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CENTRIFUGE
INTERVIEW













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THIS INTERVIEW WAS DONE WITH CHRIS BARNES FROM HELLRIDEMUSIC.COM. PLEASE CLICK THE LINK AT THE BOTTOM TO VISIT HIS GREAT SITE.
















It's my feeling that Ohio's centrifuge are on to something. Their dark, post-modern doom vibe reminds me of Cable breeding with Helmet, their bastard offspring taking on the depressive hypnotic vibes of 5ive. The whole experience is bleak, cold and massively heavy, yet offering some amazing innovation and genre bending. Centrifuge members Matt Servenack and Todd Fabian take a few moments to talk to Hellride.


Hellride Music: I guess the best way to start this off is to have you guys give us the Centerfugian history. How'd you guys meet, were you in previous bands, favorite animal, etc.

Matt Servenack: Rob (Craig, drums) and I met in '88 in high school through mutual friends. We quickly started jamming and getting crappy bands together until putting together a band called Strange Ways (named after the Kiss song). We played mostly covers (Zeppelin, Kiss, Van Halen, Sabbath) and a few originals. After high school ended we drifted apart for a good 9 years. In that time I met Todd through a girlfriend of mine. A short while after that Todd and I started jamming / writing material for a death metal project which never got off
the ground for two reasons: 1. couldn't find a drummer 2. I got married and
moved to New Orleans. About a year later I moved back to Ohio and a few months after that we started jamming together again. We quickly realized that there were absolutely no drummers in the area into extremely heavy metal. So a drum machine was brought in and that spawned Centrifuge (a much more industrial sounding Centrifuge than you hear now). We quickly wrote songs, played a few gigs (with the drum machine) and put together 2 self-produced demo cassettes in '96 and '97. Things again fell apart in '98 when our practice space was "broken into" and Todd took a job in Cleveland (about an hour and a half away).

About a year later Rob called me out of the blue and we started jamming again--mostly on some weed-influenced jam-based rock. Then in the summer of 2001 Todd and I decided to get Centrifuge back together, influenced by continued interest in the demos and an urge to play out. We decided to ditch the drum machine and asked Rob if he would be interested in filling the spot. Things have been going great ever since.

Todd Fabian: I don't like dogs or kids! Beer and chicken wings are an essential part a complete diet!

Hellride Music: Todd, thanks for the revelation. Take note, ladies. Let's talk a bit about your latest effort, Visions Old, Feelings Cold. To me, it's cold, dark almost doom metal, doom expressed in a completely modern way. How would you guys describe the Centrifuge sound? How would you like to be known to the music-loving public?

Matt: Potpourri metal? It really is a combination of all the different types of heavy music we listen to. From industrial to ambient, death to grind, stoner rock to space rock classic rock to metal. I would like to be known as "one heavy fucking band." Like our stickers say: "Industrial Strength Rock n Roll."

Hellride Music: That would cover it, with no controversy on my part at all. How would you compare your previous effort Taste of Grey to Visions... ?

Matt: Visions is definitely heavier. A few of the songs on Taste... were written when we were still using the drum machine so they have the industrial sound to them and a few of the others were the first things we
wrote as a band with a drummer so it's natural that they won't be as complex as what we're doing now.

Hellride Music: I can't find my copy of Taste of Grey to pull out, but it seems to me Visions... has markedly better production. Who produced Visions... and was the recording process any different or do I have my head up my ass?

Matt: When we did Taste... I think we were just excited to be in a recording studio. We pretty much went in there and recorded our parts and sat back and waited for the producer to do his thing, gave him our money and went on our way. We were just happy to come out of there with a CD in our hand. We really didn't put too much input into the whole process. Plus it was recorded by a guy who really didn't know what our sound was like or probably never really listened to our type of music. With Visions... we worked with Pete Drivere at a local studio called Ampreon Recorder. Pete also runs sound at a local bar that we already played at twice prior to recording the CD. So Pete already knew what our sound was like. He liked us and was totally into the recording. He didn't sleep while we were recording tracks. Plus we learned from the previous sessions and we knew we needed to speak up and give our opinions on things. Pete was cool about everything and listened to our suggestions. He talked us out of a few of them and they turned out to be for the best.

