» Jeff Walker - Carcass
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Interview conducted December 07 2013
Interview published January 04 2014

In September, the legendary Carcass returned with a new album, 17 years after their last one. A fabulous one it was too, earning rave reviews. With masses of metal fans longing to see them live again, the band hailing from Liverpool gained a spot as special guests of Amon Amarth's European tour, also with countrymen Hell as support.

When the party stopped in Stockholm, Metal Covenant was there and got the honour of talking to singer and bassist Jeff Walker, a nice fella, about mainly Carcass' present, plus some past and future.

Mozzy: How is the current tour with Amon Amarth and Hell going?

Jeff: Good, I guess. It's been enjoyable and fun. That's all that matters. I think Amon Amarth's crowd is a tough crowd to try and win over, though… (laughs).

Mozzy: Well they are the main band for people to see, of course.

Jeff: Yeah. And that's why we're here; to try and steal some of their fans. We cannot just carry on playing for the same audience. The reality is we can either play for 300 people ourselves or play for 3000 people a night with them, so that's more interesting.

Mozzy: That sounds very sensible. So have you gotten a good response?

Jeff: Yeah! It's nothing compared to how they go down though (smiles). It seems to work out well and are there obviously some hardcore Carcass fans that are coming and give us a good reaction. But I think we're winning a few Amon Amarth fans, you know. We've sold a few t-shirts and CD:s to people who are not necessarily Carcass fans. I'm happy with it all, it's more of a challenge, you know.

Mozzy: Have you noticed there are some younger fans who appreciate you as well? I mean, you have influenced younger bands too.

Jeff: Yeah, I actually thought we would bring out old people from the woodwork with our new album, but surprisingly there are a lot of young people. I think you find that a lot of people have grown up, gotten jobs and grown out of metal.

Mozzy: You should not do that.

Jeff: Well, some people have, you know. They sold out. They have jobs and children and the important things in their life have changed. But it's good to see there is an influx of young people. And it's funny, we take it for granted that people should know who the fuck we are because of what we contributed to extreme metal, but we're having to start from scratch to a certain extent. Especially to some Amon Amarth fans, they don't give a fuck who Carcass is. They don't care what we've contributed, so it's starting from scratch, but it's fine to do that.

Mozzy: You were away for quite some time, too.

Jeff: Yeah. Obviously, 17 years is a long time. I mean, I've got a t-shirt that is older than some of the people in the audience (laughs).

Mozzy: It's great to see so many kids who love metal.

Jeff: Yeah! My only complaint would be that the younger generation do not do their homework. They may like one band but they don't really look at the history, to see where it all comes from, you know. That's the way I see it. I don't know how old you are, but when I was younger I knew who Led Zeppelin were, and Black Sabbath, and so on. I was not necessarily listening to them, but I knew their importance.

Mozzy: I understand perfectly, it was the same for me. Now, you have a new line-up this time around; how is it like with Daniel (Wilding, drums) and Ben (Ash, guitar)?

Jeff: Really good, I think. It's a lot stronger than when we did the reunion five years ago. The line-up is more animated; I think it's more of a live band now, and a lot more movement onstage. And it's good to see younger people in the band; we've offset the average age of the band with 20 years, you know (laughs).

Mozzy: How was the recruitment, how did it all happen?

Jeff: We met Daniel Wilding when we toured America. He was playing in Aborted and we noticed him. So we asked him to audition, when me and Bill discussed making a new album. And with Ben, it's a long story, but the short version is he was on our radar, through a mutual friend. I had actually seen him playing on the internet, so I kind of discovered him. And then Bill knew him from a mutual friend. So we came across him from two directions, really.

Mozzy: What about Mike Amott; he was too busy and did not want to be part of it, I guess?

Jeff: He made it plain that he had spent ten years with the band and did not want to continue. You know, it starts with one year which then turns into three years and… He was anxious to get back to Arch Enemy. So he made it plain he did not have time to contribute.

Mozzy: And now Spiritual Beggars are active again.

Jeff: Yeah. Obviously Spiritual Beggars was the first thing he kicked into operation, after his third year in Carcass. It all turned out for the best, you know.

Mozzy: How is Ken Owen (former drummer) doing, then?

Jeff: Good. People ask this question as if he's… I don't know, his condition is not going to deteriorate. He will never be the fit, 100-percent healthy person he was before he went into coma. I know people like to ask that question because they are interested, but for me it feels a bit insensitive because we made it plain time and time again that whatever his condition was five years ago, he is still the same guy, you know. It got to a point where his health got better, but it can just go to a certain point because of the damage that happened to him.

Mozzy: OK. I saw you at Sweden Rock in 2008, and it was a great gesture of you to let him take part for a short while. People really appreciated that.

Jeff: It stopped the law-suit (smiles). He's our Eddie, our mascot (smiles).

Mozzy: In the past, you expressed that there was little chance of a reunion, but it finally happened. And now there is a new album too. Was all of it a natural process?

Jeff: Yeah, because obviously when you say that, you mean it. But as you grow older, things change and your feelings and attitudes change. You know, this has been propelled far more by people wanting it more than our desire to force it on people. It's a genuine… it's been made effective by outside… I hate using the word, but by the fans. It's not been us trying to impose it on them, what we want. It's a demand that's been created.

Mozzy: Cool. And of course, many missed the chance to see you before the reunion, like myself.

Jeff: Well I think it's like that for most bands. We've reached a part in time now where there is a lot of nostalgia, people are older and have more money. Bands have been missed, and again, that has created a demand for reunions. And maybe it's because the state of modern music is so shit, that people get the idea that the older stuff is better.

Mozzy: It usually is!

Jeff: Yeah (laughs).

Mozzy: What does it feel like to release another album then; that must feel like a landmark too?

Jeff: Well, after it took so long to make, yeah! It was good. You do it to try and impress people, especially your peers, other musicians. To a certain extent, we've achieved that, so it's a success, you know. It was trying to prove a point, trying to show people that we've still got it in us, to make good music. If we thought we were just going to do another mediocre album, we wouldn't have bothered, you know. Obviously, it's not for us to decide whether it's great or mediocre, but we feel it's good, you know.

Mozzy: It is great for sure, and it has gotten great reviews. How do you look at the future; is this long-term now, or?

Jeff: It depends on how you describe long-term. Maybe there is one more album in us, who knows? Look at our age, we cannot really continue to… We're not Black Sabbath, we play blast-beats!

Mozzy: Yeah, it's a bit of a difference (laughs)

Jeff: (Laughs). But, you know, there is definitely a few more years in us. But then, maybe you will be talking to me in 10 years, and I'm talking up my ass now (smiles).

See also: review of the gig the same night

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