodging that question?

Shatter Messiah - CurranSpeaking of Dockyard 1, or labels in general: how valuable are they, in your opinion?

I do not know anymore. It used to be 'before the internet you needed a label'. Now, bands don't anymore, which is fine, because more and more underground bands that are fucking awesome can get a chance to get out on tour and make a living doing the music thing, which I think is great.

How would you compare your popularity in the US vs Europe?

I think we are far more popular in Europe than the States. I see more people from your side of the planet on the forums and buying or CD's and shirts than I do people from my country

How familiar are you with European bands, or the European scene?

I am okay with it, I have toured Europe for several years and do love your part of the world for sure. Good food, good people, GORGEOUS women!!!! *laughs* Good times.

Do you have a broad taste in Metal? I take it Thrash and Death Metal score many plusses in your book, but I'm talking about Power Metal, Black, Progressive, Doom, ... anything you like in those genres?

I like Metal. Anything that makes me excited about heavy guitars and good music is all good in my book. I am really stuck in a rut with all of my favourite classic metal, like METALLICA, PRONG, MEGADETH, SLAYER, TESTAMENT, FORBIDDEN - you know, the true masters of this Metal.

With all this gigging and thus high volumes... ever had hearing problems? Or have you noticed a decreasing over the years? Do you keep things like that in mind when playing a gig or recording a new album?

I have hearing damage from earaches as a young kid and swimming to much in the summer. The doctors actually told me I have tinnitus from it. So I hear ringing and all of that, but only when I get really pissed off or stressed out, then it really takes off. I always wear ear plugs on stage and at gigs and never mix in the studio too loud. I got my first loud amp when I was 15 and the next day I ran back to the music store and bought earplugs, because I was in so much pain from the day before with the amps screaming and the drums pounding. I love music too much to be stupid and destroy my hearing anymore than what my body is already letting happen to it.

You're the boss in the band, so to speak, as you decide if the material is good enough for the album. Is everyone ok with that or do you still encounter some twitching about it? Also, is you being the mainman a way to avoid argumenting why this or that isn't good enough? Because SHATTER MESSIAH is initially YOUR idea?

I look at it as a benevolent dictatorship: there needs to be a boss, but the boss needs people who want to work with him for a common goal and vision. I am really lucky with the guys I have in SHATTER MESSIAH, we all want the same thing for this band: to make killer metal records that we are all proud of. The only reason everything HAS to go through me, is that I also produce the records, so I need to be thinking of the strength of the music as a whole, and not worry about peoples egos because something they write isn't going on the record. It is never anything personal, it is always what is best for SHATTER MESSIAH, and everyone in the band knows that, understands that, and wants it that way.

SHATTER MESSIAH probably takes up lots of time and energy. When you do have time for yourself, how do you use it?

I never have down time, I run Smiley Sounds Studio when I am not working on SHATTER MESSIAH. It also helps me to work on my production skills and mixing skills for the next SHATTER MESSIAH album. SHATTER MESSIAH is an all consuming monster, I can't think of anything else I would rather do with my existence on this little rock of a world, so I just let SHATTER MESSIAH eat me alive all the time.

Greg, you have a remarkable voice, able to sing melodic things to more extreme screaming stuff. Is there a way you keep your vocal chords in shape or just do your thing without going too far?

I practice and sing along to the only true metal master Rob Halford. He is the greatest metal singer of our time and I work on my voice everyday to try and get as good as he is. I also play in my own band H.A.T.E. all the time when SHATTER MESSIAH is not touring or working on a new record, so I keep in shape by doing that too. But really, it is all about pushing myself to sing as good as the metal god Halford.

I'm done, for now. Many thanks for replying and good luck with the band and anything that comes your way.

Thanks dude!!


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