Musicscan: Does it feel good to be back with a new release finally, your first full length? What are your thoughts seeing it being available in stores soon?
Starkweather: I really don't think about it. Once a recording is finished I'm ready to move on to another. The process with this cd was long and drawn out because we had many starts and stops during the recording, mixing and mastering sessions. Once croatoan was out Stateside it was a relief of sorts. I think the 6 month delay between continents isn't good. Especially since in the past we always did better in Europe than the States. The environment is a lot different now than when the band started. There was no internet to worry about. Now, with the release time lag between continents it doesn't bode well. I'd like to be mistaken.
Musicscan: What’s the actual status of Starkweather? Is it a real band again, or “only” some kind of re-union project?
Starkweather: There has never been a reunion with this group. We've always been a band. We don't particularly enjoy playing shows so for the general public we're a "lost" or "new" band. We've always been writing and rehearsing. We don't care for the entire music scene and never involved ourselves with popularity contests. We really don't care for it. All we concern ourselves with is making music.
Musicscan: Isn’t it strange to see Starkweather and Overcast releasing new full length’s years within a short period of time?
Starkweather: Honestly, I'm out of the loop. I wasn't aware of Overcast releasing a new cd. I don't have any opinion regarding this. They're they're own entity and that their members could find time between Killswitch Engage and Shadows Fall to do it that bears no relevance to me.
Musicscan: Did you had problems to a label being intersted in the cd-release of Croatoan? The vinyl version by Hypertension is out for a couple of months now…
Starkweather: No, we were mainly looking into getting involved with a label that had a lot of experience in heavy music and doing promo. We were shopping it around for a few months before and after it came out on hypertension and we were negotiating with a few different labels. Originally croatoan was going to be a Second Nature release but we bought out the contract and went with Candlelight.
Musicscan: What’s to say about those few European comeback-shows you played? Are there still people out there knowing Starkweather from the mid-90ies?
Starkweather: Yeah, the fun thing about the European tour was running into a lot of people that were familiar with our old material. It was nice to finally meet people that we had been writing back and forth with from back in the 90s. The tour was fine - it definitely would've been more beneficial had we waited until the cd came out, but, that's life.
Musicscan: How do you feel about the bands position within the heavy music scene?
Starkweather: I don't consider it because we hold no position in the music scene. We're in no condition to constantly tour and become involved with furthering a musical career. We have family commitments that take priority. We're not 18 year old kids fresh out of high school and concerned with becoming world famous. It was never a consideration from when we started the band.
Musicscan: The heavy underground, as a whole, has evolved over the last couple of year with huge success of bands like Mastodon, Shadows Fall, Killswitch, Trivium, this Probot thing on Southern Lord. How did you experience all this happen?
Starkweather: I don't experience any of it. I work my day job as I always have. Those bands - whether one likes them or not - are touring full-time and working hard. They deserve the successes of their labor.
Musicscan: What's your attitude regargarding Starkweather like today, and how did it change since you once started?
Starkweather: It's always been the same. It's very simple: write music that we enjoy and challenges us as musicians. We have never concerned ourselves with what people think of what we do. If we did our music wouldn't have the sound and character that it does. If anything as we continue as a band we write more difficult music. There has never been a simplification of our music. It'll always remain dark and brooding. starkweather will always be our therapy and anger management device.
Musicscan: It seems like your sound is still evolving, as the new record is featuring songs that vary from real Heavy Metal to Doom grooves, Sludge parts or great noise rock...
Starkweather: Actually, all of the material on croatoan is rather old to us. Songs like "slither," "wilding" and "vespertilian" were written at the same time of into the wire. "Bitterfrost," "hushabye: goodnight" were previously released on 7" and compilation cds. I think we've been blessed in a way that, for the most part, our music has a weird timeless quality. It never followed any set tradition or particular style. Yes, the sound is evolving because that's the nature of our outlook on music. We enjoy writing. The best thing about the writing process is evolving and doing things differently.
Musicscan: Croatoan seems to be a little more groovy and in some way less aggression oriented to create something like a better flow and a more “complete” sounding. Is it just me or is there any truth to this?
Starkweather: I think that could be your perspective. There are songs on croatoan that are far more aggressive than anything we've done on crossbearer or into the wire. Perhaps there's more of a sonic difference between the recordings where the melodic stuff sounds fuller now than previously. But, the chording and the vocal texturing is far more developed. The drumming on this is less tribal than before - more traditional metal. Which actually happened only because Harry had been playing the songs for so long that when he hit the studio he did things differently than how we were used to hearing him play those songs.
Musicscan: Did you have something like a main focus while working on Croatoan? Have there been certain issues you specifically wanted to address with the new record?
Starkweather: No, the songs were all written years prior to the actual recording. We don't sit down and calculate how things are going to be written. The music takes its own course. Lyrically what I write almost always comes from a personal slant so there are rarely any political or social issues that I focus on. I'm not fond of most bands that push a political agenda.
Musicscan: Were there any particular adjustments or things that you wanted to improve upon from a technical aspect of writing compared to you earlier releases?
Starkweather: with regards to recording it was an adjustment getting used to doing things in the purely digital realm. another thing I'm not fond of as I think many modern recordings sound "digitally flattened." One good thing with having songs written in the manner we do we can't cheat. We have to play the songs beginning to end in the studio. The main thing we wanted to improve on is the sound quality of the recording. That has definitely been achieved. We always hope to achieve a stronger grasp of instrumentation although I don't believe we ever have thought: how do we write better songs? We never write in a traditional verse-chorus manner and it'll never be an aspect of this band. We view our music differently. Almost as if it were soundscapes. The songs develop naturally.