While I am convinced the day comes when James and Lars knock on my door begging to be interviewed for the Rubber Axe webzine, I think there are many bands which deserve to be promoted and be made known to our readers before that day.
Listening to albums, Eps, demos, individual songs is one thing, though. What I like more, is to actually know more about the artists we review and promote.
Why am I writing this? Well, you might wonder – and maybe even bored – by my habit to follow a review of some release with an interview with the artist responsible. It’s quite interesting – sometimes you find that behind the extra-ordinary, outstanding material hides some terrible person (or persons). Sometimes it’s not the material itself, which is interesting, but the band and its philosophy. Or, you have the opportunity that the artist you hold high at some god-like position is actually a nice, down-to-earth person you have a great time to chat with.
I’m glad to have the opportunity to get back to Sam Unterberger (guitar) and Jay Fetal (vokills) of Abortion Survivor, and if you follow Rubber Axe, you know we’ve reviewed their debut demo not so long ago! So, play it again and enjoy the following chat with those great dudes!
First thing first. Can you introduce Abortion Survivor to our readers?
Jay: We’re just some dudes, hanging in a back alley, trying to make some metal.
Sam: Greetings, fans of Back Alley Metal from across the globe!! With a name like Abortion Survivor, you maybe asking yourself, “Are they Pro-Life? Pro-Choice?” The answer is NEITHER!!! WE ARE PRO-DEATH!
The band has its roots with another band, namely The Fetals. Can you give us some insights on this? Why did you feel the need to start another band and what happened to The Fetals?
Jay: We had a lot of personnel changes the last year of The Fetals. We were having a hard time finding a new vocalist so I moved to vocals and we picked up another drummer. Things just weren’t working out with everyone’s free time and ended up at one point in 2013 just being Fetal Matty and I. So we reached out to Scotty to see if he would drum with us. After a few practices we realized we were going to much heavier than The Fetals so opted for a new name.
Sam: To be fair, Abortion Survivor is actually the result of an unholy union between two projects, The Fetals and Barbarism. Both bands were mainstays of the late 2000’s Philadelphia metal scene. As varying member’s priorities and focuses shifted, it made more and more sense for the remaining members to combine forces and take over the world.
Now, how would you describe the differences between The Fetals and AS regarding the music? Any different influences? From what I could hear, the vocals are definitely different, from hardcore screaming to proper (and nice) death metal vokill…
Jay: Scott is a way different drummer than I am. He’s got those sick blast beats down, and loves to play fast. That’s the real big difference in the sound. His playing differences has forced Matty and Sammy to write differently, so you end up with this much more aggressive sound. Vocally, I’m not a screamer. I can scream, I just prefer a more guttural spoken style. I think it fits our sound better!
Sam: One of the major shifts that occurred in the formation of Abortion Survivor was the transition of Jay Fetal from drums to vocals, and the addition of Scotty Survivor on drums. Scott has a more traditional death metal drumming feel than Jay’s hardcore-influence, and Jay has a much more death metal vocal delivery without the clean singing of the Fetal’s former vocalist.
Your “Back Alley demo” was released on August 1st, 2018. How much time did you spend – as a band – in preparation for this release and what are the responses from the reviewers and public so far?
Jay: We actually recorded those 3 songs, along with like 5 others, back in 2016, before Sammy and Kenny joined the band. We weren’t really happy with everything. We spent a ton of time in production playing with the sound, but kind of felt like something was missing. Then Sammy joined in late 2017 and as soon as he had the songs down we went into the studio and had him record his tracks. That fixed a lot of our issues with the demo.
Sam: Jay Fetal, Matty Fetal and Scotty Survivor were playing with other musicians in the Philly scene for a couple of years since the dissolution of our former projects. When those musicians didn’t pan out for the total brutality that is Abortion Survivor, calls were placed to musicians they’ve worked with in the past; namely myself Slammy Survivor of the Fetals, and Kenny Survivor of Barbarism. We both joined the band in late 2017 giving the time to learn the existing songs for the recording of the debut ep.
Since the release, I’d say the response has been very warm; we’ve had excellent reviews from such esteemed publications/reviewers as Dakota and Cameron from WordwideUnderground.com, Evert Nip of Evert’s Band Promotion Page, and Rudolf Schütz of Rubber Axe magazine!!
What can you tell us about the progress of making some new material? I know you plan to release your full-length this year. Do you have already any details when and how it’s gonna be released? Independent DIY release or did you find a label for it?
Jay: I think we’re sitting at 7 songs finished with one more very close to complete. We’re not sure when, but we’re working out logistics for studio time right now. I figure we’ll be in the studio by summertime, with a late 2019 for release. It’s definitely going to be DIY. Outside of that, everything is subject to change!
