1. Introduce yourself and your band and tell us why we should listen to you.
SKRAW - My name is SKRAW I play guitar and vocals in MURDER VAN. We play Old School Thrashing Death Metal. We mix elements of 80's and 90's Thrash with Old School Death Metal.
DeathRay – DeathRay here, bass in MURDER VAN. If you like raw, fast, and heavy, and less cookie-cutter old school thrash and death metal, we got you!
2.What do you classify your sound as, Who do you tell people you sound like?
SKRAW - If I had to classify MURDER VAN I would say that we are a Death-Thrash band. If you took early Sepultura, SLAYER, Sodom, Destruction, Kreator, Demolition Hammer, Autopsy, DEATH, and Deicide threw them in a blender, added a dash of Carcass for flavor the end result would be similar to the MURDER VAN sound.
3.With digital music in today's world would you vote to keep or eliminate physical media?
SKRAW - Physical media is extremely important to me. I want to hold a physical product in my hand, see the artwork, read the liner notes, and listen to an album from start to end. Physical media is a huge part of the total package that a band uses to represent themselves. For me this is the only way to experience a band's recorded works.
DeathRay – Ditto what Skraw said, plus I like to smell the ink on the literature. It’s all still very collectable and nostalgic. The things we had to go through just to even find a band in the 80s-90s is a rite of passage and with the ease of streaming now, you don’t have any reason to purchase an album, get into deep cuts, or even have any kind of attention span. Lame.
4.What is the reason you decided to be a musician and has that reason paid off?
SKRAW - I don't know that there was a moment or reason that I decided to become a musician. It has always been a huge part of who I am. I got my first guitar when I was 8 years old. I played in front of my first real audience when I was 12. I played my first real club gig when I was 17 and since then I have been doing it off and on for almost 30 years. There has never really been a huge payoff in a monetary sense, but the experiences and people that I have met along the way have helped make me who I am today. The response and support that MURDER VAN has received is awesome. It is cool to see people wearing your bands T-shirts and buying your merch. There is no way to describe the feeling of being on stage and the band is tight, everything is spot on and to see the crowd response and people genuinely getting off on what you are doing. It is priceless. No words can explain but it is addictive. I do have goals and achievements that I am striving for. I want to take this as far as I can. I will say that the most gratifying aspect of being a musician has been the ability to pass along the gift of music to my oldest son. He got his start around the same age that I was when I started. He has been playing for a few years and it is so cool to hear the music that he is creating. I am happy to be here to help guide him along the way in this early stage of his musical journey.
DeathRay – I was playing trumpet in elementary school, but started listening to punk and metal. Soon after, all I wanted to do was make a punk band. I started playing guitar on my own and ever since then, I have continued to play. Has it paid off? No. If anything, I lose money playing in bands HAHA!
5.How do you feel about females in metal getting special attention? Do you feel it is fair?
SKRAW - I don't really see Metal as a genre where sex sells. Unlike the plastic pop music world. If females in Metal are getting special attention I guess I must just be unaware. To me Metal is brutally straight forward put up or shut up, bring it or get the fuck out regardless of sex, or race... I don't think that Doro has had a successful career because she is a woman. She is where she is because she can sing her ass off.. I would like to think that true Metalheads are more interested in musical content and only consider body parts for other forms of entertainment.
DeathRay – Metal is testosterone-driven music, and with all that testosterone, the ladies have my attention…But seriously, I guess I’ve noticed the push and I think it’s great. If a girl shreds, she shreds. Everyone is gonna like what they like, there is no fair or unfair in the underground. Leave that bullshit for the mainstream.
6.In the world climate with hatred being at an all time high and metal being an “ angry” music. Do you think your music contributes to anger and hatred?
SKRAW - We generally do not voice our opinions on current events through our music. Sure there will be people that do not like what we do. To our typical audience I do not believe that we invoke anger or hatred. I guess it really depends on the mental state of the listener. For me Metal music is a way to release pent up aggressions. I could start my day with a cup of coffee listening to Cannibal Corpse Hammer Smashed Face and be in an excellent mood afterward. I am not going to go around bashing people's heads in. I'd like to think that the same would be true for someone who would listen to a MURDER VAN track like Murderous Desire for instance. I am not trying to turn people into serial killers.
DeathRay – Metal sounds angry, yes, but it is a release. It is a tool for dissipating bottled up feelings. Metal’s contribution to anger and hatred is dissolving it. Think about it…most, if not all, metalheads are very calm, cool, and collected.
7.Are you opposed to religious beliefs or politics being used in music?
SKRAW - MURDER VAN does not directly incorporate religion or politics in our music. Our lyrical content is generally based on the human condition, the darker sides of life, true crime, serial killers, sanity, death, horror movies, and fictitious tales of gore and guts.
DeathRay – I am opposed to religious beliefs and politics being used in my music. Everyone else can do whatever they want, and it’s my choice to pass overly political or religiousy music as I see fit.
8.We have dive into some pretty deep issues here do you think your music sends a message and if so what is it?
SKRAW - Like I said earlier, we stay away from politics and religion. I am not trying to change the world or make anyone think the way that I do. We are a Death-Thrash band that plays loud rude intense aggressive Metal to get people banging their heads and having a good time. Those who understand know....
9.The market has changed and many bands believe that record labels are a thing of the past, with many labels now charging bands to “sign” how do you think a band can make it in todays scene?
