Joe Reviled (Vocals): Hello, thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Things for the band are going pretty well right now, always moving forward slowly but surely.
For people who are not familiar with Revilement, perhaps you could give us a short introduction and history of the band?
Revilement was founded in September of 2006 and we started off playing old school death metal and grindcore. Over the course of our history we’ve changed our lineup a couple of times, and through those lineup changes our style has gravitated towards brutal death metal to more accurately reflect the tastes of the people in the band. Now I think I can safely say that Revilement’s style is brutal death metal with some old school elements thrown in.
Besides playing in the band, do any of the band members have day jobs to sustain the band? As far as I know, you once mentioned to me that you were working in a magazine company. Are you still working there?
Yes, we all have day jobs or other things to keep us occupied during the day. Any money we make from selling CDs or t-shirts goes toward paying for practice time or recording, so we don’t make any money doing this. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if you looked at this from a business standpoint, we would be pretty far in the red due to paying for plane tickets, hotels, recording costs, and all the other costs associated with being in a band. But that’s not important. I love metal so I don’t even think about the financial aspect of it. I still work as an editor and writer for an educational magazine company during the day, and also work for a music magazine based in Taipei handling their interviews of foreign bands. Vic, our bass player, is a full-time student. Billy, our drummer, is a professional sound man, and Tony, our new guitar player, is a teacher.
After ChthoniC kicked start the metal scene in the 90s, more than 30 bands have emerged. What is the scene like in Taiwan now, compared to a few years back? Has metal become generally more acceptable, or is it limited to only ChthoniC?
The scene here seems to be growing larger by the day. I’m always coming across new bands that I’ve never heard of before. I also run a website here, along with a friend of mine, called TaipeiMetal.com, and we now have over 50 Taiwanese metal bands listed on the site. Metal has definitely become more acceptable here, in my opinion, thanks to Chthonic, who brought metal out of the underground and into the spotlight, as it were. At Chthonic shows you’ll see everyone from little kids to senior citizens, so many people who would not normally know what metal music is are now aware of it, and the fact that Freddy and Doris have become pop culture icons here has also brought increased attention to the metal scene in Taiwan. Anything that brings more attention and acceptance for metal and metal heads is a good thing, I think. Metal heads have always been stigmatized or looked down upon, and Chthonic is helping to bring down the barriers between us and the rest of society and proving that, other than our impeccable taste in music and massive collection of black shirts, we’re just like everyone else.
Back to the band’s music, Revilement released an EP entitled Human Vivisection last year. How has the reception for the release been so far?
The reception has been quite good so far. We’ve received some positive reviews along with some constructive criticism that we will definitely take into account for our next release.
In the past 2 years, Revilement has performed in the Tomahawk Metal Festival in Hong Kong and the Asia Metal Festival 2010 in Korea. Any interesting experiences that you can share with us? What are the fans like compared to those in Taiwan?
Both of those shows were absolutely incredible for us because they were our first two forays outside of the Taiwanese metal scene. In Hong Kong we had the privelege of sharing the stage with some great bands from Singapore, Cardiac Necropsy and Nafrat, and we had a great time and a few drinks with those guys. Cardiac Necropsy in particular were very generous with their vodka and beer. The first thing Andy from CN said to me was “Have a cold one brotha” and I knew it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Probably the best moment from the Tomahawk Fest was during the headling set by Japan’s Hydrophobia. All the Singapore guys and I rushed onto the stage and started a little stage pit during their last song, and we were basically just trying to shove each other off the stage into the front row. It was awesome.
In Korea we met another band from Singapore, Fall of Mirra, and they turned out to be great guys as well. We had a lot of fun hanging out with them. The night before the show the Revilement guys may have partied a bit too hard, resulting in some monster hangovers on the day of the show. Check out the video on our Myspace page and you’ll see what I mean. But the show was awesome. There were between 500 and 600 people there, as Graveworm was headlining, and they were absolutely insane. I actually saw a kid get swung around by his ankles in the pit. That was definitely a first for me.
Allen was working part time as a guitar teacher during his time with us and he recently received a job opporutnity that he couldn’t pass up. Unfortunately, along with his teaching gig, this had him working seven days a week, leaving no time to practice. So he left on good terms, and we immediately asked Tony if he would be interested in joining the band. Vic had jammed with him before in another band, and I had also known him for a couple of years, so we knew he would be a good fit for us. He’s a great guitar player and a very easygoing dude too, so I’m looking forward to seeing what he brings to the table.
What are some of your personal influences? Perhaps you might want to talk more about inspirations that you get outside of music?
Personally I’m heavily influenced by current events, history, and the human condition. It never ceases to amaze me how humankind finds new and more efficient ways to bring about the destruction of our own species and the natural world, so I’ll never run out of things to write about. All I have to do is watch the news and I’ve got something I can write a song about.
Any plans to release a full length album soon?
That is definitely part of the plan, but I can’t say with certainty exactly when it will happen. Before Allen left the plan was to enter the studio in September to record our first full length album, but with his departure that is now in question. We have eight songs prepared, which Allen wrote and said we could use after he left the band, and Tony is now in the process of learning those songs, but it will take some time. I’m hoping we’ll be able to get it out sometime before the end of the year, but we may have to push it back even further. We could end up revising the songs to suit Tony’s playing style, as we’re not just bringing him in as a hired gun. We want his influence on the album too. We’ll just take things as they come and record whenever we’re ready, hopefully sooner rather than later.
Now, we hardly see bands with collaborations between people of different races (besides in Singapore, where people of different races live together). Were there any conflicts or differing opinions when the band first started? Or do you adhere to the view that “music is universal”?
There were differences of opinion, but it had nothing to do with me being Canadian and the other members of the band being Taiwanese. The conflicts we had were typical of bands from anywhere. Music is universal and so are the conflicts that arise between band members, I suppose. We’ve had personality conflicts, musical differences, and all things in between, but there has never been a racial issue in the band, and I can’t ever see there being one. And now with the addition of Tony, we’re officially 50 percent Canadian, 50 percent Taiwanese, so the globalization of the band continues.
Fans from Singapore are definitely looking forward to catch Revilement. Any chances of catching the band in Singapore or South East Asia any time soon?
I really hope so. Singapore is definitely on the top of our list of places to go. We probably won’t do any touring until after the album is done, but once it’s finished we are looking forward to getting to Singapore and meeting up with our friends from the bands we’ve met from there again. I really can’t say enough about how cool and down to earth the bands from Singapore we’ve played with thus far have been. I know we’re going to have a great time there.
One final question: any parting words to all the fans or hypocrites out there?
To all the fans I’d like to say thank you for your continued support, keep an eye out for our next album, you won’t be disappointed! I have no time for hypocrites, so I won’t waste my breath.
Thank you once again, and send my regards to the rest of the band! Horns up!
Cheers Heavy Metal Tribune, thanks very much for taking the time to talk to us. Horns up to you as well!
Revilement on MySpace.