Todd: Nope! your heads not up your ass! I'd love to re-record the tracks on Taste.... When I listen to it, it just seems rushed! If you were hear those tunes live the tempo is noticeably slower. I'm not unhappy with the
way it sounds, but I think "Visions..." sounds MUCH better.

Hellride Music: How about in terms of writing? It seems Visions... is a darker beast than Taste... Was the writing process or general vibe of the band any different between the two recordings?

Matt: Like I said before, a few songs on Taste... were written years ago when the drum machine was a third of the band so they are a bit more industrial. Other than that we still follow a simple formula: write some
heavy riffs, piece them together, does it sound like a good song? If so add some vocals, TA-DA! A song is born.

Todd: Yep! "TA-DA"!

Hellride Music: Your music is dark, heavy and hypnotic. When you're playing live, do you ever get so wrapped up in the music that you lose track of time, the audience, etc.? Or is there a constant connection with the crowd?

Matt: I feel most comfortable when we're on stage looking at each other standing in a big triangle. It's just like practicing. I only look into the crowd to see how many heads are bobbing up and down or to get somebody to get me another beer. We do have 2 songs ("Want, Fear, Believe" and "Feed The High") that have parts in them that are total improv parts when we play them live. Todd keeps the bass line going and Rob and I are pretty much free to go where-ever we may roam. There have been a few times that a jam has gone to the 5 minute mark making the song around 12-13 minutes total. We have a few signals or quick riffs that we play that lets the rest of the band know "I'm ready to go back into the song now". Sometimes I look at Todd and he is so totally spaced out I wonder if I have to go over and kick him to let him know I'm done with my solo. We always play those songs last. I think the audience digs it but I usually don't care if they have all walked out by then. We're having fun. We did get cut off one time. I opened my eyes and the stage lights were off and the sound guy was walking towards us giving us the "cut it off --finger across the neck" sign.

Todd: I definitely zone out! I like to listen to what those guys are doing! As for a connection with the crowd, I think it's crowd specific. Sometimes I feel like they're really into it, other times I look out and it's like deer in headlights.

Hellride Music: Have any of you ever farted on stage mid-song and force the rest of the band to endure?

Matt: No, not on stage. But it's usually a weekly thing for Todd to let one loose during practice. It might not be a big deal to most but our practice space is not much bigger than your average walk-in closet. You add
90 degree Ohio heat with 100% humidity and the inability to open a window (neighbors) and things can get pretty ugly. Beer and chicken wings taste so good but are not friendly to the digestive system.

Todd: "weekly"???????????

Hellride Music: Tell us a bit about the heavy music scene in Ohio. It seems that state is responsible for some of the greatest heavy bands currently in the scene - You guys (of course!), the mighty Rubes, Abdullah, Sofa King Killer, Rebreather among others. Can you give us your thoughts on the Ohio scene? Who else should we be on the look out for?

Matt: The Ohio scene is probably just like everywhere else. Yeah, there are some great bands, like the ones your mentioned, but like everywhere else, "MTV Metal" reigns supreme. Nu-metal is EVERYWHERE. I stay home more than I go out just because there aren't enough bands playing around that I actually want to see or hear. It's a big deal when there are 2 or 3 really good bands playing together. I'd say maybe it happens once a month. Luckily we've been able to play with all the great bands you mentioned. And bands like The Rubes and Abdullah have actually taken the time to go out of their way to help us. It has helped greatly.

Todd: After the Sun and Bruhaha have also been cool to us! I'm a fan of Clock Eating Planet but I don't know if you'll ever get a chance to hear them! (been recording a demo for as long as I can remember).

