Having recently been introduced to the awesomeness that is “Goatgrind” (see Milking The Goat Machine), I was pretty excited when I was told I should check out another band with a farm related theme, called Crimson Milk and their album “The Milky Way”.
Since too many metal bands take themselves too seriously, I love the current trend of bands adding humor to their music, as long as the music doesn’t take a back seat to the humor, so I was pretty excited to listen to “The Milky Way”.
“The Milky Way” is AWESOME!. The songs are crushing, heavy as fuck examples of what modern death metal should sound like. AI was all the more impressed to learn that Crimson Milk was a one man project, with all the instruments and vocals recored by a Mr. Evan Hoffman (Who has a great beard by the way, which we didn’t discover until after the interview was done and therefore is no mention of it in the interview; we’ll mention it next time!) So impressed in fact, that I felt it necessary to annoy Mr. Hoffman, who is a great interviewee by the way, with questions about his dairy themed project.
Hey Evan, how are ya?
I’m well, thanks. I’m playing expatriate in Munich for about another month, so I’m living out all my modernist fantasies.
Very nice.Could you give us a little background information on Crimson Milk please?
Crimson Milk is my primary musical focus. I love death metal, and Crimson Milk is my one-man attempt to contribute something to the genre. I primarily play and write for guitar, but I do all of the instruments and vocals for the band, mostly because I’m a totalitarian and have found few people who can stand to work with me.
The project started out as a tongue-in-cheek metal project back when I was new to, and not yet entirely comfortable with, death metal. I recorded a short demo of the most pretentious and poorly constructed metal anyone had ever heard and showed it to a few friends, while lying about the “band” to cover my ass. Either my friends had terrible taste in music or they were the most supportive group I’ll ever know, but they actually claimed to like it. I never released the demo. It really was awful. If Manowar’s Speedos could play death metal, they would do a better job. There was a song about clubbing someone to death with a baguette. Not metal.
Fortunately I got past that and now make, what I hope, is aggressive and merciless music that inspires you to feed your children to the neighbor’s dog just so it will choke on the bones.
How did the whole milk theme come about?
I took the phrase “crimson milk” from the Carcass song “Blind Bleeding the Blind” from the Heartwork album, which is easily one of the biggest influences on my music. I was playing it a lot during the inception of Crimson Milk a few years ago, and something about the phrase stuck out to me as ridiculous. I hadn’t quite embraced the trv kvlt metal mentality at the time but wanted to write that kind of music. For whatever reason, the metaphor seemed to sum up my impression of metal as visceral, brooding, and, at times, melodramatic, so it seemed a natural fit for the sarcastic metal project I was planning. I think the name rolls off the tongue very well, and, anymore, I just hear the sound of it. The milk theme has inspired some interesting artwork, though, and the unusual imagery imparts a unique and memorable title.
You produced the entire album on your own and recorded all the instruments. That must have been quite a tough process?
It was longer than it was difficult. Most of the recording occurred throughout my senior year at university, so finding the time (you know, between drinking) to record in large blocks to keep things consistent sounding was the biggest challenge. I tracked guitars and bass way back in November ’09 and didn’t finish vocals until this past August. I’m happy to find that I still like the songs, because I never wanted to hear them again a few months ago.
Did you programe the drums or actually play them?
The drums are all meticulously programmed by hand using the original Drumkit from Hell software. The samples were originally recorded by Tomas Haake of Meshuggah, and they used the same program for Catch Thirty-Three. I’m actually a terrible drummer. Eating with basic dining utensils seems to present a challenge to my coordination.
You say you’ve been independently recording and producing for ten years. What other releases have you put out?
None of it has been done professionally, so most of my efforts in that time have been simple demo recordings for my various musical projects. So far, I’ve produced and engineered three other “releases.” My friends in another unsigned studio band called Omia recorded their first demo and their first album with me in 2007. Unfortunately, they’ve pulled any access to these recordings due to a dramatic shift in style. The other recording is a short demo from my avant-garde project Nine Atop the Mountain done in 2008. This winter looks to be pretty busy, though, as I’ll be recording full-length follow-up albums for both of those projects along with a Crimson Milk demo.
Have you any plans to do any Crimson Milk live shows?
I would love nothing more than this, but, sadly, there are no plans at the moment. For about two months in early 2009, Crimson Milk consisted of five very talented musicians. Everything seemed set to go, but college, the beast that brought us together, promptly tore us apart. I’m close to having a black metal band assembled, however, so a blackened song like “Raped with the Lance” could possibly find its way onto the set.
Do you have any touring musicians lined up in case you ever do a gig?
Despite failing to meet the condition for this question, I’m actually only one drummer short of a complete line-up due to keeping company with several talented musicians. Metal drummers are stupidly hard to find in my area.
Why did you opt to record everything yourself as opposed to working with other musicians?
Ultimately, the decision was based on practicality. After losing the full band, I kept writing, and having no other outlet, was forced to realize my music myself. Having a live band with musicians I can trust and with whom I can enjoy mutual inspiration is my ultimate goal, but for the time being, I’m living the single-life.
Have you had any interest/talk with record labels?
Nothing at all yet, which is completely understandable. No matter how great I think my music may be, I wouldn’t expect a label to consider investing in a solo project that has yet to pass 2000 views on Myspace.
Are you familiar with the band “Milking The Goat Machine”? A tour with them sounds like a dream made in dairy metal heaven!
Dairy metal? That just sounds cheesy… I love “goatgrind,” and agree that this would be a spectacularly lactose intolerance-inducing rampage.
Whats next for Crimson Milk?
I’m in the process of writing a short EP to be called Dienasty. At the risk of alienating the small audience I’ve gathered with The Milky Way, this follow-up EP will be nothing but short brutal-death and grind. Low production will be key in the aesthetic of the album, and I’m actually developing a few clever techniques for degrading the audio. I plan to release digitally for free, but a very limited cassette will be available to anyone who wants to make a donation. The current schedule has it seeing light some time in early 2011. After that, I’ll return with a more dynamic sound and quality production for the next full-length. Every band says this, but if I can pull off what I have in mind for this release, then it will be something truly unique to metal.
Cheers for your time Evan. Best of luck with everything!
Thank you very much for your questions. This was alot of fun!
For more on Crimson Milk, check out their MySpace. Photos courtesy of J.Joseph