Interview: High On Fire
Tue, 26 Jan 2010 09:31:00
High on Fire Videos
High On Fire continue to ride the snake.
There's something physically psychedelic and dangerously entrancing about their latest offering, Snakes for the Divine. If Jim Morrison fronted a metal band, it'd be High On Fire. The palpable doom-y and apocalyptic energy that Matt Pike and Co. conjured on Blessed Black Wings and Death Is This Communion bubbles over on Snakes bringing the apocalypse now. In fact, this record could've come out during the '60s, it's so damn groovy. That's not to say that evil thrash riffs don't abound, because there's no shortage of volcanic fretwork and Pike's unmistakable roar. At the same time, there's a timeless element to the record that solidifies it as High On Fire's best and one of the best albums of 2010—already.
Matt Pike sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino in this exclusive interview about what's behind Snakes for the Divine, how authors and books influence him, his favorite movies and so much more.
Death is this Communion had a heavy H.P. Lovecraft influence. Is that present on Snakes for the Divine?
Not as much before, but it is there. When I discovered H.P. Lovecraft, I was always obsessed—ever since the first time I read Mountains of Madness. I've read probably every H.P. Lovecraft story. It's so weird to be a kid that was brought up in Christianity. I read the Bible over and over again. I was put in that position where I had to have faith in something different. The more I started reading; that changed. There are certain points in my life when I read a lot and certain points where I don't. There are certain points where I play a lot of guitar and certain point where I don't. It's like a mood swing thing. If it's that time of the month, I start reading a lot, or I start playing guitar a lot and writing music. It's definitely a trippy thing.
Have you learned any writing techniques from your favorite authors?
Reading makes my world go round. A friend of mine created this comic book called Bastard Samurai, so I wrote a song called "Bastard Samurai" on the new record. He's a big High on Fire fan so I did it in honor of his comic book. It's about this Yakuza samurai that runs around. He's in this gambit, and there's this girl guiding him for the Yakuza. The Yakuza bets on him, and he's randomly attacked at any time. They gamble on it. They know when it's going to happen but he doesn't. He's such a killer—he just kills everything in his way all the time. For a comic book, it's a really cool story. I based the song off that. I'm inspired by shit that I read.
Have you drawn any inspiration from Stephen King?
Stephen King develops characters and plot amazingly. I kind of learned about developing characters and plot in songwriting from these authors for sure. With a record, you're making the listener feel like they know something that they don't know. They already should know something that they don't know, which puts the mystery twist on it similar to a book.
People don't read enough these days.
Well, all they read is fucking text messages. It's like, "Fucking shut up, dude. Really?" I fucking hate technology, even though it's necessary now. It's like fuck…People used to have to write shit down by hand. They put a lot more heart into it. They put a lot more integrity into it. Everything's at your fingertips, you can look anything up in the world on the Internet. There's no one really fucking hardass anymore. It's so easy to say you have conviction, but if you have conviction and there's technology there for you, what's your conviction?
Well, you've managed to preserve your vision on all of these records, because you've got that conviction.
That's the whole point. Someone always thinks they know better than you. It was weird working with a producer this time for me, as far as the High On Fire stuff, but Greg Fidelman actually made valid points where if I did listen to him, it made sense. There was so much material that it needed to be edited. It's not like I'm going to put out a four-hour album that doesn't make any sense. To have someone there to drive you or at least crack the whip on you to do something is important because I get lazy. I need someone to help me get organized. I'm very unorganized and very creative [Laughs].
If Snakes for the Divine were a movie what would you compare it to?
Fuck, probably not much [Laughs]. I don't know. That'd be a hard one. I can tell you some movies I like. I loved The Lord of the Rings. I think Peter Jackson is awesome. It's good to see that guy do great things because he's amazing. From back when, I loved Young Frankenstein. I like Gene Wilder a lot. Casablanca's an amazing movie. I love film. I definitely watch a lot of movies.
Check out Rick Florino's new novel Dolor available now for FREE here…