Hellride Music: Can you give us an example of a band you played with that were total fucking dickheads and why?

Matt: The 2 nu-metal bands that we've played with and the (fucking) Gnomes.

Todd: the Gnomes (we usually play for five hours but since there are five other bands here we'll cut it back to four, and you all can play for 10 minutes).

Hellride Music: Cool. A lot of people don't answer that question. The "puss factor" is very high. Come to think of it, I probably wouldn't have answered it either. What are your goals for the future with Centrifuge? How can people contact you if they want more info?

Matt: Play gigs, write, record, repeat. If a label comes along and offers us a deal or a tour that would be super-cool but if not I'm sure we'll keep on doing our thang. E-mail us (
centrifugemusic@aol.com) or check the website for updates. We will ship a CD anywhere so get in touch if you want one. If you're in a band in the Ohio area get in touch and let's get some gigs lined up.

Todd: Gig, write, record, drink, repeat...

Hellride Music: Thanks for the interview guys. Any last words you'd like to leave us with?

Todd & Matt:Thanks for the interview, the reviews and basically taking the time to help out all the bands in the underground.
















HERE'S PART 2!  MARCH '05

There is really no way to explain the Centrifuge sound other than hypnotically dark, cold and nihilistic. I've always thrown the "post-modern doom" tag at them, because their sound is so unique and defies the journalistic pigeonhole. Regardless, I’ve been a big fan of these guys since I started this webzine thing, and it’s gives me great pleasure to support them in anyway possible. The Centrifuge lads take a few moments to talk about the band and the brooding new album, Sadness, Loveless, Hopeless, Endless


Hellride Music: It's been awhile since we last checked-in with the world's premiere post-modern doom n' gloom outfit, Centrifuge. Including the new album, Sadness, Loveless, Hopeless, Endless, what have you guys been up to?

Matt Servenack Premiere? Damn, you're making me blush. We're still doing pretty much the same thing we've been doing for the last few years. Writing, recording, playing a few gigs here and there, repeat. 2004 was a bit of a crazy year for us on a personal level being that 2 of the 3 members got married and bought houses. That slowed things down a tad but we're back in full stride now.

Hellride Music: Good to hear. The Centrifuge sound is unique - it's dark and foreboding yet, unlike most bands that we'd label 'Doom', you seem, for the most part, to skirt the Sabbath/Vitus/Candlemass template (except, maybe, for the first couple of songs on the new one). I don't know how to describe your approach which is what I think makes Centrifuge music so refreshing. If you can, in your own words, try to describe your music and the influences that you draw from.

Matt: I know we might get banished from the Doom community for this but we really were never into St. Vitus or Candlemass. Sabbath, definitely. Thanks to older brothers we grew up on a healthy dose of Sabbath. The first doom bands that I really got into were bands like My Dying Bride, Anathema, and Cathedral. Stuff that kinda came out of that huge death metal and grind scene in the early 90's. Our influences really come from all over. Todd (Fabian, bass/vocals) is the true metal-head of the group. 100% metal running through his blood 24/7. Rob (Craig, percussion) grew up on old-school metal but also has a hippie side to him. He carries that Bill Ward style that makes the slow parts still sound interesting and his addition of "tribal" beats here and there keeps things different. I'm into the heavy doomy stuff, but more experimental soundwise and also bring the blues into the mix.

Hellride Music: I’d definitely agree with that synopsis… it’s that ability to experiment and make it sound good that is the true signature of Centrifuge. Speaking of which, I've said before that the first couple of songs on Sadness, Loveless, Hopeless, Endless, threw me off - they have a decidedly old school trad doom flavor to them which wasn't necessarily bad, but I much prefer the tried n' true sound of the other tracks on the record. Please comment.

