We only wanted to be better…All we care about is being brutal, catchy, groovy, and having good songs. Everything else is just a bonus.
Although a “new” band, Cerebral Bore has managed to amass quite a following, thanks to its characteristic sound (evocative of bands like Dying Fetus or Children of Bodom) as well as its unique line-up, with Simone “Som” Pluijmers on vocals, the only girl in metal (to the best of my knowledge) that sings in a way that would make Corpsegrinder proud.
With the exception of the Som, the band hails from Glasgow (Scotland) where guitarist Paul McGuire, bassist Kyle Rutherford and drummer Allan “McDibet” McDonald joined forces to produce what Blabbermouth has called “ “brutal death metal with personality and compositional diversity”.
The band’s success, however, has come at a price, since they have to combine their “regular” jobs with the rehearsing, touring and recording that is required for the band. And, boy, there have been a lot of tours.
Instead of waiting for producers to approach them, Cerebral Bore decided to take the bull by the horns and simply tour the US, booking everything for themselves. While the first visits might have not been particularly successful (the band was an unknown number in a foreign market) little by little things started to look up, and every time the band shows up again there are more fans waiting for them.
We met with the band in Tilburg, where they were performing on the main stage of the Neurotic Deathfest. Their inclusion in the bill was a last-minute thing, since they were expected to perform, once again, in the US, but some problems with the visa (which arrived too late!) kept that from happening. Bad news for the US, excellent news for the Neurotic Deathfest crowd.
Special thanks to the band, who were really good sports about everything (including my brief quotations of Seth Putnam) and Becky from Earache, who made sure everything went according to plan.
MB: How would you describe Cerebral Bore?
Paul: Fans of bands like Suffocation and Dying Fetus would be into us. I think we’re pretty accessible for other types of metal fans… at least we try to be.
MB: How did you end up with your current line-up?
Allan: Basically me and Paul started the band back in 2006. We went through several line-up changes between then and 2010, then Kyle joined the band on bass, and we were perfecting the sound and music. When we went in to record the album we had a different vocalist, but that didn’t work out, and Som came in and did the vocals, and that’s how “Maniacal Miscreation” came to be.
MB: Som, what has your experience been like, as the front woman of a band like this?
Som: For me it’s been good. I’ve always been around the metal world, around “the guys”, so it’s not any different for me. I did have to get used to all the touring and band stuff, because I had never been in a band before.
MB: While the rest of the band is Scottish, Som is Dutch. How did you meet?
Paul: We met here at the Neurotic Deathfest two years ago.
Som: I was doing guest vocals for Putrid Pile (with whom Cerebral Bore was touring) and they were watching backstage. We got in touch through Facebook and then I flew there to audition.
MB: Brutal death metal has always been associated with misogyny, due to the lyrics, the imagery and, of course, song titles such as… anything by Seth Putnam. How did you get into that?
Som: Well, I’ve always listened to metal, because my brother used to listen to it. I just wanted it to get harder and more brutal, so I started looking up bands and that’s how I got into it.
Allan: Any one of these guys in here, us included, we all started with something lighter and move into the heavier stuff eventually.Why should she be any different?
MB: Are you still planning to release a new album this year?
Paul: Yeah, we don’t know what month, but it will be either in late summer or near the end of the year. We’re just taking our time to write good songs, basically. We have a new single out, and we just played it for the first time live here last night.
MB: What’s your songwriting process?
Allan: Basically Paul will write the music, then I will make digital drum tracks…
Paul: Actually, we just started doing that. Before that it was all old-school, jamming and rehearsing. We just recently bought a computer, so we write the shit, then we program it, then demo it.
Allan: That way Paul can put the guitar takes in there and we’ll clean it up, send it to Som, so she gets to listen to the song before she comes over.
Paul: On the last song I wrote some lyrics and Som wrote some and we just arranged the best parts together. All of the vocal patterns on that song, however, were all done by Som. On the last album Som didn’t write anything; “McDibet” [Allan MacDonald] wrote a couple songs on the last one, then I wrote one song and did the patterns for another.
MB: Since you were confirmed for the festival [Neurotic Deathfest] only a few days ago, were you concerned that people may not even know you’d be here?
