|Interview by Burt Wolf with Aaron Byrnes, Guitarist, Bassist & Backing Vocalists for FEAST ETERNAL.
Interview done January 13th, 2015.
CAN YOU PLEASE GIVE SOME HISTORY ON THE BAND AND HOW YOU GUYS GOT TOGETHER?
Well it all started back around 1991. Ted Humlinski (TJ), and John Greenman, the bands original bass player were
the founding members. Just young Metal heads jamming and writing tunes. Matt Skrzypezak came along a couple
of years later to complete the line up. TJ and John used to practice at Matt's and since they didn't have a drummer
Matt decided to start playing, that was it. That was the line up for a long time, On and off swapping bass players a
couple of times. I came along about three years ago as a guitar player.
WHY WAS THE NAME FEAST ETERNAL CHOSEN AS THE BANDS NAME?
Well back when it was just TJ and John they liked the word Eternal but what to put in front of it? Well TJ was a
dishwasher at this crappy Chinese restaurant, and one day while he was doing dishes he looked over in the garbage
can and their on a discarded can was the word Feast! The rest is history, not only being a sweet Death Metal band
name it also represented a sort of epic biblical imagery that appealed to them.
WHO OR WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR INFLUENCES IN MUSIC AND IN LIFE?
Ha! In music, I know for TJ AUTOPSY, CARCASS and MORTIFICATION were huge in the early days. Trying
to limit it to a few bands is impossible. BOLT THROWER, IRON MAIDEN, RUSH, CARCASS, HYPOCRISY,
BLACK SABBATH, AUTOPSY, QUEENSRYCHE. Way too many to list. Classic to classical!
In Life? Wow that's a huge question, we all have varying philosophies on many things. Not sure I can really
answer that without writing a book haha! Metal, politics, capitalism, nature, extreme sports, aspects of
Christianity, science, psychology, Vikings! HaHa! Again probably too many to list. We are a bunch of hard
working guys with full time jobs, and families. Family is huge! Besides Metal, TJ is in to guns, Matt into reading
and sci-if, I am into racing motocross, and off road. We are all into thinking logically, and enjoying life to the
fullest. Trying to better our lives and the lives of our families. So anything that supports these type of things we
are influenced by!
HOW WOULD YOU BEST DESCRIBE THE STYLE AND SOUND OF FEAST ETERNAL?
Well it's a combination of stuff we all like. Death, Melodic Death, Thrash, even some Progressive Metal. We are
basically old school Metal heads. I suppose it is to be labeled Melodic Death Metal. We don't have a problem with
that, that's what it is.
WHY WAS THE BAND PUT ON HOLD IN 2000 AND WHAT LED TO THE BAND REFORMING IN 2006?
Ahh, well those were some rough years for the guys, many personal issues and struggles. It wasn't so much "put"
on hold as "forced" on hold.
I ONLY HAVE YOUR "PRISONS OF FLESH" REISSUE WHICH CAME OUT IN 2007. HOW WELL HAS
THIS ALBUM DONE IN THE UNDERGROUND?
Well "PRISONS..." is the mainstay album for FEAST. It's what most people know FEAST for. It's kind of
unfortunate though , because it was so long ago and the band has grown since quite a bit. The guys were very
young when that album was first put together. Do to personal struggles FE has not been able to get anything else
together quite right. The CD "WITH FIRE" was extremely rushed and suffered for it. We are hoping to turn that
around starting with our EP "FORWARD THROUGH BLOOD", and our upcoming LP in 2015.
THIS ALBUM WAS PUT OUT BY OPEN
GRAVE RECORDS. HOW DID YOU GET
HOOKED UP WITH THEM?
Just word of mouth, he came to the band and
they put a deal together.
I USED TO DEAL WITH OPEN GRAVE
RECORDS BACK IN THE DAY & USED
TO DISTRIBUTE YOUR RELEASE AS
WELL AS SOME OF THEIR OTHER
RELEASES. WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO
THE LABEL AND JAMES MATTERN?
THEY SEEMED TO JUST DISAPPEAR?
I guess no one knows it appears he did just
YOUR NEWEST RELEASE IS "FORWARD THROUGH BLOOD" WHICH CAME OUT IN 2013. CAN
YOU GIVE US SOME INFORMATION ON THIS RELEASE AND HOW WELL HAS IT BEEN DOING?