Matt: I agree with you that “Weaken” might be a bit old school doom. Todd wrote that song completely, guitar parts and all. Even figured out the drums on a drum machine. He brought in a recording of it, we learned it in a day or two and figured it was a done song. Maybe since Rob and I didn't get a chance to add our input (we felt the song was strong enough that it didn't need screwed with) it doesn't have the melting pot of all our style and influences. So, again, that shows where our true doom sound comes from. Rob calls that song the "diggin' a ditch for my dead dog" song. I will disagree with you on “Self”. I think that song is true Centrifuge throughout. Listen to it again and LIKE IT, DAMN IT!!!!

Hellride Music: Todd, you also have expanded your vocals a bit it seems, which gives those tracks a bit of extra harshness in addition to the cold, desolate feel of the Centrifuge sound. What made you decide to try this and how do you feel about the finished product?

Todd Fabian: I've thrown it around a little bit before, but only in real small sections, so I guess it was never really that noticeable! I'm a fan of the sludge sound (Iron Monkey in particular) and I've always wanted to incorporate that into our sound, but it doesn't always fit! I write the vocal parts to the music, it's always the last step! This batch of songs just seemed to be a little more scream friendly and I like the way it turned out, it seems to give the songs a little bit of intensity, and translates well to the live arena!

Hellride Music: Matt's guitar playing is amazing - hypnotic and emotional in that David Gilmour sort of vibe but there is a sort of non-traditional, moreexperimental type of vibe as if Thurston Moore or Robert Fripp turned doom. Can you tell us what your overall approach and philosophy to playing is?

Matt: Thanks for the compliments. Any time Gilmour's name comes up to describe or compare you or your style it's a huge ego boost. Again, I'm blushing. I'm a huge Floyd fan and so I guess he would be an influence. When Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation first came out I was pretty young but I loved that album. I listened to it nonstop. I guess some of it sunk in. It's a masterpiece. As for Fripp, I dig his experimental looping madness. I do have a looper pedal that I have fun with at rehearsal and during a few songs that get stretched out. I definitely add a touch of heavy blues to our sound. There's definitely nothing happy about it. Listen to Peter Green on Fleetwood Mac's early pre-chick stuff and you hear that haunting reverb drenched tone. His tone alone will make you cry. Same with Gilmour. Hypnotic and emotional through good tones are pretty much my approach and philosophy. You nailed it! Good tone, a touch of delay and a dash of blues and the goosbumps are there!

Hellride Music: You guys worked with Jeff Shirilla (Abdullah) in the studio this time around. What does Jeff bring to the studio experience?
 
Todd: A lot of equipment and knowledge of that
equipment, plus he's a friend of ours and knows the sound we're looking for! It was a real easy, fun and comfortable environment! We did the recording in one day and came back the next week for the mix down! When we showed up he already had the sound dialed in to where we were more than happy. I would recommend him to anyone looking to do a quality recording! (jeff_shirilla@yahoo.com)

Hellride Music: Do you guys get out to play live very much? How does the Centrifuge sound transfer over to the live setting from the studio?

Matt: It goes in spurts. We'll go months and months without a gig and then, POW! 4 gigs in 5 weeks. We're in that situation right now. We've played 3 out of the last 4 weeks and we have 2 more gigs in the next 3 weeks. I think our sound carries over well because we usually play a song out at gigs for while before we actually record it. Being a 3 piece we write songs so there are no dead spots and they sound good live.

Hellride Music: What are your thoughts on the current heavy music scene, good or bad?

Matt: Good. It seems like the nu-metal, having 12 guys in the band, wearing funny masks and jumping around craze is finally starting to fade away. It's cool to see some of the smaller bands still putting out recordings. I know most bands in the "stoner-rock" or "doom" scene aren't making any money but it's great to see new albums by these bands.

Hellride Music: Thanks for the interview! Please leave us with some last words.

Matt & Todd: Thank you so much for all the kind words over the last year or so. Thereviews, interviews, and CD distribution have helped us spread our name and gain some new fans from all over the world..