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A Dirty Dozen with ROMAN JOHNSON of GRAVESLAVE – January 2020

| 31 January 2020 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Minneapolis death-grind stalwarts GRAVESLAVE have revealed a riotous new video for “God of Slaughter,” the first single from their upcoming Devotion EP, available March 6 via Trvasfuk Music. Founded in 2014, Graveslave has been on the grind since inception. The group was formed by Non, drummer Ben Fagerness (Gloryhole Guillotine) and bassist Josh Burke, whom all share a mutual love for gutturals and blast beats. From humble beginnings at local Twin Cities shows and DIY tours all the way to trekking across Europe in support of Origin, Rings of Saturn, and Hideous Divinity, GRAVESLAVE kept consistently active, also releasing two EPs and a single, until the untimely death of vocalist and key member Don “Doombringer” Durkee in 2019. After a brief hiatus, the group began quietly rebuilding and recuperating. After adding new vocalist Ashton George and guitarist Joel Sigsbee (Oklahoma Caddyshack), GRAVESLAVE began putting finishing touches on Devotion, a record that now bridges two distinct eras of the band.”  We get guitarist Roman to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

The new EP is called Devotion. It’s one of two EP’s written from the same body of work and writing sessions, so they’ll tie into each other like parts 1 and 2 of a movie. All of the songs are inspired by magic the gathering cards, so listeners that play the game might get a couple references.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I’ve been writing riffs and listening to metal since middle school, so I guess there was just never any doubt that I wanted to do anything besides be involved in bands.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

When I was 13 I went and saw my 1st local show. I don’t even remember the band names but they were my 1st experience with really heavy gutturals and blastbeats, and I my mind was blown.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

For Graveslave, some of the major influences for song writing are Pig Destroyer, JFAC, Cryptopsy, Black Dahlia and good ol fashioned Slayer.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Having Jonny Davy (JFAC) do vocals on a track is still a goal for me in the band.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I’d just describe it as extreme metal, since we cover so much ground. Maybe as deathgrind, for ppl who are really into subgenres. I’ve heard or read us described as deathcore or black metal before, and I like both of those genres, but labeling Graveslave as such just feels inaccurate.

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Joel (guitarist) and myself are the chefs of the band, Josh (bassist) is the beer champion, and none of us sing, we all just argue over the aux cord.

8. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

2018 we were on tour with Origin, and seeing them play from side stage was so real every night and never got old. Definitely fanboyed everywhere.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

I love being a musician in general for so many reasons, but if I couldn’t be one I’d probably still wanna do something artistic like film or writing.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I’ve always want an interviewer to ask me what I think about pineapple on pizza, because I am aggressively pro pineapple.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Honestly not really, no. Even some of the missteps have been really fucking funny, or a growing experience. I’ve enjoyed the whole ride so far.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Probably like a Zeppelin recording session back in their heyday. The parties had to have been insane.




Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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