"FORWARD THROUGH BLOOD" is a four song independent release we put out last October 2013. We did
everything on the album ourselves, wrote the songs, all the playing, the recording, mixing, mastering and the
artwork. We are pretty proud of it. We wanted to put something out that better represented the way the band is
now. Due to many of the personal issues I mentioned above FEAST has never been able to hit its stride. We
wanted to show that yeah it's been 20 stinking years but hell yeah FE is now hitting their stride! Haha! As far as
how it's doing, well it's doing what we hoped it would do, which is reestablished FEAST on the Metal scene.
There has been renewed fan interest. We have gotten some really good reviews over in Europe with two of
Europe's most influential Metal webzines, LEGACY and POWERMETAL.com. LEGACY also has a print mag
with 80,000 circulation that included the song "Forward Through Blood" on their latest compilation CD. We have
also done a number of interviews as well. This latest EP, is a result of a motocross crash. Some guy pulled in front
of me while landing from a jump and to avoid him I ended up laying the bike down on its side. Doesn't sound bad
but my ankle just happened to be under the frame, I heard a pop, that was it. I was laid up for six weeks! This is
not good for me! I was going nuts! So in my abundance of spare time I decided to get a studio together. I ended
up getting Logic Pro 9 , and learning it from scratch. My last studio used a B16 reel to reel, haha! Yeah it's been a
long time since I have had a studio! Yeah I watched a lot of YouTube how-to videos on logic! I ordered everything
else off of Amazon. I have never believed in high end studio gear. I bought the whole setup (not including my
laptop), for under $1000.00 US dollars! When everything came in from ups I had to have my son help me in-box
everything as I could not stand! I was crawling around on my knees putting it all together haha! Kinda funny
looking back. We recorded the whole thing in Matt's basement. The guys built the drum and vocal room window
included from lumber from Home Depot. We used a bunch of cheap drum mics the guys had, and a trust you 57
on the snare and vocals. That was it! The whole thing was recorded mixed and mastered on my laptop.
HOW DO YOU FEEL THE BAND HAS IMPROVED
AND CHANGED FROM YOUR FIRST RELEASE TO
Well, the biggest thing I think people will notice is the
production. Production isn't merely mixing or mastering it's
a process that starts in the earliest stages of song writing
and goes all the way through to the very end when the CD
is finally pressed. It is something that unless you have years
of experience or the right connections to people who know
how to do it, it is very hard to achieve. FEAST has always
had great songs. They have always had heart and always
had that intangible element that you can't quite put your
finger on but you can here it. You can feel it. These are
things that many bands would kill for. But one thing that
FEAST did not have was connections to people that could
help bring their music to the people. These people do not
exist in Traverse City, Michigan! Haha! Well I have been
around a long time and have a lot of experience in music
and Metal. I used to own my own recording studio in the
early 90s. Well, when I joined FE, I was simply wanting to
jam with some guys and play Metal. But as I learned their
songs I became a fan and decided to put my experience to
use with FEAST, and fill in the gaps. It has been a great
combination and we are all real happy with the results so far.
WHAT IS SOME OF THE LYRICAL CONTENT IN YOUR SONGS?
TJ writes most of the lyrics, Matt also writes lyrics. The lyrics contain imagery reflecting their life experiences
from their perspective. Political Tyranny, belief, death and dying.
YOUR WEBSITE MENTIONS A NEW ALBUM IN 2015. CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE
NEW MATERIAL AND NEW ALBUM?
Well, we are in process right now of preproduction on the new album. We plan to start recording in November this
will more than likely go through the entire winter with mixed down and mastering lasting until spring. Then there is
artwork submitting the material to be pressed then we will set a release date which will more than likely be
September or October 2015. Yeah it takes us a long time to do this stuff as we do it all ourselves,and we have
those pesky day jobs to keep going…
WILL THIS ALBUM BE PUT OUT BY ANY LABELS OR WILL IT BE SELF RELEASED?
Our plans are to release the album independently. We have not had an amazing experience dealing with labels. We
do enjoy just putting out the music on our own time table and the way we like it. I am sure though if the right
situation came around with a label we would definitely look at it.
DO YOU HAVE ANY INTERESTING OR COOL BAND / ROAD / LIVE STORIES YOU COULD SHARE?
Well one that's kind of funny especially looking back. In the early days of FE, Gigs for a young inexperienced
Death Metal band were hard to come by especially in northern Michigan we're talking 95, 96. Haha! So they have
this gig lined up in Alpena, Michigan which is not the heart of the Metal world by any stretch of the imagination…
So they drive out to the gig of course it's crap and they know it. So before they drive all the way up to where the
gig is at they turn around and leave! They bail! They just ran away ha ha! So they decide to drive into downtown
Alpena. Where they find a music store. So they go in get talking to the owner and he said, hey why don't you just
set up right here in front of the music store on the street. So they did and you think that would just be another crap
gig. But it actually turned out pretty good. They got the attention of a motorcycle gang, and some local skater kids.
