Latest release: Monolith of Inhumanity (Metal Blade/Riot!)

San Diego death-grind mob Cattle Decapitation has spent the last seventeen years antagonising the establishment with their no-holds barred diatribes relating to man’s inhumanity to the environment and other species with which we share this planet. As their first Australia tour looms, Loud got to chat with vocalist Travis Ryan about coming here for the first time, what’s grinding his gears at the moment, and more…

Thanks for taking the time to chat today, Travis. Hopefully you’re already gearing up to be playing for us here in a few weeks.
We’re dying to play down there, man. We’ve never been there, and just for me personally, it’s a place that I’ve always wanted to go from the time I was a kid. So we’re really looking forward to it.

I recently spoke to CJ from Thy Art is Murder, the band you’re touring with here, and they were very excited that you accepted their invitaiton to tour here.
I had never heard of the band when we got the call, so the first thing I did was go to YouTube and pull up a video of them playing somewhere out there to what looked like a gigantic room full of kids, so I thought, Yeah! We’ll do that one! They sound like a pretty heavy-hitting band over there, and that’s pretty much what we need for over there. There’s been a buzz from a lot of people from over there over the years, it’s just taken a while to convince promoters that we’re someone somewhat worthy of doing something.

You would not believe how upset some people were when they heard that Thy Art was headlining over you here. A lot of people were very pissed off about that.
Well, we really aren’t fans of headlining shows. We like to be the support band. To headline just sucks. We’ve done it three times and it’s just… you’re the first to get there, and the last to leave… Even if they wanted us to headline, we’d probably rather not, just because it’s a new territory for us. I don’t think we’re headlining material just yet. Then again, I’ve never been there, I don’t really know. If a lot of people are up in arms about us not headlining, then I’ll say, “We’re coming over there to play with one of your bands. They know the territory better than we do”. It would be the same if Thy Art is Murder was coming over here. We’ve toured the United States thirty times, they’ve never really been here, so we’d be higher up the bill. It’s all about marketing and demographics when you’re putting tours together. If I had my way, I’d probably put together the most financially disastrous tour of all time! (laughs)

You’ve dedicated a lot of your lyrics to subjects dealing with veganism and animal rights over the years, but that was less apparent on Monolith of Inhumanity. What kind of issues were you mainly concerned with this time?
We’ve always chosen topics that have to do with the bigger picture at hand. It’s not always going to be about animals rights. We always like to toss up things that lead to bigger pictures and a lot of little different avenues. Plus, I couldn’t really write… we’re up to our seventh album. I couldn’t write seven albums solely about the treatment of animals! (laughs) There’s all sorts of things to talk about that are just as important. We pepper all sorts of things throughout. This one is a take on what the future could bring if we continue on our course. Obviously, there’s other recurring themes – revenge, the law of Nature and things taking their course, evolution, science. It’s kind of an all-encompassing thing. The Monolith of Inhumanity represents our nature, and where we’re headed if we continue being so destructive.

Does playing to a new territory mean that you’re going to play some material that you probably haven’t played for a while?
Nah (laughs). We’re playing the same set we’ve been playing here. We’ve been around so long now and have so many different songs and albums that it’s hard to figure out what anyone want to hear anymore. Our newer stuff sounds like our earlier stuff and the middle stuff is totally different to the bookends, so it’s weird trying to figure out what we’re going to play. What we’ve been doing is playing a lot more of the new stuff. We like it a lot personally. We got into music to play what we like, first and foremost. Fortunately, a lot of fans like to hear that shit anyway. I could count on one hand the number of people who’ve come up to me and said they don’t like the new album, or “Well, it’s good and all, but I like the old stuff.” No one’s really said that to me! Everyone seems to be really into the new one.

That’s fortunate. By the time most bands get to their seventh album, the fans seem to only be about the early stuff!
I can’t really think of any band that people like their newer album more so than their older stuff. We just wanted to make an album that had more a flow, and had songs that had more of a flow instead of being too start/stop. A lot of our stuff has been kinda quirky, start/stop grind, so we were trying to get a little more songwriting in there, I guess. We’ve always been adding more melody. We’ve been doing that for about twelve years, adding as much melody as possible.

Personally, do you see any hope for humanity, or do you believe that it’s all going to go the way that Monolith suggests it might?
No. I don’t see any hope at all. For a couple of reasons: We’re people here. We’re too technologically forward-thinking, but without thinking correctly. And plastic. That right there. It keeps me up at night thinking about that stuff. Just that one little thing. It’s finding its way into every fibre of our society. I would not be surprised if the levels of cancer occurring in our society are not related directly to the amount of plastic that surrounds us everyday. It almost makes me not want to put out physical copies of our music anymore. It’s just everywhere. It’s really freaking me out.

Cattle Decapitation tours Australia with Thy Art is Murder, King Parrot and Aversions Crown in June:
6/6: The Rev, Brisbane QLD (+ Disentomb)
7/6: Expressive Grounds, Gold Coast QLD (A/A) (+ Emerald Vale + I Shall Devour)
8/6: Annandale Hotel, Sydney NSW (A/A) (+ Hunt the Haunted)
8/6: Annandale Hotel, Sydney NSW (+ New Blood)
9/6: Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle NSW (+ Under Grey Skies)
12/6: The Basement, Canberra ACT (+ Wretch)
13/6: Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC (+ Internal Nightmare)
14/6: Arrow on Swanson, Melbourne VIC (A/A) (+ I, Valiance)
15/6: Fowlers Live, Adelaide SA (A/A) (+ I Exalt)