SKRAW - I do not know how the "big" labels are going about signing new bands. MURDER VAN has been approached by a couple of smaller labels that really had nothing to offer that we could not achieve for ourselves. We would definitely consider offers that could take us to the next level.To be in a successful band you must realize that a band is ultimately a business. You are a brand with a product. It takes money to run a successful business. You must invest into your brand. My bass player / business partner DeathRay and I have invested thousands of dollars each into MURDER VAN and we are now self sufficient. at the level that we are currently operating the band pays for itself.. The band bank pays for all new merch and expenses. A great investment for a band is to find a good PR company and run PR campaigns to expand your reach and gain as much exposure as you can. With the current pandemic putting a stop to live shows it has been hard on all bands. As things begin to open up and get back to normal it would be beneficial to have management or booking agents connected in the industry to book shows, tours and handle festival submissions.
10.Why with the thousands of options including netflix , sporting events everything on demand. Why do you think people should take the time to listen to what you have to say in your music?
SKRAW - My target audience would be Metalheads. Playing in a Metal band you realize that you are playing to a small piece of the pie. Metal is not mainstream. Sure Metalheads watch Netflix, sports, and movies on demand but if they are into it they will find us.
DeathRay – If we have a message, it’s mostly just “keep the old school metal alive!” We aren’t the over-gratuitous types. We leave that for the rest.
11.How do you feel about pay to play? Do you think it is fair for a band to have to pay money to play?
SKRAW - The only time I would consider pay to play would be to buy in to a tour or festival but it would have to be the right situation, and circumstances would have to be right. I see it as an investment into the band for exposure.. It would have to be the right situation. I would hope to sell a shit ton of merch and play in front of large audiences in hopes to gain fans.
DeathRay – Since pay to play is basically only offered to the local bands, and most of those are just doing it out of passion, and have to maintain day jobs, it’s a pass for me.
12.It is fact that you are the talent and the entertainment explain what you think is the most important key to success?
SKRAW - I think in Metal music talent is entertainment. There should be a certain level of balance between the two. I think keys to success are quality, consistency, dedication, and longevity.
DeathRay – Success has a different meaning to each individual, and I think there’s an audience out there for whatever it is you are doing, no matter what that is, and that goes for all forms of art….If you just keep doing it, success will come.
13.In country music and even in some cases rock music is written and performed by different people would your band perform a song written by someone else?
SKRAW - MURDER VAN does not currently perform any cover songs. DeathRay and I have talked about a few songs that we would like to cover. As far as having someone actually write a song for MURDER VAN to perform will never happen....
14.If you are pro female in music are you pro using sex to sell your music?
SKRAW - Sure I am fine with females in music but in Metal music I do not see the relevance of sex to sell music. In the type of music I play most of the time if there is sexual content it is about necrophilia, or some off the wall shit like I cum blood. sure there are bands like WASP with fuck like a beast and LOVE machine but sex in Metal is not the same as in plastic pop music. I have yet to hear the new pop craze WAP.
DeathRay – Pro both.
15.What is your view on the lawsuits against people saying lewd or unprofessional things to women or men and how does that affect an art described as sex drugs and rock n roll ?
SKRAW - I am not sure that I understand this question. I am unaware of any lawsuits over lewd or unprofessional words against anyone. That is funny to me. People are so easily offended, some people just want to be offended. What Rock N Roll needs today is GG Allin and El Duce. We still have Jeff Clayton and also Hembree and the Satan Sisters are on the rise to fuck up all your feelings.
DeathRay – Lawsuits against people saying lewd things are nothing more than an opportunity for a lawyer to line his own pocket. Lawyers gotta eat right?
16. Ok lets lighten up a bit. What is your favorite band of all time and why?
SKRAW - Top 2, DEATH and King Diamond... DEATH.. Chuck Schuldiner the godfather of DeathMetal was an excellent song writer. Every album is great. The song writing is awesome, the musicianship is unbelievable. To hear the progression of the band from Scream Bloody Gore through all the albums to The Sound of Perseverance is amazing. King Diamond has always been a favorite of mine. The songs are great, the guitar work is top notch. Andy LaRoque is one of my favorite guitar players and King is a badass.
DeathRay – Hardest question of the interview. I really hate this question…I guess Iron Maiden. Based on the words “all time”, I have been listening to that band consistently for the longest time. If the question was simply “favorite band”, I could not answer that.
17.What would you be doing if you were not in a band?
SKRAW - If I were not in a band I would be actively trying to put a band together. I can not imagine what my life would be like without music. Music has always been a part of me. I have no idea what it would be like to have a "normal" life.
DeathRay – Writing and recording music until I was suddenly in a band again.
18. Do you have a favorite sports team?
SKRAW - NO, I do not follow any type of sport.
DeathRay – The Bones Brigade. Forever, skate or die!
19.If you could get on stage with anyone dead or alive who would it be?
SKRAW - King Diamond, LEMMY, I would also like to play with Gene Hoglan.
DeathRay – Slayer & Death, and any band Skraw mentioned in question 2.
20.This is your shot to let loose, Throw down your biggest complaint about the music biz
SKRAW - I do hate digital media and streaming services, bands are suffering from this. It may be good for exposure but there is no money in it for the bands. You have to stream 500,000 times to make $5. Venues need to be able to reopen. Live music needs to return. The music biz needs to get back to business.
DeathRay – Music business has eaten itself and the musicians. The spirit of music lives on in the underground, and even that takes footwork from you and I, so if you want it, do some thing to make it happen in your town.