Carcass’s Jeff Walker on Deafheaven: ‘Definitely a more interesting take on U.S. “Black Metal”’


Earlier this week, death metal legends Carcass announced a November U.S. tour with American post-black metal firestokers Deafheaven (Richmond heavies Inter Arma will open). It’s a pairing that many didn’t see coming, so we corralled Carcass captain Jeff Walker and quizzed him on his motivations for this unique metallic pairing.

It was your idea to pair up with Deafheaven for this tour, right?
Not this time, no. I’d suggested it as far back as 2013… I think we’d approached them again since this time our agent gave me a list and they were obviously the biggest draw on it—I told him if he wanted to embarrass himself by asking them again then to knock himself out!

What, in particular, interested you about the idea of co-headlining with them?
Like I said, back in ’13 when they and us were hitting all the end-of-year critics’ list I thought it would have been cool to do a tour with them, Gorguts and Inquisition as we’d all made the end of year lists. Deafheaven’s manager had dismissed it out of hand as she said she didn’t “get it…” plus she thought I’d dissed them once as I made a joke about their pink album cover, ha ha! What’s interesting is that they’re moderately successful [as Carcass is] and I think it makes a strong “package”—they have a slightly different audience to us so, at the end of the day we’re trying to put bums on seats here and trying to reach people who have never heard Carcass—and believe me there’s a lot of them!

There’s been a negative response from a small faction of the metal world to Carcass working with a band that’s been labeled with the difficult-to-define pejorative of “hipster.”
I am sure some Deafheaven fans are just as “vocal” about Carcass… that’s the internet for you. Put it this way: If people had to write letters of complaint like the good old days, they simply would shut the fuck up! As far as the hipster thing goes… it’s definitely a more interesting take on U.S. “Black Metal” to me at least—kinda makes more sense to a European than Americans standing in the woods in corpse paint with a toffee hammer ‘round their necks trying to be all necro! 

Are you surprised that some death metallers have their XXXL Obituary sweatpants in a twist over this? 
Not really, but then I don’t really think it’s a big deal—we’ve always tried to mix things up and play with slightly different band—Pitchshifter and Cubanate spring to mind—hell, we played after Asking Alexandria last weekend! Metal is so partisan nowadays; it wasn’t as fragmented as it is nowadays where people only listen to one particular branch of it

This tour is hitting a lot of smaller markets (Hello, Reading, PA!). What do you like about playing cities like that? 
We’re just trying to give these places a “chance.” Most tours avoid certain towns and cities nowadays. To be honest, this is the sixth time we’ve been back in the U.S. since [Surgical Steel] dropped. It’s nice to play places we haven’t hit before, and definitely places we’ve never played in our lives! I’d like to believe there’s an audience out there that’s getting passed over…. aren’t we nice?

Carcass toured with several non-death metal bands in the ’90s (and even just this past summer, too). What’s different about those bills as opposed to stacking lineups with Napalm Deaths, Suffocations, ect? 
It’s varied, isn’t it? I’ve never understood the attraction of sticking a bunch of bands on the stage that are so similar—you need different “shades” and styles. This is a rhetorical question: Do people really just listen to one style of music? Oh, yeah they do!! It can get pretty exhausting listening to five bands with blast beats in a row. Or maybe I’m just old?

Do you think you can get a RayBan endorsement out of this? 
Don’t need any, thank you. I found a pair on the sidewalk in West Hollywood that a guy running past me dropped a few years back. I swear that I tried to catch up to him to return them (cough) ahem!

Carcass, Deafheaven, Inter Arma 2016 Tour Dates
11/07 — Baton Rouge, La. @ The Varsity Theatre
11/09 — Birmingham, Ala. @ Iron City
11/10 — Jacksonville, Fla. @ 1904 Music Hall
11/11 — Saint Petersburg, Fla. @ The State Theatre
11/14 — Wilmington, N.C. @ Ziggy’s by the Sea
11/15 — Asheville, N.C. @ The Orange Peel
11/17 — Asbury Park, N.J. @ Stone Pony
11/18 — Reading, Pa. @ Reverb
11/19 — Providence, R.I. @ Fete Ballroom
11/20 — Patchogue, N.Y. @ The Emporium
11/21 — Poughkeepsie, N.Y. @ The Chance Theatre
11/22 — Pittsburgh, Pa. @ Rex Theatre
11/23 — Cleveland, Ohio @ The Agora Theatre and Ballroom
11/24 — Kitchener, Ontario @ Dallas
11/25 — Valparaiso, Ind. @ Big Shots
11/26 — Columbia, Mo. @ Blue Note
11/27 — Madison, Wis. @ Majestic Theatre