Sam: We are VERY excited about the upcoming recording/release of the full-length album; details will be forthcoming.
I guess you are pretty much stoked for your upcoming gig with Vomit Stain, Sadistic Vision and Gross, good luck with the gig! And talking about live shows, how many live gigs have you already played with AS?
Jay: Super excited to be playing with Vomit Stain. I love their sound so I can’t wait to see them live. We’ve only played 2 live shows, and we have 2 more booked for 2019 so far.
Sam: This gig was our 3rd public performance and our second at the warm-and-welcoming Bar XIII in Wilmington, Delaware, but we’ve all been active performing musicians for 15+ years; our antecedent bands even played gigs together with each other, so we are VERY comfortable in a live setting.
This gig was a lot of fun; our 3rd time sharing the stage with the bois in GROSS who play a fast-and-furious grind assault featuring songs about hentai, “night milk” and of course GRAVY!!!, and our first with established vets Sadistic Vision, and up-and-coming stars Vomit Stain. Sadistic vision killed it with their osdm sound, great for fans of Morbid Angel, and Vomit Stain brought the hammers with their slamming brutal death, and beware: lead Singer Bill Ramey DOES have his band logo tattooed on his ass, and you WILL see it on flyers or at live performances!!
Continuing with the live gig coverage, I see you’re playing in The Rusty Nail. Now, for people in Europe, who don’t have much knowledge of local gigs in your area, how would you describe the possibilities of playing live for local extreme music bands in Philadelphia?
Jay: The Philly area has a decent metal scene. There are some great venues to play at both in the city and in the surrounding area. We love the Nail because the owner is an awesome dude who loves and supports the local music scene. Plus both Sammy and Matty live within minutes of the place, so it’s even more local to us. It’s basically a home away from home.
Sam: Philadelphia has a very diverse and vibrant live/extreme music scene, with the Rusty Nail being a GREAT place for vistors to catch smaller/local acts; this will be probably the 40th time I’ve played a show at the Nail, and probably the 80th time I’ve attended one over the last 20 years. Other venues to look and listen for are The Fire, The Barbary, and Kung Fu necktie for 100-person venues, The TLA and the Filmore for 300-500 person venues, and my personal favorite venue in the city Voltage Lounge is where you can see local favorites open for your favorite big-name tours; this is where I met our buds in GROSS and Disinhume.
Let’s promote one more interesting gig AS will play at – 420 Delco Metalfest in April 2019. Can you share some details with our viewers (I hope some of them can attend!)?
Jay: Oh man that show is gonna be brutal. The line up is sick, with some of the best metal acts the area has to offer. It’s on everyone’s favorite unofficial holiday 4/20. It’s one of those shows where you take time off from work to make sure you can make it.
Sam: While I understand legal regulations are different everywhere, some of us in Abortion Survivor are fanatical “herbal medicine” enthusiasts, and could think of no better way to celebrate this international holiday of all things green and leafy than by hosting this party at our “home away from home” with other bands that feature a similar passion as us! As an admin for the Brutal Death Metal, Slam, and Deathcore Community Facebook group, I’ve had the pleasure of working with, seeing and becoming friends with the bands Extinction, Cunt Torch and Flesh of the Lotus previously, and as a member of the Philadelphia metal community, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and playing with Disinhume and GROSS.
We’ve already talked about the plans to release new material… what about the other merchandise? I know you had some t-shirts for sale…any new stuff we can spend our hard-earned moolah on?
Jay: We’ve been working on our next t-shirt design, and have actually shared it on our Facebook. Not sure when we’ll have them printed, but keep an eye on our Bandcamp and Facebook pages for an update. After that, I’m not sure. We’ve tossed some ideas around…AS branded assless chaps, AS logo’d baby clothing line, maybe some stickers…we’ll see what we decide on.
Sam: Right now, we have a t-shirt out currently, featuring V.1 of our logo. We are selling them as 1 for $15, 2 for $23 shipped in the US. Once we sell out of these, we’ll be getting ready to launch a BRAND NEW design, ft a brand-new logo, and a revamp of our mascot, Abhor-Ted.
OK…ending this nice short interview, any final message for our readers?
Jay: Like our Facebook page so you can stay up to date with our antics. Check out our debut release Back Alley Demo at abortionsurvivor.bandcamp.com. There are a lot of things we are working on that you won’t want to miss out on! We just wrapped up filming a music video for EATR which we expect to be released in the spring. So stay tuned!
Sam: Only the usual social media plugs. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Bandcamp, with official website set to follow shortly!