Elkins boys The Backwoods Massacre
The Backwoods Massacre is a four-piece metal band hailing from the Elkins area. Since 2009, they have steadily worked to create a sound that they hope can hold its own in an ever-changing musical climate, while focusing attention on the West Virginia music scene in general and the heavy metal scene in particular.
With interesting and frequent stylistic changes vocally and musically, they could quite possibly be well on their way to achieving that goal. The quality of much of The Backwoods Massacre’s music can easily rival many of their more well-known contemporaries. They are currently hard at work on their debut release and they took some time to sit down and chat with Graffiti about the band itself, their objectives, what inspires them, and their plans for their future.
Graffiti: How did The Backwoods Massacre first come together?
Danch: A few of the members actually worked at a telemarketing organization and we met up there. We got a few people together just to basically play some music, and that’s where The Backwoods Massacre formed. We got a few more people that came in and we made a band out of it. We’ve been doing that since October of 2009.
Sam: Me and Henry have known each other since high school, and they brought me in after a few other people had rotated in and out, and I think it was just a really good fit. It’s been this way ever since.
Graffiti: Can you describe the sound of The Backwoods Massacre for people who don’t know what you guys sound like?
Henry: We’re just a really weird blend of old 80s and 90s metal with melodic styling in with it.
Graffiti: You obviously love music. What do you love about it? What makes you want to play the music?
Henry: Well, ever since I was very young I’ve had to deal with different things in my life, and sometimes the only way I could get through any of that was to pick up a guitar and just focus on the next note. When you’re playing music, that’s all you’re ever focused on; the next note you’re going to play and making it right and making it sound good. That takes everything else out of your mind for those three minutes, five minutes or so. Everything else is gone.
Graffiti: How do you all come up with the songs? When do you know that a song is ready to go into the live rotation or ready to go on the record?
Animal: In my personal experience I feel it clicks that way. It kind of all comes together and you just know. You don’t question it, it just happens.
Graffiti: So it’s a kind of organic feeling, then?
Graffiti: When do you guys get to play? Do you get play live a lot?
Danch: That’s actually picking up quite a bit. We’ve been practicing a lot, and we’ve been working on our debut album. As I’m sure you know, recording can be quite expensive, but we’ve got enough songs to finish up the album. We’re pretty excited about that. We’re going to be playing with Mushroom Head on October 27, so that’s going to be a big step for us. We’re also participating in the battle of the bands in Grafton on Saturday, and then we have a show lined up in Philippi on November 10. We’ve got some live shows and we’re ready to get out there and rock and show people what The Backwoods Massacre is all about.
Graffiti: What inspires the band musically and in everyday life? I’m sure that there’s some kind of outside influences like other bands. What inspires the band externally to play the music?
Danch: Well, you could actually say that relates to us. From a vocalist’s standpoint I always grew up around music. It wasn’t so much heavy metal, but it was something when I found out about it [heavy metal] that I just fell in love with. A lot of 80s and 90s metal, I mean that’s what influenced me vocally. I don’t sing like them, but artists such as King Diamond, Danzig, W.A.S.P., things like that. And, of course, Pantera in the 90s.
Sam: There’s also a huge appreciation for where we come from in our music, as well. Not only that, but it mixes kind of the horror feel with the eeriness of being out in the woods at night. It’s just a mixture of horror and state pride, I guess you’d call it.
Animal: Yeah, I mean what inspires me is just wanting to change someone’s life like a lot of artists have done for me.
Henry: And there’s just been so much influence from even people around us. My dad got me a guitar, and I’m sure everyone had someone around who got them into music.
Graffiti: Since the band has been together for a few years now, do you feel like you’ve grown together like a structure rather than four separate units?
Animal: We’re rock solid at this point. There’s no turning back now.
Sam: We all get along well too, so that makes it a lot better. It all comes together in our songs I think. Everyone’s got the different influences and we bring that all into one thing.
Graffiti: What is the music about in terms of lyrical content?
Danch: You know, there are a lot of different aspects. You’ve got the horror aspect, a lot of forewarning about potentially bad things that can or could happen while you’re out in the back woods of West Virginia. We mix it up a little bit. You can take a lot of our songs, as far as the lyrics go, and get a lot of different meanings depending on who’s listening to them. I get all of the time, “This song helped me get through this,” and “This is what it means for me.” That’s how I want people to take it. You know, it’s how it’s interpreted by the listener, and that’s how I like to keep it.
Graffiti: The musical climate is much different now than it once was. There are more people calling themselves “metal” bands, and some bands not wanting to be classified at all because it may be too restricting. How do you want to be seen?
Sam: As real metal. Not just new-age “core” music. We want to re-vitalize real metal. Not all of this filler bullshit.
Graffiti: Do you guys have anything available at the moment, like a demo, EP, or something?
Animal: Right now the recordings are mainly fillers until we can actually get something solid recorded. We’re going to be working on an intimate-style live DVD from our practice area with a little bit of extra content. We’ll probably offer that for next to nothing just for the appreciation of our fans for waiting so long to hear from us. We’ve gone through a lot of changes, so unfortunately that’s created a lot of set-backs. We’re just trying to take a few steps forward. We’ve just got to take it a little at a time (and) go big or go home. It’s just what we’re into doing at the time.
Graffiti: What would you guys like to say to your fans, and equally as important for the band, to the people who may not yet know about The Backwoods Massacre?
Danch: We definitely want to thank them for their support. We want them to go out and support the metal scene, and come out to see us because we’re going to be a big part of it as far as I’m concerned. Keep listening, check us out. We’re on social networks – Facebook, Reverb Nation, You Tube. All of the popular ones so people can find us there, too. Feel free to send us any feedback. We just want to get our music out there and show people what we have to offer, which is a lot.
Henry: Also, to make our state a new epicenter for music in this region.
– The Backwoods Massacre play a brand of heavy metal that is both brutal and melodic. There is variety to their music that has the ability to appeal to a wide range of heavy metal fans. They can be contacted via Facebook, MySpace, and e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Their music can be heard on Reverb Nation, as well as Facebook.