And I guess it turned out pretty good. Pretty early raw stuff! Kinda funny!
SINCE THIS IS ALSO A HORROR WEBSITE AS
WELL, I ALWAYS ASK, WHAT ARE SOME OF
YOUR FAVORITE HORROR FILMS AND WHY?
Well I can't speak for the rest of the band, but for me
the ALIEN series is a favorite. As I am a big sci-fi
fan and this mixes both genres in a really intelligent
way which I find extremely cool. 28 DAYS LATER
and 28 WEEKS LATER stick with me too!
WHAT WAS THE FIRST ALBUM YOU
I think the first album I ever purchased was the "THE
KIDS ARE ALRIGHT" by THE WHO. That was just
after seeing the movie, all that guitar and drum
smashing had me hooked! Haha! Yeah that was the
start of it all for me.
WHAT WAS THE FIRST CONCERT YOU EVER WENT TO?
Ha ha first concert was Ted Nugent, Detroit Michigan, Cobo Arena 1980!
ARE YOU INTO ANY OTHER STYLES OF MUSIC BESIDES WHAT YOU PLAY?
Yeah for sure. I enjoy mainly Progressive Power Metal, Classic Metal, Thrash, and Folk Metal, in addition to
Death Metal. Over the years I have even gotten into some Classical, Bluegrass, Folk, Traditional Country and a
little Jazz. I know TJ is really big in old-school Death Metal, he does listen to some newer stuff as well but mostly
in the Death Metal, and melodic Death Metal genre, and some Classical. Matt enjoys Classic Metal, some Power
Metal as well as melodic Death Metal.
WHO ARE SOME OF THE BANDS YOU HAVE CURRENTLY BEEN LISTENING TO?
Well myself I'm always going through phases so much Metal so little time! They're pretty much is a different type
of Metal for every mood. For me a couple of bands that impress me right now are EVILE and HAVOK. They
really personify what Thrash is all about to me. I think the stuff they are putting out is amazing! I seen EVILE live
a couple years back. I tell you, I was there in the 80s early 90s and had been around the Thrash scene , and these
guys have definitely captured it. The attitude, the energy, intensity, skill, it was a total flashback! I know TJ has
been getting into OBSEQUINE and ALDA. Those are a couple of bands on BINDRUNE RECORDINGS, a
locally based label. TJ is good friends with Marty the owner. I know Matt as well has been getting into them. I
know Matt has been listening to INSOMNIUM, ETERNUS, & OBSEQUINE quite a bit.
WHAT IS THE SCENE LIKE IN MICHIGAN WHERE YOUR FROM?
The Metal scene is pretty small in Traverse City Michigan. That is not to say there aren't some great fans and
some great friends here, it's just not very big or well supported. Downstate it's definitely better Grand Rapids,
Lansing, the Detroit area.
ANY BANDS OR LABELS WORTH CHECKING OUT?
We do however have a great webzine WORM GEAR which is out of our area. They also have a recording label
called BINDRUNE. There are definitely some good bands on there that are worth checking out here is a link.
WHAT IS THE BEST AND WORST PART ABOUT BEING IN A BAND?
Well, the best part would have to be writing songs and recording. Playing shows is definitely a mixed bag some
shows are incredible other ones just suck the life out of you. The worst would be loading up after a gig! Haha!
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU THINK PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED TO FIND OUT ABOUT YOU?
I think it would have to be the fact that TJ knows a whole hell of a lot about drying and pressing flowers…
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE BAND GWAR AND THEIR LEAD SINGER DAVE BROCKIE PASSING
AWAY EARLY LAST YEAR?
It's always hard when thing's like this happen. Our condolences go out to his family friends and fellow band
mates. Obviously a very influential band that has been around a lot of years. Dave will surely be missed.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT NEXT FROM FEAST ETERNAL?
World domination! A New World order! The Order of FEAST ETERNAL! \m/ ... I suppose if that doesn't pan out
then we'll just keep doing what we're doing and hopefully there are people who want to listen. After the LP in
2015 we plan on playing some shows, and revisiting the LP "WITH FIRE". Probably a re-record and re-release,
hopefully in 2016. We would also like to do a video for the 2015 LP next summer.... We will see...
THANX A LOT FOR DOING THIS INTERVIEW. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ADD ANYTHING ELSE
YOU'D LIKE TO CLOSE OUT.
Thanks for the support!