Paul: Because we were here on such short notice I figured that a lot of people wouldn’t realize that we had been put on the bill, so we made a lot of flyers and passed them around, putting posters. I think that made the difference, since a lot of people didn’t know we had been added. I met 4 or 3 people yesterday that were like “aren’t you supposed to be in the States with Hate Eternal?”
Most people didn’t realize we were here.
MB: So what kept you from going to the United States?
Paul: In order to do the tour we had to obtain visas at the American embassy. We went and did the visa application, the meeting and all that stuff, but then only 3 of the 4 visas came back. The missing visa actually came the same date that we were coming to the festival, but by that point we had said we wouldn’t make it to the U.S. tour. In any case, by that point there were only four or five shows left out of twenty-something, but we hope to get back to America soon. We now have the visas so it shouldn’t be a problem.
MB: Despite being a rather young band, you’ve toured the U.S. a few times. How did people react over there?
Paul: The first time we went, in 2007, nobody knew who we were, since we had just started one year before. Then when we came back in 2008, for six weeks, and even then nobody really knew who we were, except maybe some in the underground. Then we went back last year and a lot of people knew who we were, coming to the shows and buying t-shirts. That was good, since we really felt a big difference.
All the promotion that has been going on between us and our label [Earache]… also we now have an American booking agent now. There has been a lot more promotion going on, so I expect the next time we go back to be even better.
MB: You’ve mentioned that there seems to be a general misconception regarding how a band works, especially when it comes to money. Is it still a struggle to devote enough time to the music?
Paul: If we could be in a studio all day and write songs all day it would be wonderful. Hopefully one day we will be at that stage. I’m sure that Cannibal Corpse don’t need to go out and work a full-time job to make ends meet, you know what I mean? If they can get to that stage, maybe we can in 10 years.
We haven’t had these illusions for a very long time. It was mostly in the beginning that you have these illusions of making your money from death metal, and that’s what all of fans seem to think that still that there’s a lot of money being made behind the scenes. Most of them understand; all you have to do is tell them the expenses that you usually have to go through and what things cost, and then they understand that there isn’t as much money in it as expected.
We only wanted to be better at playing faster and with more endurance, it’s all about being more brutal. All we care about is being brutal, catchy, groovy, and having good songs. Everything else is just a bonus.
MB: What are your future plans?
Som: In about one week we have a UK tour with Suffocation, Cattle Decapitation, and Blood Red Throne, for about 5 or 6 days.
Paul: Next we do Hammerfest in Wales with Anthrax and a couple other big bands. After that we have a show in Paris, then in April the S.W.R. festival in Portugal. Then, an eastern European tour in September; we’re going to Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Greece, Slovenia and Hungary.
MB: Has it been too hard for you to find the time to do this and somehow manage to keep your jobs?
Allan: It’s really difficult, but the thing that helps, in my case, is that my manager is very supportive. Any time the band is in a magazine I’ll show it to him; he always wants to see it, reads the reviews, interviews and looks at videos. He really enjoys what we do, so he gives me the time to go and do what I did, no matter what. Even if I were to walk in and say “look, I have a last minute tour in the U.S., and I’m flying over there a week from now“. He would still let me go. He wouldn’t be over the moon about it, but he’ll still let me go and come back. But, juggling the full-time job with the full-time band it gets pretty hectic.
Paul: I can’t do it at all. I do management for the band, and if I had to have any kind of full-time job, all the business side for Cerebral Bore would go down the shitter.
Som: Basically he [Paul] is doing the managing the band and, most of the time, also doing the tour and shows organization. If he were to get a job everything would go to hell.
MB: Are you planning to record a new video?
Paul: We are going to do a video for the new song we just recorded, “Horrendous Acts of Iniquity.” We had the video booked in Hollywood but we never made it to the U.S. tour, so that shit fell through. We’re going to record a new video in the next few weeks; it’s going to be with a different director, so a lot of it is going to be done with their vision. In Hollywood we were only going to do a live performance video, unlike “Bald Cadaver,” because we were short on time and we only had five or six hours to do the shoot. But now that we’re going to do it in England it could be totally different.