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Forever Underground: An Exclusive Interview With BRIAN OHMER Of STONECUTTERS

By The Hermanator, Contributor
Thursday, September 29, 2016 @ 3:33 PM

"We really don’t want to wait for anything to come to us. We are just going to go out there and do it."

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With the internet and social media giving you the heads up, it is easier to see tours as they come to your city and the reaction the bands have on the audience. One band that kept getting rave reviews on their most recent tour was the STONECUTTERS. The band recently finished what they called the “Madness Prevails Tour” to promote their just released CD Blood Moon. I met up the band in Houston and indeed they met all expectations. The band consists of Brian Ohmer on guitars and vocals, Nick Burks on guitar, Kevin Redford on bass and Johnny Wooldridge on drums. I got in contact with Brian Ohmer after the tour and had the following chat.

KNAC.COM: For those who are unfamiliar with the STONECUTTERS, where is the band from and how would you best describe the music?

OHMER: The band is from Louisville, Kentucky. I might have to describe us as a G.G. Allin meets Jimi Hendrix. It’s pissed off music with a lot of crazy guitar solos, very heavy and angry with deep lyrics about wars, oppression, death and blood. We listen to a variety of music. We listen to a bunch of metal, (IRON MAIDEN, BLACK SABBATH, NEUROSIS, DEATH), older hardcore stuff, even Nick Cave. This last tour we listened to mainly cassettes. We bought all of the David Lee Roth solo albums on cassette for the hell of it.

KNAC.COM: The band just finished the “Madness Prevails Tour”. How did that go overall?

OHMER: The STONECUTTERS just finished a 16-date tour. 6 dates were in Texas. Texas was a definite highlight, especially San Antonio and Corpus Christi. We got pretty wild this tour and just had a blast. Louisiana was also a great time. We hit a lot of new territory on this last run.

KNAC.COM: As a band that may be considered ‘underground”, what do you think you need to do to get your music more mainstream, out to a broader public?

OHMER: Touring mainly! Seems that’s the best way to get heard these days, aside from getting the music out on the internet. We do a little Facebook and Instagram and we have StonecuttersDestroy.com. But honestly, we would rather just stay off the internet and actually interact and perform. We feel we are on the internet only to promote some. Really, we are much better in person. We’ve released 4 albums now so hopefully there’s a bit of a buzz. We’ve gotten some press here and there, but we really don’t want to wait for anything to come to us. We are just going to go out there and do it.

KNAC.COM: You have obviously gotten some recognition. The band was invited to play the GWAR B-Q. How did that happen?

OHMER: GWAR B-Q? I’m personally a big GWAR fan and had played several shows with them. The main reason we got invited to the GWAR B-Q was because of Jamison Land, the current Beefcake. He is a Louisville native and pushed for us to play it. He put together a Louisville Dave Brockie benefit too that the STONECUTTERS headlined. And we raised a bunch of money for it, so it would only make sense that we would play it. We actually got scheduled to play first on that show last year, at 10am in the morning. I’m usually not even up that early in the morning, ha ha. But if you have ever been to a Q, it starts early and is over early by around 6 or 7. It’s kind of a different thing. I should also state that the loss of Brockie and Cory Smoot (Flattus), was devastating to me. They were two huge legacy’s of the punk and metal community with their loss.

KNAC.COM: The recent tour was in support of the Blood Moon CD. How has that music been received?

OHMER: I think it’s been our most well received release so far. I personally feel we just get better with each release and I’m trying to keep that going. We actually have 4 to 5 songs that are really strong and which we want to put out within the next year.

KNAC.COM: How would you say this album is different from your previous CDs?

OHMER: Well, it’s our first with new 2nd guitarist Nick Burks. I think he adds a really special element to the band. He helped me write about half the album. And his lead guitar playing is off the hook. There is just something really special about Blood Moon. The songs are really strong and the songs on the album flow well. I think we seem to mix really heavy fast and slow sludgy songs with more eerie acoustic guitars. We somehow make it work.

KNAC.COM: There indeed is diversity in the styles of the songs. You hear those influences well. Punk, thrash and stoner/doom rock is what vibrantly comes out at you. Has this made it hard to put a “label” on the band?

OHMER: A bit! On this tour there were some promoters that were promoting us as a stoner/doom band and they were surprised on how we mixed it all up. Most stoner/doom bands are not as fast as us. Maybe it’s because we are centrally located and we have been able to absorb a little of that hardcore, stoner, doom, thrash and death and just mix it all up. Somehow it works well for us. I grew up listening to a lot of fast Boston and New York hardcore, California thrash, and Southern lower metal. We enjoy it all as long as it sounds good.

KNAC.COM: What do you think it would take for the band to finally make it “mainstream”?

OHMER: Two words: Forever Underground! Haha! No, I don’t think we want to go “mainstream”. It depends really on what you say is ”mainstream”. I hate really most of what people listen to that is considered “mainstream”. Of course we would like to be heard more and more and keep building that following. But I don’t think that “mainstream” is what we are after. No compromising there!

KNAC.COM: What are the plans for a follow up to Blood Moon? More tours or are you going to do more recordings?

OHMER: To hopefully outdo it! The few songs we have written definitely sounds like us. We just want to keep pushing ourselves and keep taking it to the next level.

KNAC.COM: The music does not seem to be political, but if you were to vote now, Hillary or Trump?

OHMER: I would rather say neither. I’m personally for neither. I just can’t get myself to back either one. I’m not speaking for the STONECUTTERS or their fans. One of my friends in New Orleans called this election a “shit show”. Need I say more?

KNAC.COM: Lastly, how does it feel to be a metal band from Kentucky? Any other bands from that region we need to keep an eye on?

OHMER: Louisville and Kentucky in general do show us a lot of love. We have four albums and over a decade into this, so it’s not like we haven’t paid our dues. Before the STONECUTTERS, I played in a hardcore band on Century Media called MY OWN VICTIM. That band did a lot, too. I’ve always stayed busy with music. Other bands from the area to checkout… I do an all vinyl distro of local bands called Deadly Dying Death Distro. You can find it on Facebook. I carry all kinds of great stuff. Among them SAVAGE MASTER, THE REVENANTS, IMPETIGO, ANAGNORISIS, HOOKERS, DECLINE EFFECT, BRODY'S MILITIA… all worth checking out.

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